SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE
Safeguarding Children and Young People
Policy and Guidelines
Safeguarding is defined as protecting children from abuse and maltreatment, preventing harm to children’s health or development, ensuring that children grow up in the provision of safe and effective care and taking action to enable all children to have the best life chances.
Policy Review Date:
NAMED STAFF AND CONTACTS
David Maksymiuw -
Trustee and Designated Safeguarding Lead
Chantelle Darlison -
Deputy Manager and Designated Safeguarding Lead
Peter Smith -
Founder and Finance Officer
Leah Chapman -
Project Co-ordinator /
Assistant Designated Safeguarding Lead
Martin Buchanan -
CEO and Health and Safety Officer
Where concerns regarding a young person occur, reports must be made in line with current procedures. You may contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead if you are unsure of whether to report a concern or need further clarification. Where applicable, an electronic safeguarding report should be sent in depth to the Designated Safeguarding Lead. The Designated Safeguarding Lead will then decide whether to take further action, i.e. to contact the young person’s school or external professional e.g. Early Help, LADO, police.
Where concerns arise about a specific student from, Leicestershire Partnership Schools and/or Leicestershire Secondary Education and Inclusion Partnership, that organisation should be alerted, where necessary the Designated Safeguarding Lead will contact the relevant persons listed below:
LPS Pran Pancholi
HBEP Anne Tookey
LIP Simon Chetwyn
MBP Helen Masoum
NWLLIP Charlie Scott
SLIP Elise Rogers
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2’s current Designated Safeguarding Lead is:
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual, emotional harm and neglect. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play. Everyone should, at all times, show respect and understanding for the rights of young people, their safety and welfare, and conduct themselves in a way that reflects our policies and procedures.
The aim of this policy is to safeguard and promote children and young people’s welfare, health and safety by fostering an honest, open, caring and supportive environment and our staff members working with children and young people to maintain an attitude of “Support. Act Fast. Empower.” where safeguarding is concerned.
Safeguarding is defined as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment;
- Preventing impairment of children's mental and physical health or development;
- Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best life chances.
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 fully adopts an open and accepting attitude towards children as part of its responsibility for pastoral care. Staff should, at all times, encourage children and parents to feel free to talk about any concerns and to see The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 as a safe place when there are difficulties. Children’s worries and fears will be taken seriously and children are encouraged to seek help from members of staff.
E2 will therefore:
- Establish and maintain an ethos where children feel secure and are encouraged to talk, and are listened to;
- Ensure that children know that there are adults at The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 whom they can approach if they are worried or are in difficulty;
- Ensure every effort is made to establish effective working relationships with parents and colleagues from other agencies if required to do so;
- Operate safer recruitment procedures and make sure that all appropriate checks are carried out on new staff and volunteers who will work with children, including identity, right to work, enhanced DBS criminal record and barred list (and overseas where needed), references, and prohibition from teaching or managing in schools (s.128) etc.
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 recognise that all staff and volunteers have a full and active part to play in protecting children and young people from harm, and that children and young people’s welfare is our paramount concern.
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 believes that the charity should provide a caring, positive, safe and stimulation environment that promotes the social, physical and moral development of children and young people.
Our charity’s procedures for safeguarding children are in line with the Leicester City Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB), Multi Agency Child Protection/Safeguarding Procedures; in addition to the statutory requirements as outlined in the Responsibilities section.
Staff & Visitors
All staff and volunteers, placements and visitors will be familiar with this safeguarding policy:
- Staff will have access to, a copy of, and be well versed in our Child Protection Policy; which will also form part of their induction and be revisited annually through Whole School Safeguarding Training.
- All staff will complete Hays online training upon arrival and on a biannual basis beyond this point.
- Be subject to Safer Recruitment processes and checks, whether they are new staff, supply staff, contractors, volunteers etc;
- Be alert to signs and indicators of possible abuse (See Appendix 1).
- Record concerns/disclosures and give the record to the DSL; and
- Deal with a disclosure of abuse from a child in line with The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2’s procedures; informing the DSL immediately, and provide a written account as soon as possible. This includes making the appropriate contact with children’s social care (DSL). Record safeguarding information using school procedures whether electronic or in paper form
Parents and Carers
Parents/Carers will have access to the policy through our charities website. The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 has a statutory responsibility to share concerns it might have about a child or young person in need of protection with other organisations and agencies and in particular police, health and children’s services. The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 are not able to investigate concerns but have a legal duty to refer them. In most instances, the charity will be able to inform the parent/carers of its need to make a referral. However, sometimes the charity is advised by Children’s Social Care or police that the parent/carer cannot be informed whilst they investigate the matter. We understand the anxiety parents/carers understandably feel when they are not told about any concerns from the outset. The charity follows legislation that aims to act in the best interests of the child or young person.
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 will ensure that:
- The Board of Trustees understands and fulfils its safeguarding responsibilities;
- We have a Designated Safeguarding Lead and a number of staff for child protection and safeguarding, who have undertaken DSL training delivered by Safeguarding in Education, Leicester City Council; of which their training will be refreshed every two years.
- All members of staff are provided with opportunities annually to receive Safeguarding Training in order to develop their understanding of safeguarding and child protection in particular the signs and indicators of abuse.
- All members of staff, volunteers, and Trustees know how to respond to a student who discloses abuse, and the procedure to be followed in appropriately sharing a concern of possible abuse or a disclosure of abuse.
- All parents/carers are made aware of The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2’s responsibilities in regard to child protection procedures through publication of the charity’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, and reference to it in our prospectus/brochure and home school agreement.
- Community users organising activities for children are aware of and understand the need for compliance with the The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2’s child protection guidelines and procedures.
- The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 is committed to safer recruitment as outlined in Keeping Children Safe In Education 2020. The charity will ensure all appropriate checks are carried out for all staff and volunteers. Appropriate checks will be recorded on the Single Central Register which will be audited termly by Charmaine Darlison. The charity will ensure at least one person who is safer recruitment trained will be part of the recruitment process.
- All trustees will undergo a DBS check as outlined in paragraph 173 of Keeping children safe in education 2020
- The name of any member of staff considered not suitable to work with children will be notified to either the Disclosure and Barring Service or the relevant Government Department/Agency (where appropriate), depending on the nature of the concern, with the advice and support of the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
- Our procedures will be annually reviewed and up-dated by the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
- The name of the Designated Safeguarding Lead will be clearly shown in the charity, with a statement explaining the charity’s role in referring and monitoring cases of suspected abuse. (Reception, Staff room, Website etc.).
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 understands that is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard children and young people. Concerns should be raised as soon as a staff member or volunteer suspects/knows of a concern that we may have about children and young people. The first point of contact is the DSL or other members of the Safeguarding Team (in their absence). The DSL will inform the CEO of any referrals to be made. If the concerns are in regards to the conduct of a staff member, the Board of Trustees will also be informed.
If a staff member feels they cannot disclose information to the DSL, CEO or Board of Trustees, they must follow out charities whistleblowing procedures to report their concerns.
All staff members will be versed in the Whistleblowing procedure, understand when it is appropriate to use the procedures and will be given details of the NSPCC whistleblowing helpline.
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 will fulfil local and national responsibilities and best practice as laid out in the following documents:
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE March 2019)
- Keeping Children Safe in Education: Statutory guidance for schools and colleges (DfE Sept 2020)
- Safeguarding and Vulnerable Group Act 2006
- Safeguarding & Child Protection education procedures in Leicester, notes, information, and training for Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) in schools
- Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Position of Trust offence)
- The Education Act 2002
- The Children Act 1989 and 2004
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2020, Annex B, outlines specific responsibilities of the DSL and their responsibilities within this role. Our Designated Safeguarding Lead will take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection (including online safety).
Their key areas of responsibilities include:
- Refer cases of suspected abuse and neglect to children’s social care/police
- Support staff who make referrals to local authority
- The Channel programme where there is a radicalisation concern and support staff with this
- Cases in relation to allegations against staff members to LADO including disclosure and barring
- Cases where any crime may have been committed to the Police
Work With Others
- Liaise with the CEO to inform him or her of issues especially ongoing enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 and police investigations;
- liaise with staff (especially pastoral support staff, school nurses, youth workers) on matters of safety and safeguarding (including online and digital safety) and when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies; and
- Act as a source of support, advice and expertise for staff.
- The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies/assistants) should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. This training should be updated at least every two years
- Understand the assessment process for providing early help and intervention,
- Have a working knowledge of how local authorities conduct a child protection case conference
- Ensure each member of staff has access to and understands the charity’s child protection policy and procedures
- Are alert to the specific needs of children and young people in need, those with special educational needs and young carers;
- Are able to keep detailed, accurate, secure written records of concerns and referrals;
- Encourage a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings,
- Understand and support the charity with regards to the requirements of the Prevent duty and undertake Prevent Awareness Training
- Recognise the additional risks that children with SEN and disabilities (SEND) face online, for example, from online bullying, grooming and radicalisation and are confident they have the capability to support SEND children to stay safe online;
- Obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses; and
- Encourage a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, among all staff, in any measures the school may put in place to protect them
- Ensure the charity’s child protection policies are known, understood and used appropriately
- Ensure the charity’s child protection policy is reviewed annually and is available publicly and parents are aware of the fact that referrals about suspected abuse or neglect may be made
- Link with the local LSCB to make sure staff are aware of training opportunities and the latest local policies on safeguarding.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (or assistant) will always be available on site.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees of The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 will ensure that:
- The charity has a Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and procedures in place, and the policy is made available to the public on request and available on the charity’s website:
- That all staff members working with children consider the best interests of children and are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘Support. Act Fast. Empower’ where safeguarding is concerned
- There is a senior member of staff who is designated to take lead responsibility for dealing with child protection – DSL.
- There are appointed assistants for child protection, in the event of the unavailability of the DSL
- The DSL and the appointed assistants for child protection undertake training for designated safeguarding leads, in addition to inter-agency child protection training, that is provided by, or to standards agreed by, LSCB, and attends refresher DSL training at two-yearly intervals
- The CEO, and all other staff and volunteers who work with children, undertake appropriate training which is kept up-to-date through training (annually); and that new staff, temporary staff and volunteers who work with children are made aware of the school’s arrangements for child protection and their responsibilities. (Through the induction process).
- There are procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff and volunteers (Appendix 3 & 6)
- The chair of the Board of Trustees deals with any allegations of abuse made against the CEO, in liaison with the Local Authority Designated Officer. (Appendix 3 & 6)
- Neither the governing body nor individual governors will have a role in dealing with individual cases or a right to details of cases except when exercising their disciplinary functions in respect of allegations against a member of staff
- Any deficiencies or weaknesses brought to the attention of the governing body are rectified Policies and procedures are reviewed annually, and information is provided to the Local Authority on how the governing body discharges its duties regarding safeguarding and child protection.
- There is an individual member of the governing body who will champion and lead on issues to do with safeguarding children, including issues around child mental health, and child protection within the school, liaise with the DSL, and provide information and reports to the governing body, and that person is appropriately trained to discharge their responsibilities effectively.
- Will ensure that E2 creates a culture of safe recruitment and, as part of that, adopts recruitment procedures that help deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children (Part three: Safer Recruitment, Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2020).
- Will ensure that at least 1 member of the Governing body has attended Safer Recruitment Training and that training is regularly refreshed
We recognise that all matters relating to child protection are confidential and the best interest of a child should be considered at all times. However, The Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR do not prevent, or limit, the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.
The CEO or DSL will disclose personal information about a student to other members of staff on a need to know basis only. Staff will be informed of relevant details only when the DSL feels their having knowledge of a situation will improve their ability to deal with an individual student/family. A written record will be made of what information has been shared, with whom, and when.
All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children.
All staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child to keep secrets which might compromise the child’s own safety or well-being, or that of another child as this may ultimately not be in the best interest of the child.
We will always undertake to share our intention to refer a child to Children’s Social Care with their parents/carers consent unless to do so could put the child at greater risk of harm, or impede a criminal investigation. If in doubt, we will consult with the Children’s Social Care, duty & Advice Service.
We recognise that staff working in the school who have become involved with a child who has suffered harm, or appears to be likely to suffer harm may find the situation stressful and upsetting.
We will support such staff by providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties and concerns with the DSL and to seek further support where necessary. This could be provided by, for example, the CEO, by Occupational Health and trade union representative as appropriate.
We understand that staff should have access to advice on the boundaries of appropriate behaviour. Guidance for safer working practice for those working with children and young people in education settings, 2019 (Safer Recruitment Consortium). provides advice on this and the circumstances which should be avoided, in order to limit complaints against staff of abuse of trust, and/or allegations of physical or sexual abuse. These matters form part of staff induction and are referred to in the staff handbook/code of conduct.
We recognise that DSL’s should have access to support and appropriate workshops, courses or meetings as organised or arranged through the Local Authority/LSCB.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST STAFF
All school staff including supply staff should take care not to place themselves in a vulnerable position with a child or young person. It is always advisable for interviews or work with individual children or parents to be conducted in view of other adults.
All staff should be aware of the Behaviour Policy and Staff Code of Conduct
All staff should be aware of the Guidance for Safer Working Practices for Adults who work with Children and Young People 2019.
We understand that a student may make an allegation against a member of staff; if such an allegation is made, the member of staff receiving the allegation will immediately inform the CEO or the Deputy Manager if the CEO is not present.
The CEO/Deputy Manager on all such occasions will immediately discuss the content of the allegation with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and follow the process for managing the concern laid down in the LSCB Procedures.
If the allegation made to a member of staff concerns the CEO, the person receiving the allegation will immediately inform the Board of Trustees who will consult with Children’s Social Care, LADO, without notifying the CEO first. (0116 454 2440)
In all occasions identified above, the charity will follow the LSCB/Local Authority procedures for managing allegations against staff and volunteers.
Suspension of the member of staff against whom an allegation has been made needs careful consideration, and we will consult in making this decision.
In line with this policy and other charity procedures for incident reporting/recording, staff and students may provide accounts of events which will be stored under our own secure systems and may be produced in the event of any allegation. However, such accounts must not constitute an official statement and the reporting person must not be questioned over their disclosure at this stage.
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 recognises that children and young people cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so. All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns about the attitude or actions of colleagues. If necessary, they should speak to the Board of Trustees or the Local Authority Designated Officer. All staff are aware of and understand how to use our charity’s whistleblowing procedures. All staff have access to the NSPCC Whistleblowing Helpline.
The Cooke E-Learning Foundation T/A E2 recognise that the charity plays a significant part in the prevention of harm to our children and young people by providing effectives lines of communication with trusted adults, supportive friends and an ethos of protection.
The Board of Trustees, CEO and the DSL’s for safeguarding will assess the level of risk within the charity and put actions in place to reduce that risk. When any member of staff has concerns that a student may be at risk of radicalisation or involvement in terrorism, they should speak with the DSL in the first instance. Numerous factors can contribute to and influence the range of behaviours that are defined as violent extremism, but most young people do not become involved in extremist action. For this reason, the appropriate interventions in any particular case may not have any specific connection to the threat of radicalisation, for example they may address mental health, relationship or drug/alcohol issues.
Criminal exploitation of children is a widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines criminal activity: drug networks or gangs groom and exploit children and young people to carry drugs and money from urban areas to suburban and rural areas, market and seaside towns. County Lines is a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns, often using violence to drive out local dealers and exploiting children and vulnerable people to sell drugs.
Common feature in county lines drug supply is the exploitation of young and vulnerable people. The dealers will frequently target children and adults - often with mental health or addiction problems - to act as drug runners or move cash so they can stay under the radar of law enforcement.
People exploited in this way will quite often be exposed to physical, mental and sexual abuse, and in some instances will be trafficked to areas a long way from home as part of the network's drug dealing business.
Serious Violence, Gang Violence & Youth Crime
A gang is a group of individuals that spends time in public and engages in criminal activity and violence. The group may also be territorial or in conflict with other gangs. Young people involved in gangs have an increased risk of experiencing violence and other types of abuse including sexual exploitation. Gang crime and serious youth violence is also often synonymous with knife crime and other serious violence.
The vast majority of young people and education establishments will not be affected by serious violence or gangs. However, where these problems do occur there will almost certainly be a significant impact.
Gangs specifically target children and young people who have been excluded from school to groom them as drug dealers in towns across the UK. Exclusion from school appears to be a highly significant trigger point for the escalation of County Lines involvement for children who might be on the fringes of such activity or who are easily manipulated.
Knife crime has been receiving countrywide attention after being recognised as a contemporary national treat in the UK. There have been a number of high-profile incidents where teenagers have been killed or injured by someone using a knife as a weapon. Knife crime simply put is any crime that involves a knife. This includes:
- carrying a knife or trying to buy one if you’re under 18
- threatening someone with a knife
- carrying a knife that is banned
- a murder where the victim was stabbed with a knife
- a robbery or burglary where the thieves carried a knife as a weapon
- Within Leicester, May 2019 saw 237 reported incidents involving a knife or bladed instrument which was an increase of 30 from the previous month
Child Criminal Exploitation and Cybercrime Involvement
Organised criminal groups or individuals exploit children and young people due to their computer skills and ability, in order to access networks/data for criminal and financial gain. There are a number of signs that may indicate a student is a victim or is vulnerable to being exploited which include;
- Missing from education
- Show signs of other types of abuse/aggression towards others
- Have low self-esteem, and feelings of isolation, street or fear
- Lack trust in adults and appear fearful of authorities
- Have poor concentration or excessively tired
- Become anti-social
- Display symptoms of substance dependence
- Excessive time online computer/gaming forums
- Social Isolation in school with peers
- High-functioning with an interest in computing
Child Criminal Exploitation and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
County Lines criminal exploitation is also synonymous with Child Sexual Exploitation. Criminal activity and Gang Association can lead into CSE through situations such as initiation, peer pressure in addition to sexual favours. Although county lines is mainly criminal, all our staff are aware of the definitions of CSE, signs and impact on vulnerable children.
Modern Slavery & Trafficking
Slavery is an umbrella term for activities involved when one person obtains or holds another person in compelled service. The number of British children identified as potential victims of modern slavery has more than doubled in a year, prompting fresh concerns about child exploitation by county lines drugs gangs.
Someone is in slavery if they are:
- forced to work through mental or physical threat
- owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse
- dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property
- physically constrained or have restrictions placed on his/her freedom
- ‘slavery' is where ownership is exercised over a person
- 'servitude' involves the obligation to provide services imposed by coercion
- 'forced or compulsory labour' involves work or service extracted from any person under the menace of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself voluntarily
- 'human trafficking' concerns arranging or facilitating the travel of another with a view to exploiting them.
Peer on peer abuse/ Peer influence
KCSIE 2020 is explicit in their definition of Peer on Peer abuse and its forms. However, within the context of contextual safeguarding, peer on peer abuse and peer influence has a massive impact on the child and young person (CYP). If CYP are exposed to other CYP who are known for being exploited, they are more likely to experience peer on peer abuse and be ‘influenced’ /‘swayed’ to participate in illegal activity, criminal activity and sexual activity.
Children and the court system
Children are sometimes required to give evidence in criminal courts, either for crimes committed against them or for crimes they have witnessed. There are two age appropriate guides to support children 5- 11-year olds and 12-17 year olds.
OTHER FORMS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Child Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking
CSE is a form of abuse and occurs when an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual activity. Sexual exploitation can take many forms ranging from seemingly consensual relationships to serious gang and group exploitation.
Therefore, our staff are vigilant for the less obvious signs, such as lots of new electronic equipment, when before there was none, seeming to have extra money to spend, moving away from established friendship groups, and the use of language appropriate/inappropriate for the child’s age.
Grooming & Sexting
Child sexual exploitation can occur in different ways and in different situations. Many young people are ‘groomed’ by their abuser, online or face-to-face. Grooming is an action deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child, to lower the child’s inhibitions with the intention to sexually abuse them. Groomers will hide their true intentions and may spend a long time gaining a child's trust through a range of mediums including social media platforms. Section 67 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 (offence of Sexual Communication with a Child) which came into force on 3 April 2017 also applies to Sexting and Grooming and our staff are fully aware of the legislation
Domestic Violence and Abuse & Violence between young people
The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
There have been a number of high profiles cases both locally and nationally where domestic violence and abuse has had a significant and direct impact on the child and their wellbeing. If the school is made aware of incidents of domestic violence which is impacting on a child within the school, (suspicions and allegations of abuse, harm and significant risk to a child), the school will follow Local Authority and Leicester Safeguarding Board guidelines in reporting such concerns to Children’s Social Care, Duty and Advice or the Police and will also seek further guidance where necessary.
Domestic abuse is not limited to adults; there is an increasing awareness of violence from one teenager to another;
- 1 in 5 teenage girls have been assaulted by a boyfriend
- Young women are more likely to experience sexual violence then other age groups
- Young women with older partners are at increased risk of victimisation
- Recent surveys (including NSPCC20, Zero Tolerance and End Violence Against Women campaign) reveal that approximately 40% of our young people are already being subjected to relationship abuse in their teenage years
Child Missing from Education
A Child Missing From Education forms part of the wider LSCB procedures for children who go missing from School, Home, Care Education and includes Families who go missing.
Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation is an illegal operation under the Female Mutilation Act 2003, is a form of child abuse and as such, is dealt with under the charity’s Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy.
USEFUL CONTACT NUMBERS AND LINKS
999 / 0116 222 2222
One Front Door
Duty & Advice
Early Help & Support
0116 454 1004
Children's Safeguarding Unit
0116 454 2440
Safeguarding in Education
Julie Chapaneri & Mohammed Patel
0116 454 2440
USEFUL WEBSITES AND LINKS
APPENDIX 1 - PROCEDURE TO FOLLOW IN CASE OF POSSIBLE, ALLEGED OR SUSPECTED ABUSE
PROCEDURE TO FOLLOW IN CASES OF POSSIBLE, ALLEGED OR SUSPECTED ABUSE, OR SERIOUS CAUSE FOR CONCERN ABOUT A CHILD
Individual Staff/Volunteers/Other Adults - main procedural steps
Designated Safeguarding Lead – main procedural steps
- The Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures contain the inter-agency processes, protocols and expectations for safeguarding children. (Available on LSCB website www.lrsb.org.uk: The Designated Safeguarding Lead is expected to be aware of these, particularly the referral processes. However if the referral regards a student enrolled on our alternative education provision, the first step will be to contact the school and E2 will make a direct referral only when that contact has not been successful or in emergency.
- It is important that all parties act swiftly and avoid delays.
- Any person may seek advice and guidance from the First Response Children’s Duty Professionals Consultation Line, particularly if there is doubt about how to proceed. Any adult, whatever their role, can take action in his/her own right to ensure that an allegation or concern is investigated and can report to the investigating agencies.
- A safeguarding report, dated and signed, must be made to what has been alleged, noticed and reported, and kept securely and confidentially.
- In many cases of concern there will be an expectation that there have already been positive steps taken to work with parents and relevant parties to help alleviate the concerns and effect an improvement for the child. This is appropriate where it is thought that a child may be in need in some way, and require assessment to see whether additional support and services are required. An example might be where it is suspected a child may be the subject of neglect. In most cases the parents’ knowledge and consent to the referral are expected, unless there is reason for this not being in the child’s interest. However, there will be circumstances when informing the parent/carer of a referral that might put the child at risk, and in individual cases advice from Children’s Social Care will need to be taken.
Individual Staff/Volunteers/Other Adults – main procedural steps
When a child makes a disclosure, or when concerns are received from other sources, do not investigate, ask leading questions, examine children, or promise confidentiality. Children making disclosures should be reassured and if possible at this stage should be informed what action will be taken next.
- Within 24 hours make a safeguarding report of what has been disclosed or noticed, said or done and report to the Designated Safeguarding Lead at E2.
- If the concern involves the conduct of a member of staff or volunteer, a visitor, a trainee or another young person or child, E2’s DSL must be informed.
- If this has not already been done, inform the child (or other party who has raised the concern) what action you have taken.
Designated Safeguarding Lead – main procedural steps to be taken in accordance with this policy and procedures.
(NB It may not be necessary for E2 to follow all these steps if it regards a student enrolled on our alternative education provision e.g. there is a school that is already taking action. Special note should be taken of clauses 4, 6 and 7 where E2 may need to take urgent action)
- Begin a case file which will hold a record of communications and actions to be stored securely (see Section on Records, Monitoring and Transfer).
- Where initial enquiries do not justify a referral to the investigating agencies, inform the initiating adult and monitor the situation. If in doubt, seek advice from the First Response professionals consultation line.
- Share information confidentially with those who need to know.
- Where there is a child protection concern requiring immediate, same day, intervention from Children’s Social Care, the First Response Children’s Duty should be contacted by phone. Written confirmation should be made within 24 hours on the LSCB Agency Referral Form to Children’s Social Care. All other referrals should be made using the online form (see linkhttp://lrsb.org.uk/childreport).
- If the concern is about children using harmful sexual behaviour, refer to the separate guidance. “Guidance for schools working with children who display harmful sexual behaviour” (Leicestershire LA Guidance).
- If it appears that urgent medical attention is required to arrange for the child to be taken to hospital (normally this means calling an ambulance) accompanied by a member of staff who must inform medical staff that non-accidental injury is suspected. Parents must be informed that the child has been taken to hospital.
- Exceptional circumstances: If it is feared that the child might be at immediate risk on leaving the E2’s site, take advice from the First Response Professionals Consultation line (for instance about difficulties if the school day has ended, or on whether to contact the police). Remain with the child until the Social Worker takes responsibility. If in these circumstances a parent arrives to collect the child, the member of staff has no right to withhold the child, unless there are current legal restrictions in force (eg a restraining order). If there are clear signs of physical risk or threat, First Response Children’s Duty should be updated and the Police should be contacted immediately.
APPENDIX 2 - DEFINITION AND INDICATORS OF ABUSE
Neglect 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, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
Protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or
Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child's basic emotional needs. The following may be indicators of neglect (this is not designed to be used as a checklist):
- Constant hunger;
- Fabricated or Induced Illnesses (Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy)
- Stealing, scavenging and/or hoarding food;
- Frequent tiredness or listlessness;
- Frequently dirty or unkempt;
- Often poorly or inappropriately clad for the weather;
- Poor school attendance or often late for school;
- Poor concentration;
- Affection or attention seeking behaviour;
- Illnesses or injuries that are left untreated;
- Failure to achieve developmental milestones, for example growth, weight;
- Failure to develop intellectually or socially;
- Responsibility for activity that is not age appropriate such as cooking, ironing, caring for siblings;
- The child is regularly not collected or received from school; or
- The child is left at home alone or with inappropriate carers
Neglect is a priority for Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland LSCB. Neglect has been identified as a feature in national & local Serious Case Reviews (SCR’s), local learning reviews and multi-agency audits. Our local LSCB have developed a Neglect Toolkit to support practitioners identify neglect earlier in families. Key staff members and DSL’s in our school are versed with this document and understand when to use it.
2. Physical Abuse
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.
The following may be indicators of physical abuse (this is not designed to be used as a checklist):
- Multiple bruises in clusters, or of uniform shape;
- Bruises that carry an imprint, such as a hand or a belt;
- Bite marks;
- Round burn marks;
- Multiple burn marks and burns on unusual areas of the body such as the back, shoulders or buttocks;
- An injury that is not consistent with the account given;
- Changing or different accounts of how an injury occurred;
- Bald patches;
- Symptoms of drug or alcohol intoxication or poisoning;
- Unaccountable covering of limbs, even in hot weather;
- Fabricated or Induced Illnesses (Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy)
- Fear of going home or parents being contacted;
- Fear of medical help;
- Fear of changing for PE;
- Inexplicable fear of adults or over-compliance;
- Violence or aggression towards others including bullying; or
- Isolation from peers.
3. Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse 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 (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, 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 act of sexual abuse, as can other children.
The following may be indicators of sexual abuse (this is not designed to be used as a checklist):
- Sexually explicit play or behaviour or age-inappropriate knowledge;
- Anal or vaginal discharge, soreness or scratching;
- Reluctance to go home;
- Inability to concentrate, tiredness;
- Refusal to communicate;
- Thrush, persistent complaints of stomach disorders or pains;
- Eating disorders, for example anorexia nervosa and bulimia;
- Attention seeking behaviour, self-mutilation, substance abuse;
- Aggressive behaviour including sexual harassment or molestation;
- Unusual compliance;
- Regressive behaviour, enuresis, soiling;
- Frequent or open masturbation, touching others inappropriately;
- Depression, withdrawal, isolation from peer group;
- Reluctance to undress for PE or swimming; or
- Bruises or scratches in the genital area.
3a. Sexual Exploitation
Child sexual exploitation occurs when a child or young person, or another person, receives “something” (for example food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of the child/young person performing sexual activities, or another person performing sexual activities on the child/young person. Sexual Exploitation can also include Grooming and Sexting.
The presence of any significant indicator for sexual exploitation should trigger a referral to children’s social care. The significant indicators are: (no an exhaustive list)
- Having a relationship of concern with a controlling adult or young person (this may involve physical and/or emotional abuse and/or gang activity);
- Entering and/or leaving vehicles driven by unknown adults;
- Possessing unexplained amounts of money, expensive clothes or other items;
- Frequenting areas known for risky activities;
- Being groomed or abused via the Internet and mobile technology; and
- Having unexplained contact with hotels, taxi companies or fast food outlets.
4. Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse 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. These may include interactions that are beyond the child's developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may also involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another person. 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. The following may be indicators of emotional abuse (this is not designed to be used as a checklist):
- The child consistently describes him/herself in very negative ways – as stupid, naughty, hopeless, ugly;
- Over-reaction to mistakes;
- Delayed physical, mental or emotional development; Sudden speech or sensory disorders;
- Inappropriate emotional responses, fantasies; Neurotic behaviour: rocking, banging head, regression, tics and twitches;
- Self-harming, drug or solvent abuse;
- Fear of parents being contacted;
- Running away; Compulsive stealing;
- Appetite disorders - anorexia nervosa, bulimia; or
- Soiling, smearing faeces, enuresis.
N.B.: Some situations where children stop communication suddenly (known as “traumatic mutism”) can indicate maltreatment
6. Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence
It is important that school and college staff are aware of sexual violence and the fact children can, and sometimes do, abuse their peers in this way. When referring to sexual violence we are referring to sexual offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as described below:
Rape: A person (A) commits an offence of rape if: he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Assault by Penetration: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of her/his body or anything else, the penetration is sexual, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Sexual Assault: A person (A) commits an offence of sexual assault if: s/he intentionally touches another person (B), the touching is sexual, B does not consent to the touching and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
What is consent? Consent is about having the freedom and capacity to choose. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, e.g.to vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if s/he agrees by choice to that penetration and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
When referring to sexual harassment we mean ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline. When we reference sexual harassment, we do so in the context of child on child sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is likely to: violate a child’s dignity, and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.
Whilst not intended to be an exhaustive list, sexual harassment can include:
- sexual comments, such as: telling sexual stories, making lewd comments, making sexual remarks about clothes and appearance and calling someone sexualised names;
- Sexual “jokes” or taunting;
- Physical behaviour, such as: deliberately brushing against someone, interfering with someone’s clothes (schools and colleges should be considering when any of this crosses a line into sexual violence - it is important to talk to and consider the experience of the victim) and displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature; and
- Online sexual harassment. This may be standalone, or part of a wider pattern of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence. It may include:
- Non-consensual sharing of sexual images and videos;
- Sexualised online bullying;
- Unwanted sexual comments and messages, including, on social media; and Sexual exploitation; coercion and threats.