Our Safeguarding policies and procedures ensure that robust systems are in place and set out the framework within which all employees and volunteers of the organisation are required to work to keep children, young people and adults safe.
Everybody has the right to be safe.
No matter who they are or what their circumstances are, and the public expects charities, quite rightly, to be safe and trusted places.
Safeguarding - Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy - Procedures of Policy
Version: 4 - Date: 06.02.2021.
SAFA seeks to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect from harm those children and young people who participate in any activity of the organisation, wherever they take place. This policy establishes the organisation’s position, role and responsibilities and clarifies what is expected of everybody involved within the organisation. It highlights the importance placed by SAFA in the protection of children and young people.
The key objectives of this policy are:
- To explain the responsibilities SAFA and SAFA staff, bank counsellors, volunteers and directors hold in respect of child protection.
- To provide staff with an overview of child protection.
- To provide a clear procedure that will be implemented where child protection issues arise.
Every child and young person who participates in the activities of SAFA should be able to participate in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from harm and abuse. This is the responsibility of every adult involved in this organisation. We recognise however, that child abuse is a very emotive and difficult subject. It is important to understand the feelings involved but not to allow them to interfere with our judgement about any action to be taken. SAFA recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children/young people, by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect and bullying.
SAFA will ensure that;
- The welfare of the child/young person is paramount.
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
- All staff (paid/unpaid) working in this organisation are aware and accept responsibility to report concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, who is the CEO.
The role of the designated Safeguarding Team will be to;
- Have working knowledge and understanding of child protection issues.
- Ensure that all Board members, employees and volunteers are familiar with the policy and understand their duties to the policy.
- Ensure that all directors, employees and volunteers receive adequate training in this respect.
- Ensure all those working on behalf of SAFA who have direct contact with a child/young person, in a paid or unpaid capacity, have an enhanced DBS check (with list check) prior to commencing their duties.
- Ensure all complaints or allegations of abuse are investigated and the relevant agencies contacted.
- Ensure that relevant reports are written promptly, signed and dated.
- Ensure all information is held securely and confidentially up to the age of 18 plus five years.
SAFA will take responsibility for;
- Respecting and promoting the rights, wishes and feelings of children and young people.
- Recruit, train and supervise all volunteers and staff members to use best practice to safeguard and protect children and young people from abuse.
- Training is organised by the designated Safeguarding Lead/DCPO in line with Cumbria County LSCB guidance – at least Level 1 training refreshed annually (within house training is appropriate). The Safeguarding Lead/DCPO and Safeguarding Team also trained to Levels 2 and 3.
- Ensure all employees and volunteers use the appropriate codes of conduct and the Child Protection Policies and Procedures outlined within this document and the staff handbook.
- Responding to any allegations appropriately.
- Review the policy at least biennially.
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Acts 1989 and 2004 and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2019)
Definition of Safeguarding now includes ‘Taking action to enable children to have best outcomes’.
SAFA will be pro-active in preventing abuse by promoting the well-being and safety of children and young people whatever the context.
We will do this by;
- Ensuring that all our staff and volunteers are carefully selected and vetted by the Disclosure and Barring Service.
- Responding swiftly and appropriately to all suspicions or allegations of abuse, and providing parents (if appropriate) and the child/young person with the opportunity to voice any concerns they may have.
- Having staff who will take responsibility when appropriate for child protection and act as the main point of contact for e.g. parents, children/young people, outside agencies.
- Ensuring access to confidential information is restricted to the appropriate staff and appropriate external agencies.
This policy takes into consideration and is compliant with the law and legislation that seeks to protect children and The British association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) guidelines and procedures. Organisations have a duty under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 to have arrangements in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
- Childrens Act 2004.
- United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1990.
- Data Protection Act 2018.
- The Sexual Offences Act 2003.
- The Children Act 2004.
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.
- The Equality Act 2016.
- The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
- The Children and Families Act 2014.
- Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice:0-25 years- Statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities; HM Government 2015.
- Information sharing Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers HM Government 2015.
- Working Together to Safeguard Children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; HM Government 2018, updated 2020.
- British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Ethical Framework.
What to do if a young person reports abuse to you or you suspect abuse : (See summary chart Appendix 2)
Do not attempt to get details by questioning too closely. This is the role of the police/social services. Inexpert questioning, especially using leading questions, may damage or prevent successful investigation.
If someone discloses that they are being abused you should;
- React calmly.
- Take what the child/young person says seriously.
- Reassure the individual that they were right to tell and that they are not to blame.
- Keep questions to an absolute minimum to ensure a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said.
- Reassure but do not promise confidentiality, which might not be feasible in the light of subsequent developments .
- Inform the individual what you will do next.
- Make a full, written and dated record of what has been said as soon as possible. Do not delay passing on the information to the Child Protection Officer (CEO).
- Complete a SAFA Incident Form.
If abuse is suspected the following must also be taken into consideration;
- What is the child/young person actually saying? Where possible use the child/young person’s own words.
- Who is alleging what and about whom?
- When did the event/events happen?
- Is the alleged abuse still happening?
- Does the perpetrator live in the same house?
- Is it safe for the child/young person to go home?
- Can the child/young person write down what has happened with enough detail to make sense?
- Is the child/young person in pain?
- Does the child/young person need to go to hospital?
Seek advice from the Designated Safeguarding Lead or a member of the Safeguarding Team as soon as possible. If s/he is not available seek advice from the Cumbria Safeguarding Hub, The Emergency Duty Team (EDT) 0333 2401727; Police Child Protection Officer 999 (emergency) 101 Police non-emergency number.
Membership of the Safeguarding Team is identified on the Safeguarding Noticeboard in the SAFA office.
If there are concerns about sharing the above information with a colleague you can contact the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Incident Forms should include the following information;
- The child/young person’s name, age and date of birth.
- The child/young person’s home address and telephone number.
- Whether or not the person making the report is expressing their own concerns or those of someone else.
- The nature of the allegation, including dates, times and special factors and other relevant information.
- Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
- A description of any visible bruising or other injuries (Body Map to be used to record position and size Appendix 4),
- Record any indirect signs such as behavioural changes on Incident form.
- Details of witnesses to the incidents and/or injuries./li>
- The child/young person’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred.
- Does the explanation fit the injury?
- Is the child/young person in obvious pain?
- Does the child/young person need to go to hospital?
- Have the parents been contacted?
- If so what has been said?
- Has anyone else been consulted? If so, record details
- Where possible referral to the police or social services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours and the name of the contact who took the referral should be recorded.
- The completed form must be passed immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
What SAFA will do next?
- The Designated Safeguarding Lead or member of the Safeguarding Team will pass on the information to the appropriate Agency.
- Will ensure all information is recorded in order that a written report can be produced if necessary at a later date.
- We will speak to the Children Services’ Duty Officer if it is appropriate, having regard to the legal context at the disclosure. This action may include a formal referral.
- Severe and obvious cases of abuse will be reported immediately.
Services for Children and Young People, Children’s Social Care, have a statutory duty under The Children Acts 2004 and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2020 to ensure the welfare of a child. When a child protection referral is made, they have a legal responsibility to investigate and all agencies have a duty to co-operate with those investigations. This may involve talking to the child and their family, and gathering information from other people who know the child. Enquiries may be carried out jointly with the police. Clearly then concerns about children must not be taken lightly.
The protection of children is paramount and if we have any concerns about a child being abused or neglected we will refer to the Multi-Agency Thresholds Guidance (cumbria.gov.uk)
Then if deemed necessary we will contact: Cumbria Safeguarding Hub, Penrith, t.0333 240 1727
Online referral form available at Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership: Cumbria County Council to complete a Cumbria Safeguarding Hub Single Contact form.
If you believe there is a safeguarding concern which requires an urgent social work response out of hours call the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) on t.0333 240 1727
In the event of an emergency you may also contact Barrow Police Service Phone: 999 or Non Emergency number 101
If you are not satisfied with the actions taken by SAFA or DCPO you must make a referral/enquiry to Children’s Services/Police independently. You should inform the DCPO of your actions.
If the allegations refer to the DCPO you should inform the Chair of the Board of Directors who will refer the matter to Children’s Services/Police.
Storage of Reports of Suspected Child Abuse:
The DSGL will store reports in a secure location with limited access. The records will be stored for five years after the 18th birthday of the client, after the event in line with our insurance policy and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) May 2018. After this time, documents will be securely disposed of by SAFA.
Confidentiality and Information Sharing Guidelines:
It is important that staff is aware that all suspect cases of child abuse are confidential and must only be shared on a need to know basis.
SAFA has clear boundaries of confidentiality which are explained to all clients (children/young people) at the initial assessment and clients will be required to sign the Client Confidentiality Agreement before therapy can take place.
Wherever possible, permission will be obtained from the child/young person before sharing personal information with third parties. However, in exceptional circumstances It may not be possible or desirable to obtain consent.
When a disclosure occurs, the recipient of the information should inform the child/young person about what will happen next. It is the staff’s responsibility to keep the child informed of any action that has been taken and why.
If any member of staff is unsure what and to whom they may divulge information, contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead or a member of the Safeguarding Team.
The safety and welfare of the child/young person is the priority.
Audit of this policy:
We recognise that the involvement of our employees, volunteers and clients (children/young people) in the audit of our policy are important. This is because:
- Staff members need the opportunity to have their voice heard.
- We recognise the individual as being the ‘expert of their own lives’.
- We value and empower staff to take responsibility.
- We want staff to ‘own’ their policy.
We will achieve this through:
- Group discussions of staff members at peer supervision or staff meetings. Any concerns will be noted and a recommendation sent to the next directors’ meeting.
- Providing an annual Safeguarding Report complied by the Safeguarding Team and sent to the Directors. This report should include data on the number of referrals to Children’s Services/Police, the type of abuse reported, the age, gender, ethnicity of victim and any outcomes if known.
The AGM will receive a report indicating the number of safeguarding referrals made.
The policy will be reviewed in the light of current best practice and any guidelines issued by any relevant authority.