Policy 1 – Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy
If you have immediate concerns or are worried about a child or young person’s safety, please telephone the Multi Agency Referral Unit (MARU) on 0300 123 1116
Safeguarding the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. All children have the right to be safe and as adults we have a responsibility to protect children. Everybody who has contact with children (including access to personal data and information) should have a basic understanding of safeguarding and child protection. All children under the age of 18 years should be considered under safeguarding and child protection procedures. All members, staff and volunteers have a duty to pass on any concerns they have or information they receive that might prevent a child being further harmed.
Aims of this policy
- To set out how members, staff, volunteers and partner organisations should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in accordance with ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ Working together to safeguard children – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
- To clarify roles and responsibilities in the event of suspected or actual abuse.
- To ensure members, staff and volunteers have the relevant knowledge and understanding of the appropriate procedures to follow in the event of suspected or actual abuse.
- To provide guidance on how to respond to suspected or actual abuse involving a member of Gwealan Tops, staff, and volunteers.
- To develop best practice across the organisation in relation to work with children and young people.
Gwealan Tops Adventure Playground (GTAP) have used the following legislation and guidance to help inform this policy:
- UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Children Act 1989
- Children Act 2004
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Govt 2018)
- What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (HM Govt 2015)
- Information Sharing: Practitioners’ Guide (HM Govt 2015)
GTAP also expects that any agency or organisation working in partnership with us will be committed to ensuring that their staff and volunteers are aware of their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding and child protection.
Safeguarding involves all agencies doing everything possible to minimise the risk of harm to children and young people and is defined in Working Together 2015 as:
- protecting children from maltreatment.
- preventing impairment of children’s health or development; and
- ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
- undertaking that role to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.
‘Working Together’ (DCSF 2015) sets out how organisations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people in accordance with the Children Act 1989 and the Children Act 2004.
It is important that all staff and volunteers working to safeguard children and young people understand fully their responsibilities and duties as set out in primary legislation and associated regulations and guidance.
Child protection is about safeguarding and promoting welfare. Child protection refers to the activity which is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm. All agencies and individuals should aim to proactively safeguard and promote the welfare of children so that the need for action to protect children from harm is reduced.
GTAP members, staff and volunteers have a duty to ensure that all members, staff and volunteers, including those working for partner agencies, have an understanding and commitment to Working Together to Safeguard Children. All should have a good understanding of safeguarding concerns, including potential abuse and neglect of children and young people, which may come to light in the workplace as well as in the settings we operate. At whatever level risks are identified, members, staff and volunteers will highlight them and seek to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to safeguard the children concerned.
The GTAP designated person has a responsibility so that all its trustees, staff and volunteers and those who undertake work on our behalf maintain a proper focus on safeguarding children and young people and that this is reflected both in sound individual practice and our internal policies and guidance. All permanent, part time and volunteer staff working with children and young people must:
- give highest priority to children’s welfare
- recognise, identify, and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children and young people
- respond appropriately to disclosure by a child, or young person, of abuse
- respond appropriately to allegations against staff, other adults, and against themselves
- act appropriately during inspection and understand safe practice in carrying out their duties
- be alert to the risks which abusers, or potential abusers, may pose
Definitions of Child 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.
- 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 and development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy because 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 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.
- 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 (e.g., rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing, and touching outside of clothing. They may 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 acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
- Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and 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, ‘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 over protection 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 cyberbullying), 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.
County lines is a form of criminal exploitation where urban gangs persuade, coerce or force children and young people to store drugs and money and/or transport them to suburban areas, market towns and coastal towns (Home Office, 2018). It can happen in any part of the UK and is against the law and a form of child abuse.
If you’re worried that a child or young person might be or is at risk of being exploited by a county lines gang, you must share your concerns.
Like other forms of abuse and exploitation, county lines exploitation:
- can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years
- can affect any vulnerable adult over the age of 18 years
- can still be exploitation even if the activity appears consensual
- can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and is often accompanied by violence or threats of violence
- can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and young people or adults and
- is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the exploitation. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
One of the key factors found in most cases of county lines exploitation is the presence of some form of exchange (e.g., carrying drugs in return for something). Where it is the victim who is offered, promised, or given something they need or want, the exchange can include both tangible (such as money, drugs, or clothes) and intangible rewards (such as status, protection or perceived friendship or affection). It is important to remember the unequal power dynamic within which this exchange occurs and to remember that the receipt of something by a young person or vulnerable adult does not make them any less of a victim. It is also important to note that the prevention of something negative can also fulfil the requirement for exchange, for example a young person who engages in county lines activity to stop someone carrying out a threat to harm his/her family.
The Prevent duty is designed to stop people from becoming involved in terrorism, supporting terrorism, or being drawn into non-violent extremism.
The Prevent duty came into force as part of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act in 2015. It places a duty on educational providers and other public bodies to help prevent children, young people and vulnerable adults from being radicalised and drawn into terrorism. This means identifying those at risk and taking the appropriate actions. The Prevent duty is linked to safeguarding in that it aims to protect the same vulnerable individuals.
If you work with children, young people or vulnerable adults, you have a legal duty in respect of safeguarding and Prevent. You need to understand what that duty is, how to identify individuals at risk, and how to take action to prevent or report issues relating to safeguarding and Prevent.
Report any concerns to the designated safeguarding person.
Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures.
All concerns regarding safeguarding and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously by trustees, staff and volunteers and responded to appropriately – this may require a referral to the Local Safeguarding Board, and in emergencies, the Police.
It is not the staffs’ duty to investigate allegations of abuse; it is their duty to pass on concerns to one of the designated child protection persons within Gwealan Tops. Basic Child Protection Awareness Training will be provided as part of induction. Copies of Keeping Children Safe will be issued to trustees, staff and volunteers as part of their induction.
Trustees, staff and volunteers have a responsibility to ensure that Safeguarding training is kept up to date.
All trustees, staff and volunteers have a duty to share any concerns they may have, in relation to child protection, about any other members, staff or volunteers with one of the designated person(s).
What you should do if you are concerned about a child?
During your work there may be occasions when you have concerns about the welfare or safety of a child.
In these circumstances, the safety and wellbeing of the child must always be paramount. To help you in deciding how to proceed you must follow the procedures outlined below (refer also to Appendix 1):
- Share your concerns with one of the designated persons within Gwealan Tops.
The ‘designated person’ within GTAP is the Adventure Playground Manager, additionally the GTAP Safeguarding Trustee.
Every attempt must be made in the first instance to contact one of the designated persons however if you are unable to do so you must contact Multi Agency Referral Unit (MARU) on 0300 123 1116 with your concerns and notify a designated person that this action has been taken as soon as possible.
- It is important that you do not delay in sharing your concerns.
- All of your concerns and the discussions you have within your organisation with your designated person must be recorded and stored securely. A copy of this report must also be submitted to the designated person within 3 days of your discussions along with a copy of any referral made to MARU.
You can also refer for advice to the South West Child Protection Procedures which are published online at Local Resources (proceduresonline.com). However, this resource should not be used in isolation. You must also share your concerns with one of the designated persons.
The following questions will also help you and your designated person decide what to do next:
- What is your concern
- How long have you been concerned?
- Who else has concerns?
- What do you think could be happening to the child?
- List a range of possible things that could be happening, rather than jumping to one conclusion.
- How could you find out whether each of these possibilities is true?
- What information do you have already?
- What have you already done to address your concerns?
- Have you discussed your concerns with the parents and the child or young person?
- If yes – what did they say?
- If no – why not?
- What would be the possible impact on the child?
Your designated person should question you about the reasons for your concerns.
If you still have concerns but are not sure what action to take, you (or your designated person) should contact the MARU and discuss the situation (without mentioning the child’s name). This may help you decide what to do next.
If at any point you believe the child is at immediate risk of significant harm, you or should contact 999.
There are no absolute criteria for defining significant harm. The Children Act 1989 and the Adoption and Children Act 2002 define ‘harm’ as ill-treatment or the impairment of health or development, including, for example, impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another; ’development’ means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development; ’health’ means physical or mental health; and ’ill-treatment’ includes sexual abuse and forms of ill-treatment which are not physical.
- If, following discussion with the designated person, it is decided that a referral should be made to MARU, the designated person should telephone MARU and explain that there are concerns about a child and need to make a referral.
- The verbal referral must be followed up in writing within 48 hours using the Cornwall & IOS Local Safeguarding Children Board. If you are not able to access a copy of the referral form then a letter will suffice, making sure that you include full details of the child, full details of your concern, other people in the household, whether the parents are aware of the referral, whether the child is aware of the referral and how you can be contacted for further information.
Recruiting & Selecting Personnel with Children / Safer Recruitment
It is important that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent unsuitable people from working with children. This applies equally to paid staff and volunteers, both full and part time. To ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children the following steps should be taken when recruiting.
Controlling Access to Children
- All staff and volunteers should complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about the applicants past and a self disclosure about any criminal record.
- Consent should be obtained from the applicant to seek information from the Disclosure Barring Service.
- Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children should be obtained. These references MUST be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact.
- Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo)
Interview and Induction
All employees and volunteers will be required to undertake an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations. All employees and volunteers should receive formal or informal induction during which:
- A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full, including sections on criminal records and self disclosures
- Their qualifications should be substantiated
- The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified
- Safeguarding Procedures are explained, and training needs identified e.g. basic safeguarding awareness
In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff and volunteers to:
- Analyse their own practice against what is deemed good practice, and to ensure their practice is likely to protect them from false allegations
- Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice and/or abuse
- Respond to concerns expressed by a child
- Work safely and effectively with children
Gwealan Tops requires:
- All staff and volunteers who have access to children to undergo a DBS check
- All employees, volunteers, and team managers to undertake relevant child protection training or undertake a form of home study, to ensure their practice is exemplary and to facilitate the development of positive culture towards good practice and safeguarding
- All staff and volunteers to receive advisory information outlining good/bad practice and informing them what to do if they have concerns about the behaviour of an adult towards a young person
Allegations against Gwealan Tops members, staff and volunteers
- Report your concerns to the Designated person
Dealing with an allegation that a member, staff member or volunteer has abused a child is difficult but must be taken seriously and dealt with carefully and fairly.
If it appears that a member, staff or volunteer has:
- behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child, or,
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child, or,
- behaved in an inappropriate way towards a child which may indicate that he or she is unsuitable to work with children.
Additionally these procedures may be used:
- if there are concerns about the person’s behaviour towards their own children, or
- children unrelated to their employment or voluntary work, and there has been a recommendation from a strategy discussion that consideration should be given to the risk posed to children they work with, or,
- when an allegation is made about abuse that took place some time ago and the accused person may still be working with or having contact with children.
When a report is made to the designated person it will be clear in some cases that an immediate referral must be made to the Referral, Investigation & Assessment Service, or the police for investigation.
This would be if a child appears to have been harmed or is at risk of significant harm or a criminal act appears to have been committed. However, in many cases it may be difficult to judge based on the information provided; it may be more about unprofessional behaviour or blurred boundaries between a member, staff member or volunteer and a child or there may be foundation in the allegation at all. However, all allegations must be taken seriously and objectively and dealt with in a timely manner.
Every Local Authority has an identified Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) who has responsibility for:
- managing and overseeing individual allegations from across the children’s workforce,
- providing advice and guidance to senior managers and employers etc.,
- liaising with Referral, Investigation & Assessment Service, police, Crown Prosecution Service and other relevant agencies,
- monitoring progress of all cases to ensure they are dealt with in accordance with recommended timescales, as set out in these procedures,
- co-ordinating and collating reports to provide information to the LSCB and Department for Education.
Your LADO, with the support of the designated person, should be informed of all allegations and will provide advice and guidance in the management of these.
If you have a concern that a person may have behaved inappropriately, or you have received information that may constitute an allegation you should:
- report it to the designated person as soon as possible, however trivial it may seem.
- make a signed and dated written record of your concerns, observations, or the information you have received to pass on to the designated person.
- maintain confidentiality and guard against publicity while an allegation is being considered or investigated and follow local information sharing protocols
You should not:
- attempt to deal with the situation yourself;
- make assumptions, offer alternative explanations or diminish the seriousness of the behaviour or alleged incidents;
- keep the information to yourself or promise confidentiality;
- take any action that might undermine any future investigation or disciplinary procedure, such as interviewing the alleged victim or potential witnesses, or informing the alleged perpetrator or parents or carers.
The same action should be taken if the allegation is about abuse that has taken place in the past, as it will be important to find out if the person is still working with or has access to children
N.B If a child has clearly been injured and/or there is clear evidence of significant harm or risk of significant harm, immediate referral to the police or Referral, Investigation & Assessment Service or emergency services must be considered, in accordance with child protection procedures, and your designated person informed as soon as possible afterwards. Remember that the safety and welfare of the child is your overriding concern.
If a member of the public has a concern or allegation about a person known or suspected to be working with children, or who has worked with children, the advice above should be followed, but it will be more appropriate to report direct to the LADO, police or Referral, Investigation & Assessment Service, as the designated senior manager or employer may not be known.
On behalf of Gwealan Tops Adventure Playground, we, the undersigned, will oversee the implementation of this Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and take all necessary steps to ensure it is adhered to.
C Venner de Cortez B Handscomb
(n.b. One of the signatories should be the Designated Officer)
Kate Venner de Cortez
|Position within Gwealan Tops:
Designated Committee Member
|Position within Gwealan Tops:
Playground Manager (Job Share).
|Date: 20/1/22||Date: 20/1/22
Appendix 1 What you should do if you are concerned about a child.
2. Contact details for MARU
You will need to say that you want to make a referral about a child or young person and what area that child/young person lives in.
Please be advised that by giving the name of a child you are in effect making a referral. If you are looking for advice, make this clear and do not give personal details.
Appendix 3: Child Protection / Child in Need Referral Form
CORNWALL AND THE ISLES OF SCILLY
LOCAL SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN BOARD
|INTERAGENCY CHILD PROTECTION* / CHILD IN NEED* REFERRAL TO REFERRAL, INVESTIGATION & ASSESSMENT SERVICE
* Please delete as appropriate
NB: This form is to be used by all agencies as a FOLLOW-UP to a telephoned/verbal referral and should be sent within 48 hours to the local office covering the district where the child/family live. You can include any other information on a separate sheet. You may also wish to use the Single Agency Assessment Form to provide additional information.
See reverse for addresses and telephone numbers of local offices.
PLEASE GIVE AS MANY DETAILS AS POSSIBLE AND ENSURE YOUR NAME AND CONTACT DETAILS ARE COMPLETED.
|Name (s) of children in Household||M/F||Date(s) of Birth||School|
|Names of parents/other adults in household|
|Details of Concern:|
|Are the parents aware you are making this referral? (please circle)||YES||NO|
|Is the child aware that you are making this referral? (please circle)||YES||NO|
|Name, Status and Address of Referrer (BLOCK CAPITALS)||Tel. No:|
OTHER INFORMATION ATTACHED? YES / NO * Please circle as appropriate
Signature: ………………………………………………………. Date: ………………
Appendix 4: Useful Website Address
https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/childrens-services/child-protection-and-safeguarding/ – Multi Agency Referral Unit
https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/childrens-services/child-protection-and-safeguarding/ – Cornwall Council
http://www.dh.gov.uk – Department of Health
http://www.ceop.gov.uk – Child exploitation online protection – advice for children, parents & professionals.
http://www.safenetwork.org.uk – NSPCC/Children England