- CHILD PROTECTION POLICY STATEMENT
This document is the Child Protection Policy for 0161 Community (the organisation); as such it must be followed by all members of the organisation, and followed and promoted by the senior committee members.
Many of the organisation’s activities may involve volunteers having to take responsibility for children/young people in the absence of their parents/carers. This policy therefore includes a section outlining the safe principles within which those activities will be undertaken. It is the responsibility of those working with children in this organisation to ensure that these principles are followed.
The organisation is aware that being a child means being vulnerable to abuse by adults. The purpose of this policy is to make sure that the actions of any adult in the context of the work carried out by this organisation are transparent, helping safeguard and promote the welfare of all children.
If any parent or child has concerns about the conduct of any member of the organisation, this should be raised in the first instance with the designated Child Protection Officer.
This policy is written in accordance with “Working together to Safeguard Children”, produced by the Department of Health in 1999, as an inter-agency guide to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.
This section briefly outlines the key principles on which the organisation’s Child Protection Policy is based.
- The welfare of the child/young person must always be paramount.
- The welfare of families will be promoted.
- The rights, wishes and feelings of children, young people and their families will be respected and listened to.
- Those people in positions of responsibility within the organisation will work in accordance with the interests of children and young people, following the policy outlined in this document.
- Those people in positions of responsibility within the organisation will ensure that the same opportunities are available to everyone and that all differences between individuals will be treated with respect.
Immediate action may be necessary at any stage of involvement with children and families to ensure safety.
In all cases it is vital to take whatever action is needed to safeguard the child(ren):
- If emergency medical attention is required, this can be done by contacting an ambulance on 999 or by physically taking the child to the nearest Accident & Emergency Department.
- If a child is in immediate danger then the police should be contacted on 999 ~ they alone have the power to remove a child immediately if protection is necessary, via a Police Protection order.
RECOGNITION OF ABUSE
Abuse or neglect of a child is caused by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger.
4.1 PHYSICAL ABUSE
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or other methods of causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child whom they are looking after. This situation is commonly described using such terms as Fabricated Illness by Proxy or Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy.
4.2 EMOTIONAL ABUSE
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment 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 or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person. This kind of abuse may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed upon children. It may involve causing children to frequently feel frightened or in danger, or lead to the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
4.3 SEXUAL ABUSE
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, either penetrative or non-penetrative acts. Sexual abuse can include non-contact activities, such as involving children in viewing pornography or sexual activities, in the actual production of pornographic material or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
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. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger or the failure to ensure access to the appropriate medical treatments. This type of abuse may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic needs.
Individuals within the organisation need to be alert to the potential abuse of children ~ both within their families and also from other sources, including abuse from within our organisation.
The organisation should know how to recognise and act upon indicators of abuse, or potential abuse, involving children. There is an expected responsibility for all members of the organisation to respond to suspected or actual abuse of a child, in accordance with these procedures.
It is good practice to be as open and honest with parents/carers about any concerns.
However, you must not discuss your concerns with parents/carers if the following circumstances:
- Where sexual abuse is suspected.
- Where organised or multiple abuse is suspected.
- Where Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy is suspected.
- Where contacted parents/carers would place a child, yourself or others at immediate risk.
WHAT TO DO IF CHILDREN TALK TO YOU ABOUT ABUSE
It is recognised that a child may seek you out to share information about abuse or neglect,or talk spontaneously (individually or in groups) when you are present. In these situations you must:
- Listen carefully to the child. Do not directly question the child.
- Give the child time and attention.
- Allow the child to give a spontaneous account; do not stop a child who is freely recalling significant events.
- Make an accurate record of the information you have been given, taking care to record the timing, the setting, any other witnesses, the child’s presentation, as well as what was said. Keep these records; they may be needed as evidence later.
- Use the child’s own words where possible.
- Explain that you cannot promise not to speak to others about the information they have shared.
- Reassure the child;
that you are glad that they have told you;
that they have not done anything wrong;
over what you are going to do next.
- Explain that you will need to get help to keep the child safe.
- Do not ask the child to repeat their account of events to anyone.
CONSULTING ABOUT YOUR CONCERN
The purpose of consultation is to discuss your concerns in relation to a child and decide what action is necessary.
You may become concerned about a child who has not spoken to you, either because of your observations or third party information.
It is good practice to ask a child why they are upset, ask how a cut or bruise was caused, or respond to a child who wants to speak to you. This practice can help clarify vague concerns and result in appropriate action.
If you are concerned about a child, you must share your concerns. Initially you should talk to one of the senior management team, unless one of those people is implicated in your concerns, in which case you should contact social services directly.
You should consult externally with Social Services in the following circumstances:
- When you remain unsure after internal consultation as to whether child protection concerns exist.
- When there is a disagreement as to whether child protection issues exist.
- When you are unable to consult promptly, or at all, with your internal contacts.
- When the concerns relate to a member of the hierarchy of the foundation.
Consultation is not the same as making a referral but should enable a decision to be made as to whether a referral to Social Services or the Police should progress.
MAKING A REFERRAL
A referral involves giving Social Services or the Police information about concerns relating to an individual or family, in order that enquiries can be undertaken by the appropriate agency, followed by any necessary action.
In certain cases the level of concern will lead straight to referral without external consultation being necessary. Parents/carers should be informed if a referral is being made, except in the circumstances outlined on page 6 of this document. However, inability to inform parents for any reason should not prevent a referral being made. It would then become a joint decision with Social Services about how and when the parents should be approached and by whom.
If your concern is about abuse or risk of abuse from someone not known to the child or their family, you should make a telephone referral directly to the Police and consult with the parents. If your concern is about abuse or risk of abuse from a family member, or someone known to the child, you should make a telephone referral to your local Social Services (see list of useful telephone numbers, page 11).
Be prepared to give as much of the following information as possible. In emergency situations not all of this information may be available, this should not stop you making a referral.
- Give your name, telephone number, position and request the name of the person you are speaking to.
- Give the full name, address and telephone number of the family, date of birth of the child and any sibling details.
- Child’s ethnicity, first language and any special needs.
- The names, dates of birth and relationship of household members and any significant other persons.
- The names of professionals’ known to be involved with the child/family, e.g. GP, Health Visitor, School, etc.
- The nature of the concerns and the foundation for them.
- An opinion on whether the child may need urgent action to make them safe.
- Your views on what appears to be the needs of the child and the family.
- Whether the consent of a responsible parent has been given about the referral being made.
ACTION TO BE TAKEN FOLLOWING A REFERRAL
- Ensure that you keep an accurate record of your concerns, made at the time.
- Put your concerns in writing to Social Services, within 48 hours.
- Accurately record the agreed action, or that no further action is to be taken, and the reasons for that decision.
0161 Community shall ensure that any records made in relation to a referral will be kept confidential and in a secure place.
Information in relation to child protection concerns should be shared on a need to know basis. However, the sharing of information is vital to child protection and therefore the issue of confidentiality is secondary to a child’s need for protection.
If in doubt, consult.
11. UNFOUNDED ALLEGATIONS
Children sometimes make unfounded allegations of abuse to attract attention to themselves, for various reasons. Avoid situations in your everyday routine that could leave you personally open to unfounded allegations of child abuse. Wherever possible arrange to have witnesses to any one-to-one activities you are planning with children.
- Try to have another adult or more than one child present at all times.
- Avoid taking a lone child in your car.
- Stage meetings in public places, such as a library; if you cannot arrange to have an independent witness with you.
- Minimise physical contact (e.g. when demonstrating a task or activity), which could be open to misinterpretation.
CONTROLS FOR 0161 COMMUNITY PERSONNEL
To help regulate any persons who may have substantial access to young people within the activities of the organisation, 0161 Community will seek to implement a number of controls over its workers and volunteers as an integral part of its child protection policy.
Minimum requirements for any person falling into the above categories of “worker’ or “volunteer’ will be as follows;
- To complete an application form providing relevant personal information
- To be interviewed by members of the board of trustees
- To provide at least two independent personal references
- To provide a full work history (if engaged as an employee)
- To account for any unexplained gaps in their work record
- To undertake a satisfactory Criminal Records Bureaux (CRB) check
- To be made aware of the organisation’s aims, constitution and child protection policy
- To have training needs assessed and planning for relevant training agreed
- To work under appropriate supervision
- To complete a probationary period of an agreed length
Vulnerable Adults Policy
0161 Community is fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all vulnerable adults. It recognises its responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promote safe practice and to protect vulnerable adults from harm, abuse and exploitation. 0161 Community acknowledges its duty to act appropriately to any allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse.
Paid staff and volunteers (workers) will endeavour to work together to encourage the development of an ethos which embraces difference and diversity and respects the rights of children, young people and adults.
In implementing this vulnerable adults policy 0161 Community will:
- Ensure that all workers understand their legal and moral responsibility to protect vulnerable adults from harm, abuse and exploitation;
- Ensure that all workers understand their responsibility to work to the standards that are detailed in the organisation’s vulnerable adults safeguarding procedures and work at all times towards maintaining high standards of practice;
- Ensure that all workers are aware of interagency safeguarding procedures and are confident in how to work within these guidelines.
- Ensure that all workers understand their duty to report concerns that arise about a vulnerable adult, or a worker’s conduct towards a vulnerable adult, to the organisation’s named person for adult safeguarding;
- Ensure that the named person understands his/her responsibility to refer any adult safeguarding concerns to the statutory adult protection agencies (i.e. Police and/or Manchester Safeguarding Adults Board);
- Ensure that any procedures relating to the conduct of workers are implemented in a consistent and equitable manner;
- Provide opportunities for all workers to develop their skills and knowledge, particularly in relation to the welfare and safeguarding of vulnerable adults;
- Ensure that carers are encouraged to be involved in the work of the organisation and, when requested, have access to all guidelines and procedures;
- Endeavour to keep up-to-date with national developments relating to the welfare and protection of vulnerable adults.