1st Sensory Legion recognises that the safety of all children is paramount, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs.

  1. Purpose

This policy is designed to ensure a committed, strategic and professional approach to child protection and reflects leading and best practice whilst safeguarding an individual’s privacy and dignity.  This policy aims to provide staff, volunteers and trustees with a framework for their practice with children and young people to ensure that all concerns about care and protection are taken seriously and effectively managed. It also aims to protect staff, volunteers and trustees against false allegations made by either the children or the adults they are working with. This policy cannot provide answers to every eventuality, as in matters of child protection each situation is unique. It acts as an overall framework that offers guidance to staff, volunteers and trustees however, common sense must also be used to protect the child. Reasons for referring to this policy will be where a member of staff, volunteer or Trustee has concerns for the physical, sexual or emotional health of a child. In circumstances where advice is sought on actual situations outside normal office hours, advice should be sought from the Line Manager, designated child protection officer, duty social worker or the police. This policy should be read in conjunction with 1st Sensory Legion’s policies on the following:

  • Equal Opportunities
  • Communication
  • Professional Boundaries
  • Data Protection
  • Confidentiality and Disclosure
  • Recruitment and Selection.
  • Protection of vulnerable adults
  • Health and Safety
  • Prevention and detection of physical
  • Abuse
  • Reporting Neglect
  • Disciplinary
  • Grievance
  1. Policy Statement

We in 1st Sensory Legion, staff, volunteers and trustees, are committed to practice which protects children from harm. ALL staff and volunteers and trustees in this organisation accept and recognise

their responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues which cause children harm. We will endeavour to safeguard children by:

  • Adopting child protection guidelines through a code of behaviour for staff and volunteers;
  • Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers.
  • Taking all suspicions, allegations and disclosures seriously.
  • Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately;
  • Following carefully the procedures for recruitment and selection of staff and volunteers;
  • Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.

This policy has been written in accordance with government policy and guidelines and includes variations relating to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. (See appendices) We are committed to reviewing our Child Protection Policy, procedures and practice at least every 3 years.

  1. 1st Sensory Legion Child Protection Officers

Designated Officer:

Mrs Lee Dearnley, Telephone: 07958475459

The role of the designated Child Protection Officer is:

  • to ensure that the child protection procedures within the organisation are followed
  • to ensure that all staff, volunteers and trustees are aware of these procedures and are aware of their personal responsibilities relating to this policy within their role
  • to ensure that appropriate, up to date training, information and resources are provided
  • to decide when it is necessary to take further actions on concerns reported.
  1. Code of Behaviour

3.1 Recognising children’s rights and treating them with dignity and respect. What does this involve?

a) Stressing that threatening, violent or degrading behaviour is not acceptable
b) Taking steps to ensure children and young people are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
c) Treating children and young people as individuals.
d) Encouraging the involvement of children and young people
e) Stressing that threatening, violent or degrading behaviour is not acceptable.

3.2 Protecting children and young people is about being alert to the possibility of abuse and preventing situations where it could happen and where staff could be accused of unacceptable behaviour.

  1. a) We will reduce the likelihood of situations of abuse of children and young people and protect our staff and volunteers from false accusations by making sure that everyone is aware that, as a general rule, it doesn’t make sense to…
  • Spend excessive amounts of time alone with children or young people away from others;
  • Take children and young people in a car on journeys, however short;
  • Take children or young people to your own home

When it is unavoidable that these things should happen, they should only occur with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge of the organisation and / or the child’s parents.

  1. b) We will make it clear to all staff and volunteers within our organisation that they should never…
  • Engage in rough physical games including horseplay – apart from structured sports activities;
  • Engage in sexually provocative games;
  • Allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any form;
  • Allow children or young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged;
  • Make sexually suggestive comments about or to a child or young person, even in fun;
  • Let allegations a child makes go unchallenged or unrecorded;
  • Do things of a personal nature for children or young people that they can do for themselves.
  1. c) We appreciate that there will be occasions when it is necessary for staff and volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children and young people, particularly if they are very young or if they are disabled. These tasks will only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of the parents. In an emergency which requires this type of help, parents will be fully informed, as soon as it is reasonably possible. In such situations, staff and volunteers must recognise the importance of sensitivity and undertake personal care with the utmost discretion and make a report to their line manager.
  2. d) Our approach towards children and young people must be positive and nonviolent at all times.

3.3 Taking steps to ensure children and young people are aware of their rights and responsibilities;

We accept that children and young people who know their rights will be better equipped to protect themselves. Where appropriate we will discuss the values of inclusion we subscribe to, the social model of disability and legislation such as the United Convention on the Rights of the Child with children and young people.

3.4 Treating children and young people as individuals.

To be sure that children and young people are not suffering from harm of any kind we will consider the individual needs of all those we come in contact with. Being aware of individual need will enable us to be more responsive to a child’s / young person’s reactions in situations where they may be suffering abuse but unable to tell anyone.

3.5 Encouraging the involvement of children

By encouraging children to talk about things they like and enjoy and good experiences they have, we recognise that they are likely to be more comfortable talking about things that worry them. Children and young people will be consulted regarding our work and plans for projects involving young people.

  1. Raising awareness

As an organisation, we will take collective and individual responsibility for raising awareness on issues related to child protection. This will involve:

1. Being clear about what abuse is.
2. Being aware of who can abuse.
3. Ensuring that everyone in the organisation maintains a level of awareness about what abuse is and who can abuse.

Our Child Protection Policy will ensure that all staff know how to recognise child abuse but this does not mean they are responsible for deciding whether the abuse has occurred. The responsibility of all staff and volunteers is to be alert to behaviour by children or workers which suggests something is wrong.

Definition of abuse

All staff and volunteers will be made aware that essentially, ‘child abuse’ occurs when the behaviour of someone in a position of greater power than the child causes harm. The common denominator for all forms of abuse is that it makes the children / young people feel bad and worthless. Because children can be abused in numerous ways, the harm caused cannot always be categorised but we can identify four broad definitions of abuse.

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child, including by fabricating the symptoms of, or deliberately causing, ill health to a child. Also included in this category is the neglectful failure to prevent injury or harm.

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment or neglect of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person, age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children, causing children frequently to feel frightened, or the exploitation or corruption of children.

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to observe or participate in sexual activities, whether the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development, such as failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, or neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

  1. Reporting Procedures

Suspicion of abuse

a. Immediate action; Any person associated with 1st Sensory Legion, whether as a member of staff or volunteer, who has concerns that a child/young person may be being abused, should, without delay, contact their Line Manager, the Trustees or the designated Child Protection Officer.
b. The responsibility then lies with that senior level of management to report the concerns to the relevant authority without delay.
c. If unable to locate any of the senior management it is then the duty of the staff member to ensure that the relevant Social Services Department and / or police are notified immediately.

An incident report form should be completed at this stage and will require the following information.

i. Who you are and your reason for telephoning
ii. The Child’s name and home address
iii. The Child’s date of birth
iv. Where the Child’s parent(s)/carer(s) can be contacted
v. Details of the injuries or circumstances which cause you concern and any explanation or comment the child or his/her parents/carers may have made.

The completed form (For template please see appendix 3) should be copied and sent to all the parties who have been involved since the policy was evoked. For example, social worker, police officer, trustees, designated child protection officer.

*All information sharing regarding the incident should be strictly on a need to know basis and in accordance with our confidentiality & disclosure policy and data protection policy.

**As a member of staff or as a volunteer for 1st Sensory Legion it is vital that you understand you have no investigative role in this situation.

*** Your responsibility is to ensure that those qualified to carry out the investigation such as Social Services or the Police are given the information immediately the situation arises.

  1. Where upon a child has suffered serious physical harm

6.1 It is possible that on occasions emergency medical attention may be necessary. If the child needs urgent medical attention, encourage the parents to seek this immediately. Where this is not immediately forthcoming, contact the relevant emergency services yourself. Depending on the circumstances you may need to;

  • Telephone for an ambulance
  • Ask a doctor to call
  • Ask the parent/carer to take the child to the doctor or hospital at once
  • Offer to take the parent/carer and the child to the hospital/surgery/clinic for immediate medical attention
  • Take the child yourself to hospital/surgery/clinic.

6.2 The subsequent protection of the child (children) is of paramount importance. Assess the situation and ensure that all relevant emergency personnel are requested to attend should further risk exist. Should you have concerns regarding the immediate safety of any person involved in the situation (including yourself) do not hesitate to summon appropriate assistance.

  1. Disclosure of abuse

7.1 It is vital to remember that should someone disclose abuse in their past the abuser may still pose a threat to the safety and welfare of children today. The procedure for Prevention and Detection of Physical Abuse or Sexual Abuse MUST still be followed in these circumstances.

7.2 It is essential that staff in this position explain clearly that they must inform their line manager of the disclosure and that the information will then be passed on to Social Services.

  • Never mislead a person and assure confidentiality regarding the disclosure of abuse, past or present – it is not possible for such guarantees to be given.
  • As a member of staff or as a volunteer for 1st Sensory Legion it is vital that you understand you have no investigative role in this situation.
  • Your responsibility is to ensure that those qualified to carry out the investigation such as Social Services or the Police are given the information immediately the situation arises.
  1. Follow up investigations and child protection conferences

Involvement in any follow up investigations or child protection conferences will be at the request of Social Services or the Police and will be assumed by the representative of the organisation with lead responsibility for the case in question. In their absence responsibility will be assumed by their Line Manager. Should the Line Manager be unavailable, the Trustees of 1st Sensory Legion should be notified. As a member of staff or volunteer involved in any work organised by 1st Sensory Legion involving regular contact with children, you may, on occasion, be requested to attend a meeting or child protection conference. Support to enable you to do this will be available.

  1. Interaction with the family throughout the child protection procedure
a. It is important that the families with whom we are involved are aware of the organisation’s Child Protection Policy and that should any staff member or volunteer suspect that a child or young person is being abused they will act with the welfare of the child as of paramount importance.
b. Any action that encourages the maintenance of effective working relationships with the family should be aimed for. However, the welfare of the child must take precedence over any other considerations. This should be clearly explained to the family with whom you are working.

Ensure that they are aware of the values underpinning the Child Protection Policy and, if appropriate, use accessible information for people who have difficulty with the written or spoken word. Reiterate key points to give appropriate emphasis.

  1. Receiving support

Staff/volunteer support throughout the child protection procedure.

As a member of staff or a volunteer for 1st Sensory Legion you could become involved in a situation whereupon you suspect a child or young person is being abused. Because of your concerns, and the subsequent referral and investigation process, you may find one or more of the people involved become distressed or angry. This, together with other aspects of the situation, may be personally upsetting and stressful.

Support will be provided by a senior member of staff. Should Social Services need further information or involvement from you, your Line Manager will talk with them and you about how this will happen.

The opportunity to receive follow up support from 1st Sensory Legion is also an important aspect of this Child Protection Procedure – to ensure that staff and volunteers are assisted and supported throughout and to safeguard other children and young people with whom we are involved (or with whom we will have contact in the future). This may be received from your Line Manager, your personal supervisor or a person identified by you.

  1. Staff or volunteers who are subject to an allegation of abuse

Staff or volunteers may also be subject to allegations of abusing children. The organisation will provide support to the staff member/volunteer concerned. The Trustees of 1st Sensory Legion will ensure that Social Services Departments are given every assistance in pursuing any investigation. Depending on circumstances 1st Sensory Legion disciplinary procedure may be implemented. It is important for staff and volunteers to recognise that there are practical considerations that will minimise their vulnerability to allegations of abuse when working directly with children. Please refer to the ‘Working with Children Guidance’ statement issued by the organisation. Staff and volunteers should be aware that in the context of being subject to an allegation of abuse, any subsequent investigation may extend to their own family.

  1. Recruitment and selection Procedures for staff and volunteers

What does this involve?

  • 1st Sensory Legion will take all reasonable steps to ensure that unsuitable people are prevented from working with children.
  • 1st Sensory Legion will ensure that ALL staff and volunteers undergo a thorough selection procedure.
  • 1st Sensory Legion will consider a range of matters in addition to the protection of children from harm.

What is reasonable?

Defining the rolewe will consider what the role of the new employee or volunteer will be, identifying the skills required for the tasks to be performed and we will be clear about what kind of person we require to fill the post.

Recruitment publicity – accurate and detailed material will be drawn up outlining the role of the organisation and the responsibilities and requirements expected of staff and volunteers. This will be circulated widely.

Application form – this will be supplied on request with a clear job description and information about the organisation, including a copy of the organisation’s Child Protection Policy statement. This form will be drafted to allow applicants to provide all the relevant details and will include written assurance that all information received will be dealt with in confidence.

Declaration – all applicants will be asked to sign a declaration stating that there is no reason why they would be considered unsuitable to work with children. All applicants will be required to declare any past criminal convictions and cases pending against them. 1st Sensory Legion will make it clear that such information will be dealt with in a confidential manner and will not be used to discriminate against applicants unfairly.

Interview – at least two representatives from 1st Sensory Legion will conduct an interview during which they will explore information contained within the application form against the kinds of qualities and skills needed for the post. For example, any previous experience of working or contact with children, expectations and working conditions. Those conducting the interview will focus on the organisation’s Child Protection Policy and ensure that the applicant has the ability and commitment to meet the standards required to put the policy into practice.

Identification – applicants who are short listed and invited for interview will be asked to provide 4 samples of identification. One with photograph such as passport, driving license or citizenship card, their birth certificate, a recent utility bill showing their name and address and national insurance number with proof that it is theirs. At least one form of identification should bear their signature and this, along with date of birth and address will be compared with the signature on the application form to ensure the applicant is not assuming a false identity.

References – will be taken up with at least two people, one of whom will have first-hand knowledge of the applicant’s previous work or contact with children. References will be taken up in writing and followed up orally. Referees will be asked to confirm that they have no concerns about the applicant working with children.

Following receipt of references as above the details of the applicant we select will be referred for checking to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or relevant regional authority such as Protection of children and vulnerable adults, POCVA, in Northern Ireland.

Probationary period – all appointments are conditional on the successful completion of a trail period of one year. During this period we will keep a close eye on the general work of the new staff member or volunteer and in particular assess his/her suitability in relation to working with children and their commitment to the prevention of the abuse of children.

Induction – all new staff and volunteers will undergo an induction process which will further familiarise the new worker with our policies, our approach, our team and those we support.

Records – all details relating to an individual’s recruitment and selection will be recorded along with anything noted during the probationary period and any training needs identified.

 

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