Safeguarding Policy



All staff working in childcare have a legal duty and obligation to monitor the well being of children in their care and to safeguard them from harm at all times.

All children have the right to be completely secure from both the fear and reality of abuse. It is the responsibility of the Manager, Leader and the Play Team to protect the children from all forms of abuse and discrimination. Our Childcare Club aim to ensure that all children in our care have fun in a safe and caring environment.

This policy aims to ensure that all staff are informed about child abuse, the forms it can take, recognition, steps to take in recognition and prevention

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 19: Protection from Abuse and Neglect

Article 19 states parties should take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect to negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse while in the care of parents, legal guardian or any other person who has the care of the child

Such protective measures should as appropriate include effective procedures for the establishment of social programme to provide the necessary support for the child and those who have the care of the child, as well as others forms of prevention and for identification reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of incidences of child maltreatment described here, and as appropriate for judicial involvement.

As a first step towards this, all childcare staff and premises are vetted through the relevant authorities, personal references are taken up for all staff and a check is made for criminal records.


What is child abuse?

It is a distressing fact of life that not all adults, for whatever reason, conform to what society regards as acceptable ethical standards in their relationships with children. Child abuse is the term used to describe ways in which children are harmed, usually by adults, and often by people they know and trust.


The Main Forms of Abuse


There are four main types of abuse:

  1. Physical

  2. Sexual

  3. Emotional

  4. Neglect


Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is when injury is sustained by striking, hitting, shaking, squeezing, biting, burning throwing, suffocating or any other physical harm. Deliberately causing a child’s ill health also constitutes physical abuse. Condoning, or giving access to, substances such as alcohol, tobacco, medicines, narcotics, glue etc. is also a form of physical abuse.


Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is the abuse of boys and girls by adults seeking their own gratification and involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, involving penetrative or non-penetrative acts. Showing children pornographic materials, sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways also constitutes sexual abuse.


Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse involves persistent or severe emotional ill-treatment or torture causing, or likely to cause, severe adverse effects on the emotional stability of a child. Such behaviour may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless, unloved or inadequate, or making them feel unnecessarily frightened or vulnerable. Similarly, undermining a child by ignoring effort or progress constitutes emotional abuse.

It is vital that children receive praise and encouragement from the playworkers for their efforts in any of our activities.

Playworkers who over emphasise the importance of perfection in the end products of an activity or the importance of winning in games can be guilty of berating children which can lead to a lack of confidence and self-esteem.


Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical, emotional or psychological needs. Failure to meet these needs is likely to have a severe impact on their health, development or emotional stability. Neglect may involve failing to provide adequate food, warmth, hygiene, clothing or medical care. Also involved in this category would be failure to ensure proper supervision and provide adequate care and attention in order to meet the basic emotional needs of a child.


Recognition of Abuse

Recognition of abuse and neglect is not always easy or straightforward. All staff must undertake safeguarding training within the first three months of employment and refresher training must be attended every two years. Staff need to be fully aware of signs and indicators of physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect and fully confident in their reporting procedures.


The following list although not exhaustive highlights indicators of abuse. It is important to note that a child could be displaying some of these signs or behaving in some way which is giving cause for concern. This may not mean that the child is being abused.


Indicators of Abuse

  1. Injuries to the child that are not consistent with the normal recreational habits of children, either in body position or type

  2. Inconsistent or unreasonable explanation of an injury by a child, parent or carer

  3. Inconsistent or inappropriate behaviour such as sexually suggestive remarks or actions, moodswings, uncharacteristically quiet/aggressive, severe tantrums

  4. Becoming isolated socially

  5. Overeating/loss of appetite, weight loss/gain

  6. Inappropriately dressed or ill-kept and/or dirty

  7. Self-inflicting injury

  8. Open distrust of, or discomfort with, parent or carer

  9. Delayed social development, poor language and speech

  10. Excessively nervous behaviour such as rocking or hair-twisting

  11. Exceptionally low self-esteem

General Indicators of Abuse, though often typical of Sexual Abuse

  1. Recurring abdominal pain

  2. Reluctance to go home

  3. Flinching when approached or touched

  4. Recurring headaches


Staff Support and Safe Caring

This childcare club has a duty to take appropriate action in relation to any concerns regarding a child in our care who may be at risk of harm. We have in place a safe recruitment procedure to ensure that all staff, students and volunteers are suitably recruited, have certified references and have full and up to date Criminal Record Bureau checks for this provision.


Staff, students or volunteers must:

  1. not be left unsupervised with children until all of the above are in place..

  2. receive regular training and supervision in child protection issues

  3. be provided with any relevant information and guidance

  4. be aware of their legal duty in respect of the procedure to follow in relation to a
    disclosure or concerns of child abuse

  5. not work alone with children, unless an emergency situation arises, therefore all children must be supervised by a minimum of two members of staff at all times

  6. report to the Lead Child Protection Officer (Margaret Vent) if a child makes inappropriate physical contact with a member of staff. This should also be recorded fully

  7. not accompany children into a toilet cubicle, this and other similar activities could be misconstrued

  8. be mindful of how and where they touch children, unnecessary or potentially inappropriate physical contact will be avoided at all times


Dealing with allegations

This childcare club is committed to ensuring that it meets its responsibilities in respect of child protection by treating any allegation seriously and sensitively. Where actual or suspected abuse comes to the attention of staff they must report it immediately to the Lead Child Protection Officer immediately. Staff are encouraged and supported to trust their professional judgement and if they suspect abuse has, or is taking place they must report it immediately to the Lead Child Protection Officer
On discovering an allegation of abuse the Lead Child Protection Officer will immediately refer the case to the Social Services and the Childcare, Safeguarding and Compliance Service. The police will need to be informed if a criminal act has taken place.
In circumstances where a child makes an allegation or a disclosure the member of staff concerned will:

  1. Listen fully to everything that the child has to say

  2. Make no observable judgement

  3. Ask open questions that encourage the child to speak in their own words

  4. Ensure the child is safe and comfortable and not left alone

  5. Make no promises that cannot be kept, such as promising not to tell anyone what you have been told

Additional Guidelines for Dealing with Disclosure

Do’s

  1. Be accessible/receptive

  2. Take it seriously (there is a reason for the child imparting such information to you)

  3. Reassure the child they are right to tell

  4. Negotiate getting help (i.e. the manager or proprietor)

  5. Find help quickly

  6. Make careful records of what was said


Don’ts

  1. Jump to conclusions

  2. Try to get the child to disclose

  3. Speculate or accuse anyone


Full written records of all reported incidents must be kept and maintained and must include:

  1. Full details of the alleged incident

  2. Details of all the parties involved

  3. Any evidence, explanations or relevant dates

  4. Any supporting information and/or evidence from members of staff

  5. Any information must be factual

  6. All documentation must be signed and dated by the person recording the
    information

  7. All records must be securely stored and remain confidential throughout the investigation .


All staff are aware of the Department of Health’s booklets ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ and ‘Protecting children from harm’.

If the Manager or Child Protection Officer has reasonable grounds for believing that a child has been, or is in grave danger of being, subject to abuse, the following procedure will be activated

Contact will be made at the earliest possible opportunity, with the Local Authority Designated Officer for Child Protection (LADO).

The Manager or Child Protection Officer will communicate as much information about the allegation and any related incidents consistent with advice given by social services and the police

At all times the safety, protection and interests of children concerned must take precedence. The Manager and staff will work with and support parents/carers as far as they are legally able

The club will assist the Children Social Care Services and the Police as far as is able during any investigation of abuse or neglect. This will include disclosing written and verbal information and evidence

OFSTED will be informed of any allegations of abuse against a member of staff, student or volunteer, or any abuse that is alleged to have taken place on the premises or during school pickups


The Lead Child Protection Officer will be responsible for liaising with the following services in any child protection matter:

  1. Children’s Social Care Service

  2. The Local Safeguarding Children’s board (LSCB)

  3. The Childcare Safeguarding and Compliance Service

  4. The Child Protection Lead Officer within the child’s school


The Lead Officer must also ensure that child protection procedures comply with all relevant legislation and other guidance or advice from the LSCB.

The LSCB bring together representatives of each of the main agencies and professionals who have a duty to protect children from abuse or neglect. The LSCB make the decisions regarding how the different services and professional groups should work together effectively regarding information sharing and communication to ensure that good outcomes are achieved for the children. 


The Safeguarding policy and procedures are reviewed regularly.