This course will help you to understand better how to safeguard children and young people in your role within an Education setting. Here are the several learning outcomes.
- Explain what is meant by safeguarding in education.
- Explain the profound impact some well-known cases of child abuse and neglect have had on legislation.
- Explain the importance of multi-agency cooperation.
- Described what you need to do if a child makes a disclosure or if you suspect abuse.
- Explain what whistleblowing is, what it is not and why it is important.
- List the signs and symptoms of the different types of abuse.
- Recognise how safe and appropriate working practices can be adopted.
- Understand the importance of promoting a safeguarding ethos in schools.
How it works? Your course is broken down into small components to make it easy for your to personalise your learning. You can work though the components in whichever sequence yourprefer, but you have to complete them all to receive a certificate.
- Safeguarding in Education-Scenarios.
- Designated Safeguarding Leads Training.
- Safeguarding in Education.
- Children Missing in Education.
- Case studies in Education.
- Keeping children safe in education.
- Sex education in schools.
- Serious case reviews/Bichard etc.-child.
- Safeguarding Legislation and Guidance-child.
- Child : what is multi-agency cooperation.
- Child : definition, jargon and Key Terms.
- Overview of Safeguarding.
- Child: Best Practice.
- What to do if child discloses Information.
- National and Local context.
- Ways to reduce the likelihood of abuse.
- Helping children who you suspect are subject to abuse.
- Why is safeguarding important;
- Child : what are the signs and symptoms of abuse;
- Whitesblowing : child protection;
- Child : what is emotional abuse;
- Child: what is neglect;
- Child : What is Physical Abuse;
- Child : What is sexual abuse;
- Roles and Responsibilities when looking after children;
- Effective Record keeping;
- Reporting Abuse;
- What does legislation mean for your behaviour?
- Child : How to recognise abuse;
- Helping Children who have been Subject to abuse.
This Training also will tackle about the following:
- Serious Case Reviews (SCRs);
- Legislation; and
An Overview of Safeguarding
So, what is safeguarding?
Everyone has the right to be kept safe from harm, abuse or neglect. Safeguarding is a term introduced in the UK several decades ago, encompassing a wide range of measures and principles to ensure that the basic human rights of individuals are protected.
Safeguarding can be used in a number of wide-reaching situations, the main one being when looking after vulnerable people, particularly children, young people and adults.
What is safeguarding in respect of children and young people?
The government’s Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 guidance provides the following definition: protecting children from maltreatment, preventing impairment of children’s health or development, ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop the risks and experience of abuse or neglect.
Abuse of children includes:
- Emotional abuse (Psychological).
- Neglect or acts of omission.
- Physical abuse.
- Sexual abuse.
We all have a role to play in vulnerable people from all forms of abuse.
Many people do not act because they’re worried about being wrong.
Always remember: if you ever have cause for concern, doing nothing is not an option.
Never assume that someone else will recognise and report what you have seen or heard.
It takes many pieces of a jigsaw before you can see the full picture.
The components for the Course, Safeguarding in Education
- Safeguarding in Education-Scenarios
- Designated Safeguarding Leads Training
- Safeguarding in Education
- Children Missing in Education
- Case studies in Education
- Keeping Children safe in Education
- Sex Education
Child: Best Practice Principles:
- Duty of Care–
- any one working with children has a duty of care to make sure they are kept safe from harm abuse and injury.
- Anyone working with children has a duty of care to make sure they are kept safe from harm, abuse and injury.
- Performing your duty of care is a legal obligation, breaking this duty could result to legal action.
Questions: Do you think you have a legal obligation to perform the duty of care?
Answer. Yes- Performing your duty of care is a legal obligation, breaking this duty could result in a legal action. Lead practitioners must take a leadership role in promoting effective safeguarding practice across frontline staff. They should be able to guide and advise workers they lead.
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018
Safeguarding should be underpinned by the Following:
The children Act 2004 , as amended by the children and social work act 2017, strengthens this already important relationship by placing new duties on key agencies in a local area. Specifically, the police, clinical commissioning groups and at the local authority are under the duty to make arrangements to work together and with the partners locally to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area.
Everyone that comes into contact with children has a role to play.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposed of guidance as :
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing impairment for children’s health or development;
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
- Taking action to enable all children to have best outcomes.
What is meant by Wellbeing– refers to a child’s overall happiness, their quality of life and how healthy the child is.
Research shows that children with low wellbeing are more likely to have problems in their lives, including with their physical and mental health.
A CHILD CENTRED APPROCAH TO SAFEGUARDING
- Anyone working with children should see and speak to the child; listen to what they say, take their views seriously; and work with them and their families collaboratively and deciding how to support their needs.
- Special provision should be put in place to support dialogue with children who have communication difficulties, unaccompanied children, refugees, and those children who are victims of modern slavery and/or trafficking.
- This child centred approach is fundamental to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of every child. A child centred approach means keeping the child in focus when making decisions about their lives and working in partnership with their families.
- There should be no decisions made about the child without their involvement; even where a child may not be emotionally mature or are unable to articulate their opinions, verbal attempts must be made to gain their views and what they want to happen.
What you should know?
Everybody who works with children, parents and other adults in connection with the children should be able to recognise indicators of concern about a child’s welfare and safety.
A staff member or volunteer who may encounter concerns about the safety and wellbeing of a child should know:
- How to respond to child protections concerns
- Who in their organisation can offer support and guidance
- What other services available locally and how to gain access to them
- How to access and receive appropriate training
- When and how to make a referral to children’s social care under the referrals procedure of the police if necessary.
What to do when abuse in disclosed?
When an Individual discloses abuse, you should:
- Not act surprised or shocked
- Never force a child into a specific course of action they may not want
- Write down what the child has told you, as part of your written report
- Consider if a child has communication support needs, e.g. They may need an interpreter, information is easy read format, information communicated in braille, sign language, pictures, etc. It is important to ensure all information is accessible and in the individuals preferred communication method.
- Think about advocacy. Individua may be benefit from using an advocate to support them to express their views and what they want to happen, in the case, you should make arrangements for an individual to access an advocate. However, some individuals may feel confident to receive support from a relative or friend.
Child advocates- can offer advice and support for children and your people. The main purpose of a Child Advocates is to enable the child to express their wished and feelings. Advocacy encourages the empowerment of children and helps uphold their human rights. “Every Child has the right to say what they think in all matters affecting them and to have their views taken seriously’. (Art.12, UN Convention of the Human Rights of the child).
Family Group Conferencing (FGC)–is useful approach that enables people who are important in a child’s life, for example friends, family members, informal carers, and professionals to come together to discuss how the child can be kept safe and to plan for the future.
The child can choose the time and place for the meeting and who will attend so they remain in control. A child may need an advocate to support them at the meeting. It is important to identify this need to ensure they can participate fully.
Process of Family Group Conferencing:
Organisations with statutory Duties
Local authorities with responsibilities for children’s social care have a number of specific, statutory duties to organise and plan services for children. Where a child is suspected of , or likely to be, suffering significant harm, childrens, social care withl work in conjunction with the police and other organisiations to undertake a Sec. 47, enquiry under the Children Act 1989.
All organisations which do not have statutory duties under Sec. 11, for the Children Act 2004, but who do have involvement with the children and young people, direct or indirectly should still have arrangement in place. They should be aware of how they need to work with the Children Social Care in a local area. They have responsibility to ensure that their employees, volunteers, and service users are aware of these procedures and know how to access them.
Confidentiality, is another Key part of best Practice when Safeguarding Children. Under the General Date Protection Regulations in 2016 and Data Protection Act 2018, you must not share information with anyone that does not need to know. Select each of the buttons below for some guidance.
- Barrier – Remember that Data Protection Act is not a barrier to sharing information. It provides as a framework to ensure that personal information is about a living person is shared appropriately.
- Seek Advice- if you are in any doubt without disclosing the identity of the person where possible;
- Consistency– bases your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well –being of the person and others who may be affected by their actions.
- Open and Honest–with the person (and or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.
- Share with Consent: Where appropriate and, where possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent to share confidential information. You may still share information without consent, if in your judgement, that lack of consent can be overridden in the public interest. You will need to base your judgement on the facts of the case.
- Keep A Record , of your decisions and Necessary, proportionate, relevant, and accurate, timely and secure: Ensure that information you shares is necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, is shared only with those people who need to have it, is accurate, and up to date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is share securely.
- the reasons for it- whether it is to share information or not, if you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose .
Reporting to Local Children’s Social Care
What you should do if you feel you cannot report your concerns to a manager, or safeguarding lead? Perhaps they are involved in the abuse or you have reported your concerns previously and no action has been taken?
- In any of these condition applies, or if you feel you cannot report your concerns to a manger, you must report to an agency outside of the organisations you work in. Every local area will have a children’s Social Care Dept. This is the lead agency in the area for managing and responding to Children’s safeguarding Concerns.
You can contact these following people:
You can make a referral to Children Social Care, their phone number will usually be in your organisations Policy and procedure or online. You can also contact them for advice and guidance if needed. They will ask you for:
- The name of the organisation caring for the individual or the individual’s address,
- Individuals date of birth if( you know)
- Your name
- The organisation Name and the Individual is being care for by (if applicable) or the individuals address;
- Your contact number
- What your concerns are
Children Social Care has a legal duty to investigate safeguarding concerns. They may update you of the end result, though this may not be possible when legal proceedings are in place and /or where they need to protect the identity of people involved in the case.
Challenge: 6 Principles of Safeguarding:
- One of the underpinning principles of safeguarding is Prevention”.
From the options below, choose which actions would be support this being implemented in practice. When you are done, Select Submit.
- Taking Actions before harm occurs.
- Putting in place steps to combat neglect, harm and abuse;
- Raising awareness and training staff;
- Making information easily accessible.
CHILD NATIONAL AND LOCAL CONTEXT
This module provides practitioners with an overview of legislation informing child protection practice. After completing this module you will be able to do the ff.
- Define national and local context
- Identify legislation impacting on Child protection practice
- Outline how legislation impact on local child protection procedures
- Respond to child protection cases following legislation
- Explain what child practice safeguarding reviews and their impact on child protection practice
Key terms: (pg 2 of the module)
Practitioner-anyone working to safeguard children at risk
Child-refers to anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday.
Vulnerable Child-any child or young person who may be vulnerable depending on their age, home circumstance, they are receiving, etc.
Legislative Framework: (page 4 of the module)
Legislation is statutory. Means there is not an option not to comply.
- Legislations provide a description of the legal requirements and general principles that must be followed.
- Legislations also provide a national framework for child protection practice. Some parts of legislation formed in England apply to Wales, Scotland and northern Ireland.
- This module only focuses on legislation tha forms a national context for child protection in England.
Aims and objective of Child Protection Legislation and Policy in the UK. (pg.5/of the Module)
Policy and legislation in the UK aims to prevent and protect children and young people from unnecessary abuse and neglect;
- Encourage joint, multi-agency working though the establishment of safeguarding partners;
- Provide a comprehensive , robust response to complex child protection cases;
- Children are placed at the centre of child protection procedures, ensuring their voice and wished are included in every decision about them
- Provide children with age appropriate knowledge that empowers the child to learn how to keep themselves safe.
- Effective management of potential child abusers by implementing Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA
International Foundations for Child Protection
Across the UK and the world, child protection is founded on the principles outlined in the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC) 1989. The UNCRC recognises the rights of children and young people to ensure they group up in the spirit of peace, dignity tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity.
Reflect on what you already know about safeguarding legislations in England. (pg7/of the Module)
- Children Act of 1989
- Education Act 2002
- Children Act 2004
- Equality Act 2010
- Children and Families Act 2014
- Female Genital Mutilation Act 2015
- Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015
- The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016
- Children and Social Work Act 2017
- Data Protection Act 2018
(The above module provides an overview of each piece of legislation and outlines how this applies to current child protection and safeguarding policies and procedures.
- Children Act of 1989
- Introduced the paramount principle-the welfare of children must be of paramount consideration
- Paces a duty on local councils to carry out sec. 47 enquiries w/the aim of deciding whether action required to safeguard the child
- 2004 amendments created Common Assessment Framework for early help’) to improve multi0-agency working.
- Paces responsibility on safeguarding partners to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their local area.
- Education Act 2002
- Sets out the safeguarding duty for schools and colleges
- The statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education was published by the Dept. for Education under Sec. 175, Education Act 2002.
- Equality Act 2010
- Aims to reduce discrimination
- Makes it an offence for anyone to discriminate on the basis of nine protected characteristics
- Children and Families Act 2014
- Introduced the Education, Health and Care (ECH) Plan
- Created a system for shared parental leave
- Implemented steps for schools to support children with their medication
- Free school lunches for all children up to year Two
- Female Genital Mutilation Act 2015
- Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015
- Implemented the ‘Prevent duty’ and Channel panels
- Requires staff across all agencies to be aware of and protect children from the risks associated with radicalisation and extremism
- The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016
- Significant piece of legislation aiming to reduce the number of families and children living in poverty;
- Seeks to tackle worklessness, improve educational attainment and support troubled’ families
- Children and Social Work Act 2017
- Replaced local child safeguarding boards with local safe guarding children partnerships, . These consist of the local authority, clinical commissioning group and the chief officer of police
- Improved support for looked after children and care leavers
- Promotes the welfare and safeguarding of children
- Makes provisions about the relations of social workers
- Data Protection Act 2018
- Sets out the framework for data protection legislation
- States when information should be shared
- Creates lines of responsibility for the collection and processing of data
- Supports the General Data Protection Regulation (2018) GDPR, outlining how it applies in a UK Context.
Working Together to safeguard children 2018
The govt. has developed new protocols and guidance to provide an increasingly robust framework in the light of shortcomings in the child protection.
One key example is the statutory guidance ‘working together to safeguard children 2018’
Statutory guidance must be followed and outlines how professionals and organisations can implement legislation. This guidance has impacted child protection practice.
- Advocates for a child-centred approach to safeguarding, as well as the lines of responsibility for safeguarding and child protection
- Centred on initiating early help
- Outlines the process for managing child protection cases and plans
- The child safeguarding practice review panel work at a national level and are responsible for overseing lessons learned from child safeguarding incidents.
Public Inquiries and Serious Case Reviews (SCRs)
Previous to the child safeguarding Practice Review panel being established in 2018, serious Case Reviews were undertaken by the local safeguarding children boards.
Some high profile child protection cases have been significant in driving hange, such as:
- Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman (Sir Michael Bichard, 2004)
- Victoria Climbie (Lord Laming, 2003
- Baby Peter (2009)
- Daniel Pelka (2013)
It is important to be aware of public inquiries and serious case reviews that are put on to a national stage, as they enable practitioners and services to reflect on their own practice and ensure they are effective in their roles.
Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews (CSPR)-are systematic reviews of serious child safeguarding caes.
- At a local level, they are undertaken by local safeguarding children partnerships.
- At the national level , they are undertaken by the child safeguarding practice Review panel.
Serious child safeguarding cases are those in which abuse or neglect of a child is know or suspected and the child has dies or been seriously harmed.
Serious harm is considered to be immediate harm, or injury and longer term impairments, this includes physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, social and behavioural development.
Function and aims of CSPRs’
- Examine how local professionals and organisations have worked together to safeguard the child or young person,
- Consider what has happened to lead to the child, or young person, experiencing abuse or neglect;
- Assist organisations to improve safeguarding practice and policy to improve the effectiveness of child protection systems
- To understand practice from the perspective of the individuals and organisations involved at the time
- Findings are translated into actions which support and underpin sustainable change and improvement to prevent or reduce the risk of recurrence of similar incidents.
- They are not held to hold individuals, organisations or agencies, to account, instead they are focused on learning and improving practice.
Local Policies and Procedures
- Local policies and safeguarding protocols across England are built on national legislation. Every local authority and children services dept. should handle and manage safeguarding concerns in a uniform and consistent way.
- Local safeguarding children partners should develop policies and procedures that meet the needs of the children in their area. There are the followed by all agencies within the local area.
- Following and understanding safeguarding legislation ensures individuals are effectively protected from abuse and harm, whilst also ensuring clear and effective safeguarding practice.
Local Policies and Procedures
Brief check : Before you continue, obtain a copy of the child protection procedure in your organisation, and check if it contains the components outlined in the coming sections.
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has responsibility for the following:
- Checking the suitability of all potential recruits to adult social care and children and young people’s services by checking criminal records and other information held by the police;
- Making decisions about whether applicants should be permitted to work ins services for children, young people and adults at risk
- The DBS contained within this legislation as designated to help safeguard children and adults at risk but planned implementation was halted, pending a thorough review;
- The current situations is that the Criminal Records Bureau is responsible for the disclosure of criminal records and the DBS is responsible for the barring function;
- The independent safeguarding Authority is an independent decision-making body and also maintains two barred lists.
- The independent safeguarding Authority (ISA) will also continue to accept safeguarding referrals from employers and other regulatory bodies.
Safeguarding (or Protection) of children at risk (page 10/of the module )
The barred list is a list of a perpetrator maybe be placed upon should she/he be convicted of a crime against a child at risk
- A single DBS list replaced several lists after the SOham Murders in 2002.
DBS services are responsible for:
- Processing request for criminal records checks )DBS Checks
- Deciding whether it is appropriate for a person to be in placed on or removed from a barred list.
- Placing or removing people from the DBS children’s barred list and adults’ barred list of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Task: According to your Own Organisation’s Policy:
Read your Child protection procedure for your organisation? In this case, we have the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy”.
Question.1 What to do if there are signs or suspicions of abuse , i.e. consider wheat to do if a person at risk reports abuse happening at home, or elsewhere, and how to get in touch with local authority social care services, in case a concern need to be reported?
As well as considering who should be told, include information about how to respond to the person at risk.
Answer: “ According to our school Child Protection and Safeguard Policy, Issued copy Sept. 2020, under Sec. 5, Par. 1, says : If a member of staff, parent or member of the public is concerned about a child’s abuse welfare, they should report it to the one of the designated safeguarding leads, as soon as possible. Although any member of staff can make a referral to Children’s social care, where possible there should be a conversation with the Designated Safeguarding Leads. ( Aurelia P. Narido) the head teacher.”
How to get in touch to the Social Care Services, in cases a concern needs to be reported?
- 5, Par. 8, among others, states that
- Xxx Where a child has been harmed is/at risk of harm and in immediate danger a referral to Social Care will be made by the DSL ( the headteacher, Aurelia P. Narido).
Question2. What to do if there are allegations of abuse against a worker or volunteer, example who to tell and how to respond to the person making the allegation?
Question2.: Which safeguards are, or will be , put in place to protect children at risk, example consider areas such as the level and type of supervision, providing clear and guidance and procedures, plus involving parents and cares.
Question 3: What to do if there are allegations of abuse against a worker or volunteer ,example who to tell and how to respond to the person making the allegation(s0?
Question 4. How Children at risk will be informed about their rights and what to do if they have any concerns?
Question. How workers will be supported in their understanding and awareness of safeguarding children issues, example what sort of training will be provided.
Reporting to the Children Services
If you do not feel confident to report your concerns about an individual to your manager, or you don’t feel appropriate action has been taken, you can report directly to the children Services Team at your local council.
- What happens when you report it?
- The person who answers your call will decide what to do . For example they might:
- Gather more information;
- Ask a social worker to look into it;
- Contact the police, if they think the child is at immediate risk or a crime has been committed.
- The person who answers your call will decide what to do . For example they might:
The children service team will tell you what happens next, but they will not be able to give you any confidential information.
The following challenges have been designed to help you check your knowledge of:
- How to respond to child protection cases.
Case No. 1: Ricardo is 7 years old, he attends primary school, where staffs have notices that he appears to be losing weight and his clothing has been in a poor state of repair.
At lunch time you noticed Ricardo has nothing nutritious to eat in his lunch box, he is drinking a can of energy drink and eating some fairy cakes. You know the schoolteacher has spoken with his parents and supported them to attend a cookery class as you have raised similar concerns previously. You reported your concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead again, though are not convinced you have been taken seriously. You want to take further action. What should you do?
Answer: What you should do?
- Note down all your observations,
- Ensure you focus on providing facts,
- Report your concerns to the Local safeguarding Children Partnership
Cases No. 2: Responding to case
Facts of the case : “Case: Read the case below, and answer the question, using your child protection policy in your organisation.
Facts of the case :
Amburo is 15 y.o., though she was born in England, her parents are from Somalia and like to follow traditional Somalian Cultural norms.
Amburo has just returned from a week-long period of unauthorised absence from school, where she receives support for dyslexia and a mild learning disability.
The teaching assistance has noticed Amburo appears very upset; she seems quiet withdrawn and in pain. She has asked to go to the bathroom several times and has spent a long period of time there. When the teaching assistant asks Amburo if she is okay, she looks away and doesn’t reply. “
Answer : In this scenario, I would report the matter to the DSL in the Education setting.
What to do when A child discloses information about abuse or neglect to you?
- Find somewhere quiet;
- If a child discloses information to you you must immediately consider your surroundings and whether they are appropriate,
- If the setting you are in is inappropriate, respond it immediately. Calmly explain that you would like to continue talking to then in a quiet setting
- Don’t make a big thing of this. Be aware that children a different sense of time and if they feel that a long time passes or if someone else has noticed, they may not continue the disclosure.
- If it is inappropriate to speak to them at the moment of disclosure, then reassure them that you do want to listen and that you will find them when it is appropriate to talk.
- Remember : if you do take a child somewhere quiet on your own, make sure you tell a member of staff where you are and remember your own safety.
- Clarify what the child has said
- Soemtimes you may need to clarify what a child tells you;
- Imagine that a small girl tells you that her daddy plays with her fairy, what does this tell you?
- Could she be suffering from inappropriate touching or does her daddy play with her and her fairy princess doll? You don’t really know, do you?
- You may have to ask question to establish exactly what is being said to you.
- Use open questions which start with tell” explain and describe (TED)
- Listen to them
- Make sure you listen to them and that they feel safe talking to you.
- Be reassuring and sympathetic at all times.
- Acting on your suspicions
- Time is vital! In some organisations it is common procedure to report your concerns to a manager or named person. They will then decide what action could be taken. If that is the person is not available, do not allow this to delay referral. Consider the following:
- Could there be an immediate risk to the child fi they were to leave your presence/the premised?
- Do you need powers only available to the police? Foex example you may need the power of arrest or the power to protext a child without the need for a court order?
- Follow your organisation’s child protection procedure.
- If you suspect child abuse or neglect, ALWAYS make a referral to children’s social care.
- Never Delay making a referral as time is vital.
- MAKING A REFERRAL.
- Always inform children’s social care services or child protection services if you suspect abuse or neglect.
- Make sure to confirm your referral in writing
- If you need advice, call children’s social care/protection services). There will always be an out-of-hours number available.
- Ring 999 immediately if an ambulance or the police are needed.
- Who to report your suspicions to?
- Endland and Wales-Children social Care
- Scotland-social work force
- Nothern Ireland-the gateway services team for children’s social serives
- The police
- Who to report your suspicions to?
Disclosure of abuse or neglect from an adult against a child.
- When an adult discloses their abuse or neglect of a child, you must first ensure the person is aware that the information will be shared with other interested parties and that total confidentiality is not possible. You should then adopt the same questioning methods proposed for children.
- Refer to your Local Safeguarding Children Partnership policy and procedures for information Sharing Guidance.
- Always remember the welfare of a child comes before a duty to an adult.
What to do if a child discloses information?
Responding and Identifying – Four Steps
There are four steps to assist in identifying and responding to potential abuse and neglect:
- Be alert. Be alert to indicators of abuse and neglect. Read your organization’s policies and procedures, set out in your local multiagency safeguarding arrangements. If you feel unsure, you need to ask for additional training from your manager. • Never make assumptions that the children you come into contact with are safe. Always remain alert and open to potential signs of abuse. Even suspecting abuse and taking action can protect a child and possibly save a life.
- Question behaviors. Children may not tell someone they are being abused: therefore, it is important to be alert. If you think something seems unusual, you should try to speak to the child alone as long as this will not cause the child any distress. • If a child reports that they are being abused directly to you in conversation, you should listen to them and take action to keep them safe. • You should reassure the child you are taking action and that you will make sure only people that can help them know. However, never promise to keep secrets. • If you feel that sharing information with a child’s parent(s) will place the child at an increased risk of harm, e.g. where the parent(s) or carer(s) may be responsible for the abuse, passing the information on to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) will be sufficient for them to then take appropriate action. Never take action you do not feel comfortable or confident to take. www.virtual-college.co.uk Step
- Ask for help. Ask for help you should discuss your concerns with someone senior in your organisation. Outlined below are possible people you could contact if you are concerned about a child or if a child discloses abuse. • If you work in a school or college, your concerns should be reported to the DSL. They will then decide if it is appropriate for a referral to be made to children’s social services. • If you are an early years practitioner, your concerns should be reported to the DSL. • If you are a childminder, you should take responsibility yourself and report your concerns to children’s social services where appropriate. • If you are a health practitioners working in the NHS, you should report your concerns to the DSL. • If you work in police services, you should speak to your child abuse or investigation unit or team for advice. Further advice and guidance is available from: • Local children’s social services. • The police. • The NSPCC helpline: 0808 800 5000, or by email on email@example.com Step
- Refer. If at any time you are worried a child is being harmed or is likely to be or is in need of safeguarding, you should immediately make a referral to your local authority children’s social care. Do not wait to contact the DSL. Referrals to local children’s social care can be made by any practitioner. • If you see further signs of potential abuse, even if you have made a referral, you can report and refer again. • If a child discloses historical abuse, i.e. abuse that has happened in the past but is not currently happening, you should follow your organisation’s policies and procedures. • Ensure you note down what the child has told you in the usual way before passing this over to the DSL in your setting, or contacting children’s social service child protection dept.
All four steps may not always need to be followed. If a child is at immediate risk of harm and neglect, you should immediately refer the child to children’s social care and/or the police.
However, before making a referral, it is helpful to establish the basic facts of what is happening. The role of the social workers and the police is to investigate cases and make judgements around the actions that need to be taken to protect the child from further harm.
Further advice and guidance is available from:
- Local children’s social services.
- The police.
- The NSPCC helpline: 0808 800 5000,
or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Body Child Protection Map-IS used to record information about physical injuries, it provides a visual record of where injuries, or bruising were identified and can assist professionals to work together to decide if there is a safeguarding concern.
Select the icons below to see what information should be included on a body protection map.
- Who notice the injury, when they noticed it, what their relationship is to the child
- Details of the injury: where it is on the child, appearance, colour, shape and size.
- Details on all visible injuries, including small marks.
- How the child is: his emotions, are they distressed, have they given any explanation for the injury?
- Details of anything the parent says about the injury
- Include a written description of the injury as well as indicating where the injury is.
Children who have bruising with petechial (dots of blood under the skin) around them make it more likely a child is being subject to intended abuse.
When you have recorded a disclosure in line with your organisation’s policies and procedures you must pass this information to ensure the child is sufficiently protected from further harm and abuse.
Module : Ways to Reduce the likelihood of Abuse
- Explain what is meant by reducing the likelihood of abuse;
- Identify 11 practice areas that can help contribute to effective safeguarding practice;
- Explain how the likelihood of abuse can be resudece using examples in practice.
This module is important because there is always a risk of abuse, this module outlines ways to reduce the likelihood do abuse creating a safe environment for individuals and practitioners.
11 Areas of care and support to consider are outlined below:
- As you work through this module, it may be a good idea to keep a note of any new practice that you could implement. This will improve your practice and reduce the likelihood of abuse;
- People Experience;
- Diversity and individuals needs;
- Consent and Confidentiality;
- People, carer, and communication participation
- Education and training
- Service Delivery
- Safeguarding; and
Underlying Causes of Abuse
Recent serious Case Reviews have identified a number o reasons that may make abuse more likely. These include the following:
- Insufficient staffing levels
- Staff not having access to regular training opportunities
- Poor and insufficient record-keeping.
- Lack of dignity and person-centred care.
- Poor recruitment processes
- Staff failing to follow their training
- Poor information sharing
- Inaccurate record-keeping
- Lack of professional curiosity.
How to reduce the likelihood of abuse
Reducing abuse and promoting an individual’s wellbeing goes hand in hand. Things you can do include the following:
- Adopting a person-centred approach.
- Maintaining high standards of record-keeping.
- Maintaining confidentiality.
- Having robust, clear policies and procedures that are read and understood by all health and social care practitioners.
- Undertaking regular training, supervision and appraisal
- Working in partnership with other professionals to empower individuals
- Helping individuals access support and ensuring that they know how to report abuse
- Providing individuals with information about abuse and their rights.
- Keeping the individual at the centre of their care and support (delivering person-centred care).
Peoples Experiences are key to helping reduce Abuse.
- Ensure that individuals are provided with access to the complaints proceduere.
- They should always be able to use their preferred communication method when complaining
- Ensure individuals are listened to and asked if they are happy with their care and support
- Listening to individuals using the service and responding appropriately changing aspects of their care if they are unhappy
- Listening to individuals and how they fell about a service to enable you to identify early any potential signs of abuse.
- Resident Forums:
- Services usually offer resident forums, or a way for individuals using a service to come together to talk about any issues they feel should be addressed.
- It is important that practitioners support individuals to access their forums
- Providing information about when the forums are held and why they are important can encourage individuals to attend
- You also need to ensure you find out when and how often meetings are held, you can pass information on to the individuals you support.
- Using empathy to try and imagine the experience an individual is having may enhance their experience of health and social care
- One way to gain an insight into an individual’s experience is to imagine a love one is being cared for by the service you work in
- If you feel that care and support provided by the service you work in wouldn’t be good enough for a loved one then, this could indicate that the service is not performing well and that there is a risk of abuse.
- People’s experiences – examples in practice
Example one – Todd
- Todd lives with early onset dementia. He visits a residential home once a week for half a day to give his wife a break from caring. When Todd arrives, he is greeted warmly by staff, they invite him to sit down and offer him a drink which he accepts.
- Todd enjoys his lunch, and afterwards he returns to the lounge. Staffs do not interact with him, only to offer him a drink and he is left to wander in the lounge. Over the next three hours, Todd walks around the perimeter of the lounge; on four occasions he is rattling the patio doors that lead out to the garden. Although staff are sitting in armchairs and observe Todd’s movements, they don’t engage him or ask him if he would like to go outside as it is a nice day. At 5:00pm, his wife collects him.
- How do you think Todd might feel? Do you think Todd has had his needs met? What measures could have been put into place to reduce any potential abuse. Which type of abuse do you think Todd experienced?
- Although Todd is kept safe during his stay in the service, he has not engaged in any meaningful interactions. Meaningful interactions are important, as they contribute to the individual’s sense of self: promoting a high self-esteem and confidence. Todd may feel bored, lonely and worthless. Since Todd is in the early stages of his dementia, he may be aware of his condition and could want to talk to someone about his feelings. Subsequently, Todd can be considered the victim of neglect and possibly organizational abuse.
- Offering Todd engagement, either by talking about his interests or just going for a walk around the garden could be positive for both his physical and mental wellbeing. Although dementia is not curable, engaging in meaningful activities may help to reduce the rate of progression supporting improved wellbeing.
- Example two –
- Marie People’s experiences – examples in practice . Marie lives with Downs Syndrome. She lives in a supported living service and also volunteers at a clothes shop twice a week. She is supported by a small team of support workers and has a good relationship with them. One afternoon a support worker arrives at the clothes shop to assist Marie to return home. Marie is usually very talkative, often telling the support worker about her day and what she has been doing. Though, today, Marie is quiet and withdrawn.
- Later in the evening, Marie tells her support worker she doesn’t want to go back to the clothes shop to work. The support worker nods, replying she’ll let the clothes shop knows and she can find something different to do instead. Marie tells the support worker a new worker in the clothes shop made fun of her and called her names. The support worker just tells Marie she needs to be tougher and not so sensitive.
- Which type of abuse could Marie be a victim of? How could the support worker improve their responses to provide a better outcome? What could the long-term impact of not working be in Marie’s wellbeing?
- Marie appears to have experienced discriminatory abuse. She has reported what has happened to her support worker, but no action has been taken. The support worker has failed to demonstrate empathy, or any consideration of the long-term impacts of not working on Marie, i.e. a lack of self-esteem, value, skills and socializing with other people.
- Since the experience has been significant enough to cause Marie to finish her voluntary work she could be at risk of social isolation and loneliness, as well as poor psychological wellbeing. It is important to listen to individuals and act on what they tell you, to enable you to provide high quality care and support. The support worker should have reported the incident in line with their organization’s policies and procedures, ensuring that they asked Marie what outcomes she wanted.
Diversity and Individual Needs
Promoting diversity and individual needs is Important for reducing abuse. Things you can do include the following:
- Being aware of each individual’s cultural background to enable care to be delivered sensitively and inclusively.
- Providing individual with opportunities to discuss end of life care so that their views and wishes are accurately recorded. It is important to ensure end of life care plans are kept under reviews, as individuals may decide to adjust their preferences.
- Ensuring individuals are provided with access to health care and health care professionals as their conditions changes, or if they feel unwell.
- Checking communication needs and ensuring that steps are taken to meet these.
- Regularly reviewing Care plan,/support Plans to ensure that individuals are happy with the care and support they received
- Accurately recording instances in which an individual’s needs or health appear to be changing and making an appointment with the relevant professional with the individual’s consent.
Providing complex information to an individual or using jargon, could confuse them and mean they are unable to participate fully in decisions about their care and support.
- It is important that you always consider whether an individual might need an advocate to support them in articulating their views on decisions about their care and support
- Equally it is important to consider if an individual requires an interpreter if English is not their first language.
Diversity and Individual Needs-examples in practice.
Shahzad – Unsupported faith
Shahzad is a Muslim. He is autistic and has a learning disability. His faith is very important to him. He keeps relics and a Qur’an in his room. He is not supported to attend a mosque or to pray at the correct times throughout the day. Consequently, Shahzad may feel his identity is oppressed and he is not respected as an individual.
It is important that every individual is provided with opportunities to follow their faith, religion or spiritual beliefs. This supports good psychological wellbeing. Even if a religion or faith is new to you it is important for you to request additional training from your manager, or at least take steps to learn a little about the individual’s beliefs to enable you to support them.
Diversity and individual needs – examples in practice
Lilian – Access to social space
Lilian lives with Parkinson’s disease. She experiences quite severe tremors and has recently started to become more reliant on a wheelchair. She lives in a care home. Before she was using the wheelchair, she used to enjoy spending time in the communal areas and engaging in activities. She also has friends who she would enjoy talking to each day. Lilian has asked to go downstairs, Staff appear too busy and never get around to supporting her to go downstairs. She is starting to feel very lonely, depressed and as though life isn’t worth living. In this example, Lilian is the victim of organisational abuse and neglect. Every effort must be made to respect and act on the individual’s wishes and preferences. Failing to do so can have serious negative consequences for the individual’s wellbeing.
All of the training that practitioners complete should be based on evidence-based practice.
- It is important to ensure that you always follow your training so that you are effective in responding to the wishes and preferences of the individuals you support
- Engaging individuals in conversation or calling individuals by their preferred name helps ensure you are effective in supporting an individual’s wellbeing.
- You should work effectively in partnership with other colleagues and professionals to support the delivery of the best outcomes for the individuals you support. This helps individuals feel safe and secure in their environment.
- Ensuring you follow an individual’s Care Plan/Support Plan is also important in the delivery of high-quality care and support. Always ask for an individual’s consent before supporting them, and encourage them to actively participate in their care as much as possible. This helps to reduce a individual’s dependency on othe
Effectiveness example in practice:
Lucinda is a personal assistant for Steven. He has poor physical mobility caused by muscular dystrophy. He is reliant on Lucinda for all of his personal care and has very little control over day to day activities in his life.
Lucinda has recently purchased a smart speaker (voice-controlled speaker) for herself. She knows it can switch lights on and off, though she isn’t sure what else it could do. She completes some research online and finds a study that suggests individuals with physical disabilities could benefit from using the smart speaker.
She decides to show Steven what she has found out and the ways in which a smart speaker could assist him. Steven says he is keen to try it and with Lucinda’s support he purchases a smart speaker. In a month, Steven’s life has been transformed; he is now able to control most aspects of his home and access information he wants at any time of the day. Lucinda continues to support Steven with the device and helps him to find out about new functions that could empower him to be more independent. She also explains how he can make a phone call using his voice.
In your role, you should try to be proactive in thinking about solutions to the challenges individuals face. Working in partnership with your colleagues and individuals provides an opportunity to engage in effective problem solving activities. Developing co-produced solutions to the challenges individuals face assures effective practice and reduces the dependency of the individuals you support. Effectiveness – examples in practice
Consent and Confidentiality
All practitioners must maintain an Individual’s confidentiality and only share information on a need-to-know” basis with the people involved in delivering the individuals care.
- Where information is shared w/o the individuals consent, i.e. where there are safeguarding concerns, the individuals wish not to have information shared must be documented.
- If there is a security breach or a chance an individual’s information has been accessed by an unauthorised person, then this must be responded to immediately and in a way that is I line with the organisations’ confidentiality policies and procedures.
- Practitioners must never talk about individuals outside of the workplace, in front of other individuals, or in communal areas where unauthorised people could overhear conversations.
- Where an individuals is unable to give consent, practitioners must follow the principles set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005,. All decisions made for an individual w/o the individuals consent must be in the individual’s best interest and documented.
People, carer and Community Participation.
The views and choices of people, cares, and community members underpin the development planning, implementation, evaluation and revision of Personalised Care Services.
- Strategies are used to involve people and carers
- Co –production is a big driver in local authorities
- This involves working together with individuals and communities to develop Policies and Procedures.
- It is more than a consultation, and really involves people in their development of the services they receive.
People, Cares and Community Participate-examples in Practice.
A residential care home is planning to make improvements to the communal garden. Individuals living in the home, their relatives and visitors are asked what improvements they would like to see and what ideas they might have for improvements to be made. Example 2
Penny is a community healthcare assistant. She assists individuals in their own home. An individual tells her they are not happy with the time of their call: they would like an earlier call as they are planning to attend a day service twice a week. Penny listens to the individual, reports this back to her team leader and a new time is agreed with the individual. Example 3
Barlow lives with diabetes. His personal assistant supports him to check his blood sugar. Barlow tells the personal assistant he would like to take his own bloods. The personal assistant assists the individual to talk to the diabetes nurse, who is able to show Barlow how to check his own bloods.
Mary Lou lives in a care home. She tells the carer she has been thinking the garden could do with some work. She explains she is a fond gardener, and has noticed the garden has weeds and is not looking as good as it used to be. Mary Lou explains she has strong links to her faith group and asks if they could come in and help tidy the garden. The carer tells Mary Lou this is a good idea, so reports Mary Lou’s idea to the senior support worker for consideration. After a resident’s meeting, it is agreed with residents that the faith group can be involved in assisting to tidy the garden. Some residents have also shown interest and a gardening group is formed at the request of residents. People, carer and community participation – examples in practice
Education and Training
You must attend any training your employer offers to ensure that you are delivering the high-quality care and support to the individuals you ae supporting.
- Every health and social care practitioner has a duty of care not to harm individuals by omissions or actions.
- It is important practitioners request training if they do not feel competent in any aspect of their role. After completing training, if you do not feel competent, you must ask for additional training.
- Employers should seek to develop their staff and support access to nationally-recognized qualifications, such as apprenticeships.
- Where an individual has a specialist need or where carers require specialist knowledge, the trained healthcare professional (where possible) should deliver additional training e.g. training for the management of diabetes should be delivered by the diabetes nurse,. Training for the end of life care should be delivered by a palliative care nurse working in a hospice.
- As part of your induction or ongoing professional development, you should be supported to complete the Care Certificate. This contains the minimum standards of work for health and social are practitioners.
- It is imperative to follow best practice around moving and handling to reduce the likelihood of physical abuse. If you fall to follow your training you can easily place individuals at risk of harm and abuse.
- Good safeguarding training should enable you to recognize and respond to abuse effectively, applying a person centered approach
You must ensure the records you maintain are objective , factual and legible
- Recording care and support as you deliver it is good practice. This is called Continuous record-keeping and ensures records are updated and maintained as you work.
- Today, many health and social care organisations use technology to record care and support. You must ensure you feel confident and competent when using technology, including being able to recognise cyber-attacks. If you do not feel confident using technology you must ensure you ask for national training from your manager.
- If care records are not accurately maintained, there is no record that cares and support has been carried out. This means individuals are at an increased risk of neglect.
- If you suspect an individual is being abused, or they disclose that they are being or have been abused, it is imperative you record this immediately and follow your organisation’s safeguarding policy.
- Never wait to report abuse.
Documentation-examples in Practice
Boris lives at home and is preparing for a care plan review. He has a speech impairment and sometimes finds it difficult to express his views. To assist him, he has access to an advocacy service. Advocates support individuals to express their views and help ensure the individual is provided an opportunity to be fully involved in their care and support.
Candice lives in a nursing home. She lacks mental capacity to consent to bed rails. She has expressed in the past that she does not want bed rails and she tells staff she feels trapped. Healthcare assistants report Candice’s views to a team leader who contacts an occupational therapist to arrange a review looking into the least restrictive option, i.e. alternatives to bed rails.
Rosie attends a day service. Even though she has not slept well the night before she still wants to go to the day services. Support workers inform staff at the day service that Rosie maybe more tired than usual and they should call them if Rosie asks to be picked up earlier than usual. Example 4
Simba is in hospital following a fall. He is quite anxious and agitated. He has vascular dementia which means he finds transitioning and moving between services difficult. Healthcare staff in the nursing home inform staff at the hospital that Simba can become very distressed. They provide a copy of his Care Passport which contains details of his medication, likes, preferences and next of kin. This helps staff in the hospital understand how to reassure Simba and make him feel safe while he is in hospital. Documentation – examples in practice
Service Delivery . All health and social care organisations should work in Partnership with professionals and others organisations to meet individuals ‘needs
- Involving one or more services in the delivery of an individual’s care and support enables the individual to achieve the best outcomes possible, increasing their wellbeing.
- If partnership working with other organisations is not implemented, a closed culture could place an individual’s wellbeing at risk.
- Shift handovers and good communication across a team of health and social care practitioners is also important to ensure individuals do not go without their needs being met.
- If there are any concerns about an individual, these can handed over, and staff can continue to monitor the individual.
Safety. The safety and security of people carers, and staff should be maintained at all times.
- You must ensure you remain alert to hazards in the work environment
- A hazard is anything that can cause harm and can include broken equipment, blocked fire doors, or uneven surfaces that could increase the risk an individual might fall.
- It is important visitors and individuals know and understand the actions to take in the event of a fire
- If an individual smokes, they should be supported to smoke outside so they are not presenting a risk to others
- Any substances harmful to health must be risk-assessed and handled with care;
- Never leave cleaning fluids or other harmful substances in communal areas that individuals could access.
- Always ensure you have read and understand all risk assuagements that you should know.
Safety –example in practice
- Changing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in between assisting individuals with personal hygiene.
- Checking the ID of anyone requesting access to the building or an individual.
- Reporting any broken furniture in line with your organisational policies and procedures. •
- Following risk assessments. •
- Checking and recording water temperatures before assisting an individual with a bath or a shower. •
- Know who the trained first aider is in your setting. •
- If you feel incompetent using manual handling equipment, ensure you request additional training. •
- Check and/or replace ripped armchairs or soft furnishings that may present a hazard to individuals. •
- Always use equipment for the purpose it was intended for and for an individual who is assessed as needing the equipment. Never use equipment that an individual has not been assessed for. •
- If an individual has dysphagia (difficulties swallowing) ensure you follow the individual’s risk assessment and are confident understanding textured diets and how to use thickener. •
- If you find medication on the floor, report this to the lead adult care worker. If you choose to pick up the medication, ensure you wear gloves.
- Can you think of any other ways you follow safety in your role? List them below
Confirming positive action for change
- Try to identify at least one change you will make to your practice to reduce the likelihood of abuse occurring.
- Why not note this down somewhere? If the opportunity arises, this could also be a good topic to discuss with your manager.
- Being aware and alert to indicators of abuse
- Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility.
- All contact with individuals should be considered, including healthcare workers, other professionals and family members.
- The focus should be across the board and always from a holistic viewpoint.
- Although it is important to remain alert to the indicators of abuse presented by the individuals you support, you also need to be aware of indicators that could present around the other people the adult is surrounded by.
- If you only focus on the adult you are supporting, there is a high risk you will miss indicators of abuse presented by others.
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Leadership: Effective leadership should be in place throughout the organisation.
Lead adult care workers should listen to health and social care practitioners, offering support and guidance to help practitioners feel confident in their role.
- Managers should be responsive to any safeguarding concerns and respond promptly to complaints.
- You should speak to your manager if you are unsure about any aspect of your role, or have any concerns in respect of any practice you observe.
- Support and training should be provided for all staff.
- Always report poor or unsafe practice that could lead to an individual coming to harm.
- You need to ensure you know how to report suspected and disclosed abuse.
- Every health and social care organisation is required to have a safeguarding policy in place. This should
- also include the contact details for the local authority and any external organisations, e.g. the Care Quality Commission (Cac).
- If you observe abuse, or suspect abuse, you must act as promptly as possible. If an individual has sustained possible injury as a result of abuse, you must ensure the individual is provided with access to healthcare and a medical assessment.
- If you feel your safeguarding concern has not been acted on by a manager, you must report this to the local authority (Safeguarding Adults Board). Failure to do so can place an individual at a continued risk of abuse, contributing to lowered wellbeing.
- Always maintain confidentiality. Never discuss individuals outside of the care setting, or share information with anyone who is not involved in the individual’s care and support.
Aware and alert to indicators of abuse – examples in practice
Sally – Identifying indicators of child abuse Sally is a community care worker. She supports Louisa, who lives with a physical disability and cognitive impairment caused by a road traffic accident. Louisa lives with her husband and son, Anwar, who is seven years old. Whilst Sally is assisting Louisa to drink, she notices Anwar appears to have a black eye. He seems very withdrawn: when Louisa asks him if he is going to school today, he looks down and says no. Louisa’s husband tells Anwar to go back to bed and rest. As Anwar passes his dad, Sally notices he is limping. Louisa doesn’t say anything, and her husband goes upstairs. In this case study, although Louisa is not demonstrating indicators of abuse, her son is. When Sally has finished assisting Louisa, she calls her team leader to report her concerns. Aware and alert to indicators of abuse – examples in practice Shammia – Identifying domestic abuse Shammia is a healthcare assistant in a nursing home. She welcomes Margaret and Ben into the nursing home to spend time with their Dad, who is receiving end of life care. Shammia notices Margaret is very quiet but puts it down to the situation. A little later Shammia returns to check if Margaret and Ben are okay. Before she knocks on the door, she overhears Ben telling Margaret it his right to have control over his Dad’s affairs and her views are not important. She hears Margaret trying to talk to Ben, though he tells her to “shut up” before Shammia hears what sounds like a slap. Shammia immediately reports to the team leader and the police are called.
Ways to Reduce the likelihood of Abuse ( Reflective Tool)
The activities in this tool will support you to reflect on your own experience and knowledge in order to improve your practice.
Reflection is defined as: A generic term for those intellectual and affective activities in which individuals engage to explore their experiences in order to lead to a new understanding and appreciation (Boud, 1985)
Your thoughts and ideas : (Think about your own practice and experience, spend some time considering the following questions:
- What do you think causes abuse?
- How can you reduce the likelihood of abuse in your practice?
(Type your thoughts in a paper)
Your Education and Training
Training is a valuable tool. It enables you to learn new skills and to perform your job to a higher standard. Think about your role-what training have you completed, for example, have you completed safefuarding training? Please type your thoughts in a paper.
- How has this training supported you to perform your role has it enable you to recognize indicators of abuse?
- Training will support you to perform your role to a higher standard. Regular training will cement these abilities and enable better work performance.
Planning for the future
Are there any areas of your practice you feel unsure about? Or any additional training needs you feel you could benefit from?
It may be useful to look at your Personal Development plant to help you think about your goals and any training you may need to ensure you achieve them. Please type your thoughts.
It is a good idea to regularly review the training you have received and to think about any additional training that you may benefit from. This can then go into your Personal Development Plan.
Helping Children Who You Suspect are Subject to Abuse
Imagine you suspect that a child is being abused. What do you need to do to protect the child?
There are two key policies that practitioners need to be aware of, which both outline how to promote children’s welfare and responses to concerns about a child’s welfare.
- Promote every child’s welfare
- Protect children from maltreatment
- Prevent impairment of children’s health or development
- Ensure children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
- Take action to enable all children to have best outcomes ( Working together to safeguard Children, 2018
- Child Protection
- Actions taken to protect children who are at the increased risk of, or who are experiencing, significant harm.
How Suspicions Arise?
Suspicions might arise in numerous different ways, ranging from your gut feeling to something you have seen.
- Something you observe: You could see some physical signs of abuse, such as bruises, burns, or other marks that cannot be identified. Watch how the carer reacts to the child and how the child reacts to their carer. You might see signs of neglect or abuse and may be worried about the child. Make sure to look not only physical signs, but also for behavioral changes.
- Something you hear or are told
- Listening is extremely important. You could be told something by a child, you could hear a parent or carer abusing a child, or you might overhear something that unnerves you.
- Your Knowledge of the family
- As you deal with a family over a period of time, you may start fitting pieces of the jigsaw together that indicate the child is possibly at risk. Example the presence of domestic abuse in the child’s home or parental violence or substance misuse, which can increase the likelihood a child, might be at risk of harm. It is important that if you receive preious records for a child, you read them at the beginning of your involvement with the child or their family.
- Be aware that other people are also likely to be involved with the family and that they may have other pieces of the jigsaw.
- What to do and what not to do if you suspect abuse?
- Provide first aid treatment or seek medical help if the child’s injuries/marks require it.
- Record what you hae been told as accurately as you can, using in the child’s own words as far as is practically possible
- Inform the child that you must pass on to other people what the child is saying if it seems that this child or other children have been or may be hurt.
- Make time to talk to and spend time with the child enable the child to feel safe to talk about what has happened. Never pressure the child to talk.
- What NOT to do:
- Do not take photographs of any injuries/marks
- Do not examine the child
- Do not remove any of the child’s clothing to look at injuries/marks
- Do not just write a brief summary of what happened
- Do not ask the child questions; instead, allow the child to talk to you freely when they feel able.
- Do not start a detailed investigation about what the child is telling you.
What to do if you suspect abuse – Children
What do you need to do if you suspect that a child is being abused? And how can you protect them?
- If you suspect that a child is being abused, it is important that you refer to your local policies and procedures. All agencies and organisations working with children are legally required to have their own policies and procedures.
- If you suspect that a child is being abused, it is also very important to listen. You might be told something, you might hear a parent or carer abusing a child, or you might overhear something that makes you feel uneasy.
- You might also see some physical signs of abuse like bruises, burns or other unexplained marks on the child and be worried about them.
- If you suspect that a child is being abused, look for any changes in their behaviour as well as any physical signs.
- If you are worried about them, watch how the child reacts to their carer, watch how the carer reacts to the child and watch how the child and carer interact together.
Remember that other people are likely to be involved with the family. If you receive existing records for a child, it is important that you read them at the beginning of your involvement with them, or their family. As you build your knowledge of a family over time, you may be able to fit together the pieces of the jigsaw that indicate a child may be at risk.
- If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, you should provide first aid treatment or seek medical help if the child needs it.
- You should record what you have been told, using the words of the child whenever you can.
- You should tell the child that you will need to pass on what they have told you if they or other children have been or may be hurt.
- You will need to clarify what you have been told to establish a suspicion of harm to the child.
If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected:
- Do not examine the child.
- Do not remove any of the child’s clothing to look at any injuries or marks.
- Do not take photographs of any injuries or marks.
- Do not just briefly summarise what happened to the child.
- Do not conduct a full interview with the child.
- Do not start a detailed investigation into what the child is telling you.
Remember to follow your agency or organisation’s procedure for reporting neglect or abuse, and make sure that you let your manager or designated lead know what has happened.
Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
If you work with children as (employed/or self-employed)–there should be a safeguarding and Child Protection Policy in place that clearly states the Organisation principles in relation to child protection.
The Policy should cover the following areas:
- Outlining how all children will be kept safe in school
- Recruiting the right people to work and volunteer with children.
- Preventing and responding to bullying
- Ensuring photographs and images of children are taken, stored and shared in ways which maintain children’s welfare.
- Acting appropriately and effectively in the case of allegations of abuse against staff
- Detailing the contact details of Designated Safeguarding Lead (and Deputy).
- Types of abuse.