3.1Define the term ‘safeguarding’ children and identify the characteristics of different types of abuse. 3.3Describe the actions to take in response to evidence or concerns that a child or young person has been abused, harmed (including self-harm) or bullied, or may be at risk of harm, abuse or bullying.
I have obtained the information from the following sources:
Child Protection and Safeguarding Awareness Training For Governors. (handouts) Inclusion Officer and Safeguarding Children Training Officer. Books used: Supporting Teaching & Learning in schools Level 2 L Burnham. Teaching Assistants Handbook Level 2 Teena Kamen.
The internet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_safeguarding My own experience in the setting
The term ‘safeguarding’ means ‘The process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.’ Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child either directly by inflicting harm, or indirectly, 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 a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children. There are four types of child abuse. They are defined in the UK Government guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ 2010. Although bullying is not defined as abuse within Safeguarding 2010 there is evidence that it is abusive and can consist in at least one, if not all of the types of abuse.
Emotional abuse, Physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child that causes persistent adverse effects on their emotional development. This is also termed as psychological abuse which combines emotional abuse and emotional neglect (Glaser, 2011). There can be two elements involved in emotional abuse, active and passive. Active abuse is a premeditated act, an individual scares, demeans or verbally abuses another. This includes terrorising, rejecting, exploiting or corrupting. Passive emotional abuse consists of depriving a child of the love or care needed to lead a happy healthy life. This can be as a result of the lack of knowledge, understanding or care that a parent or carer has about the child’s needs. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another.
Emotional abuse can also involve serious bullying, including cyberbullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger. Emotional abuse can be difficult to measure, as there are often no physical signs. There may be a developmental delay due to a failure to thrive and grow, although this will usually only be evident if the child puts on weight in other circumstances, for example when hospitalised or away from their parents’ care. However children who appear well-cared for may nevertheless be emotionally abused. Some signs that maybe visible are: neurotic behaviour e.g. sulking, hair twisting, rocking, being unable to play, fear of making mistakes, sudden speech disorders, self-harm, fear of parent being approached regarding their behaviour. They can also be excessively withdrawn.
A child may show extremes in behaviour such as, extremely demanding or compliant, extremely passive or aggressive and the child doesn’t seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver. Physical abuse involves physical harm or injury to the child. This maybe as a result of a deliberate attempt to hurt the child or severely discipline. The signs of physical abuse can be unexplained bruising, marks or injuries on any part of the body, multiple bruises- in clusters often on the upper arm, outside of the thighs, cigarette burns, human bite marks, broken bones, scalds with upward splash marks. The child can seem to be on alert, as if waiting for something bad to happen. Shies away from touch, seems reluctant to go home, flinches at sudden movement. The injuries a child has, appear as a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt.
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 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, this also includes via the internet. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males, Women and other children can also commit acts of sexual abuse. This type of abuse is usually committed by someone known to the victim not just by sexual predators. It is important to remember that boys as well as girls can also be the victim of sexual abuse.
The signs of sexual abuse as with emotional abuse may not be outwardly visible, because of the shame and self-blame a child will have if this is happening or has happened to them, makes it very difficult for a child to come forward. Some of the warning signs can be: the child has trouble walking or sitting, pain or itching in the genital area, bruising or bleeding near genital area, a knowledge of sexual acts that are inappropriate to their age, avoids a specific person without an obvious reason, does not want to change in front of people or take part in physical activities, has a sexually transmitted disease or pregnant especially if under the age of fourteen, and runs away from home. Neglect, neglect is failing to provide a child’s basic physical or psychological needs, adequate food, clothing, shelter, hygiene, supervision, failure to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; failure to ensure adequate supervision; or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
Child Neglect can be a difficult form of abuse to recognise, yet can have some of the most lasting and damaging effects on children. Some of the signs can be: constant hunger, sometimes stealing food from other children, constantly dirty or ‘smelly’, loss of weight, or being constantly underweight, inappropriate clothing for the conditions. Changes in behaviour which can also indicate neglect may include: complaining of being tired all the time, not requesting medical assistance and/or failing to attend appointments, having few friends, mentioning being left alone or unsupervised. Bullying can be defined as a deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. It can take many forms, but the three main types are physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, theft), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, threats, name calling) and emotional (e.g. isolating an individual from activities and social acceptance of their peer group).
Bullying can cause considerable distress to children to the extent that it affects their health and development or, at the extreme, cause them significant harm. Persistent bullying can result in: depression, low self-esteem, shyness, poor academic achievement, isolation, threatened or attempted suicide. Signs that a child may be being bullied can be: coming home with cuts and bruises, torn clothes,, asking for stolen possessions to be replaced, losing dinner money, falling out with previously good friends, being moody and bad tempered, wanting to avoid leaving their home, aggression with younger brothers and sisters, doing less well at school, sleep problems, anxiety, becoming quiet and withdrawn. The actions to take if you are made aware of or have concerns about a child or young person being abused, neglected or bullied must be to inform the appropriate person. In cases that involve concerns or disclosers of neglect or abuse all information must be passed onto the child protection officer.
In my setting the procedures are in accordance with Torfaen Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures, authority guidance and locally agreed inter-agency procedures. The procedures are to: Report immediately any suspicion that a child is injured, marked or bruised in a way which is not readily attributable to the normal knocks and scrapes of everyday play. Report any signs of inadequate care, emotional maltreatment or ill treatment, or signs of neglect or abuse. Be aware of and report any changes of behaviour or attendance. The adults role in our setting is one of listening, not to interrupt the child if he or she is freely recalling significant events. Limit any questioning to clarifying your understanding of what the child is saying, with any questions being open ended so not to lead the child.
You must report the discloser or concerns to the designated senior individual immediately, in this case the head or deputy teacher. At no point should you give undertaking of absolute confidentiality, but you must not discuss these matters with anyone other than the designated officer. If neither of the individuals are available, call the local authority and ask for the children’s services duty officer. They will advise you on what to do. At this point your responsibility in terms of referring concerns will end. But you may have a future role in terms of supporting and monitoring the child, contributing to an assessment or implementing child protection plans.
Where an allegation or concern is against a member of staff it must be reported to the designated child protection officer unless it is against the Head teacher. In this case allegations or concerns should be reported to the chair of governors. The head will seek the advice of the Local Authority Designated Officer and a senior HR Officer in order to determine the school response. It is always preferable to prevent abuse, or intervention to take place at the earliest possible stage.
Conclusions : Everyone in the education service plays a part in keeping children and young people safe from harm and abuse. Creating a safe learning environment, identifying pupils who are suffering or at risk of harm and then taking the appropriate action, are vital to ensuring children are safe at home and at school. Because of the day to day contact with individual children, school staff especially teachers, but also non- teaching staff, including lunch-time supervisors are particularly well placed to observe outward signs, changes in appearance, learning patterns or development.
It must always be remembered that alternative medical, psychological or social explanations may exist for the signs and symptoms that could be attributed to neglect or abuse. However it is not up to an individual to decide if abuse or neglect has taken place. Any concerns or disclosures must be passed on to the appropriate person. Information that is passed on will be investigated by the relevant authorities. It would require great courage for a child or young person to confide in others about what is happening to them, and we must never dismiss what a child has said to us or chat about this with others.