- Safeguarding Concern raised about a child/adult/Staff Member (RECOGNISE).
- Speak to member of the Safeguarding Team (REPORT)
- Safeguarding team member will decide who should complete a Databridge log (RECORD)
- Case is screened to decide if it is a Safeguarding Case.
- If no then manage via operational and/or close. Move to step 8.
- If yes then there will be further assessment by the safeguarding team resulting in:
- Refer to MASH or LADO, or internal only (children)
- Refer to Care Direct, or internal only (adult).
- Outcomes are then are then shared more widely.
- If dissatisfied with Organisational response Escalate to: Police, Care Direct, MASH, LADO, Ofsted (Child), CQC (Adult), Chair of Trustees as appropriate.
Confidentiality is an issue which needs to be discussed and fully understood by all those working with young people, particularly in the context of Child Protection. The only purpose of confidentiality in this respect is to benefit the young person. A member of staff must never guarantee confidentiality to a young person nor should they agree with a young person to keep a secret. Where there is a Child Protection concern this must be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or a member of the Safeguarding Team and may require further investigation by appropriate authorities.
Staff will be informed of relevant information in respect of individual cases regarding Child Protection on a “need to know basis” only. Any information shared with a member of staff in this way must be held confidentially to themselves
Staff must not offer to keep something confidential or a secret with regards to any disclosure, whoever has made it, as this may compromise the safety or wellbeing of the young person or that of another.
- Staff must report the concern immediately to a member of the safeguarding team using the dedicated phone line 07980735731 (or x7000).
- The Safeguarding team will ask the staff member to make a record on Databridge as soon as possible. Any initial notes made by the staff member must be signed, dated and passed to the Safeguarding team.
- The safeguarding team will share information with external agencies as appropriate.
- Feedback will be given to the member of staff who raised the concern, wherever possible.
- Staff have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard young people.
- The safeguarding team will always undertake to share the intention to refer a child to the appropriate external agency with their parents unless to do so could put the child or other children at greater risk of harm, or impede a criminal investigation. If in doubt, consultation with the MASH, Children’s Social Care, Police or other relevant body will be undertaken.
- Different guidelines apply to adults at risk; usually, information will only be shared with parents or carers with the consent of the adult at risk. If in doubt, a member of the Safeguarding team will consult with Care Direct.
- Staff should not discuss a disclosure with parents or carers of children or young people unless this has been agreed with the DSL and a script has been prepared.
Records and monitoring
Well-kept records are essential to good Child Protection practice. WESC Foundation is clear about the need to record any concern held about a young person or persons within WESC Foundation, the status of such records and when these records should be passed over to other agencies.
Any member of staff receiving a disclosure of abuse or noticing signs or indicators of abuse, must make an accurate record on Databridge as soon as possible noting what was said or seen, putting the event in context, and giving the date, time and location.
These file notes are kept in a confidential file, which is separate to other files, and stored in a secure place (DSL Office/Databridge). In the same way notes must be kept of any young person who is being monitored for Child Protection reasons.
If a young person transfers from WESC Foundation, these files will be forwarded to the young person’s new education provider marked confidential and for the attention of the receiving provider’s Designated Safeguarding Lead. WESC Foundation will retain a copy of the chronology.
It is very important that you report your concerns.
You do not need ‘absolute’ proof that the child is at risk – simply you have a reason to be worried about them.
Categories and indicators of abuse
There are four categories of abuse and accompanying indicators which, if observed should trigger you to carefully consider whether what you are seeing could be as a result of abuse. That something is or is not on the list does not mean that you can instantly rule in or rule out abuse as a possibility and if there is something that is causing you concern you should act on those concerns.
All the definitions below are taken from Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018.
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.
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 a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meets 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 cyber bullying), 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, though it may occur alone.
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 Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. The sexual abuse of children by other children is a specific safeguarding issue in education.
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 caregivers)
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Indicators of abuse
Physical signs define some type of abuse, for example, bruising, bleeding or broken bones resulting from physical or sexual abuse, or injuries sustained while a child has been inadequately supervised. The definition of physical signs is complicated, as young people may go to great lengths to hide injuries, often because they are ashamed or embarrassed, or their abuser has threatened further violence or trauma if they ‘tell’. It is also quite difficult for anyone to categorise injuries into accidental or deliberate with any degree of certainty. For these reasons, it is vital that staff are also aware of the behavioural indicators of abuse and report any concerns to the Safeguarding Team.
Mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation.
It is the responsibility of staff to report their concerns. It is not their responsibility to investigate or decide whether a young person has been abused.
A young person who has been abused or neglected may:
- Have bruises, bleeding, burns, fractures or other injuries
- Show signs of pain or discomfort
- Keep arms or legs covered, even in warm weather
- Be concerned about changing for PE, swimming or in the residential areas for bathing/ bed
- Look unkempt and uncared for – present as smelly
- Change their eating habits
- Have difficulty in making or sustaining friendships
- Appear fearful
- Be reckless with regard to their own or others safety
- Frequently miss school or arrive late
- Show signs of not wanting to go home
- Display a change in behaviour – from quiet to aggressive, or happy go lucky to withdrawn
- Challenge authority
- Become disinterested in school work
- Be constantly tired or preoccupied
- Be wary of physical contact
- Be involved in, or particularly knowledgeable about drugs or alcohol
- Display sexual knowledge or behaviour beyond that normally expected for their age.
Individual indicators will rarely, in isolation, provide conclusive evidence of abuse. They should be viewed as part of a jigsaw, and each small piece of information will help the DSL and the Safeguarding Team to decide how to proceed.
Fears about sharing information cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children at risk of abuse or neglect.
(Information sharing advice for practitioners, 2018)
Sharing information internally
Legally, we can share information within WESC Foundation. When we are worried about a child or young person it is essential we inform the safeguarding team promptly. Other people in the team, such as the managers, may also need to know to provide safe care for the young person. In exceptional circumstances information within WESC Foundation will be restricted, for example:
- Where there is an allegation about a member of staff the CEO will decide with other agencies in a strategy discussion who must be aware of the concern.
- Where the detail of information is particularly sensitive this can be restricted, for example the details of sexual abuse or a young person sharing worries about their mental health or sexuality. Staff involved in their direct care will probably need to know in general terms the nature of the concern.
Sharing information with other agencies
We follow the 7 Golden Rules from Information sharing advice for practitioners, 2018:
- The Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and human rights law are not barriers to justified information sharing, but provide a framework to ensure that personal information about living individuals is shared appropriately.
- We will be open and honest with individuals (and/or family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.
- We will seek advice from other practitioners (e.g. MASH) if in any doubt about sharing the information concerned, without disclosing the identity of the individual where possible.
- We share information with informed consent where appropriate and, if possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent to share confidential information. We still share information without consent if, in our judgement, there is good reason to do so, e.g. where a child’s safety may be at risk. We base judgements on the facts of the case. We are clear why we share or request personal information from someone. We remain mindful that individuals might not expect information to be shared, even with consent.
- We consider safety and well-being and base our information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well-being of the child, their parent(s) and others who may be affected by their actions.
- Necessary, proportionate, relevant, adequate, accurate, timely and secure: We ensure information we share is necessary for the purpose for which we are sharing it, is shared only with individuals who need to have it, is accurate and up-to-date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely.
- We keep records of our decision to share (or not to share) and the reasons for it. We record what we have shared, with whom and for what purpose.
You must respond if you identify any of the following:
Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA)
WESC Foundation recognises that DVA has a significant impact on a child’s development and emotional wellbeing and should always lead to a child protection referral through the safeguarding team to MASH / MARAC (multi-agency risk assessment conference) / Police.
WESC Foundation is a member of the Operation Encompass initiative. Operation Encompass is a unique Police and Education early intervention safeguarding partnership which supports children and young people exposed to domestic abuse. Operation Encompass is the reporting to schools before the start of the next school day when a child or young person has been involved or exposed to a domestic abuse incident the previous evening.
The information is given in strict confidence to WESC Foundation’s Key Adult to enable support to be given dependent on the needs and wishes of the child.
DVA is very widespread and where staff have concerns for other staff members they should talk to their supervisor.
Physical intervention and restraint
Staff at WESC Foundation must read the Physical Intervention and Restraint policy and understand how to work with young people in a person-centred way and learn to analyse the young person’s behaviour and respond in a proactive and caring way to reduce the stress displayed.
WESC Foundation’s procedure on physical intervention and restraint is set out separately, and acknowledges that staff must only ever use physical restraint as a last resort, when a young person is endangering themselves or others, and that at all times it must be the minimum force necessary to prevent injury and applied for the shortest possible time. WESC understand that physical intervention or restraint of a nature which causes injury or distress to a young person may be considered a disciplinary matter.
While bullying between young people is not a separate category of abuse it is a very serious issue that can cause considerable anxiety and distress. At its most serious level, bullying can have a disastrous effect on a young person’s wellbeing and in very rare cases has been a feature in the suicide of some young people.
Peer on peer abuse
Children can abuse other children. This is generally referred to as peer on peer abuse and can take many forms. This can include (but is not limited to) bullying (including cyberbullying); sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; sexting, upskirting, abuse within intimate relationships and initiating/hazing type violence and rituals. Further information can be found at UKCCIS Guidance: Sexting in Schools and Colleges.
All incidents of bullying and peer on peer abuse, including cyber bullying and prejudice-based bullying, should be reported and will be managed through WESC’s Anti-Bullying Procedure and in some circumstances, could lead to a child protection referral. Bullying is addressed across WESC through PSHE sessions with a yearly anti-bullying week. Tutors and keyworkers will work with individual young people who have been bullied/abused and those who have bullied/abused others to assist them to understand their actions. If the bullying/abuse is particularly serious or if the procedures taken are ineffective the DSL and the CEO will consider implementing child protection procedures.
Staff who allow or condone bullying may face disciplinary proceedings under the Child protection procedures. This includes cyber, racist, homophobic and gender related bullying.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges
Sexual violence and sexual harassment are crimes and can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children. Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment will likely find the experience stressful and distressing. This will, in all likelihood, adversely affect their educational attainment. Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap, they can occur online and offline (both physical and verbal) and are never acceptable. It is important that all victims are taken seriously and offered appropriate support. Staff should be aware that some groups are potentially more at risk. Evidence shows girls, children with SEND and LGBT children are at greater risk. Staff should be aware of the importance of: • making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up; • not tolerating or dismissing sexual violence or sexual harassment as “banter”, “part of growing up”, “just having a laugh” or “boys being boys”; and • challenging behaviours (potentially criminal in nature), such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, upskirting, flicking bras and lifting up skirts. Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them.
If sexual violence or harassment is alleged in our setting, we will
- Take the disclosure seriously and not minimise the child’s concerns
- Undertake a risk & needs assessment in order to support the victim(s), the alleged perpetrator and any other children or young people who may be affected
- Make a referral to MASH, taking into account the DCFB Thresholds tool
- If a crime has been committed, inform the police (taking into account the wishes of the alleged victim/s)
Children with sexually harmful behaviour
Children may be harmed by other children. Staff will be aware of the harm caused by bullying and will use the WESC Foundation anti-bullying procedures where necessary. However, sexually harmful or sexually problematic behaviour warrants a response under the Child Protection procedure rather than anti-bullying procedures. We will assess the level of concern using an established tool such as the Brook traffic lights or AIM2 and, taking into account the DCFB thresholds tool, make a referral to the MASH team.
WESC Foundation acknowledges that repeated racists incidents or a single serious incident may lead to consideration as a disciplinary matter under Child Protection procedures.
Forced Marriages & Honour Based Violence
Forced marriage is when a person faces physical pressure to marry (e.g. threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (e.g. if you’re made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family).
‘Honour’ based crime is intended to protect ‘family honour’ through violence, threats, insults or other acts around forced marriage, where a cross-cultural relationship is suspected, or where other ‘taboos’ are broken such as wearing of non-traditional clothes or attending events that violate a family or cultural ‘norms’. If staff become aware of either possibility it must be reported immediately to the Safeguarding Team or the Police.
Child sexual exploitation (CSE)
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. Like all forms of child sex abuse, 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, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence;
- may occur without the child or young person’s immediate knowledge (e.g. through others copying videos or images they have created and posted on social media);
- 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 from opportunistic to complex organised 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.
Some of the following signs may be indicators of child sexual exploitation:
- children who appear with unexplained gifts or new possessions;
- children who associate with other young people involved in exploitation;
- children who have older boyfriends or girlfriends;
- 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.
Child criminal exploitation (CCE) – County Lines
Criminal exploitation of children is a geographically widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines criminal activity: drug networks or gangs groom and exploit children and young people to carry drugs and money from urban areas to suburban and rural areas, market and seaside towns. Key to identifying potential involvement in county lines are missing episodes, when the victim may have been trafficked for the purpose of transporting drugs and a referral to the National Referral Mechanism should be considered. Like other forms of abuse and exploitation, county lines exploitation:
- can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years;
- can affect any vulnerable adult over the age of 18 years;
- can still be exploitation even if the activity appears consensual;
- can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and is often accompanied by violence or threats of violence;
- can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and young people or adults; and
- is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the exploitation. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences. It is a grave violation of the human rights of girls and women to life and their right to health. The UK Government has signed a number of international human rights laws against FGM, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Any staff who believe a girl may be at risk of FGM, become aware that this may be planned or has happened for any young women attending WESC must inform a member of the Safeguarding Team immediately. If a teacher, in the course of their work in the profession, discovers that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18, the teacher must report this directly to the police.
So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse
So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA) encompasses incidents or 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. Abuse committed in the context of preserving ‘honour’ often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. It is important to be aware of this dynamic and additional risk factors when deciding what form of safeguarding action to take. All forms of HBA are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such. If you have a concern regarding a child that might be at risk of HBA or who has suffered from HBA, you should speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).
Trafficking and exploitation
The two most common terms for the illegal movement of people – ‘trafficking’ and ‘smuggling’, are very different. In human smuggling, immigrants and asylum seekers pay people to help them enter the country illegally; after which there is no longer a relationship. Trafficked victims are coerced or deceived by the person arranging their relocation. On arrival in the country of destination the trafficked child or person is denied their human rights and is forced into exploitation by the trafficker or person into whose control they are delivered.
Children are a special case, any child transported for exploitative reasons is considered to be a trafficking victim, whether or not they have been deceived. This is partly because it is not considered possible for a young person to give informed consent.
Even when a young person understands what has happened they may still appear to submit willingly, to what they believe to be the will of their parents. Any concerns about trafficking and exploitation must be reported to the Safeguarding Team immediately.
Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism. Extremism is defined by the Government in the Prevent Strategy as:
Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.
Extremism is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as:
The demonstration of unacceptable behaviour by using any means or medium to express views which:
- Encourage, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs;
- Seek to provoke others to terrorist acts;
- Encourage other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts; or
- Foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.
There is no such thing as a “typical extremist”: those who become involved in extremist actions come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in violent extremist activity.
Young people may become susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal and environmental factors – it is known that violent extremists exploit vulnerabilities in individuals to drive a wedge between them and their families and communities. It is vital that WESC staff are able to recognise those vulnerabilities.
Extremism: is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.
Terrorism: is an action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people; causes serious damage to property; or seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system.
Indicators of vulnerability include:
- Identity crisis – the young person is distanced from their cultural / religious heritage and experiences discomfort about their place in society;
- Personal crisis – the young person may be experiencing family tensions; a sense of isolation; and low self-esteem; they may have dissociated from their existing friendship group and become involved with a new and different group of friends; they may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging;
- Personal circumstances – migration; local community tensions; and events affecting the young person’s country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy;
- Unmet aspirations – the young person may have perceptions of injustice; a feeling of failure; rejection of civic life;
- Experiences of criminality – which may include involvement with criminal groups, imprisonment, and poor resettlement / reintegration;
- Special Educational Need – young people may experience difficulties with social interaction, empathy with others, understanding the consequences of their actions and awareness of the motivations of others.
However, this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that all young people experiencing the above are at risk of radicalisation for the purposes of violent extremism.
More critical risk factors could include:
- Being in contact with extremist recruiters;
- Accessing violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element;
- Possessing or accessing violent extremist literature;
- Using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage;
- Justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues;
- Joining or seeking to join extremist organisations; and
- Significant changes to appearance and / or
- Experiencing a high level of social isolation resulting in issues of identity crisis and / or personal crisis.
Preventing radicalisation – the Prevent duty
In order to reduce the risks of young people being radicalised whilst involved with WESC Foundation, we will:
- ensure that staff at WESC Foundation are aware that the DSL is there to protect young people at WESC Foundation from radicalisation and involvement in terrorism;
- maintain and apply a good understanding of the relevant guidance in relation to preventing young people from becoming involved in terrorism, and protecting them from radicalisation by those who support terrorism or forms of extremism which lead to terrorism;
- raise awareness about the role and responsibilities of WESC Foundation in relation to protecting young people from radicalisation and involvement in terrorism;
- monitor the effect in practice of the school’s promotion of British values to ensure that it is used to promote community cohesion and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs;
- raise awareness within WESC about the safeguarding processes relating to protecting young people from radicalisation and involvement in terrorism;
- require the DSL to act as the first point of contact within WESC Foundation for case discussions relating to young people who may be at risk of radicalisation or involved in terrorism;
- collate relevant information from referrals of vulnerable young people into the Channel process;
- ensure the DSL attends Channel meetings as necessary and carries out any actions as agreed;
- ensure that progress on actions is reported to the Channel Co-ordinator; and share any relevant additional information in a timely manner.
Online safety/internet use
Young people are increasingly using mobiles phones, tablets and computers on a daily basis. They are a source of fun, entertainment, communication and education. However, we know that some adults and young people will use these technologies to harm young people. The harm might range from hurtful and abusive texts and e-mails, to enticing young people to engage in sexually harmful conversations, webcam photography or face-face meetings. WESC’s online safety policy explains how we try to keep young people safe at WESC. Cyber bullying and sexting by pupils, via texts and emails, will be treated as seriously as any other type of bullying and will be managed through the WESC Anti-Bullying procedure.
There are three classifications of risk:
Content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material.
Contact: Being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users.
Conduct: Personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm.
“Chatrooms” and social networking sites are the more obvious sources of inappropriate and harmful behaviour and young people cannot access these on the WESC system. WESC will provide teaching for young people on how to maintain their own safety and how to summon help if they are concerned about what they see on line. Some young people will undoubtedly be chatting on mobiles or social networking sites at home and parents are encouraged to consider measures to keep their young person safe.
The staff Code of Conduct provides further advice and guidance regarding the use of social networking and electronic communication with young people who are involved with the WESC Foundation.
Photography and images
The vast majority of people who take or view photographs or videos of children do so for entirely innocent, understandable and acceptable reasons. Sadly, some people abuse young people through taking or using images, so we must ensure that the following safeguards are in place. While parents are permitted to bring in a camera to events, no staff member should use their personal equipment to take photographs of young people. WESC Foundation provides equipment for this purpose.
Where a staff member has concerns someone is taking photographs in breach of this policy they should contact the safeguarding team.
To protect children, we need to:
- seek their consent for photographs to be taken or published (for example, on our website or in the newspapers or other publications).
- parental consent for any images that may be published.
- use only the young person’s first name with the image.
- ensure that the young person is appropriately dressed.
- encourage young people to tell us if they are worried about any photographs that are taken of them.
Staff should be aware that many indecent images in current circulation were taken by the young person themselves or peers. Sex, sexuality and relationships should be an age-appropriate topic in the school and home, and include what to do if young people are worried about an image they see.
Children missing education (CME)
All staff should be aware that children going missing, particularly repeatedly, can act as a vital warning sign of a range of safeguarding possibilities. This may include abuse and neglect, which may include sexual abuse or exploitation and child criminal exploitation. It may indicate mental health problems, risk of substance abuse, risk of travelling to conflict zones, risk of female genital mutilation or risk of forced marriage. Early intervention is necessary to identify the existence of any underlying safeguarding risk and to help prevent the risks of a child going missing in future. Staff should be aware of WESC Foundation Unauthorised Learner Absence Procedure (Including Missing Young Person Procedure). This procedure explains what we do when a child has poor attendance or are regularly missing. WESC will ensure we have two emergency contacts for each child.
Private fostering occurs when a child under the age of 16 (under 18, if disabled) is provided with care and accommodation by a person who is not a parent, person with parental responsibility for them or a relative in their own home. A child is not privately fostered if the person caring for and accommodating them has done so for less than 28 days and does not intend to do so for longer. Such arrangements may come to the attention of WESC staff through the normal course of their interaction, and promotion of learning activities, with children. WESC will notify the local authority to allow the local authority to check the arrangement is suitable and safe for the child.
Government data indicates that there are about 250,000 homeless children in England and Wales and this number is predicted to rise sharply in the next 1 – 2 years. Research by organisations such as the Children’s Society and NSPCC shows that families with a disabled child are at greater risk of poverty and homelessness. If it is believed that any child or young person is homeless or at risk of homelessness (with or without their family), the DSL will liaise with the housing department and relevant charitable organisations either in Devon or in the placing authority.
- Other specific issues
- Keeping children safe in education part 1 and Annex A provide additional information on a range of specific safeguarding issues including:
- having a family member in prison
- children involved in the court process – either as victims, witnesses or perpetrators of crime, or through family court proceedings
- young carers
- children going missing, or missing from education
- children involved in or at risk of being drawn into gang involvement, organised crime or anti-social behaviour
See also Keeping Children Safe in Education Part One.
We all play a significant part in the prevention of harm to young people. We will work to ensure that wherever possible harm is prevented.
WESC Foundation endeavours to ensure that it employs ‘safe staff’ by following the guidance in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ 2020 together with the guidance given by the Devon Children & Families Partnership and WESC Foundation’s individual procedures.
Safer recruitment means that all applicants will:
- understand their duties to safeguard young people from the outset through the advertisement and in their job description
- complete and sign a WESC Foundation application form which includes a full education and employment history (with explanations for any gaps)
- provide business contact details for two verified, formal referee statements following a WESC Foundation format, including their current or most recent employer and at least one who can comment on the applicant’s suitability to work with young people (the last child care employer if they have one).One reference must be from someone who has known the candidate for at least 5 years
- provide evidence of identity and qualification
- be checked in accordance with the Disclosure and Barring Service(DBS) regulations as appropriate to their role
- provide evidence of their right to work in the UK
- be interviewed by a panel of two testing skills and abilities with Value Based questions against the job description including at least one person with safer recruitment training
- ensure that recruitment documentation will state its commitment to safeguard young people.
WESC Foundation will also verify the candidate’s mental and physical fitness to carry out their work responsibilities. All new members of staff will undergo face to face induction training which includes familiarisation with the safeguarding policies and procedures and support to identify their Child Protection training needs. All staff will sign to confirm that they have read and understood the safeguarding policies and procedures including ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020’. WESC Foundation obtains written confirmation from supply agencies that agency staff have been appropriately checked, and their suitability to work with young people at WESC Foundation will be assessed based on the young person’s needs. WESC Foundation maintains a single Central Register of recruitment checks undertaken.
Code of conduct
WESC Foundation has a published code of conduct which sets out expectations of staff around appropriate boundaries and staff keeping themselves safe – it is important you read this document.
Having to deal with a situation where a young person has suffered, or appears to be likely to suffer, harm can be stressful and upsetting. WESC Foundation will support staff in a variety of ways, including a debrief with the DSL or their deputy. Where necessary confidential counselling services and additional resources will be sought.
Staff involved in working directly with young people at WESC Foundation, or supervising staff who do, will receive regular supervision. This supervision will take place every half a term and will provide a space for the staff member to talk about issues which they are facing in the work environment, thoughts that they have in terms of developing the service that is provided to the young people and discuss the emotional impact of the role as well as any other issues that they consider relevant.
Supervision will also be used to reflect on any safeguarding issues that the staff member has been involved in (directly or indirectly) and allow for agreement on any further action required.
Throughout this document the terms Group 2 and Group 3 refer to Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010 when training needs for a range of groups were last specified. We are aware this guidance has been replaced by later guidance which does not cover training in such depth, but this consistent language enables effective communication with training providers and the Devon Children & Families Partnership.
All staff who work with young people will undertake appropriate Child Protection awareness training to equip them to carry out their responsibilities for Child Protection effectively, this will start at induction and will be kept up to date by formal refresher training at no more than three yearly intervals.. In addition, regular briefing sessions to all staff at least annually will be used to increase knowledge and skills, highlight changes in legislation and needs of the young people.
Temporary staff and volunteers who work with young people at WESC will be made aware of WESC’s arrangements for child protection and their responsibilities. They will be given information at reception which informs them of the contact details. Throughout this document the terms Group 2 and Group 3 refer to Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010 when training needs for a range of groups were last specified. We are aware this guidance has been replaced by later guidance which does not cover training in such depth, but this consistent language enables effective communication with training providers and the Devon Children & Families Partnership.
All staff who work with young people will undertake appropriate Child Protection awareness training to equip them to carry out their responsibilities for Child Protection effectively, this will start at induction and will be kept up to date by formal refresher training at no more than three yearly intervals. In addition, regular briefing sessions to all staff at least annually will be used to increase knowledge and skills, highlight changes in legislation and needs of the young people.
Temporary staff and volunteers who work with young people at WESC Foundation will be made aware of WESC Foundation’s arrangements for child protection and their responsibilities. They will be given information at reception which informs them of the contact details.
Specific support where risks are identified
Supporting Young People at Risk
WESC Foundation recognises that young people who are abused or who witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self-worth or view the world as a positive place. WESC may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of young people at risk. Nevertheless, whilst at WESC Foundation their behaviour may still be challenging and defiant or they may be withdrawn.
Young people known to be in this category will need additional support from staff and greater liaising with external agencies to enable the young people to develop in self-confidence, self-worth and self-belief and to feel safe at WESC Foundation. Early help assessments may be carried out by Children’s Social Care and WESC staff will be directed as required to support this.
Safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the school or college and/or can occur between children outside the school or college. All staff, but especially the designated safeguarding lead (and deputies) should be considering the context within which such incidents and/or behaviours occur. This is known as contextual safeguarding, which simply means assessments of children should consider whether wider environmental factors are present in a child’s life that are a threat to their safety and/or welfare. Children’s social care assessments should consider such factors so it is important that schools and colleges provide as much information as possible as part of the referral process. This will allow any assessment to consider all the available evidence and the full context of any abuse. Additional information regarding contextual safeguarding is available here: Contextual Safeguarding.
Attendance at Child Protection Conference and Core Groups
It is the responsibility of the DSL to ensure that WESC is represented or a report is submitted to any Child Protection conference called for young people at or who have attended WESC Foundation. Whoever attends should be fully briefed on any issues or concerns WESC has and be prepared to make a decision on WESC Foundation’s ability to protect the young person at the end of the conference.
When a young person is placed at WESC and is identified as needing protection it is the DSL’s responsibility to ensure that the young person is monitored regarding their school attendance, welfare and presentation. If WESC is part of the core group then the DSL should ensure that WESC is represented at these meetings by someone sufficiently senior to make decisions and someone who knows the young person well; that the Designated staff at WESC understand their role in delivering the child protection plan, that there is a record of attendance and issues discussed. All concerns about the Child Protection issue and/or the young person’s welfare should be discussed and recorded at the core group meeting unless the young person is at further risk of significant harm. In this case the DSL must inform the young person’s social care key worker immediately of any concerns and then record that they have done so and the actions agreed.
Safe school, safe staff
It is essential that the high standards of conduct and professional responsibility adopted with regard to alleged child abuse by parents are similarly displayed when members of staff are accused of abuse.
Only authorised agencies may investigate child abuse allegations (Social Care Services, the Police or in some areas, the NSPCC). Whilst it is permissible to ask the young person/people simple, non-leading questions to ascertain the facts of the allegation, formal interviews and the taking of statements is not.
The CEO will inform the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) in an event of an allegation being made against a member of staff and follow their direction.
- All young people will have in place an individual risk assessment and behaviour plan appropriate to their needs which will inform staff of how to respond to any statements made through behaviour.
- All activities will be risk assessed in line with WESC procedures.
Allegations against staff
All WESC Foundation staff should take care not to place themselves in a vulnerable position with a young person. Staff must adhere to the “Working Alone with Young People” and “Intimate Care” procedures and adhere to “Keeping Children Safe in Education” 2020.
WESC Foundation understand that a young person may make an allegation against a member of staff.
The CEO on all such occasions will discuss the content of the allegation with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for the management and oversight of allegations.
If the allegation concerns the Director of Education then this must be passed directly to the CEO.
If the allegation concerns the CEO, the Designated Person will immediately inform the Chair of Trustees without notifying the CEO first.
WESC Foundation will follow the Devon Children & Families Partnership (DCFP) Procedures for managing allegations against staff and notify the LADO team of the allegation/concerns.
WESC Foundation will notify the DBS should an allegation made against a member of staff be found to be true and the individual is removed from regulated activity.
The staff at WESC Foundation occupy a vital position in promoting good practice and professional conduct throughout the organisation. We recognise that staff are committed to providing a high standard of service.
WESC Foundation recognises that young people cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so.
All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, about the management of Child Protection, which may include the attitude or actions of colleagues. If necessary, they should speak to the Designated Lead, CEO, safeguarding trustee or LADO.
If a member of staff notices anything that gives them cause for concern it is vital that this is raised.
Acting upon staff concerns is fundamental in order to ensure good practice and support for staff.
Resolving issues must be viewed by all staff as a positive action and not a breach of trust between colleagues or an attack on the organisation.
WESC Foundation values an atmosphere of openness and honesty and welcomes suggestions, complaints and criticisms.
Whistleblowing includes raising and passing on concerns about any of the following:
- Poor standards of service
- Issues of bad practice
- The conduct of colleagues or managers
- Anything which is not in the best interest of the young person or the organisation
- Anything which is illegal or unacceptable behaviour.
WESC Foundation has a detailed Whistleblowing procedure in place. This procedure can be found on the Intranet.
Any member of staff who fails to report child protection concerns immediately is placing the young person at risk of potential further harm, and themselves at risk of disciplinary action. This includes safeguarding disclosures made by a child, young person or concerned adult in other community situations.
All contractors working for WESC Foundation will be expected to comply with the requirements of this policy and know what to do if they have a concern. Where appropriate WESC will require contractors to have the necessary checks (e.g. DBS and references) completed prior to commencing work at WESC.
WESC Foundation will ensure that these requirements are set out in any tendering and contractual documents.
Further information can be obtained from the Head of Safeguarding.
There are many organisations to assist with safeguarding and some of the information in this policy has been taken from:
Who do I need to speak to?
You can contact a Designated Person (member of the Safeguarding Team) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 07980 735731 or Ext 7000 (from a WESC Foundation landline).
WESC Foundation personnel responsible for carrying out safeguarding procedures are:
- Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL; Training: Level 3 Child Protection Training with evidence of CPD annually)
- Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads (DDSLs)
- Director of Care and Support Services
- Director of Education
- Safeguarding Team (Designated Safeguarding Persons or DSPs; Training: Level 3 Child Protection Training renewed at least every 2 years with annual updates)
- Head of Learning
- Residential Support Manager
- Team Leam for Therapy and Mobility
- Head of VI Specialist Services
- Pastoral Lead
- St David’s House Manager
- Nurse Manager
- Designated Trustee (contact via the CEO’s PA EXT 201)
Ofsted can be contacted on www.ofsted.gov.uk or 0300 1234 666
Care Quality Commission (CQC) can be contacted on www.cqc.org.uk or 03000 616161
Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub can be contacted on 0345 155 1071
LADO can be contacted on 01392 384964
Care Direct can be contacted on 0845 155 1007
Annex 1: How do I tell if a young person is at risk of harm or neglect
It is difficult to be certain, but if you have a reason to worry then that is enough for us to talk more about the risk or to involve other agencies.
Use the definitions of abuse or neglect from earlier in this document and the Threshold Tool (www.devonsafeguardingchildren.org)
The table shows how the risk increases from Level 1 to Level 4 as the Likelihood and Impact of the event increase.
Impact is either:
- Significant harm
Likelihood is either:
- Very unlikely
- Almost certain
The risk increases based on the combination of likelihood and impact. For example, an event that is rated Significant Harm but Very Unlikely would be level one. If the Impact is Significant harm but the likelihood increased to Possible then the risk level would rise to Level 3.