All children and young people have the right to be protected. At Barking & Dagenham Youth Zone, Future we need to ensure that all members are safeguarded and protected from harm, whatever their specific needs and circumstances. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this policy as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment;
- Preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Our Legal Responsibilities
Barking & Dagenham Youth Zone recognises that we all have a legal responsibility to take all reasonable actions to ensure that the risk of harm to children’s welfare is minimised and a duty of care is always exercised towards them. The document ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children (July 2018) sets out the arrangements for how all organisations must work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
“Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play in safeguarding children, child protection should take priority over all other work”
This policy is;
- aimed (and applies to) towards all Barking and Dagenham Youth Zone employees, trustees and volunteers including external agencies or partners delivering on behalf of the Youth Zone;
- provides an outline on how to recognise the signs and symptoms of possible abuse to ensure that they recognise the significance of what they are observing, and the procedures that they need to follow if they have a concern.
This policy concerns all children and young people under the age of 18 (as defined by the Children Act 1989) and vulnerable adults aged 25 or under who are accessing the Youth Zone or who staff and volunteers come into contact with as a result of their activity with young people, in the case of any concerns with members who are 19 and without a disability, they will be dealt with as vulnerable adults.
All staff members, volunteers, will read this document and sign to say they have done so. All staff are required to complete the local “Safeguarding Children – Basic – Level 1” provided by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board.
This policy is supplemented the “Safeguarding Tool kit” which provides further detail, examples and training for employees, trustees and volunteers who work directly with children and young people. Staff and volunteers will be required to make themselves familiar with aspects of the toolkit as directed by the Safeguarding Leads and/or their line manager.
Abuse is “a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child 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 others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.”
(Working Together to Safeguard Children, July 2018)
The signs of child abuse might not always be obvious, and a child might not tell anyone what is happening to them. You should therefore question behaviours if something seems unusual and try to speak to the child, alone, if appropriate, to seek further information.
Be Alert, Question Behaviours, Ask for Help, Refer
Types of Abuse
In relation to child protection there are 4 kinds of abuse defined in “Working Together”, they are:
- Physical abuse
May involve hitting shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
- Emotional abuse
The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar 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 or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability 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 cyberbullying), 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 maltreatment of a child, although it may occur on its own.
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. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse or not accessing appropriate antenatal care. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
- 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 and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).
Further detail and training recourses can be found in the “Safeguarding Handbook”
What to do if you suspect abuse
A young person may choose to disclose concerning information to any employee, trustee or volunteer, or may be observed carrying out concerning behaviour that raises concerns around possible abuse. It is not the duty of employees, trustee or volunteers to investigate the issue themselves, however it is their responsibility to gather as much information as possible. Where you suspect a child or vulnerable adult is being abused or there is potential for harm you should discuss your concerns with designated safeguarding lead or deputies who will help decide what action should be taken.
If there is a real concern the safeguarding lead or deputies will contact Children’s Services and/or the Police. They will need your support in making the referral to ensure the details are recorded correctly.
If you are not sure or have any concerns, speak to the safeguarding lead or deputies. Remember that is what they are there for, to deal with any concerns and offer advice and support.
What to do if a young person tells you about abuse
If a young person/vulnerable adult makes a disclosure about abuse or you suspect they may be about to do so, it is imperative they understand you cannot keep this ‘secret’ but that you have a duty to report it to other professionals who will help keep them safe. Be honest and open about who you will speak to and why.
You should find a quiet place to talk where they feel comfortable. Ensure you give them the time they need to talk but be aware they will need to give a full account to Children’s Services so avoid subjecting them to lengthy or multiple ‘interviews’ as it can confuse and jeopardise evidence. Try to keep eye level equal or lower than theirs.
Golden Rules –
Remember it is not the duty of staff and volunteer to investigate the issue but it is their responsibilities to gather as much information as possible
Talk to staff
Employees / volunteers must:
- Find a quiet place to talk
- Listen, but do not press for information
- Stay calm and be reassuring
- Believe what you are being told
- Listen to the young person; if you are shocked by what is being said, try not to show it
- It is acceptable to observe injuries such as bruises, but not to ask a child to remove or adjust their clothing to observe them (injuries must be recorded on a Cause for Concern Form, Appendix 1)
- Do not question the child in a way that will introduce new words, phrases or concepts into their minds (leading questions)
- Do not challenge, confront or criticise their information, even if it seems unlikely or if there are obvious errors; they may be unable to give accurate timescales or dates
- If a disclosure is made, the pace should be dictated by the child without their being pressed for detail by being asked such questions as ‘what did they do next?’ or ‘where were you when this happened?’; the employee’s/volunteer’s role is to listen, not to investigate
- Use open questions
- Acknowledge how hard it was for them to tell you this
- Do not criticise the perpetrator, this may be someone they love
- Do not promise confidentiality, reassure the young person that they have done the right thing, explain who you will have to tell and why; it is important that you do not make promises that you cannot keep
Remember is it a huge step for a young person to make a disclosure
Inform the relevant safeguarding lead and/or session lead immediately. If the situation is an emergency and neither safeguarding lead nor deputies are available, you should telephone Children’s Services directly or, if out of hours, the Emergency Duty Social Work team or Police Child Protection Team.
Make some notes immediately afterwards (being aware that note-taking during a disclosure may inhibit that disclosure, making it harder for the young person to be open and honest); record the date, time, place and context of the disclosure or concern, recording facts and not assumption or interpretation. Any notes must be added to a completed ‘Cause for concern’ form and handed to the safeguarding lead or deputies (not left on a desk marked for their attention). Do not be afraid to interrupt meetings if you need to speak to someone. Note any non‐verbal behaviour and ensure that that the language used by the young person (do not translate into correct terminology) is recorded.
What to do if an allegation of abuse against of you witness abuse by a employee, trustee or volunteer
By abuse we mean that they have;
- behaved in such a way that may have harmed a child or may have intended to harm a child or vulnerable adult;
- acted outside of the law, in relation to dealings with a child vulnerable adult.
- behaved in any way that suggests they may be unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults.
If a young person makes an allegation of abuse against a Barking and Dagenham Youth Zone employee, volunteer or trustee you should report this immediately to their line manager (where applicable) and the relevant Safeguarding Lead. The Safeguarding lead will refer immediately to the LADO, following up a written referral within 24 hours is the criteria above is met.
You should assure the young person who made the allegation that this is a serious matter and you will follow it up with the Safeguarding Lead. You should update the young person as to what action has been taken.
Designated Leads for Safeguarding
The designated lead for safeguarding children are:
Name: Zakaria Hussain, Head of Youth Work
Gershom Clarke, Senior Club Manager
Christopher Lane, Junior and Holiday Club Manager
Telephone:0203 941 6722
Any employee, trustee or volunteer who is concerned about a young person should tell the appropriate designated Safeguarding Lead immediately.
Key Children’s Services Contacts
Barking and Dagenham Social Care – MASH and Assessment Team
Address:MASH Team, Community Solutions, Ground Floor, Roycraft House, 15 Linton Road, Barking, IG11 8HE
Telephone:0208 227 3811 or 02085948356 (out of hours)
In an emergency always call the police on 999. If you think there has been a crime but it is not an emergency call 101
Social Care – LADO
Lorraine Giles, Safeguarding Manager (LADO) – everything outside of Education and Early Years
Telephone:020 8227 2265
Mike Cullern, Safeguarding Lead for Education (LADO) – Education and Early Years
Telephone:020 8227 3934
All referrals to be made to firstname.lastname@example.org, Out of Hours call to Emergency Duty Team 020 8227 6122