Woodpeckers Fun Club is committed to building a ‘culture of safety’ in which the children in our care are protected from abuse and harm.
The Club will respond promptly and appropriately to all incidents or concerns of abuse that may occur. The Club’s child protection procedures comply with all relevant legislation and with guidance issued by the Local Safeguarding Partnership Board.
The Club’s designated Child Protection Officer (CPO) is the manager. The CPO coordinates child protection issues and liaises with external agencies.
Forms of child abuse and neglect
Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm. An individual may abuse or neglect a child directly, or by failing to protect them from harm. Some forms of child abuse and neglect are listed below.
- Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child so as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve making the child feel that they are worthless, unloved, or inadequate. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
- Physical abuse can involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may be also caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child.
- Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. This can involve physical contact, or non-contact activities such as showing children sexual activities or encouraging them to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
- Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. It can involve a failure to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter, to protect a child from physical and emotional harm, to ensure adequate supervision or to allow access to medical treatment.
Signs of child abuse and neglect
Signs of possible abuse and neglect may include:
- significant changes in a child's behaviour
- deterioration in a child’s general well-being
- unexplained bruising or marks
- comments made by a child which give cause for concern
- Inappropriate behavior displayed by other members of staff, or any other person. For example, inappropriate sexual comments, excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of their role, or inappropriate sharing of images.
If abuse is suspected or disclosed
When a child makes a disclosure to a member of staff, that member of staff will:
- Reassure the child that they were not to blame and were right to speak out
- Listen to the child but not question them
- Give reassurance that the staff member will take action
- Record the incident as soon as possible (see Logging an incident below).
If a member of staff witnesses or suspects abuse, they will record the incident straightaway. If a third party expresses concern that a child is being abused, we will encourage them to contact Safeguarding Partnership Board. If they will not do so, we will explain that the Club is obliged to and the incident will be logged accordingly.
Logging an incident
All information about the suspected abuse or disclosure will be recorded on the Logging a concern form as soon as possible after the event. The record should include:
- Date of the disclosure or of the incident causing concern
- Date and time at which the record was made
- Name and date of birth of the child involved
- A factual report of what happened. If recording a disclosure, you must use the child’s own words.
- Name, signature and job title of the person making the record.
The record will be given to the Club’s CPO who will decide whether they need to contact MASH to make a referral.
Once a request for referral has been received, the Information Officers will consider the immediate level of risk, confirm that consent has been provided and ensure that sufficient information is available from the referral to provide a recommendation for the MASH Manager to apply a BRAG rating. This decision is recorded on the child/children’s record, and the MASH Manager will confirm the risk level using BRAG ratings; Blue, Red, Amber and Green. Red being the highest risk where there is a serious safeguarding concern requiring immediate action, and Green rating being a low risk which may require support for the child/children through the Common Assessment Framework (CAF).
Allegations against staff
If anyone makes an allegation of child abuse against a member of staff:
- The allegation will be recorded on an Incident record form. Any witnesses to the incident should sign and date the entry to confirm it.
- The allegation must be reported to the Local Authority – MASH. The MASH will advise if other agencies (eg police) should be informed, and the Club will act upon their advice.
- Following advice from the MASH, it may be necessary to suspend the member of staff pending full investigation of the allegation.
Promoting awareness among staff
The Club promotes awareness of child abuse issues through its staff training. The Club ensures that:
- Its designated CPO has relevant experience and receives appropriate training
- Safe recruitment practices are followed for all new staff
- All staff have a copy of this Safeguarding Children policy, understand its contents and are vigilant to signs of abuse or neglect
- All staff are aware of their statutory requirements with regard to the disclosure or discovery of child abuse – if in doubt, please ask Heloisa.
- Staff are familiar with the ‘What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused’ flowchart
- Its procedures are in line with the guidance in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children (2012)’.
Use of mobile phones and cameras
Photographs will only be taken of children with their parents’ permission. Only the club camera will be used to take photographs of children at the Club, except with the express permission of the manager. Neither staff nor children may use their mobile phones to take photographs at the Club.