Child Protection Policy
Safeguarding Children Policy & Standards for the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity (CCUC)
Foreword from the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity (CCUC) board of Trustees
We are very pleased to introduce Safeguarding Children: Policy & Standards for the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity 2020.
A child means anyone below the age of eighteen years.
We must remember that children are an integral part of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity and must be cherished, cared for and safeguarded.
In the light of development in legislation, policy and guidance, alongside learning from reviews of safeguarding practice and standards within Charity Organisations we began an internal review of our Safeguarding Practices: which lead to the development of our Safeguarding Children Policy.
Felix Mooney, Chairperson
Laurie Jones, Trustee
Introduction by the Chairperson of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity
Families need to know that the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity is making every effort to protect children. The safety of Children is the paramount consideration.
Raising awareness and understanding regarding the seriousness of implementing correct safeguarding environments and procedures at all levels of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity is part of ensuring accountability.
The policy element of our document sets out our commitments to keeping children safe through:
- Duty of care to report any concerns regarding children
- Caring for the welfare of all children involved in the Children’s cancer Unit Charity,and of the adults who work with them
- Responding appropriately to child protection suspicions, knowledge of allegations,and to the people who bring these to the attention od the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity.
Child Safeguarding Policy Statement of the members of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity
As a Trustee of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity in Northern Ireland, we recognise and uphold the dignity and rights of all children, are committed to ensuring their safety and well- being, and will work in partnership with all parents/guardians to do this.
All Children’s Cancer Unit Charity personnel (including paid staff and volunteers) have a responsibility to safeguard children through promoting their welfare, health and development in a safe and caring environment that supports their best interests and prevents abuse.
Details of Personnel to Contact if you are Concerned about the Welfare and Safety of Children
Insert below the names and contact details of the relevant Designated Child Protection Officers (DCPO), and statutory authorities (PSNI and your local Health and Social Care Trust)
Role/ Service Contact Details
Designated Child Protection Officer: Sheila Ferguson – 0759 636 4246
Deputy Child Protection Officers: Jacqueline Wilkinson – 0771 043 6208
Anna McDonald – 075 076 942 51
Gateway Social Services Team: (9am-5pm) 028-9050-7000
(Out-of-hours Emergency Service): 028-9504-9999
In developing and implanting the Child Safeguarding Policy, the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity is guided by:
1. Children’s rights, international and national law
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) outlines the forty-two fundamental rights to be implemented in national law by signatories to the convention. Full realisation of these rights will ensure that children will be “brought up in a spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity”, (1) whilst respecting the culturalidentity of each child.
2. Northern Ireland law, policy & guidance
- Safeguarding Board Act (NI) 2011
- Cooperating to Safeguarding Children, 2003
- Children (NI) Order, 1995
- Criminal Law Act (NI), 1967
(1) Preamble to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 (United Nations)
Duty of Care
Each of us has a duty to notify the statutory authorities of suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations that a child is being or has been abused.
Suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations may relate to possible abuse by a member of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity personnel, but they can also relate to incidents in the child’s family, or elsewhere in the community.
Caring for the welfare of all children and the adults who work with them
Measures to create and maintain environments that are safe for children, that prevent abuse, and that create nurturing, caring conditions within the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity for the children and adults who work with them, will continue to be strengthened and reviewed. This will be done through training, support, communications and quality assurance.
Responding appropriately to child protection suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations
Anyone who brings any suspicion, concern, knowledge or allegation of current or past abuse of a child to the notice of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity will be responded to sensitively, respectfully, actively and in a timely manner, in line with child protection procedures and Charity Organisation requirements.
Scope of the Policy
This policy applies to all Children’s Cancer Unit Charity personnel who are required to comply with it. Full understanding of and adherence to this policy should lead to a more in depth understanding of the rights of children and young people. Everyone has a role to play in safeguarding children.
Putting the Policy into Action
The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity will implement this policy by ensuring that all support and activities comply with:
- Duty of care to report any concerns regarding children
- Caring for the welfare of all children involved in the Children’s cancer Unit Charity, and of the adults who work with them
- Responding appropriately to child protection suspicions, knowledge of allegations, and to the people who bring these to the attention of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity.
Commitment by the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity
On behalf of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity Chairman and Trustees, I commit to safeguarding children by agreeing to follow this Child Safeguarding Policy.
Children’s Cancer Unit Charity
The Promotion & Prevention activity of creating and maintaining safe environments which enables children to grow up safely from abuse and harm…AND Safeguarding also allows staff (paid or voluntary) to protect themselves by following clear policies & procedures.
Safeguarding is everyone’s business.
We all have a duty of care to protect children.
Child Protection falls under the umbrella of Safeguarding. It is one part of safeguarding. “It is the specific activity that is undertaken to protect children who are suffering, or are
likely to suffer significant harm”. [Co-operating to Safeguard Children (revised August 2017].
If an employee is informed about or concerned about the abuse of a child, young person, or adult at risk, they must take the following steps:
- Always place the child or adult’s welfare and interests as the paramount consideration.
- Make safeguarding personal using a person-led and outcomes-focused approach. Employees must talk with the child, young person, or adult at risk about how best to respond to their safeguarding situation in a way that enhances their involvement, control, and choice throughout the safeguarding process.
- Listen carefully and actively to the person – at this stage, there is no necessity to ask questions. Let the person guide the pace and remember their ability to recount an allegation will depend on age, culture, language and communication skills, and disability.
- Do not show shock at what is being said. This may discourage the child or adult from talking, as they may feel you are unable to cope with what they’re saying, or perhaps that you’re thinking badly of them.
- Do not investigate. If anything needs to be clarified in order to understand the safeguarding risk, ask clear, open questions:* Practice being SILENT…just listen 10
* ‘Is there anything else you wanted to tell me?’…If they say ‘no’…Do not ask again- and RECORD exactly (using quote marks) what was said by the child and employee.
* Do not ask any ‘why’ questions as these can suggest guilt or responsibility.
- Remain calm and reassure the person that they have done the right thing by talking to a responsible adult.
- Never promise to keep a secret or confidentiality. CCUC works within wider statutory systems and must collaborate in order to effectively support and care for children, young people, and adults at risk. It is important that this fact, and its implications of transparency and reporting, are emphasised in early and ongoing conversations.
- Ensure the child or adult at risk understands what will happen next with their information.
If the person disclosing is a child, employees have a duty to ensure that the information is passed on to Gateway Social Services Teams immediately in order to keep the child safe.
If a child requests confidentiality, employees must explain CCUC requirements, for example, ‘I’m really concerned about what you have told me and I have a responsibility to ensure that you are safe’.
As concerns arise, employees must talk to their Designated Child Protection Officer
Where there are concerns or allegations about an adult employee or volunteer who is working with children or adults at risk (often called someone in a “position of trust”) within CCUC, employees must follow up with the DCPO.
Types of Abuse
Physical Abuse is deliberately physically hurting a child. It might take a variety of different forms, including hitting, biting, pinching, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating a child.
The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child/young person. It is also sometimes called psychological abuse & it can have severe & persistent adverse effects on a child’s emotional development.
- Emotional abuse may involve deliberately telling a child that they are worthless, or unloved & inadequate.
- It may include not giving a child an opportunity to express their views, deliberately silencing them, or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate.
- Emotional abuse may involve bullying through social networks, online games or mobile phones – by a child’s peer.
SBNI, core child protection policies and procedures, 2017
Sexual Abuse occurs when others use and exploit children sexually for their own gratification or gain or the gratification of others. Sexual abuse 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 clothing.
“Co-operating To Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland” (DHSSPS 2016)
Neglect is the failure to provide for a child/young person’s basic needs, whether it be adequate food, clothing, hygiene, supervision or shelter that is likely to result in the serious impairment of child/young person’s health & development.
Children/young people who are neglected often suffer from other types of abuse. It may include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional, social & educational needs.
-The intentional ill treatment, manipulation or abuse of power and control.
-To take selfish or unfair advantage of a child or young person or situation for personal gain. -Could be child labour, slavery, servitude, engagement in criminal activity, begging, benefit or other financial fraud or child trafficking.
-Extends to the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation.
Can be child sexual exploitation.
- Actions deliberately undertaken with aim of befriending & establishing an emotional connection with a child, to lower the child’s inhibitions in preparation for sexual abuse and / or exploitation.
- Women/family (& sometimes professionals) are targeted & groomed in the same manner as the children.
- Offenders will create distance between the child & their supports / protections.
- Grooming creates dependency. Offenders can be regarded as ‘boyfriends’, & their residences places of safety where victims could bring their friends.
- Sometimes victims actually believe that they are exploiting the abuser.
‘Threatening, controlling, coercive behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, virtual, physical, verbal, sexual, financial or emotional) inflicted on anyone (irrespective of age, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any form of disability) by a current or former intimate partner or family member.’
Stopping Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse in Northern Ireland A Seven Year Strategy: March 2016.
(Please note as of Apr 2020: new criminal laws exist in NI around domestic abuse and coercive control).
Designated Child Protection Officer (DCPO) Role & Responsibilities:
The DCPO is a resource to any staff member (paid or voluntary) who has a child protection concern. DCPO’s are responsible for ensuring that reporting procedures are followed correctly and promptly. The DCPO is the person who contacts Gateway or PSNI services when a child protection concern arises.
The DCPO’s are required to attend full day (6 hours) in the room DCPO training- each certificate lasts 3 years. It is recommended that they attend a half day (3 hours) DCPO Refresher training once per year to promote best practice and keep up-to-date with any legislative or policy updates.
The Designated Child Protection Officer has the responsibility for updating the policies and procedures and for ensuring that staff are aware of them.
Photography and video usage on social media
Written permission/consent by the person(s) who hold Legal Parental Responsibility of the child/children must be sought before filming or photographing any child or saving or releasing images on social media.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) Policy is required by the CCUC.
Implementation Process for Responding and Reporting a concern
Immediate risk of harm
If an employee believes a child or adult to be at immediate risk of harm or abuse, and/or a criminal offence is taking place, they must take immediate steps to protect that person by calling PSNI on 999.
Call 999 only in an Emergency.
Employees must then contact their Designated Child Protection Officer to let them know what has happened, discuss recording procedures and Incident Reporting Sheets and to take advice on next steps, such as debriefing and support for the employee and contacting Gateway Social Services Teams.
All employees (paid and voluntary) must be informed of all safeguarding policies and procedures at the start of their employment.
Refresher and Full Training Requirements: All CCUC employees are recommended to complete the Refresher Child Protection (3 hours in the room) training once per year to achieve best practice.
All employees who complete the full day (6 hours in the room) Safeguarding Children Training course -the certificate will last 3 years.
No immediate risk of harm
CCUC Employees/Volunteers must consult with the Designated Child Protection Officer as soon as possible on the same working day of the safeguarding concern. Record and date all information and store in a locked, fire proof safe.
If there are concerns that a child is, or has been, at risk of abuse, employees must make a referral on the same working day without delay to the local authority children’s services – Gateway Social Services Team (Tel: 028-9050-7000) in the area where the child is living (or is found). Employees must take guidance from their manager as needed.
For safeguarding concerns raised by employees (paid or voluntary), a Designated Child Protection Officer must make the referral to Gateway Social Services –with the employee present. This must be done as soon as possible on the same working day.
The Designated Liaison Officer must (subject to issues of confidentiality or other sensitivities) keep employees informed as to the outcome of the referral.
3 Recording safeguarding concerns
As soon as possible, employees must factually record what the child or adult has told them (in the child or adult’s own words) or what the employee has observed. (The Incident Report Forms location should be made known to all paid and voluntary staff)
Employees must include the date, time, place and observations of behaviour. Record verbatim (using quote marks) exactly what was said and not your own interpretation.
If employees fail to record accurately, or if they write down their interpretation of the child or adult’s account (as opposed to a factual account), this may lead to inadmissible or unusable evidence should the information be required for court processes.
Employees must not contact any individual about whom an allegation or concern is being raised. This could be putting the person making the allegations in serious danger, for example, where domestic violence is taking place. It could also prejudice an investigation.
If a Designated Child Protection Officer decides that a referral to the local authority children’s services or adults social care is not warranted, this decision must be recorded by the Designated Child Protection Officer as a Recorded case note under the case note type: ‘Decision not to make a referral to social care’ (with evidence to support decision making).Designated Child Protection Officers must be sure to include the reasons why this decision was reached. The advice would be to consult with the Social Services Gateway Team, even if a full referral is not made. Record the full name and details of the social worker that you spoke with.
Written Code of Behaviour – The CCUC will have this devised and made available to all staff (paid and voluntary) and the public- electronically.
All parents and employees should know where to easily access the Safeguarding Child Protection Polices and confirm that they have read them
Health & Safety considerations
- The building and environment (items to consider may include: stairs, floors, toilets etc). Toilets: do not toilet a child or provide personal care- this is a role for the parents/guardian. Never be alone with a child in the toilets or any area.
- First aid box – to contain bandages (pay attention to allergies and never administer medication to someone else’s child).
- Fire alarms- need to be checked to ensure they are in working condition