York Cares

Children and Young People’s Safeguarding Policy

1. Definitions

1.1. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk means:

  • Protecting children, young people and adults at risk  from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children, young people and adults at risk’s health or development
  • Ensuring that children, young people and adults at risk grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • Taking action to enable all children, young people and adults at risk have the best outcomes 

Child protection: is part of this definition and refers to activities undertaken to prevent children suffering, or being likely to suffer, significant harm.

Abuse: is a form of maltreatment of a child and may involve inflicting harm or failing to act to prevent harm. For more information please visit: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/

Children/child or young person or pupil: refers to everyone under the age of 18.

Adult at risk: refers to anyone over the age of 18 who is vulnerable through disability, mental illness or a range of other circumstances that may affect their safety and wellbeing. 

Staff: is any one person employed by York Cares on a casual, part time or full time capacity and working with children, young people or adults at risk.

Volunteers: refers to all employee-volunteers working with children, young people or adults at risk. 

Must: means it is a legal obligation to comply in order to keep children, young people and adults at risk safe.

Should: means that it is important to comply unless there is good reason not to do so.

LLO: Lead Liaison Officer.

2. Introduction and purpose:

2.1 The aims of this policy are as follows:

  • To actively promote and safeguard the welfare of children, young people, adults at risk, staff, volunteers and others who come into contact with York Cares;
  • To have clear procedures in place for dealing with and referring concerns of the welfare of any individual and/or allegations of abuse;
  • To raise the awareness of all staff and volunteers of their safeguarding responsibilities and how to report concerns;
  • To ensure staff and volunteers are competent to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk and others and feel supported in this role;
  • To ensure robust safeguarding practice throughout York Cares;
  • To ensure robust appropriate action is taken in a timely manner to safeguard and promote children, young people and adults at risk’s welfare;
  • To make sure all staff and volunteers are aware of and understand fully their statutory responsibilities with respect to safeguarding (staff and volunteers are properly trained in recognising and reporting safeguarding issues). 

3. Scope

Safeguarding and child protection is everyone’s responsibility. This policy applies to all staff and volunteers working for and/or on behalf of York Cares and is consistent with the procedures of the local safeguarding board. Our policy and procedures apply to activities delivered at the University of York, local employers or schools, and all online activities. 

Staff and volunteers involved in events for or working with children, young people or adults at risk, must be committed to the health and safety of all participants and be aware of safeguarding issues and procedures.

All staff and volunteers who are involved in activities with children, young people and adults at risk must obtain satisfactory disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) at Enhanced level where required. It is advised that this is carried out as part of new staff or volunteer training or recruitment. Staff and volunteers without satisfactory disclosure from the DBS should not be given unsupervised access to children, young people or adults at risk and it is the responsibility of programme organisers to ensure that procedure is followed. 

Police use the broader definition of “workforce” to assess the relevance of any information they may consider for release. Volunteers will be assigned to the Child Workforce and their records considered accordingly.

There may be some instances where a DBS check is not required for York Cares activities, such as one-off workshops with teacher and/or parental supervision at all times. In these cases, employee-volunteers without satisfactory disclosure from the DBS will not be given unsupervised access to children, young people and adults at risk and will still be required to receive safeguarding training from the York Cares team.

4. Lead Liaison Officer

The designated staff members to whom concerns over safeguarding should be reported to are as follows:

In the first instance, volunteers should speak to the Lead Liaison Officer in York Cares

Holly Hennell (Manager, York Cares) Tel: 01904 322869 Email: holly.hennell@york.ac.uk  

The Lead Liaison Officer will then refer the concern to the City of York Council Child Protection Team.

Volunteers taking part in the Right to Read scheme may report their concerns directly to their host teacher, or Designated Safeguarding Lead within the school. The school’s safeguarding policy should then be followed.

5. Safeguarding Children and Child Abuse

Working Together 2013 is a publication by the Department of Health and the Department of Education that aims to set out how organisations and individuals can work together to safeguard children. 

5.1 What does Safeguarding Children mean?

According to Working Together 2013, safeguarding children is defined as:

“The process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.”

5.2 What is the difference between Safeguarding Children and Child Protection?

Safeguarding children is the term used to cover all aspects of promoting a child’s welfare, including all the things listed in the definition above, such as protecting a child from maltreatment, aiding their development, keeping them safe and ensuring they have the best outcome in life. 

Child protection is the single aspect of safeguarding children that is focused on protecting a child who is suffering from, or has the potential to suffer from, significant harm. Significant harm can include maltreatment, abuse and neglect, premeditated abuse, a single traumatic event or an accumulation of events that damage the child’s physical and/or psychological development. 

If any member of staff or volunteer is concerned that a child or young person in his or her care is being, or may be abused, they should communicate their concerns to the designated staff member as soon as possible.

5.3 Child Abuse

There are many types of abuse including:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Neglect

The above categories are not intended to be exhaustive. For further details about child abuse please visit: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/

5.4 High Risk Children and Young People

Some children have an increased risk of abuse and additional barriers can exist for some children with respect to recognising or disclosing it. We are committed to anti-discriminatory practice and recognise children’s diverse circumstances. We ensure that all children have the same protection, regardless of any barriers they may face. 

We give special consideration to children that may be deemed as higher risk. These include children or young people who:

  • Have special educational needs and/or disabilities
  • Are young carers
  • Are Care Leavers 
  • May experience discrimination due to their race, ethnicity, faith and belief, gender indentification, sexuality
  • Have English as an additional language
  • Are known to be living in difficult situations – for example, temporary accommodation or where there are issues such as substance abuse or domestic violence
  • Are at risk of FGM, sexual exploitation, forced marriage or radicalization
  • Are asylum seekers

5.5 Extremism and radicalisation 

Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism. Extremism is vocal or active opposition to inclusive values, such as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

Teaching a child or young person extremist views and radicalisation is a form of child abuse as classified by the NSPCC.

Prevent is a government led scheme that aims to safeguard people and communities from the threat or terrorism. Prevent is one of four elements of CONTEST, the government’s counter-terrorism strategy. It aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. 

If you have a concern about a child or young person regarding extremism and radicalisation please proceed with the following procedure:

If the child or young person is not at immediate risk of harm, speak to the Lead Liaison Officer first to agree a course of action. This may include making a referral to local authority children’s social care or police directly if appropriate. In the first instance the LLO will discuss the matter with the Prevent Lead within the City of York Council (details listed in important external contacts below) to determine how to proceed. 

The Department for Education also has a dedicated telephone helpline, 02073 407264, that anyone can call to raise concerns about extremism with respect to a child or young person. You can also email counter.extremism@education.gov.uk. Note that this is not for use in emergency situations. 

In an emergency, call 999 or the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789321 if you:

  • Think someone is in immediate danger
  • Think someone may be planning to travel to join an extremist group
  • See or hear something that may be terrorist-related

There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. Radicalisation can occur quickly or over a long period.

For further information about warning signs visit the government website Educate Against Hate.

Children who are at risk of radicalisation may have low self-esteem or be victims of bullying or discrimination. It is important to note that these signs can also be part of normal teenage behaviour. Staff and volunteers should have confidence in their instincts and seek advice if something feels wrong. 

6. Engagement with Children, Young People and Adults at Risk

6.1 Health and Safety

York Cares encourages activities which engage children, young people and adults at risk as part of its commitment to making York a better place through employee-volunteering. The implementation of this policy does not seek to discourage such activities. Instead, it seeks to support these activities and to offer assurances that through its implementation, York Cares seeks to protect children, young people and adults at risk and to keep them safe from harm when in contact with York Cares staff and volunteers (whether acting in a paid or unpaid capacity).

All staff or volunteers who intend to, or may be put in the position of, working with children, young people or adults at risk should ensure that they understand the implications of this policy before commencing any programme, event, visit or other activity. 

All staff members and volunteers should have conducted sufficient safeguarding training and, where necessary,  have a satisfactory disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) at Enhanced level, before they engage with any activities involving children, young people or adults at risk. 

All those involved in the risk assessment process should understand that the risk assessment is not only a way to mitigate or remove any potential risks but may also be a prompt to consider alternative working practices. The risk assessment process should encompass all aspects of health and safety e.g. fire etc.

If an activity is held at an external organisation, the York Cares Team will ensure a Partnership Agreement has been signed to confirm that appropriate health and safety arrangements are in place and relevant risk assessments have been carried out. 

Staff and volunteers should be aware of risks involved in activities. While delivering activities at schools, volunteers must ensure that they are aware of emergency procedures including emergency exits and that in the event of any emergency requiring evacuation all volunteers leave the building in accordance with agreed procedure. Volunteers should request guidance regarding the safe use of equipment and facilities in their classroom or shared areas.

7. Conduct regarding Children, Young People and Adults at Risk

In order to ensure that their own behaviour is not misinterpreted staff and volunteers should adhere to the following:

  • All conversations with children, young people or adults at risk must be conducted in a public place.
  • Physical contact with children, young people or adults at risk must be avoided.
  • Unless circumstances make it impossible to comply, do not take a child, young person or adult at risk to the toilet unless either another staff member or volunteer is present.
  • If you find you are in a situation where you are alone with a child, young person or adult at risk wherever practicable make sure that others can clearly observe you. 
  • Avoid close personal relationships with a child, young person or adult at risk in relation to whom you are in a position of trust. 
  • Do not make suggestive or inappropriate remarks to or about a child, young person or adult at risk even in fun, as this could be misinterpreted.
  • If a child, young person or adult at risk accuses a volunteer or member of staff of abuse or inappropriate behaviour, you should report this immediately to the relevant person such as the LLO.
  • The duty to report applies equally to complaints or accusations of historic, and not just recent, abuse/inappropriate behaviour. 
  • If physical restraint of a child, young person or adult at risk is required for his or her own safety, or that of another child, young person or adult at risk, the minimum force should be used for the least possible time. An incident report should be written and should include the names of staff and witnesses.
  • If first aid is necessary and is administered by a trained professional, an incident report should be completed and the names of any staff and witnesses should be included. School procedures should be followed.
  • Avoid taking a child, young person or adult at risk alone in a vehicle on journeys.
  • If a child, young person or adult at risk makes a complaint, or if there are other reasons for suspecting abuse, you should not attempt to investigate this yourself, but should report your concerns to the LLO.

7.1 Specific pointers

There are occasions when physical contact with a child, young person or adult at risk may be proper or necessary, for example:

  • To demonstrate exercise or techniques during instruction of music, P.E. or coaching. In such cases the school pupil should be warned beforehand.
  • To provide prompts or help for young children and those with special educational needs.
  • Where a child, young person or adult at risk is in distress and needs comforting, although sometimes verbal comforting can be just as effective.

 No volunteer is ever in sole charge of school pupils, young people or adults at risk; there is always a supervising teacher or member of staff. As a volunteer you are not trained to make professional decisions about physical contact but simply to be aware that such decisions must be deferred to someone who is—i.e. a member of school staff.

 There are no hard and fast rules for what level of contact is appropriate in which circumstance. It is best to avoid physical contact with school pupils, young people and adults at risk. You may wish to ask your designated teacher about it at the beginning of your placement or project for guidance.

 There are two golden rules:

  • Be aware that physical contact with children, young people and adults at risk is a sensitive issue that needs careful consideration. 
  • If you are in any doubt, ask a member of school staff or York Cares staff.

8. Photography and video consent

We will seek to avoid situations where images can be inappropriately misused, adapted or circulated. Organisers of any event involving children, young people or adults at risk need to;

  • Obtain written consent from parents or carers prior to the event for any young person under the age of 16 years old.
  • Obtain written consent from the young person themselves between the ages of 16 and 18 years old.
  • Ensure the information for parents, children, young people, adults at risk and schools states that York Cares is not responsible for any photography/filming taken on individual mobile phones or digital cameras.
  • Include photography and video in the Risk Assessment for the event.
  • Make sure they do not publish personal details alongside an image.
  • Give young people guidance on expectations regarding their own taking of images.
  • Treat images as confidential information, store them appropriately and delete once they are no longer required. 
  • In a school setting, volunteers should seek permission from the class teacher or member of staff before taking any photographs of children, young people or adults at risk. 

9. Abuse of trust

It can be an abuse of trust for an adult in a protective relationship with a younger person to form a close, personal relationship with him or her. Staff and volunteers must avoid any suggestion that a close, personal relationship exists or is desired. Behaviour that could imply a special relationship, for example gifts or endearments, should also be avoided.

9.1 Specific pointers

Giving personal contact details to a child, young person or adult at risk or requesting theirs is not permitted. This includes address, email, phone and mobile number. Contact should not take place through any social media site and this includes adding or accepting a young person or adult at risk as a “friend” on Facebook or any other social media site.

It is important that staff and volunteers ensure that they have tight privacy settings on social media networks and if a student attempts to add you via social media please inform the LLO as soon as possible. The LLO will make a record of the incident and if needed discuss the matter with the City of York Council Child Protection Team. 

Short-range wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and Airdrop should be turned off while working at events with children, young people or adults at risk or attending a school or college on behalf of York Cares. 

9.2 Suspicion of staff or volunteers

It is a statutory requirement that allegations or suspicions of abuse against children, young people and adults at risk are investigated by Social Services and/or the Police. The Local Authority where the child, young person or adult at risk is normally resident is the responsible authority in these cases. Depending on the allegation York Cares may have to contact the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and inform them of the investigation.

Staff members or volunteers who have any concern or suspicion about any adult working at a York Cares event or programme should bring them to the attention of one of the designated persons. In the event of a child, young person or adult at risk making a complaint about any adult working in York Cares programmes the appropriate action is to report the matter to the designated person. In all cases clear and detailed reports will be maintained and placed in secure files. 

The York Cares’ Lead Liaison Officer has a responsibility to ensure that an accurate account of alleged incidents is established, as quickly as possible, in order to determine the level of risk posed to an individual (or individuals) and to determine whether or not any form of action such as referral is required.

If an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer the Lead Liaison Officer reserves the right to suspend the staff member or volunteer from working on activities involving children, young people or adults at risk until the investigation is complete. 

10. Disclosure or concern of abuse

10.1 If a child is in immediate danger:

Make a referral to children’s social care (tel: 01609 780780) and/or the police immediately (999 or 01904 333333 if at the University of York for campus security and they will direct the police to your location) if a child is in immediate danger or at risk of harm. Anyone can make a referral.

York Cares will work in partnership with other agencies in the best interests of children, young people and adults at risk. Referrals should be made by the Lead Liaison Officer to the local authority. 

The following link provides additional guidance for reporting child abuse to your local council: https://www.gov.uk/report-child-abuse-to-local-council.

10.2 If a child, young person or adult at risk makes a disclosure to you

If  a child, young person or adult at risk discloses a safeguarding issue to you, you should:

  • Listen uncritically and reassuringly and believe them.
  • Allow them time to talk freely and not ask leading questions or interrogate them. 
  • Stay calm and do not show that you are shocked or upset; tell the child they have done the right thing in telling you.
  • Do not tell them they should have told you sooner.
  • Explain what will happen next and that you will have to pass this information on.
  • Do not promise to keep it a secret.
  • Speak directly to the LLO or appropriate member of staff in the school immediately.
  • Record the conversation as soon as possible in their own words. Stick to the facts and do not put your own judgement on it.
  • The record must include dates and times to ensure there is an accurate record; alternatively, if appropriate, make a referral to children’s social care and/or the police directly and tell the LLO as soon as possible that you have done so. The LLO will proceed with contacting the City of York Council child protection team (tel: 01904 551900) to discuss the disclosure and seek advice on how to proceed with the matter. 

Safeguarding Procedure11. Legislation and regulation

This policy is based on the Department for Education’s statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 and Working Together to Safeguard Children. We comply with this guidance and the procedures set out by our local safeguarding children board.

This policy is also based on the following legislation:

12. Review and monitoring

This policy will be reviewed every 12 months or after changes to legislation. The next policy update will take place in November 2021.

13. Important external contacts

Local Authority Designated Officer (York)

The telephone numbers of the City of York children’s social care department are as follows:

Child Protection Team

  • Tel: 01904 551900 (Monday-Friday, 8.30am-5.00pm)
  • Tel: 01609 780780 (Outside office hours, at weekends and on public holidays)

Children’s Advice

Children’s Front Door

Local police non-emergency 

  • Tel: 101

Prevent Lead within the City of York Council

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

 
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