Child Protection Policy of Little Bats Learning C.I.C.
Little Bats Learning C.I.C. believes that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to practice which protects them.
We recognise that:
The welfare of the child/young person is paramount. All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.
The purpose of the policy:
- To provide protection for the children and young people who receive Little Bats Learning C.I.C’s services, including the children of adult members or users.
- To provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of harm.
- This policy applies to all staff including the board of trustees, volunteers and sessional workers or anyone working on behalf of Little Bats Learning C.I.C.
We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:
- valuing them, listening to and respecting them.
- adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for volunteers.
- recruiting volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made,
sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers.
- sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately.
- providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.
- We are also committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.
Policy and Procedures
1:0 Aims and Objectives :
This policy ensures that all our volunteers (and any workers employed in the future) are clear about the action necessary with regard to a child protection issue. Its aims are:
- To raise the awareness of all volunteers and identify responsibility in reporting possible causes of abuse.
- To ensure effective communication between all volunteers when dealing with child protection issues.
- To establish the correct procedures for those who encounter an issue of child protection.
- To identify a named management committee member to take responsibility for child protection issues.
2:0 Definitions of Abuse:
It is important that all our volunteers are aware of the different types of abuse and are able to recognise the signs. These are important to know as any action taken by the Police, Social Services, etc will be based on the four broad definitions of abuse: physical, emotional, sexual and neglect.
Physical Abuse: may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.
Signs to look our for:
- Unexplained bruising, marks or injuries
- Bruises, which reflect hand marks or fingertips
- Cigarette burns
- Bite marks
- Broken bones
- Running away
Changes in behaviour which can also indicate physical abuse may include:
- Fear of parents being approached for an explanation
- Aggressive behaviour or severe temper outbursts
- Flinching when approached or touched
- Reluctance to get changed, for example wearing long sleeves in hot weather
- Withdrawn behaviour
Emotional Abuse: is the emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve someone telling children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued so far as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. Children may frequently feel frightened or in danger. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Signs to look out for:
- A failure to thrive and grow
- Sudden speech disorders
- Developmental delay, either in terms of physical or emotional progress
Changes in behaviour which can also indicate emotional abuse may include:
- Neurotic behaviour, e.g. hair twisting, rocking
- Being unable to play
- Fear of making mistakes
- Self harm
Sexual Abuse : involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether the child is aware of what is happening or not. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts, (eg, rape, etc). They may involve non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Signs to look out for:
- Pain or itching in the genital /anal areas
- Bruising or bleeding near genital /anal areas
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Vaginal discharge or infection
- Stomach pains
Changes in behaviour, which can also indicate sexual abuse may include:
- Fear of being left with a specific person or group of people
- Sexual knowledge, which is beyond their age or developmental
- Sexual drawings or language
- Selfharm or mutilation, sometimes leading to suicide attempts.
- Substance or drug abuse
- Suddenly having unexplained sources of money
- Not being allowed to have friends (particularly in adolescence)
- Acting in a sexually explicit way towards adults
- Eating problems, such as anorexia or overeating
- Having nightmares
- Sudden or unexplained changes in behaviour
Neglect: is 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. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Signs to look out for:
- Running away
- Constant hunger, loss of weight including stealing food from other children
- Poor personal hygiene
- Inappropriate dress for the conditions
- Untreated medical problems
If a child should make a disclosure to a volunteer within our group or should a volunteer recognise/identify possible signs of abuse, then the following actions should apply:
If a child talks to you about abuse or neglect:
Tell the child they are not to blame and that it was right to tell.
Reassure the child but do not make promises of confidentiality, which may not be feasible in the light of subsequent developments. Explain early on that the information will need to be shared and what you will do next (as simply as possible).
Do not show disgust or anger
Do not ask direct questions – who, what, where, when
Do not stop the free recall of significant events
Do not ask a child to repeat their account to anyone else
Do not put words into the child’s mouth by suggesting what has happened and by whom
Take what the child says seriously, recognising the difficulties in interpreting what a child who has speech or language difficulties says
Keep calm and even if you find what they are saying difficult or painful, keep listening
Make a full record of what has been said, heard and/or seen as soon as possible using the child’s own words – record the facts clearly, including details of the child, date, time, parties involved, action taken and any referrals made to statutory agencies
Do not contact or confront the individual who is alleged to be responsible
Inform the Named Child Protection Officer within the group of this incident. They will then report any concerns to the relevant agency
The Little Bats Learning C.I.C. Designated Safeguarding Officer is: Elanor Gordon Contact details: 07402 470161 or email@example.com
If you recognise/identify any possible signs of abuse which concern you:
Do not challenge the child
Record your concerns
Inform the named child protection person within the group of your concern
It is very important to record incidents as this information may be needed at a later stage during the assessment of a child or in court if criminal proceedings are brought against someone
4.0 Managing allegations against a person in a position of trust
What to do if an allegation or incident against a volunteer or staff member is received
“The First Five Minutes”
Designated Safeguarding Officer receives complaint (The Designated Safeguarding Officer will be named in your Child Protection Policy)
Make sure children are safeguarded (Eg, a child with injury)
At this stage DO NOT question the victim or alleged perpetrator or witnesses
Contact Designated Safeguarding Officer in your organisation
Senior Nominated Officer will discuss with LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) on 01204 337474 (full contact details here Bolton Safeguarding Children Partnership – Managing allegations) and agree course of action
3 possible courses of action
Action by your organisation No further action Strategy Meeting
Useful contacts if you are worried about a child
Bolton’s Referral and Assessment Team, part of the Multi-agency Screening and Safeguarding Service (MASSS) on 01204 331500.
The above number is office hours only – 9am – 5pm.
If you have a concern outside these times you can contact Bolton Emergency Duty Team – 01204 337777.
5.0 Recruitment and Selection of Volunteers
All volunteers shall be subject to a careful and rigorous selection process with the following elements:
- Completion of application form and checking identity by birth certificate or passport
- References from at least 2 people who are not related to the volunteer
- Completion of a criminal record check through a local umbrella agency with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
- Volunteers will undertake a probationary period of 6 months
- Volunteers will have no unsupervised access to children and young people until checks have been completed
6.0 Supporting Volunteers
- Little Bats Learning C.I.C. will ensure that volunteers have the opportunity to learn about child protection and keeping children safe through relevant training events, team meetings and access to information
- Little Bats Learning C.I.C. will provide support to volunteers by setting time aside to talk through any issues and concerns they may have
- Access to emergency services, counselling services numbers for volunteers
7.0 Other actions Little Bats Learning C.I.C. will do to minimise harm to children and young people
Little Bats Learning C.I.C. will:
- Ensure volunteers’ roles are defined.
- Ensure adequate ratios of children to adults.
- Take out appropriate insurances to cover activities undertaken.
- Perform risk assessments where appropriate.
- Keep an accident/incident book.
- Gain appropriate authorisation where required from parents/ carers for children undertaking group activities.
- Displaying counselling services details so that children can access these if they so prefer.
- Provide and share Little Bats Learning C.I.C.’s handbook of policies, organisational ethos, with parents, volunteers and other key stakeholders.
8.0 Code of Conduct
It is important that both service users and volunteers can participate in Little Bats Learning C.I.C. activities in a safe and secure environment. This Code of Conduct has been developed for the protection of both service users and volunteers. Little Bats Learning C.I.C. expects all its volunteers to abide by this Code of Conduct.
- Abide by the guiding principles of Little Bats Learning C.I.C. in all activities as a volunteer
- Inform Little Bats Learning C.I.C. of any relevant police record or other factor, or any change in his/her circumstances, which may make him/her unsuitable either as a Little Bats Learning C.I.C. volunteer or for any particular Little Bats Learning C.I.C. activity.
- Recognise that the role of a Little Bats Learning C.I.C. volunteer places him/her in a position of trust, with regard to all children who are service users participating in Little Bats Learning C.I.C. programmes, the Little Bats Learning C.I.C. organisation, and to colleagues, and undertakes to uphold that trust at all times.
- Undertake to maintain, within the organisation’s procedures, confidentiality of any information relating to other volunteers made available to him/her in the course of the role as a Little Bats Learning C.I.C. volunteer.
- Not knowingly place him/herself in a situation where the volunteer is alone with a child or young person and will endeavour to ensure, as far as possible, that there is another adult in attendance at any meetings.
- Ensure that any Little Bats Learning C.I.C. activities involving children outside the normal activities are agreed and approved by the company’s directors in advance.
- Not behave in any way, physically or verbally, that could be offensive.
This policy was adopted on ……………………
Date of Review : …………………………………… (annual review date)