Procedures and Guidelines for the Safeguarding of Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults

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1 Procedures and Guidelines for the Safeguarding of Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Human Resources Department Issue date: Review date: October 2010 To be Reviewed: 2012/13 Page 1 of 13 October 2010

2 1. WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED 2. WHAT TO DO IF A CHILD CONFIDES IN YOU ABOUT ABUSE 3. PROCEDURE FOR DEALING WITH ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE AGAINST STAFF OR VOLUNTEERS 4. GUIDELINES FOR STAFF WORKING WITH CHILDREN Appendix 1 Flowchart - What to do if you think a child is being abused Appendix 2 Safety Concern Form Appendix 3 Action Taken Form Page 2 of 13 October 2010

3 1. WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED Concerns may arise because A child discloses abuse There are suspicions or indicators that a child is being abused There are observable changes in a child s behaviour that may be related to abuse A child may abuse another child The behaviour of a member of staff towards a child causes concern or there is suspicion that a staff member or volunteer is harming a child. Definitions and examples of abuse (based on NSPCC guidance) It is generally accepted that there are four main forms of abuse, all of which can cause long term damage to a child: physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and sexual abuse. Bullying and domestic violence are also forms of abuse. Physical Abuse Physical abuse includes hitting, shaking, kicking, punching, scalding, suffocating and other ways of inflicting pain or injury to a child. It also includes giving a child harmful substances, such as drugs, alcohol or poison. If a parent or carer reports non-existent symptoms of illness in a child, or deliberately causes illness in a child, this is also a form of physical abuse. Physical abuse can also be caused through omission or the failure to act to protect. As well as physical signs of abuse such as bruising and broken bones children suffering physical abuse may also display certain behaviours, such as aggressive behaviour, fear of parents being approached, withdrawn behaviour, depression, reluctance to get changed. Emotional Abuse Emotional abuse is when a parent or carer behaves in a way that is likely to seriously affect their child's emotional development. It can range from constant rejection and denial of affection, through to continual severe criticism, deliberate humiliation and other ways of verbally "terrorising" a child. Physical signs may include a failure to thrive or grow, sudden speech disorders and developmental delay in terms of physical or emotional progress. Behavioural changes may include neurotic behaviour (e.g. hair twisting, rocking), being unable to play, fear of making mistakes, self harm, fear of parent being approached regarding their behaviour. Page 3 of 13 October 2010

4 Neglect Neglect is the persistent lack of appropriate care of children, including love, stimulation, safety, nourishment, warmth, education and medical attention. It can have a serious effect on a child's physical, mental and emotional development. For babies and very young children, it can be lifethreatening. Physical signs may include constant hunger, constantly dirty or smelly, weight loss or constantly underweight, inappropriate dress for the conditions. Behavioural changes may include complaints of being tired all the time, not requesting medical assistance, having few friends and mentioning being left alone or unsupervised. Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse is when a child or young person is pressurised, forced or tricked into taking part in any kind of sexual activity with an adult or young person. This can include kissing, touching the young person's genitals or breasts, intercourse or oral sex. Encouraging a child to look at pornographic magazines, videos or sexual acts is also sexual abuse. Physical signs may include pain or itching in, or bruising and bleeding near, the genital/anal areas, sexually transmitted disease, vaginal discharge or infection, stomach pains, discomfort when walking or sitting down, pregnancy. Behavioural changes may include fear of being left with a specific person or group of people, having nightmares, bedwetting, eating problems, self harm, substance or drug abuse, acting in a sexually explicit way towards adults, sexual knowledge beyond their age or developmental level. Page 4 of 13 October 2010

5 2. WHAT TO DO IF A CHILD CONFIDES IN YOU ABOUT ABUSE You should - Reassure the child that their story will be taken seriously and that they have acted appropriately in talking about it. Listen carefully without interrupting or prompting. Be comforting and sympathetic. Reassure them that they are not to blame. Explain what you are going to do to help them and that this will involve you telling someone else. Action must be taken even if the child withdraws the allegation at this, or any, point. Write down exactly what the child says using the Safety Concern Form and check with the child that you have understood what they have told you. Sign and date your record. Report your concerns to a Designated Safeguarding Officer immediately see flowchart. You should avoid Letting your feelings, or shock, show. Using leading questions or investigating the child except to clarify what they are saying. Making assumptions or speculations. Making promises you are unable to keep, e.g. that you will not tell anyone else. It should be noted that an adult may make a disclosure of child abuse that occurred during his/her childhood. These disclosures should also be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer as the abuser may still pose a risk to children. Page 5 of 13 October 2010

6 3. PROCEDURE FOR DEALING WITH ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE AGAINST STAFF OR VOLUNTEERS 1. The University recognises the importance of having a procedure in place for dealing with allegations against staff and volunteers who work with children that aims to strike a balance between the need to protect children from abuse and the need to protect staff and volunteers from false or unfounded allegations. 2. If a member of staff has concerns about a child s safety or a child confides in a member of staff they should report this immediately to a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO). If the allegation of abuse involves a member of University staff the DSO must report this to the Director of Human Resources, Organisational Development and Student Support immediately (see Annex A) who may designate a Human Resources Manager to act on his/her behalf. Should the allegation involve a member of staff from the Nursery this must be reported to OFSTED. 3. The DSO will obtain a completed Safety Concern Form from the member of staff. The DSO will provide a copy of the Safety Concern Form to the SDSO.. The Human Resources representative will contact the member of staff against whom the allegations have been made. Throughout, the University will aim to balance the welfare of the accused member of staff and the interests of the investigation, taking account of the need to minimise the stress to anyone who may be wrongly or mistakenly accused. 4. The individual will be made aware of the nature of the allegations that have been made against him/her and notified that an initial assessment of the allegation will be undertaken by the Human Resources representative in conjunction with the SDSO. The University acknowledges such allegations are likely to be extremely stressful for the individual concerned and are likely to have a significant impact on him/her even if the allegations are not substantiated. The individual will therefore be offered support from both the Occupational Health Department and the Staff Support Service at this point. On the individual s return to work, consideration should be given to offering a phased return plan and/or the allocation of a mentor. 5. The Human Resources representative will also inform the parents of the child(ren) of the allegation. At this stage the name of the member of staff will remain confidential. The initial assessment will be undertaken within 48 hours and may require further information to be obtained from the member of staff who reported the concern/allegation. 6. The University acknowledges that such allegations are highly sensitive and will ensure that confidentiality is maintained throughout the assessment and investigation process. Page 6 of 13 October 2010

7 7. There are four possible outcomes of the initial assessment 1. Where the child indicates he/she has suffered, is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm there should be an immediate referral under the child protection procedures. 2. Where the child alleges that a criminal offence has been committed an immediate referral should be made which may lead to the police carrying out a criminal investigation, which may lead to disciplinary action if it involves a member of staff. 3. Where the allegation represents inappropriate behaviour or poor practice by a member of staff (but does not require referral under child protection procedures) there should be further investigation by the University which may lead to disciplinary action. 4. Where the allegation is demonstrably false (by virtue of the fact that the immediate circumstances of the allegation show that it would not be possible for the allegation to be true) no further action will be required. 8. If the allegation is found to be demonstrably false the Human Resources representative will write to the member of staff against whom the allegation was made to confirm the outcome and that no further action will be taken. A report will also be compiled confirming what action has been taken and the reasons for concluding that the allegation is without foundation. The Human Resources representative will also write to the parents of the child/children to advise them of the outcome of the initial assessment. 9. The initial assessment may show that the allegation needs to be investigated further, in accordance with the University s Disciplinary Procedure, and a decision will be taken as to whether the individual should be suspended on full pay while an investigation is conducted or whether alternative measures would be more appropriate. If, following the investigation and hearing, the individual is deemed to be unsuitable to work with children the University should report the person to the Independent Safeguarding Authority. Action in Respect of False Allegations If an allegation is determined to be false the SDSO/DSO will refer the matter to Children and Young People s Social Care (Staffordshire County Council) to establish whether the child concerned is in need of services. If an allegation is clearly proved to have been deliberately invented or malicious, consideration may be given to whether or not any disciplinary action is appropriate, or in cases where an allegation is made by a person who is not a student of the University the child s school/fe college will be advised. In serious cases consideration may be given to whether or not the Police should be consulted. Page 7 of 13 October 2010

8 4. GUIDELINES FOR STAFF WORKING WITH CHILDREN This guidance document intends to raise awareness of illegal, unsafe and unwise behaviour. It is important that staff working with children follow the guidelines below to ensure they are setting a good example to the children but also to reduce the risk of staff being falsely accused of improper or unprofessional conduct. Staff should be aware that breaches of the law and other professional guidelines could result in criminal or disciplinary action being taken against them. There may be occasions or circumstances where a member of staff has to make decisions or take action in the best interests of the child which could contravene this guidance or where no guidance exists. Individuals are expected to make judgements about their behaviour in order to secure the best interests and welfare of the children in their charge and in doing so will be seen to be acting reasonably. Should such an occasion or circumstance arise the member of staff will be expected to advise their line manager and explain their decision. Many of the guidelines listed will also apply for staff working with vulnerable adults. GOOD PRACTICE Staff should - Treat all children equally and with dignity regardless of age, sex, religion, race, etc. Ensure that the welfare of the child/children always comes first regardless of the aims of the activity being carried out. Refer any concerns about child abuse to a Designated Safeguarding Officer immediately. Ensure their dress and appearance are appropriate to their role, i.e. staff should be dressed decently, safely and appropriately for the tasks they undertake and should avoid clothing that is likely to be viewed as offensive (e.g. containing political or otherwise contentious slogans including sexually offensive slogans). Ensure that any accidents involving children in their care are reported in accordance with agreed procedures. Page 8 of 13 October 2010

9 Staff should avoid Working alone with children (always work in an open environment where possible). Where this is absolutely necessary this should take place in a room with an open door or visual access. If this is not possible the member of staff should ensure another member of staff has been notified and is nearby. Any physical contact, especially any contact that may be open to misinterpretation by the child or any third party. There may be occasions where physical contact is required, e.g. a distressed child may need comfort which may include physical contact. There may also be occasions where staff are required to undertake first aid or administer medicine. Staff should use their discretion to ensure such contact is necessary and appropriate. If possible, another adult should also be present. Entering children s rooms (bedrooms or changing rooms) unless it is essential. Staff should take particular care and be aware of the child/children s right to safety, privacy and decency if contact of an intimate nature is required (for example, removing wet/soiled clothing) and should ensure another adult is present. Where activities involve overnight stays careful consideration needs to be given to sleeping arrangements. Conferring special attention and favour upon a particular child or group of children. Staff should never Behave in any manner which would lead any reasonable person to question their suitability to work with children or act as a role model. Establish social contact to secure a friendship or any other form of relationship, including sexual relationships, with the child/children in their care, e.g. staff should not give out any personal details such as home/mobile phone number or address. Establish contact with, or accept friend requests from, the children with whom they are working via any form of social media/ social networking sites. Social media refers to the latest generation of interactive online services such as blogs, discussion forums, podcasts and instant messaging. Social media includes social networking sites e.g. Bebo, Facebook, Piczo, Hi5 and MySpace, micro-blogging services e.g. Twitter, video-sharing services e.g. YouTube, photo-sharing services e.g. Flickr and online games and virtual reality e.g. Second Life. Invite children into their rooms or share a room with a child. Page 9 of 13 October 2010

10 Transport a child/children on their own. Ideally there should be at least one adult additional to the driver acting as an escort. If travelling alone with children the member of staff should advise a senior member of staff of the details of the journey, including reason for journey, destination, time of departure, approximate length of journey and estimated time of arrival. Allow or engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games with children. Allow or engage in any inappropriate contact/touching. Allow or use inappropriate language and/or behaviour. Allow or use over-familiar or sexually suggestive comments. Never do things of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves (e.g. applying sunscreen). Children should be made aware that there are adults they can approach if they have any concerns about anything that occurs while they are attending the University. Page 10 of 13 October 2010

11 APPENDIX 1 MEMBER OF STAFF OR STUDENT HAS CONCERNS ABOUT POSSIBLE CHILD ABUSE CONCERNED PERSON RECORDS CONCERNS ON SAFETY CONCERN FORM AND REPORTS INCIDENT TO DSO ASAP IF DSO REQUIRES ADVICE ON WHETHER A REFERRAL IS NECESSARY HE/SHE CAN CONTACT STAFFORDSHIRE SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN BOARD MANAGER (VONNI GORDON ) IF DSO DEEMS A REFERRAL TO BE NECESSARY HE/SHE WILL REPORT MATTER IMMEDIATELY TO STAFFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL S FIRST RESPONSE SERVICE BY CALLING OR IF OUTSIDE NORMAL OFFICE HOURS BY CONTACTING THE EMERGENCY DUTY SERVICE ON OR THE POLICE CHILD PROTECTION UNIT ON IF INCIDENT INVOLVES AN ALLEGATION AGAINST A MEMBER OF STAFF DSO REPORTS MATTER TO SDSO DSO TAKES ALL NECESSARY STEPS TO ENSURE SAFETY OF CHILD IN QUESTION AND ANY OTHERS THAT MAY BE AT RISK DSO SUBMITS WRITTEN REPORT OF INCIDENT WITHIN 24 HOURS OF VERBAL REPORT. COPY SHOULD BE SENT TO LEAD CHILD PROTECTION OFFICER AT COUNCIL DSO CONTACTS CHILD S PARENTS IFTHERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST DISCLOSURE WILL PUT THE CHILD AT ANY FURTHER RISK Page 11 of 13 October 2010

12 SAFETY CONCERN FORM APPENDIX 2 Name of child: Date of birth: Gender: M / F Nature of allegation/concern (Include category of concern where possible - Physical/ Neglect/Emotional/Sexual) The child s account: Time, location, date or other relevant information: Description of any visible bruising or other injuries: Any other observations/information: Action taken: Signed: Name (print): Position: Date: PLEASE CONTINUE ON TO ANOTHER PAGE IF NECESSARY, ENSURING IT IS SECURELY ATTACHED TO THE SAFETY CONCERN FORM. Page 12 of 13 October 2010

13 ACTION TAKEN FORM APPENDIX 3 Name of Designated Safeguarding Officer: Child/Young Person s Name: Date of incident: Nature of allegation/concern (Attach Safety Concern Form) Action taken: Name of duty officer at Social Services/Police: Address: Phone no: Signed (Designated Safeguarding Officer): Position: Date: PLEASE CONTINUE ON TO ANOTHER PAGE IF NECESSARY, ENSURING IT IS SECURELY ATTACHED TO THE ACTION TAKEN FORM. Page 13 of 13 October 2010

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