Safeguarding Children Policy

*Under review

This document is the Safeguarding Children Policy for The Bristol Bike Project which will be followed and promoted by all members of the project.

Individual agencies are responsible for ensuring that their employees are competent and confident in carrying out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting children's welfare. All children attending Bristol Bike Project workshop session must be accompanied by a support worker / case worker / guardian at all times.

The purpose of the project is to collect unwanted bicycles from the public, refurbish them and give them to people from underprivileged groups.

We know that being a young person makes them vulnerable to abuse by adults. The purpose of this policy is to make sure that the actions of any adult in the context of the work carried out by the project are transparent and safeguard and promote the welfare of all young people.

This document is written in accordance with the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board Policy.

Principles upon which the Safeguarding Children Policy is based:

  • The welfare of a child or young person will always be paramount
  • The welfare of families will be promoted
  • The rights, wishes and feelings of children, young people and their families will be respected and listened to.

Keeping children safe from harm requires people who work with children to share information.

See also the Information Sharing: Practitioners Guide published by the DfES.

Those people in positions of responsibility within the project will work in accordance with the interests of children and young people and follow the policy outlined below.

Safeguarding Children Policy

1. Immediate Action to Ensure Safety

Immediate action may be necessary at any stage in involvement with children and families.

IN ALL CASES IT IS VITAL TO TAKE WHATEVER ACTION IS NEEDED TO SAFEGUARD THE CHILD OR CHILDREN CONCERNED i.e.:

  • If emergency medical attention is required this can be secured by calling an ambulance (dial 999) or taking a child to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department.

If a child is in immediate danger the police should be contacted (dial 999) as they alone have the power to remove a child immediately if protection is necessary, via their powers to use Police Protection.

2. Recognition of Abuse or 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 a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.

The 1989 Children Act identifies four categories of abuse, outlined below:

  • [ ] Physical Abuse

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.

  • [ ] Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment 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 in so far as they meet the needs of another person.

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 participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious 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 ill treatment of a child though it may occur alone.

  • [ ] Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

  • [ ] Neglect

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.

Individuals within the project need to be alert to the potential abuse of children both within their families and also from other sources including abuse by members of that project.

The project should know how to recognise and act upon indicators of abuse or potential abuse involving children and where there are concerns about a child's welfare. There is an expected responsibility for all members of the project to respond to any suspected or actual abuse of a child in accordance with these procedures.

It is good practice to be as open and honest as possible with parents/carers about any concerns. However, you MUST NOT discuss your concerns with parents/carers in the following circumstances:

  • where Sexual Abuse or sexual exploitation is suspected
  • where Organised or Multiple Abuse is suspected (see Complex (Organised or Multiple Abuse procedure)
  • where Fabricated or Induced Illness (previously known as Munchausen Syndrome by proxy) is suspected (see Fabricated or Induced Illness procedure)
  • where Female Genital Mutilation is the concern (see Female Genital Mutilation procedure)
  • in cases of suspect Forced Marriage (see Forced Marriage procedure)
  • where contacting parents/carers would place a child, yourself or others at immediate risk

These decisions should not be taken in isolation.

Consult with your fellow volunteers or the referring agencies.

3. What to do if Children Talk to you About Abuse or Neglect

It is recognised that a child may seek you out to share information about abuse or Neglect, or talk spontaneously individually or in groups when you are present.

In these situations YOU MUST:

  • Listen carefully to the child. DO NOT directly question the child
  • Give the child time and attention.
  • Allow the child to give a spontaneous account; do not stop a child who is freely recalling significant events.
  • Make an accurate record of the information you have been given taking care to record the timing, setting and people present, the child's presentation as well as what was said.
  • Do not throw this away as it may later be needed as evidence.
  • Use the child's own words where possible.
  • Explain that you cannot promise not to speak to others about the information they have shared - do not offer false confidentiality.
  • Reassure the child that: they have done the right thing in telling you; they have not done anything wrong;
  • Tell the child what you are going to do next and explain that you will need to get help to keep him/her safe.
  • DO NOT ask the child to repeat his or her account of events to anyone

If you have a Child Protection concern you should:

4. Consult About your Concern

Because of your observations of, or information received you may become concerned about a child who has not spoken to you.

It is good practice to ask a child why they are upset or how a cut or bruise was caused, or respond to a child wanting to talk to you. This practice can help clarify vague concerns and result in appropriate action.

If you are concerned about a child you must share your concerns.

Initially you should talk to one of the people designated as responsible for child protection within your project. In this project this person is Yael Ben-Gigi tel: 07511 262614

(If one of those people is implicated in the concerns you should discuss your concerns directly with the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board, Duty and Assessment Team - tel: 0117 903 6500)

You should consult with your local Children's Social Care Duty & Investigation Team in the area where the child resides, in the following circumstances:

  • when you remain unsure after internal consultation as to whether child protection concerns exist
  • when there is disagreement as to whether child protection concerns exist
  • when you are unable to consult promptly or at all with your designated internal contact for child protection
  • when the concerns relate to any member of the organising committee

Consultation is not the same as making a referral but should enable a decision to be made as to whether a referral to Children's Social Care or the Police should progress.

5. Make a Referral

A referral involves giving Children's Social Care or the Police information about concerns relating to an individual or family in order that enquiries can be undertaken by the appropriate agency followed by any necessary action.

Parents/carers should be informed if a referral is being made except in the circumstances outlined in section 2.9.

However, inability to inform parents for any reason should not prevent a referral being made.

It would then become a joint decision with Children's Social Care about how and when the parents should be approached and by whom.

If your concern is about harm or risk of harm from a family member or someone known to the children, you should make a telephone referral to the Children's Social Care Duty & Investigation Team in the area where the child resides (see Section 8: Useful Telephone Numbers).

If your concern is about harm or risk of harm from someone not known to the child or child's family, you should make a telephone referral directly to the Police and consult with the parents.

If your concern is about harm or risk of harm from an adult in a position of trust see Section 6: Allegations Against Adults Who Work With Children.

If your concern is that a child or family need additional help or support, you should contact the appropriate Locality Team (see Section 8: Useful Telephone Numbers).

Information required when making a referral

  • Be prepared to give as much of the following information as possible (in emergency situations all of this information may not be available). Unavailability of some information should not stop you making a referral.
  • Your name, telephone number, position and request the same of the person to whom you are speaking.
  • Full name and address, telephone number of family, date of birth of child and siblings.
  • Gender, ethnicity, first language, any special needs.
  • Names, dates of birth and relationship of household members and any significant others.
  • The names of professionals known to be involved with the child/family e.g.: GP, Health Visitor, School.
  • The nature of the concern; and foundation for the concern.
  • An opinion on whether the child may need urgent action to make them safe.
  • Your view of what appears to be the needs of the child and family.
  • Whether the consent of a parent with Parental Responsibility has been given to the referral being made.

Action to be taken following the referral

  • Ensure that you keep an accurate record of your concern(s) made at the time.
  • Put your concerns in writing to the Children's Social Care Duty & Investigation Team following the referral (within 48 hours - and using the multi-agency referral form)
  • Accurately record the action agreed or that no further action is to be taken and the reasons for this decision.

6. Allegations against Adults who work with Children

If you have information which suggests an adult who works with children (in a paid or unpaid capacity) has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, a child
  • behaved towards a child/ren in a way that indicated s/he is unsuitable to work with children you should speak immediately with your line manager or senior manager who has responsibility for managing allegations. The senior manager will consult with/make a referral to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer), Safeguarding Children Unit.

(If one of those people is implicated in the concerns you should discuss your concerns directly with the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board, Duty and Assessment Team - tel: 0117 903 6500)

7. Confidentiality

The project should ensure that any records made in relation to a referral should be kept confidentially and in a secure place.

Information in relation to child protection concerns should be shared on a "need to know" basis.

However, the sharing of information is vital to child protection and, therefore, the issue of confidentiality is secondary to a child's need for protection – see the Information Sharing section in Bristol City Council Safeguarding Children section (Safeguarding for professionals).

8. Useful Telephone Numbers:

  • Police Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT): 0117 945 4320
  • Duty and Assessment Teams – opening hours Mon-Thu 8.30am-5pm, Fri 8.30am-4.30pm:
  • North Bristol Duty and Assessment Team: 0117 903 8700
  • East / Central Bristol Duty and Assessment Team: 0117 903 6500
  • South Bristol (near Hartcliffe) Duty and Assessment Team: 0117 353 2200
  • South Bristol (near Knowle) Duty and Assessment Team: 0117 903 1414
  • Emergency Duty Team (outside office hours): 01454 615 165

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