We have guidelines from our union on never interviewing a child alone with the door closed etc.
I hate to admit it but I do not always follow these guidelines.
Years ago I took a school group abroad. One kid at 12 was way too young, but she begged to go.
Almost immediately she began to miss home badly.
One night in the hotel I heard her in her room sobbing hysterically for her mother.
I did not want to wake anyone else, so I went down to hotel reception and got sweets and bars from a machine
I went to her bedroom, sat on the bed, put my arm round her, shared the sweets, chatted with her for a half hour, made her laugh, got her eventually to laugh herself and to dry her tears, tucked her in and left the room.
When I look back on this episode I shudder. Almost every detail of it could be misconstrued....
Unfortunately too, the occasional teenager in my school, when their back is to the wall on some issue, has threatened teachers with the possibility of the child-abuse accusation. Some teenagers are only too well aware of its power...
Yet children in this state were horrifically abused because adults in authority refused to believe them, or because these adults believed their colleagues / fellow priests, etc. and covered up for them.
It is a very, very difficult area and something of a minefield....
nothing would be construed if you were female. I have seen plenty of female teachers 'mother' girls and boys by giving them a hug yet as a male teacher I would think twice before shaking a pupils hand male or female. a girl I know was working in a creche and asked why there were no male carers and she was told they might abuse the children.