Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
1. CORE SAFEGUARDING PRINCIPLES 3
2. PURPOSE OF POLICY 4
3. SAFEGUARDING LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE 4
4. WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN PARTNERSHIP SUPPLEMENTARY SAFEGUARDING GUIDANCE 5
5. WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN PARTNERSHIP 5
6. KEY DEFINITIONS 6
7. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 6
8. CHILDREN WHO MAY BE POTENTIALLY MORE AT RISK OF HARM 7
9. CHILDREN IN NEED OF A SOCIAL WORKER 8
10. CHILDREN REQUIRING MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT 9
11. LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN AND PREVIOUS LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN 9
12. SEND CHILDREN 10
13. CHILDREN MISSING EDUCATION AND CHILDREN MISSING 11
14. ELECTIVE HOME EDUCATION 12
15. WHISTLEBLOWING 12
16. ALLEGATIONS AGAINST STAFF & REPORTING OF LOW-LEVEL CONCERNS 12
17. STAFF TRAINING 14
18. VISITORS 14
19. EXTENDED COMPANY AND OFF-SITE ARRANGEMENTS 14
20. IDENTIFYING ABUSE 15
21. INDICATORS OF ABUSE 15
22. VOICE OF THE CHILD 16
23. SAFEGUARDING ISSUES 16
24. CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION 16
25. CHILD CRIMINAL EXPLOITATION INCLUDING COUNTY LINES 18
26. SERIOUS YOUTH VIOLENCE 20
27. ONLINE HARMS 20
28. DOMESTIC ABUSE 22
29. SO-CALLED HONOUR-BASED ABUSE 23
30. RADICALISATION AND EXTREMISM 24
31. PEER ON PEER ABUSE 25
32. PEER ON PEER SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT 27
33. YOUTH PRODUCED SEXUAL IMAGERY 29
34. BULLYING (INCLUDING CYBERBULLYING) 30
35. HOMELESSNESS 31
36. CHILDREN AND THE COURT SYSTEM 31
37. CHILDREN WITH FAMILY MEMBERS IN PRISON 31
38. PRIVATE FOSTERING 31
39. YOUNG CARERS 31
40. CHILD ABDUCTION AND COMMUNITY SAFETY INCIDENTS 32
41. MODERN SLAVERY 32
42. TAKING SAFEGUARDING ACTION 32
43. EARLY HELP 33
44. HANDLING DISCLOSURES 34
45. CONFIDENTIALITY AND SHARING INFORMATION 35
46. REFERRING TO CHILDREN’S SOCIAL CARE 35
47. ESCALATION PROCEDURES 36
This policy outlines the safeguarding and child protection procedures for all staff, adults, visitors and volunteers working in / on behalf of ArtBase and gives guidance on safeguarding pupils in accord with the statutory guidance KCSIE 2021 and Warwickshire County Council’ Local Safeguarding Arrangements.
The procedures within this Child Protection Policy apply to all staff, volunteers, visitors; all the procedures have been written in accordance with Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 and reflect local safeguarding arrangements including the Warwickshire County Council Safeguarding Children Partnership Supplementary Guidance documents on Child Protection Procedures and the Management of Allegations.
This Child Protection Policy is made available and accessible to parents and visitors via our company website. The policy is reviewed annually or when legislation changes.
The aim of our safeguarding and child protection policy is to create a ‘safer culture of vigilance’ in our company. We aim to have a company where:
There is a belief that ‘it could happen here’
All children, without exception, have the right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs. No child or group of children will be treated any less favourably in being able to access services which meet their needs
The staff always act in the best interests of the child. A child refers to any individual under 18 years of age
The staff will not assume that other staff will act in relation to a concern
All staff should be aware of the process for making referrals to Children’s Services and for statutory assessments under the Children Act 1989, especially section 17 (children in need) and section 47 (a child suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm) that may follow a referral, along with the role they might be expected to play in such assessments
All concerns and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously by staff and volunteers and responded to appropriately - this may require a referral to Children’s Services, the independent Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for allegations against staff and other volunteers and, in emergencies, the police
Key individuals and their specific safeguarding roles are identified and known to the whole company community
We have a commitment to safer recruitment, selection and vetting
Art Base Child Protection Team
DSL: Georgina Hannaby
Deputy DSLs: Beth Coward
Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO):
Warwickshire Children and Families Front Door (Front Door)
Tel: 01926 414144
Emergency Duty Team
Tel: 01926 886922
Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
Tel : 01926414144
Email : Prevent@warwickshireandwestmercia.pnn.police.uk
The policy is shared with children and parents as appropriate
CORE SAFEGUARDING PRINCIPLES
The following core principles are embedded within the company’s safeguarding arrangements; its safeguarding policies, procedures and systems; and underpin the whole company approach to safeguarding at ArtBase.
The welfare of the child is paramount and underpins all discussions, decision making, and actions taken at the company.
All concerns disclosed and reported will be taken seriously.
All children have the right to have a life free from harm, regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity, all have equal rights to protection. This includes children’s lives in digital and online environments.
The child’s wishes and feelings will always be considered at the company when determining what action to take and what support to provide.
All staff including supply staff and volunteers have an equal responsibility to act immediately on any suspicion or disclosure that may suggest a child is at risk of harm or has been harmed.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) will ensure that all pupils and staff involved in safeguarding and child protection issues will receive appropriate support.
PURPOSE OF POLICY
To provide all staff with key information to enable them to identify safeguarding concerns and know what action to take in response.
To ensure consistent good practice throughout the company.
To demonstrate the company’s commitment to safeguarding to the whole company community: pupils, parents/carers and other partners.
SAFEGUARDING LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE
The following safeguarding legislation and government guidance have informed the content of this policy:
Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 (Local maintained companys only)
The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
The Teacher Standards 2012
Working Together to Safeguarding Children 2020
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021
What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused 2015
UKCIS Sharing Nudes and Semi-Nudes: Advice for Education Settings Working with Children and Young People (December 2020)
Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment between Children in Schools and Colleges: Advice for Schools and Colleges on how to prevent and respond to reports of sexual violence and harassment between children (Updated July 2021)
WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN PARTNERSHIP SUPPLEMENTARY SAFEGUARDING GUIDANCE
WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN PARTNERSHIP
The Children Act 2004 as amended by the Children and Social Work Act 2017 has brought about the establishment of the Warwickshire County Council Safeguarding Children Partnership. The Partnership coordinates the work of all agencies and ensures that this work is effective in achieving the best outcomes for Warwickshire County Council children. The three statutory safeguarding partners have published arrangements to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children, including identifying and responding to their needs. More information about the Warwickshire County Council Safeguarding Children Partnership can be found on the website: https://www.safeguardingwarwickshire.co.uk/safeguarding-children/safeguarding-children-partnership/warwickshire-safeguarding-constitution-sub-group-structure-and-membership
The company has been named as a ‘relevant agency’ and as such is under a statutory duty to cooperate with the named arrangements.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is:
protecting children from maltreatment
preventing the impairment of a child’s physical and mental health or development
ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
The phrase ‘child protection’ refers to the processes followed to protect children who have been identified as suffering or being at risk of suffering significant harm. Child includes everyone under the age of 18. Parent refers to birth parents and other adults who are in a parenting role, for example step-parents, carers, foster carers, and adoptive parents. Staff refers to all those who work for the company or on behalf of the company, full time or part time, temporary or permanent, in either a paid or voluntary capacity.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Designated Safeguarding Lead – Georgina Hannaby - is responsible for ensuring that the company’s Child Protection Policy and other safeguarding policies are communicated to all staff, understood by all members of staff, and followed by all members of staff.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead takes the ultimate lead responsibility for safeguarding arrangements within the company on a day-to-day basis.
Child protection records are kept securely.
Staff understand that they have a particularly important role to play with regards to safeguarding as they are in a unique position to identify concerns early. All staff members are aware that they should raise any child protection concern with the DSL or directly to Children’s Services and/or the police where there is a risk of serious harm. The DSL and/or deputies should always be available to discuss safeguarding concerns and if in exceptional circumstances they are not available this would not delay appropriate action being taken. Whilst the activities of the DSL can be delegated to the deputy/ies, the ultimate lead responsibility for safeguarding remains with the DSL.
The Teachers Standards 2012 state that ‘teachers should safeguard children’s well-being and maintain public trust in the teaching profession as part of their professional duties. All staff are expected to know how to recognise the signs of abuse, who to report concerns to and where to access the company’s child protection policy and procedures.’ Only the police, the NSPCC and Children’s Services can carry out child protection investigations, but anyone is able to make a referral to one of these agencies when they suspect abuse is occurring to a child.
All staff and volunteers understand that Child Protection and Safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone and they have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn. Concerns relating to children are recorded using a Record of Concern. It is expected that staff and volunteers verbally pass on concerns to the DSL or DDSLs without delay. If in doubt about any safeguarding matter, staff should always speak to the DSL or in their absence a DDSL. All staff and volunteers understand that the best interests of the child should determine their decision making, behaviour and any action taken.
Contextual Safeguarding is an approach to understanding, and responding to, young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. All staff understand that safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the company and/or can occur between children outside the company. All our staff, but especially the DSL (and deputies) consider the context within which such incidents and/or behaviours occur. We understand that this is known as contextual safeguarding, which means assessments of children should consider whether wider environmental factors are present in a child’s life that can be a threat to their safety and/or welfare. We recognise that the different relationships that young people form in their neighbourhoods, companys and online can feature violence and abuse. Parents and carers have little influence over these contexts, and young people’s experiences of extra-familial abuse can undermine parent-child relationships. Therefore, Childrens’ Services practitioners need to engage with individuals and sectors who do have influence over/within extra-familial contexts, and recognise that assessment of, and intervention with, these spaces are a critical part of safeguarding practices. Contextual Safeguarding, therefore, expands the objectives of child protection systems in recognition that young people are vulnerable to abuse in a range of social contexts.
We understand that Children’s Services assessments should consider such factors so it is important that as a company we provide as much information as possible as part of the referral process. This will allow any assessment to consider all the available evidence and the full context of any abuse.
CHILDREN WHO MAY BE POTENTIALLY MORE AT RISK OF HARM
All staff should recognise that all children are vulnerable but that some children may be more vulnerable than others and at more risk of harm. Children known to a Social Worker, Looked After Children and Care Leavers are likely to have suffered abuse at some point in their childhood and may be more vulnerable to further abuse including exploitation. Staff need to be aware that other children who may be potentially more at risk of harm include
A Child who:
is disabled or has certain health conditions and has specific additional needs;
has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan);
has a mental health need;
is a young carer;
is showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups or county lines;
is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home;
is at risk of so-called honour based abuse such as Female Genital Mutilation or Forced Marriage;
is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation;
is at risk of being radicalised or exploited;
is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse
is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves;
has returned home to their family from care; and
is a privately fostered child;
is persistently absent from education, including persistent absences for part of the company day.
Staff must be more vigilant in their day-to-day work with children when the above vulnerabilities are known and report all concerns immediately to a member of the safeguarding and child protection team.
CHILDREN IN NEED OF A SOCIAL WORKER
Children who have been allocated a social worker may have experienced abuse including neglect and belong to a family that has many complex circumstances. Staff should recognise that these children will have experienced adversity and trauma that can leave them vulnerable to further harm, as well as educationally disadvantaged, and have a negative impact on their attendance, learning, behaviour and mental health.
When making decisions about safeguarding, carrying out risk analysis, making a safeguarding response to concerns such as unauthorised and persistent absence, and providing pastoral and academic support, the company will take seriously the fact that the child in need of a social worker will require enhanced pastoral and academic support alongside that provided by statutory services. ArtBase is also committed to providing academic support to children where possible in the classes they attend, in recognition that the abuse and trauma is likely to have an impact on the child beyond the duration of the involvement of statutory services.
CHILDREN REQUIRING MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
All staff have an important role in supporting the mental well-being of children and to identify behaviour that may suggest a child is experiencing mental health problems. All staff need to recognise that mental health may be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. Staff should be aware of the trauma and mental health impact on a child who has had adverse childhood experiences including abuse, bereavement and separation of parents. Staff should also be aware that the pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental health of many children, some of whom have never previously experienced difficulties with their mental health. However, all staff should be clear that only appropriately trained professionals should attempt to make a diagnosis of a mental health difficulty.
LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN AND PREVIOUS LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN
The most common reason for children becoming looked after is as a result of abuse including neglect. Staff need to have the skills, knowledge and understanding to safeguard Looked After Children in recognition of their heightened vulnerability. The DSL and our staff will work with relevant agencies where necessary and provide support during sessions to this vulnerable group of children.
Staff are made aware of the specific children to whom this refers and they are especially vigilant to recognising individuals learning or emotional needs.
At Art Base we understand that disabled children are three to four times more likely to experience abuse. We play an important role in keeping disabled children safe and understand that impairments increase their vulnerability which make it difficult to recognise or respond to danger. Added vulnerability comes from various situations: some children require support with personal intimate care; some children may be seen as easy targets for exploitation or grooming by gangs; social media also presents challenges in relation to what children may accidentally access; some children’s behaviours may also be misinterpreted and considered to be sexual.
Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or physical health issues can face additional safeguarding challenges. Additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children, which can include:
professionals and other adults making assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration
the potential for children with SEN and disabilities or certain medical conditions being vulnerable to experiencing peer exclusion and isolation and being disproportionally impacted by behaviours such as bullying (including prejudice-based bullying), without outwardly showing any signs;
children not understanding that what is happening to them is abuse; and
communication barriers when reporting abuse and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.
For some disabled children, their dependency on parents and carers for practical assistance in daily living, including intimate personal care, may increase their risk of exposure to abusive behaviour. Some children may also have an impaired capacity to resist or avoid abuse. Looked After Disabled Children may be particularly susceptible to possible abuse because of their additional dependency on residential and hospital staff for day to day physical care needs.
Further information on safeguarding SEND children is available in the non-statutory guidance Safeguarding Disabled Children (2009), but staff should speak with the DSL in the first instance.
We understand that in our work when considering adjustments there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach as children have a range of needs and abilities. As teachers we need to be informed about the signs of abuse and be open to the children and able to pick up on changes in behaviour.
Further information can be found on the NSPCC website.
Whistleblowing is the term used when a worker passes on information concerning wrongdoing. The wrongdoing will typically (although not necessarily) be something you have witnessed at work. An important aspect of accountability and transparency is a mechanism to enable staff to voice concerns about such wrongdoings in a responsible and effective manner. All staff members have a responsibility to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in any aspect of the company’s safeguarding arrangements and staff should feel confident that such concerns will be taken seriously by the senior leadership team.
The company understands that we are duty bound to raise concerns and to disclose information which you believe shows malpractice, impropriety, criminal activity and/or dangers to health and safety. This procedure covers concerns where we reasonably believe that the disclosure tends to show past, present or likely future wrongdoing falling into one or more of the following categories:
criminal offences (this may include, for example, types of financial impropriety such as fraud);
failure to comply with an obligation set out in law;
abuse of position, whether or not for personal gain;
endangering someone’s health and safety;
damage to the environment;
other unethical conduct; and
covering up wrongdoing in the above categories.
Where a staff member feels unable to raise an issue with their employer, or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, they should consider other channels available including:
The NSPCC Whistleblowing Advice Line 0800 028 0285 which is free & anonymous, more information can be found at nspcc.org.uk/whistleblowing.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST STAFF & REPORTING OF LOW-LEVEL CONCERNS
Allegations of harm may indicate that a person who works with children might pose a risk of harm to children if they continue in that role. When an allegation is made against a member of staff including supply staff and volunteers, the company would follow the Managing Allegations Procedure in line with KCSIE 2021 Part 4.
An allegation is made against a member of staff including supply staff, volunteers, contractors and governors, when an individual has:
behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child;
behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children; or
behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children.
On receipt of a report of an allegation DSL would contact the appropriate LADO.
Telephone: 01926 414144
Concerns about staff that do not meet the harm threshold and the allegation criteria set out above are known as Low-Level Concerns. Staff should report low-level concerns and self-report low-level concerns about themselves.
Company safeguarding and child protection training is undertaken annually. New staff and volunteers are made aware of our key safeguarding and child protection principles and procedures.
‘Abuse’ is a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. All staff are aware that children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children. All staff should be aware that safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the company and/or can occur between children outside of these environments. All staff should consider whether children are at risk of abuse or exploitation in situations outside their families. Extra-familial harms take a variety of different forms and children can be vulnerable to multiple harms including (but not limited to) sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, and serious youth violence as well as abuse that occurs on digital and online platforms.
All staff must consider whether children are at risk of harm and exploitation in environments outside the family home.
Some of the following signs might be indicators of abuse or neglect:
• children whose behaviour changes – they may become aggressive, challenging, disruptive, withdrawn or clingy, or they might have difficulty sleeping or start wetting the bed;
• children with clothes which are ill-fitting and/or dirty;
• children with consistently poor hygiene;
• children who make strong efforts to avoid specific family members or friends, without an obvious reason;
• children who don’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities;
• children who are having problems at company, for example, a sudden lack of concentration and learning or they appear to be tired and hungry;
• children who talk about being left home alone, with inappropriate carers or with strangers;
• children who reach developmental milestones, such as learning to speak or walk, late, with no medical reason;
• children who are regularly missing from company or education;
• children who are reluctant to go home after company;
• children with poor company attendance and punctuality, or who are consistently late being picked up;
• parents who are dismissive and non-responsive to practitioners’ concerns;
• parents who collect their children from company when drunk, or under the influence of drugs;
• children who drink alcohol regularly from an early age;
• children who are concerned for younger siblings without explaining why;
• children who talk about running away; and
• children who shy away from being touched or flinch at sudden movements.
INDICATORS OF ABUSE
Physical Abuse - may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical Abuse is when a child suffers physical injury as a result of deliberate infliction or knowingly not preventing injury by a parent/carer. Physical abuse is deliberately physically hurting a child. Physical abuse can happen in any family, but children may be more at risk if their parents have problems with drugs, alcohol and/or mental health or if they live in a home where domestic abuse happens. Physical abuse can also occur outside the family environment. Babies and disabled children also have a higher risk of suffering physical abuse. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Some of the following signs may be indicators of physical abuse:
children with frequent injuries;
children with unexplained or unusual fractures or broken bones;
children with unexplained:
bruises or cuts;
burns or scalds; or
Sexual Abuse - involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. It is the involvement of children or young people in sexual activities that they neither comprehend nor are able to give informed consent to. Sexual abuse is any sexual activity with a child. Staff are aware that many children and young people who are victims of sexual abuse do not recognise themselves as such. A child may not understand what is happening and may not even understand that it is wrong. Sexual abuse can have a long-term impact on mental health. This includes failure on the part of a parent/carer to protect their child from exposure to or involvement in sexual activity. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) 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. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Some of the following signs may be indicators of sexual abuse;
• Children who display knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to their age.
• Children who use sexual language or have sexual knowledge that you wouldn’t expect them to have.
• Children who ask others to behave sexually or play sexual games.
• Children with physical sexual health problems, including soreness in the genital and anal areas, sexually transmitted infections or underage pregnancy.
Emotional Abuse - includes bullying, withdrawal of love and affection, lack of or poor parent/child attachment, lack of positive regard. Exposure to domestic violence in the home environment is also regarded as emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child. It is also sometimes called psychological abuse and it can have severe and persistent adverse effects on a child’s emotional development. Although the effects of emotional abuse might take a long time to be recognisable, practitioners will be in a position to observe it – for example, in the way that a parent interacts with their child. Emotional abuse may involve deliberately telling a child that they are worthless, or unloved and inadequate. It may include not giving a child opportunity to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. Emotional abuse may involve serious bullying – including online bullying through social networks, online games or mobile phones – by a child’s peers. Some of the following signs may be indicators of emotional abuse:
• children who are excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong;
• parents or carers who withdraw their attention from their child, giving the child the ‘cold shoulder’;
• parents or carers blaming their problems on their child; and
• parents or carers who humiliate their child – for example, by name-calling or making negative comparisons.
Neglect can be difficult to define and consequently is under-reported and underestimated. Neglect co-exists with other forms of maltreatment. It is mainly defined as the failure of adults to meet children’s basic human needs (food, warmth, shelter, hygiene) or the abdication of responsibility to provide a safe and secure environment for children. Neglect is a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs, whether it be adequate food, clothing, hygiene, supervision or shelter. It is likely to result in the serious impairment of a child’s health or development. It is vital that we ensure the child’s voice is heard when working to address or intervene with cases of neglect.
Children who are neglected often also suffer from other types of abuse. It is important that practitioners remain alert and do not miss opportunities to take timely action. However, while you may be concerned about a child, neglect is not always straightforward to identify. Neglect may occur if a parent becomes physically or mentally unable to care for a child. A parent may also have an addiction to alcohol or drugs, which could impair their ability to keep a child safe or result in them prioritising buying drugs or alcohol over food, clothing or warmth for the child. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal drug or alcohol abuse.
Some of the following signs may be indicators of neglect;
• children who are living in a home that is indisputably dirty or unsafe;
• children who are left hungry or dirty;
• children who are left without adequate clothing, e.g. not having a winter coat;
• children who are living in dangerous conditions, i.e., around drugs, alcohol or violence;
• children who are often angry, aggressive or self-harm;
• children who fail to receive basic health care; and
• parents who fail to seek medical treatment when their children are ill or are injured.
Level 3 and Level 4 cases of neglect can be distinguished in the following way;
Level 3; Child needs are secondary to the adults. Carers are not clear about how to meet child’s needs and do not always accept advice or act on it. They need help to understand the likely impact on the child and why change is necessary. In this case the child presents with complex and multiple needs and a referral to Children’s Services is necessary to ensure access to statutory services.
Level 4; Child’s needs are not considered. Carers do not meet child’s needs, are hostile to advice, do not recognise the impact of the circumstances on the child’s well-being and do not accept the need for action or change. In this case immediate referral to Children’s Services is required.
VOICE OF THE CHILD
At ArtBase our staff need to be aware of systems in place at the company which enable children to share their concerns and report abuse confidently, because they know that their concerns will be taken seriously by staff and action will be taken to safeguard and protect them.
At ArtBase we work to a set of values. There are values for staff and values for pupils and it is these values which inform the way we interact and educate. Staff model them and children are taught them. They are used as tools which support their social and emotional growth and are part of how we keep them safe, and how they keep themselves and each other safe. We build a culture of safeguarding within the company amongst staff and children. Children know we are there to keep them safe and if they are at any point they feel less than safe they are taught how to respond, who to share it with and equally what an appropriate response would be.
CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. CSE occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Apart from age other factors that could make a child more vulnerable to exploitation, include gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, learning difficulties, communication ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
CSE can include both contact (penetrative and non-penetrative acts) and non-contact sexual activity such as involving children in the production of sexual images, forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse including via the internet. CSE can occur over time or be a one-off occurrence and may occur without the child or young person’s immediate knowledge (e.g. through others copying videos or images they have created and posted on social media).
CSE can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years, including 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to have sex. Some children may not realise they are being exploited, as they may believe they are in a genuine romantic relationship. Children may also be exploited by other children, who themselves may be experiencing exploitation – where this is the case, it is important that the child perpetrator is also recognised as a victim.
Staff should be vigilant and be aware of the following indicators of CSE, which is by no means an exhaustive list, and reports all concerns immediately to the DSL:
children who are in possession of multiple phones and overly anxious to check their phones
children who experience sudden changes in behaviour e.g. looking agitated, children who want to leave the company premises at lunchtime
children who have older boyfriends or girlfriends;
children who suffer from sexually transmitted infections or become pregnant.
children who appear with unexplained gifts or new possessions;
children who associate with other young people involved in exploitation;
children who suffer from changes in emotional well-being;
children who misuse drugs and alcohol;
children who go missing for periods of time or regularly come home late; and
children who regularly miss company or education or do not take part in education.
Child sexual exploitation is a complex form of abuse and it can be difficult for those working with children to identify and assess. The indicators for child sexual exploitation can sometimes be mistaken for ‘normal adolescent behaviours’. It requires knowledge, skills, professional curiosity and an assessment which analyses the risk factors and personal circumstances of individual children to ensure that the signs and symptoms are interpreted correctly and appropriate support is given. Even where a young person is old enough to legally consent to sexual activity, ‘the law states that consent is only valid where they make a choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice’. If a child feels they have no other meaningful choice, are under the influence of harmful substances or fearful of what might happen if they don’t comply (all of which are common features in cases of child sexual exploitation), consent cannot legally be given whatever the age of the child.
Staff understand that Child sexual exploitation is never the victim’s fault, even if there is some form of exchange: all children and young people under the age of 18 have a right to be safe and should be protected from harm.
One of the key factors found in most cases of child sexual exploitation is the presence of some form of exchange (sexual activity in return for something) for the victim and/or perpetrator or facilitator. Where it is the victim who is offered, promised or given something they need or want, the exchange can include both tangible (such as money, drugs or alcohol) and intangible rewards (such as status, protection or perceived receipt of love or affection). It is critical to remember the unequal power dynamic within which this exchange occurs and to remember that the receipt of something by a child/young person does not make them any less of a victim.
It is also important to note that the prevention of something negative can also fulfil the requirement for exchange: for example a child who engages in sexual activity to stop someone carrying out a threat to harm his/her family. While there can be gifts or treats involved in other forms of sexual abuse (e.g., a father who sexually abuses but also buys the child toys) it is most likely referred to as child sexual exploitation if the ‘exchange’, as the core dynamic at play, results in financial gain for or enhanced status of, the perpetrator. Where the gain is only for the perpetrator/facilitator, there is most likely a financial gain (money, discharge of a debt or free/discounted goods or services) or increased status as a result of the abuse. If sexual gratification, or exercise of power and control, is the only gain for the perpetrator (and there is no gain for the child/young person) this would not normally constitute child sexual exploitation, but should be responded to as a different form of child sexual abuse (Child Sexual Exploitation, February 2017).
For further information staff can read the Home Office Statutory Guidance on Child Sexual Exploitation as well as speaking to the DSL.
CHILD CRIMINAL EXPLOITATION INCLUDING COUNTY LINES
Child Criminal Exploitation is where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child into any criminal activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or (c) through violence or the threat of violence. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. CCE does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
CCE can include children being forced to work in cannabis factories, being coerced into moving drugs or money across the country through County Lines, forced to shoplift or pickpocket, or to threaten other young people. They can also be forced or manipulated into committing vehicle crime or threatening/committing serious violence to others.
Children can become trapped by this type of exploitation as perpetrators can threaten victims (and their families) with violence, or entrap and coerce them into debt. They may be coerced into carrying weapons such as knives or begin to carry a knife for a sense of protection from harm from others. As children involved in criminal exploitation often commit crimes themselves, their vulnerability as victims is not always recognised by adults and professionals, (particularly older children), and they are not treated as victims despite the harm they have experienced. They may still have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears to be something they have agreed or consented to.
All staff should be aware that girls as well as boys can be at risk of CCE. It is important for staff to note that boys or girls being criminally exploited are at higher risk of being sexually exploited.
Staff need to be aware of some of the indicators of CCE:
Children who are in possession of multiple phones and overly anxious to check their phones
Children who experience sudden changes in behaviour e.g. looking agitated, children who want to leave the company premises at lunchtime
children who appear with unexplained gifts or new possessions;
children who associate with other young people involved in exploitation;
children who suffer from changes in emotional well-being;
children who misuse drugs and alcohol;
children who go missing for periods of time or regularly come home late; and
children who regularly miss company or education or do not take part in education.
County Lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs using dedicated mobile phone lines or other forms of “deal line”. This activity can happen locally as well as across the UK - no specified distance of travel is required. Children and vulnerable adults are exploited to move, store and sell drugs and money. Offenders will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons to ensure compliance of victims.
Children can be targeted and recruited into county lines in a number of locations including schools (mainstream and special), further and higher educational institutions, pupil referral units, children’s homes and care homes.
Children are also increasingly being targeted and recruited online using social media. Children can easily become trapped by this type of exploitation as county lines gangs can manufacture drug debts which need to be worked off or threaten serious violence and kidnap towards victims (and their families) if they attempt to leave the county lines network.
Many of the indicators of children involved in County Lines are as described above under CCE. However, in addition they can include children who:
go missing from education and/or home and subsequently found in areas away from their home;
have been the victim or perpetrator of serious violence (e.g. knife crime);
are involved in receiving requests for drugs via a phone line, moving drugs, handing over and collecting money for drugs;
are exposed to techniques such as ‘plugging’, where drugs are concealed internally to avoid detection;
are found in accommodation that they have no connection with, often called a ‘traphouse or cuckooing’ or hotel room where there is drug activity;
owe a ‘debt bond’ to their exploiters;
have their bank accounts used to facilitate drug dealing
Staff are alert to the increase vulnerability of children under 10 years old being exploited because they are under the age of criminal responsibility.
SERIOUS YOUTH VIOLENCE
All staff are aware of indicators, which may signal that children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime. These may include increased absence from company, a change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups, a significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in wellbeing, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries. Unexplained gifts or new possessions could also indicate that children have been approached by, or are involved with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs.
Children should have the right to explore the digital environment but also the right to be safe when on it. However, the use of technology has become a significant component of many safeguarding issues. Examples of which include child sexual exploitation; child criminal exploitation; radicalisation; sexual predation/grooming; and forms of peer on peer abuse. Technology often provides the platform that facilitates harm.
In many cases abuse will take place concurrently via online channels and in daily life. Children can also abuse their peers online, this can take the form of abusive, harassing, and misogynistic messages, the non-consensual sharing of indecent images, especially around chat groups, and the sharing of abusive images and pornography, to those who do not want to receive such content.
An effective approach to online safety empowers a company to protect and educate the whole company community in their use of technology and establishes mechanisms to identify, intervene in, and escalate any incident where appropriate.
The breadth of issues classified within online safety is considerable, but can be categorised into four areas of risk:
Content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material; for example, pornography, fake news, racism, prejudice-based content, misogyny, self-harm, suicide, anti-Semitism, radicalisation and extremism;
Contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; for example peer to peer pressure, commercial advertising as well as adults posing as children or young adults with the intention of grooming or exploiting them for sexual, criminal; financial or other purposes;
Conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm; for example, making, sending and receiving explicit images (e.g. consensual or non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nudes), and/or pornography, sharing other explicit images and online bullying.
Commerce: risks such as online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing and or financial scams. When pupils are at risk of phishing, company can reports concerns to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (https://apwg.org/).
Cybercrime is criminal activity committed using computers and/or the internet. It is broadly categorised as either ‘cyber-enabled’ (crimes that can happen off-line but are enabled at scale and at speed on-line) or ‘cyber dependent’ (crimes that can be committed only by using a computer).
When there are concerns about a child in this area, staff should notify the DSL, who will consider referring the child into the Cyber Choices programme (cyberchoices.uk). It aims to intervene where young people are at risk of committing, or being drawn into, low level cyber-dependent offences and divert them to a more positive use of their skills and interests.
Sexting or ‘Youth Produced Sexual Imagery’
While professionals refer to the issue as ‘sexting’ there is no clear definition of ‘sexting’. Many professionals consider sexting to be ‘sending or posting sexually suggestive images, including nude or semi-nude photographs, via mobiles or over the Internet.’ Yet when young people are asked ‘What does sexting mean to you?’ they are more likely to interpret sexting as ‘writing and sharing explicit messages with people they know’. Similarly, many parents think of sexting as flirty or sexual text messages rather than images.
Staff are aware of legislation surrounding sharing of sexual imagery by young people, specifically:
• it is an offence to possess, distribute, show and make indecent images of children;
• the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (England and Wales) defines a child, for the purposes of indecent images, as anyone under the age of 18.
‘Indecent’ is not defined in legislation. When cases are prosecuted, the question of whether any photograph of a child is indecent is for a jury, magistrate or District Judge to decide based on what is the recognised standard of propriety. For most purposes, if imagery contains a naked young person, a topless girl, and/ or displays genitals or sex acts, including masturbation, then it will be considered indecent. Indecent images may also include overtly sexual images of young people in their underwear.
Creating and sharing sexual photos and videos of under-18s is illegal and therefore causes the greatest complexity for companies and other agencies when responding. It also presents a range of risks which need careful management. ArtBase understands the phrase ‘youth produced sexual imagery’ and uses this instead of ‘sexting.’ This is to ensure clarity about the issues this policy addresses. ‘Youth produced sexual imagery’ best describes the practice because:
‘youth produced’ includes young people sharing images that they, or another young person, have created of themselves;
‘sexual’ is clearer than ‘indecent’ -- a judgement of whether something is ‘decent’ is both a value judgement and dependent on context;
‘imagery’ covers both still photos and moving videos.
The types of incidents which this covers are:
a person under the age of 18 creates and shares sexual imagery of themselves with a peer under the age of 18;
a person under the age of 18 shares sexual imagery created by another person under the age of 18 with a peer under the age of 18 or an adult;
a person under the age of 18 is in possession of sexual imagery created by another person under the age of 18.
Sharing photos and videos online is part of daily life for many people, enabling them to share their experiences, connect with friends and record their lives. 90% of 16-24 year olds and 69% of 12-15 year olds own a smartphone, giving them the ability to quickly and easily create and share photos and videos.
This increase in the speed and ease of sharing imagery has brought concerns about young people producing and sharing sexual imagery of themselves. Staff understand that this can expose them to risks, particularly if the imagery is shared further, including embarrassment, bullying and increased vulnerability to sexual exploitation.
All incidents involving youth produced sexual imagery should be responded to in line with our Safeguarding and Child Protection policy and reported to the DSL or Deputy DSL.
When an incident involving youth produced sexual imagery comes to our attention the following procedure is followed.
The incident should be referred to the DSL as soon as possible
The DSL should hold an initial review meeting with appropriate company staff.
There should be subsequent interviews with the young people involved (if appropriate).
Parents should be informed at an early stage and involved in the process unless there is good reason to believe that involving parents would put the young person at risk of harm.
At any point in the process, if there is a concern a young person has been harmed or is at risk of harm a referral should be made to Children’s Services and/or the police immediately.
Initial review meeting
The initial review meeting should consider the initial evidence and aim to establish:
whether there is an immediate risk to a young person or young people;
whether a referral should be made to the police and/or Children’s Services;
whether it is necessary to view the imagery in order to safeguard the young person – in most cases, imagery should not be viewed;
what further information is required to decide on the best response;
whether the imagery has been shared widely and via what services and/or platforms (this may be unknown);
whether immediate action should be taken to delete or remove images from devices or online services;
any relevant facts about the young people involved which would influence risk assessment;
whether there is a need to contact another setting or individual;
whether to contact parents or carers of the pupils involved -- in most cases parents should be involved.
An immediate referral to police and/or Children’s Services would be made if at this initial stage:
the incident involves an adult;
there is reason to believe that a young person has been coerced, blackmailed or groomed, or if there are concerns about their capacity to consent (for example, owing to special educational needs);
what you know about the imagery suggests the content depicts sexual acts which are unusual for the young person’s developmental stage, or are violent;
the imagery involves sexual acts and any pupil in the imagery is under 18;
you have reason to believe a pupil is, or pupils are at immediate risk of harm owing to the sharing of the imagery -- for example, the young person is presenting as suicidal or self-harming.
If none of the above applies, a company may decide to respond to the incident without involving the police or Children’s Services (a company can choose to escalate the incident at any time if further information/concerns come to light).
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 recognises the impact of domestic abuse on children, as victims in their own right, if they see, hear or experience the effects of abuse. The statutory definition of domestic abuse recognises that domestic abuse may occur in different types of relationships, including ex-partners and family members. Domestic Abuse may involve a range of abusive behaviours including physical, emotional and economic abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour. Both the person who is carrying out the behaviour and the person to whom the behaviour is directed towards must be aged 16 or over and they must be ‘personally connected’.
Our staff are aware that all children can witness and be adversely affected by domestic abuse in the context of their home life where domestic abuse occurs between family members. Experiencing domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long lasting emotional and psychological impact on children. In some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result. They may have mixed feelings, both towards the abuser and towards the non-abusing parent. There can be an impact on company attendance and achievement: some children will stay home in an attempt to protect their parent, or because they are frightened what may happen if they go out.
Young people can also experience domestic abuse within their own intimate relationships. This form of peer on peer abuse is sometimes referred to as ‘teenage relationship abuse’.
RADICALISATION AND EXTREMISM
Children are vulnerable to extremist ideology and radicalisation. Similar to protecting children from other forms of harms and abuse, protecting children from this risk is part of the company’s safeguarding approach.
There is no single way of identifying whether a child is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. Background factors combined with specific influences such as family and friends may contribute to a child’s vulnerability. Similarly, radicalisation can occur through many different methods (such as social media or the internet) and settings (such as within the home).
Since July 2015, schools have a legal responsibility to ‘have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. Children and young people can be influenced by beliefs and opinions held by members of their family and/or community. Children who show sympathy for extremist causes, who glorify violence and/or who advocate messages held by extremist groups may be vulnerable to being drawn into extremism or radicalisation.
Similarly to how we work to protect children from other forms of harms and abuse, protecting children from this risk forms a part of our safeguarding approach.
• Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This also includes calling for the death of members of the armed forces.
• Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups.
• Terrorism is an action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people; causes serious damage to property; or seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system. The use or threat must be designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
Children who are at risk of radicalisation may have low self-esteem or be victims of bullying or discrimination. This makes them vulnerable to potentially becoming targets of others with extremist views.
Pupils who cause concern for their extremist views should be referred to child protection agencies using a (MASH) form and emailing to the following addresses:
PEER ON PEER ABUSE
Our staff must be aware that children may be harmed by other children.
It is important that all staff recognise the indicators and signs of peer on peer abuse. Staff should treat all reports of peer on peer abuse very seriously and make it clear that all forms are unacceptable. Abuse is abuse and will never be dismissed as ‘banter’ or ‘part of growing up’. Our company adopts a Zero Tolerance Approach to peer on peer abuse.
All staff should recognise that even though there are no reported cases of peer on peer abuse among pupils, such abuse may still be taking place and it is simply not being reported.
Staff should be aware that it is more likely that boys will be perpetrators of peer on peer abuse and girls will be victims of peer on peer abuse. However, all forms of peer on peer abuse are unacceptable and will not be tolerated at the company.
Staff should recognise that peer on peer abuse can take many forms and may be facilitated by technology, including:
bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying)
physical abuse such as biting, hitting, kicking or hair pulling
sexually harmful behaviour and sexual abuse including inappropriate sexual language, touching, sexual assault or rape
causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party
consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nudes images and/or videos
teenage relationship abuse – where there is a pattern of actual or threatened acts of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, perpetrated against a current or former partner
upskirting – taking a picture under a person’s clothing without their knowledge and/or permission with the attention of viewing their buttocks or genitals (with or without underwear) to obtain sexual gratification. It is a criminal offence
initiation/hazing - used to introduce newcomers into an organisation or group by subjecting them to a series of trials and challenges, which are potentially humiliating, embarrassing or abusive.
prejudice and discrimination - behaviours which cause a person to feel powerless, worthless or excluded originating from prejudices around belonging, identity and equality, for example, prejudices linked to disabilities, special educational needs, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, gender and sexual identity.
Different gender issues can be prevalent when dealing with peer on peer abuse, for example girls being sexually touched/assaulted or boys being subject to initiation/hazing type violence.
At ArtBase our safeguarding procedures which are in place to minimise the risk of Peer on Peer Abuse include the emphasis on Respect as a core value for pupils. Teachers spend time listening to children when they have concerns, no matter how small, and in these conversations staff model how our values and rules keep us safe. Children understand the importance of keeping ourselves and each other safe and can expect a consistent response from all adults. Staff know the expectation for responding to concerns from children is to record behaviours. Children are taught that these situations are sometimes opportunities for emotional growth, acknowledging mistakes, not being shamed but realising there is a value in making amends.
We give immediate consideration to how best to support and protect the victim and the alleged perpetrator (and any other children involved/impacted). We consider the following.
We consider the wishes of the victim in terms of how they want to proceed.
We consider the nature of the alleged incident(s)
We consider the ages and the developmental stages of the children involved;
We consider any power imbalance between the children. For example, is the alleged perpetrator significantly older, more mature or more confident? Does the victim have a disability or learning difficulty?
We consider whether the alleged incident is a one-off or a sustained pattern of abuse.
We consider whether there are ongoing risks to the victim, other children, adult students or company.
We consider every report on a case-by-case basis. When to inform the alleged perpetrator will be a decision that should be carefully considered. We consider the proportionality of the response. Support and consequences are considered side by side.
PEER ON PEER SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT
ArtBase follows the advice set out in the KCSIE 2021 regarding what sexual violence and sexual harassment is, how to minimise the risk of it occurring and what to do when it does occur, or is alleged to have occurred. At ArtBase we have considered how to reflect on sexual violence and sexual harassment in our whole-company approach to safeguarding.
Sexual violence – Peer on Peer Abuse
We ensure all staff are aware of sexual violence and the fact that children can, and sometimes do, abuse their peers in this way. When referring to sexual violence in this policy, we do so in the context of child-on-child sexual violence. When referring to sexual violence we are referring to sexual offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as described below:
Rape: A person (A) commits an offence of rape if: he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Assault by Penetration: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of her/his body or anything else, the penetration is sexual, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Sexual Assault: A person (A) commits an offence of sexual assault if: s/he intentionally touches another person (B), the touching is sexual, B does not consent to the touching and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
What is consent?
Consent is about having the freedom and capacity to choose. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, e.g., to vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if s/he agrees by choice to that penetration and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
A child under the age of 13 can never consent to any sexual activity.
The age of consent is 16.
Sexual intercourse without consent is rape.
All staff must be aware that sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex from primary to secondary phases and in colleges. It can also occur online. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children. When referring to sexual harassment we mean ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline. When we reference sexual harassment, we do so in the context of child-on-child sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is likely to: violate a child’s dignity, and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.
While not intended to be an exhaustive list, sexual harassment can include:
sexual comments, such as: telling sexual stories, making lewd comments, making sexual remarks about clothes and appearance and calling someone sexualised names;
sexual “jokes” or taunting; physical behaviour, such as: deliberately brushing against someone, interfering with someone’s clothes (we consider when any of this crosses a line into sexual violence – we understand it is important to talk to and consider the experience of the victim) and displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature;
online sexual harassment. This may be stand-alone, or part of a wider pattern of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence and may include the following;
non-consensual sharing of sexual images and videos;
sexualised online bullying;
unwanted sexual comments and messages, including on social media;
sexual exploitation; coercion and threats;
sexting/Youth-Produced Sexual Imagery;
initiating/hazing type violence and rituals
At ArtBase we consider sexual harassment in broad terms. Sexual harassment (as set out above) creates an atmosphere that, if not challenged, can normalise inappropriate behaviours and provide an environment that may lead to sexual violence. It is not tolerated in ArtBase.
Action following a report of sexual violence and/or sexual harassment
We would carefully consider any report of sexual violence and/or sexual harassment. The DSL (or deputy) will create a complete safeguarding picture and be the most appropriate person to advise on our initial response. As always when concerned about the welfare of a child, we act in the best interests of the child. In all cases, we should follow general safeguarding principles as set out throughout this policy and other guidance and statutes. We give immediate consideration to how best to support and protect the victim and the alleged perpetrator (and any other children involved/impacted). We consider the following.
Referrals to Children’s Services
Reporting to the Police. This will always be the course of action where a physical assault has been alleged, even if the alleged perpetrator is under 10 years of age.
Youth Produced Sexual Imagery
Youth Produced Sexual Imagery is one of the terms professionals use to describe the sending or posting of nude or semi-nude images, videos or live streams by children and young people under the age of 18 online. The term ‘nudes’ is used by young people and covers all types of image sharing incidents. Alternative terms used by children include ‘dick pics’ or ‘pics’.
The sharing of nudes and semi-nudes can happen publicly online, in 1:1 messaging or via group chats and closed social media accounts. It could also involve sharing between devices via services like Apple’s AirDrop which works offline. Nude or semi-nude images, videos or live streams may include more than one child or young person.
Incidents may also occur where:
children and young people find nudes and semi-nudes online and share them claiming to be from a peer
children and young people digitally manipulate an image of a young person into an existing nude online
images created or shared are used to abuse peers e.g. by selling images online or obtaining images to share more widely without consent to publicly shame. Such images can be shared via web pages and social media accounts called ‘Bait Out’ pages/accounts.
Creating and sharing nudes and semi-nudes of under-18s (including those created and shared with consent) is illegal.
When handling disclosures of Youth Produced Sexual Imagery, staff must be aware that it is illegal for staff to view or share such imagery. Staff should immediately report the disclosure to the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Staff understand the following actions are necessary;
Never view, copy, print, share, store or save the imagery yourself, or ask a child to share or download – this is illegal.
If you have already viewed the imagery by accident (e.g. if a young person has showed it to you before you could ask them not to), report this to the DSL (or equivalent) and seek support.
Do not delete the imagery or ask the young person to delete it.
Do not ask the child/children or young person(s) who are involved in the incident to disclose information regarding the imagery. This is the responsibility of the DSL (or equivalent).
Do not share information about the incident with other members of staff, the young person(s) it involves or their, or other, parents and/or carers.
Do not say or do anything to blame or shame any young people involved.
Do explain to them that you need to report it and reassure them that they will receive support and help from the DSL (or equivalent).
Our response to Youth Produced Sexual Imagery is in accordance with UKCIS’s non-statutory guidance, Sharing Nudes and Semi-Nudes. Advice for Education Settings working with Children and Young People 2020.
BULLYING (INCLUDING CYBERBULLYING)
Bullying is a very serious issue that can cause anxiety and distress. All incidences of bullying, including cyber-bullying and prejudice-based bullying would be responded to appropriately and in a restorative way, including sharing with parents.
CHILDREN AND THE COURT SYSTEM
Children are sometimes required to give evidence in criminal courts, either for crimes committed against them or for crimes they have witnessed. There are two age appropriate guides to support children 5-11-year olds and 12-17 year olds. The guides explain each step of the process, support and special measures that are available. There are diagrams illustrating the courtroom structure and the use of video links is explained. Making child arrangements via the family courts following separation can be stressful and entrench conflict in families. This can be stressful for children. The Ministry of Justice has launched an online child arrangements information tool with clear and concise information on the dispute resolution service. This may be useful for some parents and carers.
CHILDREN WITH FAMILY MEMBERS IN PRISON
Approximately 200,000 children have a parent sent to prison each year. These children are at risk of poor outcomes including poverty, stigma, isolation and poor mental health. NICCO provides information designed to support professionals working with offenders and their children, to help mitigate negative consequences for those children.
We understand the added vulnerabilities of children with a parent in prison are:
they are twice as likely to experience conduct and mental health problems, and less likely to do well at company;
they are three times more likely to be involved in offending. Sixty-five per cent of boys with a convicted father will go on to offend themselves.
Privately fostered children remain a diverse and potentially vulnerable group.
A private fostering arrangement is one that is made privately, that is to say without the involvement of the Local Authority, for the care of a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if disabled) by someone other than a parent (or other person with parental responsibility) or a relative with the intention that it should last for 28 days or more. The private foster carer becomes responsible for providing the day to day care of the child. The parent will continue to hold parental responsibility for the child. The arrangement will fall within the definition of private fostering in the 1989 Act, and the provisions in that Act and in the Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005 will apply. Local authorities are required to satisfy themselves that the welfare of the children who are privately fostered in their area is safeguarded and promoted. This means that they must visit the private fostering arrangements within seven days of being notified of the arrangement. They will also speak to the parents and provide support and advice where necessary. Local authorities will then carry out follow-up visits. The number of visits required is at intervals of not more than six weeks in respect of the first year and twelve in the second and subsequent years of the arrangement. Local authorities are also required to monitor the way in which they discharge their private fostering duties, appoint an officer for that purpose and raise awareness of the requirement to notify them of private fostering arrangements.
We understand that young carers are to be considered a vulnerable group. It is estimated by the Children’s Society that 1 in 5 children are young carers and many are hidden and unidentified. Company recognises that young carers have the right to an assessment by the local authority to identify needs and support and the person they are caring for can have a reassessment of their needs. The DSL will work with other agencies to best support the young person when they have been identified as a young carer.
Telephone: 01926 963940
CHILD ABDUCTION AND COMMUNITY SAFETY INCIDENTS
Child abduction is the unauthorised removal or retention of a child from a parent or anyone with legal responsibility for the child. Child abduction can be committed by parents or other family members; by people known but not related to the victim (such as neighbours, friends and acquaintances); and by strangers.
All incidents of Child Abduction should be reported immediately to the Police and Children’s Social Care.
Other community safety incidents in the vicinity of a company can raise concerns amongst staff, children and parents, for example, people loitering nearby or unknown adults engaging children in conversation. All incidents that occur during the company day should be immediately reported to the DSL, and steps taken to ensure the safety and well-being of the children involved.
Modern slavery encompasses human trafficking and slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. Exploitation can take many forms, including: sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery, servitude, forced criminality and the removal of organs.
Further information on the signs that someone may be a victim of modern slavery, the support available to victims and how to refer them to the National Referral Mechanism is available in the Modern Slavery Statutory Guidance.
TAKING SAFEGUARDING ACTION
Any child, in any family in any company could become a victim of abuse. Staff should always maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’. Key points for staff to remember are:
in an emergency take the action necessary to help the child (including calling 999)
report your concern as soon as possible to the DSL, no later than the end of the day.
concerns should also be shared verbally
do not start your own investigation
share information on a need-to-know basis only – do not discuss the issue with colleagues, friends or family
complete a record of concern
At ArtBase we are aware that mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. We understand that where children have suffered abuse and neglect, or other potentially traumatic adverse childhood experiences, this can have a lasting impact throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. It is key that staff are aware of how these children’s experiences can impact on their mental health, behaviour and education. If staff have a mental health concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken, following our Child Protection Policy and speaking to the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy.
When a child discloses that they have been or are being abused including exploitation and neglect, they may feel ashamed, especially if the abuse is sexual, and feel frightened lest their abuser finds out they have made a disclosure. The child may have been threatened, they may have lost all trust in adults; or may believe that they are to blame for the abuse. Sometimes the child may not understand that what is happening is abusive.
All staff should reassure victims that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting abuse, sexual violence or sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever be made to feel ashamed for making a report.
As a member of staff, our first step is to remain alert to signs of abuse and neglect.
We question behaviours. The signs of child abuse might not always be obvious and a child might not tell anyone what is happening to them. You should therefore question behaviours if something seems unusual and try to speak to the child, if appropriate, to seek further information.
Our company’s staff report concerns to the company’s Designated Safeguarding Team.
Record of Concern
Any member of staff or volunteer who has concerns about the safety or potential abuse of a child must report their concerns orally to a member of the safeguarding team without delay. It is expected that a written account of the concern or disclosure follows as soon as possible.
We expect staff to remember when listening to a disclosure: Actively listen, do not look shocked or disbelieving; Stay calm; Take what the child is saying seriously; Do not ask for detail; Reassure the child that they are doing the right thing; Do not promise to keep secrets; Tell the child that you have to share this information; Explain what will happen next; Record the information as quickly as possible – facts not opinion; Sign and date everything you record (NSPCC, 2018)
A written account of the disclosure must be made on the company’s Record of Concern (ROC).
The ROC must be given to a designated member of staff immediately. If, in exceptional circumstances, the DSL or Deputies are not available, this should not delay appropriate action being taken. All staff are aware of how to report concerns to the local authority’s statutory services or police.
It must include as much information as possible – including time, date, exact words used in a disclosure, specific description to visible marks and their location, or a general description of how a child’s behaviour and/or demeanor has changed, giving a sense of concern for the child’s experience outside the company.
The DSL will act on the information and report the outcomes back to the member of staff. Options include;
a referral for statutory services, for example as the child is in need or suffering or likely to suffer harm
If a child is in danger the referral will be made to the police
If the pupil has committed a crime a referral will be made to the police
When making referrals to Children’s Services the DSL will always consider wider environmental factors that pose a threat to their safety or welfare. The DSL will gather as much contextual information as possible to support the referral.
When the DSL makes a referral to Children’s Services or to other external agencies, the information will be shared in line with confidential requirements (see The Seven Golden Rules). The DSL will work alongside external agencies where necessary. Staff are aware that they need to consider following local escalation procedures if they doubt that their concern isn’t addressed. The DSL is responsible for ensuring all concerns, discussions and decisions made and the reasons for those decisions are recorded in writing.
Listening and Talking to Children
There are several reasons why you might listen to/talk with a child about something which causes you concern and/or might indicate possible abuse. It may be because of a comment they make, or a drawing, or some play activity, or something you notice. It might also be because a child tells you something directly. It is very important that you know what NOT to say or do as well as what kind of things to say or do.
What NOT to say or do
It is very important that you do not do the following.
Make any assumptions or leap to any conclusions. If you do either of these, you will not really hear what the person is saying: you will ask the wrong questions and generally react inappropriately.
Ask the child leading, closed or directed questions. Do not try to find out exactly what happened so it makes sense to you. You are meant to be listening – not interrogating. Be quiet and let it come out as it may. Cases which have later gone to Court have been dismissed because somebody has questioned the child inappropriately – do not let it be you. This leaves the child in a more vulnerable position than ever.
Make promises you cannot keep. You cannot offer complete confidentiality on anything that is potentially abusive. Do not pretend that you will and then have to betray the child later: be honest. Say that you would need to tell.
Dismiss what they say or contradict their understanding or experience, e.g., ‘Your Mum? She wouldn’t do a thing like that, it must have been an accident.’ ‘Oh, I’m sure he doesn’t mean it, he was probably joking.’
Indicate that the child is to blame. E.g., ‘My dad really belted me on Sunday.’ ‘You must have made him very angry, what had you done?’
Let your own emotions get in the way. This is not about you – it is about the child. Whatever your emotions might be – skepticism, outrage, disgust, general upset, etc. – deal with them later. Do not let them be part of your communication with the child: remember you are the adult. Do not say Oh how dreadful/I can’t believe it/you poor thing/are you sure?
What to do and say
You need to listen and say very little. It sounds easy, but in general we do not do this very well. Instead of listening we:
finish other’s sentences;
ask leading, closed or directed questions;
make assumptions about their feelings and react accordingly;
do not allow the speaker to pause for more than three seconds before jumping in;
speak about ourselves and how we feel about what they are saying;
give advice/tell them what to do;
tell them our opinions of the subject and other people involved;
do not allow the speaker to be upset/cry – but tell them everything will be alright/it’s not that bad/and, basically, please stop crying.
Instead, we should:
pay total attention to the speaker;
be very calm and patient;
look at the speaker directly/good eye contact;
allow silences and long pauses;
pay total attention to the speaker;
your whole attitude is ‘you are my only priority right now’.
Questions you can use
Do you want to/can you say what happened next?
Is there anything else you want to say? Are you sure?
Things you could/would say after a disclosure
I’m glad you have told me this.
Thank you for telling me this.
I take what you have told me very seriously.
You’ve been very brave to talk about this.
It isn’t your fault you know.
I will help you as much as I can.
that the child may fear reprisals from having told;
stay with the child if at all possible;
It has been an act of courage, as well as desperation, for them to have spoken
Supporting the child
Where there is a safeguarding concern, we take steps to take the pupil’s needs, wishes and feelings into account. We recognise that children who experience or witness abuse or violence may experience difficulties that impact on their sense of self-worth. They may experience emotional, behavioural or social difficulties and may blame themselves for their situation. They may become challenging, disruptive, attention-seeking or withdrawn. Children who have experienced abuse, neglect, exposure to domestic violence, hidden harm or are failing to thrive emotionally and socially are prioritised for additional support, intervention or provision.
Staff know that if they have concerns about the safety or welfare of a child and feel they are not being acted upon by the DSL, it is their responsibility to take action. All staff must understand that in exceptional circumstances they are also able to discuss concerns directly with the MASH team.
Tel: 01926 414144
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
CONFIDENTIALITY AND SHARING INFORMATION
Staff should not assume a colleague or another professional will take action and share information that might be critical in keeping children safe. They should be mindful that early information sharing is vital for effective identification, assessment and allocation of appropriate service provision. Serious Case Reviews have highlighted failures in safeguarding systems in which people did not share information at the earliest opportunity or did not share at all. If in any doubt about sharing information, staff should speak to the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.
All staff should understand that safeguarding requires a high level of confidentiality.
Any member of staff can contact children’s social care if they are concerned about a child but should inform the DSL as soon as possible that they have done so.
The DSL will have due regard to the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure that personal information is processed fairly and lawfully and they will adhere to the seven golden rules for sharing information. Information sharing will take place in a timely and secure manner. The GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 do not prevent company staff from sharing information with relevant agencies, as safeguarding and protecting children provide a legal basis for sharing information.
At ArtBase we ensure that relevant staff have due regard to the relevant data protection principles, which allow them to share (and withhold) personal information, as provided for in the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR. This includes:
• understanding that ‘safeguarding of children and individuals at risk’ is a processing condition that allows practitioners to share special category personal data. This includes allowing practitioners to share information without consent where there is good reason to do so, and that the sharing of information will enhance the safeguarding of a child in a timely manner, but it is not possible to gain consent, it cannot be reasonably expected that a practitioner gains consent, or if to gain consent would place a child at risk.
Information sharing decisions will be recorded, whether or not the decision to share has been taken. Child protection information will be stored securely separate from the pupil’s company file.
Confidentiality and Information Sharing – The seven golden rules
When sharing confidential information, we follow the 7 golden rules.
Remember that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Data Protection Act 2018 and human rights law are not barriers to justified information sharing but provide a framework to ensure that personal information about living individuals is shared appropriately.
Be open and honest with the individual (and/or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.
Seek advice from other practitioners, or your information governance lead, if you are in any doubt about sharing the information concerned, without disclosing the identity of the individual where possible. Fears concerning information sharing cannot be allowed to prevent the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.
Where possible, share information with consent, and where possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent to having their information shared. Under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 you may share information without consent if, in your judgement, there is a lawful basis to do so, such as where safety may be at risk. You will need to base your judgement on the facts of the case. When you are sharing or requesting personal information from someone, be clear of the basis upon which you are doing so. Where you do not have consent, be mindful that an individual might not expect information to be shared.
Consider safety and well-being: base your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well-being of the individual and others who may be affected by their actions.
Necessary, proportionate, relevant, adequate, accurate, timely and secure: ensure that the information you share is necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, is shared only with those individuals who need to have it, is accurate and up to-date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely (see principles).
Keep a record of your decision and the reasons for it – whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose.
REFERRING TO CHILDREN’S SOCIAL CARE
The DSL or DDSL will make a referral to children’s social care if it is believed that a pupil is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm, or the child is considered to be in need, that is a child who is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable level of health or development, or whose health and development is likely to be significantly or further impaired, without the provision of services.
When the DSL completes a MASH referral form and sends it securely to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub, the referral form will be accurate and sufficiently detailed to enable the MASH Assessment and Intervention Team to make a decision on the level of statutory response required.
If the child is already known to Children’s Social Care, then the DSL will communicate safeguarding concerns with the allocated Social Worker.
If, after a referral to Children’s Social Care, the child’s situation does not appear to be improving, the DSL will consider following local escalation procedures to ensure their concerns have been addressed and that the child’s situation improves.
In accordance with the Warwickshire County Council Threshold Guidance the DSL will first contact the team manager followed by the service manager followed by the divisional director. At every level of escalation there should be discussion and concerted effort to resolve any professional difference.