Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy

  1. Introduction

This policy sets out in line with the statutory requirements for The Kids Network (TKN) to discharge its appropriate accountability for the safeguarding of children and young people.

TKN believes no child or young person should be subject or vulnerable to abuse of any kind. As an organization we are committed to promoting the welfare of all children and young people to keep them safe.

This policy sets out the collective and individual expectation for all stakeholders affiliated to TKN to comply with legislation, codes of conduct and behaviours required as an employee or volunteer of TKN. Definitions of abuse for both children and adults can be found in the Glossary of terms.

  1. Who this policy is for

This policy should be read by all employees, volunteers and board members of TKN including all volunteer mentors and other affiliates of TKN.

  1. Objectives

In developing this policy TKN recognises that safeguarding children and young people is a shared responsibility, with the need for effective joint working between volunteers, staff, agencies and professionals that have different roles and expertise. In order to achieve effective joint working there must be constructive relationships at all levels, promoted and evidenced by:

  •  Executive Lead at Board level TKN, and all Board members being accountable for safeguarding children and young people and adults at risk of harm or abuse.
  •  Clear lines of accountability within the organisation for safeguarding.
  •  Robust communication and escalation process’s that complement Local safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs)
  •  Staff and volunteer training and continuing professional development so that staff are competent to undertake their roles and responsibilities, and those of other professionals and organisations in relation to safeguarding children and adults at risk.
  •  Safe working practices including recruitment, vetting and barring procedures.
  •  Effective interagency working, including effective information sharing.
  1. Principals
  • We will actively engage with children and young people to ensure they are valued, listened to and respected.
  • We commit to appointing a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO), a deputy and a nominated responsible board member.
  • TKN will adopt child protection and safeguarding practices through procedures and codes of conduct for staff and for volunteers.
  • Ensuring our staff and volunteers have access to appropriate safeguarding materials and support.
  • Ensure effective management of staff and volunteers through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures.
  • Recruiting staff and volunteer responsibly, ensuring all necessary checks are carried out prior to commencement.

Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedure

TKN will:

  • ensure that all staff and volunteers (legally responsible adults) working with children, young people or vulnerable adults: are carefully selected, are checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (“DBS”) have two appropriate references and understand and accept their responsibility for the safety of children, young people and adults at risk in their care. 
  • ensure that the child’s welfare is of paramount importance, regardless of age, gender, ability or race, when planning, organising, advising on and delivering children’s programmes. 
  • respond swiftly and appropriately to all suspicions or allegations of abuse, and to ensure confidential information is restricted to the appropriate external agencies. 
  • raise the awareness of relevant staff and volunteers of child protection issues through the provision of training and regular updates to risk assessments and changes in client groups
  • monitor and review the effectiveness of this policy on a regular basis. 
  • ensure that the principles of this policy are adopted by all individuals to meet the same level of determination with regard to child safety.

For employees of TKN

  • Employees will be expected to keep an attendance register for all organised sessions. 
  • Employees will be expected to keep a log of all safeguarding incidents in line with the Data Protection policy
  • Parental consent and medical information about the child must be obtained in advance when TKN is working directly with, and has responsibility for, the children
  • Children and parents should be given a ‘named person’ to whom they may report any worries or concerns, this will be the DSO.
  • All accidents/incidents involving employees or volunteer mentors should be recorded using TKNs incident forms immediately or as soon as practicably possible. 
  • Employees are responsible for reporting suspected cases of child abuse to the appropriate people

The designated safeguarding officer (DSO) is Sarah Woodcock, the CEO of The Kids Network.

All safeguarding concerns will be reported to the Board in line with regular scheduled meetings, but will also be discussed by the delivery sub-committee. This will be a standing agenda item.

A member of the Board will be appointed Safeguarding lead and will have responsibility for holding the organisation to account.

For volunteer mentors

Avoid

  • Spend excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others – where possible meet in public populated places. Try to restrict session to between 2-3 hours.
  • Offer a lift to a child

Where occasions arise where it is unavoidable that these things do happen, they should be done with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge of the organisation and/or the children’s parents. 

Never: 

  • Engage in rough physical activities including horseplay – apart from structured activities. 
  • Engage in sexually provocative activities. 
  • Allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any form. 
  • Make sexually suggestive comments about or to a child even in fun. 
  • Let an allegation a child makes go unrecorded. 
  • Do things of a personal nature for children that they can do themselves. 
  • Take children to your own home

All stakeholders: what to do if you suspect a child is at risk

It is not the responsibility of staff or volunteers to deal with suspected abuse but it is their responsibility to report concerns in line with guidance on reporting child abuse. You may find that these suspicions back up other recorded incidents. Remember, do not investigate – do report. 

The following information covers three steps to report any information on child safety.

If a child’s behaviour/appearance gives reason for concern or a child has an unusual physical injury or a child confides about abuse, the procedure that MUST be followed is: 

  1. immediately inform your Manager or DSO
  2. use the Incident Record Form to make a record of your actions, include anything the child said, anything you asked the child, and your observations. This may be used as evidence later. Record only the facts as you know them. 
  3. if abuse is suspected, you should report concerns directly to the Designated Safeguarding Officer or in their absence the lead on the Board of Trustees. It is their responsibility to inform the nearest Local Safeguarding Children’s Board/Social Services. 

All concerns should be communicated immediately to the DSO for TKN both in writing through an incident report form and over the telephone.

If you a believe a child is in imminent danger of coming to harm, call 999.

You can also seek advice at any time from the NSPCC helpline – help@nspcc.org.uk or 0808 800 5000. Next steps might involve undertaking an early help assessment or making a referral directly to children’s social care/the police.

If you have concerns about the safety or welfare of a child and feel they are not being acted upon by your manager or named/designated safeguarding lead, it is your responsibility to take action.

The following are some key Do’s and Don’ts if a child reports abuse: 

Always: 

  • Stay calm – ensure the child is safe and feels safe. 
  • Allow the child to speak without interruption, accepting what you have been told. (This should not be seen as believing or disbelieving what you have been told) 
  • Reassure the child and stress that they are not to blame, tell them that they are right to tell you and that you will try to offer support – but do not promise to keep it a secret and tell the child it is your responsibility to inform others. 
  • Tell the child that you will try to offer support but you will have to pass the information on. 
  • Make a note as soon as possible after the event detailing what you and the child discussed. 

Never: 

  • Ask leading questions, only to clarify
  • Make promises you cannot keep. 
  • Take sole responsibility – consult someone else so that you can protect the child and gain support for yourself. 

Glossary:

  1. Legal Framework

This policy has been written on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children:

  • Children Act 1989
  • United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • Children Act 2004
  • Safeguarding Vunerable Groups Act 2006
  • Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • Children and Families Act 2012
  • Children and Families Act 2014
  1. Definitions
  • Abuse – A form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child 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 others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.

5.2 Physical 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 fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.

5.3 Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent effects on the child’s emotional development, and may involve:

•   Conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person;

•   Imposing age or developmentally inappropriate expectations on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the 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 e.g. where there is domestic violence and abuse;

•   Serious bullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger;

•   Exploiting and corrupting children.

Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone

5.4 Sexual abuse – 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.

Sexual abuse includes non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, including online and with mobile phones, or in the production of pornographic materials, watching sexual activities or 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.

In addition; Sexual abuse includes abuse of children through sexual exploitation. Penetrative sex where one of the partners is under the age of 16 is illegal, although prosecution of similar age, consenting partners is not usual. However, where a child is under the age of 13 it is classified as rape under s5 Sexual Offences Act 2003.

5.5 Neglect – 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.

Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance misuse, maternal mental ill health or learning difficulties or a cluster of such issues. Where there is domestic abuse and violence towards a carer, the needs of the child may be neglected.

Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent 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, social and educational needs.

Included in the four categories of child abuse and neglect above, are a number of factors relating to the behaviour of the parents and carers which have significant impact on children such as domestic violence. Research analysing Serious Case Reviews has demonstrated a significant prevalence of domestic abuse in the history of families with children who are subject of Child Protection Plans.  Children can be affected by seeing, hearing and living with domestic violence and abuse as well as being caught up in any incidents directly, whether to protect someone or as a target. It should also be noted that the age group of 16 and 17 year olds have been found in recent studies to be increasingly affected by domestic violence in their peer relationships

The Home Office definition of Domestic violence and abuse was updated in March 2013 as:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence and abuse between those aged 16 or over, who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender and sexuality.

This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

•   Psychological;

•   Physical;

•   Sexual;

•   Financial;

•   Emotional.

 
 
  • Online abuse – Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the web, whether through social networks, playing online games or using mobile phones. Children and young people may experience cyberbullying, grooming, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or emotional abuse.

Children can be at risk of online abuse from people they know, as well as from strangers. Online abuse may be part of abuse that is taking place in the real world (for example bullying or grooming). Or it may be that the abuse only happens online (for example persuading children to take part in sexual activity online).

Children can feel like there is no escape from online abuse – abusers can contact them at any time of the day or night, the abuse can come into safe places like their bedrooms, and images and videos can be stored and shared with other people.

  • The above list is not exhaustive. There are a number of online resources:

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/

http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/resources/child-protection-and-safeguarding#child-protection

http://www.londoncp.co.uk

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safeguarding-children-and-young-people/safeguarding-children-and-young-peopl

The Kids Network Safeguarding Policy Summary