Young People's Protection and Safeguarding

The safeguarding and welfare of young people and young people is everyone's responsibility whether they work directly or indirectly with young people in the care of the Health and Social Services Department


Where a member of staff is concerned that a young person in the unit may be suffering abuse of any kind they have a duty to act.

This procedure and guidance is compliant with the Young Person Protection Policy and offers more detailed, specific guidance to staff in the event of a disclosure or working with young people who have suffered abuse/made allegations of abuse or have perpetrated abuse.  

This procedure should also be read in conjunction with the policies concerned with Whistle Blowing and Bullying.

Procedure and guidance General guidance

Guidance to staff if young person makes an allegation


Additional Guidance on Safeguarding Young people

One to one time with young people It is our policy that staff should not spend time alone with a young person without some element of safety being present.

Staff should not enter into young people's bedroom without: 

Supervision of young people

Young people who have been abused Research (Finklehor, D 1984/Kempe & Kempe 1983/Anderson, D 1976 and Grand, F. 1992) highlights the fact that abuse can happen at any age and be perpetrated by any individual, adult or peer.  This research also highlights that for many young victims of abuse, there are common issues and consequences which occur at varying stages in their lives and within a huge range of behaviours which may well come to the fore when they are admitted to a young people's home whether open or secure.  Statistically, it is possible that some of the young people who are admitted to the unit may have been abused prior to being admitted, this may be detailed in their Looked After Young people documentation or in reviews and should be considered in any plan of care or work assessment.  However, they may never have disclosed any abuse prior to admission and therefore staff need to be aware of the possibility at all times.

Staff must be sensitive to specific needs such young people have and should be aware of the issues and behavioural consequences which may indicate that the young person may have been abused at some earlier stage.  This will be addressed in training for staff.

Where it is know that a young person has been abused prior to being admitted, our working approach will be based on the following:


Definitions taken from Working Together 1999

Physical abuse

Physical Abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, or otherwise causing physical harm to a young person.  Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a young person whom they are looking after.  This situation is commonly described using terms such as factitious illness by proxy or Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

Emotional abuse

Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a young person such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the young person's emotional development.  It may involve conveying to young people they are unloved, inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.  It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on young people.  It may involve causing young people frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or exploitation or corruption of young people.  Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a young person, or it may occur alone.

Sexual abuse

Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a young person or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the young person is aware of what is happening.  The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts.  They may include non-contact activities, such as involving young people in looking at, or in the production of material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging young people to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.


Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a young person's basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the young person's health or development.  It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a young person from physical harm or danger, or failure to ensue access to appropriate medical care or treatment.  It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a young person's basic emotional needs.