CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Updated February 2021
This policy applies to all staff, volunteers, trustees and anyone working for KidsBank Chester. Staff and volunteers in this organisation accept and recognise our responsibilities to develop awareness of issues, which cause children and young people harm.
The organisation does not undertake activities with children in the absence of their parents/carers, but has the opportunity to observe the young person’s/children’s welfare within their family setting. Parents/carers remain responsible for their children’s welfare throughout all the work undertaken by the organisation.
This policy has been drawn up as a response to:
- Children Act 1989
- United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
- Data Protection Act 1998
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Children Act 2004
- Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
- Relevant government guidance on safeguarding children
We recognise that:
- the welfare of the child is paramount, as enshrined in the Children Act 1989
- all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
- some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
- working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting children’s welfare.
We will endeavour to safeguard children and young people by:
- Valuing them, listening to and respecting them.
- Adopting child protection guidelines through a code of behaviour for staff and volunteers.
- Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers.
- Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately.
- Following carefully the procedures for recruitment and selection of staff and volunteers, ensuring all necessary checks are made.
- Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training
- We are also committed to reviewing our policy and good practice at regular intervals.
Policy and Procedures
Statement of Intent:
It is the policy of KidsBank Chester to safeguard the welfare of all children by protecting them from all forms of abuse including physical, emotional and sexual harm. Staff and volunteers should be committed to treating children with respect and dignity, always listening to what a child is saying.
Sharing Information about child protection and good practice with staff and volunteers:
Good communication is essential in any organisation. At KidsBank Chester every effort will be made to ensure that, should individuals have concerns, they will be listened to and taken seriously.
It is the responsibility of the management to ensure that information is available to, and exchanged between all those involved in this organisation and its activities. Some information is confidential and should only be shared on a strictly need-to-know basis.
A copy of our Child Protection Policy will be made available to all staff, volunteers and any other appropriate body. It will also be placed on our website.
Each new member of staff or volunteer will be made familiar with KidsBank Chester’s policies and procedures including the Child Protection Policy and Procedures.
Definitions, Sign & Symptoms, and Types of Abuse
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or 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.
This may involve the 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.
This 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 participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), 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.
This 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 of 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 also 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. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
This 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); or
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Child Sexual Exploitation:
This is a form of sexual abuse where children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. It can involve violent, humiliating and degrading sexual assaults. In some cases, young people are persuaded or forced into exchanging sexual activity for money, drugs, gifts, affection or status. Consent cannot be given, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and can happen online. A significant number of children who are victims of sexual exploitation go missing from home, care and education at some point. Some of the following signs may be indicators of sexual exploitation:
- Children who appear with unexplained gifts or new possessions;
• Children who associate with other young people involved in exploitation;
• Children who have older boyfriends or girlfriends;
• Children who suffer from sexually transmitted infections or become pregnant;
• Children who suffer from changes in emotional well-being;
• Children who misuse drugs and alcohol;
• Children who go missing for periods of time or regularly come home late; and
• Children who regularly miss school or education or do not take part in education.
Child criminal exploitation:
As set out in the Serious Violence Strategy, published by the Home Office, where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into any criminal activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or (c) through violence or the threat of violence. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Child criminal exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology. Some of the following signs may be indicators of criminal exploitation:
- Persistently going missing from school or home and / or being found out-of-area;
- Unexplained acquisition of money, clothes, or mobile phones
- Excessive receipt of texts / phone calls
- Relationships with controlling / older individuals or groups
- Leaving home / care without explanation
- Suspicion of physical assault / unexplained injuries
- Parental concerns
- Carrying weapons
- Significant decline in school results / performance
- Gang association or isolation from peers or social networks
- Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being
This is a form of criminal exploitation whereby gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas within the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of ‘deal line’. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money, and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons.
HBV/Forced Marriage or FGM:
So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV) encompasses crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing. All forms of so called HBV are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such. If in any doubts staff or volunteers should speak to the designated safeguarding lead, Becky Collier. FGM involves cutting, and sometimes sewing the girl’s genitalia, normally without anaesthetic, and can take place at any time from birth onwards. It is sometimes referred to as ‘female circumcision’ but this misnomer belies the invasive and irreversible nature of the procedure. It is now more correctly termed female genital mutilation.
The procedure has a cultural, rather than religious, origin and is practised by disparate ethnic communities in many countries, including Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it a criminal offence, not only to carry out FGM in England, Scotland and Wales on a girl who is a UK national or permanent resident, but also to take a girl out of the UK to have FGM performed abroad, even to countries where FGM is legal. The indicators of FGM may initially mirror those of sexual abuse. You may notice, for example, that a girl or young woman shows signs of pain or discomfort, needs to visit the toilet constantly, has vaginal blood loss or is unable to sit comfortably.
It is the personal duty of any staff member or volunteer who identifies FGM or receives a disclosure to make a crime report to the police.
- If a volunteer has either been told by a child/parent/carer that the child has had FGM s/he should personally report the matter to the police by calling 101.
- If you think the girl is at imminent risk or has recently been cut you should take immediate action which may involve calling 999.
Forcing a person into a marriage is a crime in England and Wales. A forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into a marriage. Threats can be physical or emotional and psychological. A lack of full and free consent can be where a person does not consent or where they cannot consent (if they have learning disabilities, for example). Nevertheless, some communities use religion and culture as a way to coerce a person into marriage.
Child trafficking and modern slavery:
Child trafficking and modern slavery are forms of child abuse where children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold. Children are trafficked for sexual exploitation, benefit fraud, forced marriage, domestic servitude such as: cleaning, childcare, cooking, forced labour in factories or agriculture and criminal activity such as: pickpocketing, begging, transporting drugs, working on cannabis farms, selling pirated DVDs and bag theft.
Many children are trafficked into the UK from abroad, but children can also be trafficked from one part of the UK to another.
Trafficked children experience multiple forms of abuse and neglect. Physical, sexual and emotional violence are often used to control victims of trafficking. Children are also likely to be physically and emotionally neglected.
Children are tricked, forced or persuaded to leave their homes. Traffickers use grooming techniques to gain the trust of the child, family or community. They may threaten families, but this isn’t always the case, they may promise children education or persuade parents their child can have a better future in another place. Sometimes families will be asked for payment towards the ‘service’ a trafficker is providing e.g. sorting out travel documentation or transport. Traffickers make a profit from the money a child earns through exploitation, forced labour or crime. Often this is explained as a way for a child to pay off a debt they or their family ‘owe’ to the traffickers.
Although these are methods used by traffickers, coercion, violence or threats do not need to be proven in cases of child trafficking – a child cannot legally consent so child trafficking only requires evidence of movement and exploitation.
Individuals within KidsBank Chester need to be alert to the potential abuse of children both within their families and also from other sources including abuse by members of KidsBank Chester.
The organisation should know how to recognise and act upon indicators of abuse or potential abuse involving children. There is an expected responsibility for all members of the organisation to respond to any suspected or actual abuse of a child in accordance with these procedures.
Additional information can be found at: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/
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:
- React calmly and 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.Never guarantee absolute confidentiality, as Child Protection will always have precedence over any other issues.
- Reassure the child:
- you are glad they have told you;
- they have not done anything wrong;
- what you are going to do next.
- Explain that you will need to get help to keep the child safe.
- Do NOT ask the child to repeat his or her account of events to anyone.
- It is not our responsibility to decide whether abuse has taken place or not, however it is our responsibility to pass on any concerns to the appropriate person / authority immediately.
You may become concerned about a child who has not spoken to you, because of your observations of, or information about that child. 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 the organisation.
At KidsBank Chester, the Designated Safeguarding Lead is Becky Collier – 07905 271392 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the Safeguarding Lead is unavailable, please contact the Director of Operations Cathy Pettingale on 07305 019699.The Safeguarding Lead or the Director of Operations will contact the relevant services if required. If one of those people is implicated in the concerns you should discuss your concerns directly with Social Services.
If you have concerns about a child’s welfare, or feel that they may be being abused or neglected, and you are not able for any reason to consult promptly or at all with either of the above named people, you should call the Integrated Access and Referral Team (iART) or the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) for help and advice. Alternatively you can call the police.
Telephone: i-ART – 0300 123 7047
The team can be contacted 8.30am to 5pm from Monday to Thursday and 8.30am – 4.30pm on Friday.
If you have an urgent concern outside these hours, or over a bank holiday, please call the Emergency Duty Team (out of hours) on 01244 977277
Alternatively call Cheshire Police: 0845 458 0000/01244 350000 (999 in an emergency)
Emergency action – In some cases you may need to protect a child immediately – in these situations dial 999. The police are the only agency with statutory powers for the immediate protection of children.
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 contacting the relevant agency.
- 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 eg: GP, Health Visitor, School.
- The nature of the concern; and foundation for them.
- 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 Social Services if requested by them to do so following the referral.
- Accurately record the action agreed or that no further action is to be taken and the reasons for this decision.
Extremism/Radicalisation/Prevent Policy and Procedures
The government has defined extremism as:
Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of our armed forces as extremist.
KidsBank Chester does not tolerate the expression or promotion of extremist views of any kind from any member of our charity or any external agencies or visitors.
Any concerns about extremist views or radicalisation should be recorded and reported to the designated Safeguarding Lead who will then take appropriate action, consulting with Social Care and if necessary, make a Channel referral.
KidsBank Chester will ensure that any records made in relation to a referral will be kept confidentially and in a secure place. Only the designated Persons will have access to these files.
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.