Safeguarding - Child Protection Policy
Safeguarding Child Protection Policy and Procedure
Child Protection Policy and Procedure
“Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play in safeguarding children. School staff are particularly important as they are in a position to identify concerns early and provide help for children, to prevent concerns from escalating.” (Source: Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016).
The Radclyffe School fully recognises its responsibilities for child protection and safeguarding the needs and welfare of all children and is committed to following the procedures set out by the Oldham Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) and guidance issued by Department for Education (DfE)(Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2016 and Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2015 (updated 2017, and What to do if a child is being abused, 2015).
In the Children Acts 1989 and 2004, a child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2015 (updated 2017)’ as:
- protecting children from maltreatment;
- preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
- ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;
- taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
The Radclyffe School recognises that the welfare of the child is paramount and that all children regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity have equal rights to protection. The Governing Body and staff of The Radclyffe School take seriously our responsibility under section 175 Education Act 2002 to safeguard and promote the welfare of students, to minimise risk and to work together with other agencies to ensure adequate arrangements are in place within our school to identify, assess and support those children who are suffering harm, or likely to do so, and to keep them safe and secure whilst in our care.
The Radclyffe School understands the duty, as set out under section 11 of the Children Act 2004, to promote the importance of safeguarding and the welfare of children and will adhere to this. The Radclyffe School understands that where a child is suffering significant harm, or is likely to do so, action should be taken to protect that child. Action should also be taken to promote the welfare of a child in need of additional support, even if they are not suffering harm or are at immediate risk.
This Policy applies to all staff, governors and volunteers working in the school. All staff have a responsibility to take appropriate action. The Radclyffe School recognises that because of their day to day contact with children, staff are well placed to observe outward signs of abuse, neglect and maltreatment. The Radclyffe School understands that it is expected to work with, support and sometimes lead different agencies to enable the most appropriate form of intervention to take place.
This policy aims to outline the role that the school will have, the procedures that staff should follow and general guidance on issues related to child protection. It is not exhaustive. As a rule of thumb, all staff should put the needs and safety of the child at the centre of any decision made. They should adopt an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where child protection and safeguarding are concerned and always act in the interests of the child.
Our Policy is to:
- Ensure we have a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) who is part of the Senior Management Team, and who has received appropriate training (every two years with an up-date annually) and Deputy Safeguarding Lead who is trained to the same standard as the DSL;
- Ensure all staff understand the role of the DSL;
- Ensure this role is made explicit in the post holder’s job description
- Ensure the DSL and Deputy are given time, funding, training, resources and support to provide advice and support to other staff on child welfare and child protection matters in order to carry out their role; Ensure that the DSL can liaise with the Local Authority (LA) and work with other agencies as set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) and that there is always cover for the DSL role;
- All staff including the head teacher, the designated teacher (looked after children), the designated governor and the governing body undergo training relevant to their roles which is updated at least annually. All other staff who work within school and/or with children undertake appropriate child protection awareness training to equip them to meet their responsibilities for child protection effectively at least annually;
- Ensure that training for all staff forms part of their induction;
- Ensure we have a nominated governor responsible for child protection;
- Ensure that we have procedures in place to offer supervision arrangements to staff dealing with child protection issues;
- Ensure safe recruitment practices are followed and have at least one person on any interview panel who has received the safer recruitment training;
- Raise awareness of individual responsibilities in identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse and neglect; are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm and acknowledge that all staff have a responsibility to identify children who may be in need of extra help or who may benefit from early help. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life. In the first instance staff should discuss early help requirements with the Designated Safeguarding Lead who will initiate an early help assessment;
- Raise awareness that in exceptional circumstances staff may report concerns directly to Children’s Social Care and the telephone number for whistleblowing is provided;
- Review and monitor our list of vulnerable students on a regular basis, especially those who receive ‘early help’;
- Ensure that we have a designated teacher to promote the educational achievement of children who are looked after and to ensure that this person has appropriate training;
- Ensure that the designated teacher for children who are looked after liaises appropriately with the Virtual School head teacher and monitors the progress of children looked after;
- Have in place arrangements to support children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) having regard to the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice and have identified a member of staff to act as a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO);
- Raise awareness that children with SEN and disabilities are more likely to be abused or neglected;
- Raise awareness of the signs of abuse and neglect and provide guidance on recognising and dealing with suspected child abuse; Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE); ‘Honour Based Violence (HBV)’; forced marriage; different forms of peer-on-peer abuse for example ‘sexting’ and individuals vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism or radicalization;
- Ensure that in cases of ‘sexting’ or ‘youth produced sexual imagery’ we will respond to incidents and follow, if appropriate, the non-statutory guidance, ‘Sexting in Schools and Colleges, Responding to incidents, and safeguarding young people, guidance from the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) (August 2016’);
- In line with the Counter Terrorism Act 2015, The Prevent Duty, we will refer appropriately to the Channel and Prevent coordinator at the LSCB any student identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism;
- Ensure that staff are aware that they must personally report to the police a disclosure that FGM has been carried out (in addition to liaising with the DSL);
- Ensure that if we become aware of a private fostering arrangement the local authority is informed;
- Ensure children know there are adults in the school whom they can approach if they are worried and that they will be listened to and that their wishes or feelings will be taken into account;
- Include opportunities and raise awareness in the broad and balanced curriculum and within associated assemblies, areas for children to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse; and ensure children are taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities;
- Ensure the content of the curriculum includes social and emotional aspects of learning;
- Develop and implement procedures for identifying, monitoring and reporting concerns and cases, or suspected cases, of abuse;
- Review IT systems to ensure they effectively filter the internet, without ‘over-blocking’; and there are appropriate arrangements to pro-actively monitor online usage;
- Identify strategies and interventions available to support children at risk or who have been abused in accordance with his/her child in need or child protection plan;
- Ensure there are appropriate and robust safeguarding procedures in place to assess, monitor and respond to non-attendance;
- Ensure procedures are in place to notify social services of an unexplained absence of a student who is on a child protection plan;
- Raise awareness that a child going missing from an education setting is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect including sexual abuse or child sexual exploitation;
- Ensure there are procedures in place for dealing with self-harm;
- Ensure that staff know their responsibility in taking their registers accurately and on time to enable early identification of unknown absence;
- Co-operate and provide effective liaison as required with inter-agency enquiries regarding child protection matters including attendance at case conferences, core groups and implementation of Early Help Assessment;
- On occasion, some students will present a safeguarding risk to other students. These students will need an individual risk management plan to ensure that other students are kept safe and they themselves are safeguarded and not laid open to malicious allegations; In situations where the school considers a safeguarding risk present from another student, a risk assessment will be prepared and a preventative, supervision and management plan will be put in place;
- Ensure there are procedures in place for dealing with peer on peer abuse;
- Keep written records of concerns about children, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately;
- Ensure all records are kept securely and separate from the main student file, and in locked locations;
- Ensure that procedures are in place, where a child who is subject to a child protection plan/child in need plan/or concerns deemed necessary to be passed on leaves, their information is transferred to their new school, or college of further education. This will be sent separate to the main school file, ensuring safe transit and with confirmation of receipt;
- Ensure that the needs of staff to whom disclosures are made, or against whom false allegations are made are addressed;
- Ensure we develop effective and supportive liaison with other agencies;
- Ensure that this policy is read in conjunction with Part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016 and Child Protection Procedures and that staff acknowledge their responsibility to it at induction;
- Ensure all staff and volunteers understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and neglect, and responsibility for referring any concerns and those at risk of immediate danger or at risk of harm to the DSL or Child Protection Management Team immediately;
- Follow procedures informing the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) where an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer this will be referred to the Head teacher and, where the concern is about the Head teacher, to the Chair of Governors;
- Ensure referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is made if a person in regulated activity has been dismissed or removed due to child protection concerns, or would have been had they not resigned;
- Ensure all members of staff read and agree to the child protection policy before the start of their employment or at induction;
- Ensure all temporary staff and volunteers read and agree to the child protection policy on induction;
- Ensure the child protection policy is available publicly;
- Ensure the policy is reviewed annually by the DSL and governing body and approved by the Board of Governors.
It is the responsibility of all members of staff, governors and volunteers to ensure that all child protection concerns, both minor and serious, are reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) immediately.
The DSL may have other information regarding a child or their family of which other staff may not be aware. Minor concerns may take on greater significance within the wider context of knowledge of a child or family that the DSL may have. It is not the responsibility of school staff to investigate or decide the truth of any disclosure or allegation, but to follow procedures and record and discuss all concerns with the DSL, Deputy DSL or a Member of the Child Protection Management Team in the absence of the DSL or the Deputy DSL prior to any discussion with parents.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead is: Mrs Denise Harrison
The Designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead is: Ms Tina Cavanagh
The Governor for Safeguarding and Child Protection is: Mrs Angela Chrisham
The Child Protection Management Team members are: Mrs J Williams (SENCO and Designated Teacher for Looked After Children), Mrs J O’Brien (Achievement and Access Manager), Mrs J Wernick, (Deputy Headteacher), Mr D Willcocks (Focus Room Manager), Mrs P Fielding (Family Support Worker), Mr Andrew Lunt (Learning Mentor), Mr A Maher (Head of Business and Computing), Mrs C Imeson, (Year Manager), Mrs G Thompson, (Year Manager) and Mrs E Roby (Head of Food and Nutrition).
What to do if you have a concern about a child’s wellbeing/safety:
You must immediately inform the Designated Safeguarding Lead if you have concern/s about a child or a child discloses information to you which suggests they might be, or might become at risk. However, you do have a responsibility to respect that child’s right to confidentiality. Do not discuss information with staff other than those identified above. If you are worried about a child speak to someone straight away. Do not email your concerns; make contact directly. The Designated Safeguarding Lead will decide whether to make a referral to children’s social care or the police, but it is important to note that in exceptional circumstances anyone can refer their concerns to children’s social care directly. If the child’s situation does not appear to be improving the staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration. Concerns should always lead to help for the child at some point.
All staff should refer concerns to the DSL as soon as possible. In the meantime they should:
- Listen to the child, ensuring that they remain safe and secure and offer reassurance;
- Ensure the child understands that you will have to tell someone else -offer the option of disclosure to a member of CPMT or a Year Manager, who may already have a relationship with them. You must NEVER promise to keep what the child tells you secret. You must let the child know that you will have to pass this information on. For example, ‘I am worried about your bruise and I need to tell Mrs X so that she can help us think about what to do next.’
- Observe bruises but do not ask a child to remove or adjust their clothing to observe them;
- Make a written record on the Child Protection Concern form (located in T:\Whole School\CP Documents 2016 – 2017) as soon as possible after the event, noting: the date, time, child’s name and your name on the sheet you make notes on, even if you are only recording observations. Record their words rather than your interpretation;
- Do not investigate or ask leading questions. Use open questions – beginning with words like: ‘How’? ‘Why’?, ‘When’?, ‘Who’?, Your contemporaneous notes may be used in court. Do not interrogate – it is not our job to prove or disprove what the child says, just listen, support and act;
- Accept what the child says without challenge – reassure them that they are doing the right thing and that you recognise how hard it is for them. Do not lay blame or criticise either the child or the alleged perpetrator;
- Ensure that referral to the DSL or member of CPMT is immediate. Do not leave it until later and DO NOT email your concerns initially – the child might be put at further risk if you do this. You may email or manually print out and pass your handwritten concern, using the Child Protection Concern Form, once you have passed your concerns on verbally to the DSL, Deputy DSL or CPMT member;
- The DSL or members of CPMT will make decisions about referrals to Early Help, children’s social care, the police or other outside agencies;
- Should a referral be necessary, the DSL will inform parents that a referral has been made to children’s social care, if the parent does not already know and if there is no reason not to tell them. Parents will not be informed if the allegation is of sexual abuse or physical assault or where informing the parent might put the child at further risk, to prevent the child being harmed or intimidated (and retracting their disclosure). This procedure also applies in cases of suspected fabricated or induced illness by proxy, and the parent is not informed that this is being considered;
- The DSL will remain in close communication with other professionals around the child and with the family, in order to share any updates about the child. If a child protection investigation is pursued, the DSL and other key school staff will work closely and collaboratively with all professionals involved in the investigation, to keep the child safe. They will attend a child protection conference and provide updated reports/information about the child and attend any subsequent child protection review conferences/core group/Early Help Intervention meetings and take an active role in the implementation of the protection plan.
Keeping yourself Safe
Safeguarding and child protection is an issue that also involves staff protection. There are certain things which you must do to protect yourself and in so doing you are also protecting children.
- If you are holding a detention, particularly for an individual, arrange for it to be in a public place, or where other staff are around. Leave doors open so that you can be seen and let another member of staff know where you are;
- Do not arrange to meet parents in outlying buildings. Always use an interview room and let someone know where you are;
- Ensure the 2016 Travel Policy is adhered to;
- Check that your car insurance covers you for ‘business use’ and transportation of students. Ensure seat belts are always worn;
- Ensure a child seat is used if the child is under 12 years of age or less than 135cm in height;
- If you have concerns that a student is taking an unhealthy interest in you, tell someone as soon as you can so that it can be dealt with;
- When disciplining students do not cut off escape routes for them, e.g. by standing in doorways to block their exit. If they choose to run away then let them go – you can pick this up later;
- You must not touch children inappropriately. Members of staff have the right to physically restrain a student only if their behaviour is likely to pose a threat to other students, other staff or themselves. This right requires the use of appropriate force only;
- Do not post information and photographs about yourself, or school-related matters, publicly that you wouldn’t want employers, colleagues, students or parents to see;
- Do not befriend students or other members of the school community on social networking sites (you should consider carefully the implications of befriending ex-students);
- Keep personal ‘phone numbers private and do not use your own mobile ‘phones to contact students or parents;
- Do not ever give out information concerning a child to an outside agency or person without consulting a member of the Senior Management Team;
- Report any incident to the DSL should you be the subject of bullying/cyber-bullying yourself;
- If a child makes an allegation against you, inform the Head teacher immediately;
- If you have any questions about any issue involving a child always seek advice.
How the school will respond if a child makes an allegation against a member of staff
At any time, a student may speak to a member of staff and make an allegation about another member of staff’s conduct towards them. In such situations appropriate action is taken to ensure that the school carries out its statutory duties relating to the handling of allegations against staff. Following an appropriate procedure ensures that students and staff are treated fairly and consistently, with appropriate support in place until the matter is resolved and that:-
- Priority is given to students’ safety and staff well-being;
- The matter is resolved at the earliest opportunity;
- Confidentiality is ensured;
- Malicious allegations are exposed and dealt with.
On hearing an allegation, the member of staff must, immediately:
- Take details of the allegation, including: who was involved; where the incident took place; what happened; the names of any witnesses; who else has been informed (parents);
- Report the matter and provide a copy of the statement to the Head teacher. If the allegation is against the Head teacher, it should in the first instance be reported to the Chair of Governors;
- Consider any immediate safety issues arising from the allegation and by agreement with the Head teacher put appropriate safeguards in place;
- Reassure the student that the matter will be looked into, that someone will want to talk to them again about what they have said has happened;
- Maintain strict confidentiality.
The member of staff must not:
- Inform the colleague against whom the allegation has been made;
- Pre-judge what may or may not have happened, whether it is true;
- Share any details with anyone other than the Head teacher;
- Contact parents.
On receiving details of the allegation, the Head teacher will appoint a case manager / investigating officer with responsibility for:
- Considering whether the case as currently presented and if proven, meets the criteria for abusive behaviour and if so notify the Local Authority Designated Officer(s)responsible for providing advice and monitoring cases;
- Following a strategy discussion with the Local Authority Designated Officer(s) (LADOs) (as required), undertaking an investigation into the circumstances of the case;
- Determining and addressing any risk factors for both the student and member of staff whilst the investigation is on-going;
- Making a recommendation about suspension or otherwise;
- Ensuring the member of staff is informed at the earliest opportunity and after informing the Designated Officer(s) (as required);
- Ensuring support for the member of staff (their trade union representative and/or another named school contact as preferred);
- Liaising with the Designated Officer(s), police and social care if required because of the nature of the case;
- Following the statutory guidance “Allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff” (Part 4, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’, September 2016);
- Following the school’s disciplinary procedure in the event that there is a matter to be formally investigated. If abusive behaviour has been identified, commencement of the internal procedure by agreement with the Designated Officer/police.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead role and statutory responsibilities (Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2016)
Governing bodies and proprietors should appoint an appropriate senior member of staff, from the school leadership team, to the role of designated safeguarding lead. The designated safeguarding lead should take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection. This should be explicit in the role-holder’s job description.
It is a matter for individual schools as to whether they choose to have one or more deputy designated safeguarding lead(s). Any deputies should be trained to the same standard as the designated safeguarding lead.
Whilst the activities of the designated safeguarding lead can be delegated to appropriately trained deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection, as set out above, remains with the designated safeguarding lead. This responsibility should not be delegated.
The designated safeguarding lead and any deputies should liaise with the local authority and work with other agencies in line with always be available (during school or college hours) for staff in the school or college to discuss any safeguarding concerns. It is a matter for individual schools and colleges and the designated safeguarding lead to arrange adequate and appropriate cover arrangements for any out of hours/out of term activities.
The designated safeguarding lead and any deputies should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. The training should be updated every two years.
In addition to their formal training, as set out above, their knowledge and skills should be updated, (for example via e-bulletins, meeting other designated safeguarding leads, or taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments), at regular intervals, but at least annually, to keep up with any developments relevant to their role. They should be available to take part in all child protection matters, to take part in strategy discussions and inter-agency meetings – and/or to support other staff to do so – and to contribute to the assessment of children.
Deputy designated safeguarding leads
The designated safeguarding lead is expected to:
- Refer cases of suspected abuse to the local authority children’s social care as required;
- Support staff who make referrals to local authority children’s social care;
- Refer cases to the Channel programme where there is a radicalisation concern as required;
- Support staff who make referrals to the Channel programme;
- Refer cases where a person is dismissed or left due to risk/harm to a child to the Disclosure and Barring Service as required;
- Refer cases where a crime may have been committed to the Police as required.
Work with others
- Liaise with the headteacher to inform him of issues especially ongoing enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 and police investigations;
- As required, liaise with the “case manager” (as per Part four) and the designated officer(s) at the local authority for child protection concerns (all cases which concern a staff member); and
- Liaise with staff on matters of safety and safeguarding and when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies. Act as a source of support, advice and expertise for staff.
The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. This training should be updated at least every two years.
The designated safeguarding lead should undertake Prevent awareness training.
In addition to the formal training set out above, their knowledge and skills should be refreshed (this might be via e-bulletins, meeting other designated safeguarding leads, or simply taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments) at regular intervals, as required, but at least annually, to allow them to understand and keep up with any developments relevant to their role so they:
- Understand the assessment process for providing early help and intervention, for example through locally agreed common and shared assessment processes such as early help assessments;
- Have a working knowledge of how local authorities conduct a child protection case conference and a child protection review conference and be able to attend and contribute to these effectively when required to do so;
- Ensure each member of staff has access to and understands the school’s child protection policy and procedures, especially new and part time staff;
- Are alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and young carers;
- Are able to keep detailed, accurate, secure written records of concerns and referrals;
- Understand and support the school with regards to the requirements of the Prevent duty and are able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation;
- Obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses; and
- Encourage a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, among all staff, in any measures the school or college may put in place to protect them.
- The designated safeguarding lead should ensure the school’s child protection policies are known, understood and used appropriately;
- Ensure the school’s child protection policy is reviewed annually (as a minimum) and the procedures and implementation are updated and reviewed regularly, and work with governing bodies or proprietors regarding this;
- Ensure the child protection policy is available publicly and parents are aware of the fact that referrals about suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the school in this; and
- Link with the local LSCB to make sure staff are aware of training opportunities and the latest local policies on safeguarding.
Child protection file
- Where children leave the school or college ensure their child protection file is transferred to the new school or college as soon as possible. This should be transferred separately from the main pupil file, ensuring secure transit and confirmation of receipt should be obtained.
- During term time the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) should always be available (during school hours) for staff in the school or college to discuss any safeguarding concerns. Whilst generally speaking the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) would be expected to be available in person, it is a matter for individual schools working with the designated safeguarding lead, to define what “available” means and whether in exceptional circumstances availability via phone and or Skype or other such mediums is acceptable.
- It is a matter for individual schools and the designated safeguarding lead to arrange adequate and appropriate cover arrangements for any out of hours/out of term activities.
Types of Abuse and Neglect
All school and college staff should be aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases multiple issues will overlap with one another.
Abuse: 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 (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.
Physical abuse: a form of abuse which 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 alone.
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). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect: 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. 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.
Specific Safeguarding Issues
All staff should have an awareness of safeguarding issues – bullying including cyberbullying; children missing education, child missing from home or care, child sexual exploitation, domestic violence, drugs, fabricated or induced illness, faith abuse, female genital mutiliation (FGM), forced marriage, gangs and youth violence, gender based violence/violence against women and girls, hate, mental health, private fostering, preventing radicalization, relationship abuse, sexting and trafficking.
All staff should be aware safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), gender based violence/sexual assaults and sexting.
The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect:
- Shows sudden changes in behaviour or school performance;
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention;
- Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen;
- Is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn;
- Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home;
- Has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones or black eyes;
- Has fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from school;
- Shrinks at the approach of adults;
- Is frequently absent from school;
- Begs or steals food or money;
- Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunisations, or glasses;
- Is consistently dirty and has severe body odour;
- Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather;
- Abuses alcohol or other drugs;
- States that there is no one at home to provide care;
- Has difficulty walking or sitting;
- Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities;
- Reports nightmares or bedwetting;
- Experiences a sudden change in appetite;
- Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behaviour;
- Runs away;
- Shows extremes in behaviour, such as overly compliant or demanding behaviour, extreme passivity or aggression;
- Has attempted suicide.
Further information on safeguarding and child protection issues:
Child Sexual Exploitation
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Definition and guide for practitioners (DfE, February 2017)
‘Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology’.
Child Sexual Exploitation:
- Can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years, including 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to have sex;
- Can still be abuse even if the sexual activity appears consensual;
- Can include both contact (penetrative and non-penetrative acts) and non-contact sexual activity;
- Can take place in person or via technology, or a combination of both;
- Can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not occur without the child or young person’s immediate knowledge (through others copying videos or images they have created and posting on social media, for example);
- Can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and children or adults. The abuse can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range for opportunistic to complex and organized abuse; and
- Is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the abuse. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, physical strength,, status, and access to economic or other resources.
Even where a young person is old enough to legally consent to sexual activity, the law states that consent is only valid where they make a choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. If a child feels they have no other meaningful choice, are under the influence of harmful substances or fearful of what might happen if they don’t comply (all of which are common features in cases of child sexual exploitation) consent cannot legally be given whatever the age of the child.
Some of the following signs may be indicators of sexual exploitation:
- Children who appear with unexplained gifts or new possessions;
- Children who associate with other young people involved in exploitation;
- Children who suffer from sexually transmitted infections or become pregnant;
- Children who suffer from changes in emotional well-being;
- Children who misuse drugs and alcohol;
- Children who go missing for periods of time or regularly come home late; and
- Children who regularly miss school or education or do not take part in education
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM):“FGM comprises all procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons” (World Health Organisation definition 1995). It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences. Professionals in all agencies, and individuals and groups in relevant communities, need to be alert to the possibility of a girl being at risk of FGM, or already having suffered FGM. FGM is a barbaric and inhumane act. It is a criminal offence to conduct FGM in this country or to take a British girl or permanent resident of the UK abroad for the purposes of FGM. It is a child protection issue and upon suspicion you must follow child protection procedures. Under no circumstances should you discuss your suspicions with the child’s friends, family or other community members, regardless of whether you trust them or not. There is a range of potential indicators that a child or young person may be at risk of FGM, which individually may not indicate risk but if there are two or more indicators present this could signal a risk to the child or young person. Indicators that FGM may have taken place are: constant need to go to the toilet; urine infections; spending longer than usual in the toilet/bathroom; prolonged absence from school after holiday periods; difficulty walking, sitting or standing; making excuses or refusal to take part in PE or other physical activities and family history (sister, mother) having undergone this procedure. Victims of FGM are likely to come from a community that is known to practice FGM. Professionals should note that girls at risk of FGM may not yet be aware of the practice or that it may be conducted on them, so sensitivity should always be shown when approaching the subject. FGM is practiced in Ghana, Yemen, Togo, Kenya, Mauritania, Senegal, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Morocco, Iran, Canada, Thailand, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, India, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria. This is not an exhaustive list and if you have any suspicions please follow your child protection procedures.
FGM Mandatory reporting duty from 31st October 2015
Section 5B of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015) places a statutory duty upon teachers along with regulated health and social care professionals in England and Wales, to report to the police where they discover (either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18. Those failing to report such cases will face disciplinary sanctions. It will be rare for teachers to see visual evidence, and they should NOT examine students, but the same definition of what is meant by “to discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out” is used for all professionals to whom this mandatory reporting duty applies. Teachers must personally report to the police cases where they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out. Unless the teacher has good reason not to, they should also report the matter to their Designated Safeguarding Lead immediately who will involve children’s social care.
Forcing a person into a marriage is a crime in England and Wales. A forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into a marriage. Threats can be physical or emotional and psychological. A lack of full and free consent can be where a person does not consent or where they cannot consent (if they have learning disabilities for example). Nevertheless, some communities use religion and culture as a way to coerce a person into marriage. Schools can play an important role in safeguarding children from forced marriage.
Further information on so-called ‘honour based’ violence
So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV) encompasses crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing. All forms of HBV are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such. Staff should refer to the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Further information on Preventing Radicalisation
Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation should be seen as part of schools’ wider safeguarding duties, and is similar in nature to protecting children from other forms of harm and abuse. During the process of radicalisation it is possible to intervene to prevent vulnerable people being radicalised.
Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism. There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. It can happen in many different ways and settings. Specific background factors may contribute to vulnerability which are often combined with specific influences such as family, friends or online, and with specific needs for which an extremist or terrorist group may appear to provide an answer. The internet and the use of social media in particular has become a major factor in the radicalisation of young people.
As with managing other safeguarding risks, staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. School staff should use their professional judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act proportionately which may include making a referral to the Channel programme.
Information on ‘Prevent’
From 1 July 2015 specified authorities, including all schools are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (“the CTSA 2015”) in the exercise of their functions to have “due regard” to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This duty is known as the Prevent Duty. According to the Prevent duty guidance ‘having due regard’ means that the authorities should place an appropriate amount of weight on the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism when they consider all the other factors relevant to how they carry out their usual functions.
The statutory Prevent guidance summarises the requirements on schools in terms of four general themes: risk assessment, working in partnership, staff training and IT policies.
Schools are expected to assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology. This means being able to demonstrate both a general understanding of the risks affecting children and young people in the area and a specific understanding of how to identify individual children who may be at risk of radicalisation and what to do to support them. Schools and colleges should have clear procedures in place for protecting children at risk of radicalisation. These procedures may be set out in existing safeguarding policies. It is not necessary for schools and colleges to have distinct policies on implementing the Prevent duty.
Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016) describes that peer on peer abuse is most often used to mean sexual abuse between peers and can start with inappropriate sexual misconduct.
Abuse is abuse and should never be tolerated and should never be passed off as ‘banter’ or part of growing up. It could, for example, include girls being sexually touched or boys being subject to initiation or hazing-type violence.
The legislation governing private fostering is the ‘Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005’ and came into force following the death of Victoria Climbie in 2000. Victoria was privately fostered by her great-aunt. Given the ‘hidden nature’ of much private fostering, local authorities have a duty to raise awareness of the need to notify Children’s Social Care if they become aware of a private fostering arrangement.
New Review: 2018