Safeguarding Children Policy
Branches Out of School Limited is committed to building a ‘culture of safety’ in which the children in our care are protected from abuse, harm and radicalisation.
The Club will respond promptly and appropriately to all incidents or concerns regarding the safety of a child that may occur. The Club’s child protection procedures comply with all relevant legislation and with guidance issued by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).
There is always a Child protection officer (CPO) available while the club is in session. The CPO coordinates child protection issues and liaises with external agencies (eg Social care and Ofsted)
The Club’s CPO is Sharon Evans. The Deputy CPO is Charley Evans.
Child abuse and neglect
Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional, or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm. An individual may abuse or neglect a child directly, or by failing to protect them from harm. Some forms of child abuse and neglect are listed below.
- Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve making the child feel that they are worthless, unloved, or inadequate. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
- Physical abuse can involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may be also caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child.
- Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether the child is aware of what is happening. This can involve physical contact, or non-contact activities such as showing children sexual activities or encouraging them to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
- Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. It can involve a failure to provide adequate food, clothing, and shelter, to protect a child from physical and emotional harm, to ensure adequate supervision or to allow access to medical treatment.
Signs of child abuse and neglect
Signs of possible abuse and neglect may include:
- significant changes in a child's behaviour
- deterioration in a child’s general well-being
- unexplained bruising or marks
- comments made by a child which give cause for concern
- reasons to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting, eg in the child’s home, or that a girl may have been subjected to (or is at risk of) female genital mutilation (FGM), or that the child may have witnessed domestic abuse
- inappropriate behaviour displayed by a member of staff, or any other person. For example, inappropriate sexual comments, excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of their role, or inappropriate sharing of images.
If abuse is suspected or disclosed
When a child makes a disclosure to a member of staff, that member of staff will:
- reassure the child that they were not to blame and were right to speak out
- listen to the child but not question them
- give reassurance that the staff member will act
- record the incident as soon as possible (see Logging an incident below).
If a member of staff witnesses or suspects abuse, they will record the incident straightaway. If a third party expresses concern that a child is being abused, we will encourage them to contact Social Care directly. If they do not do so, we will explain that the Club is obliged to and the incident will be logged accordingly.
Children are vulnerable to abuse by their peers. Peer-on-peer abuse is taken seriously by staff and will be subject to the same child protection procedures as other forms of abuse. Staff are aware of the potential uses of information technology for bullying and abusive behaviour between young people. Staff will not dismiss abusive behaviour as normal between young people. The presence of one or more of the following in relationships between children should always trigger concern about the possibility of peer-on-peer abuse:
- Sexual activity (in primary school-aged children) of any kind, including sexting
- One of the children is significantly more dominant than the other (eg much older)
- One of the children is significantly more vulnerable than the other (eg in terms of disability, confidence, physical strength)
- There has been some use of threats, bribes, or coercion to ensure compliance or secrecy.
If peer-on-peer abuse is suspected or disclosed, we will follow the same procedures as set out above for responding to child abuse.
Extremism and radicalisation
All childcare settings have a legal duty to protect children from the risk of radicalisation and being drawn into extremism. There are many reasons why a child might be vulnerable to radicalisation, including:
- feeling alienated or alone
- seeking a sense of identity or individuality
- suffering from mental health issues such as depression
- desire for adventure or wanting to be part of a larger cause
- associating with others who hold extremist beliefs
Signs of radicalisation
Signs that a child might be at risk of radicalisation include:
- changes in behaviour, for example becoming withdrawn or aggressive
- claiming that terrorist attacks and violence are justified
- viewing violent extremist material online
- possessing or sharing violent extremist material
If a member of staff suspects that a child is at risk of becoming radicalised, they will record any relevant information or observations on Logging a concern form, and refer the matter to the CPO
Logging an incident
All information about the suspected abuse or disclosure, or concern about radicalisation, will be recorded on the Logging a concern form as soon as possible after the event. The record should include:
- date of the disclosure, or the incident, or the observation causing concern
- date and time at which the record was made
- name and date of birth of the child involved
- a factual report of what happened. If recording a disclosure, you must use the child’s own words
- name, signature and job title of the person making the record.
The record will be given to the club’s CPO who will decide on the appropriate course of action.
For concerns about child abuse, the CPO will contact Social Care. The CPO will follow up all referrals to Social Care in writing within 24 hours. If a member of staff thinks that the incident has not been dealt with properly, they may contact Social Care directly.
For minor concerns regarding radicalisation, the CPO will contact the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) For more serious concerns the CPO will contact the Police on the non-emergency number (101), or the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321. For urgent concerns, the CPO will contact the Police using 999.
Allegations against staff
If anyone makes an allegation of child abuse against a member of staff:
- The allegation will be recorded on an Incident record form. Any witnesses to the incident should sign and date the entry to confirm it.
- The allegation must be reported to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and to Ofsted. The LADO will advise if other agencies (eg police) should be informed, and the Club will act upon their advice. Any telephone reports to the LADO will be followed up in writing within 24 hours.
- Following advice from the LADO, it may be necessary to suspend the member of staff pending full investigation of the allegation.
- If appropriate the Club will make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service.
Promoting awareness among staff
The Club promotes awareness of child abuse and the risk of radicalisation through its staff training. The Club ensures that:
- the CPO has relevant experience and receives appropriate training in safeguarding and the Prevent Duty, and is aware of the Channel Programme and how to access it
- Designated person training is refreshed every 2 years
- safe recruitment practices are followed for all new staff
- all staff have a copy of this Safeguarding policy, understand its contents and are vigilant to signs of abuse, neglect, or radicalisation
- all staff are aware of their statutory duties regarding the disclosure or discovery of child abuse, and concerns about radicalisation
- all staff receive basic safeguarding training and safeguarding is a permanent agenda item at all staff meetings.
- all staff receive basic training in the Prevent Duty
- staff are familiar with the Safeguarding File which is kept in the lockable filing cabinet
- the Club’s procedures are in line with the guidance in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)’ and staff are familiar with the guidance in ‘What to Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused (2015)’.
Use of mobile phones and cameras
Photographs will only be taken of children with their parents’ permission. Only the club camera will be used to take photographs of children at the Club, except with the express permission of the manager. Neither staff nor children may use their mobile phones to take photographs at the Club.
Social Care: 0191 4332653
Social Care out of hours contact: 0191 4770844
LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer): Nicholas Leon 0191 4333554
LSCB (Local Safeguarding Children Board): 0191 4338010
Local Authority Prevent Co-ordinator: Adam Lindridge or Val Hall 0191 4332782
Police: 101 (non-emergency) or 999 (emergency)
Anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789 321
NSPCC: 0808 800 500
Ofsted: 0300 123 1231
This policy was adopted by: Branches Out of School, Date: Spring 2021
To be reviewed: Spring 2022 Signed: Sharon Evans, Manager
Written in accordance with the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2017): Safeguarding and Welfare requirements: Child Protection [3.4-3.8] and Suitable People [3.9-3.13].