Safeguarding Policy – reviewed July 2018
This policy has been developed in accordance with the principles established by the Children Act 1989; and in line with the following:
- Keeping Children Safe in Education” 2016
- “Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015”
- “Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families” 2000
- “What to do if you are worried a Child is being Abused” 2015
- Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board guidelines
The Governing Body of the John Hampden and Tetsworth Schools’ Federation takes seriously its responsibility under section 11 of the Children Act and duties under “working together” to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; to work together with other agencies to ensure adequate arrangements exist within our setting to identify, and support those children who are suffering harm or are likely to suffer harm.
We recognise that all staff and governors have a full and active part to play in protecting our pupils from harm, and that the child’s welfare is our paramount concern.
Our schools should provide a safe, caring, positive and stimulating environment that promotes the social, physical and moral development of the individual child free from discrimination or bullying where children can learn and develop happily.
This policy applies to all staff, governors and volunteers working in our school.
This policy has been written in line with Keeping Children Safe In Education 2016
All staff will sign to confirm they have read and understood this policy.
- Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children refers to the process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing the impairment of their health or development, ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective and nurturing care and undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.
- Child protection refers to the processes undertaken to meet statutory obligations laid out in the Children Act 1989 and associated guidance (see Working Together to Safeguard Children, An Interagency Guide to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children) in respect of those children who have been identified as suffering, or being at risk of suffering harm.
- Staff refers to all those working for or on behalf of the school, full time or part time, in either a paid or voluntary capacity.
- Child refers to all young people who have not yet reached their 18th birthday.
- Parent refers to birth parents and other adults who are in a parenting role, for example step-parents, foster carers and adoptive parents
- DSL: Designated Safeguarding Lead
- To provide all staff with the necessary information to enable them to meet their statutory responsibilities to promote and safeguard the wellbeing of children
- To ensure consistent good practice across the school
- To demonstrate the school’s commitment with regard to safeguarding children
- The role of school and college staff
Our Schools staff are particularly important as they are in a position to identify concerns early, provide help for children, and prevent concerns from escalating.
- All our school staff have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn.
- Our schools have designated safeguarding leads who will provide support for our staff members to carry out their safeguarding duties and who will liaise closely with other services such as children’s social care.
- All of our staff will be equipped to identify children who may benefit from early help. Staff know in the first instance to discuss their concerns with the designated safeguarding lead, and understand they may be required to support other agencies and professionals in assessments for early help.
- The Teachers’ standards 2012 state that teachers, including headteachers, should safeguard children’s wellbeing and maintain public interest in the teaching professions as part of their professional duties.
- What school staff need to know
- All our staff members are aware of the systems within our school which support safeguarding, these are explained to them as part of their induction and include:
- This child protection and safeguarding policy
- The staff code of conduct (see the Staff Handbook)
- The role of the designated lead
- Keeping children safe in education part 1
- Whistleblowing policy
- Managing allegations about staff or volunteers
- What to do if they have a concern about a child
- All staff members receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training which is updated at least every 3 years. In addition to this training all staff members receive safeguarding and child protection updates, when required but at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to be able to safeguard the children in our setting effectively.
- All staff are made aware of the early help process, and understand their role in this. This includes staff being able to identify emerging problems, liaising with our designated safeguarding lead, sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment and, in some cases, where appropriate, acting as the lead professional in undertaking any early help assessment.
- All staff are aware of the process for making child protection referrals to social care and statutory assessments that may follow, under the Children Act 1989, they also understand the role that may have to play in such assessments.
- All staff know what to do if a child tells them he/she is being abused or neglected. Staff understand how to maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality, whilst at the same time understand the requirement around sharing information appropriately with the designated safeguarding lead and other relevant professionals
- Staff will never promise a child that they will not tell anyone about the allegation/disclosure that the child has made, as this may ultimately not be in the best interests of the child
- What school staff should look out for
- All school staff are aware of the signs of abuse and neglect so they are able to identify children who may be in need of help or protection (see part 2 of this policy for the definitions)
- Departmental advice: What to do if you are worried a child is being abused- Advice for practitioners provides more information on understanding and identifying abuse and neglect. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-to-do-if-youre-worried-a-child-is-being-abused–2
- Staff members at our school are advised to maintain an attitude at all times of “it could happen here” where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff members should always act in the best interests of the child.
- Knowing what to look for is vital to the early identification of abuse and neglect. If staff members are unsure they should always speak to the designated safeguarding lead.
- What school staff should do if they have concerns about a child
- If staff members have any concerns about a child (as opposed to a child being in immediate danger) they will need to decide what action to take. Where possible, there should be a conversation with the Designated Safeguarding Lead to agree a course of action, although any staff member can make a referral to children’s social care. Other options could include referral to specialist services or early help services and should be made in accordance with the referral threshold set by the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board. http://www.oscb.org.uk/
- If anyone other than the designated safeguarding lead makes the referral they should inform the designated safeguarding lead, as soon as possible.
- If after a referral the child’s situation does not appear to be improving the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or the person that made the referral) should press for re-consideration to ensure their concerns have been addressed and, most importantly, that the child’s situation improves.
- If early help is appropriate the designated safeguarding lead should support the staff member in liaising with other agencies and setting up an inter-agency assessment as appropriate.
- If early help and or other support is appropriate the case should be kept under constant review and consideration given to a referral to children’s social care if the child’s situation doesn’t appear to be improving.
- If a teacher, in the course of their work in the profession, discovers that an act of Female Genital Mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18 the teacher must report this to the police.
- What schools staff should do if a child in in danger or at risk of harm
- If, a child is in immediate danger or is at risk of harm a referral should be made to children’s social care and/or the police immediately. Anyone can make a referral. Where referrals are not made by the Designated Safeguarding Lead, the Designated Safeguarding Lead should be informed, as soon as possible, that a referral has been made.
- What school staff should do if they have concerns about another staff member
- If our staff members have concerns about another staff member then this must be referred to the headteacher (Mr P.Hankey) or Head of Teaching and Learning (Mrs A.Charlton). Where there are concerns about the headteacher or Head of Teaching and Learning this should be referred to the Chair of Governors. Staff may consider discussing any concerns with the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead and make any referral via them. Full details can be found in Part 2 of this guidance.
- What school staff should do if they have concerns about safeguarding practices within the school
- All our staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the school or college’s safeguarding regime and that such concerns will be taken seriously by the senior leadership team.
- Appropriate whistleblowing procedures, which are suitably reflected in staff training and staff behaviour policies, should be in place for such concerns to be raised with the school senior leadership team.
- Where a staff member feels unable to raise an issue with their employer or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels may be open to them:
- General guidance can be found at- Advice on whistleblowing
- The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline is available for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally. Staff can call: 0800 028 0285 – line is available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday to Friday and Email: email@example.com
- Key personnel at our school:
The Designated Safeguarding Lead for child protection at John Hampden Primary School is: Mr P.Hankey
JHS :01844 212291
The Designated Safeguarding Lead for child protection at Tetsworth Primary School is: Mrs A. Charlton
TPS: 01844 281328
The Deputy Designated Leads at JHS are:
Mrs K. Bedford
Mrs L. Craig
Mrs A. Begley
The Deputy Designated Lead at TPS is :
Mrs S. Bestley
The nominated child protection governors for the John Hampden and Tetsworth Schools’ Federation are:
Mrs E. Williams
Contact details via either JHS or TPS numbers as above.
The Executive Headteacher is:
Contact Details: JHS :01844 212291
- Roles and responsibilities
All schools must nominate a senior member of staff to coordinate child protection arrangements and this person is named in this policy guidance. The school ensures that the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy will be on site at all times that the school is functioning.
The governing body
The Governing Body of John Hampden and Tetsworth Schools’ Federation undertake the regular review of safeguarding related policies and procedures that operate in our school.
The governing Body have a crucial role in monitoring and challenging staff on the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements
Our Governing body ensure that:
- The senior Designated Safeguarding Leads for safeguarding and child protection are members of the senior leadership team and have undertaken the approved LSCB training in inter-agency working, in addition to basic child protection training
- Child protection policy and procedures that are consistent with LSCB requirements, are reviewed annually and made available to parents on request
- There are procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse made against members of staff including allegations made against the head teacher
- Safer recruitment procedures include the requirement for appropriate checks in line with national guidance
- There is a training strategy that ensures all staff, including the head teacher, receive child protection training, with refresher training at three-yearly intervals. The DSL should receive refresher training at two-yearly intervals
- There are regular update sessions for staff regarding safeguarding. Keeping staff up to date with any changes and ensuring that safeguarding remains a priority within the setting
- Arrangements are in place to ensure that all temporary staff and volunteers are made aware of the school’s arrangements for child protection.
- The governing body nominates a member (normally the chair) to be responsible for liaising with the local authority and other agencies in the event of an allegation being made against the head teacher. An annual report will be submitted to the local authority about how the governing body’s duties have been carried out. Any weaknesses or areas of concern will be rectified without delay.
The Executive Headteacher:
- Ensures that the safeguarding and child protection policy and procedures are implemented and followed by all staff
- Allocates sufficient time and resources to enable the DSL and deputy to carry out their roles effectively, including the assessment of pupils and attendance at strategy discussions and other necessary meetings
- Ensures that all staff feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and that such concerns are handled sensitively and in accordance with the school’s whistle blowing procedures
- Ensures that child’s safety and welfare is addressed through the curriculum.
The schools have ensured that the Designated Safeguarding Leads:
- Are appropriately trained.
- Acts as a source of support and expertise to the school community
- Have an understanding of OSCB procedures.
- Keep written records of all concerns when noted and reported by staff or when disclosed by a child, ensuring that such records are stored securely and reported onward in accordance with this policy guidance, but kept separately from the child’s general file.
- Refers cases of suspected neglect and/or abuse to children’s social care or police in accordance with this guidance and local procedure.
- Notifies children’s social care if a child with a child protection plan is absent for more than two days without explanation
- Ensures that when a child with a child protection plan leaves the school, their information is passed to their new school and the child’s social worker is informed
- Attends and/or contributes to child protection conferences in accordance with local procedure and guidance
- Coordinates the school’s contribution to child protection plans.
- Develops effective links with relevant statutory and voluntary agencies
- Ensures that all staff sign to indicate that they have read and understood this policy
- Ensures that the child protection policy is updated annually
- Liaises with the nominated governor and head teacher (where the role is not carried out by the head teacher) as appropriate
- Keeps a record of staff attendance at child protection training
- Provides an annual safeguarding report to governors which is sent to the LADO/Safeguarding team at County Hall no later than the December of the academic year, following the academic year to which the report applies.
- Makes this policy available to parents.
Are appropriately trained and, in the absence of the designated safeguarding lead, carries out those functions necessary to ensure the ongoing safety and protection of children. In the event of the long-term absence of the designated person, the deputy will assume all of the functions above.
All staff will:
Follow the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board Procedures/Local Authority guidance in all cases of abuse, or suspected abuse (these can be found at www.OSCB.org.uk ).
We will therefore:
- Implement and follow part 1 of this guidance
- Understand that our responsibility to safeguard children requires that we all appropriately share any concerns that we may have about children.
- Support the child’s development in ways that will foster security, confidence and resilience
- Provide an environment in which children and young people feel safe, secure, valued and respected, feel confident and know how to approach adults if they are in difficulties.
- Provide a systematic means of monitoring children known or thought to be at risk of harm, and ensure we contribute to assessments of need and support plans for those children where appropriate.
- Ensure that detailed and accurate written records of concerns about a child are kept even if there is no need to make an immediate referral. See guidance on record keeping:
- Supporting Children
- We recognise that a child who is abused, who witnesses violence or who lives in a violent environment may feel helpless and humiliated, may blame him/herself, and find it difficult to develop and maintain a sense of self-worth.
- We accept that research shows that the behaviour of a child in these circumstances may range from that which is perceived to be normal to aggressive or withdrawn.
Our schools will support all children and young people by:
- Encouraging the development of self-esteem and resilience in every aspect of life.
- Promoting a caring, safe and positive environment.
- Liaising and working together with all other support services and those agencies involved in the safeguarding of children.
- Notifying Social Care as soon as there is a significant concern.
- Notifying Social Care when a child/young person attending the centre is privately fostered.
- Providing continuing support to a pupil (about whom there have been concerns) who leaves the school by ensuring that such concerns and school medical records are forwarded under confidential cover to the Designated Person at the pupil’s new school immediately.
- We recognise that all matters relating to child protection are confidential.
- The Designated Person will disclose personal information about a child or young person to other members of staff on a need to know basis only.
- However, all staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children.
- All staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child to keep secrets which might compromise the child’s safety or well-being or that of another.
- We will always undertake to share our intention to refer a child to Social Care with their parents /carers unless to do so could put the child at greater risk of harm, or impede a criminal investigation. If in doubt, we will consult with the Schools Safeguarding Team or Social Care on this point.
- We will take no names consultations with our local Assessment Teams / MASH team to discuss concerns we may have, but we understand that if they then ask for a name we will disclose those details and it will become a referral.
- Supporting Staff
- We recognise that staff working in the school who have become involved with a child who has suffered harm, or appears to be likely to suffer harm may find the situation stressful and upsetting.
- We will support such staff by providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties with the Designated Person and to seek further support. This could be provided by another trusted colleague, Occupational Health, and/or a representative of a professional body or trade union, as appropriate.
- In consultation with all staff, we have adopted a code of conduct for staff at our setting. This forms part of staff induction and is in the staff handbook. We understand that staff should have access to advice on the boundaries of appropriate behaviour.
- We recognise that our Designated Persons should have access to support and appropriate workshops, courses or meetings as organised by the LA.
- Allegations against staff
- All staff should take care not to place themselves in a vulnerable position with a child. It is always advisable for interviews or work with individual children or parents to be conducted in view of other adults.
- We understand that a child or young person may make an allegation against a member of staff. If such an allegation is made, the member of staff receiving the allegation will immediately inform the centre manager or the most senior member of staff available.
- The manager on all such occasions will discuss the content of the allegation with the Designated Officer for the Local Authority (LADO), before taking any action. In our county contact should be made with
- Alison Beasley, Interim Designated Officer (01865 815956),
- Donna Crozier, Assistant Designated Officer (01865 816382).
- LADO team 01865 810603 or
- If the allegation made to a member of staff concerns the manager themselves, the person receiving the allegation will immediately inform the Chair of the governing body who will consult with LADO, without notifying the manger first.
- The school will follow the procedures for managing allegations against staff, as outlined in keeping children safe in education 2016.
- Suspension of the member of staff against whom an allegation has been made needs careful consideration, and we will consult with LADO and HR.
- Our lettings agreement for other users requires that the organiser will follow LA procedures for managing allegations against staff and, where necessary, the suspension of adults from premises.
- See flowchart appendix B
- We recognise that children cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so.
- All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns about the attitude or actions of colleagues and appropriate advice will be sought from the LADO or Safeguarding Team where necessary.
- See full details in our whistleblowing policy
- Physical Intervention/Positive Handling
- Our policy on physical intervention/positive handling by staff is set out separately, as part of our Behaviour Policy. It complies with LA Guidance, ‘The Use of Force to Control or Restrain Pupils’ 2010.
- Such events should be recorded and signed by a witness.
- We recommend that staff who are likely to need to use physical intervention should be appropriately trained.
- We understand that physical intervention of a nature which is both unreasonable and disproportionate to the circumstances and or causes injury or distress to a child may be considered under child protection or disciplinary procedures.
- See full details in our physical intervention policy
- Our policy on the prevention and management of bullying is set out in a separate policy and acknowledges that to allow or condone bullying may lead to consideration under child protection procedures. Bullying is a safeguarding matter that if left unresolved can become a child protection matter. Our setting will take seriously any bullying concerns and both investigate and take action to protect pupils where appropriate.
- We will liaise with the anti-bullying co-ordinator from OCC where appropriate http://schools.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/anti-bullying
- See full details in our anti-bullying policy
- Health & Safety
- Our Health & Safety policy, reflects the consideration we give to the protection of our children both physically within the school environment and, for example, in relation to internet use, and when away from the school when undertaking school trips and visits.
- See full details in our health and safety policy
- Children with Special Educational Needs
At our setting we recognise that children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. This policy reflects the fact that additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children. This can include:
- assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration;
- children with SEN and disabilities can be disproportionally impacted by things like bullying- without outwardly showing any signs; and
- communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.
- Types of abuse and neglect
All school staff should be aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases multiple issues will overlap with one another.
- Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by 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 (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.
- Physical abuse: a form of abuse which 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 fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
- Emotional abuse: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a 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 (including cyberbullying), 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, although it may occur alone.
- Sexual abuse: involves forcing or enticing a child or young person 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. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, 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.
- Neglect: 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, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
- Specific safeguarding issues
- All staff have an awareness of safeguarding issues- some of which are listed below. Staff are made aware that behaviours linked to the likes of drug taking, alcohol abuse, truanting and sexting put children in danger.
- All staff are made aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), gender based violence/sexual assaults and sexting. Staff are made clear of our policy and procedures with regards to peer on peer abuse.
- bullying including cyberbullying http://schools.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/anti-bullying
- children missing education http://schools.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/pupil-tracking and Annex
- child missing from home or care https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/307867/Statutory_Guidance_-_Missing_from_care__3_.pdf
- child sexual exploitation (CSE) – http://www.oscb.org.uk/themes-tools/cse/ and Annex A
- domestic violence http://www.oscb.org.uk/themes-tools/domestic-abuse/
- drugs https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/270169/drug_advice_for_schools.pdf
- fabricated or induced illness https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/277314/Safeguarding_Children_in_whom_illness_is_fabricated_or_induced.pdf
- faith abuse https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/175437/Action_Plan_-_Abuse_linked_to_Faith_or_Belief.pdf
- female genital mutilation (FGM) http://www.oscb.org.uk/themes-tools/fgm/ and Annex A
- forced marriage and honour based violence https://www.gov.uk/guidance/forced-marriage and Annex A
- gangs and youth violence https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-to-schools-and-colleges-on-gangs-and-youth-violence
- gender-based violence/violence against women and girls (VAWG) https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/violence-against-women-and-girls
- hate http://educateagainsthate.com/
- mental health https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools–2
- missing children and adults strategy https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/missing-children-and-adults-strategy
- online safety http://schools.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/internet-safety-and-cyberbullying
- private fostering https://intranet.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/team-content/private-fostering
- preventing radicalisation – http://www.oscb.org.uk/themes-tools/prevent-extremism/ and Annex A
- relationship abuse https://www.disrespectnobody.co.uk/relationship-abuse/what-is-relationship-abuse/
- sexting https://www.disrespectnobody.co.uk/sexting/what-is-sexting/ and Annex A
- trafficking https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safeguarding-children-who-may-have-been-trafficked-practice-guidance
Annex A contains important additional information about specific forms of abuse and safeguarding issues.
- Online safety
At our setting our pupils increasingly work online, we recognise that it is crucial to safeguard our pupils from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material. As such we ensure appropriate filters and appropriate monitoring systems are in place.
- Opportunities to teach safeguarding
In our setting we ensure our pupil are taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum. This may include covering relevant issues through personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), assemblies and through sex and relationship education (SRE).
- Allegations of abuse made against other children (peer on peer abuse)
Our staff recognise that children are capable of abusing their peers. In a situation where child abuse is alleged to have been carried out by another child, our child protection procedures should be adhered to for both the victim and the alleged abuser; this means it should be considered as a child care and protection issue for both children.
Peer on peer abuse can take many forms, and gender issues can be prevalent when dealing with this type of abuse this could for example include girls being sexually touched/assaulted or boys being subject to initiation/hazing type violence.
See our full Managing allegations against other pupils policy
- Dealing with Disclosures
If a pupil asks to speak to you about a problem do not promise confidentiality but explain that it may be necessary to consult a colleague.
Always stop and listen straight away to someone who wants to tell you about incidents or suspicions of abuse. Listen quietly and actively, giving your undivided attention. Allow silences when needed. Do not show shock or disbelieve but take what is said seriously.
Stay calm, no judgements, empathise. Never make a promise that you can keep what a child has said a secret. Give reassurance that only those who need to know will be told. Reassure the young person that they were right to tell you.
React to the student only as far as is necessary for you to establish whether or not you need to refer this matter, but don’t interrogate for full details.
Don’t ask leading questions – keep the open questions e.g. ’is there anything else you want to say?’
Do not criticize the perpetrator; the student may have affection for him/her.
Explain what you will do next – inform designated teacher, keep in contact.
If possible make brief notes about what they are actually telling you at the time. Keep these notes, however rough they are. If you are unable to make notes at the time write down what was said as soon as you can.
Try to record what was actually said by the student rather than your interpretation of what they are telling you.
Record the date, time, place and any noticeable nonverbal behaviour.
Report the incident to the designated teacher and do not tell any other adults or students what you have been told.
Never attempt to carry out an investigation of suspected abuse by interviewing the young person or any others involved. This is a highly skilled role and any attempts by yourself could affect possible criminal proceedings.
- Record Keeping
The designated teachers for child protection are responsible for ensuring that the necessary paperwork is completed and sent to the relevant people and stored in a safe and confidential place. This means that the records will be a coherent factual record of the concerns that are stored on individual children in a clear chronological order.
Child sexual exploitation (CSE)
The sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people, (or a third person or persons) receive something, (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affections, gifts, money) as a result of them performing and/or others performing on them, sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation can occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; for example being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain. In all cases those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidations are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child’s or young person’s limited availability of choice, resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability. (DCSF 2009).
Key Facts about CSE
- Sexual exploitation often starts around the age of 10 years old. Girls are usually targeted from age 10 and boys from age 8.
- It affects both girls and boys and can happen in all communities.
- Any person can be targeted but there are some particularly vulnerable groups: Looked after Children, Children Leaving Care and Children with Disabilities.
- Victims of CSE may also be trafficked (locally, nationally and internationally).
- Over 70% of adults involved in prostitution were sexually exploited as children or teenagers.
Sexual violence or abuse against children represents a major public health and social welfare problem within UK society, affecting 16% of children under 16. That is approximately 2 million children.
Good practice – Individuals
- Recognise the symptoms and distinguish them from other forms of abuse
- Treat the child/young person as a victim of abuse
- Understand the perspective / behaviour of the child/young person and be patient with them
- Help the child/young person to recognise that they are being exploited
- Collate as much information as possible
- Share information with other agencies and seek advice / refer to Social Care
Good practice – Organisations
- Ensure robust safeguarding policies and procedures are in place which cover CSE
- Promote and engage in effective multi-agency working to prevent abuse
- Work to help victims move out of exploitation
- Cooperate to enable successful investigations and prosecutions of perpetrators
Female Genital Mutilation FGM
FGM is child abuse and a form of violence against women and girls, and therefore should be dealt with as part of existing child safeguarding/protection structures, policies and procedures.
FGM is illegal in the UK. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the practice is illegal under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.
Other than in the excepted circumstances, it is an offence for any person (regardless of their nationality or residence status) to:
- perform FGM in England, Wales or Northern Ireland (section 1 of the Act);
- assist a girl to carry out FGM on herself in England, Wales or Northern Ireland (section 2 of the Act); and
- Assist (from England, Wales or Northern Ireland) a non-UK person to carry out FGM outside the UK on a UK national or permanent UK resident (section 3 of the Act).
Forced marriages (FM)
FM is now a specific offence under s121 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 that came into force on 16 June 2014.
A FM is a marriage conducted without the valid consent of one or both parties, and where duress is a factor Forced marriage is when someone faces physical pressure to marry (e.g. threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (e.g. if someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). This is very different to an arranged marriage where both parties give consent.
FM is illegal in England and Wales. This includes:
- taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place)
- marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not)
The Counter Terrorism & Security Act 2015
The Act places a Prevent duty on specified schools to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. The education and childcare specified authorities in Schedule 6 to the Act are as follows:
- The proprietors of maintained schools, non-maintained special schools, maintained nursery schools, independent schools (including academies and free schools) and alternative provision academies, PRUs, registered early years providers, registered late years providers and some holiday schemes.
Schools/settings subject to the Prevent Duty will be expected to demonstrate activity in the following areas –
- Assessing the risk of children being drawn into terrorism
- Demonstrate that they are protecting children and young people from being drawn into terrorism by having robust safeguarding policies.
- Ensure that their safeguarding arrangements take into account the policies and procedures of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
- Make sure that staff have training that gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism, and to challenge extremist ideas which can be used to legitimise terrorism
- Expected to ensure children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school
Sexting in schools
Flowchart for settings