Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
Approved by Bore Place Board of Trustees – September 2021
Next review: September 2023
Commonwork Trust believes all visitors to the site should be able to enjoy the facilities, events and activities at Bore Place safely and within a framework that reduces risk of harm, accident or abuse. Commonwork Trust has a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people (regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation) to keep them safe and to practise ways to protect them.
1. Scope of the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
- To underpin the standards of our work with children and young people.
- To protect children and young people who use Bore Place services from abuse, harm or distress.
- To protect individual staff and volunteers from unjustified accusations of misconduct.
2. Supporting documents
- Raising Concerns Policy & Procedure
- Staff Grievance Policy & Procedure
- Health and Safety Policy
- Code of Conduct (for staff) & Volunteer Agreement (for volunteers)
- Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Policy
- Lone Working Policy
- Young People’s Behaviour Policy
- E-safety Policy
- Induction process
3. Legal framework
Safeguarding is about embedding practices throughout the organisation to ensure the protection of children wherever possible. In contrast, Child Protection is about responding to circumstances that arise.
This guidance supports the application of the Kent Safeguarding Children Multi-Agency Partnership (KSCMP) Policy and Procedures on Safeguarding and Child Protection. It provides information and outlines expectations for practice to help inform staff of their professional responsibilities for safeguarding.
We aim to promote the welfare and safeguarding of all children and young people and we work to the principles embodied within the Children Act 1989 and 2004, Section 175 and 176 Education Act 2002, and related guidance including Keeping Children Safe in Education (2020), the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000), Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) and What to do if you are worried a child is being abused (2015).
This guidance should be read in conjunction with KSCMP’s Guidance and Procedures found on the website https://www.kscmp.org.uk/
4. Safeguarding procedures
4.1 Designated Safeguarding Officers’ contact details:
Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL): Julie Easy
Telephone number: 01732 463255/Mobile Number: 07833 495 449
Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO): Catharine Smith Telephone number: 01732 463255
4.2 The Designated Safeguarding Officers are responsible for:
- Responding to Child Protection concerns
- Liaising with other agencies
- Ensuring that locally established procedures are followed including reporting and referral processes
- Acting as a consultant for staff to discuss concerns
- Making referrals as necessary
- Maintaining a confidential recording system
- Representing or ensuring the Commonwork Trust is appropriately represented at inter-agency meetings
- Managing and monitoring the Commonwork Trust’s part in service user care/protection plans
- Organising training for all staff
- Liaising with other professionals
4.3 Safer recruitment
Commonwork Trust has a clear process for recruiting staff and volunteers to reduce risk. This includes:
- The use of application forms to assess a candidate’s suitability for the role.
- A clear commitment to safeguarding and protecting children which is stated in the job advert, job description and interview.
- A face-to-face interview with pre-planned and clear questions. These include a question about whether the candidate has any criminal convictions, cautions, other legal restrictions or pending cases that might affect their suitability to work with children.
- Checking the candidate’s identity by asking to see photographic ID.
- Checking the candidate holds any relevant qualifications they say they have.
- Applying for the relevant DBS check for all staff.
- Always checking any references the candidate provides, specifically about an individual’s suitability to work with children.
- Renewing all DBS checks every three years.
- Where a DBS check highlights a ‘record’, reporting this to the DSL who will then risk assess the situation and report to the CEO and/or Trustees to decide appropriate actions.
- If the member of staff is already employed, deciding whether that member of staff can continue to access the site, or whether they should be suspended on full pay. This decision will be taken by the CEO in association with the DSL.
- Employing under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, but retaining the right to suspend a member of staff if there is a perceived risk to vulnerable guests/clients who attend the site or programmes run by Commonwork Trust.
4.4 Management and supervision of staff/volunteers
The DSL will also ensure staff are:
- Aware of policy and procedures around safeguarding.
- Aware of the indicators of abuse and any causes of concern.
- Aware of issues of online safety for themselves and keeping children/young people safe.
- Confident in their ability to report any concerns through appropriate channels.
- Aware of data protection/confidentiality protocols.
- Aware of actions that Commonwork Trust would take against any staff who had any accusation made against them.
- Trained in procedures to ensure safe practice and activities relating to safeguarding, including risk assessments.
- Trained in where to find appropriate forms/guidance on any complex issues.
The DSL will follow up any referral made to Social Services relating to Child Protection concerns, until satisfied that the issue is being dealt with appropriately.
Most guests/clients attend programmes or activities at Bore Place under the auspices of another organisation (schools, youth groups, special interest groups, family groups etc.). In the situation where a member of staff has cause for concern about a visiting client they will initially raise the concern with the group leaders or the DSL as appropriate. A decision will then be made about whether it is appropriate for this concern to be dealt with under any safeguarding policy of the organisation or agency that is responsible for the client (e.g. school, college), or whether the Commonwork Trust will take further action. This is to be dealt with on the working day that the concern has been raised.
Staff will be trained to:
- Be vigilant
- Be aware that it is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard the vulnerable
- Be aware of issues of confidentiality
- Be aware of protection of data (GDPR)
- Be aware of indicators of abuse, and types of potential abuse
- Be aware of procedures if they have concerns
- Be aware that they will be adequately supported in their reporting and managing of any potential abuse.
- Be aware of procedures if they receive a criminal record or are found to have one when their DBS check is returned.
- Be aware of procedures if an allegation is made against them.
4.5 Working with volunteers
- Offers of voluntary support and help are always welcomed and are an integral part of the ethos and work of Commonwork Trust. Volunteers should be supported in all aspects of the work of the Commonwork Trust, which includes being supported under this policy if they are deemed as “vulnerable”
- By the same token they must also be treated in the same way as staff would be to ensure that other clients are safeguarded. They will be offered any training deemed suitable for their role.
- If a volunteer is working directly with children or young people at Bore Place or attached to any Commonwork Trust project, they will be subject to the same procedures if an accusation is made against them and will be offered the same training as paid staff members.
- No volunteer (including those on a professional placement while working towards a professional qualification or an ex-client working in the garden) should be left on their own with any client deemed as “vulnerable”.
- If a volunteer is working towards a professional qualification, the appropriate educational establishment will be approached by the DSL with a view to checking their suitability for this position. The volunteer will be made aware of this procedure and will be kept informed of any results. The sending educational establishment will be responsible for DBS checks, and for informing the Commonwork Trust of any concerns. Should there be an accusation against a volunteer in this category, the sending educational establishment will be kept informed and the volunteer will be told of this.
5. Child Protection procedures
5.1 What do we mean by abuse and neglect?
Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or an omission to act, or it may occur when a child is persuaded to enter a financial or sexual transaction to which they have not consented or cannot consent.
Abuse can occur in any relationship and it may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it. There are several types of abuse which can cause long term damage to a child or young person. Definitions of abuse are:
- Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent/carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
- Emotional abuse is the persistent maltreatment 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. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them, or ‘making fun’ of what they say and 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 capacity, as well as overprotection 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 cyber-bullying) causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. It may also include the radicalisation or attempt to radicalise a child to any form of extremist view (e.g. Islamic State). Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
- 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 (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing or touching outside clothing. They may include non-contact activities such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, 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.
- Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, which is 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
5.2 Possible signs of abuse may include:
- Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a visible part of the body not normally prone to such injuries or when the explanation of the cause of the injury does not fit the location.
- The child discloses abuse or describes what appears to be an abusive act.
- Someone else (child or adult) expresses concern about the welfare of another child.
- Unexplained change in frequency or appropriateness of behaviour.
- Inappropriate sexual awareness or sexually explicit behaviour.
5.3 All staff should have an awareness of specific safeguarding issues that can put children at risk of harm inside and outside their families
Specific safeguarding issues must all be reported to the DSL/DSO. Potential forms of harm children can be vulnerable to include (but are not limited to) sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, peer-on-peer abuse and serious youth violence.
5.3.1 Child sexual exploitation (CSE) and child criminal exploitation (CCE)
CSE and CCE involve exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people receive something (for example food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, gifts, money or in some cases simply affection) as a result of engaging in sexual or criminal activities. Both CSE and CCE are forms of abuse and both occur where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance in power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual or criminal activity. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
In some cases, the abuse will be in exchange for something the victim needs or wants and/or will be to the financial benefit or other advantage (such as increased status) of the perpetrator or facilitator. The abuse can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and children or adults. The abuse can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse. It can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence. Victims can be exploited even when activity appears consensual and it should be noted exploitation, as well as being physical, can be facilitated and/or take place online.
Some of the following can be indicators of both child criminal and sexual exploitation where children:
- Appear with unexplained gifts, money or new possessions
- Associate with other children involved in exploitation
- Suffer from changes in emotional wellbeing
- Misuse drugs and alcohol
- Go missing for periods of time or regularly come home late
- Regularly miss school or education or do not take part in education
If staff have a CCE/CSE concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken by following standard safeguarding procedures set out below and speaking to the DSL or a deputy.
5.3.2 County lines
County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs (primarily crack cocaine and heroin) into one or more importing areas (within the UK), using dedicated mobile phone lines or other forms of ‘deal line’. Exploitation is an integral part of the county lines offending model with children and vulnerable adults exploited to move (and store) drugs and money. Offenders will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons to ensure compliance of victims. Children can be targeted and recruited into county lines in a number of locations including schools, further and higher educational institutions, pupil referral units, special educational needs schools, children’s homes and care homes.
A number of the indicators for CSE and CCE as detailed above may be applicable to where children are involved in county lines.
Some additional specific indicators that may be present where a child is criminally exploited through involvement in county lines are children who:
- Go missing and are subsequently found in areas away from their home.
- Have been the victim or perpetrator of serious violence (e.g. knife crime).
- Are involved in receiving requests for drugs via a phone line, moving drugs, handing over and collecting money for drugs.
- Are exposed to techniques such as ‘plugging’, where drugs are concealed internally to avoid detection.
- Are found in accommodation that they have no connection with, often called a ‘trap house’ or ‘cuckooing’ or hotel room where there is drug activity.
- Owe a ‘debt bond’ to their exploiters.
- Have their bank accounts used to facilitate drug dealing.
If staff have a county lines concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken by following standard safeguarding procedures set out below and speaking to the DSL or a deputy.
5.3.3 Forced marriage
Forcing a person into a marriage is a crime in England and Wales. A forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into a marriage.
If staff have a forced marriage concern about a child, immediate action should be taken by following standard safeguarding procedures set out below and speaking to the DSL or a deputy if unsure. If the DSL or deputy cannot be reached staff can contact the Forced Marriage Unit if they need advice or information. Contact: 020 7008 0151 or email: email@example.com.
5.3.4 Female genital mutilation (FGM)
FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences.
Staff must report to the police cases where they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out. They should also discuss any such case with the DSL and involve children’s social care as appropriate. The duty does not apply in relation to at risk or suspected cases (i.e. where the member of staff does not discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out, either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) or in cases where the woman is 18 or over. In these cases, staff should follow standard safeguarding procedures set out below and speak to the DSL or a deputy.
5.3.5 Peer-on-peer abuse
Staff must be aware that children and adults at risk can abuse other children/adults at risk (often referred to as peer-on-peer abuse).
This is most likely to include, but not limited to:
- Bullying (including cyber bullying).
- Physical abuse such as hitting, shaking, biting or other physical abuse.
- Sexual violence such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault.
- Sexual harassment, such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment.
- Initiation/hazing type violence or rituals.
- Sexting (known as youth-produced sexual imagery).
- Upskirting – where someone takes a picture under a person’s clothing (not necessarily a skirt) without their permission and/or knowledge, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks (with or without underwear) to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm. It is a criminal offence. Anyone of any gender, can be a victim.
If staff have a peer-on-peer abuse concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken by following standard safeguarding procedures set out below and speaking to the DSL or a deputy.
5.3.6 Sexual violence and sexual harassment
Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any sex. They can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children.
When referring to sexual harassment we mean ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline. When we reference sexual harassment, we do so in the context of child-on-child sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is likely to violate a child’s dignity, and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.
Young people who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment will likely find the experience stressful and distressing. Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap, they can occur online and offline (both physical and verbal) and are never acceptable. It is important that all victims are taken seriously and offered appropriate support. Staff need to be aware and make clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, and will never be tolerated.
Bore Place will challenge behaviours (which are potentially criminal in nature), such as grabbing bottoms, breasts, and genitalia. Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them and staff must be aware that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can be especially vulnerable.
If staff have a sexual violence or sexual harassment concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken by following standard safeguarding procedures set out below and speaking to the DSL or a deputy.
5.3.7 Domestic abuse
The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is: 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 abuse. All children can witness and be adversely affected by domestic abuse in the context of their home life where domestic abuse occurs between family members. Exposure to domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long lasting emotional and psychological impact on children. In some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result.
If staff have a domestic abuse concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken by following standard safeguarding procedures set out below and speaking to the DSL or a deputy.
5.3.8 Mental health
All staff should also be aware that mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. Only appropriately trained professionals should attempt to make a diagnosis of a mental health problem. Staff, however, are well placed to observe children day-to-day and identify those whose behaviour suggests that they may be experiencing a mental health problem or be at risk of developing one. Where children have suffered abuse and neglect, or other potentially traumatic adverse childhood experiences, this can have a lasting impact throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. It is key that staff are aware of how these children’s experiences can impact on their mental health, behaviour and education.
If staff have a mental health concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken by following standard safeguarding procedures set out below and speaking to the DSL or a deputy.
5.3.9 Preventing radicalisation
Children are vulnerable to extremist ideology and radicalisation and protecting children from this risk is part of Bore Place’s safeguarding approach.
Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This also includes calling for the death of members of the armed forces.
Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups.
Terrorism is an action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people; causes serious damage to property; or seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system. The use or threat must be designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
There is no single way of identifying whether a child is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. Background factors combined with specific influences, such as family and friends, may contribute to a child’s vulnerability. Similarly, radicalisation can occur through many different methods (such as social media or the internet) and settings (such as within the home). However, it is possible to protect vulnerable people from extremist ideology and intervene to prevent those at risk of radicalisation being radicalised. As with other safeguarding risks, staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour and language, which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. Staff should use their judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and, if there are any concerns, immediate action should be taken by speaking to the DSL or a deputy who may make a ‘prevent’ referral.
5.4 Becoming aware of a safeguarding issue
Potential safeguarding issues may be raised in several ways:
- A third party or anonymous allegation is received.
- A child or young person’s appearance, behaviour, play, drawing or statements cause suspicion of abuse and/or neglect.
- A child or young person reports an incident(s) of alleged abuse which occurred some time ago.
- A written report is made regarding the serious misconduct of a worker towards a child or young person.
However safeguarding issues are identified, Commonwork Trust expects all staff and volunteers to act on the information, following the process identified below to ensure the safety of the child. It is not the responsibility of staff and volunteers to investigate the validity of the concerns but to ensure that the responsible authorities are informed, providing clear and factual information.
5.5 Staff procedure
It is important that you treat any allegations extremely seriously. Never think that someone else may be dealing with it. If you receive information that a child may be at risk of or experiencing harm, make sure you know how to respond appropriately. Staff must ensure that that the child is safe and away from the person against whom the allegation is made.
- Initially talk to a child/young person about what you are observing. It is okay to ask questions, for example: “I’ve noticed that you don’t appear yourself today, is everything okay?” but never use leading questions.
- Listen carefully to what the young person has to say and take it seriously. Act at all times towards the child as if you believe what they are saying.
- Always explain to children and young people that any information they have given will have to be shared with others, if this indicates they and/or other children are at risk of harm.
- Notify the DSL immediately.
- Record what was said as soon as possible after any disclosure. The person who receives the allegation or has the concern should complete the pro forma and ensure it is signed and dated. The contents of the pro forma include:
- Date and time of notification
- Young person’s name
- What was said or noticed
- Actions to be taken (both internal and external actions – based on the issues raised in the allegation, e.g. notify manager/safeguarding lead)
- Respect confidentiality.
- Give the pro forma to the DSL immediately.
- The DSL should take immediate action if there is a suspicion that a child has been abused or is likely to be abused. In this situation, the DSL should contact the police and/or Children’s Services. If a referral is made direct to Children’s Services team this should be followed up in writing within 24 hours.
- To help the DSL make a decision they may choose to consult with the Area Children’s Officer (Child Protection). Advice may also be sought from Children’s Services Duty Social Workers who offer opportunities for consultation as part of the child in need/Child Protection process. Some concerns may need to be monitored over a period of time before a decision to refer to Children’s Services is made.
- Parents/carers will need to be informed about any referral to Children’s Services unless to do so would place the child at an increased risk of harm.
- The DSL will keep a record of the whole process, including the initial pro forma, names of those contacted, actions arising, rationale for actions, and include timescales and reporting back times, as well as keeping staff informed.
5.6 What to do if a young person or child discloses that they feel they were a victim of a crime, or had an experience in which they felt they were at risk of becoming a victim of a crime
If a young person discloses an incident where they feel they were at risk of a crime being carried out against them, the DSL will, in agreement with the young person and possibly their carer, inform the police and liaise with the young person and/or their carer for the incident to be reported and possibly investigated by the police.
5.7 What to do if an accusation is made against a member of staff at Bore Place
- Immediately ensure that the member of staff does not have access to the alleged victim or the informant.
- Ensure that the member of staff does not have access to any records pertaining to the victim (phone number, address, information on whereabouts).
- A decision on whether the member of staff should be suspended must be taken within 24 hours of the accusation being made.
- Commonwork Trust retains the right to instigate grievance procedures against any staff member, which may result in the staff member being dismissed.
- Inform the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) – 03000 410888 – of the issue.
- If the allegation is made about the manager of the service or the DSL, a member of staff would consult with the CEO of the Commonwork Trust and/or the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Commonwork Trust, and that manager or DSL would not have access to records or clients while any investigation takes place.
5.8 What to do if a child or young person goes missing from a group, or chooses to leave the site while attending an activity or visit
- Staff will respond immediately.
- If the child is from a visiting school group, the leader of the group is to be informed immediately.
- If attending as a volunteer or under a CT scheme, the DSL is to be informed. Information on emergency contact details to be obtained and parents/carers to be informed.
- All staff/volunteers and the visiting party on the site to be made aware of the missing person, with description, with instructions to contact Reception and/or DSL if they have sight of the missing person.
- If there are concerns about any preceding incident that may have led to the child or young person being upset or angry about something, wider searches of the area to be carried out, including areas that may pose a risk to a child or young person.
- If DSCPC is concerned, the police are to be informed of the missing person.
5.9 The child protection plan
The DSL will inform members of staff who have direct pastoral responsibility for service users who are subject of a Child Protection plan. These children and young persons must be monitored very carefully and the smallest concern should be recorded on an incident sheet and passed immediately to the DSL. The DSL will be responsible for reporting or attending all Child Protection case conferences.
6. Policy review
The Board of Trustees will annually review the operation of this policy and will approve any recommended updates.