CHILD & ADULT AT RISK PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURE
Safeguarding is at the heart of all our work with children, young people, and Adults at Risk.
The policy is to be used by any member of staff or volunteer working directly with children and young people, and Adults at Risk, and to any other support staff or Trustee of the organisation who become involved in a child protection concern in the course of their work for Safe & Sound. Children, young people, Adults at Risk and parents/carers are informed of the policy as appropriate.
The policy applies to anyone with whom we are in contact in the course of our work, who is a child, a young person, or Adult at Risk. Where the policy or procedure refers to a ‘child’ or ‘young person’ we mean anyone who has not yet reached the age of 18 years. Where the policy refers to an ’Adult at Risk’, we mean anyone who is 18 years or older and who is vulnerable according to the definition in the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedure.
This policy is reviewed, endorsed and approved by the board of trustees annually, or when legislation changes.
This policy and procedure sets out how Safe & Sound implements safeguarding for children, young people, and Adults at Risk with whom they come into contact in the course of their work.
Safe & Sound is committed to devising and implementing policies so that everyone within the organisation accepts their responsibilities for safeguarding children, young people and Adults at Risk from abuse and neglect. This means following procedures to protect them and reporting any concerns about their welfare to the appropriate authorities.
This policy and procedure helps us to achieve this by:
This policy is informed by and supports our organisational purpose, and is how we comply with the Derby City and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children procedures, and the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Adults at Risk procedures.
A child or young person means someone who is under 18 years of age, that is, has not reached their 18th birthday.
For Safe & Sound, this could refer to the child/young person we are working with directly, or the child of one of these young persons, or of another person, with whom we are in contact in the course of our work.
When concerns are raised about the child of a service user (child or vulnerable adult), the needs of the youngest takes precedence.
Adult at Risk
This policy applies to any ‘Adult at Risk’, defined by the following:
Any person aged eighteen or over who –
Safe & Sound will sometimes be working with an Adult at Risk where a child/young person has reached 18 years and support is continuing, usually short term. Also Safe & Sound will come across adults at risk in the course of their parent support work. There may be occasions when we come across adults at risk within the household of or associating with a child/young person or parent we are working with and we will adopt the Think Family approach, working with adult agencies to meet their needs.
In all instances, our approach to safeguarding Adults at Risk we are in contact with follows the same principles, and safeguarding processes as we do for safeguarding children.
We will achieve the outcome by having these things in place:
In support of these objectives, we are committed to the following principles.
To achieve a safe ethos, we will:
To achieve a safe environment, we will:
To achieve safe processes, we will:
To achieve safe information, we will:
To achieve safe staff, we will:
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Abuse means a child’s rights and needs are not being met as defined in The Children’s Act 2004 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting; by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. Abuse may occur through the actions of an adult or adults, or another child or children.
Where a child is disabled, injuries or behavioural symptoms may mistakenly be attributed to his/her disability rather than the abuse. Similarly, where a child is black or from a minority ethnic group, aggressive behaviour, emotional and behavioural problems and educational difficulties may be wrongly attributed to racial stereotypes, rather than abuse. Cultural and religious beliefs should not be used to justify hurting a child. Safeguards for all children and young people are the same regardless of disability or ethnicity.
Physical abuse 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 or causes ill health to a child whom they are looking after. This situation is called Induced Fabrication Illness by a Carer (formerly known as Munchausen’s by proxy).
Emotional abuse is 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 children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Witnessing the harm of another person, such as in the case of domestic violence, is a form of emotional abuse. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Sexual Abuse & Sexual Exploitation
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including sexual exploitation, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening, and whether it is for money or reward or not. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative contact (e.g. rape and buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in seeing or receiving or sending sexually suggestive emails or text-messages, or inappropriate behaviour in Internet chat rooms, involving children looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material of watching sexual activities, 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. Neglect may occur as a result of maternal substance abuse during pregnancy. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, failure to ensure adequate supervision including the use of inadequate care-givers, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Abuse of Disabled Children
Disabled children are at increased risk of abuse and those with multiple disabilities are at even more significant risk both of abuse and neglect. Parents of disabled children may experience multiple stresses. This group of children may be particularly vulnerable to abuse for a number of reasons including:
Disability is defined as:
A major physical impairment, severe illness and/or a moderate to severe learning difficulty;
An ongoing high level of dependency on others for personal care and the meeting of other basic needs.
Bullying may be defined as deliberately hurtful behavior, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. It can take many forms, but the three main types are physical (eg hitting, kicking, theft), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, threats, name-calling) and emotional (eg isolating an individual from the activities and social acceptance of their peer group). There is increasing use of new technologies as a tool for bullying and such incidents should be taken seriously.
Children and young people who harm or attempt to harm themselves should be taken seriously. The self-harming behavior in itself may cause impairment of the child’s health or development and in some circumstances present significant harm or the risk of significant harm.
Self-harming behavior may also arise alongside eating disorders and/or drug misuse.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Female genital mutilation is a collective term for procedures that include the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. The practice is medically unnecessary, extremely painful and has serious physical and mental health consequences both at the time and in later life. The procedure is typically performed on girls of 4 -13 years but may be performed on newborn babies or on young women. FGM can result in death.
FGM is a criminal offense (Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 2003). Under the act, it is an offense to arrange, procure, aid or abet female genital mutilation. Parents/carers may be liable under this act.
It is also an offense to allow the procedure to be undertaken in another country.
Where agencies become aware that a girl is at risk of FGM a referral should be made to Children’s Social Care.
Domestic Violence as Abuse
Domestic Violence is defined by the Home Office as: ‘Any incident of threatening behavior, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so-called ‘honour killings’.’
The term domestic violence is used to include any form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse between people in a close relationship. It can take a number of forms such as physical assault, sexual abuse, rape, threats and intimidation. It may be accompanied by other kinds of intimidation such as degradation, mental and verbal abuse, humiliation, deprivation, systematic criticism and belittling.
The term domestic violence includes the term domestic abuse.
A forced marriage is one that is conducted without the full consent of both parties and where duress is a factor. Forced marriage can amount to sexual and emotional abuse and put children or adults at risk of physical abuse. In circumstances where there are concerns that someone is at imminent risk of a forced marriage urgent referrals should be made to Children’s Adults’ Social Care.
In the case of a young person at risk of forced marriage, it is likely that an initial discussion with the parent, carer or other community members may significantly increase the level of risk to the young person.
Sexual exploitation (see above) also includes non-contact activities, such as involving children in seeing or receiving or sending sexually suggestive emails or text messages, or inappropriate behaviour in Internet chat rooms, involving children looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material of watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Children can be trafficked into, within and out of UK for many reasons and all different types of exploitation. Trafficking is a form of child abuse and needs an appropriate safeguarding response. Any child who is recruited, transported, transferred, harbored or received for exploitative reasons is considered to be a victim of trafficking, whether or not they have been forced or deceived. This is because it is not considered possible for children in this situation to give informed consent. Even when a child understands what has happened, they may still appear to submit willingly to what they believe to be the will of their parents or accompanying adult. It is important these children are protected too.
Children are trafficked for many reasons, including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, labour, benefit fraud, forced marriage, begging and involvement in criminal activity such as pick pocketing, theft and working on cannabis farms. They are likely to be subjected to other forms of abuse, as a means of coercing and controlling them.
Trafficking is carried out by individual adults and organised crime groups.
Sexual activity with child/young person under the age of 18, or living away from home
Consensual sexual activity involving a young person under 18 years is not abusive, but it may be, and the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Procedure offers guidance where this might be so. A child’s or young person’s ability to consent can be impaired due to lack of freedom, capacity or choice; for example because of an age/power imbalance; because it is leading into sexual exploitation; because one person is in a position of trust with the other (e.g. a teacher); where one person is vulnerable because of disability or capacity; where the child/young person is in the care of another away from home. No child under the age of 13 or under is able to consent to any sexual activity according to the Sexual Offences Act (2003).
Abuse is a violation of a person’s rights or dignity by someone else. It can be done by anyone including relatives and family members, professional staff, paid care workers, volunteers, other users of services, neighbours, friends and associates or strangers. There are many kinds of abuse including:
This could be hitting, slapping, pushing and kicking.
This includes rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult at risk:
This could be:
Financial or material
Neglect or acts of omission