Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy

INTRODUCTION:

This document is the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy for Glossop Arts Project (GAP) which will be followed by all members of the organisation and followed and promoted by those in the position of leadership within the organisation.

The purpose of the organisation is providing Arts for Wellbeing.
GAP works with young people, primarily aged 11 years and above. On occasions staff may also undertake activities with children and their parents/carers. In the case of the latter, parents/carers remain responsible for their children’s welfare throughout all the work undertaken by the organisation.

We know that being a young person makes them vulnerable to abuse by adults or other young people. The purpose of this policy is to make sure that the actions of anyone in the context of the work carried out by the organisation are transparent, safe and safeguard and promote the welfare of all young people.

If any parent or young person/child has any concerns about the conduct of any member of the organisation, this should be raised in the first instance with Elle Bromley, designated safeguarding officer.

Underpinning guidance and legislation

This document is written in accordance with NSPCC’s Standards for Voluntary and Community Groups and general guidance on Safeguarding, the Dept. for Education document ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, July 2018 and Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children’s Board protocols. It is also in line with the following legislations and guidance:

  • Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that all children have a right to privacy, should be protected from abuse and that their best interests should be prioritised when making decisions that affect them. This means that, if a child is at risk of harm, it is in their best interests for an adult to share information with relevant agencies – even without the child’s consent.
  • The Data Protection Act 2018 which sets out how personal information should be processed under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The introduction of GDPR does not affect the principle that adults should share child protection information with other agencies in order to keep a child safe.

Principles upon which the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy is based.


We believe that

  • Children and young people should never experience abuse of any kind
  • At GAP we have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to deliver our service in a way that protects them

We recognise that

  • The welfare of a child or young person is always paramount.
  • All children, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have a right to equal protection from all types of harm and abuse
  • Some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or health issues
  • Working in partnership with children, young people, their support agencies, parents / carers is essential in promoting young people’s welfare

We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:

  • Valuing, listening to and respecting their rights, wishes and feelings
  • Creating and maintaining and anti-bullying environment and having a policy and procedure to help us deal effectively with any bullying that may arise
  • Those in positions of responsibility within GAP will work in accordance with the best interests of children and young people and follow the policy outlined below when wishing to share concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know, and involving children, young people, parents, families and carers appropriately.
  • Sharing information about our child protection and safeguarding best practice with children, families, staff and volunteers via our website, access to our printed documents and staff/volunteer training
  • Recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made and providing effective management of staff via supervision support and training
  • Having a code of conduct for staff and volunteers and for the young people that we work with
  • Ensuring that we provide a safe physical environment by applying health and safety measures in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance
  • Having procedures in place and applying them to manage any allegations against staff or volunteers and ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistle blowing measures in place
  • Recording and storing information professionally and securely in line with Data Protection regulations including GDPR

Note: If a child or young person is indicating self-harming actions or expressing suicidal thoughts, the guidance to follow is that given in the Mental Health First Aid training Related Policies and Procedures

This document should be read alongside the following associated policies and procedures:

  • Role of the designated safeguarding officer
  • Safer recruitment policy and procedures
  • Complaints procedure and managing allegations of abuse against a child or young person or allegations against staff / volunteers
  • Code of conduct for staff and volunteers
  • Anti bullying policy and procedures
  • Photography and image sharing guidance
  • Records retention and storage policy
  • Whistle blowing policy

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES

1. Immediate Action to Ensure Safety

Immediate action may be necessary at any stage in involvement with children and families.

IN ALL CASES IT IS VITAL TO TAKE WHATEVER ACTION IS NEEDED TO SAFEGUARD THE CHILD/CHILDREN ie:

  • If emergency medical attention is required, this can be secured by calling an ambulance (dial 999) or taking a child to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department.
  • If a child is in immediate danger the police should be contacted (dial 999) as they alone have the power to remove a child immediately if protection is necessary, via Police Protection Order.

2. Recognition of Abuse or Neglect

Abuse or neglect of a child is caused 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 a stranger.

General signs of abuse

Children who suffer abuse may be afraid to tell anybody about the abuse. They may struggle with feelings of guilt, shame or confusion – particularly if the abuser is a parent, caregiver or other close family member or friend. Many of the signs that a child is being abused are the same regardless of the type of abuse. We need to be vigilant to the signs listed below:

  • regular flinching in response to sudden but harmless actions, e.g. someone raising a hand quickly
  • showing an inexplicable fear of particular places or making excuses to avoid particular people • knowledge of ‘adult issues’ for example alcohol, drugs and/or sexual behaviour which is inappropriate for their age or stage of development
  • angry outbursts or behaving aggressively towards other children, adults, animals or toys
  • becoming withdrawn or appearing anxious, clingy or depressed
  • self-harming or thoughts about suicide
  • changes in eating habits or developing eating disorders
  • regularly experiencing nightmares or sleep problems
  • regularly wetting the bed or soiling their clothes
  • in older children, risky behaviour such as substance misuse or criminal activity
  • running away or regularly going missing from home or care
  • not receiving adequate medical attention after injuries.

These signs do not necessarily mean that a child is being abused. There may well be other reasons for changes in a child’s behaviour such as a bereavement or relationship problems between parents/carers. In assessing whether signs are related to abuse or not, they need to be considered in the context of the child’s development and situation.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse happens when a child is deliberately hurt, causing injuries such as a cuts, bruises, burn and broken bones. It may involve hitting, kicking, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating Physical harm may also be caused if a parent or carer feigns the symptoms, of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child e.g. giving them medicine they don’t need, making them unwell. This is known as fabricated or induced illness (FII)

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment 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 feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child though it may occur alone.

The following are signs of emotional abuse:

  • humiliating, putting down or constantly criticising a child
  • shouting at or threatening a child or calling them names
  • mocking a child or making them perform degrading acts
  • constantly blaming or scapegoating a child for things which are not their fault
  • trying to control a child’s life and not recognising their individuality
  • not allowing them to have friends or develop socially
  • pushing a child too hard or not recognising their limitations
  • manipulating a child
  • exposing a child to distressing events or interactions such as drug taking, heavy drinking or domestic abuse
  • persistently ignoring them
  • being cold and emotionally unavailable during interactions with a child
  • never saying anything kind, positive or encouraging to a child and failing to praise their achievements and successes.

There aren’t usually any obvious physical signs of emotional abuse but you may spot signs in a child’s actions or emotions. It’s important to remember that some children are naturally quiet and self-contained whilst others are more open and affectionate. Mood swings and challenging behaviour are also a normal part of growing up for teenagers and children going through puberty. Be alert to behaviours which appear to be out of character for the individual child or are particularly unusual for their stage of development.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in hearing / looking at, or in the production of or distribution of, pornographic material, or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Allowing someone else to make, view of distribute child abuse images is also classed as sexual abuse. Importantly, sexual abuse can happen on-line or in person.

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is also a type of sexual abuse. Young people in exploitative situations and relationships receive things such as gifts, money, drugs, alcohol, status or affection in exchange for taking part in sexual activities. Young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship. They often trust their abuser and don’t understand that they’re being abused. They may depend on their abuser or be too scared to tell anyone what’s happening. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol before being sexually exploited. They can also be groomed and exploited online. Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs (Berelowitz et al, 2013). Child sexual exploitation can involve violent, humiliating and degrading sexual assaults and involve multiple perpetrators.

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. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs. It is the most common form of abuse.


Other forms of abuse to be alert to

In addition to the above members of GAP also need to be alert to signs of Bullying (including Cyber bullying) Domestic Abuse within a family, signs of potential radicalisation, risk of female genital mutilation.

All individuals need to be alert to the potential abuse of children both within GAP their families and also from other sources including abuse by members of our own organisation. Children and young people who have been abused may want to tell someone, but not have the exact words to do so. They may attempt to disclose abuse by giving adults clues, through their actions and by using indirect words (Allnock and Miller, 2013; Cossar et al, 2013).

It is expected therefore that all members of GAP will respond to any suspected or actual abuse of a child in accordance with our procedures. Children and young people find talking about abuse very difficult. It is our responsibility therefore to:

  • notice any signs that a child or young person might be distressed and ask them appropriate questions about what might have caused this.
  • Don’t wait until a child or young person tells you directly that they are being abused before taking action. Instead, ask the child if everything is OK or discuss your concerns with GAP’s designated safeguarding lead, or the NSPCC helpline. Waiting for a child to be ready to speak about their experiences could mean that the abuse carries on and they, or another child, are put at further risk of significant harm (Cossar et al, 2013).
  • Remember that not taking appropriate action quickly can also affect the child’s mental health. They may feel despairing and hopeless and wonder why no-one is helping them. This may discourage them from seeking help in the future and make them distrust adults

3. What to do if children talk to you about abuse or neglect

It is recognised that a child may seek you out to share information about abuse or neglect or talk spontaneously individually or in groups when you are present. In these situations, you must:

  • Listen carefully and calmly to the child. DO NOT directly question the child or express shock.
  • Give the child time and attention.
  • Allow the child to give a spontaneous account; do not stop a child who is freely recalling significant events.
  • Make an accurate record of the information you have been given taking care to record the timing, setting and people present, the child’s presentation as well as what was said. Do not throw this away as it may later be needed as evidence.
  • Use the child’s own words where possible.
  • Explain that you cannot promise not to speak to others about the information they have shared. If at this point the young person decides not to disclose any further direct them to Childline where they can access confidential help and advice. Calls to 0800 1111 are free and children can also contact Childline online. (see tips on how to gain consent below)
  • Reassure the child that: you are glad they have told you; they have done the right thing, that the abuse is not their fault, they have not done anything wrong and what you are going to do next. Let them know that you are taking them seriously
  • Explain that you will need to get help to keep them safe.
  • Do NOT ask the child to repeat his or her account of events to anyone.
  • Contact GAP’s designated Safeguarding Officer immediately or within 24 hours.

Talking to the child’s parents / carer

It is good practice to be as open and honest as possible with parents/carers about any concerns. It is expected that any such conversation will be undertaken by GAP’s designated safeguarding officer however, concerns must not be discussed with parents/carers in the following circumstances:

  • where sexual abuse is suspected
  • where organised or multiple abuse is suspected
  • where fabricated or induced illness is suspected
  • where contacting parents/carers would place a child, yourself or others at immediate risk.

4. What to do if you are concerned about a child or young person who hasn’t come forward to talk to you

You may become concerned about a child who has not spoken to you, because of your observations of, or information about that child. You need to discuss your concerns in relation to a child and decide what action is necessary.

It is good practice to ask a child why they are upset or how a cut or bruise was caused or respond to a child wanting to talk to you. This practice can help clarify vague concerns and result in appropriate action.

If you are concerned about a child, you must share your concerns. Initially you should talk to GAP’s designated safeguarding officer. This is Elle Bromley. If this person is implicated in the concerns, you should discuss your concerns directly with Call Derbyshire on tel: 01629 533190. If the child already has an allocated MAT worker or social worker, the designated safeguarding officer (if available/appropriate) should also liaise directly with the allocated worker.

You should consult externally with Derbyshire Children’s Social Services initially using the Call Derbyshire number above in the following circumstances:

  • when you remain unsure after internal consultation as to whether child protection concerns exist
  • when there is disagreement as to whether child protection concerns exist
  • when you are unable to consult promptly or at all with GAP’s designated internal safeguarding officer
  • when the concerns relate to any member of the organising committee.

Consultation is not the same as making a referral but should enable a decision to be made as to whether a referral to Children’s Social Services or the Police should progress. To consult with a Safeguarding professional ring Call Derbyshire on 01629 533190

Issues about getting consent to share information from the child or young person

Children should be given the opportunity to decide whether they agree to their personal information being shared. If a child doesn’t have the capacity to make their own decisions, ask their parent or carer (unless doing so would put the child at risk of harm).

You should always seek consent to share information about an adult.

Tips for getting consent:

  • be open and honest
  • make sure the person you’re asking for consent understands what information will be shared and why
  • explain who will see the information and what it will be used for
  • make sure the person you’re asking for consent understands the consequences of their information not being shared
  • get the consent in writing, in case there are any disputes in the future. If it’s only given verbally, make a written record of this
  • make sure the person knows they can withdraw consent at any time.

If consent is refused or if you’re unable to seek consent, you can still share information with relevant professionals if this is in the public interest. This includes protecting children from significant harm and promoting the welfare of children.

When deciding whether to share information without consent, you should consider each case individually.

  • Decide if the need to share information is in the public interest and whether it outweighs the need to maintain confidentiality.
  • Consider all the implications of sharing the information, for example if you are sharing sensitive details about a person’s life.

If you’re not sure what to do, contact Call Derbyshire for advice or the NSPCC helpline.

If you’re sharing information without consent keep a written record explaining:

  • what steps you took to get consent
  • the person’s reasons for not giving consent (if known)
  • why you felt it was necessary to share information without consent.
  • Pass a copy of this record on to the agency/agencies you’re sharing the information with

5. Making a referral

A referral involves giving Children’s Social Services or the Police information about concerns relating to an individual or family in order that enquiries can be undertaken by the appropriate agency followed by any necessary action. Within GAP it is expected that the designated safeguarding officer will undertake this action.

In certain cases, the level of concern will lead straight to a referral without external consultation being necessary.

Parents/carers should be informed if a referral is being made except in the circumstances outlined earlier. If the young person is already receiving support from an allocated MAT worker or social worker, they should also be informed.

However, inability to inform parents for any reason should not prevent a referral being made. It would then become a joint decision with Social Services about how and when the parents should be approached and by whom.

IF YOUR CONCERN IS ABOUT ABUSE OR RISK OF ABUSE FROM SOMEONE NOT KNOWN TO THE CHILD OR CHILD’S FAMILY, YOU SHOULD MAKE A TELEPHONE REFERRAL DIRECTLY TO THE POLICE AND CONSULT WITH THE PARENTS.

If your concern is about abuse or risk of abuse from a family member or someone known to the children, you should make a telephone referral to Call Derbyshire 01629 533190.

Information required

Be prepared to give as much of the following information as possible (in emergency situations all of this information may not be available). Unavailability of some information should not prevent you making a referral.

  • Your name, telephone number, position and request the same of the person to whom you are speaking.
  • Full name and address, telephone number of family, date of birth of child and siblings.
  • Gender, ethnicity, first language, any special needs.
  • Names, dates of birth and relationship of household members and any significant others.
  • The names of professionals’ known to be involved with the child/family eg: GP, Health Visitor, School.
  • The nature of the concern; and foundation for them.
  • An opinion on whether the child may need urgent action to make them safe.
  • Your view of what appears to be the needs of the child and family.
  • Whether the consent of a parent with parental responsibility has been given to the referral being made.
  • Following this you may be asked to complete a ‘Starting Point’ form accessed from Derbyshire County Council website. https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/social-health/children- and-families/support-for-families/starting-point-referral-form/starting-point-request-for- support-form.aspx. Starting Point is Derbyshire’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week year round contact and referral service for concerns that a child is suffering or is at risk of significant harm.

If the concern is regarded as low level or emerging need individual services and universal services may be able to meet these needs, take swift action and prevent those needs escalating. In this case GAP may be advised, as a first step, to complete Derbyshire’s Early Help Assessment (EHA)

Action to be taken following the referral

  • Ensure that you keep an accurate record of your concern(s) made at the time.
  • Put your concerns in writing using the Starting Point request for support form following the referral (within 48 hours).
  • Accurately record who you spoke to, the action agreed or that no further action is to be taken and the reasons for this decision.

5. Confidentiality

The organisation should ensure that any records made in relation to a referral should be kept confidentially and in a secure place in line with the Data Protection 2018 requirements.

Information in relation to child protection concerns should be shared on a “need to know” basis. However, the sharing of information is vital to child protection and, therefore, the issue of confidentiality is secondary to a child’s need for protection.

If in doubt, consult.

6. Contact details

Nominated child protection lead Name: Elle Bromley – info@glossopartsproject.org

Deputy child protection lead Name: Catherine McNicholas – info@glossopartsproject.org

NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000

We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually. This policy was last reviewed on: 18 September 2019. Date of next review: September 2021.