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1. Safeguarding and child protection policy 2023- 2024
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St Robert’s Catholic First School

Date reviewed:                                12th September 2023

Date ratified by the Governing Board:         6th October 2023

CONTENTS

Page

Key School Contact Details

4

Key External Contact details

5

Guidance and Advice documents

6

Policy Statement

7

Definition of safeguarding / Abuse

8

Procedures for dealing with concerns about a child

9

Child on child abuse

13

Consensual and non-consensual nude and semi-nude images and/or videos

15

Cybercrime

21

Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities or certain health issues

22

Mental health concerns        

22

Contextual safeguarding

23

Recording, record keeping and information sharing

24

Procedures for dealing with concerns about staff

25

Managing allegations against staff, volunteers and contractors

25

Safer working practice

29

Safer recruitment

29

Managing safeguarding

31

Training and Induction

34

Working with parents/carers

35

Relevant policies

36

                APPENDICES

Page

A

Safeguarding Induction Sheet

(For new or supply staff, visitors and volunteers)

37

B

Abuse and Neglect

38

Specific safeguarding issues – further information

40

C

Child Criminal Exploitation and Child Sexual Exploitation

40

County Lines

42

Serious violence

42

D

So-called Honour Based Abuse (including female genital mutilation and forced marriage)

43

E

Preventing radicalisation

45

F

Private fostering

47

G

Children missing from education

47

H

Sexual violence and harassment between children in schools

48

I

Modern slavery and trafficking and child abduction/community safety incidents

50

J

Domestic abuse

53

K

Homelessness

54

L

Cause for concern form

56

L

Body map

56

L

DSL check list

58

M

Online safety

59

Key School Contact Details

Headteacher

Name: David Sutcliffe

Telephone: 01670512031

Email: David.sutcliffe@st-roberts.northumberland.sch.uk

Designated safeguarding lead (DSL) and deputy designated safeguarding leads

Designated safeguarding lead

Name: David Sutcliffe

Role: Headteacher

Telephone: 01670512031

Email: David.sutcliffe@st-roberts.northumberland.sch.uk

Deputy Designated safeguarding lead 

Name: Jennifer Sykes

Role: Deputy Headteacher

Telephone: 01670512031

Email: jennifer.sykes@st-roberts.northumberland.sch.uk

Governors – for safeguarding

Chair of governors

Name: Fiona Swift

Telephone: 01670512031

Email: Fiona.swift@st-roberts.northumberland.sch.uk

Link safeguarding governor

As above

Key External Contact Details

Local authority designated officer (LADO)

The LADO for Northumberland is Louise Prudhoe

Email: Louise.Prudhoe@northumberland.gov.uk or LADO@northumberland.gov.uk

Telephone: 01670 623 979

Children’s social care

One call - 01670536400

Multi-agency safeguarding hub

One call - 01670536400

https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Children/Safeguarding/Safeguarding-children-information-for-professional.aspx#localauthoritydesignatedofficerlado 

Police / law and order

Emergency: 999

Non-emergency: 101

Call 01670 536400

Emergency duty team on 0345 6005252

Or email: prevent@northumberland.gov.uk

If the person you're concerned about is a child visit: https://online.northumberland.gov.uk/citizenportal/form.aspx?form=SafeGuardingchild

If the person you're concerned about is an adult visit: https://online.northumberland.gov.uk/citizenportal/form.aspx?form=SafeGuardingAdult

Anti-terrorist hotline

0800 789 321

NSPCC whistleblowing helpline

(Mon-Fri 8am-8pm)

Address: Weston House, 42 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3NH

Helpline: 0800 028 0285

Disclosure and barring service (DBS)

Address: PO Box 3961, Royal Wootton Bassett, SN4 4HF

customerservices@dbs.gov 

Tel: 03000 200190

Teacher regulation agency (TRA)

Address: Cheylesmore House, 5 Quinton Rd, Coventry CV1 2WT

misconduct.teacher@education.gov.uk 

Tel. Teacher misconduct: 0207 593 5393

OFSTED

whistleblowing@ofsted.gov.uk

Whistleblowing hotline: 0300 1233 155 (8am -6pm Mon-Fri)

Independent Schools Inspectorate

concerns@isi.net 

Tel: 0207 6000 100


This policy has regard to the following guidance and advice:


POLICY STATEMENT

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is of paramount importance and is everyone’s responsibility.

It is the responsibility of every member of staff, volunteer and regular visitor to our school to ensure that they carry out the requirements of this policy and, at all times, work in a way that will safeguard and promote the welfare of all of the pupils at this school. This includes the responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn.

We recognise that staff at our school play a particularly important role as they are in a position to identify concerns early and provide help for children to prevent concerns from escalating. All staff are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff members must always act in the best interests of the child.

Our school will establish and maintain an ethos where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, are listened to and are safe.  Children will be able to talk freely to any member of staff at our school if they are worried or concerned about something.

All staff and regular visitors will, through training and induction, know how to recognise indicators of concern, how to respond to a disclosure from a child and how to record and report this information. We will not make promises to any child and we will not keep secrets.  Every child will know what the adult will have to do with any information they have chosen to disclose.

Throughout our curriculum we will provide activities and opportunities for children to develop the skills they need to identify risks and stay safe.  This will also be extended to include material that will encourage our children to develop essential life skills.

At all times we will work in partnership and endeavour to establish effective working relationships with parents, carers and colleagues from other agencies in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) and local safeguarding partners’ procedures.

This policy is reviewed and updated annually (as a minimum) and is available on the school website or from the school office.

This policy applies to all staff, children, parents, Governors, Trustees, volunteers and visitors.


DEFINITION OF SAFEGUARDING

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:

(KCSIE 2023)

ABUSE

Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child.  Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.

Abuse and neglect

All staff will be made aware of indicators of abuse and neglect. Knowing what to look for is vital for the early identification of abuse and neglect and specific safeguarding issues such as child criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation so that staff are able to identify cases of children who may be in need of help or protection.

If staff are unsure, they should always speak to the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) or deputy.

Abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events and cannot be covered by one definition or one label alone. In most cases, multiple issues will overlap with one another, therefore staff should always be vigilant and always raise any concerns with the DSL.

Safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the school and/or can occur between children outside of this environment. All staff, but especially the DSL should consider whether children are at risk of abuse or exploitation in situations outside their families. Extra-familial harms take a variety of different forms and children can be vulnerable to multiple harms including (but not limited to) sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, sexual abuse, serious youth violence and county lines.

Technology is a significant component in many safeguarding and wellbeing issues. Children are at risk of abuse online as well as face to face. In many cases abuse will take place concurrently via online channels and in daily life. Children can also abuse other children online, this can take the form of abusive, harassing, and misogynistic messages, the non-consensual sharing of indecent images, especially around chat groups, and the sharing of abusive images and pornography, to those who do not want to receive such content.

In all cases, if staff are unsure, they should always speak to the DSL.

Further information about the different kinds of abuse can be found in the appendices.


PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH CONCERNS ABOUT A CHILD

What staff should do if they have a concern about a child

All staff must report any concerns they have about a child and not see these as insignificant. Staff should not assume a colleague or another professional will take action and share the concern.  

On occasions, a referral is justified by a single incident such as an injury or disclosure of abuse. More often however, concerns accumulate over a period of time and are evidenced by building up a picture of harm over time; this is particularly true in cases of emotional abuse and neglect. In these circumstances, it is crucial that staff record and pass on concerns in accordance with this policy to allow the DSL to build up a picture and access support for the child at the earliest opportunity.

A reliance on memory without accurate and contemporaneous records of concern could lead to a failure to protect.

Staff must immediately report any:

Children can sometimes show signs or act in ways they hope adults will notice and react to.

All staff should be aware of this and remain vigilant.

 

What staff should do if a child is in danger or at risk of harm

If staff are concerned that a child could be at risk of harm they must report to the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) immediately.

If this is not possible, they should make a direct referral to children’s social care.

What staff should do if they have a concern about honour based abuse (HBA), including FGM

If staff have a concern regarding a child who might be at risk of HBA or who has suffered from HBA, they should speak to the DSL. As appropriate, the DSL will activate local safeguarding procedures, using existing national and local protocols for multi-agency liaison with police and children’s social care.

Where FGM has taken place, there has been a mandatory reporting duty placed on teachers since 31st October 2015. Section 5B of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015) places a statutory duty upon teachers in England and Wales, to report to the police where they discover (either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18. Those failing to report such cases will face disciplinary sanctions.

Further information can be found in the Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation and the FGM resource pack particularly section 13.

Responding to disclosure

Disclosures or information may be received from children, parents or other members of the public. School recognises that those who disclose such information may do so with difficulty, having chosen carefully to whom they will speak. Accordingly, all staff will handle disclosures with sensitivity.

Such information cannot remain confidential and staff will immediately communicate what they have been told to the DSL.

Staff will not investigate but will, wherever possible, elicit enough information to pass on to the DSL in order that s/he can make an informed decision of what to do next.

Staff will:

The DSL should be used as a first point of contact for concerns and queries regarding any safeguarding concern in our school. Any member of staff or visitor to the school who receives a disclosure of abuse or suspects that a child is at risk of harm must report it immediately to the DSL or, if unavailable, to the deputy. In the absence of either of the above, the matter should be brought to the attention of the most senior member of staff.

All concerns about a child should be reported without delay and recorded in writing using the agreed procedures (CPOMS or by completing a cause for concern form (See appendix L)).

If in doubt about recording requirements, staff must discuss this with the DSL.

Following receipt of any information that raises concern, the DSL will consider what action to take and seek advice from children’s social care as required. All concerns, discussions and decisions made, and the reasons for those decisions will be recorded in writing.

It is not the responsibility of school staff to investigate welfare concerns or determine the truth of any disclosure or allegation. All staff, however, have a duty to recognise concerns and pass the information on in accordance with these procedures.

All referrals will be made in line with local children’s social care procedures.

The school adheres to child protection procedures that have been agreed locally through the local safeguarding partners. Where we identify children and families in need of support, we will carry out our responsibilities in accordance with local threshold guidance.

If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child, a referral should be made to children’s social care immediately and if a criminal offence has been committed contact the police. Anybody can make a referral. If the child’s situation does not appear to be improving, then the staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration by raising concerns again with the DSL and/or the headteacher. Concerns should always lead to help for the child at some point.

Staff should always follow the reporting procedures outlined in this policy in the first instance. However, they may also share information directly with children’s social care, or the police if:

Any member of staff, who does not feel that concerns about a child have been responded to appropriately and in accordance with the procedures outlined in this policy, should raise their concerns with the headteacher or the chair of governing board. If any member of staff does not feel the situation has been addressed appropriately at this point, then they should contact children’s social care directly with their concerns.

Vulnerability

Staff should consider children who may be particularly vulnerable to abuse and may require early help.

This could include:

A child who is:

This is not an exhaustive list but merely an example of vulnerabilities that staff must consider when identifying safeguarding concerns.

Early help assessment 

Early help assessment is organised early intervention to provide support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life.

If an early help assessment is appropriate, the DSL (or deputy) will generally lead on liaising with other agencies and setting up an inter-agency assessment, as appropriate.  

Staff may be required to support other agencies and professionals in an early help assessment and, in some cases, where education is the fundamental factor, act as the lead practitioner.

 

Early help assessments should be kept under review and referred to children’s social care for assessment if the child’s situation does not appear to be improving or is getting worse.

Statutory children’s social care assessments and services

Concerns about a child’s welfare will be referred to the local authority children’s social care by the DSL. Where a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer from harm, a referral to children’s social care (and if appropriate the police) will be made immediately.

Referrals will follow the local authority referral process.

The DSL should be aware of the requirement for children to have an appropriate adult while a child is being questioned by the police. The appropriate adult will “support, advise and assist” the young person, and also “observe whether police are acting properly and fairly to respect [the young person’s] rights and entitlements, and inform the officer of the rank of inspector or above if they consider that they are not”. Further information can be found in the statutory guidance – PACE Code C 2019.

Where a child in school has a Child in Need plan or a Child Protection plan, the school will liaise with children’s social care, attend meetings and provide comprehensive and detailed reports.

All reports for Child in Need / Child Protection conferences will be prepared in advance, using the guidance and report template. The information contained in the report will be shared with parents before the conference as appropriate. In order to complete such reports, all relevant information will be sought from staff working with the child in school. All staff should be prepared to contribute to the report writing process.

CHILD ON CHILD ABUSE

Children can abuse other children. This is now referred to as child on child abuse and can take many forms. It can happen both inside and outside of school. There may also be reports where the children concerned attend two or more different schools.

Child on child abuse will not be tolerated. All staff will take a zero tolerance approach to any abusive behaviours and will stop and challenge inappropriate behaviours between children, many of which may be sexual in nature. We recognise that even if there are no reported cases of child on child abuse that such abuse may still be taking place and all staff should be vigilant.

A difficult feature of child on child abuse is that the perpetrators could be victims themselves and possibly are being abused by other family members, other adults and children.

In cases where child on child abuse is identified we will follow our procedures for dealing with concerns, recognising that both the victim and perpetrator will require support.      

The school takes the following steps to minimise the risk of child on child abuse:

The following systems are in place to enable children to confidently report any abuse:

Each alleged incident will be recorded, investigated and dealt with on an individual basis based on the following principles:

Victims, perpetrators and any other children affected by child on child abuse will be supported in the following ways:

Research tells us girls are more frequently identified as being abused by other children, and girls are more likely to experience unwanted sexual touching in schools.  Boys are less likely to report intimate relationship abuse.  Boys report high levels of victimisation in areas where they are affected by gangs. There is an increasing evidence base emerging about the sexual exploitation of boys (both by adults and children).  We recognise that both boys and girls experience child on child abuse but can do so in different ways. 

We recognise that child on child abuse can manifest itself in many ways such as:

There are a number of factors that make children more vulnerable to child on child abuse:

Some of the reasons why children abuse other children:

Relationship abuse is unacceptable behaviour between any two people.  

Consensual and non-consensual sharing of nude and semi-nude images and/or videos

The term ‘sharing nudes and semi-nudes’ is used to mean the sending or posting of nude or semi-nude images, videos or live streams by children under the age of 18 online. This could be via social media, gaming platforms, chat apps or forums. It could also involve sharing between devices via services like Apple’s AirDrop which works offline.

The term ‘nudes’ is used as it is most commonly recognised by children and more appropriately covers all types of image sharing incidents.

The motivations for taking and sharing nude and semi-nude images, videos and live streams are not always sexually or criminally motivated. Such images may be created and shared consensually by children who are in relationships, as well as between those who are not in a relationship. It is also possible for a child in a consensual relationship to be coerced into sharing an image with their partner.

Incidents may also occur where:

The sharing of nudes and semi-nudes can happen publicly online, in 1:1 messaging or via group chats and closed social media accounts.

Nude or semi-nude images, videos or live streams may include more than one child.

Creating and sharing nudes and semi-nudes of under-18s (including those created and shared with consent) is illegal which makes responding to incidents involving children complex. There are also a range of risks which need careful management from those working in education settings.

Many professionals may refer to ‘nudes and semi-nudes’ as:

Initial response

When an incident involving nudes and semi-nudes comes to the attention of any member of staff:

A disclosure may not be a single event and the child may share further information at a later stage.

Any direct disclosure by a child should be taken seriously. A child who discloses they are the subject of an incident of sharing nudes and semi-nudes is likely to be embarrassed and worried about the consequences. It is likely that disclosure in school is a last resort and they may have already tried to resolve the issue themselves.

Initial review meeting

The initial review meeting will consider the initial evidence and aim to establish:

An immediate referral to police and/or children’s social care through the MASH (multi-agency safeguarding hub) or equivalent will be made if at this initial stage:  

The DSL should be aware of the requirement for children to have an appropriate adult while a child is being questioned by the police. The appropriate adult will “support, advise and assist” the child, and also “observe whether police are acting properly and fairly to respect [the child’s] rights and entitlements, and inform the officer of the rank of inspector or above if they consider that they are not”. Further information can be found in the statutory guidance – PACE Code C 2019.

If none of the above apply, the DSL may decide to respond to the incident without involving the police or children’s social care. They can still choose to escalate the incident at any time if further information/concerns are disclosed at a later date.

The decision to respond to the incident without involving the police or children’s social care will only be made in cases where the DSL is confident that they have enough information to assess the risks to any child involved and the risks can be managed within the school’s support and disciplinary framework and, if appropriate, their local network of support.

Assessing the risks

The circumstances of incidents can vary widely. If at the initial review stage a decision has been made not to refer to police and/or children’s social care, the DSL (or equivalent) should conduct a further review (including an interview with any child involved) to establish the facts and assess the risks.

When assessing the risks and determining whether a referral is needed, the following should be also considered:

The DSL will decide whether a child is at risk of harm, in which case a referral will be appropriate, whether additional information or support is needed from other agencies or whether the education setting can manage the incident and support any child or young person directly. The DSL will always use their professional judgement in conjunction with that of their colleagues to assess incidents.

Supporting the child involved

The DSL or another member of staff (who the child feels more comfortable talking to) will discuss future actions and support with the child. This discussion will take into account the views of the child as well as balancing what are considered to be appropriate actions for responding to the incident.

The purpose of the discussion is to:

When discussing the sharing of nudes and semi-nudes, the DSL/member of staff will:

Informing parents and carers

Parents or carers will be informed and involved in the process at an early stage unless informing them will put a child or young person at risk of harm. Any decision not to inform the parents or carers will be made in conjunction with other services such as children’s social care and/or the police, who would take the lead in deciding when they should be informed.

Supporting parents and carers

Children and young people can be involved in an incident in several different ways. They may lose control of their own image, receive an image of someone else or share an image of another person. In any of these situations, parents and carers may find it difficult to know how to deal with the knowledge that their child has been involved in an incident and may display differing emotions.

Whatever their feelings, it is important that we listen to their concerns and take them seriously. We will also help to reassure parents and carers by explaining that it is normal for young people to be curious about sex.

In all situations, parents or carers will be:

Searching devices, viewing and deleting nudes and semi nudes

Staff and parents or carers must not intentionally view any nudes and semi-nudes unless there is good and clear reason to do so as outlined below.

Wherever possible, responses to incidents will be based on what DSLs have been told about the content of the imagery.

The decision to view any imagery will be based on the professional judgement of the DSL. Imagery will never be viewed if the act of viewing will cause significant distress or harm to any child or young person involved.

If a decision is made to view imagery, the DSL would need to be satisfied that viewing is:

If it is necessary to view the imagery, then the DSL will:

If nudes or semi-nudes have been viewed by a member of staff, either following a disclosure from a child or young person or as a result of a member of staff undertaking their daily role (such as IT staff monitoring school systems), the DSL will make sure that the staff member is provided with appropriate support. Viewing nudes and semi-nudes can be distressing for both children and adults and appropriate emotional support may be required.

In most cases, children and young people will be asked to delete the imagery and to confirm that they have deleted them. They will be given a deadline for deletion across all devices, online storage or social media sites. They will be reminded that possession of nudes and semi-nudes is illegal. They will be informed that if they refuse or it is later discovered they did not delete the imagery, they are continuing to commit a criminal offence and the police may become involved.

All incidents relating to nudes and semi-nudes being shared will be recorded using the school’s procedures. Copies of imagery should not be taken.

It is important that children and young people understand the school’s policy towards nudes and semi-nudes. The content of this policy and the protocols the school will follow in the event of an incident will be explored as part of teaching and learning. This will reinforce the inappropriate nature of abusive behaviours and reassure children that school will support them if they experience difficulties or have concerns.

For more information: Sharing nudes and semi-nudes: advice for education settings working with children and young people - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

CYBERCRIME

Cybercrime is criminal activity committed using computers and/or the internet. It is broadly categorised as either ‘cyber-enabled’ (crimes that can happen off-line but are enabled at scale and at speed on-line) or ‘cyber dependent’ (crimes that can be committed only by using a computer). Cyber-dependent crimes include:

Children with particular skill and interest in computing and technology may inadvertently or deliberately stray into cyber-dependent crime. If there are concerns about a child in this area, the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy), should consider referring into the Cyber Choices programme. This is a nationwide police programme supported by the Home Office and led by the National Crime Agency, working with regional and local policing. It aims to intervene where young people are at risk of committing, or being drawn into, low level cyber-dependent offences and divert them to a more positive use of their skills and interests.

Note that Cyber Choices does not currently cover ‘cyber-enabled’ crime such as fraud, purchasing of illegal drugs on-line and child sexual abuse and exploitation, nor other areas of concern such as on-line bullying or general on-line safety.

Additional advice can be found at: Cyber Choices, ‘NPCC- When to call the police’ and National Cyber Security Centre - NCSC.GOV.UK

CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITIES OR CERTAIN HEALTH ISSUES

Children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) or certain health conditions can face additional safeguarding challenges. Children with SEND are three times more likely to be abused than their peers.

Additional barriers can sometimes exist when recognising abuse in SEND children. These can include:

Staff will support these children in expressing any concerns they may have and will be particularly vigilant to any signs or symptoms of abuse. The DSL and SENDCO will work together when dealing with reports of abuse involving children with SEND.

 

MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS

All staff should be aware that mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation.

If staff have a mental health concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken, following our child protection policy, and staff MUST speak to the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy.

We will ensure that our staff understand the support they can provide to pupils who may be experiencing mental health concerns, and we will ensure that staff follow the following principles as set out in ‘Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools 2018’. We recognise that early intervention to identify issues and provide effective support is crucial. The school role in supporting and promoting mental health and wellbeing can be summarised as:

Prevention: we will seek to create a safe and calm environment where mental health problems are less likely, improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole school population, and equipping pupils to be resilient so that they can manage the normal stress of life effectively. This will include teaching pupils about mental wellbeing through the curriculum and reinforcing this teaching through school activities and ethos;

Identification: we will support staff and pupils to recognise emerging issues as early and accurately as possible;

Early support: we will support and help pupils to access evidence based early support and interventions wherever possible and seek access to specialist support for those pupils who require such interventions. We aim to work in partnership with pupils, parents / carers and establish effective relationships with external agencies to provide swift access or referrals to specialist support and treatment.

 


CONTEXTUAL SAFEGUARDING

Safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside school or college and/or can occur between children outside the school or college.  All staff should be considering the context within such incidents and/or behaviours occur.  This is known as contextual safeguarding, which simply means assessments of children should consider whether wider environmental factors are present in a child’s life that are a threat to their safety and/or welfare.

Geographical factors

Schools Response

  • We have a close proximity to the coastline and the river
  • All classes during the academic year (more so in the Summer term) undertake teaching about the dangers of the sea and tides.
  • Reception embed the risk associated with the water and how to be safe.
  • Water safety is consolidated termly in each year group.

Social and economic factors

Schools Response

  • Affluent area which means social drug use can be an issue. eg. vaping and alcohol use
  • the the PHSE curriculum addresses these issues appropriately through the keystages.
  • The statements to live by address healthy living.

Peer Group factors

Schools Response

  • Children have older siblings who may be influential to younger family members.  

  • Our curriculum teaches children about the issue of ‘peer pressure’.
  • Children engage in different scenarios and are given choices to make through role play. Children are taught to be confident and assertive through our PSHCE curriculum.
  • We also engage in a full week of ‘anti-bullying’ activities and we high profile this with our school community.
  • We encourage any child feeling pressurised to ‘talk it out’ with an adult or share with an adult in school.

Home factors

Schools Response

  • Lots of our children are connected to the internet at home and regularly use gaming devices to engage in online games with their friends.

  • Through our Computing Curriculum, children are taught about online safety. Every child is aware of the  ‘Acceptable Use’ contract. Parents are also aware of the ‘Acceptable Use’ contract on the school website - promoted by Class Dojo.
  • Materials to support parents are shared during internet safety day and are also available on the school website.
  • Eternal visitors ‘Be Safe’ speak with Year 4 pupils to support the transition to middle school with a focus on online safety.

RECORDING, RECORD KEEPING AND INFORMATION SHARING

All concerns, discussions and decisions made, and the reasons for those decisions, will be recorded in writing on the agreed reporting form (Appendix L) or CPOMSs.

Each record should include:

If there is any doubt about recording requirements, staff should discuss with the DSL

All concerns should be passed to the DSL without delay, either written or verbal (followed as soon as possible by a written report)

Child Protection information will be kept in a separate Child Protection file for each child, stored in a separate secure cabinet. Only Child Protection information will be kept in the file and this file will be kept up to date.  Records of concern, copies of referrals, invitations to Child Protection conferences, core groups and reports will be stored here.  All Child Protection files will include; a chronology, a contents front cover and will record significant events in the child’s life.

Child Protection files will be the responsibility of the DSL. Child Protection information will only be shared with relevant staff / agencies on a ‘need to know’ basis, in the child’s interests and on the understanding that it remains strictly confidential.  

When a child leaves our school, the DSL will make contact with the DSL at the new school and will ensure that the child protection file is forwarded to the receiving school in an agreed secure manner. This should be as soon as possible and within 5 days for an in-year transfer or within the first 5 days at the start of a new term to allow a school or college to have support in place for when a child arrives. We will retain evidence to demonstrate we have acted accordingly when dealing with safeguarding matters and how the file has been transferred; this may be in the form of a written confirmation of receipt from the receiving school and/or evidence of recorded delivery. Where a parent elects to remove their child from the school roll to home educate, the school will make arrangements to pass any safeguarding concerns to the Local Authority.

We are GDPR compliant  and use Chapmans data services to ensure that all aspects of GDPR are covered.


PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH CONCERNS ABOUT STAFF

What staff should do if they have safeguarding concerns about another member of staff

If staff have safeguarding concerns or an allegation of abuse is made about another member of staff (including supply staff, volunteers and contractors) posing a risk of harm to children this should be reported to the headteacher. Where there are concerns about the headteacher this should be referred to the chair of the local governing board.

In the event of concerns/allegations about the headteacher, where the headteacher is also the sole proprietor of an independent school, or a situation where there is a conflict of interest in reporting the matter to the headteacher, this should be reported to local authority designated officer (LADO).

What staff should do if they have concerns about safeguarding practices within the school

The school will maintain a safeguarding culture which encourages all staff and volunteers to feel able to raise concerns. Where staff have concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the school’s safeguarding systems, these should be raised following the school’s whistleblowing policy.

Where a staff member feels unable to raise an issue with the school, or feels their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels are available, such as the NSPCC whistleblowing advice line. Contact details are on the Key External Contacts page.

MANAGING SAFEGUARDING CONCERNS AND ALLEGATIONS MADE AGAINST STAFF, VOLUNTEERS AND CONTRACTORS

Allegations that meet the harms threshold

All allegations will be investigated thoroughly and as a matter of urgency. They will be dealt with quickly, fairly and consistently. Protection will be provided for the child and the person subject to the allegation will be supported.

We will always ensure that the procedures outlined in the local authority arrangements for managing allegations and Part 4 of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’, DfE are adhered to and where appropriate, we will seek advice from the LADO.

Allegations that might indicate a person would pose a risk of harm if they continue to work in their present position, or in any capacity with children in school would apply when staff (including volunteers and supply staff) have (or alleged to have):

The last bullet point includes behaviour that may have happened outside of school, that might make an individual unsuitable to work with children, this is known as transferable risk.

Where appropriate, an assessment of transferable risk to children with whom the person works will be undertaken. If in doubt we will seek advice from the LADO.

When an allegation is made against an adult that meets the above criteria it should be reported immediately to the headteacher who is the ‘case manager’.

This includes allegations made against agency and supply staff, volunteers and contractors. Should an allegation be made against the headteacher, this will be reported to the chair of the governing board.

In the event that neither the headteacher nor chair of the governing board is contactable on that day, the information must be passed to and dealt with by either the member of staff acting as headteacher / the DSL or the vice chair of the governing board.

The case manager will conduct basic enquiries in line with local procedures and KCSIE to establish the facts to help determine whether there is any foundation to the allegation, being careful not to jeopardise any future police investigation.

If there is cause to suspect a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm, a strategy discussion involving the police and / or children’s social care will be convened.

Cases of suspected abuse will be referred to children’s social care.

The case manager will immediately discuss with the LADO, the nature, content and context of the allegation and agree a course of action. Where the case manager deems there to be an immediate risk to children or a criminal offence has been committed, the police will be contacted immediately. All discussions, agreed actions and communications will be recorded in writing using the cause for concern form. The LADO should be informed within one day of any allegations made to the case manager and any actions taken.

If the initial discussion leads to no further action, the case manager and the LADO will record the decision and justification for it and agree on what information should be put in writing to the individual concerned.

The case manager will ensure that the individual who is subject to the allegation is informed as soon as possible explaining the likely course of action guided by the LADO, and the police where necessary. The case manager will appoint a named representative to keep the person informed about the progress of the case and consider any appropriate support.

The case manager will ensure that parents of the child or children involved are formally told about the allegation as soon as possible and kept informed of the progress of the case, only in relation to their child. They will be made aware of the requirement to maintain confidentiality and unwanted publicity about any allegations made against teachers in schools whilst investigations are in progress.

The case manager will monitor the progress of the case to ensure that it is dealt with as quickly as possible in a thorough and fair process.

The case manager will carefully consider whether the circumstances warrant suspension from contact with children at the school, or until the allegation is resolved. It will be considered only in cases where there is cause to suspect a child or other children at the school is/are at risk of harm, or the case is so serious it might be grounds for dismissal. The case manager will seek views from HR and the LADO, as well as the police and children’s social care where they have been involved. Where an individual is suspended they will be provided with a named contact in school.

The case manager will discuss with the LADO whether a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and/or the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) should be made where an allegation is substantiated and the person is dismissed or the school ceases to use their services, or resigns or otherwise ceases to provide their services.

The school has a legal obligation to make a referral to the DBS for consideration of whether inclusion on the barred lists is required; where it considers an individual has engaged in conduct that harmed (or is likely to harm) a child; or if a person poses a risk to a child.

In the case of a member of teaching staff, the case manager must consider making a referral to the TRA to consider prohibiting the individual from teaching.

If an allegation is made against a supply teacher, agency worker or contractor, the headteacher will liaise closely with the agency involved. The headteacher will ensure that any allegations are dealt with following the school’s procedures and in liaison with the LADO.

If an allegation is made against a governor, the headteacher will follow local authority arrangements for managing allegations, liaising with the LADO.

Details of allegations following an investigation that are found to have been malicious or false will be removed from personnel records, unless the individual gives their consent for retention of the information. For all other allegations a written record of details of the investigation and the outcome will be retained in the individual’s personnel file in line with KCSIE and a copy provided to the individual.

In cases where allegations are proven to be unsubstantiated, unfounded, false or malicious the LADO and case manager will consider whether the person who made the allegation is in need of help or may have been abused by someone else and this is a cry for help. A referral to children’s social services may be deemed appropriate.

Allegations proven to be unsubstantiated, unfounded, false or malicious will not be included in employer references.

If an allegation is shown to be deliberately invented or malicious, the headteacher will consider whether disciplinary action should be taken against a child, or whether the police should be asked to consider action against an adult.

The school will make every effort to maintain confidentiality and guard against unwanted publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered.

On conclusion of a case in which the allegation is substantiated, the case manager and the LADO will review the case to determine whether there are any improvements to be made to the school’s procedures or practices to help prevent similar events in the future.

Allegations against a teacher who is no longer teaching should be referred to the police. Non recent allegations of abuse should be reported to the LADO who will liaise with other agencies. Abuse can be reported no matter how long ago it happened.

Low-level concerns

Please refer to our ‘low level concerns policy’ for full details.

All concerns about all adults working in or on behalf of the school (including supply teachers, volunteers and contractors) will be dealt with promptly and appropriately.

The term ‘low-level’ concern does not mean that it is insignificant, it means that the behaviour towards a child does not meet the criteria indicated in the allegations section above.

A low-level concern is any concern, no matter how small, and even if no more than causing a sense of unease or a nagging doubt.

An adult working in or on behalf of the school may have acted in a way that does not meet the expectation in the staff code of conduct, including conduct outside of school and does not meet the allegations criteria or is not considered serious enough to refer to the LADO.

Such behaviour can exist on a wide spectrum; examples could include, but are not limited to:

Low-level concerns about a member of staff should be reported immediately to the DSL/headteacher. If the concern is reported to the DSL, the headteacher should ultimately be informed and make any final decisions on how to respond. Where the concern is about the DSL it should be reported to the headteacher and where it is about the headteacher it should be reported to the chair of the governing board.

Low-level concerns about a supply teacher or contractor should be reported as above.

The DSL/headteacher will notify the employer so that any patterns of inappropriate behaviour can be identified.

All low-level concerns will be recorded by the DSL/headteacher using the cause for concern form and stored securely and confidentially.

These records will be reviewed so that any patterns of inappropriate behaviour can be identified and dealt with.

        SAFER WORKING PRACTICE        

All staff have a responsibility to maintain public confidence in their ability to safeguard the welfare and best interests of children. They should adopt high standards of personal conduct in order to maintain confidence and respect of the general public and those with whom they work.

All staff will be provided with a copy of our school’s Code of Conduct at induction which sets out the school’s expectations of staff behaviour. We will review our Code of Conduct regularly and ask staff to ensure that they are familiar with the current version. Staff are expected to carry out their duties in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

There will be occasions when some form of physical contact is inevitable, for example if a child has an accident or is hurt or is in a situation of danger to themselves or others around them.  However, at all times the agreed policy for positive handling must be adhered to.

If staff, visitors, volunteers or parent helpers are working with children alone they must ensure they are visible to other members of staff.  They will be expected to inform another member of staff of their whereabouts in school, who they are with and for how long.  Doors, ideally, should have a clear glass panel in them and be left open.

Staff are responsible for their own actions and behaviour and should avoid any conduct which would lead any reasonable person to question their motivation and intentions.

Further advice can be found in ‘Guidance for safer working practices for adults who work with children and young people in education settings’ (2022) 

All staff and volunteers are expected to carry out their work in accordance with this guidance and will be made aware that failure to do so could lead to disciplinary action.

SAFER RECRUITMENT

We will ensure that the headteacher and at least one member of the governing board have completed appropriate safer recruitment training.  At all times the headteacher and governing board will ensure that safer recruitment practices are followed in accordance with the requirements of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’, DfE.

The school will follow the recruitment and selection procedures when making decisions about the suitability of prospective employees. This will include: conducting the relevant checks, the school may also wish to consider carrying out an online search as part of due diligence on shortlisted candidates this may help identify any incidents or issues that have happened, and are publically available online, which the school or college might want to explore with the applicant at interview (delete if not appropriate), obtaining appropriate references and information from interviews.

Where staff work in EYFS or wraparound care for children under the age of 8 we will ensure the appropriate checks are carried out to ensure that individuals are not disqualified under the Children Disqualification Regulations 2018.

We will maintain a Single Central Record of all safer recruitment checks carried out in line with statutory requirements. This will include all staff, governors or volunteers who work in regulated activity and any other third parties such as sports coaches etc.

We will continue to be vigilant in school and encourage staff to discuss matters both within, and where it is appropriate, outside of the workplace, which may have implications for the safeguarding of children.

Visitors

The school has clear protocols for visitors to ensure they are suitable and supervised as appropriate.

All visitors will be expected to provide details of their appropriate DBS on their first visit to school.  Unexpected visitors will also be asked to show ID on arrival.  The school will keep a record of all visitors.

Visitors will be expected to understand that the school promotes British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and that they will need to uphold these during their visit.

For some visits, the school will request a copy of the material to be used to assess its content and relevance to the age group.

If during the visit the supervising member of staff deems the content to be inappropriate they will stop the visitor and discuss an alternative approach.

During the visit, visitors will be supervised by a member of school staff. Where the visitor will be working on a one-to-one basis with a child, specific safeguarding arrangements will be put in place.


MANAGING SAFEGUARDING

The Governing Board

The Governing Board is accountable for ensuring the effectiveness of this policy and our compliance with it. Although our Governing Board takes collective responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of our pupils, we also have a named Governor who champions safeguarding within the school.

Governing boards and proprietors will ensure that all Governors and Trustees receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection (including online) training at induction. This training will equip them with the knowledge to provide strategic challenge to test and assure themselves that the safeguarding policies and procedures in place in schools and colleges are effective. The training will be regularly updated. 

The Governing Board will ensure that:

The Governing Board will receive an annual safeguarding report that will detail the training that has taken place and will inform the Governing Board how the school meets its statutory requirements.

The Governing Board will undertake a range of safeguarding visits over the year to monitor safeguarding compliance.

The headteacher is responsible for:

The virtual school headteacher

The designated safeguarding lead (DSL)

The DSL is a senior member of staff, from the leadership team who takes lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection within our school. The DSL will carry out their role in accordance with the responsibilities outlined in Annex C of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ DfE.

The DSL will provide advice and support to other staff on child welfare and child protection matters. Any concern for a child’s safety or welfare will be recorded in writing and given to the DSL.  

During term time the DSL and / or a deputy will always be available (during school or college hours) for staff in the school or college to discuss any safeguarding concerns. If in exceptional circumstances, a DSL is not available on the school site in person, we will ensure that they are available via telephone and any other relevant media.

The DSL will manage referrals and will refer cases of suspected abuse to children’s social care and refer cases to the Channel programme if there is a radicalisation concern.

The DSL will liaise with the three safeguarding partners and other agencies where necessary. Through regular training, knowledge and experience the DSL will be equipped to attend and contribute to child protection case conferences, strategy discussions and other interagency meetings.

The DSL will maintain detailed, accurate written records and child protection files ensuring that they are kept confidential and stored securely.

When children leave school, the DSL will ensure child protection records are transferred separately from the main pupil file, ensuring secure transit and a confirmation of receipt will be obtained. This should be as soon as possible and within 5 days for an in-year transfer or within the first 5 days at the start of a new term to allow a school or colleague to have support in place for when a child arrives.

 

The DSL is responsible for ensuring that all staff members and volunteers are aware of the school’s safeguarding policy and the procedures they need to follow. They will ensure that all staff, volunteers and regular visitors have received appropriate child protection training during induction.

The DSL will help promote educational outcomes by sharing information about the issues that children, including children with a social worker, are experiencing, or have experienced, with teachers and leadership staff.

Opportunities to teach safeguarding

We will teach children how to keep themselves safe, including in relation to contextual factors.

Preventive education is most effective in the context of a whole-school or college approach that prepares children for life in modern Britain and creates a culture of zero tolerance for sexism, misogyny/misandry, homophobia, biphobic and sexual violence/harassment. This will be underpinned by our behaviour policy and pastoral system, as well as by a planned programme of evidence-based RSHE/RE delivered and reinforced throughout the whole curriculum. 

TRAINING AND INDUCTION

All new members of staff or volunteers will be informed of safeguarding procedures, including the recording and reporting procedures as part of the induction process.

They will receive safeguarding training within the first half term of joining the school. This programme will include information relating to signs and symptoms of abuse, how to manage a disclosure from a child, how to record concerns and the role of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL). The training will also include information about whistle-blowing in respect of concerns about another adult’s behaviour and suitability to work with children.

All staff will receive online safety training and relevant staff have an awareness and understanding of the provisions in place for filtering and monitoring. They will know how to escalate concerns.

In addition to the safeguarding induction, we will ensure that mechanisms are in place to assist staff to understand and discharge their role and responsibilities as set out in Part one of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ DfE.

In order to achieve this, we will ensure that:

All regular visitors, temporary staff and volunteers to our school will be given a set of our safeguarding procedures; they will be informed of who the DSL and deputies are and what the recording and reporting system is. (See Appendix A).

The DSL, deputies and any other senior member of staff who may be in a position of making referrals or attending child protection conferences or core groups will attend appropriate training. In addition to formal training, the DSL will ensure that they update their knowledge and skills at regular intervals, but at least annually, to keep up with any developments relevant to their role.

The Governing Board will ensure that all governors receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection (including online) training at induction. This training will equip them with the knowledge to provide strategic challenge to test and assure themselves that the safeguarding policies and procedures are effective and support a robust school approach to safeguarding. The training will be regularly updated.

We actively encourage all of our staff to keep up to date with the most recent local and national safeguarding advice and guidance, Annex B of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ provides links to guidance on specific safeguarding issues. In addition, throughout the school year we will brief staff on key issues identified by the school.

All staff are expected to read these key documents and fully understand their responsibility to keep children safe:

WORKING WITH PARENTS AND CARERS

The school is committed to working in partnership with parents/carers to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and to support them to understand our statutory responsibilities in this area.  

When new pupils join our school, parents and carers will be informed that we have a safeguarding policy. A copy will be provided to parents on request and is available on the school website. Parents and carers will be informed of our legal duty to assist our colleagues in other agencies with child protection enquiries and what happens should we have cause to make a referral to children’s social care.  

We are committed to working with parents positively, openly and honestly. We ensure that all parents are treated with respect, dignity and courtesy. We respect parents’ rights to privacy and confidentiality and will not share sensitive information unless we have permission or it is necessary to do so in order to safeguard a child from harm.

We will seek to share with parents any concerns we may have about their child unless to do so may place a child at increased risk of harm.  A lack of parental engagement or agreement regarding the concerns the school has about a child will not prevent the DSL making a referral to children’s social care in those circumstances where it is appropriate to do so.

In order to keep children safe and provide appropriate care for them, the school requires parents to provide accurate and up to date information regarding:

The school will retain this information on the children’s file. The school will only share information about children with adults who have parental responsibility for a child or where a parent has given permission and the school has been supplied with the adult’s full details in writing.

If in any doubt about information sharing, staff should speak to the DSL (or deputy).  Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.

RELEVANT POLICIES

To underpin the values and ethos of our school and our intent to ensure that pupils at our school are appropriately safeguarded the following policies are also included under our safeguarding umbrella:

Appendix A: Safeguarding Induction Sheet                                                                           (For new or supply staff, visitors and volunteers)

We all have a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and at our school we take this responsibility seriously.

If you have any concerns about a child or young person in our school, you must share this information immediately with our designated safeguarding lead (DSL) or deputy.

Do not think that your worry is insignificant if it is about hygiene, appearance or behaviour – we would rather you told us as we would rather know about something that appears small than miss a worrying situation.

If you think the matter is very serious and may be related to child protection, for example, physical, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect, you must find one of the designated safeguarding leads detailed below and provide them with a written record of your concern.

A copy of the form to complete is attached to this and others can be obtained from the headteacher or the staffroom. Please ensure you complete all sections as described.

If you are unable to locate one of the designated safeguarding leads, ask a member of the school office staff to find them and to ask them to speak with you immediately about a confidential and urgent matter.

Any allegation concerning a member of staff, a child’s foster carer or a volunteer should be reported immediately to the headteacher. If an allegation is made about the headteacher you should pass this information to the chair of the governing board. Alternatively, you can contact the local authority designated officer on Tel:01670 623 979. NSPCC whistleblowing helpline is also available for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally. Staff can call: 0800 028 0285 – line is available from 8:00am to 8:00pm, Monday to Friday or via e-mail: help@nspcc.org.uk.

The people you should talk to in school are:

Designated safeguarding lead (DSL):

David Sutcliffe

Location of office:

At the school entrance

Contact number:

01670512031

Deputy designated safeguarding lead:

Jennifer Sykes

Location of office:

Year 2 classroom

Contact number:

01670512031

Chair of governing board

Fiona Swift

Contact number:

01670512031

 

At St Robert’s Catholic First school we strive to safeguard and promote the welfare of all of our children.

Appendix B: ABUSE AND NEGLECT

Indicators of abuse and neglect

Abuse:  a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting; by those known to them, or, more rarely, by others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse.  Children may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.  

We recognise that children are also vulnerable to physical, sexual and emotional abuse by their peers or siblings. (See child on child abuse)

Physical Abuse 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 Abuse 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. The sexual abuse of children by other children is a specific safeguarding issue in education and all staff should be aware of it and of their school or college’s policy and procedures for dealing with it.

Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.

It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the 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 cyberbullying), 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.

We recognise that children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges and these are discussed in staff training.  

These additional barriers can include:

  • Assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration
  • Children with SEN and disabilities can be disproportionally impacted by things like bullying - without outwardly showing any signs
  • Communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy, for example, as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

  • Provide adequate food and clothing, 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 caretakers)
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

SPECIFIC SAFEGUARDING ISSUES

Appendix C: Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and Child Sexual Exploitation(CSE)

We know that different forms of harm often overlap and that perpetrators may subject children and young people to multiple forms of abuse, such as criminal exploitation (including county lines) and sexual exploitation.

In some cases, the exploitation or abuse will be in exchange for something the victim needs or wants (for example, money, gifts or affection), and/or will be to the financial benefit or other advantage, such as increased status, of the perpetrator or facilitator.

Children can be exploited by adult males or females, as individuals or groups. They may also be exploited by other children, who themselves may be experiencing exploitation – where this is the case, it is important that the child perpetrator is also recognised as a victim.

Whilst the age of the child may be a contributing factor for an imbalance of power, there are a range of other factors that could make a child more vulnerable to exploitation, including gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, learning difficulties, communication ability, physical strength, status and access to economic or other resources.

Some of the following can be indicators of both child criminal and sexual exploitation where children:

• Appear with unexplained gifts, money or new possessions

• Associate with other children involved in exploitation

• Suffer from changes in emotional well-being

• Misuse drugs and alcohol

• Go missing for periods of time or regularly come home late

• Regularly miss school or education or do not take part in education

Children who have been exploited will need additional support to help maintain them in education.

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)

Some specific forms of CCE can include children being forced or manipulated into transporting drugs or money through county lines, working in cannabis factories, shoplifting or pickpocketing. They can also be forced or manipulated into committing vehicle crime or threatening/committing serious violence to others.

Children can become trapped by this type of exploitation as perpetrators can threaten victims (and their families) with violence, or entrap and coerce them into debt. They may be coerced into carrying weapons such as knives or begin to carry a knife for a sense of protection from harm from others. As children involved in criminal exploitation often commit crimes themselves, their vulnerability as victims is not always recognised by adults and professionals (particularly older children), and they are not treated as victims despite the harm they have experienced. They may still have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears to be something they have agreed or consented to.

It is important to note that the experience of girls who are criminally exploited can be very different to that of boys. The indicators may not be the same, however professionals should be aware that girls are at risk of criminal exploitation too. It is also important to note that both boys and girls being criminally exploited may be at higher risk of sexual exploitation.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

CSE is a form of child sexual abuse. 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. It may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in the production of sexual images, forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse including via the internet.

CSE can occur over time or be a one-off occurrence, can range from opportunist to complex organised abuse and may happen without the child’s immediate knowledge e.g. through others sharing videos or images of them on social media.

It can involve force and/or enticement based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence.

CSE can affect any child, who has been coerced into engaging in sexual activities. This includes 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to have sex. Some children may not realise they are being exploited e.g. they believe they are in a genuine romantic relationship.

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.

Signs include:


COUNTY LINES

County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of “deal line”. This activity can happen locally as well as across the UK - no specified distance of travel is required. Children and vulnerable adults are exploited to move, store and sell drugs and money. Offenders will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons to ensure compliance of victims.

Children can be targeted and recruited into county lines in a number of locations including schools (mainstream and special), further and higher educational institutions, pupil referral units, children’s homes and care homes.

Children are also increasingly being targeted and recruited online using social media. Children can easily become trapped by this type of exploitation as county lines gangs can manufacture drug debts which need to be worked off or threaten serious violence and kidnap towards victims (and their families) if they attempt to leave the county lines network.

A number of the indicators for CSE and CCE as detailed above may be applicable to where children are involved in county lines. Some additional specific indicators that may be present where a child is criminally exploited through involvement in county lines are children:

SERIOUS VIOLENCE

All staff should be aware of the indicators, which may signal children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime. These may include:

Unexplained gifts or new possessions could also indicate that children have been approached by, or are involved with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs and may be at risk of criminal exploitation (see above).

All staff should be aware of the range of risk factors which increase the likelihood of involvement in serious violence, such as:

Appendix D: So-called ‘honour’-based abuse

So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA) encompasses incidents or crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including:

Abuse committed in the context of preserving “honour” often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators.  It is important to be aware of this dynamic and additional risk factors when deciding what form of safeguarding action to take.  All forms of HBA are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such.  If in any doubt, staff should speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).  Professionals in all agencies, and individuals and groups in relevant communities, need to be alert to the possibility of a child being at risk of HBA, or already having suffered HBA.

Female Genital Mutilation (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

Type 2

Type 3

Type 4

Clitoridectomy:

Partial/total removal of clitoris

Excision:

Partial/total removal of clitoris and labia minora

Infibulation:

Entrance to vagina is narrowed by repositioning the inner/outer labia

All other procedures that may include: pricking, piercing, incising, cauterising and scraping the genital area

Why is it carried out?

Belief that FGM:

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

Signs that may indicate a child has undergone FGM:

Forced Marriage

Forcing a person into marriage is a crime in England and Wales.  A forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into the marriage.  Threats can be physical or emotional and psychological.  A lack of full and free consent can be where a person does not consent or where they cannot consent (if they have learning disabilities, for example).  Nevertheless, some communities use religion and culture as a way to coerce a person into marriage.  Schools and colleges can play an important role in safeguarding children from forced marriage.

Signs and symptoms may include:

         

Appendix E: Preventing Radicalisation

Children are vulnerable to extremist mixed or unclear ideology and radicalisation. Similar to protecting children from other forms of harms and abuse, protecting children from this risk should be a part of a schools’ or colleges’ safeguarding approach.

There is no single way of identifying whether a child is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. Background factors combined with specific influences such as family and friends may contribute to a child’s vulnerability. Similarly, radicalisation can occur through many different methods (such as social media or the internet) and settings (such as within the home).

However, it is possible to protect vulnerable people from extremist ideology and intervene to prevent those at risk of radicalisation being radicalised. As with other safeguarding risks, staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour, which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. Staff should use their judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act proportionately which may include the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) making a Prevent referral.

The school’s DSL (and any deputies) should be aware of local procedures for making a Prevent referral.

The Prevent Duty

All schools and colleges are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the CTSA 2015), in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty.

School Leaders must:

Channel

Channel is a voluntary, confidential support programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

Prevent referrals may be passed to a multi-agency Channel panel, which will discuss the individual referred to determine whether they are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism and consider the appropriate support required. A representative from the school or college may be asked to attend the Channel panel to help with this assessment. An individual’s engagement with the programme is entirely voluntary at all stages.

Understanding and recognising risks and vulnerabilities of radicalisation

Children and young people can be drawn into violence or they can be exposed to the messages of extremist groups by many means. These may include through the influence of family members or friends and/or direct contact with extremist groups and organisations or, increasingly, through the internet. This can put a young person at risk of being drawn into criminal activity and has the potential to cause significant harm.

Staff should use their judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act proportionately which may include the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) making a Prevent referral.

Possible indicators include:

Appendix F: Private Fostering

Many people find themselves looking after someone else’s child without realising that they may be involved in private fostering.  A private fostering arrangement is one that is made privately (that is to say without the involvement of a local authority) for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18, if disabled) by someone other than a parent or immediate relative.  If the arrangement is to last, or has lasted, for 28 days or more it is private fostering. 
 
The Children Act 1989 defines a relative as a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership), or a step parent.  
 
People become involved in private fostering for all kinds of reasons.  Examples of private fostering include:

There is a mandatory duty on the school to inform children’s social care of a private fostering Arrangement.  Children’s social care has a duty to check that the young person is being properly cared for and that the arrangement is satisfactory.

Further information:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/274414/Children_Act_1989_private_fostering.pdf 

Appendix G: Children missing from education

All staff should be aware that children going missing, particularly repeatedly, can act as a vital warning sign of a range of safeguarding possibilities. This may include abuse and neglect, which may include sexual abuse or exploitation and can also be a sign of child criminal exploitation including involvement in county lines. It may indicate mental health problems, risk of substance abuse, risk of travelling to conflict zones, risk of female genital mutilation, ‘honour’-based abuse or risk of forced marriage.

Early intervention is necessary to identify the existence of any underlying safeguarding risk and to help prevent the risks of a child going missing in future. Staff should be aware of their school’s or college’s unauthorised absence and children missing from education procedures.

Further information can be found in ‘Children Missing Education’ statutory guidance for local authorities – September 2016.

Appendix H: Sexual violence and harassment between children in schools and colleges

Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex from primary to secondary stage and into colleges. It can also occur online. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children.

Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment will likely find the experience stressful and distressing. This will, in all likelihood, adversely affect their educational attainment and will be exacerbated if the alleged perpetrator(s) attends the same school or college. Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap, they can occur online and face to face (both physically and verbally) and are never acceptable.

It is essential that all victims are reassured that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever be made to feel ashamed for making a report.

Staff should be aware that some groups are potentially more at risk. Evidence shows girls, children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and LGBT children are at greater risk.

All staff have been made aware of the importance of:

Sexualised behaviour         

Green Behaviours…

Amber Behaviours…

Red Behaviours…

are part of safe and healthy sexual development which are:

  • displayed between children or young people of similar age or developmental ability
  • reflect curiosity, experimentation, consensual activities and positive choices
  • ‘normal’ but inappropriate within the school/classroom setting

are potentially outside of safe and healthy development due to:

  • age or developmental differences
  • activity type, frequency, duration or context

are clearly outside of safe and healthy development and:

 

  • involve much more coerciveness, secrecy, compulsiveness & threat
  • require action from school & other agencies

For further information of sexualised behaviour thresholds visit Harmful sexual behaviour framework: an evidence-informed operational framework for children and young people displaying harmful sexual behaviours (nspcc.org.uk) 

Sexual violence

It is important that school and college staff are aware of sexual violence and the fact children can, and sometimes do, abuse other children in this way and that it can happen both inside and outside of school/college. When referring to sexual violence we are referring to sexual violence offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as described below:

Rape: A person (A) commits an offence of rape if: he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

Assault by Penetration: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of her/his body or anything else, the penetration is sexual, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

Sexual Assault: A person (A) commits an offence of sexual assault if: s/he intentionally touches another person (B), the touching is sexual, B does not consent to the touching and A does not reasonably believe that B consents. (Schools should be aware that sexual assault covers a very wide range of behaviour so a single act of kissing someone without consent, or touching someone’s bottom/breasts/genitalia without consent, can still constitute sexual assault.)

Causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally causes another person (B) to engage in an activity, the activity is sexual, B does not consent to engaging in the activity, and A does not reasonably believe that B consents. (This could include forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party.)

What is consent? Consent is about having the freedom and capacity to choose. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, e.g.to vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if s/he agrees by choice to that penetration and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice. Further information about consent can be found here: Rape Crisis England & Wales - Sexual consent

Sexual harassment

When referring to sexual harassment we mean ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline and both inside and outside of school/college. When we reference sexual harassment, we do so in the context of child on child sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is likely to: violate a child’s dignity, and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.

Whilst not intended to be an exhaustive list, sexual harassment can include:

Upskirting

The Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019, which is commonly known as the Upskirting Act, came into force on 12 April 2019. ‘Upskirting’ is where someone takes a picture under a persons’ clothing (not necessarily a skirt) without their permission and or knowledge, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks (with or without underwear) to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm. It is a criminal offence. Anyone of any sex, can be a victim.

dix I: Modern slavery and Trafficking

Modern Slavery

Modern slavery encompasses human trafficking and slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. Exploitation can take many forms, including: sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery, servitude, forced criminality and the removal of organs.

Further information on the signs that someone may be a victim of modern slavery, the support available to victims and how to refer them to the NRM (National Referral Mechanism) is available in the Modern Slavery Statutory Guidance. Modern slavery: how to identify and support victims - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is ‘the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs’.

Child trafficking

 “Child” shall mean any person under eighteen years of age. Any child transported for exploitative reasons is considered to be a trafficking victim, whether or not they have been forced or deceived. This is partly because it is not considered possible for children to give informed consent. Even when a child understands what has happened, they may still appear to submit willingly to what they believe to be the will of their parents or accompanying adults. It is important that these children are protected too.

Children are trafficked for many reasons, including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, labour, benefit fraud and involvement in criminal activity such as pick-pocketing, theft and working in cannabis farms. There are a number of cases of minors being exploited in the sex industry. Although there is no evidence of other forms of exploitation such as ‘organ donation or ‘harvesting’, all agencies should remain vigilant.

Children may be trafficked from other countries for a variety of reasons. There are a number of factors in the country of origin which might make children vulnerable to being trafficked.

The factors listed below are by no means a comprehensive list:

Potential indicators that a child may have been trafficked

Once in the UK the child:

Further information:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/safeguarding-children-who-may-have-been-trafficked-practice-guidance

Child abduction and community safety incidents

Child abduction is the unauthorised removal or retention of a minor from a parent or anyone with legal responsibility for the child. Child abduction can be committed by parents or other family members; by people known but not related to the victim (such as neighbours, friends and acquaintances); and by strangers.

Other community safety incidents in the vicinity of a school can raise concerns amongst children and parents, for example, people loitering nearby, unknown adults engaging children in conversation, rumours about undesirable residents or adults in vehicles approaching children. As children get older and are granted more independence (for example, as they start walking to school on their own) it is important they are given practical advice on how to keep themselves safe.

Appendix J: Domestic Abuse

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021. The Act introduces the first ever statutory definition of domestic abuse and recognises the impact of domestic abuse on children, as victims in their own right, if they see, hear or experience the effects of abuse.

The statutory definition of domestic abuse, based on the previous cross-government definition, ensures that different types of relationships are captured, including ex-partners and family members or an institutional and community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. (KCSIE)

The cross-government definition of domestic abuse is:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

All children can witness and be adversely affected by domestic abuse in the context of their home life where domestic abuse occurs between family members.

Domestic Abuse can impact on children through seeing, hearing or experiencing. In some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result.

Children can also experience domestic abuse within their own intimate relationships. This form of child on child abuse is sometimes referred to as ‘teenage relationship abuse’. Depending on the age of the young people, this may not be recognised in law under the statutory definition of ‘domestic abuse’ (if one or both parties are under 16). However, as with any child under 18, where there are concerns about safety or welfare, child safeguarding procedures will be followed and both young victims and young perpetrators will be offered support.

Signs, indicators and effects:

It is often difficult to tell if domestic abuse is happening because it takes place in the family home and abusers can act very differently when other people are around.  Children who witness domestic abuse may show signs of:

Other signs and symptoms may include:

Source: www.nspcc.org.uk

Some children may not display any symptoms / behaviours that may be a cause for concern. ‘What is life like at home?’ – is a good question to use regularly with all children.

We are an ‘Operation Encompass’ school 

Operation Encompass operates in all police forces across England. It helps police and schools work together to provide emotional and practical help to children. The system ensures that when police are called to an incident of domestic abuse, where there are children in the household who have experienced the domestic incident, the police should inform the key adult (usually the designated safeguarding lead) in school before the child or children arrive at school the following day. This ensures that the school has up to date relevant information about the child’s circumstances and can enable immediate support to be put in place, according to the child’s needs.

Appendix K: Homelessness

Being homeless or being at risk of becoming homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare. The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) should be aware of contact details and referral routes into the Local Housing Authority so they can raise/progress concerns at the earliest opportunity.

Indicators that a family may be at risk of homelessness include household debt, rent arrears, domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour, as well as the family being asked to leave a property. (KCSIE)

Types of homelessness could include:

Impact of homelessness:

In most cases school and college staff will be considering homelessness in the context of children who live with their families, and intervention will be on that basis. However, it should also be recognised in some cases 16 and 17 year olds could be living independently from their parents or guardians, for example through their exclusion from the family home, and will require a different level of intervention and support. Children’s social care will be the lead agency for these children and the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) should ensure appropriate referrals are made based on the child’s circumstances. (KCSIE)

 


Annex L: Example Cause for Concern form

Full Name of Child:

DOB:

Time of concern:

Date of concern:

Place of concern:

Concern:

Detailed Account:

(Please bullet point. Do not interpret what is seen or heard; simply record the facts.  After completing the form, pass it immediately to the designated safeguarding lead / deputy)

Member of Staff completing form

Role / Title

Annex L: Designated Safeguarding Lead Checklist

Possible Action

By Whom

Outcome

Discuss with child

Contact parents

Check records in school

Discuss with relevant professionals

Check with schools who have siblings

Seek advice from LA

Monitor and review

Consider an early help assessment

Consult with Social Care

Contact police

101: Non-emergency

999: Immediate Danger

Other (please specify)

Assessment of Risk

Safeguarding

Risk of Harm

Immediate Danger

Appendix M: Online safety

If settings have a separate online safety policy, this section can be reduced and cross-referenced. If settings fully integrate online safety within the child protection policy and do not have a separate policy, governing bodies and proprietors will need to ensure there is sufficient depth of information provided within this section.

Policies and Procedures

Appropriate Filtering and Monitoring

The leadership and relevant staff are:

The UK Safer Internet Centre has published guidance as to what “appropriate” filtering and monitoring might look like.

Information Security and Access Management

Staff Training

Educating Children

DSLs and SLT may find it helpful to access UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) ‘Education for a Connected World Frameworkand DfE ‘Teaching online safety in school guidance.

Working with Parents/Carers

Remote Learning

Specific guidance for DSLs and SLT regarding remote learning is available at DfE: Safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19) and The Education People: Remote Learning Guidance for SLT.

Link for online safety policy and further guidance:

http://www.st-roberts.northumberland.sch.uk/web/internet_safety/366783