Please read this document carefully.
All staff will be tested on the contents of this document.
What is Safeguarding?
Safeguarding is about:
- building and not compromising relationships of trust between under 18s and adults
- ensuring appropriately safe systems are in place for the well-being of under 18s
- having clear procedures in place if things do go wrong
As part of our Safeguarding policy LAL will:
- promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children.
- ensure everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and is provided with the resources and appropriate learning opportunities to recognise, identify and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children
- ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of incidents/concerns of abuse and that support is provided to the individual/s who raise or disclose the concern
- ensure that confidential, detailed and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored
- prevent the employment/placement of unsuitable individuals
- ensure robust safeguarding arrangements and procedures are in operation.
What is child abuse?
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child 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 for example, via the internet. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.
An abused child is a girl or boy under the age of 18, who has suffered physical injury, neglect, emotional or sexual abuse.
Who would abuse a child?
Abusers may be anyone:
- Any age
- Male or female (including sexual abuse)
- From any social class, culture or faith
- ‘Nice’ people
- Professionals such as teachers, religious leaders or social workers
- Related to the child
- Other children
What are the types of abuse?
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment 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 insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), 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 maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse involved forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).
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. Neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
- provide adequate food and clothing, shelter including exclusion from home or abandonment:
- to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger:
- ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers: or
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment
Signs and indicators of child abuse?
There are a number of physical and behavioural signs that should alert you to the possibility that a child is being abused. All forms of abuse are emotionally damaging to a child, and we should always be alert to signs and symptoms indicating the different types of abuse.
- Child appears frightened of others
- Child doesn’t want to go home, or runs away
- Child flinches when approached or when someone stretches a hand towards them
- Child reluctant to get undressed e.g. for games or sport activity
- Child very passive or very aggressive
- Disclosure from a child (to another child or an adult)
- Anorexia, bulimia, self harm or excessive ‘comforting’ eating
- Fear of a specific person
- Running away from home
- Substance abuse
- Child having unexplained gifts, including money
- Children having ‘secrets’ that an adult says they are not allowed to tell
- Secrecy around internet use and webcams etc.
- Looks excessively thin or ill
- Complains of hunger; lack of energy
- Untreated conditions/injuries
- Repeated accidents, especially burns
- Left home alone inappropriately
- Repeatedly unwashed, smelly or dressed inappropriately for the weather
- Poor level of concentration
- Constantly hungry or ’stealing’ food from others/from bins
- Frequently not at school or persistent lateness
- Reluctant to go home from school
- Over-reaction to mistakes
- Excessive fear of new situations
- Excessive behaviours, e.g. rocking, head banging, pulling own hair out
- Self harm and/or eating disorders
- Compulsive stealing/scavenging
- Excessively sad, depressed, withdrawn,
- Low self esteem
Myths about child abuse?
MYTH: Children are usually abused by strangers
FACT: Most children are abused by someone they know and trust
MYTH: Women do not sexually abuse children
FACT: Although the majority of sexual abusers are male, in approximately 5 – 10% of cases, the sexual abuser is female
MYTH: It doesn’t happen here – this is usually relating to a neighbourhood, class, ethnic group or community.
FACT: Abuse happens anywhere, in all classes, ethnic groups, cultures, etc.
MYTH: Some practices are more acceptable in some cultures.
FACT: Child abuse is unacceptable in any culture.
MYTH: Children are prone to lie, and they will often lie about the abuse.
FACT: Children very rarely lie about abuse and often their greatest fear is that they won’t be believed. (Abusers often tell children that no one will believe them if they disclose abuse).
MYTH: People who harm children come from deprived backgrounds, are of below average intelligence or are “recognisable as dangerous” in some way
FACT: People who harm children come from all walks of life; social class and intellectual backgrounds, and may be liked and respected members of the community.
MYTH: Disabled children are less likely to be abused.
FACT: Research shows that disabled children are more likely to be abused.
Guidance on handling a disclosure from a child
- Listen to what is being said without displaying shock or disbelief
- Accept what is being said without judgement
- Take it seriously
- Reassure the child, but only so far as is honest and reliable. Don’t make promises that you can’t be sure to keep, e.g. “I’ll stay with you” or “everything will be all right now”
- Don’t promise confidentiality – you have a duty to report your concerns.
- Tell the child that you will need to tell some people, but only those whose job it is to protect children
- Acknowledge how difficult it must have been to talk
- Never agree to keep secrets – be honest
- Do reassure the child that he or she is right to tell
- Listen quietly, carefully and patiently
- Do not investigate, interrogate or decide if the child is telling the truth
- Don’t ask leading questions, e.g. “What did he do next?” (This assumes he did).
- Do ask open questions like “Is there anything else that you want to tell me?”
- Do not criticise the alleged abuser; the child may love him/her and a reconciliation may be possible
- Do not ask the child to repeat what they have told you to another member of staff. Explain what you have to do next and whom you have to talk to.
- Refer directly to your line/General Manager, who will then report to LAL’s Designated Person for Safeguarding Children.
- Do not discuss the matter with anyone other than those named above.
- Make some very brief notes at the time and write them up in detail as soon as possible
- Do not destroy your original notes in case they are required by Court
- Record the date, time, place, words used by the child and how the child appeared to you – be specific. Record the actual words used, including any swear words or slang
- Record statements and observable things, not your interpretations or assumptions – keep it factual
- If a child discloses abuse to you, take it seriously
Minimizing the risk within LAL
LAL employees should:
- Never physically chastise a child.
- Never touch a child in any way that could be considered indecent.
- Encourage children to undertake self-care tasks independently.
- Make themselves aware of cultural or religious sensitivities about physical contact.
- Understand that physical contact in any circumstances can be easily misinterpreted.
- Treat children with respect.
- Avoid all contact with intimate parts of their body.
It is understood that an LAL Representative may have physical contact with a child in order to prevent accident or injury to themselves or anyone else (e.g. to prevent a fall), or in the case of medical assistance being needed (e.g. to administer first aid). If a child is hurt or distressed, the LAL Representative will do his/her best to comfort or reassure the child without compromising his/her dignity or doing anything to discredit the person’s own behaviour.
LAL Representatives will use clear and simple words and always refrain from using foul, blasphemous and offensive terminology.
LAL Representatives should not behave in such a way that would leave any reasonable person to question their suitability to work with children or act as a role model.
LAL Representatives should be aware that behaviour in their personal lives may impact upon their work with children.
LAL Representatives should never bring to the child’s attention any material that could be construed as pornographic
Other than for the purposes of safeguarding the child, LAL Representatives must not seek or agree to meet them anywhere outside of the normal workplace without the full prior knowledge and agreement of the parent, guardian or carer.
LAL Representatives should wear clothing that is appropriate to their role and is not likely to be viewed as offensive, revealing or sexually provocative. This clothing should not distract, cause embarrassment or give rise to misunderstanding. Clothing should be absent of any political or otherwise contentious slogans.
LAL Representatives are required not to in any way induce children for which LAL is or could be held responsible to undertake any actions against their wishes as a result of fear or favour. Gifts should only be given as part of an agreed reward system and should be of insignificant value.
Alcohol and Drugs
LAL Representatives must not distribute, purchase or sell alcohol to any children for which LAL is or could be held responsible.
LAL strictly prohibits:
- Even if consensual, any sexual, intimate, dating or other romantic relationship between any LAL Representative and any current or former student under the age of 18; or
- Any form of communication with a child which could be interpreted as sexually suggestive or provocative i.e. verbal comments, letters, notes, electronic mail, phone calls, texts
- LAL Representatives discussing their own sexual relationships with or in the presence of children.
In order to protect children and staff from adverse effects that could result from the improper use of Social Media. Staff use of Social Media must comply with LAL’s Fraternisation policy.
In addition staff should not:
- initiate or accept ‘friend’ or similar requests from any current or former LAL student under the age of 18 and for as long as they are under 18.
- use internet or web-based communication channels to send personal message to children.
- give their personal contact details to children including their mobile phone number.
LAL’s Designated Persons for Safeguarding Children in the Organisation are:
- Vicki Lyall – LAL Torbay
- Juan Chacon – LAL London and LAL UK Summer Schools