1. Understand policy, procedures and practices for safe working with children and young people.
1:1 Explain policies, procedures and practises for safe working with children and young people.
In order to ensure the safety of the children and young people in our care there are a number of policies, procedures and practices that must be adhered to. Policies are documents within the work place put together, influenced by law, by the manager. The policy will be designed around an area of practice that needs to be evidenced as being in line with law. The document gives a list of procedures for carrying out the task required, the potential risks and how to respond in a situation. The workers practices should always reflect the procedures with in the policy. The safe guarding policy outlines the required procedures and practises for the safe working with children and young people. It includes;- The procedures to be taken when employing new members of staff- They must complete an enhanced CRB. Provide two references. And provide identification.
This must all be cleared and satisfactory before an employee is able to work with the children. Mandatory training is required in areas such as fire safety, food hygiene, health and safety and safeguarding. These are to ensure the worker is aware how to protect themselves and others from the risk of infections, food related risks, what to do in a fire, what to do if an accident occurs. Etc. The worker must be on supervised practice until the manager is satisfied that the employee understands and can action safe practice. The policy describes the potential signs and types of abuse and the different symptoms and behaviours. The policy describes the actions to take when abuse is suspected. Who is responsible for the protection of the children while in your care.
I have enclosed the safeguarding policy for the church where I have lead and worked with the children’s group. Safeguarding children is outlined in Appendix 6′
2. Understand how to respond to evidence or concerns that a child or young person has been abused.
2:1 Describe the possible signs, symptoms, indicators and behaviours that may cause concern in the context of safeguarding.
When caring for children or young people we have a responsibility to ensure their safety and well being whilst in our care. It is hard to imagine that the children who are in your care could be experiencing abuse. However, according to statistics for the children on the protection register their where 50,573 cases in the UK during 2013 (www.nspcc.org.inform/research/statistics/childprotection_register_statistics_wda48723.html.) Frightening.
This shows just the cases identified, but who can say how many children are suffering abuse and have not been identified. Although we cannot decide that a child is being abused or is at risk of harm. We do have the responsibility to recognise possible signs of abuse and must have the knowledge of what actions to take in order to keep our children safe.
Children by nature are prone to bumps, scrapes and bruises. Bruising to the knees, shins, elbows and bony places and is consistent with normal healthy active children. Unexplained bruising or injuries with inconsistent explanations can be a sign of physical abuse. Recognising the difference between accidental bruises and inflicted bruising is key to identifying a child who is being abused. Bruising to the back, face, buttocks, neck, upper and lower arms (consistent with self protection) bruising clusters all could be the signs of physical abuse. More obvious signs would be finger marks, burns, scolds with splash marks pointing upwards, broken bones, bite marks etc.
Behaviours such as flinching when approached or touched, fear of parents being approached for explanations, reluctance to get changed, depression, aggressive or severe temper outbursts, withdrawn behaviours are all signs of possible physical abuse. Emotional abuse can be difficult to recognise as there are often no physical signs. There may be developmental delays due to a failure to thrive and grow, although this will only be evident if the child thrives when away from the circumstances in which they are being abused. A child may appear well cared for however is being taunted, put down or belittled.
They may receive little to no love, affection or attention. Potential signs of emotional abuse can be neurotic behaviour e.g. sulking, hair twisting, rocking. Being unable to play, fear of making mistakes, sudden speech disorders, self harm, fear of parents being approached regarding their behaviour, developmental delay in terms of emotional progress. Sexual abuse is usually identified by disclosure to. Recognising potential signs of abuse with in the child’s behaviour is essential. Physical signs include pain or itching in the genital area, bruising or bleeding near genital area, sexually transmitted disease, vaginal discharge or infection, stomach pains, discomfort when sitting or walking, pregnancy.
Changes in behaviour which can indicate sexual abuse include, sudden or unexplained changes in behaviour e.g. becoming aggressive or withdrawn, fear of being left with specific person or group of people, nightmares, running away, sexual knowledge beyond their age, sexual drawings or language, saying they have a secret they cannot talk about, not allowed to have friends, acting in a sexually explicit way towards adults. Neglect can be difficult to recognise but has lasting effects on children. Physical signs can include constant hunger and stealing food from other children, constantly dirty or smelly, loss of weight or being under weight, inappropriate clothing for conditions. Behaviours such as being tired all the time, not requesting medical assistance and failing to attend appointments, not having many friends, mentioning being left alone or unsupervised.
Children can display these signs and indications and no abuse is present. Children are complicated and display all kinds of behaviours which could be interpreted as abuse. It is essential not to decide a child is being abused but to allow the appropriate authorities to investigate your concerns.
2:2 Describe the actions to take if a child or young person alleges harm or abuse in line with policies and procedures of own setting.
If a child discloses that he/she is experiencing abuse there are a series of steps that must be followed. These steps are outlined within the safeguarding policies and are designed to ensure the reporting of the alleged abuse is dealt with correctly.
Under no circumstances should a worker carry out their own investigation into an allegation or suspicion of abuse. The following steps should be taken: The person in receipt of allegations or suspicions of abuse should report concerns as soon as possible to the person who is nominated by the organisation to act on their behalf in dealing with the allegation or suspicion of neglect or abuse, including referring the matter on to the statutory authorities. In the absence of the Safeguarding Co-ordinator or, if the suspicions in any way involve the Safeguarding Co-ordinator, then the report should be made to your local social services, Police, national safeguarding co ordinator. Seek medical help if needed urgently, informing the doctor of any suspicions. Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above.
A written record of the concerns should be made in accordance with these procedures and kept in a secure place. Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to the Safeguarding Co-ordinator, the absence of the Safeguarding Co-ordinator or Deputy should not delay referral to Social Services, the Police or taking advice from CCPAS. The organisation will support the Safeguarding Co-ordinator/Deputy in their role, and accept that any information they may have in their possession will be shared in a strictly limited way on a need to know basis. The role of the safeguarding co-ordinator/ deputy is to collate and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and pass this information on to statutory agencies who have a legal duty to investigate. It is not the role of the Safeguarding Coordinator to investigate allegations and concerns.
2:3 Explain the rights that children, young people and their families have in situations where harm or abuse is suspected or alleged. In 1991 the government agreed to make sure that all children have the rights listed in the “convention on the rights of the child”. “The human rights act 1998” protects human rights generally. 2003 saw the launch of “Every child matters” leading to the children’s act 2004. In the case of alleged abuse or harm the child, young person and families have the right to be given accurate information and help in understanding it.
To be able to express themselves and be heard with out discrimination. To be treated with dignity and respect. Privacy, to refuse repeated medical examinations and questions. Be consulted and kept fully informed of proceedings and decisions about their future. Individuals have the right of respect for their private and family life, home and correspondence. Children have the right to live without abuse and to be kept safe from harm. It is the parents responsibility to care and nurture the child and meet their needs. The government have a responsibility to protect children from abuse exploitation and neglect.
Children’s legal centre website
convention on the rights of the child