Fakenham Gateway Children’s Centre recognises its responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Our aim is:
- To protect children from harm (maltreatment)
- To Prevent impairment of our children’s and young people’s health or development
- To ensure that our children and young people grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- To set out a process for dealing with Child protection issues
This document sets out the policies and procedures to be followed to safeguard children accessing services provided by our Children’s Centre. It will give clear direction and outline the legal duty of staff, volunteers, Governing body and other professionals to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children at our Centre.
How we do this:
Through prevention – ensuring all reasonable measures are taken to minimise the risks of harm to children’s welfare
- Ensuring that all staff and other professionals are alert to and recognise the signs of abuse, and are committed to the safeguarding policy and child protection procedures. All staff should read and sign the policy to show they agree to and understand the policy and procedures to be undertaken.
- Ensuring that professionals/partners with whom the Centre works give assurances that all their staff are DBS checked and that safer recruitment guidance has been followed.
- Ensuring that regular visitors are provided with a statement of procedure to be followed upon entry to the Centre.
- Ensuring that a Senior Designated Professional and Deputy are named within the Centre and will be trained in all aspects of core safeguarding programme relevant to Children’s Centre’s.
- Ensuring child protection training is accessed by all staff in line with the most current legislation and guidance but at least every 3 years.
- Ensuring all staff receive an induction on Safeguarding & Child Protection Procedures.
- Ensuring all appropriate actions are taken to address concerns about the welfare of a child or children, working to agreed local policies and procedures in full partnership with other local agencies.
- Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving children and their parents/carers appropriately
- Monitoring children known or thought to be at risk of harm or subject of a Child Protection Plan, and to contribute to assessments of need and support packages for those identified children; keeping clear and accurate records.
- Assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, (The Prevent Duty, page 5).
All staff have a personal and professional duty to report to the Senior Designated Professional (SDP) if there is any suspicion of abuse of a child or a child discloses abuse or allegations of abuse
- Our priority is to always protect the child
- Always be alert to the signs of abuse and act immediately
- Look out for changes in behaviour with no explanation
- If a child discloses any act of abuse, listen attentively
- Do take seriously what you are being told
- Do NOT make judgements
- Do NOT ask leading questions
- Do NOT promise to keep secrets
- Do NOT delay in contacting the Senior Designated Professional (SDP)
- Do NOT delay in recording the child’s disclosure as factually and accurately as possible (See appendix 1), record of observation or concern)
- Where appropriate referrals will be made by staff with the guidance of the SDP
- Be aware of your own position
- If a member of staff is accused of abusing a child, the NSCB procedure will be followed and is there for your protection (see appendix 2)
- Abuse may be in the form of physical, sexual, emotional or neglect
- Parents are always informed of action taken unless the SDP knows that Children’s Services or the Police have requested otherwise
The Senior Designated Professionals within the Centre
- The Senior Designated Professional for safeguarding/child protection is the Centre Manager, Janice Jackson (email: email@example.com phone: 01328 864511)
- The Deputy Senior Designated Professional is Wendy Forge (email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 01328 864511)
- They are supported in their role by Head Teacher, Sarah Gallichan (email: email@example.com phone: 01328 864511)
- The designated Governor for safeguarding / child protection at Fakenham Gateway Sure Start Children’s Centre is Jenny Rest.
Senior Designated Professionals (SDP) should:
- Be fully up to date with the Norfolk safeguarding children’s Board (NSCB) procedures.
- Be responsible for overseeing the liaison with children’s services, the local safeguarding Board and Ofsted in any child protection matter.
- Consult and refer cases to Children’s Services and support other staff in this, emphasising whether the referral is child protection or Child in Need.
- In conjunction with the Centre Manager ensure that all staff have up to date Child protection training.
- Oversee written records and child protection / family files ensuring they are kept confidential, stored securely and audited termly alongside an external source.
- Ensure that photographs of the SDP’s and their contact details are displayed in each area that families access both within the main centre and within outreach venues.
- In conjunction with the Centre Manager ensure that a record of Enhanced DBS Disclosure reference numbers and dates of issue is maintained for the following; all staff, students, volunteers, contractors and regular professionals using the Centre
- Ensure that children who are subject of a child protection Plan are known and that protection plans are followed and feedback given
- Monitor and evaluate Child protection work in the Children’s Centre.
Recognising Child Abuse
What is abuse and neglect?
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. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them, or, more rarely by others. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.
(Ref: “What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused” March 2015, Page 5)
Child abuse can present itself in a variety of ways, some obvious and others much less so.
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, illness in a child.
(Ref: “What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused” March 2015, Page 7)
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 include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or “making fun” of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child in participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
(Ref: “What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused” March 2015, Page 7)
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware what is happening. The activities 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 of clothing. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching 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 also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
(Ref: “What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused” March 2015, Page 8)
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 during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
- provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
- protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
- ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers)
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
- It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs
(Ref: “What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused” March 2015, Page 6)
(Taken from “What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused – A guide for Practitioners.” March 2015, DfE Publications)
Indications or signs of possible abuse
- Signs of looking unwashed, undernourished, weight loss, inappropriate clothing for the conditions
- Changes in behaviour – depression or withdrawn behaviour or attention seeking behaviour
- Fearful behaviour – fear of specific people, places; fear of separation
- Mentioning being left alone or unsupervised
- Regressive or aggressive behaviour e.g. bed wetting, severe temper outbursts that are out of character
- Persistent or multiple bruising in unexpected places that cannot be explained by normal childhood activity (See common non accidental injuries, appendix 3)
- Minor injuries in unlikely places
- Burns, scolds or bites
- Delay in seeking access to medical care/treatment
- Excessive preoccupation with sexual matters
- Knowledge of sexual matters inappropriate for age of child
- Promiscuous behavior
Dealing with child abuse allegations
The Children’s Centre is committed to ensuring that it meets its responsibilities in respect of child protection by treating any allegation seriously and sensitively.
- Any concerns about a child or young person should be reported without delay to the SDP and recorded in writing using the agreed template. (see appendix 1) Staff will complete a body map diagram to evidence the nature of the physical injuries where concern lies. (see appendix 3)
- The record of observation or concern will be immediately passed to the Senior Designated Professional who will file in the Record of Concern File. If the child is receiving family support a copy will also be filed in their confidential family file. The Children’s Centre will demonstrate great care in distinguishing between fact and opinion when recording suspected incidents of child abuse.
- Full written records of all reported incidents during home visiting will be produced and maintained. Information recorded will include full details of the alleged incident; details of all the parties involved; any evidence or explanations offered by interested parties; relevant dates, times and locations and any supporting information or evidence from members of staff
- Staff are aware that all concerns about a child’s welfare, whether or not further action is taken, needs to be clearly recorded, even if it is recording the reason for not taking any further action
- The Senior Designated Professional will consider the concerns raised and recorded and either refer immediately to Children’s Services, or after taking appropriate advice – which may include discussing the circumstances through consultation with the Children’s Services Team, or other professionals involved with the family, decide not to refer to Children’s Services, but keep a full record of the concerns raised.
- The Centre manager will be responsible for ensuring that written records are dated, signed and kept confidentially.
- Staff should be aware that they must avoid questioning the child regarding a possible child protection issue, as this may compromise any later investigation.
- If possible the child needs to be simply asked how the injury occurred, (asap after injury has been noticed)
- Child and parents explanation needs to be similar; any concerns that the injury is non-accidental needs to be passed to Children’s Services as soon as possible. Delay in appropriate action may occur if staff waits for a parent to collect a child before ascertaining explanation.
- The Senior Designated Professional or staff member informs the parent of their concern unless advised not to by Children’s Services or the Police
- If a child is subject to a Child Protection Plan the appropriate staff member contacts the Social Worker
- If the child is not subject to a Child Protection plan, the Senior Designated Professional or appropriate staff member may approach the parent asking how the injury occurred, only if the designated staff member feels this will not put the child at risk. If injury is not consistent with possible accidental injury the designated staff member follows NSCB guidelines
- Staff should wherever possible work with parents to build an understanding of the Centre’s responsibility to ensure the welfare of all children and recognition that this may occasionally require cases to be reported to other investigative agencies as a constructive and helpful measure.
- Those families who are receiving support via a referral are given a copy of ‘Information which we hold about you and your family’ leaflet
- If an explanation is consistent with the injury then no further action is taken. Parent may be advised to go to the doctor or Health Visitor. A written record will be made.
- The same procedure applies to a child disclosing abuse, neglect or emotional abuse. A written record will be made.
- NSCB procedures will be followed at all times.
- A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children is held in the main office, in the yellow staff safeguarding folder
Dealing with Allegations against a staff member
Our aim is to provide a safe and supportive environment which secures the well being and very best outcomes for our children. We do recognise that sometimes the behaviour of adults may lead to an allegation of abuse being made.
Allegations sometimes arise from a differing understanding of the same event, but when they occur they are distressing and difficult for all concerned. We also recognise that many allegations are genuine and there are some adults who deliberately seek to harm or abuse children.
We will take all possible steps to safeguard our children and to ensure that the adults in our Centre are safe to work with our children. We will always ensure that the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board Protocol 8.3: Allegations Against Staff, Carers and Volunteers is adhered to and will seek appropriate advice from the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). The LADO can be contacted on 01603 223473 or LADO@norfolk.gov.uk
It is important to distinguish between complaints and allegations against staff members.
An allegation should be made if a staff member has:
- Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
- Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child;
- Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she is unsuitable to work with children
The Children’s Centre will not carry out any investigation itself into a suspected child abuse incident. On discovering an allegation of abuse, the Senior Designated Professional will immediately refer the case to the Local Safeguarding Children Board and the Police.
If an allegation of abuse is made against the Centre Manager or the Senior Designated Professional, the Head Teacher of Fakenham Infant & Nursery School and Designated Governor will be informed as soon as possible.
Staff Support and Training
The Children’s Centre is committed to ensuring that it meets its responsibilities in respect of child protection through the provision of support and training to staff. Therefore, the Children’s Centre will ensure that:
- All staff and volunteers are carefully recruited, have verified references and have full and up to date Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.
- All staff and volunteers are given a copy of the Child Protection Policy during their induction, and have its implications explained to them.
- All staff are given a copy of the Whistleblowing policy during their induction, and have its implications explained to them.
- All staff and volunteers receive regular training and supervision in child protection issues and are provided with any relevant information and guidance.
- All staff are provided with supervision and management support commensurate with their responsibilities in relation to child protection, and their requirement to maintain caring and safe relationships with children.
- All staff are aware of the main indicators of child abuse.
- All staff are aware of their statutory requirements in respect of the disclosure or discovery of child abuse and the procedure for doing so. All students and volunteers are instructed to report the disclosure or discovery of abuse to the Senior Designated Professional or Deputy Senior Designated Professional.
- The Children’s Centre will take appropriate action in relation to the findings of any investigation into allegations of abuse, consistent with its duties to protect the safety of children and up hold fair processes for staff, students and volunteers.
- Any member of staff, a student or volunteer under investigation for the alleged abuse of a child, will be subject to the provisions of the Staff Disciplinary Policy.
All staff understands the Children’s Centre’s Child Protection Procedures and has had appropriate training and guidance in the principles of safe caring. To this end:
Every effort will be made to avoid or minimise time when members of staff, students or volunteers are left alone with a child. If staff are alone with a child, the door of the room should be kept open and another member of staff should be informed. All students and volunteers are supervised within sessions by the leader of the group and offered time to reflect individually or as a team at the end of the activity sessions. The Children’s Centre and Deputy are available for ad hoc support
If a child makes inappropriate physical contact with a member of staff, students or volunteer, this will be recorded fully on a ‘Record of observation or concern form’
Staff will never carry out a personal task for children that they can do for themselves. Where this is essential, staff will help a child whilst being accompanied by a colleague. Unless a child has a particular need, staff should not accompany children into the toilet. Staff are aware that this and other similar activities could be misconstrued.
Staff will be mindful of how and where they touch children, given their age and emotional understanding. Unnecessary or potentially inappropriate physical contact will be avoided at all times.
All allegations made by a child against a member of staff will be fully recorded, including any actions taken, on a ‘Record of observation or concern form’. In the event of there being a witness to an incident, they should sign the record to confirm this.
If a child makes inappropriate physical contact with a member of staff, students or volunteer, this will be recorded fully on the ‘Record of observation or concern form’.
OFSTED will be informed of any allegations of abuse against a member of staff, student or volunteer, or any abuse that is alleged to have taken place on the premises or during a visit or outing.
Referring Allegations to Child Protection Agencies
If the Senior Designated Professional or Deputy Senior Designated Professional has a concern for the welfare or safety of a child, the following procedure will be activated:
- A telephone referral will be made to Children’s Advice and Duty Service( CADS) by telephone on 0344 800 8021.
- A copy of the discussion to CADS will be securely emailed or posted to you. Advice will be given by the Consultant Social Worker for you to follow.
- Depending on the level of concerns raised, this may be transferred to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
The Senior Designated Professional or the Deputy Senior Designated Professional will communicate as much information about the allegation and related incidents as is consistent with advice given by Children’s Services and the Police.
They will need to ensure that they can articulate how and why the concerns have arisen and be able to discuss the vulnerability needs of the child, other children and family members.
At all times, the safety, protection and interests of children concerned will take precedence. The Senior Designated Professional and staff will work with and support parents/carers as far as they are legally able.
The Children’s Centre will assist Children’s Services and the Police, as far as it is able, during any investigation of abuse or neglect. This will include disclosing written and verbal information and evidence.
The Children Centre Governing committee
The Children’s Centre Governing committee is accountable for ensuring the effectiveness of this policy and procedures and the compliance with it.
The Children’s Centre Governing committee will ensure that:
- The safeguarding policy is in place and is reviewed annually and has been written in line with local authority guidance and the requirements of the Norfolk Safeguarding Children board policies and procedures.
- A Governor with responsibility for safeguarding is designated.
- All staff have undertaken appropriate child protection training.
- Procedures are in place for dealing with allegations against members of staff and volunteers in line with statutory guidance.
- Safer recruitment practices are followed in accordance with the requirements of “Safer Recruitment in Education”, 2018; with a member of the Governing Committee being involved in recruitment where practical.
Safeguarding in the use of Social Networking sites, internet and email and appropriate use of equipment.
Fakenham Gateway Sure Start Children’s Centre endeavors to ensure that all ICT systems, equipment, data storage and information are appropriately used to safeguard children and their family.
Centre ICT equipment, systems and data stored on them are the property of the Centre whether used on or off the premises. Centre information systems and equipment may not be used for personal purposes without permission from the Centre Manager.
Staff must ensure that all electronic communications made are compatible with their professional role.
Staff must not disclose or share any password or security information with anyone except the Centre’s Manager.
Staff must ensure that personal data is stored securely and is used appropriately, whether in the Centre, taken off the Centre premises or accessed remotely. Encrypted memory sticks should always be used for the saving of data.
Staff must report any incidents of concern regarding inappropriate use of ICT systems or equipment to the Centre Manager.
Staff must not place inappropriate photographs on any social networking sites.
Staff should not communicate with Centre families over social networking sites using their personal accounts. Any communication must not refer to the Centre, Centre business or have any possible repercussions to Centre business.
In addition to the above, the Centre’s internet service and Centre equipment should not be used for the following activities:
- Conducting illegal activities
- Accessing or downloading pornographic material
- Soliciting for personal gain or profit
- Managing or providing a business or service
- Revealing or publicising proprietary or confidential information
- Representing personal opinions as those of the Centre or School.
- Making or posting indecent remarks or proposals.
Please read this policy in conjunction with the following Centre policies:
- Mobile phones, photography and use of images of children 7 families (28)
- Whistleblowing (29)
- Staff Grievance (12)
- Confidentiality & Data Protection (4)
- Staff code of Conduct (39)
- Disclosure & Barring (41)
- Recruitment Selection (11)
- Prevent Duty Guidance (45)
- Information Sharing (32)
The Safeguarding Policy and Child protection Procedures are displayed in the Children’s Centre and available on request from the Children’s Centre reception.
Last updated January 2019. To be reviewed July 2019.