This Safeguarding Policy, along with Dyspraxia Education’s (furthermore referred to as DE) extensive policies and procedures, is intended to ensure the safeguarding of the children, young people and vulnerable adults with whom we work. Safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults is vital for charities as charity trustees have a duty of care towards those with whom their organisation has contact. Having safeguards in place within an organisation not only protects and promotes client welfare but also enhances the confidence of trustees, staff, volunteers, parents/carers and the general public.
1.1 Scope of Document
This document is a living, breathing resource at the heart of our commitment to excellence in delivering services to our beneficiaries. It should be thoroughly understood and rigorously implemented by all staff and volunteers. All staff should pursue a good working knowledge of its principles. Those involved with and stakeholders in DE projects should also use it as an important reference point in our collaborative efforts to keep children, young people and vulnerable adults safe from harm.
- Policy Detail
- General Principles
Our endeavours to ensure effective safeguarding within our work are based on four simple principles:
- Robust administration of recruitment, selection and screening
- Structures for the facilitation of training, supervision and accountability
- Procedural systems including internal reporting systems, access to specialist advice and inter-agency co-operation
- Operating as an organisation within a risk management framework
NOTE: Cathy Parvin is the named Designated Safeguarding Officer for DE. She is to work/consult closely on such matters with Trustees and with external safeguarding representatives.
Under current legislation (Children’s and Families Act 2014, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, The Children’s Act 2004 and Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016), a Young Person is defined as being under the age of 25. DE accepts, in line with this legislation, that the welfare of the young person is paramount.
DE recognises the unique status of children, young people and vulnerable adults and will respect them as individuals. All workers will safeguard the safety and welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults in their care.
All DE outreach activities will conform to best practice principles. Specific events, such as exhibitions, conferences and Jimbo Fun Clubs, will be formally risk-assessed.
DE will ensure that relationships with children, young people and vulnerable adults are carried out with integrity and without exploitation. The highest professional standards will be continually encouraged and maintained.
Any allegation of abuse that is disclosed will be taken seriously and DE will collaborate fully with the statutory and voluntary agencies concerned with abuse of the vulnerable person. DE has systems of accountability and supervision and reserves the right to conduct investigations into the conduct of its staff and volunteers.
DE operates stringent recruitment processes and requires its staff and volunteers to provide evidence that their behaviour has never caused harm to children, young people or vulnerable adults or put them at risk. At time of recruitment, and at specified intervals during their service, all staff and volunteers will be subject to background checks, including detailed character references and screening using the DBS process. All volunteers and staff who will come into contact with children, must have a current Enhanced DBS including Children’s Barred List, which will be checked by the DSO (Cathy Parvin). All DBS checks will be renewed every 3 years.
DE undertakes to follow the principles found within the Abuse of Trust guidance published by the Home Office and it is therefore unacceptable for those in a position of trust to engage in any behaviour which might allow a sexual relationship to develop for as long as the relationship of trust continues. To eliminate any ambiguity over this point, the practical implications of this are that any member of staff found to be having a sexual relationship with a young person under the age of eighteen will be immediately dismissed. If the young person is under sixteen the police will be informed and legal proceedings will commence.
DE is committed to the on-going training and development of all staff and volunteers including induction training, annual top-up training and specialist themed workshops on topics of particular concern.
- Disclosures of Abuse
4.1 Listening and Responding to a Disclosure
When a child, young person or vulnerable adult chooses to tell a responsible adult about abuse they have suffered or are suffering, we call this ‘a disclosure’.
A disclosure in this sense is an allegation of inflicted harm, directed towards another person or persons. All allegations must be taken seriously. Allegations may come directly from the child, young person or vulnerable adult themselves and may relate to abuse from a family member or someone outside the family, e.g. a teacher, youth leader, pastor, etc. No groups of people are exempt from being abusers.
If a child, young person or vulnerable adult tells a team member about abuse it is important that the guidelines below are followed:
- Tell them that you will need to let someone else know – don’t promise confidentiality. Always let them know what you are going to do next and explain that you will tell them what happens.
- Listen carefully but do not ask questions, as any leading questions may prejudice any possible investigation.
- Reassure them they have done the right thing by telling someone.
- If after talking to a child, young person or vulnerable adult about a sensitive issue, you feel concerned or upset, make sure you seek help as soon as possible from the Designated Safeguarding Officer.
- Write up what has been told as soon as possible using the Concern Form and wherever possible, use the young person’s own words to describe the abuse. Pass the completed form to the Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible The Safeguarding Officer will review the form and take the appropriate action.
6) Be aware that what has been told is highly confidential and should only be shared on a need to know basis. It is a staff member or volunteer’s responsibility to tell their Safeguarding Officer.
7) The Safeguarding officer will decide what action to take and liaise with the Trustees where necessary. The category of abuse and the current level of risk to the child, young person or vulnerable adult will be taken into account when making this decision.
Notes on the process
- There may be instances where no allegation is made but a young person’s behaviour may give cause for concern. In this instance follow the process described in 5.1.
- If a disclosure of abuse is made in a letter, website chat, e-mail, text (or any other means) received from a young person this must be treated in accordance with this policy.
- If the suspicions of abuse in any way involve allegations about the conduct of a DE team member refer to the guidance in section 4.2.
4.2 Handling Allegations Against Staff and Volunteers
DE has procedures for dealing with allegations against staff and volunteers that aim to strike a balance between the need to protect young people from abuse, and the need to protect staff and volunteers from false or unfounded accusations.
- Given the regular contact with young people in a variety of situations, staff and volunteers are vulnerable to accusations of abuse.
- The allegations may be false, malicious or misplaced and may be deliberate or innocent of such intent.
- Regardless of the motives underlying any allegations, they may also be well-founded. As an organisation, DE has a duty to investigate these.
- Everyone who deals with allegations of abuse should maintain an open and enquiring mind. It is also essential that all agencies concerned act in a manner and at a speed suitable to the nature and level of the concern once suspicions are brought to their attention.
- An over hasty or ill-judged decision to immediately suspend a member of staff when an allegation of abuse is made, can have a detrimental effect on the person’s career. There may be other options to suspension. All concerned will wish to be reassured that responsible agencies will act in a careful, measured way when allegations of abuse are brought to their attention.
- Media attention during an investigation of an allegation can add to the problems for the member of staff or volunteer and may even hinder an investigation. It is often the case that the media become aware of allegations through parents or other family members.
- Young people who report to a member of staff or volunteer that another member of staff or volunteer has abused them must be listened to and heard, whatever form their attempts to communicate their worries take.
- The young person should be listened to but not interviewed or asked to repeat the account. Avoid questions, particularly leading questions.
- The young person should not be interrupted when recalling significant events.
- All information should be recorded carefully including details such as timing, setting, who was present and what was said in the young person’s own words.
- Care should be taken not to make assumptions about what the young person is saying or to make interpretations.
- On no account should suggestions be made to young people as alternative explanations for their worries.
- The written record of the allegations should be signed and dated by the person who received them as soon as practicable.
- All actions taken should be recorded.
- A member of staff or volunteer must not promise confidentiality to a young person who makes an allegation.
- In responding to a young person who makes a disclosure, account should be taken of the age and understanding of the young person and whether that person or others may be at risk of significant harm.
- The young person should be assured that the matter will only be passed onto people who need to know about it.
- The member of staff or volunteer receiving the allegation of abuse against another member of staff or volunteer should report this immediately to their Safeguarding Officer. In the event of this role being implicated, the report should be made directly to a Trustee of DE.
- As soon as an allegation is made, the Safeguarding Officer should obtain written details of the allegation from the person who received the allegation. The details must record any information about times, dates, locations and names of potential witnesses. This record should be signed and dated by the person who received the allegation and countersigned and dated by the Safeguarding Officer.
- Where an allegation (anonymous or otherwise) is made against a member of staff or volunteer there should be urgent consultation by the Safeguarding Officer with a Trustee of DE as to how to take the matter forward.
NB. If a child, young person or vulnerable adult makes an allegation that is considered to be a potential criminal act, or indicates that s/he has suffered, is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, then there will be an immediate referral in accordance with the child protection procedures set out in this policy.
Date: January 2020