This policy applies to all staff, including senior managers and the advisory board, paid staff, volunteers and sessional workers, agency staff, students or anyone working or volunteering on behalf of The Land Collective CIC.
The purpose of this policy:
- to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults who receive services from Sporting Communities.
- to provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child, young person and vulnerable adult protection.
This policy has been drawn up based on legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children and young people in the United Kingdom.
OUR ORGANISATION BELIEVES
- 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 and exercise our mission in a way that protects them.
OUR ORGANISATION RECOGNISES
- 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.
WE WILL SAFEGUARD CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE BY
- Appointing a nominated safeguarding lead for children and young people who volunteers with us and sits on our board of advisors.
- Valuing, listening to and respecting them.
- Adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies, procedures and code of conduct for staff and volunteers.
- Developing and implementing an effective online safety policy and related 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 [more information about this is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office: ico.org.uk/fororganisations].
- Making sure that children, young people and their families know where to go for help if they have a concern or complaint.
- Using our procedures to manage any allegations against staff and volunteers appropriately.
- Creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment and ensuring that we have a policy and procedure to help us deal effectively with any bullying that does arise.
- Ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place.
- 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.
Government guidance and legislation
Sporting Communities’ safeguarding policy and procedures are based upon principles within UK, international legislation and government guidance. Below is an overview of relevant legislation and guidance. We all have a legal and moral obligation and responsibility to contribute to making Sporting Communities a safe and friendly place to be. Our policies and procedures take into account the following:
- GDPR 2018
- The Children Acts 1989 and 2004
- The Protection of Children Act 1999
- The Police Act 1997
- The Criminal Justices and Court Services Act 2000
- The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
- The Data Protection Act 1998
- Every Child Matters 2003
- “Caring for the young and vulnerable” – Home Office guidance for preventing the abuse of trust 1999
- The ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused’ – 2006
- Working Together to Safeguard Children – 2006
- The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – 1990
- The Human Rights Act 1998
- The Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Act 2006
- Information sourced from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, ‘Guidance on the protection of Vulnerable Adults’, August 2005
Promoting good practice
The Land Collective CIC acknowledges that good practice is essential when working with young people. To provide children, young people and vulnerable adults with the best possible experience and opportunities all of our staff must operate within an accepted ethical framework. Below is a list showing what is meant by good practice and poor practice, so that workers and volunteers are able to identify whether poor practice and possible abuse may be taking place.
All people at The Land Collective CIC should adhere to the following actions:
- always be publicly open when working with children, young people or vulnerable adults
- avoid any unobserved situations and encourage open communication
- treat all children, young people and vulnerable adults equally and with respect and dignity
- promote fairness and confront and deal with bullying
- always put the welfare of the child, young person or vulnerable adult first
- respect the personal space of the child, young person or vulnerable adult; avoid any situation that could appear to encourage an intimate relationship
- avoid unnecessary physical contact with young people. Where any physical support is compulsory it should only be provided with the consent of the child, young person or vulnerable adult and done openly involve parents or guardians wherever possible
- parental consent to be obtained if workers are required to transport children or young people who are a legal minor
- carer consent to be obtained if workers are required to transport vulnerable adults
- request written parental/carer consent for any significant travel arrangements e.g. overnight stays
- ensure that at residential activities adults do not enter a child, young person or vulnerable adult’s room without good reason and then with another member of staff present.
- at residential activities, members of staff will not invite children, young people or vulnerable adults into their rooms
- be a good role model, this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of children, young people and vulnerable adults
- always operate from a premise of constructive feedback.
- recognising the developmental needs and capacity of the children, young people and vulnerable adults and in so doing ensures the person’s well-being is not put at risk to gain other success
- ensures any injury is recorded along with details of any treatment given
- ensure that in emergencies treatment of the young people is carried out in accordance with first ‘aid at work’ practice.
- to ensure that the correct ratio of adults to children, young people or vulnerable adults is maintained at all times – for the protection and welfare of the young people and the adults involved
- to dress in appropriate clothing for the activity, and not wear or carry anything that could be injured to one’s self or participants.
These actions are regarded as poor practice.
- unnecessarily spending excessive amounts of time alone with a child, young person or vulnerable adult away from others
- reducing a child, young person or vulnerable adult to tears as a form of control
- doing things of a personal nature that the child, young person or vulnerable adult is able to do for themselves
- engaging in rough, highly physical or sexual activity
- making inappropriate comments to a child, young person or vulnerable adult
- taking children, young people or vulnerable adults alone in a car on journeys*
- sharing a room with a child, young person or vulnerable adult
- taking a child, young person or vulnerable adult anywhere where they will be alone with you**
- engaging in improper touching of any form
- allowing children, young people or vulnerable adults to openly use threatening language
- allowing allegations made by a young person to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
It is not always easy to recognise where abuse has occurred, however, all working and volunteering within The Land Collective CIC have a duty to be watchful and respond appropriately to suspicions of poor practice, abuse or bullying. This does not mean that it is our worker’s or volunteer’s responsibility to make a decision as to whether the situation is poor practice, but it does mean that it is our worker’s or volunteer’s duty to report absolutely any concerns.
Abuse has many forms, but essentially it is a term that describes the way in which a child, young person or vulnerable adult can be harmed by individuals or groups. This does not necessarily exclude those that the individual may know well.
Abuse tends to be categorised into four main forms; physical, emotional, sexual or neglect that leads to injury or harm. It is most common within a relationship of trust or responsibility, where an abuse of power or breach of trust occurs. Abuse in all of its forms can affect any child, young person or vulnerable adult. It is so critical that any abuse is prevented as the effects can be so destructive that if not prevented they may follow the individual into later life.
Defined as when individuals deliberately inflict injuries on a person, or knowingly do not prevent such injuries. It includes harm caused by hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, biting, scalding, suffocating, drowning or using excessive force. Giving a child, young person or vulnerable adult alcohol or inappropriate drugs would also constitute abuse, along with the failure to supervise their access to these substances.
No abuse of any kind will be tolerated.
Emotional abuse can be described as repetitive emotional ill-treatment of a person, which is likely to cause harsh and permanent unfavourable effects on their emotional development. Examples can be telling a child, young person or vulnerable adult that they are a waste of time, making them feel insignificant and unwelcome or calling them names and bullying them.
Activities can easily fall foul of creating such effects as described above via overzealous e.g. criticising a child, young person or vulnerable adult and expecting too much of them. As a result, it may cause anxiety which in turn can result in the loss of self-confidence.
This can occur when a person, uses another person to meet their own sexual needs or gratification. This includes any sexual contact, showing a child, young person or vulnerable adult pornography or talking to them in a sexually overt manner. This can also occur if there is any inappropriate physical contact with a child, young person or vulnerable adult.
Neglect occurs when adults fail to meet a child, young person or vulnerable adult’s physical or mental needs, which then in turn results in serious harm to their growth or health. An example of neglect would be failing to provide a person’s basic needs such as food, water, shelter, protection, medical care, etc. This could also be exposing a child, young person or vulnerable adult to unbearable heat or cold.
The definitions above are a guide. The Land Collective CIC will deal with the above issues in depth within its induction training.
Signs of abuse – action
As mentioned previously it is not always easy to recognise a situation where abuse may occur or has already taken place. Most people are not experts in such detection however it is important to remember that it is not the responsibility of those working in The Land Collective CIC to decide that abuse is occurring. It is their responsibility to act on any concerns. Some of the signs that abuse is occurring, which should be looked out for, may include one or more of the following:
- another person expresses concern about the welfare of a child, young person or vulnerable adult
- difficulty in making friends
- unexplained changes in a child, young person or vulnerable adult’s behaviour e.g. bad tempered, upset, quiet, reserved, clingy, tearful and reluctance
- unexplained or suspicious injuries
- an injury for which an explanation seems inconsistent
- mistrust of others, particularly those with whom a close relationship
- the person describes or discloses what appears to be an abusive act involving them
- inappropriate sexual awareness
- engaging in sexually explicit behaviour
- being prevented from socialising with others
- displaying variations in eating patterns including overeating or loss of appetite
- losing weight for no apparent reason
- becoming increasingly dirty or unkempt
- sudden increases in unexplained money
- a shortage of money or frequent loss of belongings
There are many ways in which we may become aware of the possible occurrence of abuse, mainly through some of the ways listed above, or even witnessing it occur. In some cases, it may be reported to us or we may be directly informed by the person affected.
How to respond to any suspicions
It is important to remember that no matter how you have been made aware, it is not the responsibility of any of The Land Collective CIC’ workers or volunteers to make the decision as to whether a child, young person or vulnerable adult is actually being abused, it is simply your responsibility to act on any concerns by contacting the appropriate authorities so that the correct and necessary action can be taken to protect them.
If you believe a disclosure is about to be made, or a child, young person or vulnerable adult is in the process of disclosing, you must tell them that you will have to talk to other people. Never tell them that you will keep it a secret. Tell the child, young person or vulnerable adult that you must talk to other people who can help. Be open and honest. Tell them who you will have to speak to and why.
If a child, young person or vulnerable adult directly informs you then it is important that you respond in a caring calm manner. Support them and listen carefully to show that you are taking them seriously, avoid questioning them, to avoid it being argued that they have been led during questioning.
The main priority is the safety of the individual. If any medical attention is needed you must call an ambulance immediately. Ensure that the child, young person or vulnerable adult knows that you will need to tell other people in order to stop the abuse from continuing.
Make certain that you record all information straight away and report the incident as soon as possible to The Land Collective CIC’s Founder. Information recorded should be very thorough and should be made at the time of the concern, detailing all the facts and not including your own opinions. The record should include the following:
- child, young person or vulnerable adult’s details e.g. name, age, address, phone number, etc.
- the nature of the allegation, including the dates, times, etc.
- a description of the signs, for example, any visible injuries or indirect signs
- details of the witnesses
- an account of what the child, young person or vulnerable adult has said
- who the alleged abuser is if known
- who was consulted, give details?
The Land Collective CIC expects its members to talk about any concerns they may have about the welfare of a child, young person or vulnerable adult immediately with the Founder. If this person is not available then you should seek advice from one of the other Advisory Board members.
NB: If there is any doubt, you must report the incident, as it may be just one of a series of other incidents which together cause concern.
Internal inquiries and suspension
The Welfare Officer will make an instant decision, potentially after a conversation with the Directors about whether the accused should be momentarily suspended until further police and social services inquiries. Irrespective of the police or social services inquiries, Sporting Communities will review all individual cases in order to make a decision as to whether the accused person can return and how it would carefully be handled. The welfare of the child, young person or vulnerable adult will however remain of paramount importance throughout.
Recruiting people who will be working with children, young people and vulnerable adults
It is important that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent unsuitable people from working with children, young people and vulnerable adults. This applies equally to paid, volunteer, full time and part time staff. To ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children, young people and vulnerable adults the following points should be taken into consideration when recruiting:
- all staff and volunteers to complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about the applicant’s past and a self-disclosure about any criminal record
- all staff and volunteers, where relevant should undertake an enhanced level Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check/will provide their DBS which will be verified, should the DBS check not to be completed before employment commences, a risk assessment will be undertaken and the necessary safeguards put in place. This information will be treated confidentially, sensitively and in accordance with the GDPR 2018.
- two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children, may be obtained
- evidence of identity, for example, passport or driving licence with photo
- a check will be made that the application form has been completed in full, including sections on criminal records and self-disclosures
- qualifications to be confirmed
- the job requirements and responsibilities will be clarified
- safeguarding procedures are explained
In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to ensure all staff and volunteers are fully conversant with all aspects of this policy.
Every effort should be made to make sure that confidentiality is maintained for everyone that is concerned in any allegations. Information should be handled on a need to know basis only.
All information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws.
Safeguarding Team Contacts
- NSPCC Report Abuse – 0808 800 5000
We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.
All concerns to be sent in strict confidence to:
The Land Collective CIC
2 Frederick Street, Kings Cross, London, United Kingdom, WC1X 0ND
This policy was last reviewed on 25 March 2022.