The duty of confidentiality owed to a person under 16 in any setting is the same as that owed to any other person. Young people have a similar right to confidentiality as adults, however, this duty is not absolute.
Where there is a serious child protection risk to the health, safety or welfare of a young person or others this outweighs the young person’s right to privacy. In these circumstances, professionals should act in accordance with the guidance with the organisations’ Child Protection procedures. Sharing information is essential if children are to be protected. Research and experience have shown repeatedly that keeping children safe from harm requires professionals and others to share information. Such information sharing must be in accordance with legal requirements and professional guidance.
Young people should be made aware that confidentiality may be breached if they, or another young person, is at risk. In these circumstances staff should consult the young person and endeavour to gain their co-operation to share this disclosure but if that’s not possible, they should be advised that their confidentiality will be breached. Staff should always advise the young person that there are situations where confidentiality may not be possible – e.g. young people need to know that information may have to be shared for their own safety and protection.