The Hub is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of young people and expects all employees, trustees and volunteers to share this commitment.
This Policy applies to anyone working on behalf of the Hub, including the board of trustees, paid employees, volunteers, and students. Its purpose is to protect and enhance the safety and well-being of all children and young people by actively promoting awareness, good practice and sound procedures.
We believe the safety and well-being of children and young people is of the utmost importance and that they have a fundamental and equal right to be protected from harm regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.
We fully recognise our statutory responsibility for safeguarding - the safety, protection and well-being of all children and young people who the Hub supports and interacts with is paramount and has priority over all other interests. This includes responding immediately and appropriately where there is a suspicion that any young person under the age of 18 years old may be a victim of bullying, harassment, abuse (including physical, sexual, emotional) or neglect.
(‘Young Person’ means those under 18 years old including all of those up to their 18th birthday - designated a ‘child’ within the terms of the Children’s Act 1989).
The Hub encourages a culture of listening to and engaging in dialogue, with children seeking their views in ways that are appropriate to their age, culture and understanding.
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seek to protect children in England including the Children’s Act 2004 and “Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018”.
Working together to safeguard children (PDF) (DfE) 2018 provides the key statutory guidance for anyone working with children and young people. Specifically, The Hub will work in accordance with guidance and good practice from the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership. More information on this can be found at: Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership (SSCP) (surreyscp.org.uk).
We understand that procedures and policies pertaining to safeguarding should be regularly reviewed and updated on a regular basis. This policy was last reviewed and updated: May 2023.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON SAFEGUARDING
DEFINITIONS OF HARM
For the purpose of this policy, harm means:
Neglect - the persistent failure to meet the basic physical and physiological needs of the young person that results in serious impairment of their health and development, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter and failure to respond to basic emotional needs, such as being cared for when sick.
Abandonment - leaving a child alone and unattended in circumstances that are inappropriate for their age and/or level of ability.
Emotional abuse – persistent, emotional ill treatment that has a severe adverse effect on the emotional development of the young person. It may involve conveying to them that they are not wanted, not loved or worthless. It may involve inappropriate expectations (such as taking on the responsibility of an adult within the family) being placed on the young person leaving them frightened and unable to cope. It may also involve the threatening, exploitation or corruption of a young person.
Physical abuse – hitting, kicking, shaking, slapping, and throwing, scalding, burning, poisoning, drowning, suffocating, or other action intended to cause physical harm or ill health to the young person. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer covers up the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a young person within their care.
Racial abuse – any type of verbal or physical abuse that is directed at an individual or group because of their racial or ethnic background.
Witnessing ill treatment, including domestic abuse of another person- this may impact the health or development of a young person.
Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation - forcing or enticing ayoung person to participate in sexual activities, whether or not the young person is aware or has knowledge of what is happening. It includes child prostitution, encouraging young people to watch or participate in the production of pornographic material, online grooming, encouraging young people to behave in sexual inappropriate ways. Sexual acts include penetrative (rape or buggery) and non-penetrative acts such as touching or stroking.
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 defines ‘consent’ as ‘if he agrees by choice and has the capacity to make that choice’. Please note that the Act removes the element of consent for many sexual offences for:
Young people under 16 (including under 13).
Young people under 18 having sexual relations with a person of trust (for example: teachers, youth workers, foster carers, police officers).
Young people under 18 involved with family members over 18.
Persons with a mental disorder impeding choice or who are induced, threatened or deceived.
Persons with a mental disorder who have sexual relations with care workers.
In relation to young people under the age of 13, consent is irrelevant. The law says ‘a child under the age of 13 does not, under any circumstances, have the legal capacity to consent to any form of sexual activity’.
The Police must be informed immediately of any sexual activity involving a child under 13 years of age.
IMPORTANT SAFEGUARDING ADVICE FOR EMPLOYEES AND VOLUNTEERS
Remember not to be a young person's friend, always maintain a professional manner when working with them.
Do not accept a young person as a friend on any social networking site that you use.
Always keep a record of any text or email exchanges with a young person (staff will use work telephones where available).
Always be aware that your comments or actions may be perceived differently than intended, so be sensitive to the situation.
Do not meet a young person alone, this is for the safety and well-being of the young person but also yourself. Where this is necessary, try to use public spaces for one-to-one meetings if you are not meeting in The Hub office or premises.
Avoid detailed discussions about your personal experiences e.g. drugs, alcohol, sex.
Never speak to the press about a young person without permission.
The Hub’s Safeguarding Officer will be responsible for implementing this Safeguarding Policy with the assistance of the Centre Manager.
It is the responsibility of the Safeguarding Officer to take appropriate action following any expression of concern, disclosure or reported incident and to make referrals to the appropriate agency.
The Safeguarding Officer will ensure that the youth leaders and all volunteers participate in regular safeguarding training so that they are aware of the procedures of identifying and reporting suspected cases of abuse and neglect and are up to date with any legal changes.
EMPLOYEES AND VOLUNTEER RESPONSIBILITIES
All employees and volunteers will be made aware of this Safeguarding Policy and related relevant procedures as part of their induction or their contract of employment (if applicable)
All employees and volunteers will be asked to participate in appropriate training.
All employees and volunteers have a duty to ensure that any suspected incident, allegation or other manifestation involving harm to a young person is reported using the procedures detailed below in this policy.
If in any doubt about what action to take, employees and volunteers must seek advice from the Safeguarding Office or one of the youth leaders or in their absence, one of the trustees.
VOLUNTEERS AND EMPLOYEES
The Hub will apply the Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 and Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership Guidelines using the framework for safer recruitment and employment practice. This includes the following requirements for employees and volunteers:
All employees will need to have an enhanced DBS Certificate when working with young people in the Hub. New volunteers will be asked to apply for a DBS certificate with the assistance of the Safeguarding Officer at no cost to them.
New volunteers will be allowed to work with young people, after submitting their forms and whilst awaiting DBS clearance, provided that other employees or volunteers who hold current DBS checks are on duty during the session, and the volunteer is not left unsupervised with young people at any time.
We ask that all volunteers register with the ‘DBS Update Service’ so that they can use their DBS certificate in other settings if they wish and any amendments to their certificates will be notified to us.
All DBS certificates must be renewed after three years, unless on the ‘update service’.
All employees and volunteers who work with young people on a regular basis at the Hub will be required to attend safeguarding training arranged by The Hub.
In all cases it is vital to take every action needed to safeguard any young person in our care. Immediate action may be necessary in the following situations;
If emergency medical attention is required: phone the emergency services or take the young person to the nearest Accident and Emergency department.
If the child or young person is in immediate danger: the police should be contacted by calling 999.
Any suspicion, allegation or disclosure of abuse or harm is raised: this must be reported immediately or as soon as reasonably practicable on the day of the occurrence to the youth leaders and/or the Safeguarding Officer.
Please note that disclosure or evidence for concern may occur in a number of ways including a comment made by a child, physical evidence such as bruising, a change in behaviour or inappropriate behaviour or knowledge.
The Youth Leaders or Safeguarding Officer will record the concern, with the employee or volunteer who is reporting it, using the Safeguarding Reporting Form. If it is the Youth Leaders compiling the record, that record will be given to the Safeguarding Officer at the earliest opportunity. This form must be kept strictly confidential and stored securely.
If further referral is necessary, it will either be through Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership/ Surrey Children’s services or the Police.
The Safeguarding Officer will be responsible for informing the employee or volunteer who reported the disclosure of any action taken and any outcome, if this is appropriate.
It is also the responsibility of the Safeguarding Officer to ensure any partner agencies involved with the young person are made aware of the disclosure and the action taken where relevant and where information sharing guidance permits this.
It is important to remember that often only when information held by a number of workers is put together, that a picture of child abuse emerges. All employees and volunteers must adhere to the information sharing protocol published by HM Government, adopted by the Children’s Trust and endorsed by Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership. Details can be found here; Information sharing: advice for practitioners (publishing.service.gov.uk).
In addition to this, whilst respecting cultural differences, the basic requirements for children is that they are kept safe across social, ethnic and cultural boundaries.
All queries relating to Safeguarding and/or DBS checks should be referred to the
The Hub’s Safeguarding Officer: Susannah Moffat
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile: 07763 127297
REACTING TO A DISCLOSURE
Listen carefully rather than asking leading questions.
Never promise any particular action or NOT to disclose any information shared.
Allow silence and/or allow the young person to be upset.
Try to relate to the age, understanding or special needs of the young person.
Write down carefully the information you have been given as soon as possible, preferably immediately after it has been given to you, and only including what you have been told. Do not embellish or include any assumptions of your own in relation to the circumstances described to you.
Discuss this as soon as possible with the Youth Leaders or Safeguarding Officer.
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 exploitation is suspected.
Where organised or multiple abuse is suspected.
Where fabricated or induced illness is suspected.
Where female genital mutilation is a concern.
In cases of forced marriage.
Where contacting parents/carers would place a young person or others at immediate risk.
ALLEGATIONS MADE AGAINST EMPLOYEES AND VOLUNTEERS
When any form of complaint is made against an employee or volunteer, it must be taken seriously. The complaint should initially be dealt with by the most senior employee or volunteer on site at the time the complaint is made. If the complaint is against the most senior employee or volunteer on site, then the Safeguarding Officer or Trustees must be informed.
The senior employee or volunteer must report the complaint immediately to the Safeguarding Officer giving details of the circumstances. If appropriate the Safeguarding Officer will contact the Local Authority Designated Officer. Further information can be found here: 3.2 Managing allegations against people that work or volunteer with children | Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership (procedures.org.uk)
The Local Authority representative will attend the site of the allegation to gain an initial account of what has occurred from all relevant parties, including the person against whom the allegation has been made. If this is not possible, contact will be made by telephone. The Safeguarding Officer may need to suspend from duty and/or the premises, any person who is a party to the allegation until a full investigation has been made.
This action does not imply in any way that the person suspended is responsible or is to blame for any action leading up to the complaint. The purpose of any such suspension is to enable a full and proper investigation to be carried out in a professional manner.
It is the responsibility of the Safeguarding Officer to make the decision as to whether to inform Social Services and/or the Police Child Protection Unit, depending on the nature of the allegation. In matters of allegations against employees or volunteers working in child protection, information must be provided to the local designated officer.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND WHISTLE-BLOWING
The Hub operates a confidentiality policy. However, under no circumstances will information be kept confidential that raises concern about the safety and welfare of a child or young person.
Any employee or volunteer with concerns about anybody providing services to children and young people should report this to the Safeguarding Officer or the trustees as appropriate. They will be fully supported throughout the process.
All employees and volunteers must be aware that they cannot promise a child that they will keep secrets/not disclose potentially harmful information.
Signed: Susannah Moffat, Designated Safeguarding Lead and Chair of trustees
Approved by the Trustees - Claygate Youth and Community Hub
Youth leaders contact details:
Andy Clifton and Katie Holmes - 07900 021942
Trustees contact details:
Susannah Moffat - 07763 127297
Vicki Schmidt - 07802 241223