THE HUJJAT SATURDAY WORKSHOP CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
|PRINCIPAL :||Ummulbanin Merali|
NAMED PERSONNEL WITH DESIGNATED RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHILD PROTECTION
|DESIGNATED SENIOR PERSON :||Ummulbanin Merali (Tel No: 07801 535445)|
|HARROW CHILDREN’S SERVICES :||020 8901 2690|
This policy has been prepared in line with Harrow Council Local Safeguarding Children Board’s Child Protection Procedures and applies to all adult volunteers working within the Hujjat Saturday Workshop (Workshop) environment. It is aimed to be a guide to enable people to work together for the safety and wellbeing of children and young people by understanding:
- What safeguarding children means and what to do if you’re worried about a child
- Your role as a professional in working with children
- Recognising signs of child abuse, neglect and harm
- Deciding whether to refer and how to make a referral
The Workshop is committed:
- To safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all its students, whilst they are under the charge of teachers and volunteers at Workshop.
- To ensure that appropriate measures are taken to ensure that volunteers working with children are vetted and CRB checked.
- To provide regular training sessions to all its volunteers in order to equip them to carry out their responsibilities of effectively safeguarding the children in their care, thereby providing help and support to all staff and volunteer.
- To creating an environment where safe working practices are adhered to and monitored, and to ensure that all staff and volunteers are aware of the contact details of Harrow Children Services.
- To work in partnership with parents in a positive, open and honest way to ensure the welfare of their children.
- To take immediate action should an occasion arise where an allegation has been made against a member of Workshop staff or volunteer.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Workshop recognises the following:
The Workshop’s parent body, the Executive Committee of the KSIMC of London, has the responsibility to ensure that:
- the Workshop has a child protection policy and procedures in place that are in accordance with Local Authority guidance and locally agreed inter-agency procedures, and that the policy is made available to parents on request;
- the Workshop operates safe recruitment procedures and makes sure that all appropriate checks are carried out on all staff and volunteers who work with children;
- the Workshop has procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff and volunteers that comply with guidance from the local authority and locally agreed inter-agency procedures;
- a senior member of the Workshop’s leadership team is designated to take lead responsibility for child protection;
- staff and volunteers undertake appropriate child protection training;
- staff and volunteers remedy, without delay, any deficiencies or weaknesses regarding child protection arrangements;
- there is appropriate liaison with the Local Authority Designated Officer and/or partner agencies in the event of allegations of abuse being made against the Principal;
- it reviews its policies and procedures annually and, as and when necessary, informs the Local Authority of them and how the above duties have been discharged.
The Principal will ensure that:
- the policies and procedures adopted by the Workshop’s parent body, the Executive Committee of the KSIMC of London, are implemented and followed by all staff and volunteers;
- sufficient resources and time are allocated to enable the Designated Senior Person and other members of staff to discharge their responsibilities;
- all staff and volunteers feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice in regard to children, and that such concerns are addressed sensitively and effectively in a timely manner in accordance with agreed whistle-blowing policies.
All new recruits to Workshop will have to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. In addition, all new recruits are required to ‘shadow’ a current teacher for a period of 3 to 6 months before they are allowed to take full responsibility of independently teaching a class of children.
MONITORING OF TEACHING:
Every class, in particular those within the age group of 4to 7 years, has at least two teachers present at any one time. Regular visits to each class are conducted by the Principal or Admin staff during the day to monitor the teaching practices undertaken along with the interaction between teachers and students.
TRAINING AND CONTINUAL SUPPORT:
Regular training session will be conducted as and when required. In addition, regular email updates and teachers’ meeting will take place to constantly remind teachers of their responsibilities of ensure the welfare of the children whilst in their care.
In order to ensure children are kept safe and provided the appropriate care, Workshop has to have an up-to-date information regarding:
- names and contact details of persons with whom the child normally lives;
- names and contact details of all persons with parental responsibility for the child (if different from above);
- emergency contact details for the child (if different from above);
- details of any persons authorised to collect the child from the Workshop (if different from above);
- name and contact details of the child’s GP;
- any other factors that may impact on the safety and welfare of the child.
The Workshop will collate and store this information in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.
ALLEGATIONS REGARDING PERSON(S) WORKING IN OR ON BEHALF OF THE WORKSHOP
Circumstances may arise where an allegation is made against any person working in or on behalf of Workshop that he/she has behaved in a way that has harmed a child or may have harmed a child or possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child. In such instances where the person has behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates that he/she is unsuitable to work with children, we will apply the same principles as set out in this document and will always follow the Harrow Local Safeguarding Children Board’s guidance regarding allegations of abuse against a person who works with children.
Whilst we acknowledge that such allegations (as all others) may be false, malicious or misplaced, we also acknowledge that in some cases there may be a basis for them. It is therefore essential that all allegations are investigated properly and in line with agreed procedures.
The initial action taken in these circumstances will be as follows:
- The person who has been told about an allegation or witnessed an event will immediately inform the Principal and record the allegation.
- In the event that an allegation is made against the Principal, the matter will be reported to the Designated Senior Person, who will proceed as ‘the Principal’.
- The Principal will take steps, where necessary, to secure the immediate safety of children and any urgent medical needs of the children.
- The member of staff subject to an allegation will not be approached at this stage unless this is necessary to address the immediate safety of children.
- The Principal may need to clarify any information regarding the allegation; however, no person will be interviewed at this stage.
- Consideration will be given throughout to the support and information needs of students, parents and staff and volunteers.
- The Principal will inform the Designated Senior Person of any allegation.
WHAT IS CHILD PROTECTION?
Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. This refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are at risk of suffering, significant harm. Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 places a duty on Local Authorities to make enquiries into the circumstances of children considered to be at risk of ‘significant harm’ and, where these enquiries indicate the need, to undertake a full investigation into the child’s circumstances.
Safeguarding can mean?
- protecting children from mistreatment;
- 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
WHAT DOES ‘SIGNIFICANT HARM’ MEAN?
There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes significant harm. Under s31 (10) of the Children Act 2004, the question of whether harm suffered by a child is significant relates specifically to the child’s health and development. Their health or development should be compared with that which could reasonably be expected of a similar child and the parenting that we would reasonably expect them to receive from their parent/carer.
To understand and identify significant harm, it is necessary to consider:
- The nature of harm, in terms of mistreatment or failure to provide adequate care;
- The impact on the child’s health and development;
- The child’s development within the context of their family and wider environment;
- Any special needs, such as a medical condition, communication impairment or disability, that may affect the child’s development and care within the family;
- The capacity of parents to meet adequately the child’s needs; and
- The wider and environmental family context.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT A CHILD
If you are unsure whether a child or young person may be suffering, or if you are concerned that a child has suffered harm, neglect or abuse please contact:
- Harrow Children’s Services Duty and Assessment Team on 020 8863 5544 to discuss your concern or to make a referral.
- If the child concerned has a disability, contact the Children with Disabilities Service on 020 8966 6481
YOUR ROLE IN WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
Every organisation working with children and young people, whether they are paid or voluntary, has a “duty of care” to keep children and young people safe and protect them from harm.
The Children Act 2004 places a duty on organisations to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children and young people. This includes the need to ensure that all adults who work with, or on behalf of children and young people in these organisations are competent, confident and safe to do so.
Adults have a duty to report any child protection or welfare concerns to a designated member of staff in their organisation and/ or report any concerns to the local Children’s Services/Police.
Further information can be found at:
- CHILDREN ACT 1989
The Children Act 1989 states that a child is a child until their 18th birthday and sets out the responsibilities of the Local Authority.
- CHILDREN ACT 2004
The Children Act 2004 has built on the 1989 Act and created clear accountability for Children’s Services to enable better joint working and to secure a better focus on safeguarding children.
WORKING TOGETHER TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN 2006
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2006 is a guide to inter agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
LONDON CHILD PROTECTION PROCEDURES 2007
These are a comprehensive set of procedures which all London Boroughs, including Harrow are using.
Recognising signs of child abuse neglect and harm
Every child has the right to be kept safe from physical, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect. Abuse and neglect are forms of mistreatment of a child or young person.
Somebody may abuse or neglect a child or young person by hurting them, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children and young people may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child, children or young people. Children may show symptoms from one or all of the categories outlined in this section.
Concerns may be because of one or more of the following:
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child or young person’s basic physical and/or psychological needs over a period of time which is likely to result in serious effects on their health or development. Signs that may suggest neglect include:
- Children who appear persistently undersized or underweight, appearing hungry or asking for food
- Children who continually appear tired or lacking in energy
- Children that are dirty and/or appear unkempt
- Children who suffer frequent injuries due to lack of supervision
- Developmental delay
- EMOTIONAL ABUSE
Emotional abuse is the persistent ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. Sarcasm, degrading punishments and ignoring a child or young person are also forms of emotional abuse and undermine a child or young person’s confidence and sense of self-worth.
An adult may behave in an inconsistent way all of the time so the child or young person never knows what reaction to expect. Some adult carers can be very possessive or over protective towards a child or young person. A child or young person may be constantly blamed unfairly for things that go wrong. Children and young people may be made to carry out tasks inappropriate to their age and/or not be allowed to do regular childhood activities.
Emotional abuse may also involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another, for example, domestic violence, bullying, frequently causing children to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children and young people. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of mistreatment of a child or young person, though it may also occur alone.
The following signs may be present in children whose parents are over-critical and emotionally distant, or who are unable to
meet their child’s emotional needs:
- Children whose behaviour is excessive
- Children who self-harm i.e. may cut or scratch themselves or overdose
- Children who show high levels of anxiety, unhappiness or withdrawal
- Children who usually seek out or avoid affection
- Very low self-esteem, often with an inability to accept praise or to trust adults
- Excessively clinging and attention-seeking behaviour
- Over-anxious watchful, constantly checking or over-anxious to please
- Withdrawn and socially isolate
Self-harm among young people is a major public health issue in the UK. It affects at least one in 15 young people and some evidence suggests that rates of self-harm in the UK are higher than anywhere else in Europe. It presents a major challenge to all those in services and organisations that work with young people, from schools through to hospital accident and emergency departments.
If you are worried a child is being abused or neglected, please call:
- the Children’s Duty and Assessment Team on 0208863 5544
- If the child concerned has a disability, contact the Children with Disabilities Service on 020 8966 6481
Self-harm describes a wide range of things that people do to themselves in a deliberate and usually hidden way. In the vast majority of cases self-harm remains a secretive behaviour that can go on for a long time without being discovered. Self-harm can involve cutting; burning; scalding; banging or scratching one’s own body; breaking bones; hair pulling and / or ingesting toxic substances or objects.
Young people who self-harm mainly do so because they have no other way of coping with problems and emotional distress in their lives. This can be to do with factors ranging from bullying to family breakdown.
- PHYSICAL ABUSE
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child or young person. Signs which may suggest physical abuse can include:
- Any bruising to a baby at the pre-walking stage
- Multiple bruising to different parts of the body
- Bruising of different colours indicating repeated injuries over time
- Fingertip bruising to the chest, back, arms or legs
- An injury for which there is no adequate explanation
- Bruises in places not normally harmed during play, i.e. back of the legs, abdomen, groin area
- Bruising in or around the mouth area especially in young babies
- Grasp marks on legs and arms–or chest of a small child
- Finger marks i.e. you may see 3-4 small bruises on one side of the face and none on the other
- Symmetrical bruising, i.e. the same pattern of bruising on both sides of the body/head/legs/ arms etc. especially on the ears or around the eyes
- Outline bruising i.e. belt marks, hand prints
- Linear bruising particularly on the buttocks or back
- Old and new bruising especially in the same area, e.g. buttocks
This is becoming an increasingly bigger issue to consider in safeguarding children and young people. If a child or young person shows signs similar to those below, it doesn’t mean that the child is being groomed, these are just some of the signs to look out for if you’re concerned:
- Excessive use of the computer
- Aggressive behaviour regarding internet usage
- Secretive behaviour
- Change in use of sexual language
DECIDING WHETHER TO REFER
A referral to Children’s Services Social Care should always be made in the following circumstances:
- any concern about a child at risk of sexual abuse;
- physical injury caused by assault or neglect which may or may not require medical attention;
- incidents of physical abuse that alone are unlikely to constitute significant harm but taken into consideration with other factors may do so
- children who suffer from persistent neglect;
- children who live in an environment which is likely to have an adverse impact on their emotional development;
- where parents’ own emotional impoverishment affects their ability to meet their child’s
- emotional and/or physical needs regardless of material/financial circumstances and assistance;
- a child living in a household with, or having significant contact with, a person at risk of sexual offending;
- an abandoned child;
- bruising to a pre-mobile baby;
- suspicion of fabricated or induced illness
- where a child under one year is present in a home where domestic violence is a concern
The above are examples of circumstances that may occur. There are other circumstances under which a referral should be considered. More details and specific guidance is available within the London Child Protection Procedures (available at www.harrowlscb.co.uk) to help professionals to decide whether to refer.
HOW TO MAKE A REFERRAL
The general public, Children’s Services Social Care, Health, Education, Police and any other person, including the Voluntary Sector, must all work together in partnership with parents to keep children and young people safe.
The concern may need to be discussed with a senior member of staff within your agency in order to clarify the seriousness and urgency of the situation and then decide the next course of action.
The senior member of staff may be:
- a manager/supervisor
- LSCB representative in your organisation
- a designated member of staff with responsibility for safeguarding children, i.e., designated nurse, doctor or teacher
If, following this discussion, there are still concerns about the welfare of the child or young person, consideration should be given to consulting the Duty Social Worker at the local Children’s Services Duty and Assessment Team (Tel. 020 88635544) or Children with Disabilities Service (020 8966 6481) for advice. This can be done by presenting a ‘what if’ scenario without necessarily naming the child in question.
This discussion should be recorded by both parties. If the practitioner with the concerns believes that a child or young person’s health or development is being impaired without the provision of services by the Local Authority, consideration should be given to making a referral to Children’s Services Social Care.
If there are immediate concerns about the safety of a child or young person, a referral should be made by telephone to the Children’s Duty and Assessment Team or the Children with Disabilities Service. At the end of any discussion or dialogue about a child or young person, the referrer (if a professional from another service or agency) and Children’s Services Social Care must record the decision in their records.