SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND ADULTS AT RISK POLICY
Date Approved: 07/05/2019
Author: Matt Lambert
Enterprise Homes Group (EHG) takes its responsibilities to all its tenants seriously. We also recognise a particular responsibility for adults at risk of abuse or neglect. We recognise that supporting our particular client groups, may mean some of those we work with might be ‘at risk’.
This policy is based on national guidance on Safeguarding Adults, CCPAS and Wolverhampton Safeguarding Adults Board.
This policy is to be adhered to by all EHG staff, volunteers, and partner church volunteers.
2. POLICY OBJECTIVES
The policy and procedures have been developed to assist staff and volunteers in safeguarding by acting on and reporting where appropriate and at the earliest possible opportunity, suspected or disclosed abuse.
3. PROCEDURES FOR SAFEGUARDING ADULTS “AT RISK”
In defining abuse it is important to clarify the following factors:
- which adults are ‘at risk’?
- what actions or omissions constitute abuse?
- who may be the abuser(s)?
- in what circumstances may abuse occur?
- patterns of abuse; and
- how should we intervene?
WHICH ADULTS ARE ‘AT RISK’?
An ‘adult’ means a person aged 18 years or over with mental capacity. Our definition of an ‘adult at risk’ follows the Care Act 2014 where a person:
“(a) has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs),
(b) is experiencing, or is at risk of abuse or neglect and
(c) as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.”
WHAT CONSTITUTES ABUSE?
The term ‘abuse’ can be subject to wide interpretation and even the Care Act admits that its definition is not conclusive. The following is used as a starting point:
Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons.
‘Action on Elder Abuse’ explains that abuse is “A single or repeated act occurring within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm to an individual.”
Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or an omission to act, or it may occur when a vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she has not consented, or cannot consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it.
It varies from trafficking workforces across the globe to domestic violence within a home.
WHY DO WE ‘SAFEGUARD’?
EHG agrees with the aims of the Care Act with regards to Safeguarding:
- To stop abuse or neglect wherever possible
- To prevent harm and reduce risk of abuse
- To safeguard adults in a way that supports them in making choices and having control about how they want to live
- To promote an approach which concentrates on improving life for those concerned
- To raise awareness and help people understand abuse and how to raise concerns
CATEGORIES OF ABUSE
The Care Act now identified 10 categories of abuse:
- physical abuse, including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint, or inappropriate sanctions
- sexual abuse, including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult, young person or child has not consented, or could not consent or was pressured into consenting;
- psychological/emotional abuse, including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks;
- financial or material abuse, including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits;
- neglect and acts of omission, including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating; and
- self-neglect, including ignoring medical or physical care needs eg: hoarding, not taking prescribed medication or not washing. Can be deliberate (eg: refusing to eat) or failing to recognise that one’s own needs are not being met (eg: a dementia patient forgetting basic tasks)
- discriminatory abuse, including racist, sexist, that based on a person’s disability, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.
- Domestic abuse and violence, including controlling, threatening or coercive behaviour. This can encompass but not be limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional. It also includes honour based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. Domestic abuse is not a ‘one-off’ occurrence but is frequent and persistent.
- Organisational abuse, including the misuse of power and abuse of trust by professionals, the failure to act, poor care or neglect
- Modern Slavery, including controlling including being forced to live in overcrowded accommodation, forced to work for unfair pay, important documentation held by others
3.2 RESPONSIBILITIES OF STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS
Employees and volunteers have a responsibility to be aware of and alert to signs that all is not well with any individual within our care. However, they are not responsible for diagnosing, investigating or providing a therapeutic response to abuse. In addition, not all concerns relate to abuse, there may well be other explanations. It is important to keep an open mind and consider what is known about the person and his or her circumstances. No action should be taken without discussion with a member of the management team.
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
During the assessment process of tenants, guests and participants, the Enterprise Homes Group may identify that they are at risk of abuse or neglect. Residents should be encouraged to make use of support to promote their independence, safety, social inclusion and to prevent homelessness. We must always plan and agree proposed support with the resident, guests or participants. EHG works with other agencies to support adults at risk.
3.3 WHO CAN BE AN ABUSER?
Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it. With this is mind, we are aware that many safeguarding issues are perpetrated by people known to the victim.
3.4 THE EHG ETHOS OF EMPOWERMENT AND ‘MAKING SAFEGUARDING PERSONAL’
The most recent approach to Safeguarding adults at risk concentrates on the notions of: ‘acceptable risk’ and ‘making safeguarding personal’. Lord Mumby summarised: “Physical health and safety can sometimes be bought at too high a price in happiness and emotional welfare. The emphasis must be on sensible risk appraisal, not striving to avoid all risk…what good is it making someone safer if it merely makes them miserable? We must tolerate acceptable risks as the price appropriately to be paid in order to achieve some other good”
This ties in well to our ethos of empowerment at EHG and having tenant, guests and participant led goals and action plans. The role of our staff and volunteers is to journey relationally alongside tenants, guests and participants, listening to them and paying close attention to any risk elements. This means assessing regularly whether these are ‘acceptable risks’ (and therein protecting Human Rights to life, liberty and privacy) or whether it is becoming a Safeguarding issue and that they are an adult at risk and are suffering unacceptable abuse. Refer back to section 3.1 for clarity on definitions.
When EHG is confronted with incidents or issues that potentially could have a safeguarding element to them, the following principles should be applied where possible:
- Involvement of the individual in the whole process
- Talking the alleged abuse through with them;
- Finding out what outcomes it is that they want;
- Determining whether those outcomes can be achieved;
- Mitigating any perceived risks or abuse without needing to go down formal safeguarding procedures;
All of this should be well documented to demonstrate that we are taking a holistic approach that is intended to promote the well-being of the individual and take into account their individual rights and freedoms.
If it becomes clear that a safeguarding referral is necessary then consent should be sought where possible. If no consent can be obtained then consideration should be given as to whether the risk to the individual is so great that a referral is warranted without their consent.
3.5 SUSPICION OF ABUSE
In all discussions regarding suspicion of abuse and ‘acceptable risk’, it should be considered whether different cultures and lifestyles have any bearing on the matter. EHG does not make judgements about the acceptability or otherwise of lifestyles operating within the law, however it is important that this philosophy does not stand in the way of the organisation’s responsibility to protect adults at risk from harm. We must explore what is deemed ‘acceptable risk’ by the individual in question, how aware they are as to whether abuse is taking place and/ or whether they are choosing to allow this to continue. This is only truly understood through honest and sometimes difficult conversations. Education and offering alternatives may be all that’s required in some cases. Ensure you are accountable to line management and are logging discussions in field notes and or the Incident/Cause for concern template if this is the case.
It is important to keep an open mind and consider what is known about the person and his or her circumstances. Any concerns or actions should be discussed with the relevant service manager at the earliest convenience. EHG recommends that you share information or concerns and err on the side of caution. If you have reasonable suspicion that abuse is happening or has happened. It should NOT be kept to yourself. At best it will be emotionally burdensome, at worst, you could become culpable.
You, your service manager and the tenant, guest or participant (where possible) will then agree the next steps, whether that is to record it as an ‘incident’ (using the Incident Reporting Form) and to keep it as a ‘live’ issue in need of further observation, to pass it on to the Local Authority or to just put in some extra support (for example: additional house rules / more regular support meetings or a referral to a specialist agency for help). As noted above, tenant consent for a referral to the Local Authority is best practise, but not always essential – depending on the risk.
If any of our volunteers, guests or house mates suspects abuse, they should contact EHG and be aware of how to do this. Information on how to contact the relevant Service Manager should be displayed in all premises, somewhere communal. The relevant Service Manager’s contact information, as well as contact details for the local MASH team and LADO should be displayed in the office.
4. DISCLOSURES & MAKING A SAFEGUARDING REFERRAL
4.1 WHEN TO PASS INFORMATION ON
Employees and volunteers have a responsibility to be aware of and alert to signs that all is not well with a tenant, guest, participant, volunteer or staff member. However, they are not responsible for diagnosing, investigating or providing a therapeutic response to abuse. In addition, not all concerns relate to abuse, there may well be other explanations.
4.2 DISCLOSURE OF ABUSE
If a person discloses that they are being abused or that they are involved in abuse of a vulnerable person, action should continue as in Section 4.3. All action must proceed urgently and without delay.
EHG staff or volunteers informed of abuse should remind the tenant, guest or participant that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed where an adult at risk, is at risk of abuse or further abuse.
Volunteers should consult with the assigned member of staff as soon as possible. Refer to flowchart above.
4.3 ACTIONING ALLEGATIONS, SUSPICIONS OR DISCLOSURES OF ABUSE
There should always be the opportunity to discuss welfare concerns with and seek advice from colleagues, managers and other agencies. It is best practice to inform the individual of your plans, before informing the relevant authorities.
- Never delay emergency action if an adult is at risk;
- Always record in writing concerns and discussions about an adult at risk’s welfare using the Safeguarding template or Incident Report;
- Ensure that you reach clear and explicit recorded agreement about who will be taking what action, or that no further action will be taken.
In circumstances where a service user declines to disclose, despite some work having been done towards disclosing, it may be necessary to report the alleged abuse without the service user’s agreement. In these circumstances, a service user must be notified in advance of the decision to report to social services. Any staff member may report a disclosure of abuse to social services irrespective of the opinion of other staff.
It is important for staff and volunteers to make written records of any incidents or concerns that they have as soon as possible. It is also important to make a record of conversations with the adult at risk using the same language they used especially names used for body parts or sexual acts.
Abuse from the past or self-inflicted abuse
Should a disclosure be made about historical abuse this should be passed on to the relevant staff member with responsibility for that individual and logged as either a Safeguarding disclosure or an Incident / Cause for concern – depending on the severity. After discussion with line management a decision will be made as to whether this information is passed on to the appropriate authority. It is largely dependent on whether the victim has informed anyone already and whether the perpetrator may still be abusing others. Historical abuse can also be passed on to the non-emergency police on 101 as anonymous intelligence if this is deemed an appropriate response. This is helpful to police if any other people also report about the same individual.
There are differing opinions as to whether abuse done to oneself is a safeguarding issue (note that ‘self-neglect’ has now been added as a category of abuse). We can all be guilty of not looking after ourselves properly, so it is difficult to put safeguards around this topic. However, please see below for guidance on two of the most common issues we may come across:
1) Should there be suspicion or disclosure of worsening SELF abuse, this should also be recorded as an incident. Some individuals may display self-harming behaviours at referral stage such as eating disorders, cutting, risky or addictive behaviour. If anyone has concerns that an individual’s ‘normal’ behaviour is worsening, they should discuss this with the assigned EHG employee and agree on a course of action. It is worthy to note that those who self-harm often say it keeps them safe, as they find a release afterwards and it is actually a coping mechanism. Whereas, a relapse on hard drugs definitely increases the risk element around that individual due the chaotic nature of those engaging in no-prescribed medications. Ideally, a plan of action made in agreement with the individual should be made at referral stage, so should risk increase, all parties know how to proceed.
2) Any attempts at suicide, or serious thoughts about suicide should be passed on to relevant mental health teams. Should volunteers be first to the scene, they should not hesitate in getting emergency help if required. If in doubt, encouraging the individual to visit the local Accident & Emergency department may be good practice. Especially if they have overdosed or hurt themselves badly. Try not to leave them alone until you believe they are safe. Inform the relevant Service Manager as soon as possible who will inform the safeguarding lead if this is deemed necessary.
4.4 MAKING A REFERRAL
Local Authorities have been designated as the lead agencies with responsibility for co-ordinating a response to allegations or concerns of abuse.
Referrals can be made by the EHG staff member most heavily involved or the designated Safeguarding Lead.
Staff should work within the following timescales for reporting allegations or suspicions of abuse:
- Immediate if the vulnerable person is at risk of serious physical harm, or a serious criminal act has taken place, and evidence will need to be kept safe
- Within 24 hours if it relates to a specific incident which is, or may be still going on, or may happen again
- Within 7 days if it is a more general concern, which does not indicate immediate harm.
5. DISCLOSURES & MAKING A SAFEGUARDING REFERRAL
5.1 SUPPORT TO STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS
EHG accept that abuse and safeguarding concerns are a difficult topic and will endeavour to support staff, tenants, participating individuals and volunteers throughout the process. If social services department need further involvement from staff following a report of abuse, a member of the management team may intervene and discuss with social services department the nature of their needs and how they might be met.
EHG accepts that staff and volunteers may find journeying through a safeguarding disclosure traumatic. We are committed to aftercare, which may include recommending external counsellors, going through a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan or other suitable mental health tool) with staff to see if they are deemed fit to return to work, allowing time off to rest if appropriate. We value everyone who contributes to EHG, please do let us know if you are struggling. All staff should familiarise themselves with the Staff Care Policy (on Sharepoint) and advice around returning to work after needing time off.
All staff will undergo safeguarding training as part of their induction and annual refresher training.
5.2 ALLEGATION OF ABUSE MADE AGAINST A STAFF MEMBER OR VOLUNTEER
Employees and volunteers may be subject to abuse allegations. EHG will offer support in these circumstances, but the social services department will be assisted in their investigation and the disciplinary procedure may be implemented.
Any allegation of abuse made against a church volunteer must be immediately referred to that churches safeguarding officer.
5.3 PROTECTING AGAINST ABUSE BY STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS
It is important that all prospective employees or volunteers who will be regularly working alone with adults at risk are vetted thoroughly before being employed. At EHG this means as well as references being checked, there will also be a requirement for offences to be declared and a Disclosure and Barring Service DBS check undertaken. The DBS should be taken for new staff at the point of a conditional offer depending on the disclosure.
It should be noted that having a criminal record does not necessarily prevent someone from being recruited as a staff member or volunteer.
It may be very hard for a worker to report a concern about a colleague to a service manager but the safety and protection of the adult at risk must always be the priority. Likewise, should an individual wish to make a complaint about EHG, the procedure is explained in our Complaints & Whistleblowing policies. Any major breaches of policy by staff may require a ‘Serious Incident’ report which would be flagged up to Trustee level and potentially also the Charity Commissioning board.
For the volunteers in our Friendship & Support teams, the responsibility lies with the Partner Church to get each individual a DBS. A ‘basic’ DBS (‘enhanced’ if the tenant group includes children or if they are particularly vulnerable ie: due to age or disability) covers the support offered to tenants as there will be little or no regulated activity within their role. There should be no charge for this service, as the volunteers are unpaid. The person submitting the check should specify the job role on the application as ‘befriender’ or ‘activities assistant’ – which are recognised DBS terms. A job role is needed if you want to specify the term ‘volunteer’ on the check. In the case of a property being supported including children additional information can be found on www.gov.uk and you can also refer to our Safeguarding Children Policy (available on Sharepoint). The DBS should still state that they are working with an adult workforce as friendship & support groups would not have direct responsibility for children.
Within Hope Into Action Black Country, staff will be required to wear and offer ID if requested. If a contractor is going to one of EHG’s properties, they should phone the tenants and give them as much warning as possible in order for the contractor to gain access. Contractors must be prepared to show ID if the tenants request it. They must also sign Contractor’s Confidentiality form.
5.4 CONFIDENTIALITY AND INFORMATION ON ADULTS AT RISK
Confidentiality is central to the work of EHG, and the attention of all staff and volunteers is drawn to the GDPR Data Protection Policy.
When storing and using information about residents, guests and participants staff must be aware that we have a duty of care towards its residents, which means that account must be taken of known vulnerabilities. However, they must also respect the residents’ privacy and comply with the requirements of GDPR. Personal and sensitive data must be:
- fairly and lawfully processed;
- collected and processed for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes, obtained for a specific stated purpose and not processed in any way which could be incompatible with these purposes;
- adequate, relevant and restricted to only what is required for processing;
- accurate and kept up to date
- kept secure and
- not processed in an unauthorised or unlawful manner or accidentally lost or destroyed at any time.
The resident, guest or participant has the right to view information about them held on our files except if it relates to a third party (ie confidential information supplied by a third party such as a neighbour or referring agent). It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with the right to access information. This includes removal / amendment of file notes before showing the notes to the resident.
5.5 HOUSING YOUNG PEOPLE OR CHILDREN
EHG is set-up for adults/over 18s. We would only house a minor in exceptional circumstances and only with the permission of the Chief Executive. Further details concerning children visiting parents who are residents in an EHG premise are set out below.
If residents become pregnant during their stay with us, the following must occur:
- Risk assessment on any other member of the house
- Ensure the child is placed in a secure room
- Get a disclaimer from the carer of the child.
Ideally we will be able to secure more appropriate accommodation before the child is born. If this doesn’t happen any regular visitors will need to be included in the risk assessment. Overcrowding may become an issue, therefore alternative, more suitable accommodation may be a better option.
6. SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN VISITING THEIR PARENTS AT A EHG HOUSE
EHG does not at this present time permit children to reside or stay in any of the properties managed by the charity. Should circumstances arise under which this needs to be amended a full child protection policy would need to be approved by the board of trustees prior to any child taking up residence.
This section of the policy aims to set out the circumstances under which it may be permitted for a child to visit a property. The current House Rules clearly state that “No child is allowed to stay overnight in the house, nor to be left alone or unsupervised at any point during the day (This is to ensure the safety of your child or those of other tenants).”
6.3 PRIOR TO BEING ALLOWED INTO A EHG PROPERTY
- Parents must obtain the permission of their appointed EHG employee prior to bringing a child into the house. They may only seek permission in relation to their own children and not in relation to any other children. The EHG employee may withhold consent for the individual to bring their child if they have any concern regarding the safety of the child.
- Before admission to the property EHG employee will brief the tenant who is the child’s parent about the risks to the child of being in the property. The parent will sign an agreement accepting responsibility for the safety and security of the child whilst it is there.
- The parent must agree to supervise and be present with their child at all times whilst in the property and should never leave the child in the care of another person at the property.
- Whilst the child is visiting their parent responsibility for the control and discipline of that child lies with their parent. Prior to the visit the EHG employee should discuss with the parent the need for boundaries and discipline for the child. The message that discipline of the child should not be carried out in anger should be made clear to the parent.
6.4 DURING THE VISIT OF A CHILD TO THE HOUSE
- When any child is visiting an EHG property it is the responsibility of the child’s parent to keep the child safe. This involves providing the child with 24/7 supervision. (The term ‘supervision’ is defined as the child being in sight and within hearing of the supervising adult for the purposes of this policy. If the child is asleep in another room the parent is expected to make frequent checks on the child.)
- The individual should at no point leave their child under the care or supervision of another person.
- The parent of the child will take sole responsibility for toileting children, bathing children and changing children’s nappies. No other persons should be present whilst these activities are taking place.
- No sleepovers are permitted by visiting children.
- EHG staff will not be present at the property whilst an individual has a child visiting. Visits will only be approved outside of the context of meetings between an individual and their EHG employee so as to enable that time to be dedicated to concentrating on the individual.
6.5 RESPONDING TO ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE
EHG staff are to avoid direct contact with visiting children wherever possible, however guidelines are noted below to cover an instance where this is unavoidable and a child wishes to make an allegation or disclosure.
DEFINITIONS OF ABUSE
Abuse & neglect are forms of maltreatment. A person may abuse or neglect a child by:
- inflicting harm or
- failing to act to prevent harm
Children may be abused in a family, an institution, the community, by someone who is familiar to them, or a stranger. It is important to recognise that 4 different kinds of child abuse have been identified: physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect. (See Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2010) A child may suffer more than one category of abuse at any one time. Fuller definitions of the types of child abuse are laid out below in paragraph 5.7 of this policy.
POSSIBLE INDICATORS OF ABUSE
Certain signs may be indicators of abuse and these are detailed in paragraph 5.8 of this policy. However, there may be other explanations so it is important not to jump to conclusions but rather to seek advice.
The Charity has appointed a Safeguarding lead person and a safeguarding deputy person, to deal with safeguarding issues and any concerns about a child should be discussed with them first.
If concerns in any way involve either the Safeguarding Officer or the Deputy Safeguarding Officer, advice should be sought from the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service, Children’s Services (formerly Social Services) or the Police Child Abuse Investigation Unit.
IF YOU SUSPECT ABUSE MAY HAVE OCCURRED
If the suspicions in any way involve the Safeguarding Officer then the report should be made to the Deputy Safeguarding Officer. If the suspicions in any way implicate both the Safeguarding Officer and the Deputy Safeguarding Officer, then the report should be made in the first instance to PCCA Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (hereafter “CCPAS”), PO Box 133, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7UQ. Telephone 0845 120 4550. Alternatively contact Children’s Services or the Emergency Duty Team if out of hours. Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above.
It is, of course, the right of any individual as a citizen to make direct referrals to the child protection agencies or seek advice from CCPAS, although we hope that members of the Charity will use the procedure laid out in this policy. If, however, you feel that the Safeguarding Officer or Deputy Safeguarding Officer has not responded appropriately to your concerns, then it is open to you to contact the relevant organisation direct. We hope by making this statement that we demonstrate the commitment of the Charity to effective child protection.
ALLEGATIONS OF PHYSICAL ABUSE OR SYMPTOMS OF NEGLECT
If a child has a physical injury or symptoms of neglect, the Safeguarding Officer will:
- Decide whether emergency medical attention is necessary; if so, it will be sought immediately. The Safeguarding Officer will inform the attending doctor of any suspicions of abuse.
- Contact Children’s Services (or CCPAS) for advice in cases of deliberate injury or where concerned about the child’s safety. The parents will not be informed by the Charity in these circumstances.
- In other circumstances the Safeguarding Officer will speak with the parent/carer and suggest that medical help/attention is sought for the child. The doctor will then initiate further action, if necessary.
- If appropriate the parent/carer will be encouraged to seek help from the Children’s Services Department.
- Where the parent/carer is unwilling to seek help, if appropriate, the Safeguarding Officer will offer to go with them. If they still fail to act, the Safeguarding Officer should, in cases of real concern, contact Children’s Services for advice.
- Where the Safeguarding Officer is unsure whether or not to refer a case to the Children’s Services, then advice from CCPAS will be sought and followed. CCPAS will confirm in writing in case this is needed for reference purposes in the future.
ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE
In the event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse, the Safeguarding Officer will:
- Contact the Children’s Services Duty Social Worker for Children and Families or the Police Child Protection Team directly. The Safeguarding Officer will NOT speak to the parent (or anyone else).
- If, for any reason, the Safeguarding Officer is unsure whether or not to follow the above, then advice from CCPAS will be sought and followed. CCPAS will confirm its advice in writing in case this is needed for reference purposes in the future.
- Under no circumstances will the Safeguarding Officer (or any other person suspecting abuse) attempt to carry out any investigation into the allegation or suspicions of sexual abuse. The role of the Safeguarding Officer or the person who becomes aware of the allegation is to collect and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and to provide this information to the Children’s Services Department, whose task it is to investigate the matter.
- Whilst allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse will normally be reported to the Safeguarding Officer, the absence of the Safeguarding Officer or Deputy should not delay referral to the Children’s Services Department.
- Exceptionally, should there be any disagreement between the person in receipt of the allegation or suspicion and the Safeguarding Officer or Deputy as to the appropriateness of a referral to the Children’s Services Department, that person retains a responsibility as a member of the public to report serious matters to the Children’s Services Department, and should do so without hesitation.
- The Charity will support the Safeguarding Officer or Deputy in their role, and accept that any information they may have in their possession will be shared only in a strictly limited way and on a ’need to know’ basis.
IF A CHILD WANTS TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT ABUSE
It is possible that a child may want to talk to you if they feel worried, unsafe or uncomfortable about how another person has treated them. It is important that you respond in such a way as to make them feel you are taking their concerns seriously.
WHAT TO DO ONCE A CHILD HAS TALKED TO YOU ABOUT ABUSE
- Make notes as soon as possible (preferably within an hour of being told).
- Write down exactly what the child said and what you said in reply.
- Describe how the child seemed at the time of talking to you (e.g. agitated, scared, calm, matter-of-fact)
- Make a note of what was happening immediately beforehand (e.g. description of activity).
- Record dates and times the events took place (if the child is able to say).
- Sign and date your notes.
- Keep all hand-written notes securely, even if they are subsequently typed up.
- Report your discussion as soon as possible to the Safeguarding Officer. If the latter is implicated report to the Deputy Safeguarding Officer. If both are implicated, report to CCPAS or to Children’s Services if preferred.
- You should not discuss your suspicions or the allegations with anyone other than those nominated in the above point. Once a child has talked about abuse the Safeguarding Officer should consider whether or not it is safe for a child to return home to a potentially abusive situation. On rare occasions it might be necessary to take immediate action to contact Children’s Services and/or police to discuss putting into effect safety measures for the child so that they do not return home.
Safeguarding Officer – Paul Watson – 07841 375064
Deputy Safeguarding Officer – Merylen Pearce 07790 544268
7. CODE OF CONDUCT
7.1 All adults who work with children and adults at risk are responsible for their own actions and behaviour and should avoid any conduct which would lead any reasonable person to question their motivation and /or intentions.
7.2 To support all employees and volunteers EHG has developed a Code of Conduct for Volunteers and Employees.
7.3 In addition to the considerations below, a number of other EHG policies set out what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in EHG’s work with children and young people and adults at risk. They should be read and understood in conjunction with this safeguarding policy:
- Lone Working Policy
- Tenant Care Policy
- Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy
- Confidentiality Policy
7.4 All volunteers and employees are required to read, understand, sign and work within our Code of Conduct to help embed the delivery of our safeguarding policy commitment. We recognise that no guidance can be exhaustive.
7.5 All EHG staff should adhere to the following guidelines in addition to the above policies:
- Respect all tenants regardless of their: age *, Culture, Disability *, Gender re-assignment *, Language, Marriage / civil partnership status *, Pregnancy / maternity status *, Race *, Religion or belief *, Sex *, Sexual orientation, Socio-economic status.
- Always act, and be seen to act, in the best interests of tenants.
- Take responsibility for your own actions and behaviour.
- Try to be an excellent role model.
- Listen to, value and respect all tenants.
- Give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
- Recognise the developmental needs of tenants: stretching their vision of what they are capable of, but without forcing them to do something against their will.
- Ensure that all communications are transparent and open to scrutiny.
- Only make contact with tenants for reasons appropriate to your role with this organisation.
- Record and report any situations or actions that give rise to concern including:
- any allegations or suspicions of safeguarding issues involving staff or volunteers in respect of a resident;
- any disclosures of abuse by residents to staff or volunteers
- any suspicion of abuse of residents by a third party
- any incidents of abuse between residents including but not limited to bullying, psychological abuse, physical and emotional abuse, financial abuse.
- Record, report and discuss any actions which could be misconstrued
- Report any concerns about staff conduct to Matthieu Lambert, safeguarding officer.
- Understand the limits of confidentiality in respect of safeguarding
- Support any colleague who has a concern that a tenant is being abused or neglected.
- Always challenge inappropriate language.
- Praise all tenants at every opportunity