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Safeguarding children policy

Appendices

  • Appendix 1: Contact Details for Sunnybank Trust Safeguarding Officers 

  • Appendix 2: Contact Details for Surrey Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and Surrey LADO 

  • Appendix 2a: Surrey Council Multi-Agency Referral Form (Children)  

  • Appendix 3: Categories and Indicators of Abuse 

  • Appendix 4: Links to Relevant Legislation 

  • Appendix 5: Link to Sutton Council’s Child Safeguarding Website 

  •  Appendix 6: Role of the LADO – Procedure for Managing Allegations against Staff who Volunteer of Work with Children 

  • Appendix 7: Further Resources: Advice  

 

Sunnybank safeguarding contacts

  1. Introduction: Purpose of the Policy 
     

Sunnybank Trust recognises its responsibility to ensure the safety of all children with whom the staff, volunteers and members come into contact in the course of their work. The Trust is committed to ensuring that their safety, whatever their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality beliefs or age, is paramount.  

This policy lays out the means by which the trust fulfils these responsibilities in terms of governance and review of the policy, recruitment, management and training of staff, the provision of a safe workplace whose staff are alert, informed and aware of what action to take, and the management of allegations or concerns about suspected abuse of children, including reporting and recording in accordance with the policy and procedures of the Surrey Safeguarding Children’s Board. 

The Trust provides services exclusively for adults with a learning disability and its contact with children is relatively limited; therefore the policy focuses largely on confronting the risk of abuse to children that come into contact with the work of the Trust, that is, on child protection issues, rather than on other aspects of safeguarding as it is commonly defined in recent legislation. These other areas of safeguarding (including the prevention of impairments to children’s health and the taking of action to ensure that children grow up with the best outcomes), apply more to those organisations and agencies to whom working with children is a core part of their remit (e.g. schools, nurseries, charities for children, etc.).  

 

Surrey Children Board’s LADO procedure, to be followed where a Safeguarding Officer of the Trust believes a child to be at risk from a staff member of the Trust, is included in section 9 of the policy (Escalation Procedure for Safeguarding Concerns Originating  within the Trust), although this procedure is nominally intended for charities working with children. 

 

(NOTE: Throughout this policy, the term ‘staff’ is used to refer to trustees, permanent and temporary employees, agency workers, contractors and consultants, volunteers (including, advocates, buddies, and supported volunteers), and students on placement within the Trust.). 

 

2. Safeguarding of Children within the Trust: Governance, Policy Review & Amendment, and Communicating the Policy to Staff and Volunteers 

Governance 

It is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to formally review and approve the Safeguarding of Children Policy and subsequent amendments to it, and to nominate a Safeguarding Trustee with direct oversight of the safeguarding process within the Trust. 

The Board of Trustees will appoint a Lead Safeguarding Officer (LSO), whose duties are to oversee and manage the safeguarding processes for adults and children within the Trust, ensuring compliance with all national and local procedures, updating of the Trust’s safeguarding policy and procedures, and the provision of relevant safeguarding training. 

The Lead Safeguarding Officer will appoint a Deputy Safeguarding Officer (DSO) to assist in the oversight and management of the safeguarding process.  

(Note: The names and contact details of the Trust’s Safeguarding Officers and Safeguarding Trustee, together with contact information for Surrey Council’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) are provided in Appendices 1 and 2). 

Review and Amendment of the Policy  

This policy will be formally reviewed at 12 monthly intervals, and may be amended to reflect new guidance, legislation or relevant procedures at any time. Simple amendments (e.g. changes in contact details) may be made without reference to the Board. 

 

All stakeholders within the Trust should provide feedback on the effectiveness of the policy and procedures and any issues that arise from their implementation, so that they may be refined and improved as needed. 

 

Communicating the Safeguarding of Children Policy and Procedures   

All employees, volunteers and people working on behalf of the Trust, must read the policy as part of their induction, and when it has been amended. They must sign a register to confirm that they have read and understood it. 

The Safeguarding of Children Policy and related procedures will be referenced in safeguarding training provided by the Trust. 

The policy will be accessible to staff on the Sunnybank One Drive and to volunteers via the Sunnybank website or distributed in hard copy.  

 

3. Context and Guiding Principles 

 

The Sunnybank Safeguarding of Children policy is part of a wider framework of national and local legislation procedures and guidance, which everyone at the Trust must comply with, as well as internal policies and procedures which complement each other to provide the highest level of protection possible. These include: - 

 

Relevant legislation 

Children Act 1989 

Children Act 2004 

Children and Social Work Act 2017 

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 

Children and Families Act 2014 

Education Act 2002  

Digital Economy Act 2017 

(Note: Further information on these is detailed in Appendix 3) 

 

Relevant Local Guidance 

Surrey Safeguarding Children’s Board Manual of Policy & Procedures 

The Trust’s Internal Policies and Procedures 

(The following policies are available on One Drive) 

  • The Sunnybank Trust Safeguarding of Adults Policy SBT04 

  • Whistleblowing Policy 

  • Confidentiality Policy  

  • Complaints Policy  

  • Lone Working Policy 

  • Equal Opportunities Policy 

  • Anti-bullying & Harassment Policy  
     

Guiding Principles 

In particular, the Trust’s Safeguarding of Children’s Policy is founded upon the following principles: -  

  • The welfare of the child (that is, anyone under the age of 18) is paramount 

  • The Trust will recognise and respect the rights and feelings of children with who come into contact with the Trust. 

  • The Trust will take seriously any concerns, suspicions or allegations of abuse and respond appropriately and with urgency. 

  • The Trust will foster a safe and secure environment and ensure staff volunteers and members are enabled to respond with confidence and awareness to any issues concerning the safety of children that arise. 

 

4. Scope:  Who and what is covered by the Policy? 

 Who is the policy intended to safeguard? 

The policy is intended to protect all children (any person under the age of 18), in any setting or activity for in which a staff member of the Trust is present or engaged. This may include in the offices of the Trust, St Barnabas Church, the Kites Club, any community location where a staff member of the Trust encounters or engages with children (such as fairs, exhibitions, leisure centres,  etc.) a home or residential setting or a school or college.  

Typically, children will be involved in the Trust through one of the following ways:

  • Via initiatives such as the social action phase of the National Citizenship Scheme 

  • Via work experience programmes arranged with local schools 

  • When children who are  relatives or friends of members or of paid or unpaid staff attend activities organised by the Trust 

  • When the Trust organises fundraising activities in the local community and children are present or participate. 

  • When members of staff attend college activities related to transition for people with learning disabilities 
     

Who could be a source of abuse? 

 The source of abuse or suspected abuse could be: - 

  • A member of staff, permanent or temporary, or an officer of the Trust 

  • A volunteer (including a supported volunteer) in any capacity within the Trust 

  • A person acting on behalf of the Trust, such as an agency worker, a contractor, or a work experience student on a placement within the Trust 

  • A member of staff or volunteer of another organisation, such as a care home, college or other charitable organisation 

  • A vulnerable adult, whether or not a member of the Trust 

  • A friend, acquaintance or family member of a child 

  • Another child 

  • A member of the public 

 

Who in the Trust must comply with the policy?  

Every individual working on behalf of the Sunnybank Trust must comply with this policy, and take action in accordance with it. This includes trustees, permanent and temporary employees, agency workers, contractors and consultants, volunteers (including supported volunteers) and students on placement within the Trust. 

 

5. Safeguarding within the Recruitment Process 

The Trust will make every effort to ensure that staff and volunteers recruited are suitable and present no risk to children or vulnerable adults. The recruitment process will include: - 

  1. For staff: - 

  • the requirement for candidates to submit a comprehensive CV, covering all employment and including dates and explanations for gaps and periods of unemployment. Any gaps or discrepancies may be explored further in an interview or before a contract is offered 

  • a formal interview with the minimum of two interviewers 

  • a minimum of 2 satisfactory written references, upon which any offer of employment depends 

  • an Enhanced DBS check for any employee recruited to work directly with vulnerable people 

  • induction training, covering adult and child safeguarding, codes of conduct and other relevant policies 

  • A probationary period of six months for staff 

 

  1. For volunteers: 

  • a formal interview with the Operations Coordinator 

  • a minimum of 2 satisfactory written references, upon which any offer of employment depends 

  • an Enhanced DBS check for all employees or volunteers to work directly with vulnerable people  

  • induction training, covering adult and child safeguarding, codes of conduct and other relevant policies 

  • a six monthly settling-in review for volunteers 

 

6 Safeguarding in the management of staff, volunteers, etc. 

 

Training 

All staff and volunteer advocates will receive child safeguarding training within the first year of employment, which will be refreshed or renewed at 2 yearly intervals. This may be through attendance at courses or via e-learning. 

Staff and volunteer supervision 

Staff and volunteers will receive regular supervision (at a minimum of 6 weekly intervals) which will include health and safety, risk and safeguarding as a standing agenda item. A written record of supervision will be kept on Lamplight. For volunteers, this supervision may be face-to-face or by telephone. 

Staff Meetings 

The agendas for all Sunnybank staff meetings will include safeguarding issues and concerns. 

Raising Awareness in staff and members of the Trust about Safeguarding  

The Trust will empower people to respond to the risk of abuse by providing information and regularly promoting awareness on these issues through its activities, talks, advocacy, self-advocacy group sessions, and via easy read materials provided by the Trust, Surrey Council and other sources. This will include information on where and to whom abuse may be reported  

 

7 Recognising Child Abuse 

It is vital for employees and members of the Trust to be able to recognise potential abuse in all its forms. The main types of child abuse are listed below.  

(Note: Further information on indicators of each type of abuse are detailed in Appendix 3) 

Types and Signs of abuse  

There is a wide range of abuse types that children may be subjected to. The following are the most common forms of abuse, and the most common signs that may indicate it: - 

Physical abuse  

 Physical abuse is deliberately physically hurting a child.  It might take a variety of different forms, including hitting, pinching, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating a child.  Physical abuse can happen in any family, but children may be more at risk if their parents have problems with drugs, alcohol and mental health or if they live in a home where domestic abuse happens.  Babies and disabled children also have a higher risk of suffering physical abuse.  Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child. Physical abuse can also occur outside of the family environment.  

Some of the following signs may be indicators of physical abuse: - 

 • children with frequent injuries;  

•  children with unexplained or unusual fractures or broken bones; and 

 • children with unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, scalds or bite marks. 
 

Emotional Abuse 

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child. It is also sometimes called psychological abuse and it can have severe and persistent adverse effects on a child’s emotional development.  Although the effects of emotional abuse might take a long time to be recognisable, practitioners will be in a position to observe it, for example, in the way that a parent interacts with their child. Emotional abuse may involve deliberately telling a child that they are worthless, or unloved and inadequate. It may include not giving a child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. Emotional abuse may involve serious bullying – including online bullying through social networks, online games or mobile phones – by a child’s peers. 

Some of the following signs may be indicators of emotional abuse:  

• children who are excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong; 

 • parents or carers who withdraw their attention from their child, giving the child the ‘cold shoulder’ 

• parents or carers blaming their problems on their child; and  

• parents or carers who humiliate their child, for example, by name-calling or making negative comparisons.  

Sexual abuse and exploitation 

Sexual abuse is any sexual activity with a child. You should be aware that many children and young people who are victims of sexual abuse do not recognise themselves as such. A child may not understand what is happening and may not even understand that it is wrong. Sexual abuse can have a long-term impact on mental health.  Sexual abuse 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 clothing. It may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in the production of sexual images, forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.  

Some of the following signs may be indicators of sexual abuse: - 

• children who display knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to their age 

• children who use sexual language or have sexual knowledge that you wouldn’t expect them to have 

• children who ask others to behave sexually or play sexual games; and  

• children with physical sexual health problems, including soreness in the genital and anal areas, sexually transmitted infections or underage pregnancy. 

Sexual exploitation  

This is a form of sexual abuse where children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. It can involve violent, humiliating and degrading sexual assaults. In some cases, young people are persuaded or forced into exchanging sexual activity for money, drugs, gifts, affection or status. Consent cannot be given, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them.  Sexual exploitation doesn't always involve physical contact and can happen online. A significant number of children who are victims of sexual exploitation go missing from home, care and education at some point. 

 Some of the following signs may be indicators of 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 don’t take part in education.  
 

Neglect 

Neglect is a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs, whether it be adequate food, clothing, hygiene, supervision or shelter. It is likely to result in the serious impairment of a child’s health or development. Children who are neglected often also suffer from other types of abuse. It is important that practitioners remain alert and do not miss opportunities to take timely action. However, while you may be concerned about a child, neglect is not always straightforward to identify. Neglect may occur if a parent becomes physically or mentally unable to care for a child. A parent may also have an addiction to alcohol or drugs, which could impair their ability to keep a child safe or result in them prioritising buying drugs, or alcohol, over food, clothing or warmth for the child. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal drug or alcohol abuse. 

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of neglect: - 

• children who are living in a home that is indisputably dirty or unsafe 

• children who are left hungry or dirty 

• children who are left without adequate clothing, e.g. not having a winter coat 

• children who are living in dangerous conditions, i.e. around drugs, alcohol or        violence         

• children who are often angry, aggressive or self-harm 

• children who fail to receive basic health care; and 

• parents who fail to seek medical treatment when their children are ill or are injured 

 

Other Abuse  

Abuse may take a number of other forms, including domestic abuse, online abuse, bullying and cyberbullying, female genital mutilation, grooming, trafficking and harmful sexual behaviour. For further information on the signs and symptoms of these, see the resources detailed in Appendix 3. 

 

8 Responding to and Reporting Concerns or Suspicions about Abuse 

Any suspicion, witnessing, allegation or disclosure of the abuse of a vulnerable child, whether or not that person has any relationship with the Sunnybank Trust, must be reported immediately in line with the escalation procedures below, and Surrey Council’s Children’s Safeguarding guidance. 

In cases where there is uncertainty about whether or not the circumstances amount to abuse, the issue must be reported immediately to either the Lead or Deputy Safeguarding Officer, or to the Safeguarding Trustee if neither is available. The Safeguarding Officers or Trustee must report the concern to the MASH team.  

 

How to respond when a child discloses a concern of abuse 

If a potential safeguarding issue is reported to you, you should respond sensitively and positively to the person who informs you, and let them know that their information will be taken seriously, that you will need to share it, and that it will be acted upon. Do ensure the safety of the child and others, and if he or she may be in immediate danger, contact the relevant emergency service via 999. 

If the child discloses a concern or an allegation to you, you should: - 

  • Listen carefully to the child. Avoid expressing your own views on the matter. A reaction of shock or disbelief could cause the child to 'shut down', retract or stop talking 

  • Let them know they've done the right thing. Reassurance can make a big impact to the child who may have been keeping the abuse secret 

  • Tell them it's not their fault. Abuse is never the child's fault and they need to know this 

  • Say you believe them. A child could keep abuse secret in fear they won't be believed. They've told you because they want help and trust you'll be the person to believe them and help them 

  • Don't talk to the alleged abuser. Confronting the alleged abuser about what the child's told you could make the situation a lot worse for the child 

  • Explain what you'll do next. If age appropriate, explain to the child you'll need to report the abuse to someone who will be able to help. 
     

Action to be taken after the concern of abuse has been recognised (to be taken as soon as possible or within 4 hours) 

 

  • Reporting the abuse concern or allegation of abuse. The sooner the abuse is reported after the child discloses the better. Inform one of the Trust’s Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible – this must be within 4 hours 

  • Keep a record of the concerns, how they came to light, the name, contact details  address of the child, details of the possible abuse, and of the person alleged or suspected of being abusive; keep this information in a secure location 

  • Do not contact or confront a person who is alleged to have carried out abuse, as this could place you or the child at risk 

  • Do not breach confidentiality by telling friends or colleagues, apart from designated managers 

 

 9 Internal escalation procedure for reporting of abuse originating or believed to originate within the Trust – e.g. by staff, volunteers, adult students and others employed by the Trust. 

 

When a suspicion, allegation or disclosure of abuse within the Trust arises, you must: - 

  • Notify the police or emergency services immediately by calling 999 if the child is in imminent danger or may need immediate medical treatment 

  • Within four hours must contact the Lead Safeguarding Officer or the Deputy Safeguarding Officer and notify them of the full details. If one of these is the subject of the concerns, you should notify the other Safeguarding Officer or the Safeguarding Trustee 

  • Make a detailed record of the allegations, disclosure or observations of abuse (as indicated above in general guidance) and send this by secure email (i.e. a Sunnybank email address) to the manager. Do not enter the details in the Lamplight database. 

 

10 What should the Sunnybank Safeguarding Lead or Deputy do in the event of suspected abuse by a staff member or volunteer? 

 

  • The relevant manager should consult with the Safeguarding Trustee and agree whether the concern should be reported to the C-Spa (Children’s single point of access) 

  • The Trust’s Safeguarding Manager must inform Surrey Council’s Safeguarding Team about the possibility of abuse on the same day that the abuse occurs, by contacting the C-Spa by phone or by posting (not emailing) a completed Safeguarding Alert/Concern form (see Appendix 2a). It is almost always better to communicate with them by phone. 

  • The Safeguarding Officer must also contact the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) within 24 hours to consult on the issue, if there is a concern that a staff member has behaved in a way that has harmed or may harm a child, possibly committed a criminal offence against or in relation to a child, or behaves towards a child in such a way as to indicates he/she is unsuitable to work with children. 

 

  • It is for the LADO and Surrey Council’s Safeguarding Team to decide what action should be taken and whether an investigation is to be conducted and whether the Sunnybank Management team should carry this out.  Contact information for the LADO is detailed in Appendix 2. Detailed information on the role of the LADO and the process for reporting and managing allegations to the LADO are detailed in Appendix  

 

The Safeguarding Manager must also consult with the Safeguarding Trustee and agree any action to remove or minimise the risk of possible further abuse. This might include: - 

  • instructing the alleged or suspected abuser to refrain from contacting or meeting any vulnerable person or responding to contact initiated by a vulnerable person 

  • requesting the return of Sunnybank phones and relevant passwords, and suspending email accounts and access to the Lamplight database 

  • suspending the suspected staff member/volunteer from work without prejudice in accordance with relevant HR or disciplinary procedures 

 

11 Internal reporting procedure where suspicion, allegation or disclosure of abuse originates outside the Trust  

 

If the abuse issue concerns individuals or organisations other than the Trust (such as a residential home, day centre or within a family), you must:- 

  • Notify the Lead or Deputy Safeguarding Officer of the Trust 

  • Record the details of the allegation, suspicion or disclosure securely 

  • Do not notify or share the disclosure with managers or staff of an external organisation, such as a college, where the abuse may have originated, as this may endanger an investigation’s ability to capture or preserve evidence – this is for the Council’s safeguarding team to do if they judge it appropriate. 

  • The decision to report the issue to the Local Authority lies with the Lead Safeguarding officer, or the Deputy Safeguarding officer in his/her absence. If the decision is to report, this must be done on the same day that the report has been received.  

 

 

What happens after a concern has been reported to C-Spa 

 It is for the Council's Safeguarding Team to decide any further action to be taken, including whether the issue is to be investigated by the Management of the Trust or by other means. The Trust will comply fully with the directions of the Council Safeguarding Team. 

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