SAFEGUARDING/CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Statement of Intent:
Professionals in all agencies that work with children share a commitment to safeguard and promote their welfare and for many agencies, this is underpinned by a statutory duty or duties. The Moira Anderson Foundation or MAF shares this commitment to safeguard the children that we support on a daily basis. It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep children safe.
MAF is a voluntary organisation, which respects the right of all of the young people it supports to be protected from abuse and exploitation. Equally, it endeavours to ensure that the young people recognise this within the MAF community.
MAF is committed to establishing a culture of nurturing relationships between all those who participate in its activities, at whatever level. It accepts that discrimination, prejudice, in all its manifestations, is in itself abusive, and that these matters should be addressed immediately they arise.
MAF is a voluntary organisation, which supports children/young people/adults. As an organisation, we acknowledge the necessity of offering to all our community relevant advice, information and training. This is to recognise our commitment to the best interests of all of those with whom we are engaged and to respect them individually as valued members of the community.
MAF encourages client participation and feedback. Young people can influence service and give direct feedback through the evaluation process. Parents and Carers can influence service decisions and give feedback through the Parent Group. There is also the Client Advisory Group that considers issues and opportunities; the group influences services and service development.
MAF considers a child to be a person under the age of 18 years. Although we recognise that young people in Scotland may, in some circumstances, be considered able to make decisions at a younger age, such as getting married.
MAF is committed to caring for and protecting from harm all children and young people.
We aim to achieve this by:
Ensuring that the responsible adults are aware of the need for children and young children to be protected from harm and the risk of harm
- Creating a nurturing, learning culture for all those involved with MAF.
- Ensuring that all MAF personnel have knowledge of what to do if a child or young person may be at risk or harm.
- Creating a safe, secure and healthy environment.
- Recording and storing and using information professionally and securely in line with data protection legislation and guidance.
- Respecting the rights of children and young people.
- Where possible, working in partnership with young people and carers
- Understanding that children and young people should be listened to.
- Endeavouring to ensure that the physical environment is safe.
- Providing proper and consistent supervision of all children and young people.
- Continuing to update current knowledge and awareness of Child Protection.
- Endeavouring to ensure that the children and young people maintain age – appropriate awareness of personal safety.
- Understand the need to be aware that parents or trusted adults can and may abuse children and young people.
- Creating a culture of mutual self-respect between all of those involved with MAF.
- Making all parents, personnel and volunteers of MAF aware that it may be necessary to refer a child, who is thought to be at risk of harm, to Social Services.
- Understanding that, on occasions, it may not promote the child’s welfare to inform the parent or carer that a referral is to be made to Social Services.
- Ensuring all volunteers and personnel will receive safeguarding training. Training will be refreshed regularly.
- Recognising its responsibilities in terms of the law, government guidance and procedure. (Appendix 1)
- On a regular basis, at least every three years, reviewing the policy on Safeguarding.
- Ensuring the integration of all relevant policies and procedures including; Equality & Diversity, Recruitment, Complaints, Whistleblowing, Health and Safety and Confidentiality.
- Ensuring that internal policies and procedures correspond with their local, regional and national equivalents.
- Ensure all personnel working with children/young people go through the appropriate PVG/Disclosure process.
- Ensuring that safeguarding is at the heart of all recruitment processes, in particular PVG/Disclosure and reference checks.
- Ensuring induction, instruction, supervision and training is provided to staff and volunteers on safeguarding children and that this is refreshed regularly and to reflect legislative and regulatory changes.
- Sharing safeguarding information and good practice with children and their families by the use of leaflets, workshops, posters and in one-to-one conversations.
This policy has been developed to reflect the aims of the Scottish Government in relation to Curriculum for Excellence, Health, and Well Being. This recognises that the best outcomes for children/young people are when each child or young person is:
MAF values diversity and as such our activities are inclusive. Many individuals and communities experience unlawful and unfair discrimination and oppression on the grounds of their race, disability, age, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership and/or pregnancy or maternity. We believe that equality for all is a basic human right and create our services and opportunities within the legislative framework of The Equalities Act 2010.
We recognise that LGBT young people or young people who identify as non-binary may disclose sensitive information to therapists or staff. It is our policy to uphold their trust and maintain their confidentiality unless circumstances prevail that demands breaking confidentiality. This is explained in the procedure below. MAF is proactive in creating a safe space for the LGBT community and is guided by the requirements of the LGBT Gold Charter.
We also recognise that children and young people for whom English is not their first language or disabled CYP may have additional support needs.
Public Health Scotland and the Scottish Government give guidance on safe practice in relation to the Covid 19 and other infectious diseases. We follow this guidance and ask that parents, children and young people are encouraged to comply, for their safety and that of others.
Code of Conduct
All staff, therapists and volunteers are expected to abide by the Code of Conduct.
- show commitment to MAF and uphold our values of compassion, integrity, resilience and trust
- deliver services within their competency and recognise their limitations
- have membership of a professional body, where appropriate
- treat staff and volunteer colleagues with respect
- behave with integrity, honesty and professionalism
- have a flexible approach to their duties
- be sensitive and tactful in their dealings with people
- follow policy, procedures and guidelines
- report any accidents, incidents or near misses promptly to the relevant member of staff
- respect confidentiality but understand the limitations of confidentiality
- undertake relevant training
- carry out their tasks to the best of their ability
- discuss concerns with their line manager
- ask for help and guidance as required to carry out their role
- inform their line managers of any practice concerns at supervision sessions or more timeously as required
Images of children and young people who receive services and their work, such as drawings or writing, will not be used on social media. Stock images can be used.
- MAF is a safe recruitment employer
- All applicants for posts/roles are required to complete an application form and provide the name of 2 referees
- All references are taken up prior to a post being offered
- All required qualifications are shown at interview/time of appointment and are authenticated
- Staff and volunteers (where appropriate) are required to be members of Protecting Vulnerable Group (PVG) Scheme
- MAF discharges its legal duty to refer information to Disclosure Scotland about an employee or volunteer if they believe they have or may have harmed a child
- MAF will not knowingly employ a barred person in regulated activity
- There is a requirement for enhanced disclosure checks for all staff and volunteers working directly with service users
Monitoring and evaluation of the policy
The policy will be reviewed every three years or sooner if necessary and amended as appropriate to reflect changes in legislation or regulation. Feedback from staff, volunteers, parents and young people will be used to inform policy development.
This policy is to be used in conjunction with all other MAF Policies and Procedures.
MAF feels very strongly that the children and young children with whom we work should be protected.
If you have a concern about a child’s safety, health, behaviour, or general wellbeing then this needs to be recorded factually on a MAF Incident/Cause for Concern form (Appendix 4).
Under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (2002) children/young people and where appropriate, legally recognised parents and carers are allowed access to the children’s files. MAF upholds this Act in an open access policy. Personnel are reminded not to make personal remarks or judgement on children/young people’s forms. These will not be acceptable. Forms should be completed as factually and accurately as possible.
In the interests of safety and protection, staff and therapist one-to-one appointments with children and young people must be arranged for a time when there is more than one person in the building.
Visitors should not be allowed entry to the building unless you are confident that it is safe to do so e.g. a maintenance person.
Visitors are to be escorted by a staff member or volunteer to where they need to be in the building, and they are to be escorted out when their business in the building is complete.
The pandemic has changed how we deliver services. The use of video and telephone calls is a new way of working and is in addition to face-face delivery.
Staff and therapists must use accounts authorised by MAF to communicate with children and young people; it is not permissible to use personal accounts.
Staff and therapists must turn on privacy settings on accounts that are used to interact with children and young people.
Staff and therapists must use MAF devices. If this is not possible gain authorisation from the Service Manager or Director in their absence, to use a personal device. A record of authorisation will be kept along with a note about who can see the communication.
All communications with children and young people must be relevant to service delivery and delivered using age-appropriate language.
MAF must obtain written consent to work with children and young people from parents, carers and children and young people themselves.
Staff and therapists must explain activity and why it is being delivered on-line. Discuss the benefits and risks.
Staff and therapists must gain written consent for children and young people to share images of themselves.
Child Protection Procedure in Light of an Incident.
MAF recognises that due to the nature of the client group incidents may take place. All incidents must be recorded.
Staff involved in an incident primarily have a duty of care to the child/young person, but also to other staff members and themselves.
If another member of staff seems to be involved in an incident, approach the member of staff and offer assistance.
If you do not agree with the way in which someone is handling a situation, do not confront them over it, either in front of other children or other members of staff.
Diffuse the situation by offering assistance. Take the member of staff or volunteer to one side if there is a problem and talk it through with them. If this does not resolve please record this on a form and discuss this with the Director.
If an incident requiring first aid occurs, only Qualified First Aiders are to administer first aid no matter how minimal.
Child Protection Procedure in Light of a Cause for Concern.
MAF recognises that due to the nature of the client group there are multiple issues, which could cause concern. Child Protection is related to ‘harm’ as defined in the Children and Young Person (Scotland) Act (2014). Harm is categorised as emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse or a combination of these. Whatever the source, all cause for concern must be recorded.
How Does a Cause for Concern Arise?
A cause for concern may arise from disclosure, observation or reports.
Observations – e.g. physical symptoms such as bruising, wincing or you may have noted in a child’s/ young person’s physical appearance, behaviour, language or general manner something, which is out of the ordinary.
Disclosure – e.g. a child may approach you and tell you that they are being ‘hurt‘ or may disclose past abuse. In this situation no matter how shocking, the revelation you must remain calm for the benefit of the young child/person. You must never pass judgement, although you may reassure the child the child/young person that whatever has happened was not their fault. If you have any concerns at all, no matter how insignificant they may seem you must record them on a Cause for Concern form as they help to build the bigger picture. Please see the procedure for dealing with a disclosure.
Reporting – another child or young person, a parent, a carer or other individual may inform you that they think a child or young person is being harmed or at risk.
In all cases outlined, an Incident/Cause for Concern form must be completed (Appendix 4).
Cause for Concern Can Be Divided into the Following Categories of the Form:
Physical Abuse – you may recognise unusual bruising on a child /person. If you do not challenge the child/young person directly about where the bruising came from, as they may be embarrassed or frightened. You may tactfully approach the subject but only if the child/young person seems willing or able to talk. Never pressure a child/young person to make a disclosure of abuse. If you have concerns at all, no matter how insignificant they may seem you must record them on a Cause for Concern form as they help to build the bigger picture.
Emotional Abuse – e.g. the child/young person may express that they are worthless or ‘no good’. Reassure the child/young person that you believe them to be e.g. talented at art, singing, and sport and allow the child/young person to speak if they wish. Never pressure the child /young person into exploring feeling negative, however do not hide from listening to them either. It is a matter of balance. If the child/young person does not seem willing to talk and is becoming despondent, then try to divert their attention from the issue by involving them in an activity. It is important that exposure to domestic violence /abuse either directly or indirectly is considered to be highly emotionally harmful. Emotional abuse is difficult to recognise, but if you have any concerns at all no matter how insignificant they may seem you must record them on a Cause for Concern form as they help to build the bigger picture.
Sexual Abuse – e.g. the child/young person may display overly sexual behaviour from dancing in an overly provocative manner to talking about sex. Anything that you do not feel comfortable with, or that you think may exhibit signs of abuse should be recorded even when a prior history of abuse is known. It is extremely important that this is not assessed by an individual as ‘not being a problem’. If you have any concerns at all, no matter how insignificant they may seem you must record them on a Cause for Concern form as they help build a bigger picture.
Neglect – e.g. the child/young person may present poor personal hygiene including nits, lice or unwashed hair, unwashed teeth, unwashed clothes, dishevelled appearance, inappropriate clothing either too hot or too cold weather or inappropriate clothing for sports or activities, smell, the child/young person scavenging tendencies for food and appear very hungry. Regardless of whether the child/young person presents with these symptoms of neglect all the time/ occasionally and regardless of the severity of the symptoms, Cause for Concern forms need to be filled out. It should be noted that the long –term outcomes of continued neglect may be extremely damaging for individuals. Neglect is very corrosive. No matter how insignificant the concerns may seem you must record them on a Cause for Concern form as they help to build a bigger picture.
Additionally, there are other forms of abuse that may arise including:
Exploitation – This is an umbrella term to describe the abuse of children who are forced, tricked, coerced or trafficked into exploitative activities. This includes sexual exploitation, early and forced marriage, drug or arms trafficking, for example
Child Labour is work that deprives a child of their childhood, dignity and the ability to realise their potential. It may interfere with their schooling, deprive them of opportunity to attend school, oblige them to leave school early, and have a detrimental impact on their mental and physical health or be dangerous to the child’s wellbeing.
Other Cause for Concerns must also be recorded. For example, unusual changes in a child/young person behaviour e.g. appearing very withdrawn, or being overly clingy or affectionate. This list is not exhaustive and the above are only a few examples.
MAF personnel understand that in line with the Children and Young Person (Scotland) Act, children who are at ‘significant risk of harm’ must be protected.
N.B All causes for concern must be recorded on an Incident/ Cause for Concern form (Appendix 4).
Procedure Following Incident and/or Cause for Concern
In the light of an incident, an Incident/Cause for Concern must be completed (Appendix 4) and the incident reported as soon as possible to MAF’s safeguarding lead, Maria Hanlon, Service Delivery Manager, for investigation. Contact details for Maria Hanlon – firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone number 01236 602890. If the incident is of an urgent nature e.g. the child/young person is in immediate danger, a call must be made to the emergency services (dial 999).
Cause for Concern
The staff of MAF do not have the responsibility of investigating suspected abuse. This is the role of Social Services who have statutory powers and obligations under the Children and Young Person (Scotland) Act (2014). If abuse is suspected MAF personnel are to complete an Incident/ Cause for Concern form and report to the safeguarding lead who will link with the relevant professionals.
It is rare for children and in particular young children to make false accusations of abuse. If a child alleges that they are being abused this should be taken seriously. If the allegation is subsequently found to be inaccurate, it may nevertheless be an indication of the child’s need for help.
Procedure in Light of Cause for Concern Relating to MAF Personnel
Any suspicions concerning MAF personnel must be treated most seriously. Anything suspicious must be reported and the appropriate forms must go directly to the safeguarding lead. If the concern relates to the safeguarding lead, the Chair of MAF, Peter McCrossan, should be informed as soon as possible. Contact details are – email@example.com. If allegations concern an adult, who is known to be working with MAF, that person will be suspended whilst the incident is investigated internally. As with all safeguarding/child protection referrals and concerns, it may be necessary to pass the information to the appropriate authorities for further investigation.
SAFEGUARDING/CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Legal Statutory Obligations
The Moira Anderson Foundation is subject to and recognises legal representation in terms of childcare and Child Protection. These include:
Duty of Care- Common Law
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Human Rights Act (1998)
Children and Young People (Scotland) Act (2014)
Data Protection Act (2018)
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (2002)
Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act (2007)
SAFEGUARDING/CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
GUIDELINES ON TALKING TO CHILDREN/YOUNG PEOPLE WHO TELL YOU THEY HAVE BEEN ABUSED
- Tell them you believe them. The abuser will have told them that no one will believe them.
- If you feel shock or disbelief try not to show it. Do not let the child/young person think that you are unwilling to hear what they are telling you. Do not say things like ‘are you sure?’ ‘Why didn’t you tell me before?’ ‘I don’t believe it’
- Say ‘you were right to tell me.’ The abuser may have tried to frighten them into keeping silent and will have told them the abuse is a secret that they must keep.
- Tell the child that the abuse was not the child’s/young person’s fault. The abuser will have made them feel responsible. If you have shown anger, make sure the child/young person knows your anger is with the abuser and not them.
- Tell the child/young person that the abuser was ‘wrong’ rather than ‘bad’; the child/young person may love the abuser whilst hating the abuse.
- Tell the child/young person you will help them to stop the abuse.
- Do not promise things you cannot do: never agree to keep what the child has told you a secret. Do reassure the child/young person that you will do all you can.
- Tell them who you will be telling and why.
- Remember that in telling you they are taking the first steps towards ending the abuse. They may not realise it, but they want to take action.
- If the child/young person tells you and you are surprised, do not rush away to inform other people. Control your reaction and spend time with the child until you have reassured them.
SAFEGUARDING/CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Given the nature of MAF’s work and the particular needs and vulnerabilities of the service users in our care, we do not permit any romantic or sexual relationships between employees and current service users. This will be considered a serious breach of your duty of care and professional responsibilities and will be treated as gross misconduct. All contact and relationships with vulnerable adults or any other service user should be for work purposes only. This policy should be followed for a period of up to six months following the end of the support relationship.
SAFEGUARDING/CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
INCIDENT/CAUSE FOR CONCERN FORM
This form should be completed when there is an incident/cause for concern and given to your Safeguarding Lead as soon as possible.
|Details of Client:|
Child’s Date of Birth:
|Details of the person reporting incident/concerns:|
Do these concerns relate to a specific incident/disclosure? If YES complete Section A; If NO, omit section A and move straight to Section B
Date and time of incident/disclosure:
Location of incident/disclosure:
Date this form was completed:
Details of any other persons present:
Details of concern/disclosure/incident:
(What was said, observed, reported)
(What did you do following the incident/disclosure/concern?)
Any other relevant information:
(Were parents/carers notified, if so provide details)