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Child Protection & Safeguarding


Introduction

The Wedding Créchers aims to ensure that it maintains the highest possible standards to meet its responsibility to protect and safeguard those children for whom it has a responsibility.

This policy is written with reference to:
• The Children Act 1989 and 2004
• The Childcare Act 2006
• Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010 and 2013
• Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education 2006
• DCSB Safeguarding Children Procedures

The Wedding Créchers believes that children have the right to be completely secure from both the fear and reality of abuse and we are committed to protecting all the children in our care from harm.

Safeguarding is not just protecting children from abuse or neglect, it also means ensuring health and development are not impaired and they are growing up safe and well cared for in order to have the best possible life chances and enter adulthood effectively.

The Wedding Créchers aims to ensure all staff are made aware of their individual roles and understand the procedures they must follow if they suspect abuse or neglect.


Policy Statement

This statement is based on the following principles:

• A child is a person under the age of 18
• An acknowledgement that children can be victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect and domestic abuse
• Abuse can have serious and long term effects on all aspects of a child’s health, development and well being. Sustained abuse is likely to have a deep effect on a child’s self image, self esteem and future life
• The safety and welfare of children is paramount and it is the responsibility of all staff to help to prevent abuse and to act on any concerns
• All children have the right to live in safety and be protected from abuse
• Children must be listened to and any allegation or suspicion that they have been victims of abuse or ill treatment will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
• The above principles will apply equally to all children irrespective of their race,culture,religion or belief,language,gender,age or disability


Child Protection and Safeguarding Co-ordinator

The Wedding Créchers will have named people with the responsibility for co-ordinating child protection and safeguarding issues. The duties of these people will include:

• All reasonable steps are taken to ensure that unsuitable people are prevented from working with children through its recruitment practices, Enhanced DBS checks, references from their last employer that they worked with children regardless of time scales. All staff with responsibility for recruitment to attend Safer Recruitment Training. We adopt Safer Recruitment Policies from Dudley Safeguarding Board.
• Familiarise themselves with the Dudley Children’s Safeguarding Board procedures ensuring staff are aware of the responses required by the Local Authority
• Attend training as required
• Ensure all staff are aware of procedures within their setting
• Ensure all staff have an appropriate induction to include child protection policy and procedures.
• Organise training for staff as necessary
• Receive suspicions of abuse and determine an appropriate response in accordance with this policy
• Attend/report to case conferences and other inter-agency meetings as required
• Ensure effective channels of communication are in place, with other agencies including health, education, children’s services and families


Staff responsibility

• The Wedding Créchers is committed to providing on going child protection training and all staff and volunteers will be expected to complete intermediate or advanced Safeguarding training dependant upon their role, at the earliest possible opportunity and this will be regularly reviewed.

• Any staff member using social networking websites such as Facebook should follow the guidance from factsheet ‘Safeguarding Yourself’, (appendix W DSCB safeguarding children procedures).

• If at any time a staff member feels that their circumstances have changed that may cause their DBS disclosure not to be clear this should be raised immediately with their manager.

• Those in a position of trust should have a clear understanding of the responsibilities this carries and should not abuse their position or put themselves in a position where allegations of abuse, whether justified or unfounded, could be made.

• All staff of The Wedding Créchers have a duty to raise concerns, without prejudice to their own positions, about behaviour by managers, staff, which may be harmful to those in their care. These concerns should be raised with their Manager and forwarded to their LADO – See ‘Confidential Reporting Policy’

• When using the camera in groups and activities ensure guidance is adhered to in relation to photo consent. Ensure all photo’s are downloaded securely onto the memory stick from the camera at the end of each day and that the stick is locked away. Ensure no photos remain on the camera. If photos are on the camera it should be locked away.


Staff Support and Training

The Wedding Créchers is committed to ensuring that it meets its responsibilities in respect of child protection through the provision of support and training to staff. Therefore, we will ensure that:

• All staff receive regular training and supervision in child protection issues, are aware of the main indicators of child abuse and are provided with any relevant information and guidance

• All staff and volunteers are given a copy of the Child Protection Policy during their induction and have its implications explained to them

• All staff are provided with supervision and management support commensurate with their responsibilities in relation to child protection and their requirement to maintain caring and safe relationships with children

• Any member of staff or volunteer under investigation for the alleged abuse of a child will be subject to the provisions of the Disciplinary Policy.


DEFINITIIONS OF ABUSE

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 a stranger. Dudley SCB have adopted the
following definitions as set out in “Working Together” 2006.

Physical Abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning 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 is the persistent emotional maltreatment 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 insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally appropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capacity, 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, causing children to frequently 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, though it may occur alone.

Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

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. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance misuse. 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);
􀂃 ensure acces to appropriate medical care or treatment;
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Domestic violence
Domestic violence involves the physical, emotional, social, financial or other domination of a man or woman by their partner.


Recognising significant harm/abuse

All professionals in agencies with contact with children and members of their families should be familiar with the definitions of significant harm set out in these procedures. Child abuse occurs in all races, social classes and religions. It can present in a variety of ways, sometimes as a suspicion, sometimes with clear physical signs or with an allegation or disclosure. As noted above, the allegations / concerns might be to do with a risk of harm from their parents, other relatives, other people known to them (including those in a position of trust) or a stranger.

The following indicators should alert all professionals to the possibility of abuse.

_ Injuries which appear non-accidental
_ Concerns about sexual abuse
_ Allegations of abuse
_ Physical symptoms of possible abuse
_ Neglect of a child’s physical and emotional needs
_ Unexplained failure to thrive
_ Worrying changes in/disturbed behaviour
_ Female Genital Mutilation
_ Contact with someone convicted of an offence against a child
_ Child Abuse and New Technologies
_ Domestic Abuse
_ Forced Marriage
_ Abuse Linked to spirit possession or witchcraft
_ Fabricated and induced illness
_ Child Sexual Exploitation


IMPACT OF ABUSE

• The agencies represented on Dudley SCB recognise that the sustained abuse or neglect of children physically, emotionally or sexually can have major long term effects on all aspects of a child’s health, development and well-being. It is the context as well as the events of abuse that have an impact which may extend into adulthood.

• For every child and family, there may be factors that aggravate the harm caused to a child, and those that protect against harm. Relevant factors include the individual child’s means of coping and adapting, support from a family and social network, and the impact of any interventions. The effects on a child are also influenced by the quality of the family environment at the time of abuse, and subsequent life events. An important point, sometimes overlooked, is that the way in which professionals respond has a significant bearing on subsequent outcomes.


Physical Abuse

• Physical abuse can lead directly to neurological damage, disabilities or – at the extreme – death. Harm may be caused to children both through the abuse itself and through the context in which the abuse takes place.

Emotional Abuse

• There is increasing evidence of the adverse long-term consequences for children’s development where they have been subject to sustained emotional abuse. It has an important impact on a developing child’s mental health, behaviour and self esteem, and can be especially damaging in infancy. Underlying emotional abuse may be as important, if not more so, that other more visible forms of abuse in terms of its impact on the child. Domestic abuse, adult mental health problems and parental substance misuse may be features in families where children are exposed to such abuse.

Sexual Abuse

Disturbed behaviour, including self harm, inappropriate sexualized behaviour, sadness, depression and a loss of self esteem, have all been linked to sexual abuse. Its adverse effects may endure into adulthood. The severity of impact on a child is believed to increase the longer the abuse continues, the more extensive the abuse, and the older the child. A number of features of sexual abuse have been linked with severity of impact, including the extent of premeditation, the degree of threat and co-ercion, sadism, and bizarre or unusual elements. A child’s ability to cope with the experience of sexual abuse, once recognised or disclosed, is strengthened by the support of a non-abusive adult carer who believes the child, helps the child understand the abuse, and is able to offer help and protection.

• A proportion of adults who sexually abuse children have themselves been sexually abused as children. They may also have been exposed as children to domestic abuse and discontinuity of care. However, it would be quite wrong to suggest that most children who are abused will inevitably go on to become abusers themselves.

Neglect

• Severe neglect of young children is associated with major impairment of growth and intellectual development, and long term difficulties with social functioning, relationships and educational progress. Neglect can also result, in extreme cases, in death.


SOURCES OF STRESS FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

• Research tells us that some forms of stress on families can have a particularly negative impact on children. This is because it affects the parents’ capacity to respond to the child’s needs, particularly when there is no other significant adult able to take on this role – resulting in concern about their welfare and protection. However, we recognise it is important not to generalize. Each situation needs to be carefully assessed so that any necessary support can be provided at an early stage. Such sources of stress include:

Social Exclusion: Many families seeking help for their children, or about whom others raise concerns, are multiply disadvantaged. They may lack a wage earner. Poverty may mean that children live in unsuitable accommodation or have poor diets, health problems or disability, be vulnerable to accidents and lack ready access to good educational and leisure opportunities. Racism and racial harassment is an additional source of stress for some children and families.

Domestic Abuse: Prolonged or regular exposure to domestic abuse can have a serious impact on a child’s development and emotional well-being despite the best efforts of the victim parent to protect the child. Assaults can pose a threat to unborn children, older children may suffer blows during the violent episodes, and children may be greatly distressed through witnessing the suffering of their parent. In addition the violence may impair the parents capacity to look after their children. The negative impact of domestic abuse is exacerbated when the violence is combined with drink or drug misuse; children witness the violence; children are drawn into the violence or are pressurized into concealing the assaults. Children’s exposure to parental conflict, even when violence is not present can lead to serious anxiety and distress particularly when the conflict is routed through the children.

Mental Illness of a Parent or Carer: This does not necessarily have an impact, but it is essential to assess the implications. For example it may restrict the children’s social and recreational activities, they may have caring responsibilities inappropriate to their years leading them to be worried and anxious. If parents are depressed they may neglect their own and their child’s needs. Some forms of mental illness may blunt parents’ emotions and feelings or cause them to behave towards their children in bizarre or violent ways. Unusually, but at the extreme, a child may be at risk of severe injury, profound neglect or even death. Post natal depression can be linked to both behavioural and physiological problems in the infants of such mothers.

Adverse effects on children are less likely when parental problems are mild, are of short duration and are not associated with family disharmony. Children may also be protected when the other parent or a family member can help to respond to the child’s needs. Children most at risk of significant harm are those who feature within parental delusions, and children who become targets for parental aggression or rejection, or who are neglected as a result of parental mental illness. See Section 31 for further guidance.

Drug and Alcohol Misuse: As with mental illness it is important not to generalize and to carefully assess the implications for the child. Maternal substance misuse during pregnancy can impair the development of an unborn child. Parenting skills may be diminished by misuse of drugs and/or alcohol. Some substance misuse may give rise to mental states or behaviour that puts children at risk of injury or neglect. Children are particularly vulnerable when parents are withdrawing from drugs.

The risk is greater when the adult’s substance misuse is chaotic or otherwise out of control. Some substance misusing parents may find it difficult to give priority to the needs of their children, and finding money to finance their misuse may lead them into criminal activities. Children may be at risk of physical harm if drugs and paraphernalia (e.g. needles) are not kept safely out of reach. Some children have been killed through inadvertent access to drugs (e.g. methadone stored in a fridge). In addition children may be in danger if they are a passenger in a car with a substance misusing driver.


What to do if abuse is reported or suspected

All concerns need to be raised and discussed with a nominated Child Protection Coordinator within The Wedding Créchers.

In the unlikely event that the designated manager is unavailable, any concerns must be raised with Children’s Services (area child protection team) immediately. The contact details appear at the end of these procedures.

The designated Child protection coordinator will make an assessment of the situation and follow the guidelines as laid out in the document:


What to do if you’re worried a Child is being abused


How to respond to a child or young person who expresses concern
about the possibility of abuse

• If a child expresses concern that they are suffering or have suffered significant harm through abuse or neglect, the initial response from all professionals should be limited to listening carefully to what the child says in order to:
_ Clarify the concerns
_ Offer re-assurance about how the child will be kept safe
_ Explain what action will be taken

• The child must not be pressed for information, led or cross-examined or given false assurances of absolute confidentiality, as this could prejudice police investigations, especially in cases of sexual abuse. Honesty is essential if the child’s trust is to be gained. The child should never be asked to repeat their story to a colleague.

• If the child has limited communication skills particular care should be taken that appropriate means are used to understand what is being said without leading the child.

• If the child can understand the significance and consequences of making a referral to Children’s Social Care, s/he should be asked her/his view.
However, it should be explained to the child that whilst his/her view will be
taken into account, the professional has a responsibility to take whatever
action is required to ensure the child’s safety and the safety of other children.

• Record all that the child has said, the exact questions asked and the answers given – using the same vocabulary as the child. New words should never be introduced in talking to the child or in the recording. The recording should be completed as soon as possible and always on the same working day/duty period. It should be dated and signed.


HOW TO RESPOND TO PARENTS/CARERS

• As part of normal child care practice, particularly with pre-verbal children (or non-verbal children), staff will need to ask parents and carers about
unexplained marks and bruises. If staff feel concerned about the possibility of child abuse, this should not be carried over into beginning the investigation, and a referral should be made.

• As noted in paragraph above, while professionals should seek, in general, to discuss any concerns with the family and, when possible, seek their
agreement to making a referral to Children’s Social Care Services, this
should only be done where such discussion and agreement-seeking will not place a child at increased risk of significant harm (Paragraph 5.16 “Working Together” 2006). You do not need consent to share information if you believe a child might be at risk of significant harm.

• All agencies should follow their own Health and Safety guidelines. If they are making a referral to another agency they should inform that agency of any risks they are aware of.

The problem should be reported IMMEDIATELY to the Child Protection Coordinator or alternative designated person who will take the appropriate action. If a section 47 assault is suspected do not discuss with the parents/carers as this may lead to further harm for the child.

All staff of The Wedding Créchers, individuals and external agencies using the Children’s Centre facilities are subject to these procedures.


Making a Referral to Children’s Social Care

This flow chart is taken from Dudley Safeguarding Children’s Board, Referral and Assessment Policy and explains the procedure of sharing concerns and the action taken by Social Care.



Good Practice

All staff of The Wedding Créchers should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour when working with children in order to protect children from abuse and themselves from false allegations. Staff should follow Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults working with Children and Young People.

Incidents that must be reported/recorded

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the designated Child Protection Coordinator:

• If you accidentally hurt a child
• If he/she seems distressed in any manner
• If a child seems sexually aroused by your actions
• If you are concerned that a relationship is developing that could represent an abuse of trust
• If you are concerned that a child is becoming attracted to you
• If a child misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done
• If you have had to use reasonable physical restraint to prevent a child harming themselves, or another, or from causing significant damage to a property
• If a child reports an allegation of abuse regarding a member of an external organisation


Monitoring

Our Child Protection Coordinator will ensure that any incidents related to child protection are recorded by staff/ volunteers etc and that concerns are passed onto Children’s Services and also keep a record of incidents each year reporting them in an anonymised form to the DCCC Advisory Boards. Confidentiality will be maintained at all times. Any concerns or patterns that emerge will be dealt with appropriately.


Data protection

Any information regarding child protection issues will be stored in a secure place and there will be limited access to this by the Child Protection Coordinator.

Information relating to any disclosures will be passed to the local Social Services department or police Authority. Concerns relating to child protection which have not been referred to an external body will be retained in a secure location by the Coordinator for a period of one year.


Whistleblowers

In accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1988, The Wedding Créchers will support and protect those staff, who in good faith and without malicious intent, report suspicions of abuse or concerns about colleagues and their actions. All staff of The Wedding Créchers are expected to follow the procedures laid out in this policy.

Information Sharing Protocols

Information sharing is vital to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. A key factor in many serious case reviews has been a failure to record information, to share it, to understand the significance of the information shared, and to take appropriate action in relation to known or suspected abuse.

The statutory guidance in section 11 of the Children Act 2004, states that in order to safeguard and promote children’s welfare, the agencies covered by section 11 should make arrangements to ensure that:

• All staff in contact with children and young people understand what to do and the most effective ways of sharing information if they believe that a child and family may require particular services in order to achieve positive outcomes

• All staff in contact with children and young people understand what to do and when to share information if they believe that a child may be a child in need, including those children suffering or at risk of suffering harm

• Appropriate agency specific guidance is produced to complement guidance issued by central government, and such guidance and appropriate training is made available to new staff as part of their induction and ongoing training

• Guidance and training specifically covers the sharing of information between professions, organisations and agencies, as well as within them, and the arrangements for training take into account the value of multi agency as well as single agency training

The statutory guidance in section 10 of the Children Act 2004 makes it clear that effective information sharing supports the duty to co-operate to improve the well being of children.

Contacts List

 DCCC Designated Child Protection Coordinators:
 Safeguarding Team (normal working hours): 01384 815902/05
 Emergency Duty Team, 01384 813200 (After 5pm – 0300 5558574)
 Russells Hall Hospital: 01384 456111

Dudley Safeguarding Children’s Board
Working Together to Support and Protect Children and Young People
Referral and Assessment – What to do if you are worried a child is being abused

DSCB’s policies and procedure are accessed via:

http://safeguarding.dudley.gov.uk/child/work-with-children-young-people/safeguarding-children-procedures/