Child Protection Policy
- 1 Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
Everyone who participates in training provided by Joss Searchlight is entitled to do so in an enjoyable and safe environment. Joss Searchlight has a moral and legal obligation to ensure that, when given responsibility for young people and vulnerable adults staff and volunteers provide them with the highest possible standard of care.
Joss Searchlight is committed to devising and implementing policies so that everyone accepts their responsibilities to safeguard children from harm and abuse. This means to follow procedures to protect children and vulnerable adults and report any concerns about their welfare to appropriate authorities.
The aim of the policy is to promote good practice, providing children and young people and vulnerable adults with appropriate safety/protection whilst in the care of Joss Searchlight and to allow staff and volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection safeguarding issues.
A child/young person is defined as a person under the age of 18 (Children’s Act 1989)
1.1 Policy Statement
Joss Searchlight is committed to the following:
- the welfare of the child and vulnerable adults is paramount
- all children and vulnerable adults whatever their age, culture, ability, gender, disability, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity should be able to participate in a fun and safe environment
- taking all reasonable steps to protect children and vulnerable adults from harm, discrimination and degrading treatment and to respect their rights, wishes and feelings
- all suspicions and allegations of poor practice or abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
- all Joss Searchlight employees and Volunteers who work with children and vulnerable adults will be recruited with regard to their suitability for that responsibility, and will be provided with guidance and/or training in good practice and child protection procedures, in accordance with all pertinent regulation, including the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (SVGA) 2006 and ISA Registration & Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS).
- working in partnership with parents and children is essential for the protection of children and vulnerable adults.
1.2 Monitor and review the policy and procedures
The implementation of these procedures will be regularly monitored and reviewed. The Senior Designated Person with regularly report progress, challenges, difficulties, achievements gaps and areas where changes are required.
This policy will be reviewed yearly or whenever there is a major change in Joss Searchlight personnel or in relevant legislation.
2 Promoting Good Practice
To provide children and vulnerable adults with the best possible experience and opportunities everyone must operate within an accepted ethical framework e.g. Every Child Matters.
It is not always easy to distinguish poor practice from abuse. It is therefore NOT the responsibility of employees or participants within Joss Searchlight to make judgements about whether or not abuse is taking place. It is however their responsibility to identify poor practice and possible abuse and act if they have concerns about the welfare of the child or vulnerable adult, as explained in section 4.
This section will help you identify what is meant by good practice and poor practice.
All personnel should adhere to the following principles and action:
- always work in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets)
- make the experience of foundation fun and enjoyable: promote fairness, confront and deal with bullying
- treat all young people equally and with respect and dignity always put the welfare of the young person first.
- maintain a safe and appropriate distance. (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child)
- Avoid unnecessary physical contact with young people. Where any form of manual/physical support is required it should be provided openly and with the consent of the young person. Physical contact can be appropriate so long as it is neither intrusive nor disturbing and the young person’s consent has been given.
- Involve parents/cares wherever possible, e.g. where young people need to be supervised, encourage parents to take responsibility for their own child. If groups have to be supervised in changing rooms always ensure parents, coaches etc work in pairs
- request written parental consent if staff are required to transport young people in their cars
- gain written parental consent for any significant travel arrangements e.g. overnight stays
- ensure that if mixed gender participants are taken away, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff where possible.
- be an excellent role model, this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people
- always give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism
- recognising the developmental needs and capacity of the young person
- secure written parental consent for the project /club to act in loco parentis, to give permission for the administration of emergency first aid or other medical treatment if the need arises
- keep a written record of any injury that occurs, along with details of any treatment given
The following are regarded as poor practice and should be avoided by all personnel:
- unnecessarily spending excessive amounts of time alone with young people away from others
- taking young people alone in a car on journeys, however short
- taking young people to your home where they will be alone with you
- sharing a room with a young person
- engaging in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay
- allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any form
allowing young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged making sexually suggestive comments to a young person, even in fun reducing a young person to tears as a form of control
- allow allegations made by a young person to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon
do things of a personal nature that the young person can do for themselves
- When a case arises where it is impractical/impossible to avoid certain situation e.g. transporting a young person on you car, the tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of the parent/care and the young person involved.
If during your care you accidentally hurt a young person, the young person seems distressed in any manner, appears to be sexually aroused by your actions and/or if the young person misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done, report any such incidents as soon as possible to the Senior Designated Person and make a written note of it. Parents should also be informed of the incident.
3 Defining Abuse
Abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm, it commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust.
There are four main types of abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. The abuser may be a family member, someone the young person or vulnerable adult encounters in residential care or in the community, including sports and leisure activities. Any individual may abuse or neglect a young person or vulnerable adult directly, or may be responsible for abuse because they fail to prevent another person harming the young person or vulnerable adult.
Abuse in all of its forms can affect children and vulnerable adults at any age. The effects can be so damaging that if not treated may follow the individual into adulthood
Young people with disabilities may be at increased risk of abuse through various factors such as stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, isolation and a powerlessness to protect themselves or adequately communicate that abuse had occurred.
3.2 Types of Abuse
Physical Abuse: where adults physically hurt or injure a young person or vulnerable adult e.g. hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, biting, scalding, suffocating, drowning. Giving young people alcohol or inappropriate drugs would also constitute abuse.
This category of abuse can also include when a parent/carer reports non- existent symptoms or illness deliberately causes ill health in a young person they are looking after.
In a sports situation, physical abuse may occur when the nature and intensity of training disregard the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body
Emotional Abuse: the persistent emotional ill treatment of a young person or vulnerable adult, likely to cause severe and lasting adverse effects on the individuals emotional development. It may involve telling the individual they are useless, worthless, unloved, inadequate or valued in terms of only meeting the needs of another person. It may feature expectations of young people that are not appropriate to their age or development. It may cause an individual to be frightened or in danger by being constantly shouted at, threatened or taunted which may make the young person or vulnerable adult frightened or withdrawn.
Ill treatment of children and vulnerable adults, whatever form it takes, will always feature a degree of emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse in sport may occur when the young person is constantly criticised, given negative feedback, expected to perform at levels that are above their capability. Other forms of emotional abuse could take the form of name calling and bullying.
Bullying may come from another young person or an adult. Bullying is defined as deliberate hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. There are three main types of bullying.
It may be physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, slapping), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, name calling, graffiti, threats, abusive text, email or chat room messages), emotional (e.g. tormenting, ridiculing, humiliating, ignoring, isolating form the group), or sexual (e.g. unwanted physical contact or abusive comments).
In sport bullying may arise when a parent or coach pushes the young person too hard to succeed, or a rival athlete or official uses bullying behavior.
Neglect occurs when an adult fails to meet the young person or vulnerable adults basic physical and/or psychological needs, to an extent that is likely to result in serious impairment of their health or development. For example, failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect from physical harm or danger, or failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
Refusal to give love, affection and attention can also be a form of neglect.
Neglect in sport could occur when a coach does not keep the young person safe, or exposing them to undue cold/heat or unnecessary risk of injury.
Sexual Abuse occurs when adults (male and female) use children or vulnerable adults to meet their own sexual needs. Siblings and family members can be the abuser. This could include full sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, anal intercourse and fondling. Showing individuals pornography or talking to them in a sexually explicit manner are also forms of sexual abuse.
3.3 Indicators of Abuse
Even for those experienced in working with abuse, it is not always easy to recognise a situation where abuse may occur or has already taken place. Most people are not experts in such recognition, but indications that a child or vulnerable adult is being abused may include one or more of the following:
- unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries
- an injury for which an explanation seems inconsistent
- the young person or vulnerable adult describes what appears to be an abusive act involving them
- another young person or adult expresses concern about the welfare of a young person
- unexplained changes in a young person’s behavior e.g. becoming very upset, quiet, withdrawn or displaying sudden outbursts of temper
- inappropriate sexual awareness engaging in sexually explicit behaviour
- distrust of adult’s, particularly those whom a close relationship would normally be expected
- difficulty in making friends
being prevented from socialising with others
- displaying variations in eating patterns including over eating or loss of appetite
- losing weight for no apparent reason becoming increasingly dirty or unkempt
Signs of bullying include:
- behavioural changes such as reduced concentration and/or becoming withdrawn, clingy, depressed, tearful, emotionally up and down, reluctance to go training or competitions
- an unexplained drop off in performance
- physical signs such as stomach aches, headaches, difficulty in sleeping, bed wetting, scratching and bruising, damaged clothes, bingeing e.g. on food, alcohol or cigarettes
- a shortage of money or frequents loss of possessions
- It must be recognised that the above list is not exhaustive, but also that the presence of one or more of the indications is not proof that abuse is taking place. It is NOT the responsibility of those working for Joss Searchlight to decide that abuse is occurring. It IS their responsibility to act on any concerns.
3.4 Use of Photographic/Filming Equipment at Sporting Events
There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young people and vulnerable adults. Staff should be vigilant and any concerns should be reported to the committee.
To safeguard children and vulnerable adults along with the privacy of all adults Joss Searchlight has a strict No photography or filming policy in all classes where children or vulnerable adults are present.
In any other course photography or filming may only take place with the written consent of the participants.
4 Responding to Suspicions and Allegations
It is not the responsibility of anyone working in Joss Searchlight in a paid or unpaid capacity to decide whether or not abuse has taken place. However there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities so that they can then make inquiries and take necessary action to protect the young person. This applies BOTH to allegations/suspicions of abuse occurring within Joss Searchlight and to allegations/suspicions that abuse is taking place elsewhere.
4.2 Receiving Evidence of Possible Abuse
We may become aware of possible abuse in various ways. We may see it happening, we may suspect it happening because of signs such as those listed in section 3 of this document, it may be reported to us by someone else or directly by the young person or vulnerable adult affected.
In the last of these cases, it is particularly important to respond appropriately. If a young person or vulnerable adult says or indicates that they are being abused, you should:
stay calm so as not to frighten the young person or vulnerable adult reassure them that they are not to blame and that it was right to tell listen to them, showing that you are taking them seriously
keep questions to a minimum so that there is a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said. The law is very strict and abuse cases have been dismissed where it is felt that the child has been led or words and ideas have been suggested during questioning. Only ask questions to clarify inform the child or vulnerable adult that you have to inform other people about what they have told you. Tell the child this is to help stop the abuse continuing.
safety of the child is paramount. If the child needs urgent medical attention call an ambulance, inform the doctors of the concern and ensure they are made aware that this is a child protection issue
record all information
report the incident to the Senior Designated Person
When working on site in another organisation such as a school, nursery, Children’s centre and you become aware of possible abuse you must immediately ask to speak to the Senior Designated Person on site.
4.3 Recording Information
To ensure that information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern. In recording you should confine yourself to the facts and distinguish what is your personal knowledge and what others have told you. Do not include your own opinions.
Information should include the following:
- the child’s or vulnerable adult name, age and date of birth
- the child’s or vulnerable adult home address and telephone number whether or not the person making the report is expressing their concern or someone else’s
- the nature of the allegation, including dates, times and any other relevant information
- a description of any visible bruising or injury, location, size etc. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes
- details of witnesses to the incidents
- the child or vulnerable adults account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising/injuries occurred
- have the parents been contacted? If so what has been said?
- has anyone else been consulted? If so record details
- has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record detail
4.4 Reporting the Concern
All suspicions and allegations MUST be reported appropriately. It is recognised that strong emotions can be aroused particularly in cases where sexual abuse is suspected or where there is misplaced loyalty to a colleague. It is important to understand these feelings but not allow them to interfere with your judgement about any action to take.
Joss Searchlight expects it’s members and staff to discuss any concerns they may have about the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult immediately with the Senior Designated Person and subsequently to check that appropriate action has been taken.
Your Senior Designated Person Is
Contact 07770 396809
If the Senior Designated Person is not available you should take responsibility and seek advice from the following services
For Children contact : Children’s Social Care Team
Access to Information and Services Team (in office hours): 0845 050 7666
Emergency Duty Team (outside office hours): 0800 833 408 Banbury Assessment Team: 01865 816670
Oxford Assessment Team: 01865 323048
Abingdon Assessment Team: 01865 897983
For Vulnerable adults contact: Oxfordshire Social & Community Services
by ringing 0845 050 666, or you can email email@example.com
If you need urgent help or a crime has been committed you should contact the police
if it is an emergency you should call 999 or 112
Otherwise you should call the Thames Valley Police Public Enquiry Centre on
Where there is a complaint against an employee or volunteer, there may be three types of investigation.
Criminal in which case the police are immediately involved
Child protection in which case the social care team (and possibly) the police will be involved
Disciplinary or misconduct in which case Joss Searchlight will be involved
As mentioned previously in this document, Joss Searchlight staff and volunteers are not child protection experts and it is not their responsibility to determine whether or not abuse has taken place. All suspicions and allegations must be shared with the appropriate professional agencies.
NB: If there is any doubt, you must report the incident: it may be just one of a series of other incidences which together cause concern
Any suspicion that a child or vulnerable adult has been abused by an employee or a volunteer should be reported to the Joss Searchlight Senior Designated Person who will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the child or vulnerable adult in question and any other individuals who may be at risk. Any Suspicions regarding the senior designated person should be reported immediately to the appropriate agency. Please see the above section for up to date contact details.
Allegations of abuse can be made sometime after the event. Where such allegation is made, you should follow the same procedures and have the matter reported to the appropriate services. This is because other children or vulnerable adults may be at risk from the alleged abuser. Anyone who has a previous conviction for offences related to abuse against children or vulnerable adults is automatically excluded from working with children; Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (SVGA) 2006 and ISA Registration & VBS.
4.5 Concerns outside the immediate Environment (e.g. a parent or carer)
Report your concerns to the Senior Designated Person
If the Senior Designated Person is not available, the person being told or discovering the abuse should contact their local social care team or the police immediately
The social care team and the senior designated officer will decide how to inform the parents/carers
Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
The Senior Designated Officer The parents of the child
The person making the allegation Social Care Team/police
The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child)
Seek advice from the social care team on who should approach the alleged abuser.
4.7 Internal Inquiries and Suspension
Joss Searchlight Senior Nominated Person will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social care team inquiries in line with the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (SVGA) 2006 and ISA Registration & VBS.
Irrespective of the findings of the social care team or police inquiries the Joss Searchlight Disciplinary Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or volunteer can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision; especially where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the police. In such cases the Joss Searchlight Disciplinary Committee must reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on the balance of probability, it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of children and vulnerable adults will remain of paramount importance throughout.
5 Recruiting and Selecting Personnel with Children and Vulnerable Adults
It is important that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent unsuitable people from working with children or vulnerable adults. This applies equally to paid staff and volunteers, both full and part time. To ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children and vulnerable adults the following steps will be taken by Joss Searchlight when recruiting.
5.2 Controlling Access to Children and Vulnerable Adults
All staff and volunteers will complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about the applicants past and a self disclosure about any criminal record.
Consent will be obtained from the applicant to seek information from the Criminal Records Bureau.
Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children or vulnerable adults will be obtained. These references MUST be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact and to check identity. Evidence of identity and the right to work in this country must be checked this evidence must be photo ID (passport or driving licence with photo).
5.3 Interview and Induction
All employees and volunteers will be required to undertake an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations. All employees and volunteers will receive formal or informal induction during which:
A check will be made that the application form has been completed in full, including sections on criminal records and self disclosures
Their qualifications will be substantiated
The job requirements and responsibilities will be clarified
They will sign up to the organisation’s Code of Ethics and Conduct Safeguarding Procedures will be explained and training needs identified.
In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff and volunteers to:
Analyse their own practice against what is deemed good practice, and to ensure their practice is likely to protect them from false allegations
Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice and/or abuse
Respond to concerns expressed by a child or vulnerable adult Work safely and effectively with children and vulnerable adults
Joss Searchlight requires:
All staff and volunteers who have access to children to undergo a DBS check All employees, volunteers, to undertake relevant safeguarding training or undertake a form of home study, to ensure their practice is exemplary and to facilitate the development of positive culture towards good practice and child protection
All staff and volunteers to receive advisory information outlining good/bad practice and informing them what to do if they have concerns about the behaviour of an adult towards a young person or vulnerable adult.
On behalf of Joss Searchlight we, the undersigned, will oversee the implementation of the Safeguarding Policy and Training and take all necessary steps to ensure it is adhered to.
CEO Joss Searchlight
Trustee Joss Searchlight