Safeguarding Child Protection Policy
Safeguarding and Child Protection
Policy and Procedure
This document outlines Activfirst’s approach when dealing with Child Safeguarding concerns including The Prevent Duty. It also sets out the procedure that Activfirst’s employees must use when responding to and referring Child Safeguarding concerns.
This policy has taken in to consideration the recommendations set out in KCSIE 22
What is Safeguarding?
It might be difficult to accept, but every child or young person can be hurt, put at risk of harm or abused, regardless of their age, gender, religion or ethnicity.
Safeguarding is a term which is broader than ‘child protection’ and relates to the action the company takes to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Safeguarding is defined in Working together to Safeguard Children 2018 as:
- Safeguarding children – the action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm – is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to
- Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:
- protecting children from maltreatment;
- preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
- ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effectivecare; and
- taking action to enable all children to have the best outcome
“the action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm – is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play.”
Statement of Intent
Activfirst recognises that protecting and safeguarding children and young people is a shared responsibility, which depends upon effective joint working between agencies and professionals. Individual children and young people, especially some of the most vulnerable children and those at greatest risk of social exclusion will need coordinated help from health, education, and children’s social care services. The voluntary sector and other agencies also have an important role in protecting and safeguarding children.
- Provide a Designated Person to support Activfirst employees, whereby advice and a clear course of action can be offered in relation to any child protection concern. Any such advice will be in consultation with the East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership (ERSCP) where Activfirst offers services. In the event of the Designated Person not being available at the time an issue arises, a second Designated Person will deputise in this role for advice and guidance. If both are unavailable, and the situation warrants a swift response, the matter will be referred to the Local Authority where the child resides
- Carefully select and vet Activfirst employees, using safer recruitment processes, including DBS criminal records checks for those employees who are involved with regulated activity.
- Regularly train and update employees in relation to safeguarding and Child Protection
- Have a Safeguarding Policy which is clearly understood, in order for any member of employee, to have an appreciation of the appropriate advice and courses of action if an employee, raises a concern with us.
- Review our Child Protection Policy and Procedure annually in order to ensure it is in line with national and local policy
Activfirst encourages employees to consult with the designated lead on any Safeguarding matter where they are uncertain how to proceed.
From July 1st, 2015 and as part of the Safeguarding and Prevent Duty all employees have a duty to demonstrate and help develop values which underpin an awareness of social and moral responsibility in modern Britain. The Prevent Strategy published by the Government in 2011, as part of the overall counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST, places a duty on certain bodies to give “due regard to reduce the threat to the UK by preventing people from being drawn into terrorism”.
What is Extremism?
Extremism is defined as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.”
British values – therefore are defined as “democracy” and refer to everyone being expected to encourage respect to other people, taking particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.
The following national guidance should be referred to:
- Working Together (2018)
- The Children Act (1989)
- The Children Act (2004)
- Keeping children safe in education (July 2015).
- The Protection of Children Act 1999
- The Sexual Offences Act 2003
- What to do if you’re worried a Child is being Abused (DoH, Home Office.)
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- Guidance for Safer Working Practice for adults who Work with Children and Young People (2007)
Activfirst policies which relate to Child Protection include:
- Health and Safety Policy
- Equality & Diversity Policy
- Recruitment Policy
- Lone Working Policy
- Data Protection Policy
- E safety (see Employee Handbook)
Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity which is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm. Effective child protection is essential to safeguard and promote the welfare of any child or young person. However, all agencies should aim to proactively safeguard and promote the welfare of children so that the need for action to protect from harm is reduced.
What is Abuse and Neglect?
Abuse and Neglect are forms of maltreatment to children or young people. ‘Child’ refers to anyone under the age of 18 – although many people use the term ‘young person’ when children reach teenage years. Children may be abused in a family, an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely by others (e.g. via the internet).
This includes an adult or adults, another child or children. (Working Together 2018).
Physical Abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child (fabricated illness).
Is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. This could be high expectations of educational progression which is outside of the child’s ability or age-range. Over protection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction would also be emotionally abusive. It may be seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber-bullying) causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts (eg masturbation, kissing or touching).
They may include non-contact activities such as involving children looking at, or in the production of, sexual images or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Peer on Peer Abuse
Employees should be aware that learners are capable of abusing their peers. This is generally referred to as peer-on-peer abuse and can include, though not limited to, bullying, cyberbullying; sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse; sexting; initiating/hazing type violence and rituals. Whilst employees need to be aware of the gendered nature of peer-on-peer abuse, all peer-on-peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously.
Activfirst will not tolerate peer -n-peer abuse. Abuse is abuse and will not be passed off as banter. Every report of peer-on-peer abuse will be taken seriously and considered on a case-by-case basis, supported by other agencies, such as children’s social care and the police as appropriate. Employees must report such allegations.
Activfirst will make an immediate risk and needs assessment following the report of peer-on-peer abuse, including consideration of how to support and protect the victim and alleged perpetrator.
The risk and needs assessment will consider the victim, especially their protection and support; the alleged perpetrator; and all other learners and employees and any actions appropriate and proportionate to keep them all safe.
The response will be proportionate to the case and support for the victim and alleged perpetrator tailored on a case-by-case basis.
A proactive approach is adopted to preventing peer on peer abuse and includes;
- Mandatory staff training
- Learner awareness through personal development
- Zero tolerance to peer-on-peer abuse articulated through policy statement, personal development, and training.
Learner on Learner Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment
Sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Every report of sexual violence or sexual harassment will be taken seriously and considered on a case-by-case basis, supported by other agencies, such as children’s social care and the police as required. Employees must report such allegations.
An immediate risk and needs assessment following the report of sexual violence will be made. The risk assessment will consider the risk posed to all learners and employees and adequate measures will be put in place to protect them and keep them safe. Activfirst will consider the need for a risk assessment on a case-by-case basis for reports of sexual harassment.
The risk and needs assessment will consider the victim, especially their protection and support; the alleged perpetrator; and all other learners and employees and any actions appropriate and proportionate to keep them all safe.
A proactive approach is adopted to preventing learner on learner sexual violence and sexual harassment and includes
- Mandatory staff training
- Learner/apprentice awareness through personal development sessions
- Zero tolerance to peer-on-peer abuse articulated through policy statement, personal development sessions and training.
Dealing with Concerns
Concerns should be reported to the Activfirst Designated Persons for Safeguarding
immediately and should also be recorded. Employees should provide as much detail as possible about the concern, clarifying the basic facts. If an alleged crime has been committed, it is necessary to gather the basic facts about the alleged perpetrator (including name, age, address, access to children and adults), but not take any action that might alert the alleged perpetrator.
A safeguarding cause for concern is an action, observation, disclosure or discussion that makes employees feel anxious about the safety or wellbeing of a learner.
If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a learner or the employees believe that a learner is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, contact must be made with the Activfirst Designated Persons for Safeguarding or a member of the Senior Management team.
Is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food and clothing, shelter including exclusion from home or abandonment, failing to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger, failure to ensure adequate supervision including the use of inadequate caretakers, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Cyber bullying is used when someone is bullied through the use of interactive and digital technology such as mobile phones or computers. Different methods involved in the abuse include text messaging, picture/videoing, phone call, email, chat room, instant messaging and through websites and blogs. This modern form of abuse can make the victim feel like there is no escape because it is not always confined to the classroom. When dealing with
children and young people always ensure safe learning practices are adhered to, making sure they follow clear internet safety procedures at all times.
Child Sexual Exploitation/Grooming
Involves children and young people under 18 in exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where they receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, money, gifts or affection) as a result of them performing, and/or another or others performing sexual activities on them. CSE can occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; this can include being persuaded/groomed whereby an emotional connection is built up to gain the trust of the child to post sexual images on the Internet/mobile phones. It also happens in the real-world face to face with the perpetrator, be that a stranger or someone they might know. In allcases those exploiting the child have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child’s limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Comprise of all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences. Professionals in all agencies, individuals and groups in relevant communities, need to be alert to the possibility of a girl being at risk of FGM, or already having suffered FGM.
The Mandatory reporting duty will commence in October 2015. Once introduced, teachers must report any suspected cases to the police.
This is not an exhaustive list of abuse and it must be recognised that it is not the role of employees/volunteers to make an assessment of whether children or young people have suffered harm. Employees/volunteers/child protection co-ordinators do have a duty to report any concerns about harm in accordance with the Local Safeguarding Children Board, Guidelines and Procedures.
The harm or potential harm of a child may come to your attention in a number of ways:
- Someone within Activfirst may have some unease about the way an employee or volunteer is behaving toward children or young people. This may be inappropriate language, or inappropriate behaviour toward a child or young person which gives rise to concern
- Someone may have seen a child with a suspicious injury/bruise/burn – the explanation by the child does not seem to match with the nature of the injury. The child may also be evasive or nervous when asked about the injury
- There may be concern from young people or employees about the way a project/group is being run e.g. people using the facility who appear suspicious or who may pose a ‘risk to children’ (Guidance on Offences against Children’ Home Office Circular 16/2005). This relates to an individual that has been identified as presenting a risk or potential risk of harm to children. This can be someone who has been convicted of an offence listed in Schedule One of the Children and Young Person’s Act 1933 (Sexual Offences Act 2003) or someone who has been identified as continuing to present a risk to children.
- There may be complaints of bullying amongst young people who use a particular service or group. This may be about other young people bullying or an employee or a volunteer perpetrating the bullying
- Activfirst may have concern regarding substance misuse on the part of one of their clients. The potential for a child to be harmed as a result of the excessive use of alcohol, illegal and controlled drugs, solvents or related substances may occur during a young person’s life. The use of drugs or other substances by parents or carers does not in itself indicate child neglect or abuse, and there is no assumption that a child living in such circumstances will automatically be considered under the child protection procedures. It is important to assess how parental substance use impacts upon the children or young people in the family.
- Mental Health – Mental illness in a parent or carer does not necessarily have an adverse effect on the child or young person but it is important that those groups working with parents/carers with mental ill-health are aware of the supports which those parents may require in order to manage the care of their children well. Where
- mental illness is accompanied by problem alcohol use, domestic violence or associated with poverty and social isolation, children are particularly vulnerable.
- Domestic Violence – Children and young people can suffer directly and indirectly if they live in a household where there is domestic violence. It is likely to have damaging effects upon the health and development of the child. The amendment made in section 120 of the Adoption and Child Act 2002 to the Children Act 1989 clarifies the meaning of harm to include, for example, impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. This can include children witnessing violence in the home. Domestic violence has an impact in a number of ways:
- It can pose a threat to the physical wellbeing of an unborn child, if the mother is kicked or punched.
- Children may suffer injuries as a result of being caught up in violent episodes
- Children become distressed by witnessing the physical and emotional suffering of a parent
- The physical and psychological abuse suffered by the adult victim can have a negative impact upon their ability to look after the children
- The impact of domestic violence is exacerbated when the violence is combined with drug and /or alcohol use
People working with children should also be alert to the frequent inter-relationship between domestic violence and the abuse and neglect of children (HM Government 2010: pages 262-265)
- Bullying – This can be defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. It can take many forms, but the three main types are physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, theft), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, threats, name calling) and emotional (e.g. isolating an individual from activities and social acceptance of their peer group). The damage inflicted by bullying (including bullying via the internet) can frequently be underestimated.
- Gang Activity – Children and young people who become involved in gangs are at risk of violent crime and as a result of this involvement are deemed vulnerable. Agencies and professionals have a responsibility to safeguard these children and to prevent further harm both the young person and other potential victims.
The guidance Safeguarding children and young people who may be affected by gang activity 2010(b) advises that agencies should follow the referral process in Working Together 2018 when they have concerns about a child’s safety and welfare.
Activfirst Designated Persons for Safeguarding
Activfirst has an appointed individual who is responsible for dealing with any Safeguarding concerns. In their absence, a second person will be available for employees and where required delivery partners to consult with.
The designated person for Safeguarding within Activfirst is:
Angela Mulligan (designated person)
Tel no: 01262 602598
Mobile no: 07487 876457
Karen Clarkson (2nd designated person)
Tel no: 01262 602598
Mobile no: 07496 018377
The roles and responsibilities of the designated person(s) are:
- To ensure that all employees and volunteers are aware of what they should do and who they should go to if they have concerns that a child or young person may be experiencing or has experienced abuse or neglect.
- To ensure that concerns are acted on, clearly recorded and referred through the appropriate channels. Contact details on page 14. (see also, Safeguarding Flow Chart and example Activfirst Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk Referral form at the end of this document)
- To follow up any referrals and ensure the issues have been addressed.
- To reinforce the utmost need for confidentiality and to ensure that employees and volunteers are adhering to good practice with regard to confidentiality and security.
- To co-operate with safeguarding investigations carried
- To ensure that disciplinary procedures are coordinated with any other enquiries taking place as part of the ongoing management of any allegation against Activfirst employees.
Responding to People who have Experienced / Experiencing abuse
Activfirst recognises that it has a duty to act on concerns raised or suspicions of abuse or neglect. Anyone who has contact with children or young people and hears disclosures or allegations or has concerns about potential abuse or neglect has a duty to pass them on appropriately.
Managing a Disclosure:
- Listen to what the child has to say with an open mind
- Do not ask probing or leading questions designed to get the child to reveal more
- Never stop a child who is freely recalling significant events
- Make a note of the discussion, taking care to record the timing, setting and people present, as well as what was said (Use their exact words, terminology, grammar)
- Do not ask the children to write a statement
- Never promise the child that what they have told you can be kept secret. Explain that you have responsibility to report what the child has said to someone else
- Inform the designated lead immediately (Follow the Flow Chart listed at the end of this document)
- Ensure the disclosure is recorded on the Safeguarding Report Log
If you witness abuse, or abuse has just taken place follow the Activfirst Safeguarding Process on page 13-15. It is a poor practice to not report any suspected concerns to the relevant person.
All situations of abuse or alleged abuse will be discussed with the designated person. The alleged victim will be told that this will happen.
Activfirst are in a position where children may disclose abuse has occurred or might happen, it is important that our employees understand the basic principles in managing such a disclosure.
Activfirst can assist by offering:
- Advice in line with the ERSCP’s guidance on how practitioners and volunteers should respond (listening with an open mind, not asking probing questions, never stopping a child recalling significant events, making a record, never promising secrets and advising Activfirst to report the matter to the Local Authority Access and Assessment Team
- In the case of it being out of hours the Immediate Help Team should be contacted
It is not the role of the designated lead to undertake an investigation into the concerns or allegation of harm. It is their role to collate and clarify details of the concern and to provide this information to the Local Authority Access and Assessment Team. If
Children’s Social Care are already involved it is their duty to make the enquiries in accordance with Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.
- Advice to seek consent for referral – discuss the concerns with the family (including the child where appropriate). This only being done where such discussion and agreement seeking will not place the child at an increased risk of significant harm
Managing Allegations Against Employees/Volunteers
If any employee or volunteer has concerns about the behaviour or conduct of another individual including:
- behaving in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed a child
- possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, a child or
- behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children.
Activfirst will advise, employees with these concerns, must contact the Designated Person(s) within Activfirst. It will be important to act swiftly and to avoid delay. However, in the absence of Designated Persons within Activfirst being available, a call to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), where the child/young person resides, must be made.
There are contact numbers at the end of this document for the Central Duty Team and the Police Public Protection Units for the Local Authorities covered by Activfirst.
Code of Practice for Activfirst Employees
Harm or the likelihood of harm being reported directly to Activfirst employees is always a possibility.
Our role in these instances is to act in collaboration with the relevant Local Authority to offer advice and support which is deemed appropriate to our role.
Activfirst employees should always:
- Immediately notify the Activfirst Designated Person (or Deputy Designated Person) when a query, concern, or allegation relating to the safeguarding of children is raised with Activfirst.
The Activfirst Designated / Deputy Designated Person will then:
- Inform the referrer that it is important to take suspicions or concerns about abuse that a young person makes to the employee seriously and guide the employee through the procedures they should take
- Work respectfully and professionally with any employees reporting concerns
Recruitment and Selection of Employees and Volunteers
It is important when recruiting employees and volunteers to adhere to Activfirst’s recruitment policy.
This will include:
- All employees and volunteers with access to children and young people will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS criminal records check
- Employees working with children and young people will undertake Child Protection Training
- All employees to read and understand the Child Protection Policy and for this to be reviewed to ensure up-to-date knowledge
- Application forms for employment and for volunteer work to include details of previous employment, any convictions for criminal offences (including spent convictions), agreement for enhanced DBS criminal records check, permission to contact two referees, including their current or most recent employer (which should be taken up.)
- The potential employee/volunteer will be interviewed for their suitability for any vacant post.
- Employees and volunteers will have a period of induction where they will complete any induction training
Employees and Volunteer Self-Protection
Adherence to guidelines on self-protection for employees and volunteers working with children and young people can avoid vulnerable situations where false allegations can be made.
- Avoid situations where an employee or volunteer is on their own with a child
- In the event of an injury to a child, accidental or not ensure that medical attention is sought and that the event is recorded and witnessed by another adult in the Activfirst Accident Book
- Written records are kept of any allegations a child makes against employees and volunteers and these are reported in line with the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy (confidentiality maintained at all times)
- If a child or young person touches an employee or volunteer inappropriately, record what happened immediately and inform the Designated Person for Safeguarding
Disseminating/Reviewing Policy and procedures
Activfirst will ensure that the Safeguarding Policy and Procedures are reviewed annually. The designated person for Safeguarding will be involved in this process and can recommend any changes.
Central Duty Team (01482) 448879
Emergency Duty Team (out of hours) (01482) 788080
East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Call Centre (01482) 395500
Emergency Duty Team (01482) 880826
North East Lincolnshire Council
Safeguarding Children’s Team (01472) 324405
Out of Hours Service (01472) 325555
North Lincolnshire Council
Children’s Team (01724) 296500
Out of Hours Service (01724) 296555
Contact Centre (01302) 737777
Out of Hours Team (01302) 796000
North Yorkshire Council
Contact 24 hours (0845) 034917
Early intervention team (01904) 551900
Out of Hours Service (0845) 034917
Social Care Services (01126) 772423
Out of hours service (01126) 0844 9841800
Access and referral team (01709) 823987
Out of Hours Service (01709) 336080
Children and young people Social Care 24 hours (0114) 273 4855
Kirklees Council covering Dewsbury, Batley, Huddersfield and Holmfirth
Gateway to Care 24 hours (01484) 414933