- / Procedures
- / Children living away from home
- / Secure Units
- / Young People's Protection and Safeguarding
Young People's Protection and Safeguarding
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
- All members of staff have a duty to be familiar with these procedures
- Staff meetings, supervision and training should increase awareness of the issues relating to emotional, physical, mental and sexual abuse.
- Staff must be aware and implement the whistle blowing policy as and when necessary.
- Staff must have an understanding and awareness of the impact of bullying on young people and adhere to the bullying policy.
- Staff are to be aware of and implement the procedures in relation to visiting
- Staff must have knowledge of the young person's placement plan, contact arrangements and risk assessment.
- If staff feel that concerns they have raised have not been taken seriously they must contact the Service Manager.
- Procedure If concern is expressed or an allegation is made within the unit this must be reported to the Manager and Service Manager or one of the Directors immediately.
- If this is out of office hours the on-call manager should be contacted if they are unavailable, a request should made to contact the Service Manager on-call or a Director.
- If the concern or allegation involves the Manager of the home the report must go to the Service Manager or a Director only NOT to the Manager.
- If the allegation involves the Service Manager or a Director the concern should be passed on to the Manager and another Director.
- If no one with line management can be contacted/or is not appropriate to be contacted, concerns should be passed to the Assessment and Intervention Social Work Team (telephone 723182) or the Duty Social Work Team (725241).
- Accurate notes must be made at the time of the concern/allegation and forwarded to the relevant person. A copy must be kept in the home of all aspects of the allegation including the outcome.It is normal practice for a strategy meeting to be held within 24 hours at which a member of the unit management should attend.
- The decision-making for safeguarding of children and young people will be made by the Assessment and Intervention/Duty Social Work Team and the Police.
- It is always better to refer than not.
Guidance to staff if young person makes an allegation
- Be open and sensitive to what young people are saying; be alert to both verbal and non-verbal clues.
- Do not promise confidentiality. Issues must be passed on. However, re-assure the young person that you will only tell those who need to know.
- Do not ask leading questions; listen to what is said and record accurately, use reflective listening to check accuracy
- Do not make judgements regarding the allegations; we cannot express an opinion about what is said.
- When allegations or concerns are received consideration will be given to continued safety of the young person involved and the other young people resident.
- he need for continuing safety may result in the suspension of staff, in particular if an allegation names them. In this case a person will be appointed to support the member of staff whilst on suspension. This will only be a supportive role any necessary information sharing will be undertaken by the Management and Human Resources. The member of staff will also be advised of their right to contact their union representative and/or seek legal advice at any stage of the investigation.
- Following an allegation/concern the Child Protection Investigation will take precedence (if this is appropriate) but disciplinary procedures will be undertaken following consultation with the relevant investigating officers.
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:
- knocking and waiting for access unless the safety of the young person is an issue and risk assessments have indicated a need to override such practice.
- Another member of staff being in the close vicinity and/or being aware of the intention to go into a bedroom.
- Young people should have quality time with their link worker. Other staff must be aware that a 1:1 session is taking place and therefore be vigilant should assistance be needed.
- Staff must ensure that they are aware of any risk assessment that has been made on the young person in relation to being alone with them.
- Where a member of staff finds themselves alone with a young person, through default, they should be aware of the importance of keeping both themselves and the young person safe, not just from physical harm but from any allegation that could be made and put into practice as much of the guidance as they can.
Supervision of young people
- Young people need to be supervised in a sensitive and non-intrusive manner where possible although the findings of risk assessments may mean that staff have to fully supervise young people. Staff should be aware of the whereabouts of young people at all times whether inside or outside of the unit on exercise time. Subtle observations of time spent with other young people is essential to safeguard young people. Be observant of physical contact and body language as well as what is being said; all may be clues to abusive situations or relationships.
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:
- Staff will listen sensitively to what a young person may tell them about their abuse and record what is said at an appropriate juncture
- Staff will be non-judgemental.
- Staff will not enter into any recovery work with an individual but must raise the need for this with external professionals through the social worker or the review system.
- The team will be consistent in helping the individual raise their feelings of self-worth, self-esteem and positive image beliefs.
- The staff team will be vigilant in ensuring that the health of the individual does not deteriorate or suffer as a result of their earlier abuse.
- The young person's social worker will be kept informed of all issues, events and incidents relating to the young person.
- Staff will not discuss the issues with any other young person
- Staff will support any external recovery work that is being undertaken
- Staff will keep themselves updated in current research within the field of child abuse and in particular, issues and consequences that affect behaviour presentation.
- Where it is not known but the individual is exhibiting similar behaviour traits to that of a known victim of abuse, then our working approach will be the same as it would be as if it was known that the individual had been abused.If a young person while living in the unit discloses previous abuse to a member of staff, then the child protection policy must be followed.
Definitions taken from Working Together 1999
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 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 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.
- Child protection
- Youth Offending
- Children with Disabilities