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Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults

Policy and Procedures, STATEMENT OF INTENT

 

Learning Space believes that it is always unacceptable for a child, young person or vulnerable adult to experience abuse of any kind and is committed to safeguarding and promoting their welfare regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs and expects all trustees, staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

 

Child, Young Person and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy

 

We recognise that:

  • the welfare of the child/young person is paramount

  • abuse of any form, must be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately

  • working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare

  • privacy and confidentiality should be respected unless the child’s safety is compromised but staff should act reasonably to ‘rumours and gossip’

 

The purpose of the policy:

  • To provide protection for all our beneficiaries

  • To provide Learning Space staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of harm of any kind.

 

This policy applies to the entire workforce, paid or volunteer, including senior managers, the board of directors, sessional workers, students, contractors or anyone working on behalf of Learning Space.

 

We will aim to safeguard children and young people by:

  • Valuing them, listening to and respecting them

  • Adopting safeguarding guidelines

  • Recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary DBS checks are made and references followed up. Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers

  • Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately

  • Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision/review sessions, support and training

  • Giving guidance and support to inexperienced helpers.

We aim to ensure that all staff within Learning Space receive updated training every three years – this comprises core SSCB Foundation Modules 1 and 2 (An introduction to Safeguarding Children and Child Protection Plans) as well as online courses refresher courses.

 

We submitted a S11 report In November 2020 to Surrey Safeguarding Children’s Partnership which was assessed initially by the Business Team in January 2021 and then moderated by a representative from the Third Sector and a representative from Surrey Police in February 2021.  As a result of this process it was agreed that our S11 submission had met the requirements of the S11 standards and by doing so provided the Partnership with the reassurance needed that Learning Space fully understands and is meeting its safeguarding responsibilities.

 

We are also committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.

  

This policy was last reviewed on 16th November 2022

Signed by the Chair of Trustees

 

The Learning Space Safeguarding Team

Stephanie Lee – Safeguarding Lead  E:stephanie@learningspace.org.uk / T:07365 802339

 

Gill North – Manager and Deputy DSL – E:gill@learningspace.org.uk / T: 07426235088

 

Natasha Adams – Deputy Manager and Deputy DSL – E:natasha@learningspace.org.uk / T: 07401 067708

 

Jayne Mockler – Trustee for Safeguarding

 

 

Statutory and legal framework

The Children Act 1989 and 2004 provide the overall framework for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. The child’s welfare is to be the paramount consideration in all decision-making.

 

The Government’s guidance on safeguarding children in England is called Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 (often shortened to Working Together). Working Together acknowledges the need for all providers of children’s services, including those in the voluntary sector, to work in collaboration and to agreed local standards.

 

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022 sets out what schools and colleges in England must do to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18.

 

Section 157 and 175 of the Education Act 2002, and the Education and Inspections Act 2006, places upon School Governors the duty to ensure that schools safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

 

Policy Procedures

Purpose and Aims:

  • To provide clear step-by-step guidance on what to do in relation to safeguarding.

  • To clarify roles and responsibilities

 

An explanation of the different types of abuse that children can suffer and how to recognise signs and indicators which might give cause for concern is attached.   The procedure to follow should such concerns arise is as follows:

 

How to respond to signs or suspicions of abuse:

If a child is in immediate danger or is at risk of harm, you should keep the child safe and refer to children’s social care and/or the police.

 

Before doing so, you should try to establish the basic facts. However, it is the role of social workers and the police to investigate cases and make a judgement on whether there should be a statutory intervention and/or a criminal investigation. 

 

You should record, in writing, all concerns and discussions about a child’s welfare, the decisions made and the reasons for those decisions.

 

As soon as possible

  • Record  in writing, date and sign (Use Learning Space’s internal safeguarding form)

  • Discuss concerns with the child’s parents or carers if appropriate – any Child Protection concerns should be discussed with the family of the child concerned unless the view is that a family member might be responsible for abusing the child; someone may be put in danger by the parents being informed or informing the family might interfere with a criminal investigation.  If any of these circumstances apply Learning Space staff will discuss with school links and / or Surrey Children’s Services to decide whether or not discussions with the family should take place

 

If a discussion is inappropriate, immediately contact

 

Children’s Single Point of Access (C-SPA): 0300 470 9100                                                                                   

 

NSPCC Child Protection Helpline: 0808 800 5000

 

SCC Out of Office Hours/Weekends: 01483 517898

 

Emergency-Surrey Police: 999

How to respond to disclosure of abuse:

  • Remain calm

  • Listen carefully, without interrupting

  • Make it clear that you are taking the child / young person seriously

  • Reassure them that they are right to tell

  • Let them know that you are going to do everything you can to help them and what may happen as a result

  • Do not probe for more information than is offered

  • Do not make promises such as  ‘everything will be alright’

  • Do not agree to keep a secret but ensure the child / young person understands who you will have to share the information with

  • Never delay getting emergency help if needed, e.g. medical help

  • Consult Learning Space Safeguarding Lead and follow procedure as above.  As soon as possible using the child’s own words, record in writing what was said – note the date, time and names mentioned and ensure that all records are dated and signed.

 

Categories of Abuse and recognition

Abuse can be in the form of neglect, physical injury, sexual or emotional/psychological inflicted or knowingly not prevented.  Learning Space beneficiaries include children, young people and families.   All groups may be vulnerable and could suffer similar injuries but if outward physical signs are not obvious, behavioural signs may well be.

 

Physical abuse

A form of abuse which 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.

 

  • Physical signs:  Look out for marks and bruises on the body where accidental injury is unlikely, such as the cheeks, chest or thighs.  Bruising in particular may reflect hand or finger marks.  Scalding, cigarette burns, broken bones particularly in babies and toddlers.

  • Behavioural signs:  Flinching when approached or touched, depression or moods which are out of character with the child/young person’s behaviour.

 

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.

 

Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children (Working Together, 2018).

 

  • Physical signs:  In young children, look out for pain, itching in intimate parts of the body.   Stomach pains or discomfort when child is sitting down or walking

  • Behavioural signs:  In young children, sexualised behaviour, drawings or language.  Older children/young people may exhibit changes in behaviour, self-harm, eating problems such as anorexia or bulimia, possession of large amounts of money, not being allowed to have friends.

 

Emotional abuse

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 a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.

  • not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate.

  • age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.

  • interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction.

  • seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another.

  • 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 (Working Together, 2018).

 

  • Physical signs:  Failure to grow or to thrive, speech disorders, delayed development either physical or emotional

  • Behavioural signs:  Compulsive nervous behaviour such as hair twisting or rocking, excessive fear of making mistakes, unwillingness to join in play, self-harm or mutilation, excessive lack of confidence, excessive need for approval

 

 

Neglect

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 e.g. 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).

  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

 

  • Physical signs:  Being constantly hungry and sometimes stealing food from others, being in an unkempt state, dirty or smelly, loss of weight or underweight, dressed inappropriately for weather conditions, untreated medical conditions

  • Behavioural signs:  Being tired all the time, frequently missing school or being late, having few friends, compulsive stealing especially of food

 

Other safeguarding concerns:

 

Domestic Abuse - Domestic Abuse is generally treated as falling under emotional abuse. The cross- government definition (2014) of domestic violence and abuse is as follows:

 

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 psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional.

 

Learning Space considers that domestic abuse is a child protection issue and that if children witness or hear domestic abuse, this must be treated as a child protection matter, even if they are not directly involved in the incidents. The Adoption and Children Act 2002 states that impairment can be caused by seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another.

 

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) – Adverse childhood experiences are “highly stressful, and potentially traumatic, events or situations that occur during childhood and / or adolescence. They can be a single event, or prolonged threats to, and breaches of, the young person’s safety, security, trust or bodily integrity.” (Young Minds, 2018). Examples of such experiences include children living with someone who abuses drugs, living with someone who abuses alcohol, exposure to domestic abuse or living with someone with serious mental illness.

 

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) - As set out in the Serious Violence Strategy, published by the Home Office, where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into any criminal activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or (c) through violence or the threat of violence. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Child criminal exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

 

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) - Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

 

Contextual safeguarding - Contextual Safeguarding is an approach to understanding, and responding to, young people's experiences of significant harm beyond their families. It recognises that the different relationships that young people form in their neighbourhoods, schools and online can feature violence and abuse.

 

Contextual safeguarding facilitates looking at these areas, when assessing a child / young person’s needs, and is used by some of the local authorities that we work in.

 

The areas considered are:

  • Home - Domestic abuse, siblings or possible neglect.

  • Peer group - Peer association, intimate partner violence and peer group sexual offending. School - Bullying, corridor culture and peer recruitment.

  • Neighbourhood - Gang affected neighbourhood, robbery, CSE in parks and shopping centres.

 

County Lines - As set out in the Serious Violence Strategy, published by the Home Office, county lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas within the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of ‘deal line’. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money, and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons.

Extremism and Prevent Duty - Any concerns about radicalisation and extremist views or behaviours in children and young people must be reported as a safeguarding concern. “Extremism goes beyond terrorism and includes people who target the vulnerable – including the young – by seeking to sow division between communities on the basis of race, faith or denomination; justify discrimination towards women and girls; persuade others that minorities are inferior; or argue against the primacy of democracy and the rule of law in our society. Extremism is defined in the Counter Extremism Strategy 2015 as the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist” (Working Together 2018).

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - Concerns that a child has been, or may be about to be, subjected to FGM, fall under this policy and must also be reported as a safeguarding concern. FGM is a collective term for a range of procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is sometimes referred to as female circumcision, or female genital cutting. The practice is medically unnecessary, is extremely painful and has serious health consequences, both at the time when the mutilation is carried out, and in later life. #

Forced Marriage - In forced marriage, one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage and some element of duress is involved. Duress includes both physical and emotional pressure and abuse. Forced marriage is primarily, but not exclusively, an issue of violence against females. Most cases involve young women and girls aged between 13 and 30, although there is evidence to suggest that as many as 15 per cent of victims are male. These procedures are aimed at dealing with forced marriage for a child / young person under 18 years of age.

Grooming - Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them. Children and young people who are groomed can be sexually abused, exploited or trafficked. Anybody can be a groomer, no matter their age, gender or race. Grooming can take place over a short or long period of time – from weeks to years. Groomers may also build a relationship with the young person's family or friends to make them seem trustworthy or authoritative.​

Online Safety - The breadth of issues classified within online safety is considerable, but can be categorised into four areas of risk:

  • Content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful content, for example: pornography, fake news, racism, misogyny, self-harm, suicide, anti-Semitism, radicalisation and extremism.

  • Contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; for example: peer to peer pressure, commercial advertising and adults posing as children or young adults with the intention to groom or exploit them for sexual, criminal, financial or other purposes.

  • Conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm; for example, making, sending and receiving explicit images (e.g. consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nudes and/or pornography, sharing other explicit images and online bullying.

  • Commerce -risks such as online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing and or financial scams.

 

Peer-on-Peer Abuse - Peer on peer abuse is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:

  • Bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying).

  • Abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages physical abuse).

  • Sexual violence, such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault; (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages sexual violence).

  • Sexual harassment, such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be standalone or part of a broader pattern of abuse causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party.

  • Consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi nudes images and or videos (also known as sexting or youth produced sexual imagery).

  • Upskirting, which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without their permission, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm.

  • Initiation/hazing type violence and rituals (this could include activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group and may also include an online element).

 

Self-harm - Self-harm is a broad term that can be used to describe a variety of behaviours that lead to physical harm. These include self-cutting or scratching the skin, burning/branding with cigarettes/lighters, scalding, overdose of tablets or other toxins, tying ligatures around the neck, punching oneself or other surfaces, banging limbs/head and hair pulling (Mental Health Foundation, 2006). It may also include risk taking behaviours where the child / young person is careless for their own safety and there is a risk of physical harm. It also includes neglect of physical health for example young people with insulin dependent diabetes who intentionally miss insulin doses. Self-harm usually occurs in response to emotional distress.

So-called ‘Honour’ -Based Violence - The term ‘honour crime’ or ‘honour-based violence’ embraces a variety of crimes of violence (mainly but not exclusively against women), including assault, imprisonment and murder where their family or their community is punishing the person. They are being punished for (actually or allegedly) undermining what the family or community believes to be the correct code of behaviour. In transgressing this correct code of behaviour, the person shows that they have not been properly controlled to conform by their family and this is to the ‘shame’ or ‘dishonour’ of the family.

Suicide / Suicide Ideation - The term ‘suicide’ means an act that is intended to end one’s life. Suicidal ideations, often called suicidal thoughts or ideas, is a broad term used to describe a range of contemplations, wishes, and preoccupations with death and suicide (PubMed, 2021). These issues can caused by many factors, including depression and mental illness, stress, financial problems, relationship breakdown, bereavement and abuse.

Young Carer – A young carer is defined as a young person under the age of 18 who helps to look after a relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem. This may involve young people doing extra jobs around the house, such as cooking, cleaning or helping someone get dressed and move around. It may also involve a young person providing a lot of physical help to a parent, brother or sister who is disabled or ill. Without appropriate support, young carers are a risk of having lower self-esteem and heightened anxiety, feeling isolated, being bullied, and being stressed by the responsibility.

Whistleblowing – If you are concerned of a wrongdoing or that appropriate action has not been taken to deal with a concern, then this is when Whistleblowing should take place. This is sometimes referred to as ‘making a disclosure’ or ‘blowing the whistle’. The wrongdoing will typically (although not necessarily) be something you have witnessed at work

 

Code of Conduct

 

When working with children and young people, it is important to:

 

  • Listen to and respect children and young people at all times;

 

  • Avoid favouritism;

 

  • Treat children and young people fairly and without prejudice or discrimination;

 

  • Value and take children’s contributions seriously, actively involving children and young people in planning activities wherever possible;

 

  • Ensure any contact with children and young people is appropriate and in relation to the work of the project;

 

  • Always ensure language is appropriate and not offensive or discriminatory;

 

  • Always ensure equipment is used safely and for its intended purpose;

 

  • Provide examples of good conduct you wish children and young people to follow;

 

  • Challenge unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations/suspicions of abuse;

 

  • Ensure that whenever possible, there is more than one adult present during activities with children and young people or if this isn’t possible, that you are within sight or hearing of other adults;

 

  • Be close to where others are working. If a child specifically asks for or needs some private time with you, ensure other staff should know where you and the child are;

 

  • Respect a young person’s right to personal privacy;

 

  • Encourage young people and adults to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like;

 

  • Recognise that special caution is required when you are discussing sensitive issues with children or young people.

 

  • Understand that the duty to safeguard children and share information about child protection concerns takes priority over all other considerations, including the confidential nature of the counselling relationship.

 

 

You must not:

  • Patronise or treat children and young people as if they are silly;

 

  • Allow disclosures to go unreported;

 

  • Develop inappropriate relationships such as contact with children and young people that is not a part of the work of Learning space or agreed with the manager

 

  • Conduct a sexual relationship with a child or young person or indulge in any form of sexual contact with a child or young person. Any such behaviour between an adult member of staff or volunteer and a child or young person using the services of Learning Space represents a serious breach of trust on the part of the staff member or volunteer and is not acceptable under any circumstances;

 

  • Let children and young people have your personal contact details (mobile number or address);

 

  • Make sarcastic, insensitive, derogatory or sexually suggestive comments or gestures to or in front of children and young people;

 

  • Act in a way that can be perceived as threatening or intrusive;

 

  • Make inappropriate promises to children and young people, particularly in relation to confidentiality;

 

  • Jump to conclusions about others without checking facts;

 

  • Exaggerate or trivialise child abuse issues.

 

 

Allegations against staff

 

How to respond to a disclosure involving a member of staff

 

There are two issues that need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency:

 

1   Is a child in immediate danger or does she/he need emergency medical attention?

 

If a child is in immediate danger and is with you, remain with him/her and call the police.

If the child is elsewhere, contact the police and explain the situation to them.

 If the child needs emergency medical attention, call an ambulance and, while you are waiting for it to arrive, get help from your first aider.

If the first aider is not available, use any first aid knowledge that you may have yourself to help the child.

 

You also need to contact Learning Space Manager (named person for Safeguarding) to let them know what is happening. 

 

Allegations against the Learning Space Manager should be reported to the Chair of Learning Space Trustees.

 

The member of staff or manager should also inform the child’s family if the child is in need of emergency medical attention, and arrange to meet them at the hospital or medical centre. The parents/carers should be informed that an incident has occurred, that the child has been injured and that immediate steps have been taken to get help.

2. Is the person at the centre of the allegation working with children now?

 

It should then be explained to the person, in private, that there has been a complaint made against him/her, although the details of the complaint should not be given at this stage. The person should be informed that further information will be provided as soon as possible but that, until consultation has taken place with the relevant agencies and within the organisation, they should not be working with children. It may be best, under the circumstances, for the person to return home on the understanding that the Learning Space manager or named person will telephone him/her later in the day.

 

The information provided to him/her at this stage will need to be very limited. This is because discussions need to take place first the local authority children’s social care department, the police or the local authority designated officer (LADO).

 

If the staff member is a member of a trades union or a professional organisation, he/she should be advised to make contact with that body.

 

Learning Space Manager (or Chair of Learning Space Trustees if manager is named) will report the disclosure to the local authority designated officer (LADO) within one working day if the alleged behaviour suggests that the person in question:   

  • may have behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child

  • has possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child

  • has behaved towards a child in a way that suggests that he/she may be unsuitable to work with children.

 

Recruitment

Learning Space adheres to a good recruitment and selection process to help choose the best people for the job – people who are well suited to our work and who are less likely to harm children, intentionally or accidentally.  This process includes:

  • An application form covering essential information, which must be completed by everyone who applies for a post.

  • Face-to-face interviews which involves more than one person and uses a transparent scoring system.

  • Applicants must provide two references, including at least one who can comment on the applicant’s suitability to work with children; two pieces of identification and original copies of necessary qualifications before appointment.

  • Enhanced DBS checks (with barred list checks for anyone in regulated activity) on each member of staff or volunteer.

  • Training on and/or raising awareness of safeguarding children for all Learning Space staff and volunteers during their induction period.

  • A trial period for all Learning Space staff and volunteers, with a review before they are confirmed in post.

  • Regular supervision, support and annual appraisal for all Learning Space staff and volunteers.

 

Training

  • All staff will complete Working Together to Safeguard Children training every 2 years.

  • All staff will complete The Prevent Duty.

  • All staff involved in recruitment to complete ‘Safer Recruitment’ training every 2 years.

  • All trustees to complete Working Together to Safeguard Children training.

 

Monitoring

  • Learning Space manager will ensure safeguarding is standing item on agenda for discussion at weekly team meetings

  • Update of policy and procedures will be annual agenda item at team meetings

  • Management reports to Trustees will provide safeguarding updates.

  • DSL and/or DDSL to attend monthly Mindworks Alliance Quality Sub group meeting in relation to Safeguarding.

 

 

Last reviewed Nov 2022

Next review Nov 2023

 

Safeguarding Team
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