Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy
Ratified by Governing Body (date):
Signed on behalf of Governing Body:
Signed on behalf of Headteacher:
Review Date: September 2017
Revised Sept 14, Dec 14, Oct 15, Sept 2016, Feb 2017
Aims and Purpose of the Policy
The purpose of Carlton Bolling’s Safeguarding Policy is to provide a secure framework for its workforce and to ensure that all students who attend our school are safe and protected from harm.
Safeguarding at Carlton Bolling is considered everyone’s responsibility and as such our school aims to create the safest environment within which all students have the opportunity to achieve their potential. Carlton Bolling recognises the contribution it can make in ensuring that all students feel that they will be listened to and appropriate action taken if concerns are raised. We will do this by endeavouring to work in partnership with other agencies and seek to establish effective working relationships with parents, carers and other colleagues to develop and provide activities and opportunities throughout our curriculum that will help to equip our children with the skills they need.
Staff, students, governors, visitors, volunteers and parents are made aware of the expected behaviours and the school’s legal responsibilities in relation to the safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all of our students.
Carlton Bolling takes account of the principles of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (September 2016) It is acknowledged that the effective safeguarding arrangements are underpinned by key principles which are as follows:
· Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
· Safeguarding requires a clear child centred approach.
· Safeguarding incidents can happen anywhere, all staff must be alert to possible concerns being raised in school.
The school has clear procedures which enable all staff to raise concerns within the school and should be followed. However, in exceptional circumstances staff may raise concerns directly with Children’s Social Care Services. If this action is taken staff must inform the designated lead immediately
- During office hours (8.30am – 5pm Monday to Thursday, 4.30pm on Friday) call Children’s Social Services Initial Contact Point – 01274 437500
- At all other times, Social Services Emergency Duty Team – 01274 431010
- If you have reason to believe that a child is at IMMEDIATE RISK OF HARM, contact the police on 999
- For all general enquiries, please contact Children’s Specialist Services on 01274 435182
o For more information visit the Bradford Safeguarding Children Board website http://www.bradford-scb.org.uk/
The safeguarding framework states that all involved parties should “take action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.”
In support of this the school will adopt the following practice when assessment is necessary:
· Gather the necessary information.
· Analyse the information.
· Decide if a child is in need and what those needs are.
· Contact and support the provision of the appropriate services.
· Follow-up all referrals to ensure appropriate action has taken place.
Staff should also be aware that safeguarding concerns may not necessarily be limited to concerns regarding the safety of students. Any safeguarding concerns relating to adults in school should be made to the Headteacher.
Responsibilities and expectations
Carlton Bolling has a Governing Body and Named Governor whose legal responsibility it is to make sure that the school has an effective safeguarding policy and procedures in place and monitors that the school complies with them. The Governing Body should also ensure that the policy is made available to parents and carers if requested. The policy will be available on our school website. It is the responsibility of the Governing Body and the Headteacher to ensure that all staff and other professional agencies are properly checked to make sure they are safe to work with the students who attend our school and that the school has procedures for handling allegations of abuse made against members of staff (including the Headteacher) or other appropriate adults. The Governing Body and the Headteacher have appointed a Lead Designated Child Protection Officer who has overall responsibility for safeguarding in school. There is also a Designated Child Protection Officer who has responsibility for dealing with the day to day safeguarding issues in our School.
The Designated Child Protection Officer is Tanya Byrne, Lead Designated Child Protection Officer is Trude Feiweles (Assistant Headteacher Pastoral). If you have any safeguarding concerns they can be raised through either of these designated persons. If you are in any doubt or cannot access an appropriate person, you must speak with the Headteacher.
The named governor responsible for Safeguarding is Graham Dyson.
It is the responsibility of the Lead Designated Child Protection Officer to ensure that all safeguarding issues raised in school are effectively responded to, recorded and referred to the appropriate agency. They are also responsible for arranging whole school safeguarding training for all staff and other appropriate adults who work with children and young people in school. The Lead Designated Child Protection Officer has a role in ensuring that the whole school safeguarding training takes place annually.
The Lead Designated Child Protection Officer will ensure the relevant staff attend appropriate training and access the appropriate level of supervision/support. They will also ensure the school is represented at appropriate conferences, core groups or meetings and contributes to multi-agency discussions.
The Lead Designated Child Protection Officer is required to complete an annual Self-Review Assessment Report which demonstrates that the Safeguarding arrangements in school are being met. If the self-assessment highlights any areas for improvement, this will be detailed in the action plan which will be signed off and monitored by the Named Governor for Safeguarding to ensure these improvements are implemented. The Lead Designated Child Protection Officer will seek support and guidance from BSCB (Bradford Safeguarding Children Board) if and when necessary.
All Child Protection concerns need to be acted upon immediately. If you are concerned that a child may be at risk or is actually suffering abuse, you must inform the Designated Child Protection Officer without delay.
All adults have a duty to refer all known or suspected cases of abuse to the relevant agency including social services or the police. This should normally be done through the Designated Child Protection Officer or the Lead Designated Child Protection Officer within the school. Where a disclosure is made to a visiting staff member from a different agency, e.g. Connexions or School Nurse, it is the responsibility of that agency staff to formally report the referral to the Designated Child Protection Officer or the Lead Designated Child Protection Officer. Where the disclosure is made by a child attending a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) or alternative provision, the referral should be recorded and referred to the On-Site Senior Designated Person. The On-Site Senior Designated Officer will then make a formal notification to the Designated Child Protection Officer or the Lead Designated Child Protection Officer and the most appropriate course of action will then be taken.
All staff (including supply staff) must sign the school’s ICT acceptable usage policy each year.
All staff must read and acknowledge they have read and understood the school’s:
- Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
- The DfE “Keeping Children Safe in Education” document Part 1
Both these documents can be found within the school policies section on the school system and the Headteacher’s PA will record acknowledgements of reading, understanding and acceptance.
Providing a safe working culture
Carlton Bolling implements training and induction on appropriate staff behaviour and has a Staff Conduct/Professionalism policy – all of which apply to all permanent and temporary staff, and adult volunteers working in this organisation. Staff and volunteers are in a position of trust. All staff and volunteers must seek to minimise the risk of any situation arising in which children are put at risk, or misunderstandings about their behaviours towards children can occur or be perceived. Staff and volunteers must adhere to this guidance and policies. All the above includes expectations about staff behaviours including outside of the working environment, staff/learner relationships and communications including the use of social media and mobile phone use. Any reason for staff to be having personal, social contact with learners at school must be explained to the Designated Safeguarding Lead with the rationale for this and any safeguarding actions required will be recorded.
Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 it is a criminal offence for anyone working in an education setting to have a sexual relationship with a learner, even when the learner is over the age of consent but under 18 years of age.
Staff are advised to use the following sensible precautions when working alone with children:
· Avoid working in isolation with children unless thought has been given to safeguards
· Work in a room where there is a glass panel in the door or leave the door open
· Make sure that other adults visit the room occasionally
· Do not give learners lifts in your car (unless this has been specifically agreed by senior management)
· Students must not be left in isolation
Confidentiality of CP/Safeguarding Information
Normally, personal information should only be disclosed to the third parties (including other agencies) with the consent of the subject of that information (Data Protection Act 1998, European Convention on Human Rights, Article 8). However, the welfare of the child is paramount (The Children Act 1989) and there may be reasons for not sharing the concerns with the child, their parents or carers prior to making a referral to children’s social care. The child’s best interests must always be considered. Information may also be shared without consent in order to prevent or detect a crime, prevent serious harm to a child or adult, or due to a public interest concern. Carlton Bolling follows the information sharing guidance provided by Bradford Council Safeguarding Board (BCSB) when considering the sharing of personal information when there is a safeguarding concern.
The law also requires the disclosure of confidential information necessary to safeguard a child or children. Under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 statutory agencies have a duty to co-operate with the Local Authority if a child may be at risk of significant harm. Therefore, if the Police or Children’s Social Care are conducting a Section 47 investigation under the 1989 Children Act, staff must share requested information relevant to the investigation.
When a student transfers to a new school, child protection information must be transferred with them.
Child Protection records are kept centrally in two ways. Initially, the Named Persons record to Meritec’s secure CPOMs website (only the named person team has access) and this information is instantly shared with those who need to know. Secondly, all paper records are kept on file in a secure cabinet. All staff are aware that they must make a record of child protection issues and events as soon as possible and that these records must be signed, dated and passed in person to the Designated Child Protection Officer. The CPOMs software has the ability to store scanned documents electronically and new paper records are added to this resource as a backup. All child protection concerns are tracked and the Designated Child Protection leads will meet weekly to discuss: early intervention, proactive approaches to safeguarding and multi-agency working,
Governing Body Responsibilities
All members of the governing body understand and fulfil their responsibilities, namely to ensure that:
· there is a Child Protection Policy together with a staff behaviour (code of conduct) policy
· the school operates safer recruitment procedures by ensuring that there is at least one person on every recruitment panel that has completed Safer Recruitment training
· the school has procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff and volunteers and to make a referral to the DBS if a person in regulated activity has been dismissed or removed due to safeguarding concerns, or would have had they not resigned.
· a senior leader has Lead Designated Child Protection Officer (DCPO) responsibility
· on appointment, the DCPOs undertake interagency training and also undertake DCPO ‘new to role’ and an ‘update’ course every 2 years
· all other staff have Safeguarding training updated as appropriate. This training incorporates awareness of any local or national issues including CSE, FGM, ‘honour’ based violence and radicalisation
· any weaknesses in Child Protection are remedied immediately
· a member of the Governing Body, usually the Chair, is nominated to liaise with the LA on Child Protection issues and in the event of an allegation of abuse made against the Headteacher
· Child Protection policies and procedures are reviewed annually and the Child Protection policy is available on the school website or by other means
· the Governing Body considers how children may be taught about safeguarding. This may be part of a broad and balanced curriculum covering relevant issues through personal social health and economic education (PHSCE)
· The DCPOs who are involved in recruitment and at least one member of the governing body will also complete safer recruitment training (currently on-line on the DfE website) to be renewed every 5 years
· All members of staff and volunteers are provided with child protection awareness information at induction
· All new members of staff are trained in and receive regular updates in e-safety and reporting concerns
· All other staff and governors, have child protection awareness training, updated by the DCPO as appropriate, to maintain their understanding of the signs and indicators of abuse
· All members of staff, volunteers, and governors know how to respond to a pupil who discloses abuse through delivery of the child protection training
· All parents/carers are made aware of the responsibilities of staff members with regard to child protection procedures through publication of the school’s Child Protection Policy
· Community users organising activities for children are aware of the school’s child protection guidelines and procedures
· We will ensure that child protection concerns or allegations against adults working in the school are referred to the LADO for advice, and that any member of staff found not suitable to work with children will be notified to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for consideration for barring, following resignation, dismissal, or when we cease to use their service as a result of a substantiated allegation, in the case of a volunteer
Lead Designated Child Protection Officer responsibilities (these may be delegated to the Designated Child Protection Officer):
· Referring a child if there are concerns about possible abuse, to the Local Authority Designated Officer
· Acting as a focal point for staff to discuss concerns. Referrals should be made in writing, following a telephone call using the Multi Agency Referral Form (MARF)
· Keeping written records of concerns about a child even if there is no need to make an immediate referral
· Ensuring that all such records are kept confidentially and securely and are separate from pupil records, until the child’s 25th birthday, and are copied on to the child’s next school or schools
· Ensuring that an indication of the existence of the additional file as above is marked on the pupil records
· Liaising with other agencies and professionals
· Ensuring that either they attend case conferences, core groups, or other multi-agency planning meetings, contribute to assessments, and provide a report which has been shared with the parents
· Ensuring that any student currently with a child protection plan who is absent in the educational setting without explanation for two days is referred to their key worker’s Social Care Team
· Organising child protection induction, and annual update training for all school staff
· Providing, with the Headteacher, an annual report for the governing body, detailing any changes to the policy and procedures; training undertaken by the DCPO, and by all staff and governors; number and type of incidents/cases, and number of children on the child protection register (anonymised)
Recognising concerns, signs and indicators of abuse
Safeguarding is not just about protecting children from deliberate harm. It includes such things as student safety, bullying, racist abuse and harassment, educational visits, intimate care, children missing education and internet safety etc. The witnessing of abuse can also have a damaging effect on those who are party to it, as well as the child subjected to the actual abuse, and in itself will have a significant impact on the health and emotional well-being of the child. Abuse can take place in any family, institution or community setting, by telephone or on the internet. Abuse can often be difficult to recognise as children may behave differently or seem unhappy for many reasons, as they move through the stages of childhood or their family circumstances change. However, it is important to know the indicators of abuse and to be alert to the need to consult further. See Appendix one for more information on how to recognise the signs of abuse.
All staff receive Child Protection training, which highlights the indicators of abuse, annually. Staff must also successfully complete the on-line safeguarding training every two years.
We recognise that a child who is abused or witnesses violence may feel helpless and humiliated, may blame themselves, and find it difficult to develop and maintain a sense of self-worth. We also recognise that the school may provide the only stability in the lives of children who have been abused or who are at risk of harm.
We accept that research shows that the behaviour of a child in these circumstances may range from that which is perceived to be normal to aggressive or withdrawn.
Our school will support all children by:
· Encouraging self-esteem and self-assertiveness, through the curriculum as well as our relationships, whilst not condoning aggression or bullying
· Promoting a caring, safe and positive environment within the school
· Liaising and working together with all other support services and those agencies involved in the safeguarding of children
· Notifying Social Care as soon as there is a serious concern
· Providing continuing support to a child about whom there have been concerns who leaves the school by ensuring that appropriate information is copied under confidential cover to the child’s new setting and ensuring the school medical records are forwarded as a matter of priority
Working with other agencies
Carlton Bolling will provide our students with early help when a student is identified as vulnerable by offering a range of services that are available in school and other agencies which we are in partnership with.
Schools are not investigating agencies and it is essential that child protection issues are addressed through agreed procedures. However schools continue to play a role after referral and need to develop strong links with partner agencies particularly social care. Carlton Bolling recognises the importance of multi-agency working and will ensure that staff are able to attend all relevant meetings including case conferences, core groups and strategy meetings.
Tackling Extremisim – Prevent
Prevent is part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. Its aim is to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Prevent is an early intervention tool most commonly in the form of education, dialogue and mentoring, aiming to reduce the likelihood of terrorist or other violent actions in the future.
In an educational context Prevent is a safeguarding issue for schools aimed at supporting and protecting children and young people who are vulnerable and at risk of being radicalised. Prevent is about ensuring that they are diverted away before any crime is committed and described as a long term solution to the current threat of extremism.
The importance of the Prevent Strategy for Education and Schools
The Extremism taskforce report called ‘Tackling Extremism in the UK’ was produced in response to the 2013 attack on Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich and to a lesser extent the far right attacks by Ukrainian student Pavlo Lapshyn in the West Midlands. The report has recommended extended responsibilities in schools, for example:
“All schools in England, whether in the state or independent sectors, including those with a faith ethos, must expect that they will be inspected and assessed on their measures to protect their pupils from extremist material”.
Ofsted inspections pay significant attention to what schools are doing to protect young people from extremist influences.
Vulnerability to radicalisation or extreme view points
Carlton Bolling recognises its duty to protect our students from indoctrination into any form of extreme ideology which may lead to the harm of self or others. This is particularly important because of the open access to electronic information through the internet. The school aims to safeguard young people through educating them on the appropriate use of social media and the dangers of downloading and sharing inappropriate material which is illegal under the Counter-Terrorism Act. The school “vets” all visitors carefully and will take firm action if any individual or group is perceived to be attempting to influence members of our school community, either physically or electronically. Our definition of radical or extreme ideology is ‘a set of ideas which could justify vilification or violence against individuals, groups or self.’ Staff are trained to be vigilant for spotting signs of extremist view and behaviours and to always report anything which may suggest a student is expressing opinions which may cause concern. Our core mission of diversity permeates all we do. We place a strong emphasis on the common values that all communities share such as self-respect, tolerance and the sanctity of life. We work hard to broaden our students’ experience, to prepare them for life and work in contemporary Britain. We teach them to respect and value the diversity around them as well as understanding how to make safe, well-considered decisions.
Carlton Bolling will support our students and staff in the implementation of the Prevent agenda by:-
· delivery of whole school staff training (WRAP)
· students attending Getting On Together training on drop down days
· embedding the Prevent agenda through the curriculum in PHSCE
· providing early intervention for those students who are at risk of radicalisation
· referring any child/ren at risk of being radicalised or extremism through the Local Authority Channel Referral and Intervention processes
· ensuring staff and governors understand how to identify and respond to risks to children from extreme or radical views.
· ensuring sixth form students and their families fully understand the potential risks of radicalisation at university/higher education and following life and career pathways.
Day to day procedures
All staff, visitors (including governors), Post-16 students and supply staff must wear their ID badges and lanyards at all times whilst on the premises. All other lower school students must wear their year group lanyards. From September 2017 all students will wear ID badges.
All visitors and supply staff must sign in at reception, show photo ID, collect the relevant badge and lanyard and sign out at reception when leaving. Visitors who do not have an enhanced DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) document, must wear a yellow lanyard and ID badge and must be accompanied by a staff member at all times.
All volunteers will be required to have an enhanced DBS check if they wish to access the school unaccompanied.
All governors will undertake an enhanced DBS check.
Visitors must remain in reception until collected by the relevant member of staff. Visitors are asked to read the school guidance sheets on our evacuation, safeguarding and child protection procedures.
All gates, except at the main entrance, are locked at 8.30am and re-opened at 2.45pm. This means the only access to the school site is through the main gate and entrance. (Refuse collection and deliveries to the kitchen etc. take place before 8am.) During morning break and lunchtime both the main door and gate are staffed appropriately.
Visitors can only access as far as the main reception area, the doors leading from the reception area are fob operated.
· This policy will be updated at least annually.
· The name of the designated members of staff for Child Protection, the Designated Child Protection Officers, will be clearly advertised in the school, with a statement explaining the school’s role in referring and monitoring cases of suspected abuse.
· All new members of staff will be given a copy of our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy, with the Designated Child Protection Officers names clearly displayed, as well as Keeping Children Safe in Education, ICT Acceptable Use, Social Media Policy and Professional Conduct Policy as part of their induction into the school.
· The policy is available publicly on the school website.
· Parents/carers are made aware of this policy and their entitlement to have a copy of it via the school handbook/newsletter/website.
- We recognise that staff working in the school who have become involved with a child who has suffered harm, or appears to be likely to suffer harm may find the situation stressful and upsetting.
- We will support such staff by providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties with the Designated Child Protection Officers and to seek further support as appropriate.
Allegations against staff
· All school staff should take care not to place themselves in a vulnerable position with a child. It is always advisable for interviews or work with individual children or parents to be conducted in view of other adults.
· All staff should be aware of Staff Conduct and Professionalism Policy, the Social Media Policy and the Acceptable Use of ICT policy.
· Guidance about conduct and safe practice, including safe use of mobile phones by staff and volunteers will be given at induction.
· We understand that a student may make an allegation against a member of staff. If such an allegation is made, or information is received which suggests that a person may be unsuitable to work with children, the member of staff receiving the allegation or aware of the information, will immediately inform the Headteacher.
· The Headteacher on all such occasions will discuss the content of the allegation with Designated Child Protection Officers who will consult with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
· If the allegation made to a member of staff concerns the Headteacher, the person receiving the allegation will immediately inform the Chair of Governors who will consult with the Local Authority Designated Officer, without notifying the Headteacher first.
· The school will follow the Managing Investigations Procedure for managing allegations against staff. Under no circumstances will we send a child home, pending such an investigation, unless this advice is given exceptionally, as a result of a consultation with the Local Authority Designated Officer.
· Suspension of the member of staff, excluding the Headteacher, against whom an allegation has been made, needs careful consideration, and the Headteacher will seek the advice of the Local Authority Designated Officer and human resources in making this decision.
· In the event of an allegation against the Headteacher, the decision to suspend will be made by the Chair of Governors with the advice of the Local Authority Designated Officer and Human Resources.
Allegations of abuse made by other students
· We recognise that peer to peer abuse can manifest itself in many ways and will never be dismissed as ‘banter’ or part of growing up. This includes physical or verbal abuse through social media, i.e., sexting, sharing images, explicit information. Clear processes are in place for reporting, actions and support within the school’s anti-bullying policy.
· We recognise that children cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff feel unable to do so.
- All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns about the management of child protection, which may include the attitude or actions of colleagues. If it becomes necessary to consult outside the school, they should speak in the first instance, to the Local Authority Designated Officer following the Whistleblowing Policy.
- Whistleblowing re the Headteacher should be made to the Chair of the Governing Body.
· We acknowledge that staff must only ever use physical intervention as a last resort, when a child is endangering themselves or others, may damage property/buildings or compromise the orderly operation of the school.
· Such events should be recorded and signed by a witness and a copy sent to the Lead Designated CP Officer.
· Staff who are likely to need to use physical intervention will be appropriately trained in the Positive Options technique and will have read the Use of Force to Control or Restrain Students section within the Behaviour policy.
· We understand that physical intervention of a nature which causes injury or distress to a child may be considered under child protection or disciplinary procedures.
· We recognise that touch is appropriate in the context or working with children, and all staff have been given ‘Safe Practice’ guidance to ensure they are clear about their professional boundary.
· Our school policy on anti-bullying is set out in the Behaviour for Learning Policy and acknowledges that to allow or condone bullying may lead to consideration under child protection procedures. This includes all forms, including cyber, racist, homophobic and gender related bullying. We keep a record of known bullying incidents. All staff are aware that children with special educational needs and/or differences/perceived differences are more susceptible to being bullied/victims of child abuse. We keep a record of bullying incidents.Racist Incidents
· Our policy on racist incidents is set out in the Equal Opportunities Policy and acknowledges that repeated racist incidents or a single serious incident may lead to consideration under child protection procedures. We keep a record of racist incidents.
Prevention of Harm
· We recognise that the school plays a significant part in the prevention of harm to our children by providing children with good lines of communication with trusted adults, supportive friends and an ethos of protection.
The school community will therefore:
· Work to establish and maintain an ethos where children feel secure and are encouraged to talk and are always listened to.
· Include regular consultation with children e.g. through safety questionnaires, participation in anti-bullying week, asking children to report whether they have had happy/sad lunchtimes/playtimes
· Ensure that all children know there is an adult in the school whom they can approach if they are worried or in difficulty.
· Include safeguarding across the curriculum, including PSHCE, opportunities which equip children with the skills they need to stay safe from harm and to know to whom they should turn for help.
· Ensure all staff are aware of school guidance for their use of mobile technology and have discussed safeguarding issues around the use of mobile technologies and their associated risks.
Health and Safety
· Our Health & Safety policy, reflects the consideration we give to the protection of our children both physically within the school environment, and for example in relation to internet use, and when away from the school and when undertaking school trips and visits.
Recognising signs of child abuse
Categories of Abuse:
• Physical Abuse
• Emotional Abuse (including Domestic Abuse)
• Sexual Abuse
Signs of Abuse in Children
The following non-specific signs may indicate something is wrong:
• Significant change in behaviour
• Extreme anger or sadness
• Aggressive and attention-seeking behaviour
• Suspicious bruises with unsatisfactory explanations
• Lack of self-esteem
• Age inappropriate sexual behaviour
• Child Sexual Exploitation.
• Sporadic attendance or lack of attendance
The factors described in this section are frequently found in cases of child abuse. Their presence is not proof that abuse has occurred, but:
· Must be regarded as indicators of the possibility of significant harm
- Justifies the need for careful assessment and discussion with designated/named/lead person, manager, (or in the absence of all those individuals, an experienced colleague)
· May require consultation with and/or referral to Children’s Services
The absence of such indicators does not mean that abuse or neglect has not occurred.
In an abusive relationship the child may:
- Appear frightened of the parent/s
- Act in a way that is inappropriate to her/his age and development (though full account needs to be taken of different patterns of development and different ethnic groups)
The parent or carer may:
- Persistently avoid child health promotion services and treatment of the child’s episodic illnesses
- Have unrealistic expectations of the child
- Frequently complain about/to the child and may fail to provide attention or praise (high criticism/low warmth environment)
- Be absent or misusing substances
- Persistently refuse to allow access on home visits
- Be involved in domestic abuse
Staff should be aware of the potential risk to children when individuals, previously known or suspected to have abused children, move into the household.
Recognising Physical Abuse
The following are often regarded as indicators of concern:
- An explanation which is inconsistent with an injury
- Several different explanations provided for an injury
- Unexplained delay in seeking treatment
- The parents/carers are uninterested or undisturbed by an accident or injury
- Parents are absent without good reason when their child is presented for treatment
- Repeated presentation of minor injuries (which may represent a “cry for help” and if ignored could lead to a more serious injury)
- Family use of different doctors and A&E departments
- Reluctance to give information or mention previous injuries
Children can have accidental bruising, but the following must be considered as non accidental unless there is evidence or an adequate explanation provided:
- Any bruising to a pre-crawling or pre-walking baby
- Bruising in or around the mouth, particularly in small babies which may indicate force feeding
- Two simultaneous bruised eyes, without bruising to the forehead, (rarely accidental, though a single bruised eye can be accidental or abusive)
- Repeated or multiple bruising on the head or on sites unlikely to be injured accidentally
- Variation in colour possibly indicating injuries caused at different times
- The outline of an object used e.g. belt marks, hand prints or a hair brush
- Bruising or tears around, or behind, the earlobe/s indicating injury by pulling or twisting
- Bruising around the face
- Grasp marks on small children
- Bruising on the arms, buttocks and thighs may be an indicator of sexual abuse
Bite marks can leave clear impressions of the teeth. Human bite marks are oval or crescent shaped. Those over 3 cm in diameter are more likely to have been caused by an adult or older child. A medical opinion should be sought where there is any doubt over the origin of the bite.
It can be difficult to distinguish between accidental and non-accidental burns and scalds, and will always require experienced medical opinion. Any burn with a clear outline may be suspicious e.g.:
- Circular burns from cigarettes (but may be friction burns if along the bony protuberance of the spine)
- Linear burns from hot metal rods or electrical fire elements
- Burns of uniform depth over a large area
- Scalds that have a line indicating immersion or poured liquid (a child getting into hot water is his/her own accord will struggle to get out and cause splash marks)
- Old scars indicating previous burns/scalds which did not have appropriate treatment or adequate explanation
Scalds to the buttocks of a small child, particularly in the absence of burns to the feet, are indicative of dipping into a hot liquid or bath.
Fractures may cause pain, swelling and discolouration over a bone or joint.
Non-mobile children rarely sustain fractures.
There are grounds for concern if:
- The history provided is vague, non-existent or inconsistent with the fracture type
- There are associated old fractures
- Medical attention is sought after a period of delay when the fracture has caused symptoms such as swelling, pain or loss of movement
- There is an unexplained fracture in the first year of life
A large number of scars or scars of different sizes or ages, or on different parts of the body, may suggest abuse.
Recognising Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse may be difficult to recognise, as the signs are usually behavioural rather than physical. The manifestations of emotional abuse might also indicate the presence of other kinds of abuse.
The indicators of emotional abuse are often also associated with other forms of abuse.
The following may be indicators of emotional abuse:
- Developmental delay
- Abnormal attachment between a child and parent/carer e.g. anxious, indiscriminate or not attachment
- Indiscriminate attachment or failure to attach
- Aggressive behaviour towards others
- Scape-goated within the family
- Frozen watchfulness, particularly in pre-school children
- Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
- Withdrawn or seen as a “loner” – difficulty relating to others
Recognising Signs of Sexual Abuse
Boys and girls of all ages may be sexually abused and are frequently scared to say anything due to guilt and/or fear. This is particularly difficult for a child to talk about and full account should be taken of the cultural sensitivities of any individual child/family. Sexual abuse does not necessarily always involve direct physical abuse, for example, being coerced into transmitting images via phone or social media (see online safety section)
Recognition can be difficult, unless the child discloses and is believed. There may be no physical signs and indications are likely to be emotional/behavioural.
Some behavioural indicators associated with this form of abuse are:
- Inappropriate sexualised conduct
- Sexually explicit behaviour, play or conversation, inappropriate to the child’s age
- Continual and inappropriate or excessive masturbation
- Self-harm (including eating disorder), self-mutilation and suicide attempts
- Involvement in prostitution or indiscriminate choice of sexual partners
- An anxious unwillingness to remove clothes e.g. for sports events (but this may be related to cultural norms or physical difficulties)
Some physical indicators associated with this form of abuse are:
- Pain or itching of genital area
- Blood on underclothes
- Pregnancy in a younger girl where the identity of the father is not disclosed
- Physical symptoms such as injuries to the genital or anal area, bruising to buttocks, abdomen and thighs, sexually transmitted disease, presence of semen on vagina, anus, external genitalia or clothing
The boundary between what is abusive and what is part of normal childhood or youthful experimentation can be blurred. The determination of whether behaviour is developmental, inappropriate or abusive will hinge around the related concepts of true consent, power imbalance and exploitation. This may include children and young people who exhibit a range of sexually problematic behaviour such as indecent exposure, obscene telephone calls, fetishism, bestiality and sexual abuse against adults, peers or children.
Developmental Sexual Activity encompasses those actions that are to be expected from children and young people as they move from infancy through to an adult understanding of their physical, emotional and behavioural relationships with each other. Such sexual activity is essentially information gathering and experience testing. It is characterised by mutuality and of the seeking of consent.
Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour can be inappropriate socially, in appropriate to development, or both. In considering whether behaviour fits into this category, it is important to consider what negative effects it has on any of the parties involved and what concerns it raises about a child or young person. It should be recognised that some actions may be motivated by information seeking, but still cause significant upset, confusion, worry, physical damage, etc. it may also be that the behaviour is “acting out” which may derive from other sexual situations to which the child or young person has been exposed.
If an act appears to have been inappropriate, there may still be a need for some form of behaviour management or intervention. For some children, educative inputs may be enough to address the behaviour.
Abusive sexual activity included any behaviour involving coercion, threats, aggression together with secrecy, or where one participant relies on an unequal power base.
In order to more fully determine the nature of the incident the following factors should be given consideration. The presence of exploitation in terms of:
- Equality – consider differentials of physical, cognitive and emotional development, power and control and authority, passive and assertive tendencies
- Consent – agreement including all the following:
- Understanding that is proposed based on age, maturity, development level, functioning and experience
- Knowledge of society’s standards for what is being proposed
- Awareness of potential consequences and alternatives
- Assumption that agreements or disagreements will be respected equally
- Voluntary decision
- Mental competence
- Coercion – the young perpetrator who abuses may use techniques like bribing, manipulation and emotional threats of secondary gains and losses that is loss of love, friendship, etc. Some may use physical force, brutality or the threat of these regardless of victim resistance.
In evaluating sexual behaviour of children and young people, the above information should be used only as a guide.
Evidence of neglect is built up over a period of time and can cover different aspects of parenting. Indicators include:
- Failure by parents or carers to meet the basic essential needs e.g. adequate food, clothes, warmth, hygiene and medical care
- A child seen to be listless, apathetic and irresponsive with no apparent medical cause
- Failure of child to grow within normal expected pattern, with accompanying weight loss
- Child thrives away from home environment
- Child frequently absent from school
- Child left with adults who are intoxicated or violent
- Child abandoned or left alone for excessive periods
Recognising Child Sexual Exploitation
The following list of indicators is not exhaustive or definitive but it does highlight common signs which can assist professionals in identifying children or young people who may be victims of sexual exploitation.
- underage sexual activity
- inappropriate sexual or sexualised behaviour
- sexually risky behaviour, ‘swapping’ sex
- repeat sexually transmitted infections
- in girls, repeat pregnancy, abortions, miscarriage
- receiving unexplained gifts or gifts from unknown sources
- having multiple mobile phones and worrying about losing contact via mobile
- having unaffordable new things (clothes, mobile) or expensive habits (alcohol, drugs)
- changes in the way they dress
- going to hotels or other unusual locations to meet friends
- seen at known places of concern
- moving around the country, appearing in new towns or cities, not knowing where they are
- getting in/out of different cars driven by unknown adults
- having older boyfriends or girlfriends
- contact with known perpetrators
- involved in abusive relationships, intimidated and fearful of certain people or situations
- hanging out with groups of older people, or anti-social groups, or with other vulnerable peers
- associating with other young people involved in sexual exploitation
- recruiting other young people to exploitative situations
- truancy, exclusion, disengagement with school, opting out of education altogether
- unexplained changes in behaviour or personality (chaotic, aggressive, sexual)
- mood swings, volatile behaviour, emotional distress
- self-harming, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, overdosing, eating disorders
- drug or alcohol misuse
- getting involved in crime
- police involvement, police records
- involved in gangs, gang fights, gang membership
- injuries from physical assault, physical restraint, sexual assault.
HBV- ‘honour based’ violence
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 should speak to the designated safeguarding lead. Professionals in all agencies, and individuals and groups in relevant communities, need to be alert to the possibility of a child being at risk of HBV, or already having suffered HBV.
There are a range of potential indicators that a child may be at risk of HBV – see guidance on the warning signs that FGM or forced marriage may be about to take place, or may have already taken place, can be found
If staff have a concern regarding a child that might be at risk of HBV they should activate local safeguarding procedures, using the existing protocols for multi-agency liaison with police and children’s social care. Where FGM has taken place, since 31 October 2015 there has been a mandatory reporting duty placed on staff.
This is an entirely separate issue from arranged marriage. It is a human rights abuse and falls within the Crown Prosecution Service definition of domestic violence. Young men and women can be at risk in affected ethnic groups. Whistle-blowing may come from younger siblings. Other indicators may be detected by changes in adolescent behaviours. The school would not intervene directly as a school or through a third party but would raise concerns through the Bradford Safeguarding Children Board.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
It is essential that staff are aware of FGM practices and the need to look for signs, symptoms and other indicators of FGM.
What is FGM?
It involves procedures that intentionally alter/injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
4 types of procedure:
Type 1 Clitoridectomy – partial/total removal of clitoris
Type 2 Excision – partial/total removal of clitoris and labia minora
Type 3 Infibulation entrance to vagina is narrowed by repositioning the inner/outer labia
Type 4 all other procedures that may include: pricking, piercing, incising, cauterising and scraping the genital area.
Why is it carried out?
- FGM brings status/respect to the girl – social acceptance for marriage
- Preserves a girl’s virginity
- Part of being a woman / rite of passage
- Upholds family honour
- Cleanses and purifies the girl
- Gives a sense of belonging to the community
- Fulfils a religious requirement
- Perpetuates a custom/tradition
- Helps girls be clean / hygienic
- Is cosmetically desirable
- Mistakenly believed to make childbirth easier
Is FGM legal?
FGM is internationally recognised as a violation of human rights of girls and women. It is illegal in most countries including the UK.
Circumstances and occurrences that may point to FGM happening
- Child talking about getting ready for a special ceremony
- Family taking a long trip abroad
- Child’s family being from one of the ‘at risk’ communities for FGM (Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Sierra Leon, Egypt, Nigeria, Eritrea as well as non-African communities including Yemeni, Afghani, Kurdistan, Indonesia and Pakistan)
- Knowledge that the child’s sibling has undergone FGM
- Child talks about going abroad to be ‘cut’ or to prepare for marriage
Signs that may indicate a child has undergone FGM:
- Prolonged absence from school and other activities
- Behaviour change on return from a holiday abroad, such as being withdrawn and appearing subdued
- Bladder or menstrual problems
- Finding it difficult to sit still and looking uncomfortable
- Complaining about pain between the legs
- Mentioning something somebody did to them that they are not allowed to talk about
- Secretive behaviour, including isolating themselves from the group
- Reluctance to take part in physical activity
- Repeated urinal tract infection
Should there be any concerns regarding female genital mutilation it is essential that action is taken without delay. Any concerns must be reported to the Bradford Safeguarding Children Board.
- Self HarmThere are growing concerns around the number of children and young people engaging in self-harming behaviours. School staff play an important role in preventing self-harm and also in supporting students, peers and parents of students currently engaging in self harm,
This document describes the school’s approach to self-harm. This information is intended as guidance for all staff and governors.
· To increase understanding and awareness of self-harm
· To alert staff to warning signs and risk factors
· To provide support to staff dealing with students who self harm
· To provide support to students who self-harm, their peers and parents/carers
- Definition of Self Harm
Self-harm is any deliberate behaviour that inflicts physical harm on someone’s own body and is aimed at relieving emotional distress. Self-harm can include:
· Cutting, scratching, scraping or picking skin
· Swallowing inedible objects
· Taking an overdose of prescription or non-prescription drugs
· Swallowing hazardous materials or substances
· Burning or scalding
· Banging or hitting the head or other parts of the body
· Scouring or scrubbing the body excessively
· Inappropriate sexual relationships or activity
4. Risk Factors
The following risk factors, particularly in combination, may make a young person particularly vulnerable to self-harm:
· Depression / anxiety
· Poor communication skills
· Low self-esteem
· Poor problem-solving skills
· Drug or alcohol abuse
· Unreasonable expectations
· Neglect or physical , sexual or emotional abuse
· Poor parental relationships and arguments
· Depression, self-harm or suicide in the family
· Difficulty in making relationships / loneliness
· Being bullied or rejected by peers
5. Warning Signs
School staff may become aware of warning signs which indicated a student is experiencing difficulties that may lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide. These warning signs should always be taken seriously and staff observing any of these warning signs should seek further advice from one of the Designated Child Protection Officers.
Possible warning signs include:
· Changes in eating/sleeping habits (e.g. student may appear overly tired if not sleeping well)
· Increased isolation from friends or family, becoming socially withdrawn
· Changes in activity and mood e.g. more aggressive or introverted than usual
· Lowering of academic achievement
· Talking or joking about self-harm or suicide
· Abusing drugs or alcohol
· Expressing feelings of failure, uselessness or loss of hope
6. Staff Roles in working with students who self-harm
Students may choose to confide in a member of school staff if they are concerned about their welfare, or that of a peer. School staff may experience a range of feelings in response to self-harm in a student such as anger, sadness, shock, disbelief, guilt, helplessness, disgust and rejection. However, in order to offer the best possible help to students it is important to try and maintain a supportive and open attitude – a student who has chosen to discuss concerns with a member of school staff is showing a considerable amount of courage and trust. If you consider a student is at serious risk of harming themselves then confidentiality cannot be kept. It is important not to make promises of confidentiality that cannot be kept even if a student puts pressure on you to do so.
Any member of staff who is aware of a student engaging in or suspected to be at risk of engaging in self-harm should consult one of the Designated Child Protection Officers.
Following the report, the Designated Child Protection Officer will decide on the appropriate course of action. This may include:
· Contacting parents/carers
· Arranging professional assistance e.g. school nurse, social services or referral in to the school counsellor
· Immediately removing the student from lessons if their remaining in class is likely to cause further distress to themselves or their peers.
· In the case of an acutely distressed student, the immediate safety of the student is paramount and an adult should remain with the student at all times.
· If a student has self-harmed in school a first aider should be called for immediate help
Any meetings with a student, their parents or their peers regarding self-harm, should be recorded in writing including:
· Concerns raised
· Actions taken
· Details of anyone else informed
This information should be stored in the student’s confidential file and recorded on CPOMS.
When a student first presents as self-harming it is essential the Year Team assess to see if there are any safeguarding concerns that need an immediate referral. If any injuries need medical attention or the student feels suicidal, this needs to be treated as a safeguarding issue and referred to the Designated Child Protection Officer.
It is not essential that the Year Team contact parents/carers immediately, unless there is a safeguarding issue. It is important that students are given the opportunity to decide how parents/carers are informed as this is the first step of the healing process. During the first meeting a discussion will take place in regards to this. Students will be given a maximum of 5 days to inform home of their situation either through discussion with parents, writing a letter or a joint conversation with school and themselves. On the fifth day a phone call will be made home to ensure both students and parents/carers are receiving support.
The use of technology has become a significant component of many safeguarding issues. Child sexual exploitation; radicalisation; sexual predation – technology often provides the platform that facilitates harm. An effective approach to online safety is for theschool to protect and educate the whole school community in their use of technology and establish mechanisms to identify, intervene and escalate any incident where appropriate.
The breadth of issues classified within online safety is considerable, but can be categorised into three areas of risk:
• content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material
• contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users
• conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm
Looked After Children
Our Looked After Children policy sets out the steps we will take to ensure that Looked After Children have an equal chance of educational success as any other student. Nonetheless it is important to recognise that children who are looked after in local authority care may be more vulnerable than other children. The lives of children in local authority care are characterised by instability and they may have unmet emotional, mental and physical health needs. Additionally they may experience low self-esteem, have a poor education due to time out of school, delayed social/emotional or cognitive development, behavioural issues and may feel isolated and find it hard to make friends.
Dealing with allegations against other pupils
All safeguarding allegations will be taken seriously including those made by one student against another. Any allegations made by a student against another student would be dealt with under the Behaviour for Learning Policy.
Children missing from Education
A child going missing from an education setting is a potential indicator of abuse and neglect. Appropriate safeguarding responses to children who go missing from education settings are in place, particularly on repeat occasions, to help identify any risk of abuse and neglect including sexual abuse or exploitation and to help prevent the risks of their going missing in future.
Further information on types of abuse
Expert and professional organisations are best placed to provide up-to-date guidance and practical support on specific safeguarding issues. For example NSPCC offers information for schools and schools on the TES website and also on its own website www.nspcc.org.uk Schools and schools can also access broad government guidance on the issues listed below via the GOV.UK website:
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-to-do-if-you-suspect-a-child-is-being-sexually-exploited
Bullying including cyberbullying – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying
Domestic violence – https://www.gov.uk/domestic-violence-and-abuse
Fabricated or induced illness – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe
Female Genital Mutilation (GGM) – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/female-genital-mutilation-multi-agency-practice-guidelines
Forced marriage – https://www.gov.uk/forced-marriage
Gangs and youth violence –
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) – https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/ending-violence-against-women-and-girls-in-the-uk
Radicalisation – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/channel-guidance
Sexting – http://ceop.police.uk/
Teenage relationship abuse – https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/this-is-abuse-campaign
LADO Local Authority Designated Officer for allegations against staff. AEO Area Education Officer
 Contact the LADO for guidance in any case
Check with your LA for local alternatives
 Refer to “Guidance for Safe Working Practice for the Protection of Children and Staff in Education Settings” available on the DfE website
 or Chair of Governors in the event of an allegation against the Headteacher
 ‘Guidance on Safer Working Practices is available on the DfE website