Purpose of this Document
This document outlines the policy of this organisation in relation to dealing with child safeguarding. It should be linked to the agency’s main safeguarding of adult’s policy concerning definitions of abuse and its overall approach to safeguarding. It also should be linked to the policies and procedures of the local safeguarding children’s board, which will reflect a commitment to the government’s strategy as described in its Working together to safeguard children guidance (2015).
This document is based on the conviction that:
1. the children we encounter in the course of providing services may be at risk of abuse or harm in various forms
2. abuse may be committed by the staff of agencies providing care or by others who are in a trusting relationship with a child
3. our agency has a duty to do everything possible to prevent, report and tackle abuse wherever we encounter it.
It is the duty of all members of staff to be vigilant regarding the welfare of children with whom we have contact in the course of providing services. Staff likely to be in contact with children and their families will be trained to recognise the signs of abuse when they occur and to respond in accordance with national and local child protection policies and procedures.
Any member of staff who knows or believes that abuse of a child is occurring has an obligation to report it as quickly as possible to their manager.
Action in emergency situations
If the situation is an emergency, with a child in immediate danger, staff should take urgent action to intervene and call for assistance as soon as possible. They should give any necessary first aid and contact appropriate emergency services if necessary. If the abuser remains present, staff should seek to calm the situation. Staffs have a right to avoid putting themselves at risk of violence or other harm.
Immediate action to be taken by managers
When a manager receives a report of suspected, imminent or actual abuse of a child, an internal investigation should be opened as soon as possible but care should be taken not to prejudice any action to be taken by police or social services. If the suspected abuser is a member of staff of this agency, the manager should initiate appropriate steps under the disciplinary procedure. Staff will take all possible steps to co-operate with further investigations by social services or the police.
Referral to Children’s Services/ Local Safeguarding Children Board
Alongside any internal enquiry and action, the situation should be reported without delay to the local authority children’s services department and/or safeguarding children board, which will carry out its own investigation under local procedures, involving other agencies as necessary.
Reporting to the police
If it is suspected that a criminal act might have been committed, the situation should be reported to the police. Every effort should be made not to interfere with possible evidence.
The contact details of relevant organisations are as follows:
· Local Authority Children’s Services - 0300 1261000 (Out of Hours 01604 626938)
· Local Safeguarding Children Board - 01604 364036
· Police - 101
Action to be taken in the absence of further evidence
In instances where an investigation by the local children’s safeguarding services, police or others against a member of staff of this agency is inconclusive, the appropriate manager should nevertheless proceed with an internal investigation within the disciplinary policy, should take any necessary steps to safeguard the child as far as possible, and should keep the situation under review in case it becomes possible or necessary to take further action.
All details associated with allegations of abuse will be recorded clearly and accurately. The record will be securely kept and the agency’s rules on confidentiality carefully followed. Reports will be made as required to the Care Quality Commission.
This organisation takes great care in the recruitment of staff, carries out all possible checks on recruits to ensure that they are of a high standard and will co-operate in all government initiatives regarding the sharing of information on staff who are found to be unsuitable to be involved in work which brings them into contact with children.
This organisation undertakes to work in compliance with current government guidance on multi-agency policies and procedures to protect children from abuse and its CQC registration requirements.
CSE is a crime that can affect any child, anytime, anywhere, regardless of their social or ethnic background. CSE can be carried out by individuals, by street gangs or by groups. It can be motivated by money or by sexual gratification. But in all cases, there is an imbalance of power - vulnerable children are controlled and abused by adults or by other children.
The grooming process
Perpetrators gain control over children by grooming them, offering excitement, drugs, alcohol, gifts and affection. At first, this control may take the guise of 'romance' or 'friendship'.
But once a child does something - even something really small - that they know they might get 'in trouble' for, they become vulnerable to blackmail. As the exploitation gets worse, terrifying threats and violence may be used to keep children compliant. They are sexually exploited not just by the original perpetrators but often by many other abusers.
Exploited children are trapped because they often believe the abuse is their own fault - they fear they will be blamed or punished if they tell anyone what is happening. They are ashamed of what they are forced to do and are scared they will not be believed.
In many cases, children believe they are in a loving relationship with their exploiter. What's more the perpetrator will do everything they can to isolate children further by convincing them that their families do not really understand or love them.
Look out for the warning signs
Changes in a child's behaviour:
· becomes especially secretive
· stops seeing their usual friends
· sudden changes of taste in dress or music
· sexualisation of their appearance and behaviour
· receives increased number of calls and messages
· sharp, severe mood swings
· starts using a different 'street language' or name
· thoughts of self-harming or low self esteem
Relationships with older men and/or women (although not all perpetrators are older).
Absence from school; repeatedly running away from home.
New, expensive items that they couldn't afford, such as mobile phones, iPods or jewellery - as well as 'invisible' or 'virtual' gifts such as phone credit and online gaming credits.
Looks tired or unwell and sleeps at unusual hours.
Has marks or scars on their body, which they try to hide.
Involvement in crime, use of drugs and alcohol.
Entering or leaving vehicles.
If you have concerns that a child might be at risk of CSE, call local Police on 101. In an emergency always dial 999.
FGM – Female Genital Mutilation
As per NSPCC website
FGM is illegal
FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK since 1985. In 2003 it also became a criminal offence for UK nationals or permanent UK residents to take their child abroad to have female genital mutilation.
Anyone found guilty of the offence faces a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
Regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales must report ‘known’ cases of FGM in under 18s to the police (Home Office, 2016)
A girl at immediate risk of FGM may not know what's going to happen. But she might talk about or you may become aware of:
· a long holiday abroad or going 'home' to visit family
· relative or cutter visiting from abroad
· a special occasion or ceremony to 'become a woman' or get ready for marriage
· a female relative being cut – a sister, cousin, or an older female relative such as a mother or aunt.
Indicators FGM may have taken place
A girl or woman who's had female genital mutilation (FGM) may:
· have difficulty walking, standing or sitting
· spend longer in the bathroom or toilet
· appear withdrawn, anxious or depressed
· have unusual behaviour after an absence from school or college
· be particularly reluctant to undergo normal medical examinations
· ask for help, but may not be explicit about the problem due to embarrassment or fear.
· The physical effects of FGM
FGM can be extremely painful and dangerous. It can cause:
· severe pain
· infection such as tetanus, HIV and hepatitis B and C
· organ damage
· blood loss and infections that can cause death in some case.
FGM is covered in staff Safeguarding training.
Gangs – A Safeguarding Response
A child can fall very quickly into gang involvement and the response should be both rapid and dynamic. Staff should share a collective responsibility to deal with gang culture, violence and criminality, whilst ensuring that the primary consideration will always be the protection and safety of children. Professionals will struggle to deal with gang related issues in isolation and there should be a multi-agency response to the recruitment and exploitation of a young person by a gang. Emphasis should be on prevention, creating positive changes and diversions in a young person’s life.
Staff should be wary of viewing young gang members as having made a ‘lifestyle choice’. Many children do not make informed choices when opting to join a gang, with the majority being coerced, threatened or manipulated. It is important that professionals understand the complexity of the ‘push – pull’ factors affecting the young person and how they have or will potentially exploited. Professionals should also be mindful that whilst a young gang member may be the perpetrator of gang violence and criminality, they may also be a victim of gang violence and exploitation.
Early identification and interventions are key to safeguarding children and young people from risk of gang involvement. Where professionals receive information, that a young person is either a member of a gang, is at risk of becoming involved in a gang or is at risk of harm from gang members, then they will need to make a referral to children’s social care, in line with the local agreed safeguarding protocol/pathway. Where that information reveals that young person is also a victim of crime or has committed a crime, then the crime and circumstances should also be reported to police.
Any concerns should be reported to the office asap.
Policy Amended: 6th November 2018
By: M Coyne