Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding Policy

(updated 2nd April 2019)

1. Statement

1.1. Principles

Hen Corner recognises the importance of our role in the protection of children and young people.  We commit to working within government guidelines and legislation, including The Protection of Children Act 1999, and complying with Local Area Child Protection procedures.

  • Anyone under the age of 18 will be considered a child for the purpose of this document and our procedures
  • The child’s welfare is paramount
  • All children whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, racial origin, immigration status, language or religious belief have the right of protection from abuse
  • All allegations and suspicions of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
  • Adults working with children are also provided protection and are aware of best practice so they can be protected from wrongful allegations
  • Working in partnership with children and their parents/carers is essential for the protection of the child
  • All of Hen Corner team and volunteers have a responsibility, if they believe that a child may be suffering, or is at risk of significant harm, to refer the concern to Social Services and/or the police

1.2. Aims & Objectives

  • We accept our responsibilities in the observation of physical and behavioural indicators of abuse or to being entrusted with disclosures or allegations of abuse, and the recording and reporting of such.
  • We are committed to the physical and emotional well being of every child and young person involved in our organization
  • We aim to provide an environment where children feel safe, secure and are able to trust the adults whose responsibility it is to care for them.
  • We will discuss any concerns that team or volunteers may have about any child with their parents and carers unless it places a child, or member of staff at an inappropriate risk.  These concerns include suspected abuse or practices that adversely affect the welfare of any child or young person.

1.3 Responsible Person and Tasks in Safeguarding

Team Leader:

    • check references and the completion of a CRB check, to ascertain if the person to be employed/volunteer is ‘suitable’.
    • offer appropriate Child Protection training to team and volunteers.
    • Undertake informed observation of children and young people participating in Hen Corner activity
    • Support children and young people, through discussions, information and play on how to keep themselves safe and how to ‘say’ if they are not.

Child/Young Person: in all cases of child abuse, but in particular when a child discloses, priority is given to fully support the emotional well being of the child / young person.

Recording: Hen Corner Team Leader will discreetly record observations and concerns around child protection issues.  In the event of a suspected case of child abuse, the completion of an incident form and any other necessary documentation requested by Social Services / Police.

Other Team Members: supervisions and staff meetings / support for individuals directly involved with cases.

2. What is child abuse

2.1. Child abuse can take the form of physical, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect.  See Appendix 1 for more detail on what constitutes child abuse and some of the behaviours it can cause in children and young people.

3. Responding to signs of abuse

3.1. Hen Corner team and volunteers are just some of the adults who provide a positive role model for children and young people: we are a source of trusted support.

  • A child might confide in you that he/she has been suffering abuse (disclosed abuse)
  • You may observe symptoms, such as unexplained injuries, marks or behaviour which causes you concern (suspected abuse)
  • Someone may tell you that a child is being abused or that they are abusing a child themselves (reported abuse)

It is not your role to judge, assess or investigate suspected abuse.  However, if and when you need to respond to an incident or suspected incident, you may need personal support to help you deal with your feelings.

3.2. To carry out your duties and responsibilities you need to know about:

  • The signs and symptoms of different types of abuse (see Appendix 1)
  • Hen Corner’s procedures for dealing with disclosed, suspected or reported abuse (this includes your own responsibilities, the responsibilities of others and the action to be taken)
  • The procedures of your Local Authority for investigating possible abuse
  • Sources of help, advice and support

Be clear about your responsibilities

  • Each volunteer and team member has a duty to take action if they suspect child abuse
  • If you are an assistant or volunteer report the incident to the worker in charge immediately in a discreet fashion
  • Your first responsibility is to the child.  Listening, reassuring and believing what the child tells you is the most important action you can take.
  • Do not attempt to interview the child, ask prying questions or leading questions – Use TED (Tell me, Explain, Describe)
  • It is not your responsibility to investigate suspected child abuse
  • The team member or volunteer who suspects child abuse has the responsibility to inform the Team Leader, who in turn will contact and liaise with social services, the police, and any other necessary partners.

Keep records

  • Keep a written record (time and date and people involved) of:
  1. everything noticed
  2. everything actually said by the child
  3. any conversations, telephone calls, meetings
  4. actions decided upon
  • Keep all information accurate and objective.  Do not include your own interpretation or comments
  • Record information as soon as you can
  • All documents will be filed and locked in the bottom draw of the Hen Corner filing cabinet

Confidentiality is essential

  • If you need to discuss issues about child abuse, ensure that everything discussed and written down is in complete confidence

3.3. Steps you take to protect yourself from allegations of abuse

  1. Where possible avoid being alone with a child/young person
  2. Discuss any issues/concerns with the team/manager
  3. Record all concerns
  4. If in doubt seek professional help

3.4. Disclosure of abuse

When a child or young person confides in you that she/he has been suffering abuse, you should remember the following points:

  • Stay calm.  Reassure the child that they are not to blame and were right to tell.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Acknowledge the young person’s feelings.
  • The young person wants the abuse to stop.
  • Try not to appear shocked. The child may use ‘pet’ names for different parts of their bodies, particularly sexual parts.  They may also have their own way of describing what is taking place. You will have to note these words and phrases down as soon as is tactfully possible.
  • Don’t tell the child that you will not tell anyone.  Do not make promises you can’t keep. The child has chosen to tell you because they trust you.  You need to retain their trust, but explain carefully that it will be necessary to involve other adults. Be honest with the child and tell them that you have to tell someone.  The child may ask you what is going to happen to them. If you don’t know, say so.
  • The child may be afraid. They may be afraid that no-one will believe them or that their family will be punished
  • It is rare that a young child makes false allegations of abuse. You should always take the child’s allegations seriously and ensure the Social Services are contacted.
  • Do not interrogate the child. Ask questions only to clarify understanding of what the child has said. Ask only ‘open’ questions; e.g. the child might say ‘I was hit.’ Ask, ‘How did that happen?’ not ‘Who hit you?’ Do not introduce any information the child has not volunteered. Use TED (Tell me, Explain, Describe)
  • Draw a diagram to show the location and size of marks on the child’s body if relevant, and complete a Child Protection Issue Log as soon as possible after the disclosure.
  • Let the child know you understand and that you will act on it
  • Keep the child informed of what is happening

4. Procedures for reporting suspected child abuse

4.1. If a team member/volunteer suspects, or has evidence of abuse, a or disclosure of abuse, then within the same day, the following steps should be followed:

  • Tell Hen Corner Team Leader.  If the Team Leader is not available on the day, the most senior member of staff available should be contacted.

4.2. The following procedures should be conducted only by the Team Leader or senior person on-site:

  1. Consult all the staff that may have knowledge of the child’s welfare.
  2. Decide if a referral to Social Services is required.
  3. Whatever the decision, the reasons for it and the details of what was said and / or seen by the member of staff, child and parents/carers should be recorded.  Explanations should be noted as well, but should not obscure the actual words used by the parent/carer or child.
  4. If there is any uncertainty about whether to refer, please consult one or all of the following: Appendix 1 of this policy on the signs, symptoms and indicators of abuse. The Social Services office that covers the child’s home address.
  5. The Team Leader should make referrals by telephone to the Social Services office that covers the child’s home address.  Give the cause for concern, the facts of the case, information about siblings, past worries, contact with parents/carers, any explanations offered and any opinion, hearsay and judgements on those facts.  Ask to be kept informed of developments.
  6. Confirm the referral, and the details of it, in writing to Social Services.
  7. Record each contact with the child, parent and agencies.
  8. A copy of the letter to Social Services and Incident Report should be given to the Hen Corner Team Leader.  This acts as confirmation of your actions. It is not a substitute for referral to Social Services.
  9. When the Team Leader speaks to Social Services, they should agree with them who will tell the parents about the referral, and when this will happen.  These decisions will depend on the circumstances of the individual case.

4.3. In the case of sexual or physical abuse the concerns must not be discussed with parents.  Social Services will do this only after an inter-agency strategy meeting. Staff will be invited to this meeting.  Advance warning may allow an abuser to bribe or intimidate a child. The same may apply in cases of physical abuse.  Advising parents of the referral should happen after a discussion with Social Services.

  1. Depending on the case and its outcome, the Team Leader will need to inform parents/carers at an appropriate time of the action taken and Hen Corner’s duty in the area of child protection.  This can involve reference to the Government’s procedures to be followed in such cases as well as acknowledgement of parents/carers’ anger, distress or anxiety.
  2. The child should be told who knows about the incident and encouraged to approach staff at any time if they wish to discuss any worries.  They must be reassured that:
  • They were not to blame for any abuse
  • They did the right thing in letting others know about it
  • Adults will try to protect them

A referral of child abuse is a difficult and emotional task and can lead to differing judgements.  During or after a referral or investigation, staff may wish to discuss what actions have been taken as well as their own feelings about the case.  Hen Corner will organise appropriate support for the staff. However, staff should respect the confidential nature of the situation and not reveal the child or family’s identity to anyone outside of the investigation.

5. Responding to allegations of abuse within the organisation

5.1. These procedures are based on the assumption that an open minded and thorough investigation of any allegation is the best way to protect children from abuse and staff from wrongful allegation.

5.2 Procedure

  1. All allegations must be reported to the Team Leader (or the most senior staff member in the Team Leader’s absence)
  2. The Team Leader will interview the person making the allegation to gain the following information:
    • Details of the child and family
    • Nature of the allegation, the alleged perpetrator and the times and dates of the incident
  3. Allegations against the Team Leader must be made directly to Social Services
  4. Failure to report allegations of abuse could lead to criminal prosecution

5.3. Investigation

  1. Hen Corner’s Team Leader will decide if the concern falls within the definition of child abuse or professional malpractice.
  2. If the allegation is malpractice they should decide if the complaint could be resolved within the management and disciplinary procedures of Hen Corner.
  3. If the allegation is of abuse, Hen Corner’s Team Leader will contact the Social Services area office that covers the child’s home address, Under 8’s Unit and the Police Child Protection unit.  These agencies should agree their attendance at a strategy meeting convened by the Hen Corner Team Leader. This contact must be made on the day the allegation is received.
  4. The strategy meeting must not be more than 48 hours after the allegation.  This meeting will indicate how the investigation will move forward.
  5. If the allegation is one of abuse, the staff member concerned may be suspended without being notified of the allegation until after the strategy meeting.  This protects staff members from unnecessary or prolonged anxiety and the child from any inappropriate influence or pressure.
  6. Hen Corner must also consider whether the person has access to children in another setting and whether those organisations/agencies need to be informed.
  7. The decision on who makes initial contact with the parents is a decision for the strategy meeting
  8. Regardless of any external action, the incident will be investigated internally.  The purpose shall not be to judge the person but review organisational practice and the possible implementation of measures designed to prevent any future incidents.
  9. Every effort will be made to ensure the confidentiality of everyone involved

5.4 What to do if you are accused of abuse or malpractice:

If you are the subject of a referral, ensure the following:

    • Contact a solicitor
    • Know your rights
    • Keep careful records of all meetings and telephone calls and letters made or received
    • Keep copies of everything
    • Ensure that you have as much knowledge as possible of the allegations against you
    • Attend meetings if you are asked to

5.5. General advice

  • Ensure that you are not alone with a child at any time
  • Always follow set procedures with regard to discipline
  • Always think before you speak to a child or act so that you do not put yourself in a vulnerable position where your actions or words could be misunderstood.

For example:

  • Do not instigate physical and/or tactile contact with a child
  • Refer to names for parts of the body in appropriate language.  Do not use your own slang words for parts of the body
  • Do not hold a child next to the front of your body.  If a child is upset and needs comforting, you could put an arm around them from the side
  • Never let a child sit on your lap
  • Refer to the Positively Managing Children’s Behaviour Policy for guidelines on how to manage challenging behaviour.
  • Share any concerns you have about a child promptly, for example, unexplained bruising, inappropriate behaviour
  • Always record accidents & incidents in the appropriate book or form
  • Ask the Team leader for help, ideas, advice or just talk things over with someone if you have any concerns about your working day, remembering to keep discussions confidential, as appropriate

6. The role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead

6.1. The current Designated Safeguarding Lead is Hen Corner’s Team Leader.  Duties include:

  • To undertake training in the recognition and investigation of child abuse
  • To develop the knowledge of the procedures involved in reporting child abuse
  • To make this knowledge available to Hen Corner team in individual consultation and in internal training
  • To manage Child Protection Register requirements
  • Identify the need for support that any staff may have when involved in a serious abuse case

Furthermore, the Team Leader will be responsible for the following:

  • To manage the process of referring cases of abuse to social services
  • To ensure Hen Corner is represented at relevant case conferences
  • To be a contact point for agencies needing to contact Hen Corner about child protection issues

7. Organisational approval

7.1. This policy is hereby approved and will be reviewed ANNUALLY from April 2020 and amended if necessary.

8. Contacts

Mon-Fri (9am-5pm) – Early Help Hounslow: 020 8583 6600

Out of hours and weekends – Emergency Duty Team: 020 8583 2222

    • Childline (free, confidential telephone helpline for children and young people—self-referral only): 0800 279 7454
    • NSPCC: 0800 800 5000

 

Hen Corner Safeguarding Policy

Appendix I: Types and effects of child abuse

Team members and volunteers have a vital role to play in the detection of child abuse.  They have substantial close and trusting contact with children and young people and are thus well placed to observe physical and behavioural indicators of abuse or be entrusted with disclosures or allegations of abuse.

There are many ways in which children can be abused.  Children may be abused by adults who are complete strangers, adults who are known to them, or adults within the child’s own family.  Sometimes abuse is carried out on children by other children. The main forms of child abuse are:

  • Physical abuse

Any significant harm caused to the child, or the failure to prevent it.

  • Neglect

For example, the failure to protect the child from exposure to any kind of danger, including cold and starvation, or extreme failure to carry out important aspects of care, which leads to a child suffering harm.

  • Sexual abuse

This is the exploitation of a child or adolescent.  This might be full sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, anal intercourse or fondling.  Showing children pornographic magazines or videos is also a form of child abuse.

  • Emotional abuse

This is the severe emotional ill-treatment or rejection of a child, which can lead to them suffering harm.  All abuse involves some emotional ill-treatment, but emotional abuse can take place in isolation.

Signs & Symptoms Indicative of Child Abuse

Signs of Physical Abuse

  1. Serious Injuries and Symptoms
  • Multiple bruising
  • Fracture without a clear accident history
  • Tender/swollen joint
  • Mouth – tear
  • Eyes & brain: retinal haemorrhage from chest compression and shaking
  1. Bites

Clear impressions of teeth.  Human bites are oval or crescent shaped.  If more than 3cm across they must have been caused by an adult or older child with permanent teeth.

  1. Burns / Scalds

Very difficult to distinguish between accidental and non-accidental burns.  Suspicion aroused if:

  • Burn or scald has clear outline
  • Burns of uniform shape/pattern over large area
  • Splash marks above main area which indicate thrown liquid

Remember:

  • A responsible adult checks temperature of a child’s bath
  • A child is unlikely to sit down voluntarily into too hot water and cannot accidentally scald its bottom without scalding feet
  • A child getting into too hot water will struggle to get out and there will be splash marks
  • Small round burns may be due to cigarettes, but along the spine these can be caused by friction
  1. Scars

All children have scars but notice should be taken of

  • A large number
  • Differing age scars, especially with bruising
  • Unusual shapes – round from cigarettes burns, large ones – not treated
  1. Fractures

Should be suspected if there is pain and swelling and discolouration over a bone or joint.  The most common non-accidental fractures are to the long bones–arms, legs & ribs. It is rare for a child under 1 year to fracture a bone accidentally.  Fractures cause pain – the carer must know that the child has been hurt.

Signs of Neglect and Failure to Thrive

Require hospitalisation to rule out organic condition.  Having said that, the following warning signs should be looked for:

  • Neglected appearance
  • Diarrhoea
  • Voracious appetite
  • Lingering and/or untreated illness
  • Frequently dressed in inadequate or unsuitable clothing for the weather
  • A child thriving away from home
  • Staying frozen in one position for a long time
  • Delayed development, especially speech
  • Repeated accidents which suggest a lack of proper supervision
  • Continual tiredness
  • Does not respond to attention or craves attention/affection from any adult

Signs of sexual abuse

Forms of sexual abuse:

  • Sexual intercourse, including incest.
  • Man with :
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Half sister
  • Mother
  • Grand-daughter
  • Woman with :
  • Father
  • Brother
  • Half brother
  • Son
  • Grandfather

NB illegitimate children are covered by the incest law, adopted and step-children are not.  Lesser sexual acts are indecent assault or gross indecency. Father / son relationships are buggery or indecent assault, not incest or unlawful sexual activity.

  • Mutual masturbation
  • Digital penetration
  • Oral genital contact
  • Pornographic films
  • Exhibitionism

Sexual abuse does not usually cause physical injury.  A child’s behaviour may be the major clue that abuse is taking place.  However a child’s allegation or disclosure should always be believed in the first instance and investigated.  In general:

  • children do not falsely report abuse
  • the majority of children do not tell
  • children do not initiate sexual activity with an adult

If there is reason to doubt the facts of the allegation, the allegation itself is evidence that the child is in distress and that the family relationships are disturbed.

There are many indicators which should raise professional suspicion about sexual abuse.  Most of these listed below can have other, different explanations and they should do no more than raise the possibility of child sexual abuse for professionals concerned about a child:

  • Physical: Any soreness, abrasions, bruising, bleeding of the genital or anal area or breasts, lower abdomen or thighs.  Foreign bodies i.e. in the genital tract. Recurrent urinary tract infection.
  • Behavioural: Sexual explicitness in play, drawing, language or behaviour.  Inappropriate sexual knowledge for their age. Sexually provocative or precocious behaviour.  Continual open masturbation, aggressive and inappropriate sex play.
  • General: Sudden or unexplained changes in behaviour e.g. Mood, enuresis, eating disorders, sleep disturbance often with nightmares, social withdrawal or fear of men or loss of trust in those around them.
  • Self-destructive behaviour: including overdose, running away, suicide attempts or self-inflicted injuries
  • Inappropriate roles or relationships: in the family, particularly young girls taking over the mothering role or an over involvement between fathers and daughters to an exclusive degree.  Inappropriate sleeping arrangements.

Signs of emotional abuse

These by themselves are not evidence of abuse, but may suggest abuse, particularly if a child exhibits several of them, or if a pattern emerges of when or how the child exhibits such signs or behaviour.  There can be other explanations.

  • Repeated minor physical injuries
  • Children who are dirty, smelly, poorly clothed or who appear underfed
  • Children who have lingering illnesses which are not attended to
  • Deterioration in work or significant behaviour changes
  • Aggressive behaviour, severe tantrums
  • An air of detachment or don’t care attitude
  • Overly compliant attitude, watchful attitude
  • The child who is reluctant to go home or is ‘kept away’ by parents
  • Does not join in social activities, has few friends
  • Does not trust adults, particularly those close
  • Tummy pains; no medical reason
  • Eating problems
  • Disturbed sleep, bedwetting
  • Running away from home, suicide attempts, self inflicted wounds
  • Reverting to younger behaviour, depression, withdrawal
  • Relationships between adults & child are secretive and exclude others
  • Made to carry out tasks inappropriate for their age
  • Persistently blamed for things that go wrong
  • Not allowed to do normal childhood activities

NB There may be a pattern of minor injuries over time, or inadequate, muffled explanations which alert you to the possibility of abuse.  Be aware that even for ‘experts’ abuse is not easy to diagnose.

 

Hen Corner Safeguarding Policy

Appendix II: Child Protection Issue Log

Date: ……………………………….

Report from (your name/title): …………………………………………………….

Name of Child ……………………………………………………………

Date of Birth ……../……../……….

Address ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………………………………………………………………………………….. Postcode: ………………………………..

Telephone No ………………………..…………………………………

School ……………………………………………………………………………..

Name of Parent / Carer ……………………………………………………………………………

Care Status (relationship to) ……………………………………………………………………

Gender  Male / Female

Ethnic Origin …………………………………………………………………………..

Home language (s) …………………………………………………………………………………..

Details of other children in family i.e. Name / DOB / school

Details of any agency / professionals meeting with the family

Reported to …………………………………. Designated Safeguarding Lead

By ………………………………………………………on (date) …………..at …….am/pm

Reported to ………………………………………….at………………………………….Social Services

By ………………………………………………………on (date) …………..at …….am/pm

Reported to …………………………………………..at ………………….(local authority)

By …………………………………………on (date) ……………………..at ………..am/pm

Nature of abuse or concern:

Previous concerns :

Agreed action to be taken :

REMEMBER : Confirm referral to Social Services in writing and send a copy with this form to the appropriate authorities / clients

Further action required :

Signed ………………………………….…………………………………………………

 

Signed ………………………………………………………………………………

(Reporting Staff Member & Designated Safeguarding Lead)                                       

Date ………………………………………….

Hen Corner Safeguarding Policy

Appendix III: CHILD PROTECTION RECRUITMENT CHECKLIST

Name of volunteer/employee:

Applying for the post of:

  • This checklist and Personal Profile form must be completed for all new volunteers/team members who will be working with or have access to children and young people.
  • I have explained the need for safer recruitment to the applicant
  • I have given the applicant an opportunity to read the Safeguarding Policy and discussed issues arising.
  • I have set up a personnel file for the applicant
  • The applicant has completed a Personal Profile Form (attach to this checklist)
  • I have taken up their references (attach responses)
  • I have followed up the references with a phone call / conversation (attach a written record)
  • I have completed a DBS check (attach results)
  • The results were satisfactory
  • The applicant has been approved

Signature of preparer

Signed:

Print name: Position: Date:

CHILD PROTECTION PERSONAL PROFILE FORM

To be completed by all new volunteers/team members at Hen Corner.

Personal Details

Name:

Date of Birth:

Telephone:

Address:

Occupation/role applied for:

Qualifications/Training

Please enter details of any qualifications or training courses you have attended relevant to caring/working with children and young people.

Date(s)Name of OrganisationTraining Subject/Qualification Length of Course

Experience

Please give details of experience of working with children and young people

Date(s)Name of OrganisationResponsibilitiesContact Details

Referees

Please provide two referees who are not related to you and if possible have knowledge of your ability to care for / be in the proximity of children.  You should secure prior agreement from the referees before providing their names.

Referee 1

Name:

Telephone:

Address:

Title:

E-mail:

Referee 2

Name:

Telephone:

Address:

Title:

E-mail:

Declaration

I have read and understood Hen Corner’s Safeguarding Policy and agree to confidential vetting procedures.  I agree to inform Hen Corner of any change in circumstances.

Signed:

Date:

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