Section One – Safeguarding Policy Statement
Section Two – Key Definitions
Section Three – Child Protection Policy and Procedures
- Defining Abuse
- Statutory assessments under the Children Act 1989
- Recruiting and Inducting Staff
- Reporting Child Protection Concerns
- Reporting Procedures for Designated Safeguarding Officer
- What to do when managing allegations against staff
- Sharing information
- Useful contacts
- Appendix 1- Definitions and potential indicators of abuse or neglect
- Appendix 2- The Principles of information sharing
- Appendix 3- Responding to safeguarding concerns
Section One - Safeguarding Policy Statement
This policy applies to all staff working for vInspired or NYA and engaged in delivering the NCS programme.
Local Delivery Partners engaged in the delivery of NCS have their own Safeguarding policies in place that must be adhered to. These policies complement and align with vInspired and NYA’s Safeguarding Policy.
Statement of Intent
vInspired believes that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people and to keep them safe. We are committed to practice in a way that protects them.
We believe that:
- the welfare of a young person is paramount as enshrined in the Children’s Act 1989 (reviewed 2004).
- all children regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
- some children and young people are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues.
- working in partnership with young people, their parents (where appropriate), carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.
The purpose of the policy:
- To protect children and young people who participate in vInspired services. This includes the children of adults who use our services.
- To provide the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.
We will safeguard young people by ensuring:
- young people are valued, listened to and respected.
- staff and volunteers are given training on working with young people and that all policies and procedures are adhered to including Safeguarding, Incident and Accident Reporting, and the Behaviour Code.
- staff follow e-safety policy and procedures.
- staff and volunteers are recruited ensuring all necessary checks are made.
- information about child protection and good practice is shared with partners which we work with.
- delivery partner organisations who support the delivery of our programmes have appropriate safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures in place.
- safeguarding concerns are shared with relevant agencies (e.g. LADO), and parents and young people are involved appropriately.
It is the duty of all staff and volunteers to read and understand this policy and it is the duty of the Senior Management Team and Trustees to ensure that it is adhered to.
We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually. This policy will be reviewed by the Designated Safeguarding Officers and Senior Management Team.
We are also committed to ensuring that parents/carers and young people are made aware of this policy and its specific commitments to safeguarding children and young people.
Section Two – Key Definitions
Safeguarding: Preventative or precautionary planning and measures against potential harm or damage to someone.
The policy and procedures in place to protect and/or remove a child from harm or risk of harm.
Any treatment that causes harm. This can include physical, sexual, emotional abuse, and/or neglect.
Child protection issue:
An issue raising a concern about harm or risk of harm to a child or young person.
A child is defined in law as a person under the age of 18 years.
Young people over 18 who are vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues.
A person aged up to 25 years old.
Designated Safeguarding Officer.
Local Authority Designated Officer.
Section Three: Child Protection Policy and Procedures
This forms part of vInspired’s commitment to safeguarding the welfare of young people. It sets out the procedures for recruitment of staff working directly with young people, our expectations of them and the procedures to be followed in the event of a Child Protection issue arising. It is understood that the legal requirements apply only to children and vulnerable adults, however, the principles apply to all young people engaged with vInspired.
It is the policy of vInspired to safeguard the welfare of all young people regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity. All young people have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse. vInspired accepts and promotes that in all matters concerning child protection, the welfare and protection of the child is the paramount consideration.
vInspired’s understanding of abuse of a young person is, a person, or persons, inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Young people may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely by a stranger.
Abuse can manifest itself in the following ways:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
See Appendix 1 for definitions of the different types of abuse and potential indicators of abuse or neglect.
Statutory assessments under the Children Act 1989
A child in need is defined under the Children Act 1989 as a child who is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable level of health or development, or whose health and development is likely to be significantly or further impaired, without the provision of services; or a child who is disabled. Children in need may be assessed under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, in relation to their special educational needs, disabilities, as a carer, or because they have committed a crime. Where an assessment takes place, it will be carried out by a social worker.
Local authorities, with the help of other organisations as appropriate, also have a duty to make enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, to enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare. There may be a need for immediate protection whilst the assessment is carried out.
Recruiting and inducting staff
As part of vInspired’s recruitment procedures, there are a number of measures we will take to ensure the safeguarding of young people. Detailed below are the requirements and the responsibilities of the staff member, HR and Designated Safeguarding Officer:
Reporting Child Protection Concerns
What to do if a child or young person discloses to you. Talking to a child / young person who has told you that he/she or another child is being abused
If a child or young person informs you directly that they are concerned about someone’s behaviour towards them, this is known as a disclosure. If receiving the disclosure you should:
- Reassure the child / young person that telling someone about it was the right thing to do and that s/he is not to blame.
- Do not make promises of confidentiality. Tell him/her that you now have to do what you can to keep him/her (or the child who is the subject of the allegation) safe.
- Let the child/young person know what you are going to do next and who else needs to know about it. Always explain to a young person that you will have to share the information to ensure they can get the appropriate support.
- Control your emotions and react calmly so not to frighten the child / young person. Make sure that you are non-judgemental.
Take what the young person says seriously. Let the child / young person tell his or her whole story. Avoid leading the young person, ask open questions and keep any questions to the absolute minimum. Ask only what is necessary to ensure a clear understanding of what has been said.
Consider the welfare of the child in your decision making as the highest priority. + If you think the child / young person is in immediate danger go to Flow chart 1 in Appendix 3 of this document. + If you think the child / young person is not in immediate danger go to Flow chart 2 in Appendix 3 of this document + Seek immediate medical attention if the young person needs it. Inform doctors of concerns and ensure that they are aware that this is a child protection/safeguarding issue. + Contact the DSO or supervisor/manager unless the concern is about this individual (see below) to get advice and guidance. + If you are unable to make contact with the DSO or your supervisor/manager contact the NSPCC 24hr helpline 0800 800 500 if you require further advice and assistance. + Use the Logging a Safeguarding Concern form make a factual record of events as soon as possible and pass to the DSO. When completing the form ensure that you clearly distinguish between fact, hearsay and opinion. It is acceptable to record opinions but it must be made clear when an opinion is being expressed. Furthermore, when expressing opinions you must ensure that they are relevant to the situation, respectful and appropriate in tone. + The DSO is will decide whether a case needs to be referred to children’s social care and whether the child’s family should be informed. + If the concern is about the DSO then report your concerns directly to HR in addition to following the steps in the relevant flow chart.
Issues that will need to be taken into account are:
- the child’s wishes and feelings
- the parent’s right to know (unless this would place the child or someone else in danger, or would interfere with a criminal investigation)
- the impact of telling or not telling the parent
- the current assessment of the risk to the child and the source of that risk
- any risk management plans that currently exist
Being involved in a disclosure or safeguarding concern can be very upsetting for the member of staff or volunteer concerned. The Designated Safeguarding Officer has a responsibility to ensure that members of staff and/or volunteers are effectively supported throughout and after the incident.
What to do if you have a concern about a staff member or adult volunteer
To uphold its commitment to protect all young people directly involved in its work, vInspired will create an environment which enables young people and staff to share, in confidence with a designated person, any concerns they may have about staff, volunteers or a young person’s behaviour.
All allegations/suspicions whether or not the allegations are made against a member of staff, young person or an individual from an external organisation supporting the Programme, are to be treated as strictly confidential and must be referred immediately and directly to the nominated Designated Safeguarding Officer.
If your concern relates to the DSO, report your concerns to the local social services (LADO) the local police or the NSPCC and inform HR.
At vInspired we recognise that:
- Abuse of a young person may not always be obvious.
- While abuse of a young person may sometimes be carried out by a stranger it is much more common that the abuser is known to the young person and is in a position of trust and/or authority.
- It is not only adults that abuse young people. Young people can suffer abuse from other young people. This could be another young volunteer they are working with.
If staff have a concern about the welfare of a young person or the behaviour of any adult or young person involved with vInspired they should raise their concern with the Designated Safeguarding Officer. As well as providing
Fill in the Logging a Safeguarding Concern form for any child or young person who you are concerned about, even if over 18 years old.
What to do if you receive an allegation about any adult or about yourself:
- Immediately tell the Designated Safeguarding Officer, or if unavailable, your most senior line manager or HR.
- Record the facts as you know them on the day of the incident and give a copy to the Designated Safeguarding Officer.
- Try to ensure no-one is placed in a position which could cause further compromise.
Depending on the nature of the allegation and whether there is an immediate risk of harm, the DSO will decide to follow one of three potential routes for investigation:
- A police investigation
- A statutory child protection investigation
- An internal disciplinary investigation conducted by the organisation
Reporting Procedures for the Designated Safeguarding Officer
When concerns or disclosures have been raised by staff or directly from young people, contact the relevant agency to agree the next step.
For children under 18 this will be the local authority children’s social care department
For young people over 18 it will be adult social care department
For referral and management of allegations against staff it will be the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)
If child or Young person is in immediate danger then call the police
When making contact the DSO should:
- Ask for the Duty Officer and indicate that they wish to discuss a Child/Adult Protection matter.
- Ask for and note the name of the person with whom they are speaking.
- Discuss (no information is to be filtered or withheld).
- Await advice.
- State intent to advise relevant colleagues where appropriate.
- Ask if anyone else should be informed.
- Prepare a confidential file recording all notes, conversations and advice
- Follow advice. Take no other action unless advised to do so, they will be leading from this point on.
- All information stored and records kept will be kept in accordance with data protection policy.
What to do when managing allegations against staff
When a concern is raised the Designated Safeguarding Officer should ensure the member of staff raising the concerns records the details of the disclosure.
Contact the Local Authority Designated Safeguarding officer (LADO) within 1 working day if staff have:
- Behaved in a way which has harmed or may have harmed a child
- Possibly committed a criminal offence in relation to a child
- Behaved towards children in a way that indicates they are unsuitable to work with children.
In conjunction with HR:
- provide support for child, parent/carers and person subject to allegation
- establish whether the individual concerned should be suspended from any duties involving contact with young people until the situation has been resolved
- keep records on allegations against the staff member on retirement or ten years whichever is longer
- if the individual is removed because they pose a risk to children the DSO or HR must make a referral to the DBS.
Sharing and Retaining information
Service users are entitled to be aware of the records held by vInspired and NCS relating to them, in accordance with Section 7 Data Protection Act 1998. They also have the right to access these records unless exemptions apply including:
- Information that would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of a crime, or the capture or prosecution of an offender;
- Information held for the purposes of social work where disclosure would be likely to prejudice the work, by causing serious harm to the physical health, mental health or condition of the data subject or another person.
If a service user requests information held on them, they should be put in touch with our Data Protection contact listed within ‘useful contacts’ below.
Where there are concerns about the safety of a child, the sharing of information in a timely and effective manner between organisations can reduce the risk of harm. In addition, the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) can require an individual or body to comply with a request for information, as outlined in section 14B of the Children Act 2004. This can only take place when the information requested is for the purpose of enabling or assisting the LSCB to perform its functions. Any request for information about individuals should be necessary and proportionate to the reason for the request. LSCBs should be mindful of the burden of requests and should explain why the information is needed.
In the event of a safeguarding disclosure service users are made aware that confidentiality cannot be assured and are informed that information may be shared with a third party such as the Local Authority Designated Officer/ Children’s Services Department or emergency services. We are committed to ensuring that parents/carers and young people are made aware of the organisations information sharing policy and procedure in relation to safeguarding children and young people.
The sharing of information internally should be limited to the individuals detailed in the flow diagrams below. The DSO will be responsible for logging information requests by third parties in relation to safeguarding concerns deciding whether to share. Decisions shall be made in accordance with the principles set out in Appendix 2.
Records will be retained in accordance with the following criteria:
- If the record is about a concern about a child, where a referral has been made to a statutory authority, it will be kept for six years after the last contact with the subject.
- If the record relates to less serious issues regarding a child, it will be kept for 12 months after the child or their family ceases to use the service.
- If the record relates to an issue that led to a concern that a member of staff or a volunteer may be unsuitable to work with children or young people, it will be kept for 10 years after the person leaves or until retirement (whichever is the longer).
- If there are less serious concerns about staff/volunteer behaviour, it will be kept for six years after the person leaves.
Exceptions may apply, such as:
- ongoing legal action
- previous legal action where the organisation was a party or was involved
- samples for research
- individuals’ access to their personal history not available elsewhere
- other legal requirements
Useful Contact details
The NCS Designated Safeguarding Officers at vInspired are:
Rachel Saunders: 07341127624
Ed Laschet: 07341127625
The vInspired NCS Senior Management Team contact is: Rachel Oliver: 07824 562 280
The Data Protection contact is: Ian Burns 0734177613
Other Useful Contact Details
In an emergency: If a child is in immediate danger or left alone, you should contact the police or call an ambulance on 999.
Non-emergency: If there is no immediate danger or you need advice or information, you should contact the relevant Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) or Children’s Social Care team:
Darlington LADO 01325 406450 or out of hours 01325 406451
Hartlepool LADO 01429 523344
Middlesbrough LADO 01642 726004
Redcar and Cleveland LADO 01642 771531.
Stockton-on-Tees LADO 01642 527413 or 07717301565
First Contact 03000 267979
Children’s Social Care Locality Teams (8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm Friday):
Alnwick 01665 626830
Ashington 01670 629200
Berwick 01670 629400
Blyth 01670 354316
Cramlington 01670 712925
Hexham 01434 611499
16+ Team 01670 852225
All calls outside these hours please ring 01670 822386
Tyne and Wear
Gateshead LADO 0191 4332653 (8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday)
Gateshead LADO 0191 4770844 (Out of hours)
Newcastle Children’s Social Care 0191 2772500 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday)
Newcastle Emergency Duty Team 0191 2328520 (Out of hours)
North Tyneside LADO 0191 6437315
South Tyneside LADO 0191 4247361
Sunderland LADO 0191 5205560
If you are not sure, which local authority to contact, the following link is to a government website that you can type in your postcode and it brings up the right social care number to call for safeguarding concerns: https://www.gov.uk/report-child-abuse-to-local-council
The NSPCC provides a free 24-hour Child Protection Helpline, staffed by experienced social work counsellors, which provides confidential counselling, information and advice. If using this service, please state at the outset that you are an adult seeking advice and information so that your call can be directed to an appropriate person. The telephone number is 0808 800 5000.
ChildLine: 0800 1111 (textphone 0800 400 222)
http://www.childline.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx offers children 24hour telephone help. Tel no 0800 1111
http://www.child-safe.org.uk/ Initiated by Avon and Somerset Police
https://www.kidscape.org.uk/Helpline and child protection initiatives
https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/safeguarding/ Managed by the NSPCC and Children England, providing information and resources to help keep children safe
Appendix 1- Definitions and potential indicators of abuse or neglect
Definitions taken from ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (NSPCC, 2015) and potential indicators are taken from ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ (HM Government, 2015)
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.
Some of the following signs may be indicators of physical abuse:
- Children with frequent injuries;
- Children with unexplained or unusual fractures or broken bones; and
Children with unexplained:
- bruises or cuts;
- burns or scalds; or
- bite marks.
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 and 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, ‘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 involve 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.
Some of the following signs may be indicators of emotional abuse:
Children who are excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong;
Parents or carers who withdraw their attention from their child, giving the child the ‘cold shoulder’;
- Parents or carers blaming their problems on their child; and
- Parents or carers who humiliate their child, for example, by name-calling or making negative comparisons.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or children 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, pornographic material 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.
Some of the following signs may be indicators of sexual abuse:
- Children who display knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to their age;
- Children who use sexual language or have sexual knowledge that you wouldn’t expect them to have;
- Children who ask others to behave sexually or play sexual games; and
- Children with physical sexual health problems, including soreness in the genital and anal areas, sexually transmitted infections or underage pregnancy.
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 material substance abuse. Once a child is born it may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, clothing, and shelter, including exclusion from home or abandonment; failure to protect a child from physical harm or danger; failure to ensure adequate supervision, including the use of adequate care takers; 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.
Some of the following signs may be indicators of neglect:
- Children who are living in a home that is indisputably dirty or unsafe;
- Children who are left hungry or dirty;
- Children who are left without adequate clothing, e.g. not having a winter coat;
- Children who are living in dangerous conditions, i.e. around drugs, alcohol or violence;
- Children who are often angry, aggressive or self-harm;
- Children who fail to receive basic health care; and
- Parents who fail to seek medical treatment when their children are ill or are injured.
Appendix 2- The Principles of Information Sharing
vInspired adheres to the principles for information sharing as set out in ‘Information sharing- Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers’ (HM Government, 2015)
The principles set out below are intended to help practitioners working with children, young people, parents and carers share information between organisations. Practitioners should use their judgement when making decisions on what information to share and when and should follow organisation procedures or consult with their manager if in doubt. The most important consideration is whether sharing information is likely to safeguard and protect a child.
Necessary and proportionate
When taking decisions about what information to share, you should consider how much information you need to release. The Data Protection Act 1998 requires you to consider the impact of disclosing information on the information subject and any third parties. Any information shared must be proportionate to the need and level of risk.
Only information that is relevant to the purposes should be shared with those who need it. This allows others to do their job effectively and make sound decisions.
Information should be adequate for its purpose. Information should be of the right quality to ensure that it can be understood and relied upon.
Information should be accurate and up to date and should clearly distinguish between fact and opinion. If the information is historical then this should be explained.
Information should be shared in a timely fashion to reduce the risk of harm. Timeliness is key in emergency situations and it may not be appropriate to seek consent for information sharing if it could cause delays and therefore harm to a child. Practitioners should ensure that sufficient information is shared, as well as consider the urgency with which to share it.
Wherever possible, information should be shared in an appropriate, secure way. Practitioners must always follow their organisation’s policy on security for handling personal information.
Information sharing decisions should be recorded whether or not the decision is taken to share. If the decision is to share, reasons should be cited including what information has been shared and with whom, in line with organisational procedures. If the decision is not to share, it is good practice to record the reasons for this decision and discuss them with the requester. In line with each organisation’s own retention policy, the information should not be kept any longer than is necessary. In some circumstances this may be indefinitely, but if this is the case there should be a review process.
Appendix 3- Responding to Safeguarding Concerns
Flow diagram 1 - If a child or young person is in immediate danger
Flow diagram 2 –If a child or young person is not in immediate danger but you are concerned about their behaviour or suspect abuse
Approved June 2016
Subject to annual review in April 2017