This is a statement of intent that demonstrates a commitment to safeguard children involved with ASHOK TREE FOUNDATION from harm. The essential inclusions for a child protection policy are outlined below:
Procedures and systems provide clear step-by-step guidance on what to do in different circumstances and they clarify roles and responsibilities. Systems for recording information and dealing with complaints are also needed to ensure implementation and compliance. Child protection procedures should be linked with the Local Safeguarding Children Board’s procedures or the All Wales Child Protection Procedures, as relevant.
The procedures and systems should include:
CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Immediate action may be necessary at any stage in involvement with children and families.
IN ALL CASES IT IS VITAL TO TAKE WHATEVER ACTION IS NEEDED TO SAFEGUARD THE CHILD/REN ie:
Abuse or neglect of a child is caused by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting: by those known to them or more rarely by a stranger.
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms, of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child whom they are looking after. This situation is commonly described using terms such as, fabricated illness by proxy or Munchausen Syndrome by proxy.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child though it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (eg rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. This may include non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material, or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical 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.
Individuals within Ashok Tree Foundation need to be alert to the potential abuse of children both within their families and also from other sources including abuse by members of that organisation.
The Ashok Tree Foundation should know how to recognise and act upon indicators of abuse or potential abuse involving children. There is an expected responsibility for all members of the Ashok Tree Foundation to respond to any suspected or actual abuse of a child in accordance with these procedures.
It is good practice to be as open and honest as possible with parents/carers about any concerns.
However, you must not discuss your concerns with parents/carers in the following circumstances:
What to do if children talk to you about abuse or neglect
It is recognised that a child may seek you out to share information about abuse or neglect, or talk spontaneously individually or in groups when you are present. In these situations you must:
The purpose of consultation is to discuss your concerns in relation to a child and decide what action is necessary.
You may become concerned about a child who has not spoken to you, because of your observations of, or information about that child.
It is good practice to ask a child why they are upset or how a cut or bruise was caused, or respond to a child wanting to talk to you. This practice can help clarify vague concerns and result in appropriate action.
If you are concerned about a child you must share your concerns. Initially you should talk to one of the people designated as responsible for child protection within your organisation. This person is ………………… tel: ……………. If one of those people is implicated in the concerns you should discuss your concerns directly with Social Services.
You should consult externally with your local Social Services Department in the following circumstances:
Consultation is not the same as making a referral but should enable a decision to be made as to whether a referral to Social Services or the Police should progress.
A referral involves giving Social Services or the Police information about concerns relating to an individual or family in order that enquiries can be undertaken by the appropriate agency followed by any necessary action.
In certain cases the level of concern will lead straight to a referral without external consultation being necessary.
Parents/carers should be informed if a referral is being made except in the circumstances outlined on page 4 in section ‘However, you must not discuss your concerns with parents/carers in the following circumstances’.
However, inability to inform parents for any reason should not prevent a referral being made. It would then become a joint decision with Social Services about how and when the parents should be approached and by whom.
IF YOUR CONCERN IS ABOUT ABUSE OR RISK OF ABUSE FROM SOMEONE NOT KNOWN TO THE CHILD OR CHILD’S FAMILY, YOU SHOULD MAKE A TELEPHONE REFERRAL DIRECTLY TO THE POLICE AND CONSULT WITH THE PARENTS.
If your concern is about abuse or risk of abuse from a family member or someone known to the children, you should make a telephone referral to your local Social Services Office. (see list p. 9).
Be prepared to give as much of the following information as possible (in emergency situations all of this information may not be available). Unavailability of some information should not stop you making a referral.
Action to be taken following the referral
The Ashok Tree Foundation should ensure that any records made in relation to a referral should be kept confidentially and in a secure place.
Information in relation to child protection concerns should be shared on a “need to know” basis. However, the sharing of information is vital to child protection and, therefore, the issue of confidentiality is secondary to a child’s need for protection.
If in doubt, consult.