Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy

1. The purpose and scope of this policy statement

The purpose of this policy statement is:

  • to protect children and young people who receive the Friendship Project’s services from harm
  • to provide staff and volunteers, as well as children and young people and their families, with the overarching
    principles that guide our approach to child protection.

This policy applies to anyone working on behalf of The Friendship Project including the board of trustees, paid staff
and volunteers.

2. Legal framework

This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in
England including:

  • The Children Act 1989, which provides the legislative framework for child protection in England and established the paramount nature of the child’s welfare and the expectations and requirements around duties of care to children.
  • The Children Act 2004, which encourages partnerships between agencies and creates more accountability, by placing a duty on local authorities to appoint children’s services members who are ultimately accountable for the delivery of services and by placing a duty on local authorities and their partners to co-operate in safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children and young people.
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children (Department of Education, 2018) – statutory guidance for anyone working with children, which sets out how organisations and individuals should work together.
  • What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused: advice for practitioners (Department of Education, 2015) which describes the indicators of abuse and neglect and the actions to take if you think a child is being
    abused or neglected.

3. Supporting documents

This policy statement should be read alongside our organisational policies, procedures, guidance and other related
documents as set out in the Project Guidelines.

4. We believe that:

  • Children and young people should never experience abuse of any kind.
  • We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to
    practise in a way that protects them.

5. We recognise that:

  • the welfare of children is paramount in all the work we do and in all the decisions we take all children, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse.
  • some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of
    dependency, communication needs or other issues.
  • working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in
    promoting young people’s welfare.

6. We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:

  • valuing, listening to and respecting them.
  • appointing a lead trustee/board member for safeguarding.
  • adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies, procedures and code of conduct
    for staff and volunteers.
  • developing and implementing effective safeguarding procedures.
  • providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support, training and quality
    assurance measures so that all staff and volunteers know about and follow our policies, procedures and
    behaviour codes confidently and competently.
  • recruiting and selecting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made.
  • recording, storing and using information professionally and securely, in line with data protection legislation and
    guidance.
  • sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with children and their families.
  • making sure that children, young people and their families know where to go for help if they have a concern
    using our safeguarding and child protection procedures to share concerns and relevant information with
    agencies who need to know, and involving children, young people, parents, families and carers appropriately.
  • using our procedures to manage any allegations against staff and volunteers appropriately.
  • ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place.
  • ensuring that we provide a safe physical environment for our children, young people, staff and volunteers, by
    applying health and safety measures in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance.
  • building a safeguarding culture where staff and volunteers, children, young people and their families, treat each
    other with respect and are comfortable about sharing concerns.

7. Contact details:

Trustee/Senior lead for safeguarding and child protection

Trustee/Senior lead for safeguarding and child protection – Esther Jones: esther.jones@friendshipproject.co.uk / 07977 409805

Chairman – Cheryll Rawbone: cheryll.rawbone@friendshipproject.co.uk / 07769 727418

We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually. This policy was last reviewed on: 5th March 2021

Procedure for what do if you have a concern about a younger friend

The child’s welfare is paramount and this means that the child’s safety and protection must be the most important
consideration and take priority over everything else. These procedures outline what action should be taken if you
have concerns about a child’s safeguarding including child protection.

The procedures apply to anyone working on behalf of The Friendship Project including the board of trustees, paid
staff and volunteers.

Throughout this procedure there are a range of terms used interchangeably to describe concerns about protection
and welfare of a child. For clarity:

  • Safeguarding children is the action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.
  • Child protection is part of the safeguarding continuum. It focuses on the activity that is undertaken to protect
    individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.

1. The 4 Rs

  • Recognise concerns that a child is being harmed or might be at risk of harm.
  • Respond appropriately to a child who is telling you what is happening to him or her.
  • Refer the concerns in line with the guidance set out below.
  • Record the concerns appropriately and any subsequent action taken; do not delay in passing on concerns.

2. Recognition of abuse

Child abuse is any action by another person/adult/child that causes significant harm to a child. It can be physical,
sexual or emotional but just as often be lack of love, care and attention. Abused children often experience more
than one type of abuse as well as other difficulties in their lives. It often happens over a period of time rather than a one off event. It can happen online too. Child abuse falls into 4 main categories:

  • Physical Abuse – Physical abuse is deliberately hurting a child causing injuries such as bruises, broken bokes,
    burns or cuts.
  • Emotional Abuse – Emotional abuse is the ongoing emotional maltreatment of a child. It is sometimes called
    psychological abuse and can seriously damage a child’s emotional health and development. Emotional abuse
    can involve deliberately trying to scare or humiliate a child or isolating or ignoring them.
  • Sexual Abuse – A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities.
    This doesn’t have to be physical contact and it can happen online.
  • Neglect – Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs. It may
    involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from
    physical or mental harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
    It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Types of abuse below may fall into the above categories or standalone but are current issues for children, young
people and their families:

  • Child Sexual Exploitation – Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually
    exploited for money, power or status.
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) – Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal or
    external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.
  • Domestic – Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse and teenagers can suffer domestic abuse in their
    relationships.
  • Online Abuse – Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the web, whether through social
    networks, playing online games or using mobile phones.
  • Bullying and cyberbullying – Bullying can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online. It’s usually
    repeated over a long period of time and can hurt a child both physically and emotionally.
  • Child Trafficking – Child trafficking is a type of abuse where children are recruited, moved or transported
    and then exploited, forced to work or sold.
  • Grooming – Children and young people can be groomed online or in the real world, by and stranger or
    someone they know – a family member, friend or professional.
  • County Lines – Drug gangs using children to transport drugs out of the immediate area, by train or public
    transport.
  • Harmful Sexual Behaviour – Children and young people who develop harmful sexual behaviour harm
    themselves and others. Harmful sexual behaviour includes using sexually explicit words or phrases,
    inappropriate touching, using sexual violence or threats, full penetrative sex with other children or adults.
    Sexual behaviour is also considered harmful if one of the children is much older – particularly if there is more
    than two years difference in age or if one of the children is prepubescent and the other isn’t. However a
    younger child can abuse an older child, particularly if they have power over them – for example if the older
    child is disabled.

2.1 Background factors influencing the Vulnerability of Children

  • Social exclusion, for example poverty, racism, unsuitable housing, food or education.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Mental ill health in a parent/carer.
  • Drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Disabled children may be unable to communicate their problems.

3. If you have some concerns about a younger friend

As a volunteer for the Friendship Project for Children you are in a good position to notice changes in social behaviour
or worrying marks or bruises, and to hear children talking about things which may give cause for alarm. Recognising
and coping with child abuse is a very stressful experience, but your first responsibility is to the child. It is not safe to assume that someone else will take action.

A concern about a child’s safety and welfare might arise as a result of:

  • A child saying that s/he is being abused or telling you about an experience or event that has happened to them
    that you think would be harmful.
  • You identifying signs or indicators of abuse or neglect.
  • The child’s behaviour gives cause for concern.
  • You directly witness a child being harmed by an adult or another child.
  • Somebody tells you, either face to face or by any other means of communication, that a child is being harmed or
    is at risk of harm, for example a service user, another child, a supporter/donor or a member of the public.
  • The behaviour of an adult gives you cause for concern.

3.1 What to do if you are worried

  • If you are worried about a younger friend, you must inform your Area Coordinator.
  • The Area Coordinator will discuss the concerns with you and make a decision as to whether the concern should
    be referred to the Warwickshire Children and Families Front Door (previously MASH), in conjunction with another Area Coordinator or the
    Safeguarding Lead Trustee as applicable.
  • If your concern is urgent and you are unable to contact anyone within the Project, you must ring the Warwickshire Children and Families Front Door (previously MASH), and refer your concern to them. Please ensure you contact your Area Coordinator to inform them of this at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • You will receive the full support of the Project and will be involved with, and kept abreast of, developments as
    far as possible.

3.2 Responding to concerns expressed by a child

If you’re in a situation where a child discloses abuse to you, there are a number of steps you can take:

  • Listen carefully to the child. Avoid expressing your own views on the matter. A reaction of shock or disbelief
    could cause the child to ‘shut down’, retract or stop talking.
  • Let them know they’ve done the right thing. Reassurance can make a big impact to the child who may have
    been keeping the abuse secret.
  • Tell them it’s not their fault. Abuse is never the child’s fault and they need to know this.
  • Say you will take them seriously. A child could keep abuse secret in fear they won’t be believed. They’ve told
    you because they want help and trust you’ll be the person who will listen to and support them.
  • Don’t talk to the alleged abuser. Confronting the alleged abuser about what the child’s told you could make the
    situation a lot worse for the child.
  • Explain what you’ll do next. If age appropriate, explain to the child you’ll need to report the abuse to someone
    who will be able to help.
  • Don’t delay reporting the abuse. The sooner the abuse is reported after the child discloses the better. Report
    the conversation to your area co-ordinator as soon as possible so details are fresh in your mind and action can
    be taken quickly.

At an appropriate point in the conversation and depending on the age of the child, let the child know that s/he can
also contact Childline for support and provide the Childline telephone number (0800 1111)

3.3 What to do if you have concerns that a younger friend’s life is threatened or is at risk of immediate harm

If it appears that a child is in need of urgent medical attention or in need of police protection due to imminent harm,
then:

  • Contact the emergency services on 999
  • Contact your Area Coordinator and inform them of what has happened

3.4 Write it down

In the event you suspect abuse or abuse is alleged, try to record as soon as possible the information you have.
However, it is very possible you will not have all the information and you should not question the child, but some
information or explanation may have been given.
Record:

  • Names, addresses, phone numbers etc.
  • When you were aware of the incident and where you were.
  • What was said or what you saw.
  • When the abuse might have occurred and where it might have happened.
  • Who might have been involved.
  • Was there any actual evidence – bruising, burns, soreness?.

Children’s Services with other Agencies have teams who are experienced in dealing with allegations of child abuse. It
is essential they handle the matter and you do not take any action that could prejudice or interfere with their
investigation. Your responsibility is to report.

3.5 Allegations against Older Friends

Where there are concerns that an older friend may have:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, a child;
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, a child; or
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates that they may pose a risk of harm to children.
  • Behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children..

The Area Coordinator and the Safeguarding Lead Trustee must be informed. Where the Safeguarding Lead Trustee is
not available, the Chairman should be contacted.

  • The Safeguarding Lead Trustee will report it to the Warwickshire LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) via
    the Positions of Trust Multi-Agency Referral Form (Allegations against people who work with children/young
    people (safeguardingwarwickshire.co.uk), emailed directly to lado@warwickshire.gov.uk.
  • The allegation must not be discussed with the Older Friend although this course of action should be explained to
    them. A statement will be taken from the Older Friend in response to any allegations made by the Younger
    Friend against the Older Friend too.
  • Action will be in accordance with the current requirements of the Disclosure and Barring Service and referrals
    may need to be made to this service and will be done in conjunction with the Area Coordinator and Safeguarding
    Trustee and Trustee Board.
  • A Safeguarding Committee compromising of; Chair of Trustees, Safeguarding Trustee Officer and Operations
    Trustee will oversee all aspects of the management of the allegation, in line with guidance from the LADO and
    the and the West Midlands Child Protection procedure on ‘Allegations against Staff or Volunteers’.

Key Contacts

Area Coordinator Contact Numbers
Fiona Roche (South Warwickshire) – 07828 078015
Heather Shipley (Stratford, Shipston, Alcester) – 07922 400945
Viv Kelsey (North Warwickshire, Nuneaton, Bedworth)– 07496 670321
Sarah Edge (Rugby) – 07415 399776

Other Friendship Project Contacts
Karen Hoy (Project Administrator and DBS Manager) – 07516 527144
Cheryll Rawbone (Chairman) – 07769 727418
Esther Jones (Safeguarding Trustee) – 07977 409805

Warwickshire Children and Families Front Door (previously MASH)
01926 414144
Monday to Thursday: 8.30am – 5.30pm
Friday: 8.30am – 5.00pm

Warwickshire County Council Emergency Duty Team
01926 886922
You will need to leave a message with the call centre operator and an Emergency Duty Officer will call you back.