Child Safety

Our Designated Person for Safeguarding Children is Gabi Kotlubaj. Please contact her if you have any concerns or questions.
Download Child Protection Policy
Contents

Section One: Definitions of Disclosure

Section Two: Categories of abuse and warning signs of abuse in children

Section Three: Guidance for staff on how to respond to a person disclosing abuse

Section Five: Disclosure form for staff

Section Six: Disclosure form for Designated Person for Safeguarding Children

All of the children (anyone under 18 years of age) coming into our school have the right to be in a safe, secure and happy environment.

Parents of children using the school need to be aware that:

  • Any concerns that a child may be experiencing harm may be referred to the local statutory agency.
  • Any teachers employed within the school have been provided with training and induction to assist them to fulfil their duties.
  • All workers or volunteers who have direct and unsupervised contact with children are subject to Criminal Record Bureau checks (CRB checks).

A disclosure refers to one of the following:

  • A child or young person making a statement/sharing something relating to abuse outside their trip with Language Link.
  • A child or young person making a statement/sharing something relating to abuse within their trip to London/Language Link.
  • A child or young person or staff member reporting suspicion or evidence relating to abuse.

It is important that the child or young person is taken seriously, that procedures are followed and appropriate referrals made.

Section Two: Definitions and Signs of Abuse

There are four recognised types of abuse and it is important that all staff and volunteers know what they are and how to recognise them. This policy includes this information so that it works as a point of reference for all staff.

The following definitions are based on those from Working Together to Safeguard Children (Department of Health, Home Office, Department for Education and Employments, 1999).

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to, a child whom they are looking after. A person might do this because they enjoy or need the attention they get through having a sick child. Physical abuse, as well as being a result of an act of commission can also be caused through omission or the failure to act or protect.

Warning signs of physical abuse in children

  • Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts.
  • Is always watchful and “on alert”, as if waiting for something bad to happen.
  • Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt.
  • Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home.
  • Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days.
Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Warning signs of emotional abuse in children

  • Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong.
  • Shows extremes in behaviour (extremely compliant or extremely demanding; extremely passive or extremely aggressive).
  • Doesn’t seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver, Acts either inappropriately adult (taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile (rocking, thumb-sucking, throwing tantrums).

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Boys and girls can be sexually abused by males and/or females, by adults and by other young people. This includes people from all different walks of life.

Warning signs of sexual abuse in children

  • Trouble walking or sitting.
  • Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behaviour.
  • Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason.
  • Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities.
  • An STD or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14.
  • Runs away from home.
Neglect

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. Once a child is born it may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, failure to ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care givers) or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Warning signs of neglect in children:

  • Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for weather.
  • Hygiene is consistently bad (unbathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odour).
  • Untreated illnesses and physical injuries.
  • Is frequently unsupervised or left alone or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments.
  • Is frequently late or missing from school.

It is important to note that it is hopefully unlikely that we will have any incidents while the students are with us, due to the care taken when recruiting teachers and homestay families. We should however be prepared for such events.

It may be that Language Link staff could have children disclosing details of abuse to them. Victims of abuse might speak out to an adult they perceive to be safe and trustworthy, especially when away from their home and the abusive situation.

Section Three: Guidance for staff on how to respond to a person disclosing abuse
Introduction and Explanation

If a disclosure of abuse is made during the child’s time with Language Link, there are people whose responsibility it is to respond to the situation. Other staff members may be asked to take on tasks to enable an appropriate response to happen and for the class/activity to function smoothly.

What to do if someone makes a disclosure of abuse:

If, when talking with an individual, they imply or say: “Can I tell you something in confidence/private/secret?” it is vital that you remind them of confidentiality guidelines.

Any member of staff who has reason to believe that a young person may be at risk of harm must share this with the designated member of staff who is responsible for taking action on such information.

You can reassure them that the Designated Person for the Safeguarding of Children is the only person who will know the detail of what you have been told. You can give them the name of this person rather than the role title. Explain that if this is the case that they will be kept informed.

If an individual makes a disclosure about themselves or another child or young person, or you are concerned that an individual or someone else is being harmed or at risk of harm you must take the following action:

DO:

  • Do treat any allegations extremely seriously and act at all times towards the child as if you believe what they are saying.
  • Do tell the child that they are right to tell you.
  • Do reassure them that they are not to blame
  • Do be honest about your own position, who you have to tell and why.
  • Do tell the child what you are doing and when, and keep them up to date with what is happening.
  • Do take further action – you may be the only person in a position to prevent further abuse – tell your nominated person immediately.
  • Do write down everything said and what was done.

DON’T:

  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  • Don’t interrogate the child – it is not your job to carry out an investigation – this will be up to the Police and Children’s Social Care, who have experience in this.
  • Don’t cast doubt on what the child has told you, don’t interrupt or change the subject.
  • Don’t say anything that makes the child feel responsible for the abuse.
  • Don’t do nothing – make sure you tell your nominated Safeguarding Children person immediately – they will know how to follow this up and where to go for further advice.

Guidance on supporting individuals who have made a disclosure:

  • When somebody makes a disclosure to you, it is important that you are aware that they may feel upset, vulnerable or worried. It is essential to do everything possible to make the child or young person feel safe.
  • Ask someone else to sit with them while you contact the Designated Person.
  • Depending on the situation and the age of the child or young person making the disclosure you will need to think carefully about how to comfort or reassure them appropriately. Remember that what is appropriate for you might not be appropriate for them.
  • It is particularly important not to touch the child or young person – unless they specifically ask you to – however you should only do this if you consider it appropriate given the context, and that you are comfortable with the request.
  • It is very important to remember that a person in this situation may need reassurance about what is happening and will happen. Try to give this but only give assurances if you are certain that you are correct.

Guidance on Confidentiality and Pastoral Care:

  • Everyone who might be involved in the pastoral care of a particular participant needs to know what conversations are happening with the participant.
  • The member of staff should then be able to make sure that all appropriate staff members working closely with the participant are aware of the situation (e.g. the individual’s group leader and host family).
  • Volunteers and staff are not in a position to offer or provide any long term support for young people. The Designated Person will refer the child/young person to agencies better equipped to provide long term support.
  • It is important to remember that the young person has a right to expect that their privacy will be respected and that the principles of confidentiality should still be maintained within the remit of legislation. For example, in most situations it would be inappropriate for staff members to approach those likely to be providing such support or to seek to discuss the matter with them.
  • It is important for everyone involved to remember that it is the well-being of the young person that is our first priority and if staff members have continuing cause for concern about them, then they should feel able to discuss this further with the Designated Person.
Section Four: Procedure for reporting a disclosure of abuse

DO NOT DELAY

It is vitally important that any disclosure made in confidence is recorded factually as soon as possible; this is whether or not the matter is taken to another authority.

An accurate account should be made of:

  • Date and time of what has occurred and the time the disclosure was made.
  • Names of people who were involved.
  • What was said or done by whom.
  • Any action taken by the group to gather information and refer on. Any further action, e.g. suspension of a worker or volunteer
  • Where relevant, reasons why there is no referral to a statutory agency.
  • Names of the person reporting and to whom reported.

The Designated Person for Safeguarding Children should then use the appropriate reporting systems for the situation, This may be reporting the matter to Local Authorities Children’s Social Care (previously known as social services) or the Police. This is why recording all information impartially and accurately is vital, as this could be used for evidence for later use.

Completed form and any written information regarding Safeguarding Children issues concerning individuals will be kept in a safe and locked place to ensure confidentiality.

If a member of staff encounters abuse or suspicious situations of concern, for example: a child might tell, a friend may say something, or a staff member might notice something, then there needs to be a confidential system to report this. The first step would be to discuss the concerns with the designated person and the designated person to take the appropriate action.

If it is thought that returning home would put the child in immediate danger, advice should be sought from the Local Authorities Children’s Social Care. It is the role of the Designated Person to contact Children’s Social Care.