CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE
…………………… has an obligation to ensure that, when dealing with children and vulnerable adults, its staff and volunteers provide the highest possible standards of service and care.
The aim of this Policy and Procedures is to ensure that people representing, working for, or on behalf of ……….., or who are associated with services facilitated in some way by ………..:
• Have a clear understanding of their responsibilities when working with
children and vulnerable adults
• Recognise the signs of abuse and the appropriate course of action to be
taken in such circumstances
• Understand the potential risk to themselves and ensure that good practice is
adhered to at all times
• Recognise signs of improper behaviour from other people working for or on
behalf of ……….. or otherwise and take appropriate action should this
2 CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE PERSONS PROTECTION POLICY
For all services and activities provided by ……………, we will:
• Accept moral and legal responsibility to implement procedures, to
provide a duty of care for Children and Vulnerable Adults, safeguard
their wellbeing and protect them from abuse;
• Respect and promote the rights, wishes and feelings of Children and
• Recruit, train and supervise its employees and vkolunteers to adopt
best practice to safeguard and protect Children and Vulnerable
Adults from abuse, and themselves against false allegations;
• Require staff to adopt and abide by the Children and Vulnerable
Persons Protection Policy and Procedures;
Page 3 • Require clubs, societies, groups hiring our facilities, sub-
contractors and external coaches and instructors, partner
organisations to either abide by the Council’s Code of Ethics and
Conduct and Children and Vulnerable Persons Protection Policy
and Procedures, or have and abide by their own code, policies and
procedures, which meets with our approval;
• Respond to allegations appropriately and implement the appropriate
disciplinary and appeals procedures; and
• Develop and implement an appropriate monitoring and review system to
ensure conformance to the Children and Vulnerable Persons
Protection Policy and Procedures.
…….. … believes that:
• The safety and welfare of children and vulnerable persons must always be
of paramount importance, whatever the circumstances.
• Everyone who has a role in working with children and vulnerable persons
also has a responsibility to safeguard and promote their welfare and
protect them from abuse.
• All children and vulnerable persons have equal rights to protection from
harm irrespective of their age, disability, gender, marital status, nationality,
race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.
• Special care is needed in providing services to children and vulnerable
persons because their age, inexperience, physical or mental condition
may render them particularly susceptible to abuse and make it more
difficult for them to seek help if they are abused.
• Sufficient training must be made available to ensure that:
- Staff always maintain good practice in providing services to children and
vulnerable persons and that
- Staff are able to recognise and respond to potential signs or allegations
The guidance given in the our procedures is based on the following key
• The safety and wellbeing of Children and Vulnerable Persons is the
• All Children and Vulnerable Persons, whatever their age, culture,
disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or
sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse;
• Whilst it is not the sole responsibility of the ……….. to determine
whether or not abuse has taken place (this is undertaken in liaison
with external Children and Vulnerable Persons protection
professionals) it is everyone’s responsibility to report any concerns;
• All incidents of suspected poor practice and allegations should be taken
seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
Page 4 • Confidentiality should be upheld in line with the Data Protection
Act 1998, the Human Rights Act 2000 and the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.
This policy applies to all staff regardless of whether they have regular contact with children or vulnerable adults. For the purposes of this policy: • Staff refers to any person working on behalf of ……………. including
volunteers, part time and temporary employees.
• In accordance with the definition provided in The Children Act’s 1989 and th
2004, a child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18Birthday.
Children, therefore means children and young people throughout.
• A Vulnerable Adult is defined in ‘No Secrets’ (Department of Health 2000) as
anyone over the age of 18 years who is or may be in need of community
care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and
who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect
him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.
• The term parent is used throughout this document as a generic term to
represent parents, carers and guardians.
• Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other
person or persons.
2.4 LINKS TO OTHER POLICIES
This policy reflects and has important links to other of Shepway District Council’s
policies and procedures including:
• Customer Care Strategy;
• HR Strategy;
• Diversity Policy and
• Employee Policies
2.5 REVIEW OF POLICY AND PROCEDURES
This Policy and Procedures will be reviewed annually and ad hoc as required by to ensure that it remains effective and that all legal and best practice requirements are followed.
3 LEGISLATION, GUIDANCE AND MULTI-AGENCY WORKING
There is a considerable body of legislation, guidance and standards designed to ensure that Children and Vulnerable Persons are protected from harm. A summary of the legislation and guidance used to develop this Policy and Procedures can be found in Appendix B.
The Children Act 2004 places a legal duty upon the Council to ensure that its functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
The Children Act 1989 sets out local authorities specific responsibility to provide a duty of care, safeguard welfare and a right to protection from abuse, for young people especially, vulnerable groups irrespective of age, culture, ability, gender, language, racial origin, faith and/or sexual identity. In addition it requires all agencies to assist a Local Authority in carrying out enquiries into whether or not a child is at risk of significant harm.
The Council acknowledges that effective inter-agency working and recognition of the corporate responsibility of the authority and other agencies is essential and should be promoted through the overall frameworks provided by the Kent Child Protection Committee and Local Child Protection Co-ordinating Committees. For further information see www.kcpc.org.uk
3.2 Vulnerable Adults
The ‘No Secrets’ DOH guidance, March 2000 states that statutory agencies
should ‘work together in partnership to ensure that appropriate policies, procedures and practices are in place and implemented locally’
Social Services is the lead agency for both Child and Adult Protection across Kent and Medway. For Mental Health and Substance Misuse, this responsibility rests with the appropriate NHS or Social Care (Partnership) Trust. In the case of …………… this is the East Kent NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust. Multi-Agency Adult Protection Policy, Protocols and Guidance that have been developed for Kent and Medway can be viewed at www.kent.gov.uk/caring/kent-and-medway-adult-protection/ap-guidance.html
This states that the employees of all statutory organisations including housing providers and private and voluntary agencies are expected to recognise the policy and work in accordance with the protocols that it contains. 4. WHAT IS ABUSE?
4.1 Abuse can take a number of forms and children and vulnerable adults may
also be subject to multiple abuse. 6
Physical abuse – Involves actions that physically hurt or injure children or vulnerable people such as hitting, shaking, kicking, pushing, slapping, burning, poisoning, rough handling or subjecting to unwanted touching etc., inappropriate restraint, or sanctions including deprivation of food, clothing warmth and health care needs.
Physical abuse, as well as being a deliberate act can be caused by an omission or failure to protect, for example blatantly ignoring or not reacting to a situation. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child in their care e.g. fictitious illness by proxy.
Neglect – where anyone suffers because their health, physical or emotional needs are not properly looked after. This is likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s or vulnerable person’s health or development. Neglect could include repeated failure to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child or vulnerable person from physical harm or danger, or failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. Sexual abuse – where anyone is subjected to any kind of sexual activity that they have not given consent to; are unable to give consent to or are pressured into giving consent to. This could include full sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, anal intercourse and fondling. Non-contact activities such as showing children pornographic material (books, videos, pictures), sexual innuendo, or encouragement to behave in sexually inappropriate ways is also a form of sexual abuse.
Emotional / psychological abuse – is persistent emotional ill-treatment such as
shouting, swearing, humiliation, threatening with punishment, or deliberately denying religious, racial or cultural needs causing children or vulnerable adults to feel frightened or in danger which may make them nervous or withdrawn. It may involve conveying to a child or vulnerable adult that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may also feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. . Some level of emotional abuse is likely to be involved in all types of ill-treatment.
Discriminatory abuse - discrimination demonstrated on any grounds including sex, race, colour, language, culture, religion, politics or sexual orientation; discrimination that is based on a persons age or disability; harassment and slurs which are degrading or hate crime.
Financial abuse – where anyone is subjected to the theft or misuse of money, possessions, property or other goods.
Domestic Violence - Is defined as:
‘Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been intimate partners or are family members regardless of gender or sexuality’.
It is important to recognise that vulnerable adults may be victims of domestic violence themselves. In addition domestic violence and child abuse frequently
co-exist. For example, child abuse is 15 times more likely when domestic violence is present. Domestic violence within a household is likely to have a serious effect on the physical and mental wellbeing of children or vulnerable adults.
Child on Child Abuse
It is important to recognise that in some cases of abuse, it may not always be an adult abusing a Child and Vulnerable Person. An abuser may be a young person. Sexual Abuse – Many adult sex abusers begin committing their abusing acts during childhood or adolescence and in many cases are themselves victims of abuse. It is therefore an important child protection function to ensure that such behaviour is treated seriously and is always referred to child protection agencies. Children and young people who are abusers are themselves in need of help. Physical Abuse – Minor assaults by a child on another child; those, which would normally be associated with school child disputes, would not generally fall within a Child Protection Policy or Procedures. However, where an assault is one of serious nature or there is a suspicion or allegation of systematic physical abuse or bullying this may then be seen as a Child Protection issue for both the victim and the perpetrator.
Bullying may be seen to be deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. Although anyone can be a target for bullying, victims are typically shy, sensitive and perhaps anxious and insecure. Sometimes they are singled out for physical reasons- being overweight, physically small, having a disability or belonging to a different race, faith or culture.
Girls and boys can be bullies although it seems to be more conspicuous in boys. Bullying can and does occur anywhere where there is inadequate supervision –
on the way to and from school, at sporting events, in the school playground or in changing rooms.
Bullies come from all walks of life; they bully for a variety of reasons and may have been abused themselves. Typically, bullies can have low self-esteem, be excitable, aggressive and jealous. Crucially, they have learned how to gain power over others.
Bullying may include:
Physical e.g. hitting, kicking and theft;
Verbal e.g. name-calling, constant teasing, sarcasm, racist or
homophobic taunts, threats, graffiti and gestures;
Emotional e.g. tormenting, ridiculing, humiliating and ignoring; and
Sexual e.g. unwanted physical contact or abusive comments;
The damage inflicted by bullying is frequently underestimated. It can cause considerable distress, to the extent that it affects health and development or, at the extreme causes them significant harm (including self-harm). There are a number of signs that may indicate that a Child is being bullied: 8
Behavioural changes such as reduced concentration and/or becoming
withdrawn, clingy, depressed, tearful, erratic mood swings,
reluctance to go to school, training or sports clubs;
• • •
A drop in performance at school or standard of play;
Physical signs such as stomach-aches, headaches, difficulty in sleeping,
bed wetting, scratching and bruising, damaged clothes, and
bingeing for example on food, cigarettes or alcohol;
A shortage of money or frequent loss of possessions.
Vulnerable Adult on Vulnerable Adult Abuse
It is important to understand that a vulnerable adult may also be abused by another vulnerable adult. In some settings this behaviour may not have been considered to be abuse. Research has shown that where this kind of abuse is ignored or not addressed appropriately, the victims may suffer mental health problems, low esteem and may also become perpetrators of abuse against others.
4.2 RECOGNISING ABUSE
‘Research to date has found cases of abuse and neglect in all social and economic strata, in rural and urban settings, in all religious groups and all races’ (Shifting Emphasis from Abused to Abuser – G Bennett, May 1990)
Abuse can happen wherever there are Children and Vulnerable Persons, and Children and Vulnerable Persons of any age can be abused. The effects of abuse can be damaging and if untreated they, may follow a young person into adulthood.
Recognising abuse is not always easy and it is not the responsibility of members of staff to decide whether or not abuse has taken place or if a child or vulnerable adult is at significant risk. However, staff do have a responsibility to report promptly if they have any concerns.
Indicators of Abuse
Indications that a child or vulnerable person may be experiencing abuse include the following: 9
Children Vulnerable Adults
Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts or
burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally
prone to such injuries;
An injury for which the explanation seems inconsistent;
Fear of parents or carers being approached about such injuries;
Reluctance to get changed or e.g. wearing long sleeves in hot weather
Unexplained changes in behaviour (e.g. becoming very quiet, withdrawn or displaying sudden bursts of temper);
The child or vulnerable person describes what appears to be an
abusive act involving him / her;
Flinching when touched or approached
Someone else (a child or adult) expresses concern about the welfare of another child or vulnerable adult;
Fear of being left with a specific person
Distrust of persons, particularly those with whom a close relationship would normally be expected;
Becoming increasingly dirty/smelly and unkempt
Displays variations in eating patterns including overeating or loss of appetite;
Loses weight for no apparent reason
Is prevented from socialising with other children;
Engaging in sexually explicit Sudden loss of assets,
behaviour; property or money
Inappropriate sexual awareness;
A failure to grow and thrive;
Has difficulty in making friends
It should be recognised that this list is not exhaustive. Many children and adults will exhibit some of these indicators at some time and the presence of one or more of the indicators is not proof that abuse is actually taking place. It is crucial to note that this is only a process of observation and that at no point should any person working on behalf of the Council feel that they should be actively seeking out abuse or an abuser. The responsibility of everyone working on behalf of the Council is to ensure that if they have concerns about the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult, they must report it and never assume that others will do it.
5 SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS AND
PROMOTING GOOD PRACTICE
Abuse of Children and Vulnerable Persons, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with judgement about any action to take. Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the leisure environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with Children and Vulnerable Adults in order to harm them. Staff working for the Council may have regular contact with Children and Vulnerable Adults and are an important link in identifying cases where a young and/or vulnerable person needs protection.
5.1 RECRUITMENT AND EMPLOYMENT 10
We will take all reasonable steps to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with Children and Vulnerable Persons.
We recognize that anyone may have the potential to abuse children or vulnerable adults in some way and that all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that this risk is minimised.
Under the Police Act 1997, Protection of Children Act 1999 and the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 it is an offence for any organisation to offer employment that involves regular contact with children under the age of 18 to anyone who has been convicted of certain specified offences, or included on lists of people considered unsuitable for such work by government departments. It is also an offence for people convicted of such offences to apply for work with children.
All existing and potential employees, including those who have regular or unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults through their employment will only be appointed using our Recruitment and Selection Policy and Code of Practice. This process includes checks on:
• Academic Qualifications
• Vocational Qualifications
• Professional and Character references
• Previous employment history
• Appropriate Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check (Disclosure)
• Medical/Health Check
The CRB Disclosure Service is not considered a substitute for existing pre-employment checks; rather they complement existing recruitment practice, reducing the risk that unsuitable people will gain employment with children or vulnerable adults. Employers can ask successful candidates to apply to the Bureau for one of three levels of Disclosure. The level of check is determined by the duties of the particular position or job involved. Generally work with children and young people or vulnerable adults qualify for the most detailed checks. Basic Disclosure ~ contains details of convictions held on the Police National Computer that are unspent according to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. All employers can request the production of a basic disclosure as part of the normal recruitment process.
Standard Disclosure ~ contains information about spent and unspent convictions, as well as cautions, warnings and reprimands, and concerns positions that are exempted under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
It is available in relation to posts that involve regular contact with children and other vulnerable groups. As well as central police records, the Standard Disclosure includes relevant information held by The Department of Education and Employment and the Department of Health. 11
Enhanced Disclosure ~ relates to particularly sensitive areas of work, for example, involving unsupervised contact with children and other vulnerable groups. In addition to the information provided under Standard Disclosure,
Enhanced Disclosure may also contain non-conviction information from police records that is considered relevant.
5.1.2 RECRUITMENT PROCESS
Pre-recruitment checks will always be carried out including conducting a documented risk assessment to establish the status of the work to be undertaken with reference to Children and Vulnerable Persons protection legislation and best practice. The Council will adopt the following procedures if it is considered that the post has regular or unsupervised contact with or access to Children and Vulnerable Persons this will apply regardless of the employment status of the post i.e. permanent or casual):
• Establish role and responsibility and create a job description;