Many accounts of child abuse and neglect can be avoided in many cases if all the agencies involved with children worked well together and were able to identify the signs that a child was at risk. Many children have their development affected through the actions of abuse, neglect or bullying, the majority of these events happen behind closed doors. Policies and procedures for child protection and safeguarding children that are in place at settings for children and young people are there because of legislation passed in parliament. In 2000, an 8 year old girl called Victoria Climbiè was tortured and murdered by her guardians. Her death resulted in a mass investigation and the demand for stricter child safety laws. The inquest in 2003, lead by Lord Laming, led to the green paper, a preliminary report of government proposals that is published in order to raise discussion on the matter, named Every Child Matters. This then produced the Children Act 2004. The five main principles of the act are:
-The introduction of local authority’s Children Directors with responsibility for education and children’s services. -Councillors for children’s services with responsibility for local child welfare are introduced. -Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) have power to sure that social services, the NHS education services, the police and other services work together, ensuring maximum protection towards vulnerable children. -A Common Assessment Framework to help agencies to identify the needs of children.
All settings working with children and young people must have the following procedures and policies put in place: -A policy for the protection of children under the age of 18 which states responsibilities and is reviewed annually. -Arrangements to work with the Local Safeguarding Children Board -A duty of care to inform the ISA of any individual, e.g. a paid employee, volunteer or other, which is a potential threat to the children. -Up to date training on safeguarding for all members of staff, governors and volunteers. -Effective, regular risk assessments to check that the safeguard policy and plans are effective and working -All staff, volunteers
who have regular unsupervised access to children under the age of 18, are to have a CRB check (Criminal Record Bureau)
Another form of safeguarding that has been introduced as it has become more popular is E-safety. Many children and young people have endless access to the internet or the use of a mobile phone. The internet, mobile phones and even video games all have a number of benefits; however, they also hold a great number of risks for children and young people. In 2008, The Byron Review, by Dr Tanya Byron reported on the risks to children and young people from the exposure to potentially harmful or inappropriate content on the internet, and issued guidance on how they should be protected. Because no-one can fully remove the bad stuff from the internet and make it completely safe, steps are put in place to ensure that children and young people are somewhat safe whilst browsing: -Blocking access to inappropriate or unsuitable sites.
-Limiting time spent on the computer/video game.
-Making children and young people of the dangers on the internet. -Helping children and young people to know how to identify and recognise the dangers. -Educating parents and cares about the risks and danger and how to handle them. Young children are extremely vulnerable and rely on adults for safety, security and the fulfilment of their needs. Children need to be supported to develop a strong sense of self worth, this will help them to become more confident and make positive choices to protect themselves.
There is no exact definition of bullying as there are many different kinds, a child may experience bullying attacks which are; Physical – hitting, pushing, pinching, shoving, or other forms of violence. Verbal bullying – name calling, spreading rumours, sarcasm, teasing. Emotional bullying – Exclusion, humiliating, ridiculing and tormenting. A bully will often use a mix of all the above, usually involving other children either as witnesses or participants in the act. If attacks continue, its more than likely the events will escalate in severity. Emotional bullying seems to be a more popular form of bullying as a posed to physical, particularly ridiculing and
exclusion. Another form of bullying, closely linked to emotional bullying is currently on the up rise. Cyberbullying is relatively new method of bullying and involves mainly, threatening or humiliating through texts, emails and social networking sites such as facebook.