Child Protection and Adults at Risk
It is the Duty of Care of the HFSC to ensure that any children, young people and adults at risk who are participating within our service are safe from harm and exploitation. The protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and wellbeing of children, young people and adults at risk is a paramount consideration when providing services. The Project aim to provide an environment that ensures people are safe from potential abuse and will respond to any suspicion of potential abuse in a way that respects the person’s dignity and reinforces responsibility to the children and young people and adult at risk.
Lead Officer: Joanna Martindale CEO
These safeguarding duties apply to any child, young person or adult at risk who:
- Has needs for care and support
- Is experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect
- As a result of age or those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.
The Project endeavours to do this by ensuring policies and procedures for working with vulnerable adults include:
- Ensure that all employees (voluntary or paid) are aware of the fact that such work is exempt from the provision laid down in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and will therefore be subject to a Disclosure and Barring check prior to starting work.
- Require all potential employees to provide references, attend interview agree to an Enhanced DBS check and to work for a probationary period. Qualification certificates will be required and past employers will be contacted directly.
- Recruit, train and supervise its employees and volunteers to adopt best practice to safeguard and protect children, young people and adults at risk, which will help them recognise and respond to suspected abuse whether physical, emotional, sexual or as a result of neglect. Offer ongoing training to all employees involved with the care and education of children, young people and adults at risk,
- Never allow an unregistered (i.e. not DBS checked) adult to work alone with a child, young person or adult at risk.
- Require all staff/ volunteers to adopt and abide by the Project’s code of conduct, procedures and policy, outlined in the HFSC Staff Handbook.
- Treating children, young people and adults at risk as individuals entitled to dignity and respect
- Promoting effective partnerships amongst all those involved with children, young people, adults at risk and including where appropriate parents/carers to improve children and young people’s welfare
- Respond to any allegations appropriately and implement the appropriate disciplinary, allegations and reporting procedures
- To see that the needs and interests of the child, young person or adult at risk are paramount
- To ensure all staff in contact with vulnerable adults receive an enhanced Disclosure and Barring (DBS) clearance and hold relevant qualifications and certification
- To appoint a lead officer usually the CEO who will take specific responsibility the protection of children, young people or adults at risk and act as the main point of contact
- To maintain and regularly review the child protection and adults at risk policy, procedure and guidelines, including actions to be taken in the event of an allegation of abuse by a member of staff
- To ensure that confidentiality is upheld in line with GDPR 2018 and human rights act 1998.
The HFSC Handbook E10
All staff need to note the following definitions and pass on any concerns to the Lead Officer of the HFSC.
A ‘child’ or ‘young person’ refers to people under the age of 18 or up to 21 with certain special educational needs. The Children Act 1989 covers all children under the age of eighteen. Enquiries (under S47 of the Children and young people Act 1989) are likely to take place where the local authority has “reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives or is found, in their area, is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm”.
Adult at Risk are: “People with learning disabilities, mental health problems, older people and people with disability or impairment are included within this definition, particularly when their situation is complicated by additional factors, such as physical frailty or chronic illness, sensory impairment, challenging behaviour, drug or alcohol problems, social or emotional problems, poverty or homelessness.” (Law Commission Report 231.1995). Care Act 2014 -Definition of adults at risk
The Care Act 2014 defines an adult at risk as:
- Someone over the age of 18 who has a need for care and support
- Someone who is experiencing or is at risk of neglect or abuse
As a result of the above needs, the adult is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect, or the risk of it.
Awareness of Abuse
Who is most likely to be abused?
An example of an adult who may be more susceptible to risk and abuse is:
- Someone who has a learning disability, physical disability and/ or a sensory impairment
- Someone who is experiencing domestic violence, or is a victim of a forced marriage or modern slavery
- Someone who misuses substances or alcohol
- Someone that has a mental health condition or disorder including eating, hording or personality disorder
- Someone who is elderly and frail due to ill-health, physical disability or impairment of their mental health (including dementia)
Abuse maybe described as: “an act, or failure to act, by the person responsible for the care of the child. It may involve cruelty, exploitation or neglect.”
Abuse may take any of the following forms:
“Physical Injury”: This may be: actual or likely physical injury to a child or young person, or failure to prevent physical injury (or suffering) to a child or young person, including deliberate poisoning, suffocation and Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy. “Neglect”: The persistent or severe neglect of a child or young person, to protect a child or young person from exposure to any kind of danger, including cold or starvation, or extreme failure to carry out important aspects of care, resulting in the significant impairment of the child’s or young person’s health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive.
“Sexual Abuse”: Actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child or adolescent. The child or young person may be dependent and /or developmentally immature.
“Emotional Abuse”: Actual or likely severe adverse effect on the emotional and behavioural development of the child or young person caused by persistent or severe emotional ill treatment or rejection. All abuse involves some emotional ill treatment. This category should be used where it is the main or sole form of abuse.
Supervision of Children and young people
The HFSC aims to provide enriching experience for children and young people, experiences that will help them to develop socially, mentally and physically. To help them to meet that aim there should be proper supervision at all times. This will ensure that they are less likely to come to harm. For example, for children and young people who receive play/learning opportunities through the HFSC they will be kept safe. This will be achieved by ensuring:
- Those in charge are fully competent to do so
- They are supervised at all times
- Workers know where the children and young people are at all times, indoors or out.
- There are sufficient staff
- Adults work in pairs
- Activities are planned and appropriate
- Adult responsibilities are clearly defined
- Worker have received a DBS check and are working to DBS policy
Whilst the majority of HFSC activities will be exempt from the Children’s Act guidance and regulations, the Project will nevertheless advocate that all staff working with children and young people (whether paid or volunteers) should have an agreed individual training plan which includes early induction in Child Protection and Health & Safety policy and procedures and encourages working towards a recognised qualification in youth work or similar. Children‘s Act guidance and regulations recommends 1 member of staff to every 15 – 20 children in the 7 years plus age range. The number of staff will be increased when children and young people with disabilities take part.
Scope for abuse is minimised if the Project’s activities are run with the safety of all its members in mind and sensible steps are taken in dealing with children, young people and adults at risk. If an allegation is made, or concerns are raised they will be brought to the attention of the Lead Officer. Provision will need to be made for the absence of that person. A record will be kept of the facts surrounding the concern, what action was taken and why. The HFSC staff should bear in mind that it is not their job to investigate an allegation. They should take a record of what is said or seen and refer it to their line manager, lead officer, the Duty Assessment Team or the Police who are trained to make enquiries, which will indicate whether further investigation is necessary. (If a serious incident has occurred which leads to a criminal trial, it is essential that there is no suggestion that witnesses and particularly young children and young people, have been led to say what they did).
Records will include the following details:
- Name of the child/young person/adult at risk
- Parent’s/carer’s details
- The child/young person/adult at risk’s address
- Relevant telephone numbers
- What is said to have happened or what was seen
- When it occurred
- Who else was there?
- What was said by those involved or what was seen
- Whether there is any actual evidence e.g. bruises, bleeding, change in behaviour
- Who has been told about it
- Who was concerned?
- Was the child/young person/adult at risk able to say what happened?
- Whether the parents/carers have been advised
- Sign and date the record ensuring it is legible and written in black ink
- This must be stored in a locked filing cabinet
- When an incident/event is reported it is paramount that the exact words that the child/ person has used are noted. It is imperative that this information is recorded immediately and the exact wordings are noted. Do not make any assumptions or summarise.
The Prevent agenda: Children, young people and adults at risk of radicalisation
In response to increasing threat and risk of terrorism in the UK, the Government introduced the Prevent agenda. Prevent’s aims are to increase awareness of the types of behaviours and activities that may suggest that a person is being groomed and/or radicalised; to work with local authorities and related agencies to swiftly identify those most at risk of radicalisation; and to ensure there are clear processes in place for professionals to make appropriate referrals for support.
There is an online training tool produced for the National College of Policing that all staff are expected to complete. It can be found online at: https://www.elearning.prevent.homeoffice.gov.uk/edu/screen1.html All HFSC staff are expected to be familiar with their duties in relation to the Prevent agenda and it is the role of the Chief Executive Officer to ensure that this happens. The Chief Executive Officer will seek information, advice and guidance from key contacts within Brighton & Hove City Council or Sussex Police where necessary. In summary, staff should respond to these types of risks with the same sense of urgency and importance as any other Child Protection or Safeguarding matter.
- If you are concerned that an individual or a group of people may be vulnerable to being drawn into extremist or terrorist related activity, such as thinking or preparing to travel to Syria or other conflict zones; or getting involved in right wing groups you can:
- Young people 17 or younger Refer to the relevant allocated social worker, (if the child or family have one). If not please contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub or MASH 01273 290400
- For Adults 18 years and over Consult with Prevent Officer on Non-emergency police number 101 ask for ext. 550543 or email the police Prevent officer. Further contact details and information are available
- Reporting suspicious activities Anti-Terrorist Hotline call 0800 789 321 Non-emergency Sussex Police call 101 Emergency call 999; anonymously call Crime Stoppers: 0800 555 111 anonymously report Online to Crime Stoppers
- Reporting terrorist content on the internet Visit GOV.UK to report illegal terrorist information, pictures or videos you’ve found on the internet.
Approved: Jun 2019
Updated: Mar 2020