The welfare of children and vulnerable adults is everyone’s responsibility, particularly when it comes to protecting them from abuse. This Policy and is based on the following principles:
- The welfare of children and vulnerable adults is the primary concern.
- All children and vulnerable adults, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, socio-economic status, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.
- It is everyone’s responsibility to report any concerns they may have regarding abuse.
- All incidents of alleged poor practice, misconduct and abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
- All personal data will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.
It is the Empire Groups ‘responsibility to ensure that all staff, volunteers or other sub contracted organisation/people undergo an enhanced CRB check to ensure that they are safe to work with children or other vulnerable groups.
This policy covers any person who has either contact with children or other vulnerable groups or access to information about children and other vulnerable groups e.g. Data officer, administrator, etc
If any staff are awaiting the CRB check they will not be able to deliver any services directly to children or vulnerable adults until the check has proven to be satisfactory.
Empire Group will abide by the specific Child Protection/Vulnerable Adults policies and procedures of the service contactor and will sign up to those policies and procedures, and undertake training if required.
- Promote the health and welfare of children and vulnerable adults by providing opportunities for them to safely take part in our activities.
- Respect and promote the rights, wishes and feelings of children and vulnerable adults.
- Promote and implement appropriate procedures to safeguard the well-being of children and vulnerable adults and protect them from abuse.
- Recruit, train, support and supervise our staff and volunteers to adopt best practice to safeguard and protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse and to minimise risk to themselves.
- Require our staff and volunteers to adopt and abide by this Children and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy and any accompanying procedures.
- Respond to any allegations of misconduct or abuse of children and vulnerable adults in line with this Policy as well as implementing, where appropriate, the relevant disciplinary and appeals procedures.
- Review and evaluate this Policy and its Procedures on a regular basis.
Person responsible in the Organisation
A named person from Empire Group will take responsibility for any child protection issues that may arise out of your work and a contact number will be given in case of this eventuality.
Who is responsible for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults?
Everyone is responsible for ensuring that all children are protected from any sort of abuse.
What should you do if you suspect a child/Vulnerable Adult is being abused?
If a child/adult displays signs of abuse and you are not satisfied that those signs can readily be explained away, these concerns need to be passed on so that a proper investigation can take place. Unless you have a clear professional remit for child protection it is not your role to carry out any sort of investigation, as this could prejudice a later police investigation.
Who should you pass those concerns on to?
Every children’s service should have a child protection policy and a member of staff responsible for child protection within the service. Adult services will have similar policies and named people. They will have the appropriate links to local social services and the police and can involve the necessary people quickly. You should pass any concerns on to the Link person who will discuss them with the service’s child/vulnerable adults protection officer and instigate the necessary investigation. They may already be aware of protection issues with the child or family. Because of the need to preserve confidentiality, they may not report back to you on how the issue is being pursued. You should also let the a director of the Empire Group relevant service area or subsidiary company know that you have raised a child/adult protection issue.
What if you are not happy with the way the issue is being dealt?
If, for example, a child/vulnerable adult appears to continue to be a victim of abuse and the service seems to be taking no action, you can always phone either the local social services or the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline (0808 800 5000) for advice.
What if you are concerned about the behaviour of a colleague?
If you are concerned about the behaviour of another colleague or co-worker from another organisation you should inform the named person or the director of the Empire Group service area or subsidiary company immediately. They will discuss the matter with the service, but that must happen quickly.
How can you protect yourself from allegations of child abuse?
There are very simple precautions that you can take to avoid putting yourself in compromising positions, including:
- never being alone with a child/vulnerable adult. Try to be with another worker or colleague or, at the very least, another child/adult, at all times. If you need to talk to a child/adult on their own, you should do so within sight and preferably earshot of another person.
- not encouraging dependence. If a particular child/adult becomes overly attached to you ensure that you share your time out with others.
- avoiding any physical activity which is, or may be thought to be, sexually stimulating to you or the child/adult.
- do not give out personal details such as home address or phone numbers. Whilst it is useful in building trust to share some aspects of your life with the children/adult, this needs to be carefully managed.
- having ‘favourites’ – this could lead to resentment and jealousy by other children or vulnerable adults and could lead to false allegations.
- spending excessive amounts of time alone with children or vulnerable adults away from others.
- taking children or vulnerable adults to your home.
- where possible, doing things of a personal nature for children or vulnerable adults that they can do for themselves.
Practice never to be sanctioned
You must never:
- engage in sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
- engage in rough or physical contact except as permitted within the rules of the game or competition.
- form intimate emotional or physical relationships with children or vulnerable adults.
- allow or engage in touching a child and vulnerable adult in a sexually suggestive manner.
- allow children or vulnerable adults to swear or use sexualised language unchallenged.
- make sexually suggestive comments to a child or vulnerable adult, even in fun.
- reduce a child or vulnerable adult to tears as a form of control.
- allow allegations made by a child or vulnerable adult to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
- invite or allow children or vulnerable adults to stay with you at your home.
What if a child tells me they are being abused?
This is called ‘disclosure’. Disclosure can be a very distressing experience for you on the receiving end. It does not happen very often but has happened occasionally. It is possible that the trust that develops between the child/adult and yourself could lead a child/adult to disclose for the first time. Children do not often make up stories about child abuse: in fact, most children make a large number of attempts to disclose before they finally manage it and the reaction they get from adults determines whether they persist in telling theirstory.
If a child/adult does disclose, you must:
- listen sympathetically to what the child/adult has to say, but do not ask any leading questions or probe for information in case this jeopardizes a later legal case
- try not to act shocked or disgusted as the child/adult will find it difficult enough to have the conversation without receiving a negative reaction
- not promise to keep it a secret: if the child/adult has been harmed or is at risk of harm, you will have to pass the information on to the relevant child/vulnerable adult protection officer. Promising to keep a secret and then going back on that promise will only make them feel betrayed
- tell them what you will happen next, who will be told etc.
- write down what they have said as soon as possible while it is still fresh. That record may be used in any legal action. Include in the record exactly what the they said in their own words, note dates, times and names mentioned, to whom the information was given, and ensure that all records are signed and dated
- if possible, arrange for another adult to witness the conversation
- ensure that the relevant protection officer is informed immediately and let the director of Empire Group service area/subsidiary company know as soon as possible
- agree with the service representative whether the parents/other responsible adult should be told and, if so, by whom. Only the police or social services (with an appropriate court order) can withhold a child from their parents
- reassure the child/adult that they have done the right thing in speaking up, without making any promises or forecasts about what the might result from it
Who can you speak to if you want more support for yourself?
If you have lingering concerns about a child/adult, or if you feel the need for personal support to deal with the aftermath of an abuse issue, there may be local counselling services that will offer support to a person who has been affected by child/vulnerable adult abuse. The NSPCC website also (nspcc.org.uk) offers a range of support materials.
Voice is a National Charity supporting people with learning disabilities and other vulnerable people who have experienced crime or abuse. They also support
Voice Helpline on 0845 122 8695
Please note: The Action on Elder Abuse or Voice UK will treat your call in the strictest confidence.
There are four types of child abuse. They are defined in the UK Government guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010 (1.33 – 1.36) as follows:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
Bullying is not defined as a form of abuse in Working Together but there is clear evidence that it is abusive and will include at least one, if not two, three or all four, of the defined categories of abuse. For this reason it has been included in this factsheet.
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.
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.
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.
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 as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
- protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
- ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
The Empire Group has agreed the following definitions of abuse and vulnerable adult.
“No Secrets (DoH 2000)” defines abuse as follows.
“Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons. Abuse may consist of single or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or an omission to act, or it may occur when a vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she has not consented, or cannot consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it.”
Abuse may be caused by anyone who has power over the person. The person responsible for the abuse is very often well known to the person being abused and could be; a spouse; partner; son; daughter; relative; friend; carer or neighbour; a paid carer or volunteer; a health worker; social care or other worker; another resident or service user; an occasional visitor or someone who is providing a service. It can be caused by a person deliberately intending to harm, failing to take the right action or through their ignorance. It can involve one or a number of people.
A vulnerable adult is any person who :
- is aged 18 years and over
- is, or may be, in need of community care services because of frailty, learning or physical or sensory disability or mental heath issues and
- is, or may be, unable to take care of him or herself, or take steps to protect him or herself from significant harm or exploitation.
Example of types of abuse
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Psychological Abuse
- Financial Abuse
- Neglect and Acts of Omission
- Discriminatory Abuse
- Institutional Abuse