Policy Reviewed in 2019
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 Four: Procedure for reporting a disclosure of abuse
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:
A disclosure refers to one of the following:
It is important that the child or young person is taken seriously, that procedures are followed and appropriate referrals made.
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 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
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
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
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:
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.
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:
Guidance on supporting individuals who have made a disclosure:
Guidance on Confidentiality and Pastoral Care:
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:
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.