Safeguarding (including Child Protection) of Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy
Who does this policy apply to?
All staff, volunteers and other representatives of SYST.
• SYST staff, volunteers and representative of SYST must report all safeguarding concerns
• All safeguarding concerns raised will be responded to sensitively and quickly and managed appropriately
• SYST staff, volunteers and representatives will receive appropriate training and instruction on safeguarding best practice
• Views of young people involved will be considered when making decisions that affect them as individuals
• All SYST staff, volunteers and representatives working with young people will be subject to SYSTs Safer Recruitment procedures
SYST values and will respond promptly and constructively to all information presented by children, young people, or third parties regarding the safety and welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults. We believe that working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is key to promoting the welfare of young people.
1. Responsibilities 3
2. Definitions 4
3. Children and young people who may be particularly vulnerable 4
4. Abuse and Neglect 5
4a. Physical abuse 5
4b. Emotional Abuse 6
4c. Sexual abuse 6
4d. Neglect 7
4e. Financial Abuse 8
4f. Child Sexual Exploitation 8
5. Grooming 10
6. E-Safety 10
7. Responding to Safeguarding Concerns 12
8. Dealing with disclosures / immediate action required 13
9. Allegations between young people on programmes run by SYST 13
10. Mixing of age groups on SYST programmes 14
11. Allegations involving SYST staff & volunteers 14
12. Recording Safeguarding Incidents 15
13. Professional Boundaries 15
14. Self-Harm 16
15. Prevent and Anti-Radicalisation 17
16. Female Genital Mutilation 18
17. Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence 19
18. Working with Partner Organisation 20
19. Liaison with Other Agencies and Information Sharing 20
20. Local Safeguarding Partners – (Children & Adult) 21
21. Safeguarding and specific child protection training 21
22. Staff Support & Supervision 22
23. Disclosure and Barring Services, PVG, Access NI and Recruiting Safety 22
24. Contact Details of Local & National Agencies / Referral & Advice Agencies 22
25. Additional SYST Policies and Guidance 24
Why we have this policy
SYST recognises that all children and young people have the right to freedom from abuse and to be in an environment where safety, security, praise, recognition and opportunity for taking responsibility are available.
Through the implementation of this and associated policies SYST will ensure that the welfare and safety of the child/young person is paramount and that we will constantly strive to provide an environment free from abuse. We extend this safeguarding commitment to our work supporting vulnerable adults.
This policy is influenced by the following legislation, regulation and guidance:
• The Children’s Act 2004 and 2007
• Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018
• Keeping Children Safe in Education (Sept. 2019)
• The Charity Commission Safeguarding and Protecting People guidance
• The Care Act 2014
• Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 as amended by the Serious Crime Act 2015
• Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (Sexual Harm Prevention Orders, Sexual Risk Orders and forced Marriage)
• Sexual Offences Act 2003
• Sexual Offences Act Scotland 2009
• The Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008
• The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (Prevent Duty)
• Prevent duty guidance for England and Wales (HM Government DfE March 2015)
• Safeguarding Board (Northern Ireland) Act 2011
• The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007
a. All staff, volunteers and other representatives must follow this policy, seek guidance where required from the Safeguarding Lead / Deputy and report any safeguarding concerns raised
b. Staff working directly with young people must communicate the main principles of this policy to young people and how to raise any concerns they may have
c. The Chief Executive will ensure that all staff are fully aware of the requirements of this policy and ensure all incidents are reported to the Safeguarding Lead and recorded correctly
d. The Safeguarding Lead will assist in the management of all safeguarding incidents, provide the main reference for advising and co-ordinating safeguarding cases and liaise with external bodies where required. They will also ensure that the Safeguarding team is regularly trained in safeguarding issues and will ensure the Safeguarding Policy is current and fit for purpose.
e. The Chief Executive will manage the Safer Recruitment Process for all staff and volunteers appointed by SYST.
f. The Chief Executive has leadership responsibility for the organisation’s safeguarding arrangements.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this policy and procedure as:
• protecting children from maltreatment
• preventing impairment of children’s health or development
• ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, and
• undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully
In the UK, the terms child or children refers to all young people under the age of 18. At the age of 16 a young person is allowed to leave home, consent to lawful sexual intercourse, get married or get a full-time job, however, child protection extends to the age of 18yrs. In the case of care leavers, child protection can extend to the age of 21yrs.
This policy also extends to Adults at Risk. An Adult at Risk (a person aged 18 or over) is someone who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of disability, age or illness; and is or may be unable to take care or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation. An Adult at Risk may need or be receiving one of more of the following services:
• Health care
• Relevant personal care
• Social care work
• Assistance in relation to general household matters by reason of age, illness or disability
• Relevant assistance in the conduct of their own affairs or
• Conveying (due to age, illness or disability in prescribed circumstances)
Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are at risk of suffering, significant harm. Child protection means protecting a child from child abuse or neglect. Where there are concerns about harm, abuse or neglect, these must be shared with the relevant agencies. The agencies will work together to identify and decide together whether the harm is, or is likely to be, significant and the appropriate course of action.
If a member of staff or a volunteer has concerns that abuse or neglect could be taking place or a disclosure is made, there is a clear reporting process within SYST to ensure appropriate decisions are made and the relevant agencies are informed. This is outlined on the chart on page 10.
3. Children and young people who may be particularly vulnerable
Some children and young people can be at increased risk of neglect and or abuse. Many factors can contribute to an increase in risk, including prejudice and discrimination, isolation, social exclusion, communication issues and reluctance on the part of some adults to accept that abuse happens, or who have a high level of tolerance in respect of neglect.
Special consideration and attention should be given to children who are:
• disabled or have special educational needs
• Looked After Children (i.e. those in care)
• living in a known domestic abuse situation or chaotic or dysfunctional household
• affected by known parental substance misuse or parental criminality
• asylum seekers
• living away from home
• vulnerable to being bullied, or engaging in bullying
• living in temporary accommodation
• living transient lifestyles
• living in neglectful and unsupportive home situations
• vulnerable to discrimination and maltreatment on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion
• or sexuality
• involved directly or indirectly in prostitution or child trafficking
• do not have English as a first language.
4. Abuse and Neglect
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child or vulnerable adult. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child or vulnerable adult by inflicting, or by failing to act to prevent, significant harm to the individual. Children and vulnerable adults may be abused in a family or in an institutional setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. Within this context abuse can take the form of physical, sexual, psychological, financial or material abuse, neglect or acts of omission, institutional abuse and discriminatory abuse.
The following definitions show some of the ways in which abuse may be experienced by a child or vulnerable adult but are not exhaustive, as the individual circumstances of abuse will vary from person to person.
4a. Physical abuse
Physical abuse is the causing of physical harm to a child or young person. Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child they are looking after.
Possible physical and behavioural indicators can include:
• unexplained bruising, marks or injuries on any part of the body
• multiple bruises – in clusters, often on the upper arm or outside of the thigh
• cigarette burns
• human bite marks
• broken bones
• scalds, with upward splash marks
• multiple burns with a clearly demarcated edge
• fear of parents being approached for an explanation
• aggressive behaviour or severe temper outbursts
• flinching when approached or touched
• reluctance to get changed, for example in hot weather
• withdrawn behaviour
• running away from home
4b. Emotional abuse
Emotional abuse is persistent emotional neglect or ill treatment that has severe and persistent adverse effects on a child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may involve the imposition of age – or developmentally – inappropriate expectations on a child. It may involve causing children to feel frightened or in danger, or involve exploiting or corrupting children. Some level of emotional abuse is present in all types of ill treatment of a child; it can also occur independently of other forms of abuse. It can also occur in response to the exploitation or corruption of children.
Possible indicators of emotional abuse can include:
• over-protection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction.
• seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another
• serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger
• neurotic behaviour e.g. sulking, hair twisting, rocking
• being unable to play
• fear of making mistakes
• sudden speech disorders
• fear of parent being approached regarding their behaviour
• developmental delay in terms of emotional progress
4c. Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is any act that involves the child in any activity for the sexual gratification of another person, whether or not it is claimed that the child either consented or assented. Sexual abuse 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, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of indecent images or in watching sexual activities, using sexual language towards a child or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
As of 2019, ‘Upskirting’ became classified as a form of sexual abuse. ‘Upskirting’ typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm. It is now a criminal offence.
Possible indicators of sexual abuse can include:
• pain or itching in the genital area
• bruising or bleeding near genital area
• sexually transmitted disease
• vaginal discharge or infection
• stomach pains
• discomfort when walking or sitting down
• sudden or unexplained changes in behaviour e.g. becoming aggressive or withdrawn
• fear of being left with a specific person or group of people
• having nightmares
• running away from home
• sexual knowledge which is beyond their age, or developmental level
• sexual drawings or language
• eating problems such as overeating or anorexia
• self-harm or mutilation, sometimes leading to suicide attempts
• saying they have secrets they cannot tell anyone about
• substance or drug abuse
• suddenly having unexplained sources of money
• not allowed to have friends (particularly in adolescence)
• acting in a sexually explicit way towards adults, young people or children
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse or may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing (including exclusion from home or abandonment). It can involve failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It can include failing to ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers) or failure to respond to a child’s basic emotional needs. Neglect may also result in the child being diagnosed as suffering from ‘non-organic failure to thrive’, where they have significantly failed to reach normal weight and growth where physical and genetic reasons have been medically eliminated. In its extreme form children can be at serious risk from the effects of malnutrition, lack of nurturing and stimulation. With young children in particular, the consequences may be life-threatening within a relatively short period of time.
Possible indicators of neglect can include:
• constant hunger, sometimes stealing food from others
• constantly dirty or ‘smelly’
• loss of weight, or being constantly underweight
• inappropriate clothing for the conditions.
• complaining of being tired all the time
• not requesting medical assistance and/or failing to attend appointments
• having few friends
• mentioning being left alone or unsupervised.
• persistent stealing of items such as food
4e. Financial Abuse
Financial abuse is when a child or vulnerable adult is exploited for financial gain. It includes theft, fraud, exploitation, misuse of property or finance. Financial abuse is a criminal act and as such must be reported to the Police. As with all types of suspected abuse, staff should follow the process outlined in the Responding to Safeguarding Concerns procedure and discuss concerns with the CEO or a member of the Safeguarding Team.
4f. Child Sexual Exploitation
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship, they might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol, or they could also be groomed online. Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation, but sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs.
Sexual exploitation is used in gangs to:
• Exert power and control over members
• Initiate young people into the gang
• Exchange sexual activity for status or protection
• Entrap rival gang members by exploiting girls and women
• Inflict sexual assault as a weapon in conflict
Sexual exploitation of children and young people involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive something e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money etc as a result of them performing, and/or another or others performing on them sexual activities. CSE can occur through the use of technology with a child or young person being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet or mobile phone without immediate payment or gain. In all cases, those exploiting the child / young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, emotional state, physical strength and / or economic or other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common in exploitative relationships and the child / young person has very little choice as a result of their social / economic and / or emotional vulnerability.
The above list outlining the factors that can increase the risk of a person being abused can also contribute to a young person becoming the victim of sexual exploitation. Additional influences or contributory factors can include:
• Attending school or being friends with young people who are sexually exploited
• Being unsure about their sexual orientation or not being able to disclose sexual orientation to their families
• Lacking friends from the same age group
• History of abuse, risk of forced marriage, risk of honour-based violence or history of physical and emotional abuse and neglect
• Being homeless, living in residential care, or a hostel, B&B accommodation or supported accommodation
• Low self-esteem or self confidence
• Living in a gang neighbourhood
The following signs and behaviours are generally seen in young people who are being exploited and they may:
• Be involved in abusive relationships, intimidated and fearful of certain people or situations
• Hang out with groups of older people, or antisocial groups, or with other vulnerable peers
• Associate with other young people involved in sexual exploitation
• Get involved in gangs, gang fights, gang membership
• Have older boyfriends or girlfriends
• Spend time at places of concern, such as hotels or known brothels
• Not know where they are, because they have been moved around the country
• Go missing from home, care or education.
• Have physical injuries
• Be involved in drug or alcohol misuse
• Have repeat sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and terminations
• Have received gifts from unknown sources
• Have poor mental health, self-harm or have thoughts of or attempts at suicide
Any child displaying several vulnerabilities from the above lists should be considered at high risk of sexual exploitation. Any young person considered at risk must be referred to the relevant agency who will investigate to determine the risk of CSE along with preventative and protective actions as required.
SYST staff will work with local police forces and Multi-Agency Safeguarding teams if young people enrolled on SYST Programmes at the Centre are known to have been previously involved in CSE. If there are further concerns about the young person’s behaviour or the chance of further involvement with CSE, this will be fed back to one of the bodies involved in the multi-agency approach without delay.
Similarly, any agency referring / enrolling young people on SYST programmes should provide suitable and sufficient information on the young person’s referral documentation to ensure a thorough risk assessment can be completed for the young person. When the risk assessment is completed, additional factors should be considered such as having contractors on site e.g. working around any young people known to use sexualised behaviour to obtain items, or the mix of young people on programme.
Further information on child sexual exploitation can be found at The Department for Education website at www.education.gov.uk/tackling-child-sexual-exploitation
Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse or exploitation. Grooming can take place either online or in the real world by either a stranger or someone the child / young person knows. Groomers can be either male or female. Many children and young people don’t realise they have been groomed or that what has happened is abuse. Grooming can involve having someone pretend to be someone they are not such as saying they are the same age online, buying gifts, giving attention, taking the young person on trips, outings or holidays.
Once groomers have established trust, they will exploit the relationship by trying to isolate the child or young person from friends and family making them dependent on them. This will progress by using any means of power or control to make the young person feel they have no choice but to do what the person wants. Groomers will use blackmail, guilt, shame or any other means to stop the child or young person telling anyone about the abuse.
Groomers no longer need to directly meet children or young people in real life to abuse them, increasingly, groomers are sexually exploiting their victims by persuading them to take part in online sexual activity. They are often opportunists who don’t necessarily target one person, they may send something out to hundreds and wait to see who replies. However, they will often target those who may post public comments that suggest the young person has low self-esteem or is vulnerable. The groomer will then use information from the young person’s profile to befriend them and then build up a relationship.
If a young person discloses or you suspect that a child or young person is being groomed, you must report this to the Safeguarding Lead or Deputy straight away and the SYST reporting process must be followed. It is probable that disclosures of grooming will be reported externally and may also lead to police involvement.
As outlined in the above Grooming section, Children and young people may expose themselves to danger, whether knowingly or unknowingly when using the internet and other technologies. Additionally, some young people may find themselves involved in activities which are inappropriate, or possibly illegal through social networking sites etc including ‘cyber-bullying’. Young people who send naked or inappropriate photos of themselves or ‘sexting’ to other people are actually sending child images and therefore committing a criminal offence. Although a lot of young people may see sexting as harmless, taking, sharing or receiving images can have a long-term lasting effect including blackmail, bullying, unwanted attention and emotional distress. We have a duty to educate young people in the appropriate behaviours to enable them to remain both safe and legal when using the internet and related technologies.
Staff and Volunteers should not communicate with young people through the staff member’s personal/private mobile phones, private email accounts or social networking sites, nor make contact outside of working hours without prior agreement with their line manager.
7. Responding to Safeguarding Concerns
The following flowchart outlines SYST’s procedure for responding to a raised safeguarding concern. A copy should be available for staff and volunteers to refer to in locations where direct delivery of a SYST Programme is ongoing.
If you are concerned about the safety of a child or vulnerable adult
If you see or suspect abuse or an allegation / report of abuse is made
Responding to a disclosure from a Child / Young Person / Vulnerable Adult
• Ensure the immediate safety of the child/ren, young person/people or vulnerable adult
• Do not promise confidentiality
• Reassure the person who has made the disclosure or raised the concern
a) Focus the discussion on:
• The nature of the concern
• The risks to child/ren, young person/people or vulnerable adult
• The action/next steps
Report concerns as soon as possible – This should normally be on the same working day. Do not delay in passing the information and seeking further advice on next steps.
Make a record Ensure detailed records are made of all events (with dates and times) and include what the child/young person/ vulnerable adult has said (where this applies).
Discuss your concerns with the CEO / Safeguarding Lead, or Deputy Safeguarding Lead
If this is the person who is suspected of abuse, or if they are not contactable:
• In the case of a Child / Young Person contact:
o Shropshire Council’s First Point of Contact Team on 0345 678 9044,
o or Telford & Wrekin’s family Connect Team on 01952 385385
• In the Case of a Vulnerable Adult contact:
o Shropshire Customer Service Centre Tel: 0345 678 9021
o Or Telford & Wrekin Access Team on 01952 381280
PLEASE NOTE: DOING NOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION In an emergency and where there is immediate risk to a child or young person ACT! Contact the emergency services on 999.
8. Dealing with disclosures
A) STAY CALM AND BE SYMPATHETIC.
i. LISTEN to what you are told without displaying shock or disbelief.
ii. Be observant and attentive without being judgmental.
iii. Do not probe or put words into the persons mouth – accept what is said.
iv. If you can, take notes but if this will stop the person talking of stops you dealing with the person appropriately, take notes as soon as possible afterwards and be as accurate as you can. Do not ‘fill in blanks’ or add your own words or thoughts. Use the student’s own words even if they use colloquial language or swear.
B) REASSURE the person, but DO NOT make promises that you may not be able to keep
e.g. ‘everything will be alright’ or ‘I won’t tell anyone’ and DO NOT promise confidentiality.
C) RESPOND calmly and openly
i. Do not ask leading questions or interrogate. Ask open questions which will encourage the person to talk openly.
ii. It is not your job to investigate, this can only be done by the relevant agencies such as the police or social care. You should only ask enough to establish to nature of the disclosure.
iii. Do not criticise the perpetrator or be judgmental.
iv. Do not touch the person to comfort or reassure them.
v. Do not ask the person to repeat it all for another member of staff.
vi. Explain what you have to do next and who you have to talk to but ask the person what they would like to happen and encourage them to accept the steps that have to be taken next.
Immediate action required following a concern, disclosure or allegation
Staff should follow the process outlined in the Responding to Safeguarding Concerns procedure and:
• As well as establishing initial facts ensure that both the victim and alleged abuser are kept apart (if applicable).
• There may be an immediate need to seek emergency services intervention. Where this is sought will depend on the circumstances.
• The Chief Executive / Safeguarding Lead will decide which external agencies may need to be contacted such as the Local Safeguarding Partners, Social Services, MASH Teams, referral agencies etc.
9. Action to be taken for allegations made against a participant by another young person, where both are participants on SYST programmes
i. Follow the process outlined in the Responding to Safeguarding Concerns procedure.
ii. Where both the alleged perpetrator and victim are involved in the programme SYST will not automatically cease working with either but will consider the most appropriate way of managing future involvement and support of each individual. This may include referring either party or both on to other organisations
10. Mixing of age groups on SYST programmes
i. The mixing of under 16’s and over 16’s on programmes should only be done where specified in the relevant programme
ii. Individual risk assessments should be carried out to identify any potential safeguarding risks presented by any of the participants. The planning, staffing and supervision of sessions on programmes should reflect any action points identified in these risk assessments
iii. On SYST premises, staff must ensure where it is possible for under 16’s and over 16’s to mix, that young people are supervised at all times
iv. Staff must inform the Chief Executive if they become aware of any exclusive relationships forming between under 16’s and over 16’s while engaged on a SYST programme
11. Allegations involving SYST staff and volunteers
i. Concerns about staff and volunteers must be treated with the same rigour as other Safeguarding concerns. If a concern or allegation of abuse or inappropriate conduct is made against a member of staff or a person in a position of trust, or there is suspicion regarding a member of staff or volunteers conduct with regard to children or young people contact the Chief Executive / Safeguarding Lead immediately.
ii. Where suspicions concern the Chief Executive / Safeguarding Lead, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees must be contacted.
iii. Where the allegations are particularly serious or there is no doubt that an offence has been committed the police and/or children’s social care will be informed immediately. A strategy for further action will then be agreed before a decision is taken as to notifying the staff member/volunteer.
iv. In England and Wales, as it is an offence for a person aged 18 or over to have any sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 if the older person holds a position of trust (for example a teacher or social worker) the sexual activity is considered an abuse of the position of trust. The Local Designated Officer (LADO) will be contacted at this point.
v. In the case of a LADO being contacted, the LADO will consider all of the facts and concerns regarding the adult and the child/ren including any previous history. They will decide on the next course of action either straight away or after consulting others such as the Chief Executive / Safeguarding Lead.
vi. If the complaint or allegation is such that it is clear that investigations by police and/or enquiries by children’s social care are not necessary (or these bodies advise that this is the case) a decision will need to be made as to whether further action is still necessary, in particular whether action is required in line with SYST’s Disciplinary Procedures. The Chief Executive will liaise with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees to advise on next steps to take.
vii. If further actions are required, the Chief Executive will coordinate decisions and any actions to be taken, including any referral to children’s social care services/police and any subsequent actions by SYST.
viii. The staff member/volunteer will be informed of the allegation and given an opportunity to respond
ix. The staff member/volunteer may be removed from duties that have direct contact with young people / vulnerable adults, or required to take special leave with pay without prejudice
x. If the person is a member of a union or professional association s/he should be advised to seek support from that organisation at the outset
xi. External support for the staff member/volunteer will be considered and the staff member will be issued with details of possible options.
12. Recording Safeguarding Incidents
All safeguarding concerns, allegations, and action taken must be recorded on a SYST Safeguarding Incident Form which all members of staff have access to.
Staff and volunteers must keep notes of all events (e.g. phone calls made, content of conversations, emails, etc) as they take place and in particular to keep a record of any decision or actions agreed, including; who made them, when, and on what basis
If it’s not possible to take notes at the time, do so immediately afterwards. Keep any notes taken at the time recording what you can verbatim. A full record of what was said; heard and seen will need to be made as soon as possible, using SYST’s Safeguarding Incident Form.
13. Professional Boundaries
Staff and Volunteers must maintain professional boundaries at all times. Avoid placing yourself in situations where your actions may be misinterpreted. Young people / vulnerable adults should not be transported alone in vehicles unless another member of staff is present. Volunteers shouldn’t spend excessive amounts of time alone with young people / vulnerable adults, take them on car journeys alone, or undertake any home visits. Staff should only undertake home visits with another member of staff and with the authorisation of the Chief Executive / Safeguarding Lead following the completion of a risk assessment.
A volunteer is classed as being in a position of trust with the young people they work with, therefore any sexual relationships between a volunteer and a young person they are working with (under 18yrs) could be a criminal act and will need to be reported and escalated as appropriate. It is foreseeable that young people accessing SYST programmes and staff delivering them may live and interact in the same location. However, staff and volunteers should never intentionally let a young person know where they live. Personal mobile numbers should not be given out and befriending young people on social media should be completely avoided. If you suspect that a young person may be or has developed a crush on you, discuss this with the Chief Executive. Staff should not socialise with young people / vulnerable adults outside of working hours and the provision of possible gifts from them should be discouraged. If you are concerned that a member of staff is acting in an unprofessional manner with a young person(s) please raise this with the Chief Executive or refer to the whistleblowing policy.
The phrase ‘self-harm’ is used to describe a wide range of behaviours and is often understood to be a physical response to an emotional pain of some kind. Self-harm often happens during times of anger, distress, fear, worry, depression, low self-esteem or trying to handle or control negative feelings. It can include many forms of the person injuring themselves such as:
• hair pulling
• abusing substances
• under eating or overeating
• picking or scratching at the skin
• hitting walls
• Excessive exercising
• getting into fights where the person knows they will get hurt
Self-harm can become a way for a young person to cope with their problems when they feel they have no other option. Often dealing with the fundamental issue instead of the act of self-harm is found to be more helpful. If a young person self-harms during their time on a SYST programme, this may require first aid and should be dealt with accordingly. There are alternative means of provoking a similar release to self-harming (called minimisation strategies) which can include:
• Having an elastic band on the wrist
• Holding ice
• Holding a hand under running cold water
• Hitting cushions
• Ripping magazines / newspapers
• Running / exercising
• Breaking sticks
• Screaming into a cushion
• Dancing / singing to loud music
None of the above actions will replace the need to have the fundamental cause of distress to be dealt with and it is therefore crucial that the appropriate support is sourced. That may involve just letting the young person talk about what is troubling them or may involve signposting or referring to outside support. If a young person does self-harm on a SYST programme, it should be reported through SYST’s Accident Management system process and an Incident form completed. If the young person discloses the cause of their distress is safeguarding related, the Safeguarding Incident procedures should be followed.
If a young person is engaged on a SYST programme who is known to self-harm, this should be discussed with the Chief Executive / Safeguarding Lead to identify if a risk assessment is required to be completed or if any particular actions or support is needed. Consideration should also be given to other young people on the programme, accessing external support, trigger points and the form the self-harm usually takes.
15. Prevent and Anti-Radicalisation
SYST has a statutory duty under The Counterterrorism and Security Act 2015 and the statutory Prevent Guidance 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.
Radicalisation is a process by which an individual or group adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that reject or undermine contemporary ideas and expressions of freedom of choice. Radicalism can be both violent and non-violent, but more focus is on radicalisation turning into violent extremism.
Radicalisation can originate from opposing progressive changes in society or being against the British Values which include democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. Actively promoting British Values means challenging opinions or behaviours which are contrary to those fundamental values.
The most common examples of radicalised ideologies and extremist views are in support of the Islamic State Group (ISIL/IS/ISIS), Al Qa’ida, the far right, neo-Nazis, white supremacist ideology, Irish Nationalist and Loyalist paramilitary groups, and extremist animal rights (although this is not an exhaustive list).
There are many pathways to radicalisation, which can be independent but are usually mutually reinforcing. The use of social media and the internet as tools to radicalise young people cannot be underestimated. Often those who are already vulnerable in some way are targeted by others seeking to recruit people to follow extremist ideology and that exposure to extreme views can make young people vulnerable to further manipulation and exploitation.
The list on page 5 which covers existing issues which makes young people more vulnerable to abuse or exploitation is often present in young people found to have been drawn into radicalisation or extremism.
Indicators for possible radicalisation can include:
• Spending increasing time in the company of other suspected extremists
• Changing their style of dress and appearance in accordance with the group or culture
• Their day-to-day behaviour becoming increasingly centred around an extremist ideology, group or cause
• Loss of interest in other friends and activities not associated with the extremist ideology, group or cause
• Possession of material or symbols associated with the extremist cause (e.g. the swastika for far-right groups)
• Attempts to recruit others to the group/cause/ideology
• Communications with others that suggest identification with a group/cause/ideology
• Clearly identifying another group as threatening what they stand for and blaming that group for all social or political ills
• Using insulting or derogatory names or labels for another group
• Speaking about the imminence of harm from the other group and the importance of action now
• Expressing attitudes that justify offending on behalf of the group, cause or ideology
• Condoning or supporting violence or harm towards others
• Plotting or conspiring with others.
The Prevent strategy under Counter Terrorism law is designed to help stop people moving from extremist groups or from extremism into terrorist activity and has 3 specific strategic objectives:
1. Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat faced from those who promote it
2. Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support
3. Work with sectors and institutions where there is a risk of radicalisation that needs to be addressed
Under the Channel Duty, every local authority in England and Wales has a Channel Panel. These work in a similar way as a Safeguarding Partnerships (formerly Safeguarding Boards) but deal specifically with radicalisation and extremism. Members of a Channel Panel will be made up of Police, Social Workers, Probation, YOTs, NHS, LA Safeguarding Managers, Border Force, Housing, Home Office Immigration and Children’s Services.
Channel Panels will deal with people vulnerable to radicalisation and identify and implement support processes such as providing or dealing with:
• Constructive activities
• Cognitive behaviour / therapy
• Drug and alcohol abuse
• Family support
• Housing support
A member of staff who has a concern about a young person / vulnerable adult being radicalised should report this immediately to the Chief Executive / Safeguarding Lead who will advise how to escalate and who to report to. If there is concern of immediate danger, contact should be made with the Police or the Local Authority Channel Panel and then the Safeguarding Incident reporting process followed immediately.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for nonmedical reasons. FGM is internationally recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and is illegal in the UK and Europe. It is estimated that 130 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where FGM is concentrated.
UK communities that are most at risk of FGM include but are not exclusive to Kenyans, Somalis, Sudanese, Sierra Leoneans, Egyptians, Nigerians and Eritreans. However, women from non-African communities that are at risk of FGM include Yemeni, Kurdish, Indonesian and Pakistani women.
FGM is carried out on children between the ages of 0–15, depending on the community in which they live. It is extremely harmful and has both short and long-term effects on physical and psychological health. The procedure is often carried out in non-sterile environments without anaesthetic where the girl is the pinned down and the procedure is carried out.
Suspicions may arise in a number of ways that a child or young girl is being prepared for FGM to take place abroad. These include knowing that the family belongs to a community in which FGM is practised, there is knowledge that an older sibling or the mother has undergone FGM, the family are making preparations for the child to take a holiday, arranging vaccinations or planning absence from school/college or programme. The child may also talk about a ‘special procedure/ceremony’ that is going to take place or talks about being prepared for marriage.
Indicators that FGM may already have occurred include prolonged absence from school or programme, noticeable behaviour change on return and long periods away from classes or other normal activities, finding it difficult to sit still and appears to be experiencing discomfort or pain and possibly have bladder or menstrual problems and talk about pain between their legs.
If you have concerns that a girl or young women may be taken overseas for FGM or even being prepared for the procedure to happen in the UK despite it being against the law, you must escalate this immediately following the Safeguarding reporting procedures. You must also raise this with the relevant authority i.e. Police and Children’s Social Care as a priority – please be aware that you are required by law to report your concerns to the authorities. Where possible try to speak to the Chief Executive / Safeguarding Lead beforehand and fill the relevant Safeguarding Concern Form in as soon as possible afterwards.
In suspected FGM Cases parents will not be informed before seeking advice. The case will still be referred to Children’s Social Care even if it is against the young person’s wishes.
17. Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence
Forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used. Forced marriage is recognised in the UK as a form of violence against women and men, domestic/child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights. The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence) or emotional and psychological (for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (e.g. taking someone’s wages and not giving any money back) can also be a factor.
It is important that staff are sensitive to differing family patterns and lifestyles and to child-rearing patterns that vary across different racial, ethnic and cultural groups. At the same time, they must be clear that child abuse cannot be condoned for religious or cultural reasons, therefore forced marriage must be responded to as a protection and safeguarding issue. In cases of forced marriage, discussion with the family or any involvement of the family or local community members will often place the child or young person at greater risk of harm. Families should not be approached if forced marriage is suspected.
There is no specific offence of ‘forcing someone to marry’; criminal offences may nevertheless be committed. Perpetrators, usually parents or family members, could be prosecuted for offences including threatening behaviour, assault, kidnap, abduction, threats to kill, imprisonment and murder. Sexual intercourse without consent is rape, regardless of whether this occurs within a marriage or not.
Forced marriage is automatically handled as a safeguarding issue and staff should share information quickly when a child, young person or vulnerable adult is at risk. Staff should follow the process outlined in the Responding to Safeguarding Concerns procedures above and cases will be referred to the Home Office based Forced Marriage Unit. In the event of needing to get assistance for someone dealing with possible forced marriage and there is no time to go through the normal escalation channels, contact the Police or the Forced Marriage Unit on:
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7008 0151 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The responding to safeguarding concerns process should then be followed as soon as possible
18. Working with Partner Organisations
i. SYST is committed to working in partnership with Local Authorities and other agencies. When this involves an agreement with a school / college or other organisation to provide services on its behalf, SYST will ensure that the partner organisation has appropriate safeguarding policies in place which will include safeguarding policies and procedures, safer recruitment and selection practices and formal complaints procedures.
ii. Where SYST is working in partnership with other organisations, agreement must be reached with regard to the responsibilities procedures and practices contained in this document. The written contract, agreement or protocol detailing the services to be provided should include the procedure to be followed in the event of concerns about safeguarding. The purpose of this is to ensure clarity as to which organisation is responsible for taking action in specific circumstances. Failure to reach agreement, or a situation arising that causes concern with regard to the partner organisations practice, may lead to cessation of that partnership.
iii. Where the delivery partner is responsible for taking action, any agreement should stipulate that SYST must be informed of all incidents.
iv. If a staff member/volunteer becomes aware of allegations of abuse relating to a partner organisation, this should be discussed in the first instance with the Chief Executive / Safeguarding Lead.
19. Liaison with Other Agencies and Information Sharing
In line with Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, SYST will work to develop effective links with relevant services to promote the safety and welfare of all young people / vulnerable adults particularly where an action plan, child protection plan or a referral has been made from or to a support service such as Children’s Social Care, Adult Social Care or the police.
i. Co-operate as required, with key agencies in their enquiries regarding child protection matters including when requested to attend child protection conferences / MASH Meetings
ii. Notify the relevant School or Children’s Social Care Unit immediately if we have to exclude a young person from attending a SYST programme.
iii. Notify the relevant School or Children’s Social Care Unit immediately if there is an unexplained absence of a young person who is subject to a Child Protection Plan, or there is any change in circumstances to a young person who is subject to a Child Protection Plan.
iv. Keep clear, detailed, accurate, written records of concerns about a young person / vulnerable adult (noting the date, event and action taken)
v. Ensure that all information sharing will be done in line with Data Protection and SYST’s Data Protection Policy. The Data Protection Act does not prevent schools from sharing information with relevant agencies where that information may help to protect a child so therefore SYST will receive sensitive information which will need to be stored and shared internally, this requires Data Protection be fully adhered to.
vi. Ensure that staff know that if they are in doubt about confidentiality, they will consult the Chief Executive who is also the Data Protection Lead.
vii. Ensure information about a young person / vulnerable adult is only shared on a ‘need to know’ basis and shared with sensitivity and respect for confidentiality.
viii. Only communicate with parents where appropriate and on the advice of the relevant statutory agency in the case of under 16 year olds.
ix. Ensure that, in the event that information is requested by the Police in relation to a young person / vulnerable adult and there is no immediate danger to an individual, the request must be submitted on a Section 29 form of The Data Protection Act. This must be signed by an Inspector or above and the release of the information must be authorised within SYST by
the Chief Executive.
20. LSCB and LSABs
Under the requirements of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, all local authorities must cooperate with other key agencies such as the police and health authorities to form Local Safeguarding Partnerships. These replaced Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards (LSCBs) in 2019. Each local authority must also have a Local Safeguarding Adults Board (LASB) as well as a Channel Panel to comply with Prevent requirements.
The relevant contact details for each of these services is listed on page 12 of this document.
The Local Safeguarding Partners are responsible for developing policies and procedures for safeguarding in relation to recruiting, training and supervising staff to work with children, investigating allegations concerning persons working with children as well as the action to be taken where there are concerns about a child’s safety or welfare including thresholds for intervention. They carry out serious case reviews advising on lessons learnt and they monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of what is being done to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and advising on ways to improve.
SYST Cooperates fully with all Safeguarding Partners and adults board in both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin to protect and Safeguard all Children, Young people and adults with whom we work and come into contact.
21. Safeguarding training
All SYST staff and volunteers will receive the appropriate level of ongoing safeguarding training, to ensure the organisation has proper awareness and understanding of abuse and neglect of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
All SYST staff are required to complete safeguarding training as part of their induction process and all staff who work directly with young people must attend mandatory trainer led safeguarding training.
All training will be regularly updated in accordance with statutory requirements and recorded on the electronic Training Register.
22. Staff Support & Supervision
It is recognised that dealing with safeguarding disclosures can be very emotional for the individual(s) involved. SYST will ensure that staff involved with a safeguarding case will receive appropriate support and have the chance to debrief about what has or is occurring. In the event that staff want to speak to someone impartial and feel they need more than a general discussion, SYST will provide additional supervision support through external partner agencies.
23. Disclosure and Barring Service Checks and Recruiting Safety
SYST follows the guidance set out by the Safer Recruitment Consortium to ensure that recruitment into the organisation is focused on protecting those we work with. As such, DBS checks are carried out on all staff and volunteers who will, or may, work with children or vulnerable adults, and senior SYST staff involved in the recruitment process receive accredited Safer Recruitment Training, also in accordance with the SRC requirements.
I. When appointing staff or volunteers to a post which requires an enhanced DBS check this should be sought as soon as possible after recruitment and prior to them commencing their role
II. If a staff member or volunteer starts in their role prior to the receipt of a satisfactory disclosure from the DBS (or equivalent) the individual must be supervised at all times by a member of staff with a satisfactory disclosure in place, until their own satisfactory disclosure is received.
III. If a member of staff is suspected as being unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults, a referral must be made to the DBS (or equivalent) explaining the nature of the concerns and stating any investigations or disciplinary hearing a staff member has been involved with it if it based on safeguarding concerns. This referral should only be made by the Chief Executive / Safeguarding Lead after full consultation with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
24. Contact Details of Local and National Agencies
It is important that the Safeguarding Team are aware of, and make reference to, the safeguarding policies and procedures used by the Local Safeguarding Partners in both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin for both Children and for Vulnerable Adults.
In the case of a Child / Young Person contact:
o Shropshire Council’s First Point of Contact Team on 0345 678 9044,
o or Telford & Wrekin’s family Connect Team on 01952 385385
In the Case of a Vulnerable Adult contact:
o Shropshire Customer Service Centre Tel: 0345 678 9021
o Or Telford & Wrekin Access Team on 01952 381280
Additional National Agencies:
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP): http://www.ceop.police.uk/
Forced Marriage Unit: Telephone: 0207 008 0151 Email: email@example.com
Additional Referral / Advice Agencies
Assault and Abuse:
NSPCC – 0808 800 5000 & www.worriedneed2talk.org.uk/directory
Childline – 0800 1111
Churches Child Protection Advisory Service – 0845 120 4552
Rape Crisis – 0808802 9999 & www.rapecrisis.org.uk
Refuge-Domestic Abuse – 0808 200 247
MIND – 0845 766 0165 & www.mind.org.uk
Parentline Plus (Helpline) Confidential helpline on any parenting issue – 0808 800 2222
SANE – 0845 767 8000 (12 noon – 2a.m) & www.sane.org.uk
Samaritans – 08457 90 90 90
Bereavement Advice and Support – www.crusebereavementcare.org
Contraception, Pregnancy and Sexual Health:
Brook Advisory Centres – 0800 0185 023 & www.brook.org.uk
Lesbian and Gay Switchboard – 0171 837 7324 – www.ligs.org.uk
Bisexual helpline – 0181 569 7500
Stonewall – www.stonewall.org.uk
Drugs and Alcohol:
Al-Anon and Alateen – 0171 0 0888
Alcohol and drugs support – www.adfam.org.uk
Eating Disorders Association National Helpline – 01603 619090
Kidscape – 08451205 204 & www.kidscape.org.uk
Think you know: cyber bullying – http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/
Kidsmart: cyber bullying – http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/
25. Additional SYST Policies and Guidance
SYST has developed a number of other policies, procedures and guidance across the scope of its work many of which are connected this policy’s aims of safeguarding children, young people, and vulnerable adults. These include:
• Health & safety Policy
• Data Protection (GDPR Policy)
• Equal Opportunities Policy
• Whistle-blowing Policy
• Complaints Handling Policy
Shropshire Youth Support Trust, Suite 1b Hazeldine House, Grange Square, Town Centre Telford, TF3 4JL.
Charity no: 1165108. Tel: 01952 299214. email: firstname.lastname@example.org