Valley End Cof E (VC) Infant School
Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
Governors’ Committee Responsible: Full Governing Body
Safeguarding Governor Lead: Sam Harbord
Nominated Lead Member of Staff: Richard Mead (Head Teacher)
Status & Review Cycle: Statutory Annual
Next Review Date: September 2018
Valley End C of E Infant School recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all pupils. We endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected and valued. We are alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and follow our procedures to ensure that children receive effective support, protection and justice. Child protection forms part of the school’s safeguarding responsibilities.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is: Richard Mead
The deputy DSL(s) is/are: Nina Newington and Lisa Youle
The nominated safeguarding governor is: Samantha Harbord
The nominated child protection governor is: Yvonne McLeod
The Headteacher is: Richard Mead
The Chair of Governors is: Yvonne McLeod
‘Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children’ is defined as:
• protecting children from maltreatment;
• preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
• ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
• taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
‘Child Protection’ is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. It refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.
‘Staff’ refers to all those working for or on behalf of the school, full or part time, temporary or permanent, in either a paid or voluntary capacity.
‘Child’ includes everyone under the age of 18.
‘Parents’refers to birth parents and other adults who are in a parenting role, for example step-parents, foster carers and adoptive parents.
- This policy has been developed in accordance with the principles established by the Children Acts 1989 and 2004; the Education Act 2002, and in line with government publications: ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ 2015, Revised Safeguarding Statutory Guidance 2 ‘Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families’ 2000, ‘What to do if You are Worried a Child is Being Abused’ 2015. The guidance reflects, both ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ 2015, and Surrey Safeguarding Children Board SSCB Child Protection Procedures
- The Governing body takes seriously its responsibility under section 175 of the Education Act 2002 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; and to work together with other agencies to ensure adequate arrangements within our school to identify, assess, and support those children who are suffering harm.
- We recognise that all adults, including temporary staff, volunteers and governors, have a full and active part to play in protecting our pupils from harm, and that the child’s welfare is our paramount concern.
- All staff believe that our school should provide a caring, positive safe and stimulating environment that promotes the social, physical and moral development of the individual child.
- The aims of this policy are:
- To support the child’s development in ways that will foster security, confidence and independence.
- To provide an environment in which children and young people feel safe, secure, valued and respected, and feel confident, and know how to approach adults if they are in difficulties, believing they will be effectively listened to.
- To raise the awareness of all teaching and non-teaching staff of the need to safeguard children and of their responsibilities in identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse (Reference Appendices 1 and 2)
- To provide a systematic means of monitoring children known or thought to be at risk of harm, and ensure we, the school, contribute to assessments of need and support packages for those children.
- To emphasise the need for good levels of communication between all members of staff.
- To develop a structured procedure within the school which will be followed by all members of the school community in cases of suspected abuse.
1.5.7 To develop and promote effective working relationships with other agencies, especially the Police and Social Care.
1.5.8 To ensure that all staff working within our school who have substantial access to children have been checked as to their suitability, including verification of their identity, qualifications, and a satisfactory DBS check (according to guidance), and a central record is kept for audit.
2.0 Safe School, Safe Staff
2.1 We will ensure that:
- All members of the governing body understand and fulfil their responsibilities, namely to ensure that:
- there is a Child Protection policy together with a staff behaviour (code of conduct) policy
- the school operates safer recruitment procedures by ensuring that there is at least one person on every recruitment panel that has completed Safer Recruitment training
- the school has procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff and volunteers and to make a referral to the DBS if a person in regulated activity has been dismissed or removed due to safeguarding concerns, or would have had they not resigned.
- a senior leader has been appointed as the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL),
- on appointment, the DSL’s undertake interagency training (SSCB Modules 1&2) and also undertake DSP ‘New to Role’ and the ‘Update’ Course every 2 years
- all other staff have Safeguarding training updated as appropriate
- any weaknesses in Child Protection are remedied immediately
- a member of the Governing Body is, usually the Chair, is nominated to liaise with the LA on Child Protection issues and in the event of an allegation of abuse made against the Headteacher
- Child Protection policies and procedures are reviewed annually and that the Child Protection policy is available on the school website or by other means
- the Governing Body considers how children may be taught about safeguarding. This may be part of a broad and balanced curriculum covering relevant issues through personal social health and economic education (PSHE) and/or for maintained schools through sex and relationship education (SRE).
- that enhanced DBS checks are in place for Chairs of Governors of independent, academies and non-maintained special schools
- The DSL, Richard Mead (Head Teacher), is a member of the Senior Leadership Team. The Deputy DSL(s) is Nina Newington (Assistant Head Teacher). These Officers have undertaken the compulsory training delivered through the SSCB (Modules 1&2), and, upon appointment will undertake ‘DSL New to Role’ training followed by biannual updates.
- The DSLs who are involved in recruitment and at least one member of the governing body will also complete Safer Recruitment Training. This will be repeated every 5 years.
- All members of staff and volunteers are provided with child protection awareness information at induction, including in their arrival pack, the school safeguarding statement so that they know who to discuss a concern with.
- All members of staff are trained in and receive regular updates in e-safety and reporting concerns (Ref Appendix 3)
- All other staff and governors, have child protection awareness training, updated by the DSL as appropriate, to maintain their understanding of the signs and indicators of abuse.
- All members of staff, volunteers, and governors know how to respond to a pupil who discloses abuse through delivery of ‘Working together to Safeguard Children’, and ‘What to do if you suspect a Child is being Abused’ (2015)
- All parents/carers are made aware of the responsibilities of staff members with regard to child protection procedures through publication of the school’s Child Protection Policy, and reference to it in our Parents’ Handbook.
- Our lettings policy will seek to ensure the suitability of adults working with children on school sites at any time.
- Community users organising activities for children are aware of the school’s child protection guidelines and procedures.
- We will ensure that child protection type concerns or allegations against adults working in the school are referred to the LADO for advice, and that any member of staff found not suitable to work with children will be notified to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for consideration for barring, following resignation, dismissal, or when we cease to use their service as a result of a substantiated allegation, in the case of a volunteer.
- Our procedures will be regularly reviewed and up-dated.
- The name of the designated members of staff for Child Protection, the Designated Safeguarding Lead and deputies, will be clearly advertised in the school, with a statement explaining the school’s role in referring and monitoring cases of suspected abuse.
- All new members of staff will be given a copy of our safeguarding statement, and child protection policy, with the DSLs’ names clearly displayed, as part of their induction into the school.
- The policy is available publicly either on the school website or by other means. Parents/carers are made aware of this policy and their entitlement to have a copy of it via the school handbook/newsletter/website
2.6 All staff will be given a copy of part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015 and will sign that they have read and understood it. Similarly this applies to the Governing Body in relation to part 2 of the same statutory guidance.
- The DSLs are responsible for:
- Referring a child if there are concerns about possible abuse, to the Children’s Services Area Referral, Assessment and Intervention Service (RAIS) Team, and acting as a focal point for staff to discuss concerns. Referrals should be made in writing, following a telephone call using the Multi Agency Referral Form (MARF)
- Keeping written records of concerns about a child even if there is no need to make an immediate referral.
- Ensuring that all such records are kept confidentially and securely and are separate from pupil records, until the child’s 25th birthday, and are forwarded on to the child’s next school or college.
- A copy of the CP file will be retained by the school until such time that the new school acknowledges receipt of the original file. The copy can then be shredded.
- Ensuring that an indication of the existence of the additional file in 3.1.3 above is marked on the pupil records.
- Liaising with other agencies and professionals.
- Ensuring that either they or the staff member attend case conferences, core groups, or other multi-agency planning meetings, contribute to assessments, and provide a report which has been shared with the parents.
- Ensuring that any pupil currently with a child protection plan who is absent in the educational setting without explanation for two days is referred to their key worker’s Social Care Team.
- Organising child protection induction, and annual update training for all school staff.
- Providing, with the Headteacher and Chair of Governors, and contributing to the “Audit of Statutory Duties and Associated Responsibilities” to be submitted to the Education Safeguarding Team at Surrey County Council annually.
- Supporting Children
- We recognise that a child who is abused or witnesses violence may feel helpless and humiliated, may blame themselves, and find it difficult to develop and maintain a sense of self worth.
- We recognise that the school may provide the only stability in the lives of children who have been abused or who are at risk of harm.
- We accept that research shows that the behaviour of a child in these circumstances may range from that which is perceived to be normal to aggressive or withdrawn.
- Our school will support all children by:
- Encouraging self-esteem and self-assertiveness, through the curriculum as well as our relationships, whilst not condoning aggression or bullying.
- Promoting a caring, safe and positive environment within the school.
- Liaising and working together with all other support services and those agencies involved in the safeguarding of children.
- Notifying Social Care as soon as there is a significant concern.
- Providing continuing support to a child about whom there have been concerns who leaves the school by ensuring that appropriate information is copied under confidential cover to the child’s new setting and ensuring the school medical records are forwarded as a matter of priority.
- We recognise that all matters relating to child protection are confidential.
- The Headteacher or DSLs will disclose any information about a child to other members of staff on a need to know basis only.
- All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children.
- All staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child to keep secrets which might compromise the child’s safety or wellbeing.
- We will always undertake to share our intention to refer a child to Social Care with their parents /carers unless to do so could put the child at greater risk of harm, or impede a criminal investigation. If in doubt, we will consult with an Assistant Team Manager at the Children’s Services Area Team on this point.
- Supporting Staff
- We recognise that staff working in the school who have become involved with a child who has suffered harm, or appears to be likely to suffer harm may find the situation stressful and upsetting.
- We will support such staff by providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties with the DSLs and to seek further support as appropriate.
- Allegations against staff
- All school staff should take care not to place themselves in a vulnerable position with a child. It is always advisable for interviews or work with individual children or parents to be conducted in view of other adults.
- All Staff should be aware of Surrey’s Guidance on Behaviour Issues, and the school’s own Behaviour Management policy.
- Guidance about conduct and safe practice, including safe use of mobile phones by staff and volunteers will be given at induction
- We understand that a pupil may make an allegation against a member of staff.
- If such an allegation is made, or information is received which suggests that a person may be unsuitable to work with children, the member of staff receiving the allegation or aware of the information, will immediately inform the Headteacher.
- The Headteacher on all such occasions will discuss the content of the allegation with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) at the earliest opportunity.
- If the allegation made to a member of staff concerns the Headteacher, the person receiving the allegation will immediately inform the Chair of Governors who will consult as in 7.6 above, without notifying the Headteacher first.
- The school will follow the Surrey procedures for managing allegations against staff.
- Suspension of the member of staff, excluding the Headteacher, against whom an allegation has been made, needs careful consideration, and the Headteacher will seek the advice of the LADO and HR Consultant in making this decision.
- In the event of an allegation against the Headteacher, the decision to suspend will be made by the Chair of Governors with advice as in 7.8 above.
7.11 We have a procedure for managing the suspension of a contract for a community user in the event of an allegation arising in that context.
- We recognise that children cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so.
- All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, about the management of child protection, which may include the attitude or actions of colleagues. If it becomes necessary to consult outside the school, they should speak in the first instance, to the Area Education Officer/LADO following the Whistleblowing Policy.
- Whistle-blowing re the Headteacher should be made to the Chair of the Governing Body whose contact details are readily available to staff (as pertinent to setting).
- Physical Intervention
- Our policy on physical intervention by staff is set out separately and we acknowledge that staff must only ever use physical intervention as a last resort, when a child is endangering him/herself or others, and that at all times it must be the minimal force necessary to prevent injury to another person.
- Such events should be recorded and signed by a witness.
- Staff who are likely to need to use physical intervention will be appropriately trained in the Positive Options technique.
- We understand that physical intervention of a nature which causes injury or distress to a child may be considered under child protection or disciplinary procedures.
- We recognise that touch is appropriate in the context or working with children, and all staff have been given ‘Safe Practice’ guidance to ensure they are clear about their professional boundary.
- Our school policy on anti-bullying is set out in a separate document and acknowledges that to allow or condone bullying may lead to consideration under child protection procedures. This includes all forms .g. cyber, racist, homophobic and gender related bullying. We keep a record of known bullying incidents. All staff are aware that children with SEND and / or differences/perceived differences are more susceptible to being bullied / victims of child abuse. We keep a record of bullying incidents.
- Racist Incidents
- Our policy on racist incidents is set out separately, and acknowledges that repeated racist incidents or a single serious incident may lead to consideration under child protection procedures. We keep a record of racist incidents.
- Radicalisation and Extremism
12.1 Since 2010, when the Government published the Prevent Strategy, there has been an awareness of the specific need to safeguard children, young people and families from violent extremism. There have been several occasions both locally and nationally in which extremist groups have attempted to radicalise vulnerable children and young people to hold extreme views including views justifying political, religious, sexist or racist violence, or to steer them into a rigid and narrow ideology that is intolerant of diversity and leaves them vulnerable to future radicalisation.
12.2 Valley End C of E Infant School values freedom of speech and the expression of beliefs / ideology as fundamental rights underpinning our society’s values. Both pupils/students and teachers have the right to speak freely and voice their opinions. However, freedom comes with responsibility and free speech that is designed to manipulate the vulnerable or that leads to violence and harm of others goes against the moral principles in which freedom of speech is valued. Free speech is not an unqualified privilege; it is subject to laws and policies governing equality, human rights, community safety and community cohesion.
12.3 The current threat from terrorism in the United Kingdom may include the exploitation of vulnerable people, to involve them in terrorism or in activity in support of terrorism. The normalisation of extreme views may also make children and young people vulnerable to future manipulation and exploitation. Valley End C of E Infant School is clear that this exploitation and radicalisation should be viewed as a safeguarding concern.
12.4 Definitions of radicalisation and extremism, and indicators of vulnerability to radicalisation are in Appendix 3.
12.5 Valley End C of E Infant School seeks to protect children and young people against the messages of all violent extremism including, but not restricted to, those linked to Islamist ideology, or to Far Right / Neo Nazi / White Supremacist ideology, Irish Nationalist and Loyalist paramilitary groups, and extremist Animal Rights movements.
12.6 The school governors, the Head Teacher and the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) will assess the level of risk within the school and put actions in place to reduce that risk. Risk assessment may include, the use of school premises by external agencies, anti-bullying policy and other issues specific to the school’s profile, community and philosophy.
12.7 This will be reviewed as part of the annual “Audit of Statutory Duties and Associated Responsibilities” that is monitored by the local authority and the Surrey Safeguarding Children Board.
12.8 When any member of staff has concerns that a pupil may be at risk of radicalisation or involvement in terrorism, they should speak with the Headteacher and/ or to the DSL. They should then follow normal safeguarding procedures. If the matter is urgent then Surrey Police must be contacted by dialling 999. In non urgent cases where police advice is sought then dial 101. The Department of Education has also set up a dedicated telephone helpline for staff and governors to raise concerns around Prevent (020 7340 7264).
12.9 Numerous factors can contribute to and influence the range of behaviours that are defined as violent extremism, but most young people do not become involved in extremist action. For this reason the appropriate interventions in any particular case may not have any specific connection to the threat of radicalisation, for example they may address mental health, relationship or drug/alcohol issues.
13.1 We recognise that the school plays a significant part in the prevention of harm to our children by providing children with good lines of communication with trusted adults, supportive friends and an ethos of protection.
- The school community will therefore:
13.2.1 Work to establish and maintain an ethos where children feel secure and are encouraged to talk and are always listened to.
- Include regular consultation with children e.g. through safety questionnaires, participation in anti-bullying week, asking children to report whether they have had happy/sad lunchtimes/playtimes
- Ensure that all children know there is an adult in the school whom they can approach if they are worried or in difficulty.
- Include safeguarding across the curriculum, including PSHE, opportunities which equip children with the skills they need to stay safe from harm and to know to whom they should turn for help. In particular this will include anti-bullying work, e-safety, road safety, pedestrian and cycle training. Also focussed work in Year 6 to prepare for transition to Secondary school and more personal safety/independent travel.
- Ensure all staff are aware of school guidance for their use of mobile technology and have discussed safeguarding issues around the use of mobile technologies and their associated risks. NB schools to check with SCC e-safety guidance Appendix 11 to ‘cherry pick’ statements relevant to their setting.
- Domestic Abuse
14.1 Domestic abuse represents one quarter of all violent crime. It is actual or threatened physical, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse. It involves the use of power and control by one person over another. It occurs regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, age, religion, mental or physical ability. Domestic abuse can also involve other types of abuse.
14.2 We use the term domestic abuse to reflect that a number of abusive and controlling behaviours are involved beyond violence.
14.3 Slapping, punching, kicking, bruising, rape, ridicule, constant criticism, threats, manipulation, sleep deprivation, social isolation, and other controlling behaviours all count as abuse.
14.4 The signs and symptoms of a child suffering or witnessing domestic abuse are similar to other forms of abuse or neglect. (See Appendix 2)
- Health & Safety
Our Health & Safety policy, set out in a separate document, reflects the consideration we give to the protection of our children both physically within the school environment, and for example in relation to internet use, and when away from the school and when undertaking school trips and visits.
- Monitoring and Evaluation
Our Child Protection Policy and Procedures will be monitored and evaluated by:
- Governing Body visits to the school
- SLT ‘drop ins’ and discussions with children and staff
- Pupil surveys and questionnaires
- Scrutiny of Attendance data
- Scrutiny of range of risk assessments
- Scrutiny of GB minutes
- Logs of bullying/racist/behaviour incidents for SLT and GB to monitor
- Review of parental concerns and parent questionnaires
This policy also links to our policies on:
Staff Behaviour Policy / Code of Conduct
Health & Safety
Allegations against staff,
Teaching and Learning
Administration of medicines
Sex and Relationships Education
E-Safety, including staff use of mobile phones
Recruitment and Selection
Child Sexual Exploitation
Radicalisation and Extremism
Recognising signs of child abuse
Categories of Abuse:
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional Abuse (including Domestic Abuse)
- Sexual Abuse
Signs of Abuse in Children:
The following non-specific signs may indicate something is wrong:
- Significant change in behaviour
- Extreme anger or sadness
- Aggressive and attention-seeking behaviour
- Suspicious bruises with unsatisfactory explanations
- Lack of self-esteem
- Age inappropriate sexual behaviour
- Child Sexual Exploitation.
The factors described in this section are frequently found in cases of child abuse. Their presence is not proof that abuse has occurred, but:
- Must be regarded as indicators of the possibility of significant harm
- Justifies the need for careful assessment and discussion with designated / named / lead person, manager, (or in the absence of all those individuals, an experienced colleague)
- May require consultation with and / or referral to Children’s Services
The absence of such indicators does not mean that abuse or neglect has not occurred.
In an abusive relationship the child may:
- Appear frightened of the parent/s
- Act in a way that is inappropriate to her/his age and development (though full account needs to be taken of different patterns of development and different ethnic groups)
The parent or carer may:
- Persistently avoid child health promotion services and treatment of the child’s episodic illnesses
- Have unrealistic expectations of the child
- Frequently complain about/to the child and may fail to provide attention or praise (high criticism/low warmth environment)
- Be absent or misusing substances
- Persistently refuse to allow access on home visits
- Be involved in domestic abuse
Staff should be aware of the potential risk to children when individuals, previously known or suspected to have abused children, move into the household.
Recognising Physical Abuse
The following are often regarded as indicators of concern:
- An explanation which is inconsistent with an injury
- Several different explanations provided for an injury
- Unexplained delay in seeking treatment
- The parents/carers are uninterested or undisturbed by an accident or injury
- Parents are absent without good reason when their child is presented for treatment
- Repeated presentation of minor injuries (which may represent a “cry for help” and if ignored could lead to a more serious injury)
- Family use of different doctors and A&E departments
- Reluctance to give information or mention previous injuries
Children can have accidental bruising, but the following must be considered as non accidental unless there is evidence or an adequate explanation provided:
- Any bruising to a pre-crawling or pre-walking baby
- Bruising in or around the mouth, particularly in small babies which may indicate force feeding
- Two simultaneous bruised eyes, without bruising to the forehead, (rarely accidental, though a single bruised eye can be accidental or abusive)
- Repeated or multiple bruising on the head or on sites unlikely to be injured accidentally
- Variation in colour possibly indicating injuries caused at different times
- The outline of an object used e.g. belt marks, hand prints or a hair brush
- Bruising or tears around, or behind, the earlobe/s indicating injury by pulling or twisting
- Bruising around the face
- Grasp marks on small children
- Bruising on the arms, buttocks and thighs may be an indicator of sexual abuse
Bite marks can leave clear impressions of the teeth. Human bite marks are oval or crescent shaped. Those over 3 cm in diameter are more likely to have been caused by an adult or older child.
A medical opinion should be sought where there is any doubt over the origin of the bite.
Burns and Scalds
It can be difficult to distinguish between accidental and non-accidental burns and scalds, and will always require experienced medical opinion. Any burn with a clear outline may be suspicious e.g.:
- Circular burns from cigarettes (but may be friction burns if along the bony protuberance of the spine)
- Linear burns from hot metal rods or electrical fire elements
- Burns of uniform depth over a large area
- Scalds that have a line indicating immersion or poured liquid (a child getting into hot water is his/her own accord will struggle to get out and cause splash marks)
- Old scars indicating previous burns/scalds which did not have appropriate treatment or adequate explanation
Scalds to the buttocks of a small child, particularly in the absence of burns to the feet, are indicative of dipping into a hot liquid or bath.
Fractures may cause pain, swelling and discolouration over a bone or joint.
Non-mobile children rarely sustain fractures.
There are grounds for concern if:
- The history provided is vague, non-existent or inconsistent with the fracture type
- There are associated old fractures
- Medical attention is sought after a period of delay when the fracture has caused symptoms such as swelling, pain or loss of movement
- There is an unexplained fracture in the first year of lifeScars
A large number of scars or scars of different sizes or ages, or on different parts of the body, may suggest abuse.
Recognising Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse may be difficult to recognise, as the signs are usually behavioural rather than physical. The manifestations of emotional abuse might also indicate the presence of other kinds of abuse.
The indicators of emotional abuse are often also associated with other forms of abuse.
The following may be indicators of emotional abuse:
- Developmental delay
- Abnormal attachment between a child and parent/carer e.g. anxious, indiscriminate or not attachment
- Indiscriminate attachment or failure to attach
- Aggressive behaviour towards others
- Scape-goated within the family
- Frozen watchfulness, particularly in pre-school children
- Low self esteem and lack of confidence
- Withdrawn or seen as a “loner” – difficulty relating to others
Recognising Signs of Sexual Abuse
Boys and girls of all ages may be sexually abused and are frequently scared to say anything due to guilt and/or fear. This is particularly difficult for a child to talk about and full account should be taken of the cultural sensitivities of any individual child/family.
Recognition can be difficult, unless the child discloses and is believed. There may be no physical signs and indications are likely to be emotional/behavioural.
Some behavioural indicators associated with this form of abuse are:
- Inappropriate sexualised conduct
- Sexually explicit behaviour, play or conversation, inappropriate to the child’s age
- Continual and inappropriate or excessive masturbation
- Self-harm (including eating disorder), self mutilation and suicide attempts
- Involvement in prostitution or indiscriminate choice of sexual partners
- An anxious unwillingness to remove clothes e.g. for sports events (but this may be related to cultural norms or physical difficulties)
Some physical indicators associated with this form of abuse are:
- Pain or itching of genital area
- Blood on underclothes
- Pregnancy in a younger girl where the identity of the father is not disclosed
- Physical symptoms such as injuries to the genital or anal area, bruising to buttocks, abdomen and thighs, sexually transmitted disease, presence of semen on vagina, anus, external genitalia or clothing
Sexual Abuse by Young People
The boundary between what is abusive and what is part of normal childhood or youthful experimentation can be blurred. The determination of whether behaviour is developmental, inappropriate or abusive will hinge around the related concepts of true consent, power imbalance and exploitation. This may include children and young people who exhibit a range of sexually problematic behaviour such as indecent exposure, obscene telephone calls, fetishism, bestiality and sexual abuse against adults, peers or children.
Developmental Sexual Activity encompasses those actions that are to be expected from children and young people as they move from infancy through to an adult understanding of their physical, emotional and behavioural relationships with each other. Such sexual activity is essentially information gathering and experience testing. It is characterised by mutuality and of the seeking of consent.
Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour can be inappropriate socially, in appropriate to development, or both. In considering whether behaviour fits into this category, it is important to consider what negative effects it has on any of the parties involved and what concerns it raises about a child or young person. It should be recognised that some actions may be motivated by information seeking, but still cause significant upset, confusion, worry, physical damage, etc. it may also be that the behaviour is “acting out” which may derive from other sexual situations to which the child or young person has been exposed.
If an act appears to have been inappropriate, there may still be a need for some form of behaviour management or intervention. For some children, educative inputs may be enough to address the behaviour.
Abusive sexual activity included any behaviour involving coercion, threats, aggression together with secrecy, or where one participant relies on an unequal power base.
In order to more fully determine the nature of the incident the following factors should be given consideration. The presence of exploitation in terms of:
- Equality – consider differentials of physical, cognitive and emotional development, power and control and authority, passive and assertive tendencies
- Consent – agreement including all the following:
- Understanding that is proposed based on age, maturity, development level, functioning and experience
- Knowledge of society’s standards for what is being proposed
- Awareness of potential consequences and alternatives
- Assumption that agreements or disagreements will be respected equally
- Voluntary decision
- Mental competence
- Coercion – the young perpetrator who abuses may use techniques like bribing, manipulation and emotional threats of secondary gains and losses that is loss of love, friendship, etc. Some may use physical force, brutality or the threat of these regardless of victim resistance.
In evaluating sexual behaviour of children and young people, the above information should be used only as a guide. Further information and advice is available in the Surrey multi-agency protocol “Working with Sexually Active Young People” available at www.surreycc.gov.uk/safeguarding, by choosing Safeguarding Children – Protocols and Guidance for Professionals. Assessment, Consultation and Therapy (ACT) 01306 745310 can also assist professionals in identifying sexual behaviour of concern in children and adolescents.
Evidence of neglect is built up over a period of time and can cover different aspects of parenting. Indicators include:
- Failure by parents or carers to meet the basic essential needs e.g. adequate food, clothes, warmth, hygiene and medical care
- A child seen to be listless, apathetic and irresponsive with no apparent medical cause. Failure of child to grow within normal expected pattern, with accompanying weight loss
- Child thrives away from home environment
- Child frequently absent from school
- Child left with adults who are intoxicated or violent
- Child abandoned or left alone for excessive periods
Child Sexual Exploitation
The following list of indicators is not exhaustive or definitive but it does highlight common signs which can assist professionals in identifying children or young people who may be victims of sexual exploitation.
- underage sexual activity
- inappropriate sexual or sexualised behaviour
- sexually risky behaviour, ‘swapping’ sex
- repeat sexually transmitted infections
- in girls, repeat pregnancy, abortions, miscarriage
- receiving unexplained gifts or gifts from unknown sources
- having multiple mobile phones and worrying about losing contact via mobile
- having unaffordable new things (clothes, mobile) or expensive habits (alcohol, drugs)
- changes in the way they dress
- going to hotels or other unusual locations to meet friends
- seen at known places of concern
- moving around the country, appearing in new towns or cities, not knowing where they are
- getting in/out of different cars driven by unknown adults
- having older boyfriends or girlfriends
- contact with known perpetrators
- involved in abusive relationships, intimidated and fearful of certain people or situations
- hanging out with groups of older people, or anti-social groups, or with other vulnerable peers
- associating with other young people involved in sexual exploitation
- recruiting other young people to exploitative situations
- truancy, exclusion, disengagement with school, opting out of education altogether
- unexplained changes in behaviour or personality (chaotic, aggressive, sexual)
- mood swings, volatile behaviour, emotional distress
- self-harming, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, overdosing, eating disorders
- drug or alcohol misuse
- getting involved in crime
- police involvement, police records
- involved in gangs, gang fights, gang membership
- injuries from physical assault, physical restraint, sexual assault.
This is an entirely separate issue from arranged marriage. It is a human rights abuse and falls within the Crown Prosecution Service definition of domestic violence. Young men and women can be at risk in affected ethnic groups. Whistle-blowing may come from younger siblings. Other indicators may be detected by changes in adolescent behaviours. Never attempt to intervene directly as a school or through a third party. Always call either the Contact Centre or the Forced Marriage Unit 020 7008 0151.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
It is essential that staff are aware of FGM practices and the need to look for signs, symptoms and other indicators of FGM.
What is FGM?
It involves procedures that intentionally alter/injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
4 types of procedure:
Type 1 Clitoridectomy – partial/total removal of clitoris
Type 2 Excision – partial/total removal of clitoris and labia minora
Type 3 Infibulation entrance to vagina is narrowed by repositioning the inner/outer labia
Type 4 all other procedures that may include: pricking, piercing, incising, cauterising and scraping the genital area.
Why is it carried out?
- FGM brings status/respect to the girl – social acceptance for marriage
- Preserves a girl’s virginity
- Part of being a woman / rite of passage
- Upholds family honour
- Cleanses and purifies the girl
- Gives a sense of belonging to the community
- Fulfils a religious requirement
- Perpetuates a custom/tradition
- Helps girls be clean / hygienic
- Is cosmetically desirable
- Mistakenly believed to make childbirth easier
Is FGM legal?
FGM is internationally recognised as a violation of human rights of girls and women. It is illegal in most countries including the UK.
Circumstances and occurrences that may point to FGM happening are:
- Child talking about getting ready for a special ceremony
- Family taking a long trip abroad
- Child’s family being from one of the ‘at risk’ communities for FGM (Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Sierra Leon, Egypt, Nigeria, Eritrea as well as non-African communities including Yemeni, Afghani, Kurdistan, Indonesia and Pakistan)
- Knowledge that the child’s sibling has undergone FGM
- Child talks about going abroad to be ‘cut’ or to prepare for marriage
Signs that may indicate a child has undergone FGM:
- Prolonged absence from school and other activities
- Behaviour change on return from a holiday abroad, such as being withdrawn and appearing subdued
- Bladder or menstrual problems
- Finding it difficult to sit still and looking uncomfortable
- Complaining about pain between the legs
- Mentioning something somebody did to them that they are not allowed to talk about
- Secretive behaviour, including isolating themselves from the group
- Reluctance to take part in physical activity
- Repeated urinal tract infection
The ‘One Chance’ rule
As with Forced Marriage there is the ‘One Chance’ rule. It is essential that settings /schools/colleges take action without delay and call the Contact centre.
How does it affect children?
Children can be traumatised by seeing and hearing violence and abuse. They may also be directly targeted by the abuser or take on a protective role and get caught in the middle. In the long term this can lead to mental health issues such as depression, self harm and anxiety.
What are the signs to look out for?
Children affected by domestic abuse reflect their distress in a variety of ways. They may change their usual behaviour and become withdrawn, tired, start to wet the bed and have behavioural difficulties. They may not want to leave their house or may become reluctant to return. Others will excel, using their time in your care as a way to escape from their home life. None of these signs are exclusive to domestic abuse so when you are considering changes in behaviours and concerns about a child, think about whether domestic abuse may be a factor.
What should I do if I suspect a family is affected by domestic abuse?
To talk through your concerns call the Surrey Domestic Abuse Helpline on 01483 776822 or talk to your local outreach service.
East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services – Covering Reigate & Banstead, Mole Valley and Tandridge – 01737 771350
Your Sanctuary Outreach Service Covering Woking, Runnymede and Surrey Heath – 01483 776822
North Surrey Outreach Service – Covering Epsom & Ewell, Elmbridge and Spelthorne – 01932 260690
South West Surrey Outreach Service – Covering Guildford and Waverley – 01483 577392
INDICATORS OF VULNERABILITY TO RADICALISATION
- Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism.
- Extremism is defined by the Government in the Prevent Strategy as:
Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.
- Extremism is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as:
The demonstration of unacceptable behaviour by using any means or medium to express views which:
- Encourage, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs;
- Seek to provoke others to terrorist acts;
- Encourage other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts; or
- Foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.
- There is no such thing as a “typical extremist”: those who become involved in extremist actions come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in violent extremist activity.
- Pupils may become susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal and environmental factors – it is known that violent extremists exploit vulnerabilities in individuals to drive a wedge between them and their families and communities. It is vital that school staff are able to recognise those vulnerabilities.
- Indicators of vulnerability include:
- Identity Crisis – the student / pupil is distanced from their cultural / religious heritage and experiences discomfort about their place in society;
- Personal Crisis – the student / pupil may be experiencing family tensions; a sense of isolation; and low self-esteem; they may have dissociated from their existing friendship group and become involved with a new and different group of friends; they may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging;
- Personal Circumstances – migration; local community tensions; and events affecting the student / pupil’s country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy;
- Unmet Aspirations – the student / pupil may have perceptions of injustice; a feeling of failure; rejection of civic life;
- Experiences of Criminality – which may include involvement with criminal groups, imprisonment, and poor resettlement / reintegration;
- Special Educational Need – students / pupils may experience difficulties with social interaction, empathy with others, understanding the consequences of their actions and awareness of the motivations of others.
- However, this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that all young people experiencing the above are at risk of radicalisation for the purposes of violent extremism.
- More critical risk factors could include:
- Being in contact with extremist recruiters;
- Accessing violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element;
- Possessing or accessing violent extremist literature;
- Using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage;
- Justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues;
- Joining or seeking to join extremist organisations; and
- Significant changes to appearance and / or behaviour;
- Experiencing a high level of social isolation resulting in issues of identity crisis and / or personal crisis.
The Department of Education guidance The Prevent Duty can be accessed via this link.
Further advice on child protection is available from:
Anti-Bullying Alliance: http://anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/
Beat Bullying: http://www.beatbullying.org/
 Wherever the word “staff” is used, it covers ALL staff on site, including ancillary supply and self employed staff, contractors, volunteers working with children etc, and governors
 Guidance regarding DBS checks recently updated by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
 LADO Local Authority Designated Officer for allegations against staff. AEO Area Education Officer or Duty LADO via 0300 200 1006.
 Contact the LADO for guidance in any case
 All new referrals go to the Referral Assessment and Intervention Service for each area operating 8.00am to 6.00pm. DSL’s may consult with an Assistant Team Manager by telephoning the Area RAIS Team.In an emergency out of hours, referrals can be made to the Emergency Duty Team on 01483 517898.
 On line forms will be e-mailed from the Children’s Services Area RAIS Team
 Guidance about sharing information, can be found in the DfE booklet ‘Information sharing guidance for practitioners and managers’ DCSF-00807-2008
 or Chair of Governors in the event of an allegation against the Headteacher
 Duty LADO 0300 200 1006
 ‘Guidance on Safer Working Practices is available on the DfE website