Safeguarding Vulnerable Beneficiaries
Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy, Procedure and Guidance
This document sets out what trustees, commissioned individuals and volunteers (“representatives of Elsie Ever After”) must do when there are concerns that a child or young person is at risk or has been abused.
Elsie Ever After is required to act to safeguard children and young people from abuse and neglect. This document is in line with the legal framework set out in The Children Act 1989 and subsequent legislation, and all associated guidance, in particular Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018.
Child or young person: Anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday.
Adult at risk: A person aged 18 or above who is unable to look after their own wellbeing, property, rights, or other interests, and is at risk of harm (either from another person’s behaviour or their own behaviour) because they have a disability, mental disorder, illness, or physical or mental infirmity. An adult at risk is more vulnerable to being harmed than other adults.
Trustees: Any trustee of Elsie Ever After.
Commissioned Individuals: Any individual professional commissioned or funded by Elsie Ever After – please note a standard expectation would be that any individual would have individual responsibility for DBS check and appropriate safeguarding understanding.
Volunteers: Anyone volunteering for Elsie Ever After, regardless of their role, including trustees.
Roles & Responsibilities
For the purposes of this policy the trustees all hold responsibility for safeguarding.
The Lead Trustee for Safeguarding is Gemma Gerrish
Our values & commitment to safeguarding
Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states, ‘every child should be protected from abuse’. Everyone at Elsie Ever After has a responsibility to make sure that children are safeguarded and protected from abuse and neglect. The principles and practices of safeguarding are given a high priority, particularly recognising that all beneficiaries are vulnerable by nature of the bereavement experience.
All commissioned individuals, volunteers and trustees have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the well-being of children, young people, and adults at risk by being responsible for the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of their input.
All commissioned individuals, volunteers and trustees must read and understand the Safeguarding policy and procedures and be aware of their safeguarding duties.
There are key pieces of legislation and national guidance that set out the framework for safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk, which must be followed:
- The Children Act 1989;
- The Sexual Offences Act 2003;
- The Children Act 2004;
- The Children and Young Persons Act 2008;
- The Care Act 2014;
- The Children and Family Act 2014;
- Serious Crime Act;
- Modern Slavery Act 2015.
- Working Together 2018
Responding to concerns, allegations or suspicions of abuse
If any representative of Elsie Ever After becomes aware of the signs and indicators of abuse, suspects, or is told that a child or young person is being, has been, or is likely to be abused or neglected, they must take action as set out in this procedure.
Any concern identified where a child or vulnerable adult is deemed to either be experiencing harm or likely to experience significant harm should result in a referral to the local Children’s or Adults Services.
Advice and guidance should be sought from the relevant Local Safeguarding Partnership where appropriate.
Note following key contacts:
Cheshire West and Chester – Integrated Access and Referral Team (iART): 0300 123 7047
Cheshire East – Cheshire East Consultation Service (ChECS): 0300 123 5022
Recognising the signs and indicators of abuse poses challenges for most professionals, especially those who are not required to respond to safeguarding concerns on a day to day basis. Guidance has therefore been provided in this document to assist with the signs and indicators. Where any further clarity required, individuals are recommended to consider Working Together to Safeguarding Children 2018.
Definitions of abuse
Abuse can be understood under the categories of:
The definitions of the abuse are recorded in Appendix 1 of this document.
Levels of harm
Concerns about abuse covers a broad spectrum of harm, from the immediate risk of serious harm (where a referral to police or local social services would be required) to early support indicators, that may require action such as a plan for further monitoring or consideration of offer of support. Each local authority will have a relevant threshold document which should be considered.
It is important to understand that these indicators could form part of a wider picture and may need to be shared with other agencies to ensure that the right support is offered to the family at the right time.
Lower level concerns can also become more significant if they occur frequently over a period of time without appropriate support or intervention, it is therefore important to make an informed, professional judgement when taking action. This should be done in consultation with trustees and relevant local authority where appropriate.
Responding to the child or young person when abuse is alleged, or signs and indicators are seen or heard
When responding to a disclosure of abuse from a child or young person or vulnerable adult, any representative of Elsie Ever After should:
- Listen carefully to what is said and allow the child or young person or vulnerable to talk at their own pace, ensuring they are enabled to speak openly and without leading questions.
- Stay calm and find an appropriate opportunity in the discussion to explain that information cannot be kept secret and will need to discuss with other responsible people if concerns are of a safeguarding nature (seeking to explain why worried and what would need to be considered as support).
- Explain police will need to be spoken to if you believe the child or young person is at risk of immediate significant harm.
- Reassure the child or young person or vulnerable adult that they have done the right thing in sharing the information with you and you would like to support them. Talk to them about what you are worried about and thoughts about what you will do next and who you will inform.
- As soon as possible after the discussions (within 24 hours), make notes as a written record of what you have heard or seen. Discuss your concerns with the Safeguarding Lead.
If there is believed evidence that the child or young person or vulnerable adult is at immediate risk of harm or abuse, they must take immediate steps to protect that child. If the law has evidenced to have been, or is being, broken the police must be contacted within 1 hour.
Communicating a safeguarding concern
When representative of Elsie Ever After identifies concerns that a child or young person or vulnerable adult is, or may be, at risk of abuse or harm, they will consult with the Safeguarding Lead trustee within twelve hours (two hours if have identified and reported immediate safeguarding risk). This should not prevent the urgent reporting of an immediate risk of harm.
The Safeguarding Lead trustee is a qualified social worker and will explore the concerns and consider whether referral to local social services is appropriate, ensuring recording of rationale is then shared with trustees.
Making a referral
A referral must be made to the local authority children’s services following the local safeguarding partnership procedures. This must always be confirmed in writing. The timing of such referrals must reflect the level of perceived risk of harm but must not be longer than within one working day of identification or disclosure of harm or risk of harm.
Concerns should always be discussed with the parent, unless this would increase the risk of immediate harm. Wherever possible, agreement should be sought for a contact to the local authority children’s social care or early help provision. Where a decision not to seek parental permission before making a referral to children’s social care is made, the decision must be recorded and dated in the child’s file with reasons.
A local authority social worker should make a decision about the type of response that is required within one working day of receiving a referral and acknowledge receipt to the referrer.
If this does not occur within three working days, Elsie Ever After safeguarding lead trustee must contact the local authority children’s services and establish outcome of the contact.
Making referrals to other signposted services
When decisions are made by local authority children’s services that a child is not at risk of abuse, the local authority children’s services should consider if other services are required to be offered.
Confidentiality – Elsie Ever After will ensure that any records made in relation to a referral should be kept confidentially and in a secure place. Information in relation to child protection concerns should be shared on a “need to know” basis. However, the sharing of information is vital to child protection and, therefore, the issue of confidentiality is secondary to a child’s need for protection.
Categories of Abuse
Abuse is considered a form of maltreatment of a child or young person or a vulnerable adult.
Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (for example via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.
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 fabricates the symptom of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.
Financial abuse involves controlling an alleged victim’s ability to acquire, use and maintain financial resources. As a result, those who are victimised financially may be prevented from working. They also may have their own money restricted or stolen by the abuser. And rarely do they have complete access to money and other resources. When they do have money, they often have to account for every penny they spend. This can often be closely connected with domestic abuse.
The extent of financial abuse can vary in context and significance. Sometimes an abuser may use subtle tactics like manipulation whilst in other situations abusers may be more overt, demanding and intimidating. In the end, the goal is always the same—to gain power and control in a relationship.
While less commonly understood than other forms of abuse, financial abuse is one of the most powerful methods of keeping a person trapped in an abusive relationship and financial concern is one of the top reasons a victim returns to or remains with an abusive partner.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child or young person, to cause severe and persistent effects on the child’s emotional development, and may involve:
- Conveying to children that they are worthless, unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person;
- Imposing age or developmentally inappropriate expectations 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 from participating in normal social interaction;
- Seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another, for example where there is domestic violence and abuse;
- Serious bullying, causing children to frequently feel frightened or in danger;
- Exploiting and corrupting children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person or vulnerable to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.
The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing
Sexual abuse includes non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at pornographic materials (including online and with mobile phones) or in the production of pornographic materials, watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).
Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Sexual abuse includes the abuse of children through sexual exploitation.
Penetrative sex where one of the partners is under the age of 16 is illegal, although prosecution of consenting partners of similar age is not usual. However, where a child is under the age of 13, it is classified as rape.
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 misuse, maternal mental ill health or learning difficulties, or a cluster of such issues. Where there is domestic abuse and violence towards a carer, the needs of the child may be neglected. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent failing to:
- Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from the home, or abandonment);
- Protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
- Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers);
- Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment;
- Neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional, social and educational needs.