Safeguarding is a specific activity that is undertaken to protect children and adults with care and support needs who are suffering, or are at risk of suffering, harm. All children have the right to protection and the Equality Act 2010 protects all equality characteristics such as ethnicity, gender and transgender status, disability, age, faith or religion and sexual orientation.
Abuse and neglect of children includes:
Physical abuse – any form of assault, over-medication, restraint, poor moving and handling practice, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Sexual abuse – forced sexual activity involving physical contact, including rape and sexual assault by penetration, non-penetrative acts and non-contact acts, that was not actively consented to or the person did not have the capacity to understand.
Psychological / emotional abuse – threats, intimidation, coercion, harassment.
Neglect – ignoring medical or physical needs, not providing access to appropriate care, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate food, water and heating.
Exploitation – coercion of a child into sexual activity in exchange for something and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator, which may involve physical contact, and/or occur using technology.
Modern slavery and trafficking – recruiting and moving children from one part of the UK to another or into the UK from overseas. Children may be trafficked for child sexual exploitation, benefit fraud, forced marriage, forced labour including domestic labour and criminal exploitation.
Actions SARSAS will take
- Ensure that all Team Members have a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) checks relevant to level of client work that they undertake and are precluded from involvement in the organisation as appropriate. The appropriate level of DBS check is made for all roles within SARSAS
- Provide clear and detailed procedures on decision making, accountability and recording of child safeguarding situations.
- Provide thorough and effective training to staff and volunteers on child protection policies and procedures.
- Appoint a member of staff to be the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and Operational Managers to be Safeguarding Champions.
- Provide regular and consistent supervision and support to staff and volunteers which focuses on the safety and welfare of clients.
- Ensure that the organisation is a to learn from specific child protection situations and to review policy and procedures as a result if necessary.
- Maintain and communicate current knowledge of child safeguarding procedures nationally and within the Somerset and Avon area.
- Review this Policy (and related Practice Guidance) as necessary, always following a serious incident and at least once a year, in line with Charity Commission Guidance.
- In addition;
Team Members will seek to keep children and young people safe by:
- Valuing, listening to and respecting them.
- Adopting child protection practices through procedures.
- Developing and implementing an effective e-safety policy and related procedures.
- Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.
- Recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made and kept up to date (see SARSAS Recruitment Policy)
- Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents and carers, staff and volunteers.
- Sharing concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents/carers and children appropriately.
- SARSAS operates a confidential service but if it is assessed that a child is being harmed or likely to suffer harm, then confidentiality can be breached within procedural guidelines (See Confidentiality Policy). In this event, a volunteer/staff member is expected to discuss the action they propose to take with the client beforehand. If it is their trained assessment that discussing this with the client would place the child at greater risk, then this should be discussed with the DSL and/or the CEO.
If it is felt that a child is at risk of significant harm through abuse or neglect and the details of the child are known, the designated local agency within Somerset and Avon should be contacted following discussion and agreement of any actions with one of the Safeguarding Champions. . The DSL will be contacted and informed at the earliest opportunity.
No referrals will be made to external agencies in respect of suspected abuse of a child without prior discussion and agreement manager of that team or the DSL. However, if it is an emergency situation the emergency services should be called immediately, and the appropriate Manager/Safeguarding Champion informed as soon as possible.