Safeguarding Children and Young People
Child Protection Procedures
These procedures MUST be followed in all cases where there is any suspicion or allegation of
abuse of a child or young person
I. Rationale for Safeguarding Procedures:
Soaring Eagle Wellbeing provides support to children and young people in many different ways. Because Soaring Eagle Wellbeing practitioners have direct contact with children and young people via phone, email, website, face-to-face, it is of paramount importance that practitioners are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of children and young people.
The practitioner is responsible for overseeing safeguarding practice at a strategic level, ensuring compliance with all legal and good practice requirements in relation to safeguarding.
These procedures have been drawn up in accordance with the Children Act 1989, the Children Act 2004, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015. They have been designed to ensure the welfare and protection of any child and/or young person who accesses Soaring Eagle Wellbeing services.
Whilst recognising that safeguarding children and young people can be a difficult and emotive subject Soaring Eagle Wellbeing believes that protecting children and young people is everyone’s responsibility and therefore, the aim of these procedures is to enable practitioners to act appropriately in response to any safeguarding concerns that arise in respect of a child or young person. Practitioners are responsible for ensuring that they have had relevant training, supervision and access to appropriate safeguarding organisations.
Practitioners intending to support children and young people must have been subject to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure and have been required to successfully complete all relevant training specific to working with CYP including Safeguarding of CYPs.
Definition of Terms:
- CP – Child Protection; used interchangeably with Safeguarding in this document.
- CYP – Children and Young People who have not yet reached their 18th birthday.
- LADO – is the Local Authority Designated Officer within Social Services who coordinates information-sharing and monitors investigations.
- Soc. Serv. – Refers to Children’s Social Work Services, Local Safeguarding Children’s Board, Social Services and Gateway (NI), whoever is the
- Local Authority responsible for giving advice and receiving referrals re: CP concerns.
- Practitioner – refers to any staff member who might have concerns about a child’s welfare.
- Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 – the Government guide to interagency
- Working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children see https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/419595/Wo
II. Recognising Signs and Symptoms:
Practitioners must ensure that they understand and implement this Safeguarding Policy and have undertaken training to gain a basic awareness of the signs and symptoms of child abuse.
Abuse of a child or young person can take many forms. These can be physical, emotional, sexual or neglect (omission). It is crucial that practitioners have familiarised themselves with the different forms of abuse and are able to recognise potential signs and symptoms.
Please see Appendix 1 for a comprehensive overview of these.
Possible Sources of Concern
- Disclosure/Allegation: A CYP alleges that abuse has taken place / that they feel unsafe, or that an adult discloses that abuse of a CYP has taken place by another person or themselves.
- Observations by practitioner: Observed interactions between a Parent/Carer and CYP cause concerns. Or, a CYP’s appearance, behaviour, play, drawing or statements cause suspicion of abuse and/or neglect.
- Concerns Raised Through Supervisor: A clinical supervisor overseeing the work of the practitioner, has a concern regarding information disclosed about a client..
- Suicidal Risk: A CYP discloses to a practitioner that he/she is contemplating suicide.
- Observation or Allegation against a practitioner: A client, Parent/Carer, practitioner or staff member raises concerns or makes an allegation against a staff member of Soaring Eagle Wellbeing
Information Sharing Guidance:
Practitioners and staff are encouraged to be aware of the national guidance on information sharing,
entitled Advice for Practitioners Providing Safeguarding Services to Children, Young People, Parents and Carers. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/419628/Information_sharing_advice_safeguarding_practitioners.pdf
Consent to Treatment and Support:
People aged 16 or over are entitled to consent to their own treatment or support (or indicate that they do not require such assistance), and this can only be overruled in exceptional circumstances, such as when harm may be caused if this treatment or support is not in place. Like adults, young people (aged 16 or 17) are presumed to have sufficient capacity to decide on their own medical treatment, unless there is significant evidence to suggest otherwise.
Children under the age of 16 can consent to their own treatment if they are believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what’s involved in their treatment. This is known as being Gillick competent.
Being Gillick competent means that for a particular decision, a young person:
- understands the problem and implications
- understands the risks & benefits of treatment
- understands the consequences if not treated
- understands the alternative options
- understands the implications on the family
- is able to retain (remember) the information
- is able to weigh the pros and cons
- is able to make and communicate a reasoned and weighed decision regarding their wishes.
For reference and further information, please refer to
In the context of therapeutic work, practitioners and staff need to assess that competency.
A safeguarding referral may be needed if a child or young person is withholding themselves from treatment or support, when it is evident or probable that harm to the child or young person, or someone else, will be caused as a result. Notably, Soaring Eagle Wellbeing is a service that people engage with of their own free will and is not mandated by any statutory authority. Therefore, an assessment of Gillick competency as defined above is needed.
Please see Appendix 3, where there is a question on the Concerns Form regarding Gillick Competency
Response to the Client
- Remind CYP of initial agreement (Appendix 4b of Standard for Supporting CYP) and explain that any information they give you will have to be shared with others.
- Listen carefully and reassuringly to what the young person has to say and take it seriously.
- Let them know that you accept what they have said.
- Let the CYP recall what is important to them; do not ask leading questions.
- Remain open to the disclosure; don’t appear shocked or disbelieving.
- Never investigate or take sole responsibility for a situation where a CYP makes a disclosure.
N.B. IF A PRACTITIONER WHO HAS CHILD PROTECTION CONCERNS ABOUT A CYP AND IS UNABLE TO CONTACT A SUPERVISOR, THEN IT IS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTACT SOCIAL SERVICES FOR ADVICE/ACTION.
N.B. IF AFTER CONSULTATION WITH SUPERVISOR THEY DO NOT SHARE THE PRACTITIONERS’ CONCERN BUT THE PRACTITIONER REMAINS CONCERNED THEN THE VOLUNTEER HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO SHARE WITH SOCIAL SERVICES
- Ensure the child is safe; in extreme cases, remain with child while contacting Police/Soc. Serv.
- If Supervisor is not available and Soc. Serv. are being contacted directly, follow through on whatever advice they give.
- In most cases if a referral is required to Police/Social Services then the practitioner who has received the disclosure will be expected to make the referral.
- It is not the role of the practitioner to investigate or to keep the CYP from the parent – leave that to the Police/Social Services.
- Ensure that the client’s Parental Consent form (Appendix 3 of Standard for Supporting CYP) is kept to hand at all times during sessions so contact information is available for consulting with Social Services/Police.
NOTE: Further details on responding to and managing this type of situation are covered
Follow-up Actions after CYP has left
- As soon as possible, practitioners should enter what they have been told, using the “Record of Concerns” form.
- Practitioners should provide their clinical supervisor with an encrypted copy of this form
- Practitioners should contact their Supervisor immediately to get the support they need.
- Apart from sharing concerns with their Supervisor and/or appropriate services, practitioners should maintain the highest degree of confidentiality.
NOTE: All practitioners must cooperate with subsequent investigations and any requests for participation in Core Group Section 47 (Child Protection Investigation), Core Group or Common Assessment Framework meetings must be met where possible.
Observations that Cause Safeguarding Concerns
This is the most likely source of concern for practitioners providing face-to-face support to children and young people. If a practitioner observes interactions between a Parent/Carer and a CYP that indicate a potential of significant harm (See Appendix 2) to the CYP, the practitioner must complete a Record of Concern and consult with a clinical supervisor. Or, if a CYP’s appearance, behaviour, play, artwork or statements cause concern, the practitioner must record this and consult with the clinical supervisor. In most cases, observation of safeguarding concerns will not present an emergency; therefore, it is the Supervisor who is the first port of call, not the L.A.D.O. or Social Services.
Soaring Eagle Wellbeing recognises that it has a duty to act on reports or suspicions of abuse. It also acknowledges that taking action in cases of child protection is never easy. However, Soaring Eagle Wellbeing believes that the safety of the child should override any doubts or hesitations.
When worrying changes are observed in a CYP’s behaviour, physical condition or appearance:
- It is good practice to ask a CYP why they are upset or how a cut or bruise was caused, or to respond to a child wanting to talk to a practitioner. This practice can help clarify vague concerns and result in appropriate action. Leading questions are never used.
- In situations where observation of a parent is under stress to such an extent that child safeguarding concerns arise, the trust built with both the parent and the CYP. It is good practice to communicate with the Parent/Carer as openly as possible about concerns (except in the conditions listed below in section 3). This can be done without breaking the CYP’s confidentiality by including the CYP in the decision process about what can and cannot be shared with the Parent/Carer.
Safeguarding Officer’s Responsibilities
This follows on from previous instructions, beginning at the point where a practitioner or Supervisor passes on a safeguarding concern where a verbal or written referral is made to Social Services.
The practitioner or supervisor will take immediate action if there is a suspicion that a CYP has been abused or is likely to be abused. In this situation the practitioner or supervisor may consult either the local Social Services or the police.
If a referral is made to Social Services, this will usually be made by the practitioner and must be followed up in writing within 48 hours. In all cases where there is a suspicion of abuse a formal referral must be made.
The practitioner may seek advice about a situation that is beginning to raise concern from:
- Social Services, or
- Through NSPCC’s 24-hour National Child Protection Helpline on 0808 800 5000.
Communication with Social Services
The purpose of consultation is to discuss concerns and decide what action is necessary.
Practitioners should consult externally with their local Social Services in the following circumstances:
- When remaining unsure after internal consultation as to whether a child protection concern exists.
- When unable to consult promptly or at all with designated internal contacts for child protection.
Please note, consultation is not the same as making a referral, but should assist a decision to be made as to whether a referral to Social Services or the Police should progress
NOTE RE: Parent Contact: Parents/Carers should be informed if a referral is being made except in the circumstances outlined below:
- Where sexual abuse or organised/multiple abuse is suspected.
- Where contacting Parent/Carer would place a child, practitioner or others at immediate risk.
- Where fabricated or induced illness (Munchausen by Proxy) is suspected.
- If a CYP is Gillick competent and does not want the parent/carer involved or made aware.
Remember that informing Parents/Carers that a referral is being made, should not lead to questioning or investigating of any kind by a practitioner or supervisor.
This section of the safeguarding procedure straddles Soaring Eagle Wellbeing policies and procedures relating to Safeguarding, Confidentiality policy and ‘Guidance on Working with People Who Harm Themselves or are Suicidal’. Practitioners working with children and young people must receive adequate training in all these areas.
5) Managing Allegations made against a member of Staff or practitioner
This procedure works in conjunction with the Soaring Eagle Wellbeing Complaints Policy and Procedures. Soaring Eagle Wellbeing will ensure that any allegations made against practitioners or members of staff will be dealt with swiftly and in accordance with the procedures outlined below. In addition, practitioners must ensure that:
- Practitioners will carefully follow the Soaring Eagle Wellbeing ethos of listening to children and young people and their Parents/Carers and taking any concerns seriously.
- The CYP is safe and away from the person against whom the allegation is made.
- The clinical supervisor of the practitioner is kept informed and equipped to communicate openly with and support the practitioner throughout the process.
- All staff and practitioners cooperate fully with any investigations undertaken by all external agencies. Any internal investigations and disciplinary proceedings will not commence until the investigating statutory authority agrees that they can go ahead. If a police investigation takes place, then this investigation needs to be completed before any internal Soaring Eagle Wellbeing investigation can commence.
- In all cases where safeguarding concerns or allegations arise regarding the behaviour/actions of a practitioner or member of staff, the Designated Lead for Safeguarding must be informed immediately, who will advise DBS as appropriate.
V. Recording and Storing Safeguarding Information
Soaring Eagle Wellbeing is committed to manage confidential information safely and within Data Protection guidelines. The process for disseminating and storing confidential information is outlined below.
Soaring Eagle Wellbeing fully supports the rights of children and young people to confidentiality unless we consider they could be at risk of significant harm. These principles are outlined in the Initial Agreements and therapeutic contracts which practitioners work through with both children and their Parents/Carers at the beginning of support sessions.
Recording and Storing of Information
N.B. Written records will be kept in a locked secure filing system. Digital records will be help in password protected and encrypted documents which are only accessible by the data controller. Data is held for 5 years then destroyed – digital data is deleted; paper copies will be confidentially shredded/destroyed.
NOTE: Communication to professionals should be undertaken in the most expedient way possible, whether that be oral or in writing via various mediums (email, letter, etc.). All oral communication should be confirmed in writing and then stored as above.
At all times the requirements of GDPR with regard to the safe storage of and access to written information must be followed.
VI. Dealing with a Written Disclosure
An increased amount of support is provided in writing, via email or social media.
If a current client or member of the public shares information in writing that might denote a safeguarding concern for a child (this might be raised by the minor, or a third party), it is recognised that it is challenging to deal with immediately, as the individual is not present.
However, there are measures that can be taken, with a view to – as much as possible – maximising the safety of those who may be at risk, or who are being harmed:
- If possible, contact the individual and ascertain the level of current risk (there may have been a gap of time between the information being written and receipt of the correspondence). If this is present, then the normal procedures would be followed in terms of risk management/reduction and reporting.
- If it is not possible to contact the individual concerned, then it may be an option to contact a person they have named as an emergency contact. Other support or health contacts may also be provided, in which case they should be contacted and informed of concerns
- It may be that the person at risk has provided further contact details, such as a home address. If so, then it may be necessary to contact Social Services or emergency services and impart the information provided.
- If the interaction is electronic (e.g. via email or social media), then it is imperative that Soaring Eagle Wellbeing responds promptly and encourage further contact with us or other support provision (particularly health services, such as a GP or Primary Care). This may include a request for a phone number, so as to then establish contact that better enables us to gauge levels of risk to the person concerned or others.
In all instances, it is imperative to follow the normal safeguarding reporting procedures detailed in this document.
The key to robust Safeguarding policies and procedures is that they work for children and young people, practitioners and staff. It is vital that practitioners and staff know what to do if they are concerned about a child. It is equally important that Parents/Carers and young people themselves are aware that Soaring Eagle Wellbeing takes the safety and welfare of children and young people into consideration in every activity undertaken. These procedures are designed to be used by everyone within the organisation whenever a safeguarding issue arises.
What to do if worried a child is being abused – advice for practitioners
APPENDIX 1: SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ABUSE
An abused child is a boy or girl under the age of 18 years (CYP) who has suffered physical injury, neglect, emotional or sexual abuse which the person or persons who had custody, charge, care or contact of/with the child either caused or knowingly failed to prevent.
Child welfare concerns may arise in many different contexts, and can vary greatly in terms of their nature and seriousness. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or by a stranger, including, via the internet. In the case of female genital mutilation, children may be taken out of the country to be abused. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children. An abused child will often experience more than one type of abuse, as well as other difficulties in their lives. Abuse and neglect can happen over a period of time but can also be a one-off event. Child abuse and neglect can have major long-term impacts on all aspects of a child’s health, development and well-being.
The main forms of abuse are as defined in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 Physical –A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a Parent or Carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Sexual – Involves 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). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Emotional – 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 a child 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 feature age or
developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. 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.
Neglect and Acts of Omission – 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 occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a Parent or Carer failing to:
- provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
- 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.
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Financial – This may be limiting access to money or other resources, or by forcing all financial responsibility onto an individual while limiting their ability to provide this.
Financial abuse may include:
- Taking money from them
- Not allowing them access to shared money
- Making them account for everything spent
- Making them beg for money
- Forcing them to commit crimes for money
- Not allowing them to buy necessities, including sufficient food
- Financial abuse can also be when the perpetrator is spending money needed to maintain the home on themselves (http://www.lwa.org.uk/understanding-abuse/abusive-relationships/financial-abuse.htm)
Possible signs of abuse include:
- Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries or the explanation of the cause of the injury is does not seem right.
- The child discloses abuse or describes what appears to be an abusive act.
- Someone else (child or adult) expresses concern about the welfare of another child.
- Unexplained change in behaviour such as withdrawal or sudden outbursts of temper.
- Inappropriate sexual awareness or sexually explicit behaviour.
- Distrust of adults, particularly those with whom a close relationship would normally be expected.
- Difficulty in making friends.
- Eating disorders, depression, self-harm or suicide attempts.
Examples such as domestic abuse, including factors such as harm or suicide attempts. Examples such as domestic abuse, including factors such as honour based violence (HBV), female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriages (FM), can include elements of all of many of the above types of abuse.
What might indicate that someone is being abused?
Information suggesting that abuse may have occurred or is occurring can come from a variety of sources such as:
- A child / young person saying or showing that they have been abused
- Allegations made by another person
- An admission from someone who says they are harming a child or young person
- Someone noticing signs or symptoms of abuse
There are a number of warning indicators which might suggest that a child may be being abused or neglected.
Physical Indicators of Abuse:
Research has shown that there are no physical signs that act as definite indicators of abuse. This reflects the individual nature of each abusive situation. However, the following points can help inform awareness that abuse could be occurring.
- Hand slap marks
- Marks made by an implement
- Pinch or grab marks
- Grip marks – could indicate that the child / young person has been shaken or inappropriately restrained
- Bruised eyes
- Patterns of bruising
NOTE: it is possible you may be told of harm to intimate areas of the client’s body; however, as a practitioner it would not be appropriate to view these.
Other Types of Injury:
Children and young people do have accidents; however, some types of injury are less likely to be accidental than others. Sometimes children and young people may have ‘accidents’ because they have not been provided with an adequately safe environment. Such injuries can be burns, scalds, fractures and poisoning. Some indicators are:
- Injuries inside the mouth, inside arms and in the sexual region
- Cigarette burns, burns with an object
- Carpet burns on torso
- Bite marks
- Injuries that have not received treatment
NOTE: As above, it is again possible you may be told of harm to intimate areas of the client’s body; however, as a bereavement volunteer or member of staff it would not be appropriate to view these.
The physical signs that a professional is able to see will clearly depend upon the type of job that they do and the role that they have.
Behavioural Indicators of Abuse:
The indicators below are provided to alert the volunteer / staff member and enable them to consider reasons for the person’s behaviour. However, the signs must be looked at together with other information gained from the person or from others in respect of the person’s social circumstances.
Behavioural indicators of abuse may include:
- Uncharacteristic sexually explicit behaviour
- Overly compliant or watchful attitude
- Acting out, aggressive, destructive, irritable and / or generally hostile behaviour
- Depression / signs of withdrawal / regression
- An air of detachment, “I don’t care” attitude
- Distrust of others
- Complaints of pain or discomfort with no medical explanation
- Eating problems
- Sleep disturbance
- Displays of unhappiness only in a particular environment
- Fear, anxiety or severe agitation displayed with an unidentifiable cause
- Increase in or development of obsessive / ritualistic behaviour
- Signs of Neglect (or Omission) can include:
- Low weight, sudden weight loss and / or appearing always hungry
- Soreness and chafing to areas of skin due to lack of assistance in maintaining personal hygiene
- Changes in behaviour or interaction with others
- Untreated injuries or medical conditions
- Wearing stained and unwashed clothes
- Appearing constantly dishevelled and dirty
A person’s emotional and physical development is affected when their need for love, care, food, warmth security and stimulation is neglected.
APPENDIX 2: THE DEFINITION OF SIGNIFICANT HARM
1.The Children Act 1989 introduced the concept of significant harm as the threshold which justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of children.
2.Section 47 of the Act places a duty on local authorities to make enquiries, or cause enquiries to be made, where it has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm. A court may only make a Care Order or Supervision Order in respect of a child if it is satisfied that:
- The child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm; and
- That the harm or likelihood of harm is attributable to a lack of adequate
parental care or control (section 31).
3. Under Section 31(9) of the Children Act 1989, as amended by the Adoption and Children Act 2002:
a. ‘Harm’ means ill-treatment or the impairment of health or development, including for example impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another;
- Development’ means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development;
- Health’ means physical or mental health; and
- Ill-treatment’ includes sexual abuse and forms of ill-treatment that are not physical.
4. There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes significant harm. Consideration of the severity of ill-treatment may include:
- the degree and the extent of physical harm,
- the duration and frequency of abuse and neglect, the extent of premeditation,
- the degree of threat, coercion, sadism, and bizarre or unusual elements in child sexual abuse.
Each of these elements has been associated with more severe effects on the child and/or relatively greater difficulty in helping the child overcome the adverse impact of the maltreatment.
5. Sometimes a single traumatic event may constitute significant harm, e.g. a violent assault, suffocation or poisoning. More often, significant harm is a compilation of significant events, both acute and long-standing, which interrupt change or damage the child’s physical and psychological development. Some children live in family and social circumstances where their health and development are neglected. For them, it is the corrosiveness of long term emotional, physical or sexual abuse that causes impairment to the extent of constituting significant harm. In each case, it is necessary to consider any ill treatment alongside the families’ strengths and supports.
6. To understand and establish significant harm, it is necessary to consider:
- The family context, including protective factors
- The child’s development within the context of his or her family and wider social and cultural environment
- Any special needs, such as a medical condition, communication difficulty or disability that may affect the child’s development and care within the family.
- The nature of harm, in terms of ill-treatment or failure to provide adequate care.
- The impact on the child’s health and development; and
- The adequacy of parental care
Local Authority Safeguarding Boards
- Middlesbrough CYP & Adult – 01642 726004
- Stockton Adult – 01642 527764, CYP – 01642 284284
- Redcar & Cleveland CYP & Adult – 01642 771500
- Out of Hours Tees Wide – 08702 402994
If you have concerns of an emergency or imminent danger you should contact the police on either 101 or 999
If you have any questions about any of the services that I provide or if you would like more information about the offered therapies please get in touch.