Child protection / vulnerable person’s policy and procedures
UDO believe that all children and vulnerable persons have the right to enjoy the activities of the group in a happy, safe, secure environment. To allow this to happen we have produced a child and vulnerable person’s protection policy that has been agreed by all trustees and committee members and written by the project manager, who was previously a Detective Constable on a Child Protection Team. The policy relates to all staff, volunteers and users of the group.
All staff and volunteers who are entrusted with the care of children and vulnerable persons will be subject to safe recruitment procedures. They will be asked for any past convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings as well as any pending cases. They will also be asked if they have ever had any complaints of abuse against them. Proof of identification will be requested as well as a check with the Criminal Records Bureau.
This policy comprises of 7 pages and time should be taken to read all of the pages. Where the policy states “designated department” the direct email contact is CPVA@theudogroup.com or if at an event or out of office hours and instant action is required, please ask to speak to the event manager or person in charge, they will have an emergency contact for the designated officer on the day. In the first instance all concerns should be reported to the designated department who will assess the information and make a decision as to what will happen next.
Good practice guidelines
These are guidelines and are not exhaustive. These are to give you an idea of what is expected and working practices which will safeguard you and the child or vulnerable person.
• Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
• Treating all children and vulnerable persons equally, and with respect and dignity.
• Always putting the welfare of each child and vulnerable person first.
• Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with children and vulnerable person (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child or vulnerable person or to share a room with them).
• Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children or vulnerable person to share in the decision-making process.
• Making activities and other off site activities fun, enjoyable and safe.
• Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance.
• Involving parents/carers wherever possible.
• Ensuring that if mixed groups are taken away, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff. However, remember that same gender abuse can also occur.
• Ensuring that at tournaments or residential events, adults should not enter rooms of children or vulnerable persons or invite children / vulnerable persons into their rooms.
• Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.
• Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
• Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of children and vulnerable persons and not pushing them against their will.
• Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
• Requesting written parental consent if staff have to transport children and vulnerable persons in their cars.
Practices to be avoided:
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the organisation or the child / vulnerable persons’ parents. For example, a child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session:
• Avoid spending excessive amounts of time alone with children / vulnerable persons away from others.
• Avoid taking or dropping off a child or vulnerable person to an event.
Practices NEVER to be sanctioned:
The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:
• Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
• Share a room with a child or vulnerable person.
• Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
• Allow children / vulnerable persons to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
• Make sexually suggestive comments to a child or vulnerable person even in fun.
• Reduce a child or vulnerable person to tears as a form of control.
• Allow allegations made by a child or vulnerable person to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
• Do things of a personal nature for children or vulnerable person that they can do for themselves.
• Invite or allow children or vulnerable persons to stay with you at your home unsupervised.
Definitions and signs of abuse
There are four recognised types of abuse and it is important that all staff and volunteers know what they are and how to recognise them. The four categories are Physical, Emotional, Sexual and Neglect.
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child or vulnerable person. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to, a child or vulnerable person whom they are looking after. A person might do this because they enjoy or need the attention they get through having a sick child or vulnerable person. Physical abuse, as well as being a result of an act of commission can also be caused through omission or the failure to act to protect.
Physical signs of abuse:
• Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them
• Injuries which occur to the body in places which are not normally exposed to falls or games
• Unexplained bruising, marks or injuries on any part of the bod
• Bruises which reflect hand marks or fingertips (from slapping or pinching)
• Cigarette burns
• Bite marks
• Broken bones
• Injuries which have not received medical attention
• Neglect-under nourishment, failure to grow, constant hunger, stealing or gorging food, untreated illnesses, inadequate care
• Repeated urinary infections or unexplained stomach pains.
Changes in behaviour which can also indicate physical abuse:
• Fear of parents being approached for an explanation,
• Aggressive behaviour or severe temper outbursts
• Flinching when approached or touched
• Reluctance to get changed, for example, wearing long sleeves in hot weather
• Withdrawn behaviour
• Running away from home.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child or vulnerable person such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s / vulnerable persons’ emotional development. It may involve conveying to children or vulnerable persons that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children or vulnerable persons. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s (vulnerable person’s) developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child or vulnerable person from participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying, causing children or vulnerable persons to frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children or vulnerable persons. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child or vulnerable persons, though it may occur alone.
The physical signs of emotional abuse may include:
• A failure to thrive or grow particularly if a child or vulnerable person puts on weight in other circumstances: e.g. in hospital or away from their parents’ care
• Sudden speech disorders
• Persistent tiredness
• Development delay, either in terms of physical or emotional progress.
Changes in behaviour which can also indicate emotional abuse include:
• Obsessions or phobias
• Sudden under-achievement or lack of concentration
• Inappropriate relationships with peers and/or adults
• Being unable to play
• Attention seeking behaviour
• Fear of making mistakes
• Fear of parent being approached regarding their behaviour.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or vulnerable person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child or vulnerable person is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, anal sex or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children or vulnerable persons in looking at, or in the production of, sexual on-line images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children or vulnerable persons to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Boys and girls can be sexually abused by males and/or females, by adults and by other young people. This includes people from all different walks of life.
The physical signs of sexual abuse may include:
• Pain or itching in the genital/anal area
• Bruising or bleeding near genital/anal areas
• Sexually transmitted disease
• Vaginal discharge or infection
• Stomach pains
• Discomfort when walking or sitting down
Changes in behaviour which can also indicate sexual abuse include:
• Sudden or unexplained changes in behaviour e.g. becoming withdrawn or aggressive
• Fear of being left with a specific person or group of people
• Having nightmares
• Running away from home
• Sexual knowledge which is beyond their age or development al level
• Sexual drawings or language
• Eating problems such as over-eating or anorexia
• Self-harm or mutilation, sometimes leading to suicide attempts
• Saying they have secrets they cannot tell anyone about
• Substance or drug abuse
• Suddenly having unexplained sources of money
• Not allowed to have friends (particularly in adolescence)
• Acting in a sexually explicit way with adults.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's (vulnerable person’s) basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child's (vulnerable person’s) health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born it may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child or vulnerable person from physical harm or danger, failure to ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care givers) or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child's (vulnerable person’s) basic emotional needs.
The physical signs of neglect may include:
• Constant hunger, sometimes stealing food from others
• Constantly dirty or smelly
• Loss of weight or being constantly underweight
• Inappropriate dress for the conditions.
Changes in behaviour which can also indicate neglect include:
• Complaining of being tired all the time
• Not requesting medical assistance and/or failing to attend appointments
• Having few friends
• Mentioning being left alone or unsupervised.
Guidance on how to respond to a person disclosing abuse
• Do treat any allegations extremely seriously and act at all times towards the child / vulnerable person as if you believe what they are saying
• Do tell the child or vulnerable person they are right to tell you
• Do reassure them that they are not to blame
• Do be honest about your own position, who you have to tell and why
• Do tell the child or vulnerable person what you are doing and when, and keep them up to date with what is happening
• Do take further action – you may be the only person in a position to prevent future abuse – tell your designated department immediately
• Do write down everything said and what was done
• Don’t make promises you can’t keep
• Don’t interrogate the child or vulnerable person – it is not your job to carry out an investigation – this will be up to the police and social services, who have experience in this.
• Don’t cast doubt on what the child or vulnerable person has told you, don’t interrupt or change the subject
• Don’t say anything that makes the child or vulnerable person feel responsible for the abuse
• Don’t do nothing – make sure you tell your designated department immediately – they will know how to follow this up and where to go for further advice.
Reporting Procedures – DO NOT DELAY
It is vitally important that any disclosure made in confidence is recorded factually as soon as possible; this is whether or not the matter is taken to another authority. There is a report record that must be completed in all cases.
An accurate account should be made of:
• Date and time of what has occurred and the time the disclosure was made
• Names of people who were involved
• What was said or done by whom
• Any action taken by the group to gather information and refer on
• Any further action, e.g. suspension of a worker or volunteer
• Where relevant, reasons why there is no referral to a statutory agency
• Names of person reporting and to whom reported
The designated department will use the appropriate reporting systems for the situation. This may be reporting the matter to Local Authorities Children’s Social Care or the Police. This is why recording all information impartially and accurately is vital as this could be used for evidence for later use.
If you encounter abuse or suspicious situations of concern for example, a child might tell another child friend something, then the designated department is to be told at the earliest convenience. This will be in confidence.
If it is thought returning the child or vulnerable person home would put them in immediate danger advice should be sought from the designated department in the first instance who will, if necessary, liaise with NSPCC or Local Authorities Children’s Social Care.
Procedures to deal with in house allegations against other workers
It can be very difficult to report concerns about another member of staff or volunteer but all staff and volunteers have a duty to do this. It is important that any concerns for the welfare of the child or vulnerable person arising from suspected abuse or harassment by a member of staff or volunteer should be reported immediately. Th UDO group will fully support anyone, who in good faith, reports his or her concerns that a colleague is or may be abusing a child or vulnerable person.
Allegations of abuse against a member of staff or volunteer will be fully recorded and reported appropriately. The concerns should initially be reported to the designated department, unless of course they are the member of staff concerned, and in this case then the concerns should be reported to the NSPCC, Local Authorities Children’s Social Care or Adult’s Social Care.
This policy forms part of the code of practice for trustees, staff and volunteers. The consequences of breaching the code are clear and linked to disciplinary, grievance procedures and criminal procedures if appropriate.
This policy will be reviewed annually (in December 2019) and will be amended or updated if necessary, to ensure it remains in line with the government’s recommendations on policies and procedures and also in line with legislation.
USEFUL CONTACT DETAILS
Designated department – Email: CPVA@theudogroup.com Telephone: 02920 799199
In an emergency dial 999 for Police Service, Ambulance Service or Fire Service.
In a non – emergency situation, use 101.
There is not a generic number to contact adult social care or children’s social care. An internet search engine should be used to find the number relevant to the local authority depending on the area of the incident or concern.
The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) needs to be made aware of any concerns relating to children or vulnerable adults if the abuser is or thought to be employed as a person who has regular contact with children or vulnerable persons such as a teacher.
If you have any concerns relating to a child’s behaviour whilst online, or any concerns regarding any adult’s behaviour online that could be putting a child at risk then you need to contact CEOP (Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre). Telephone: 0870 000 3344, or online contact form: www.ceop.police.uk
The NSPCC (National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children) – email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 0808 800 5000
ChildLine - telephone: 0800 1111 website: www.childline.org.uk
Every child matters- for further information about the government’s aim for every child as well as practical advice. Website: www.everychildmatters.gov.uk
Working Together to Safeguard Children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Published March 2013.