Safeguarding Policy


Safeguarding Policy

Child Protection Policy and Procedures

1. Policy Statement


The Lejeune Clinic for children with Down syndrome is committed to safeguarding all those who use its services. ‘Safeguarding’ is a term broader than ‘Child Protection’ and relates to the action taken to promote the welfare of children as well as protecting them from harm.
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and includes:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment.
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health and development.
  • Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
  • Taking action to enable children to have the best outcomes.


This policy and these procedures are guided by all British legislation and legal guidance (Appendix A.) that enshrines children’s welfare rights and complies with best practice. It recognizes that the welfare and interests of the children are paramount in all.


The Lejeune Clinic aims to ensure that all those using its services:

  • Have a positive and enjoyable experience in a safe and child centred environment
  • Are protected from abuse whilst participating in the activity or outside of the activity


As part of this policy the Lejeune Clinic will:

  • Promote and prioritize the safety and well-being of its children.
  • Ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and is provided with appropriate learning opportunities in this regard.
  • Ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of incidents/concerns and provide support to the individual/s who raise or disclose a concern.
  • Ensure that confidential, detailed, contemporaneous and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored.
  • Prevent the employment/engagement of unsuitable individuals.


Compliance with this policy and these procedures is mandatory for all those involved with the Lejeune Clinic. Failure to comply will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in dismissal/exclusion from this organization.
 

2. What is Child Abuse?


Abuse is a form of maltreatment of a child. Someone may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm.

Many factors can make a disabled child more vulnerable to abuse than their non-disabled peers. Some of the reasons may be:

  • They have fewer outside contacts than other children.
  • They receive intimate care from a number of carers, increasing the risk of exposure to abuse and making it difficult to set physical boundaries.
  • They may have impaired capacity to resist or avoid abuse
  • They may be inhibited about raising concerns for fear of losing services.
  • Carers may lack the ability to communicate adequately with the child.
  • Some adult abusers may target disabled children in the belief that they are less likely to be detected.

Child abuse has 4 broad types, physical, sexual, emotional and neglect, though they are not mutually exclusive and are not easily recognized.
  1. Physical - hitting, shaking, squeezing, burning or biting. Giving children drugs and alcohol is also abusive. Force feeding, rough handling and unjustifiable physical restraint is also abusive.
  2. Sexual - where children are encouraged or forced to observe or participate in any form of sexual activity. This may involve physical contact, assault or touching or non-contact activities such as watching pornographic material or encouraging them to behave in a sexual way. 
  3. Emotional - persistent emotional maltreatment of a child causing severe and persistent effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve –
    • Conveying to the child that they are worthless, unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of the other person.
    • Imposing developmentally inappropriate expectations on the child. This can be interactions above their age, or overprotection and preventing the child from normal social integration.
    • Seeing or hearing ill-treatment of another i.e. domestic violence or abuse.
  4. Neglect - persistent failure to meet the child’s basic physical or psychological needs, likely to cause serious impairment of the child’s health and development. This includes inadequate supervision.


No single professional can have a full picture of any child’s needs or circumstances, so all those who come into contact with the child have a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action and so fulfil the purpose of safeguarding legislation. The arrangements should also have a child-centred approach, whereby effective services are based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of the children.
 

3. Recognising Abuse


Recognizing abuse is important in safeguarding children. Often it is signs but it can be behaviour changes that raise the concern i.e.

  • Becoming aggressive/withdrawn/clingy
  • Seeming to keep a secret
  • Deterioration in general well being
  • Unexplained bruising, marks or poor personal hygiene
  • Unreasonable fear of certain places or people
  • Acting out inappropriately with adults, other children, toys or objects.
  • Sexually explicit language or actions
     


Not all concerns relate to abuse, they may well be other explanations e.g. family breakup.

A Safeguarding Children Board Serious Case Review (2006) of situations involving disabled children found the following themes:

  • An under-reporting of disabled children in the safeguarding system
  • A lack of safeguarding knowledge in staff working with disabled children
  • The staff’s need for training and access to advice from colleagues with safeguarding experience
  • The tendency for indicators of abuse to be explained as a function of the disability
  • Practitioners have difficulty in focussing on the child’s needs separately from those of the parent/carer
  • Staff can over identify with the parents/carers and so are reluctant to accept that abuse is taking place. It is seen as attributable to the stress and difficulties of caring for the disabled child
  • The general problems encountered in recognizing and acting on neglect are compounded when the child is disabled


Children with disabilities are children first and foremost, and have the same rights to protection as any other child.

The Lejeune Clinic will keep them safe by:

  • Acknowledging that the welfare of the child is paramount
  • Affirming that all children have the right to protection
  • Value them, listen to them and respect them
  • Recognize that some disabled children may have speech and language issues that make it difficult for them to tell others what is happening
  • All staff and volunteers will be recruited by following our safe recruiting guidelines and ensure all necessary checks (including Disclosure and Barring Service) are made
  • Share information about child protection and good practice with children, parents/carers, staff and volunteers
  • Share information with relevant agencies and involve parents and children appropriately
  • Provide effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training
 

4. What to do if Abuse is Suspected or Disclosed


If abuse is disclosed, the recipient must stay calm, listen and reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling and will not ask leading questions. Be honest with the child about who you will need to talk to in order to keep them safe.

It is not the role of volunteers or staff at the Lejeune Clinic to investigate the allegation of abuse, and so decide whether or not it has taken place, but it is their responsibility to act on the disclosure. It must be reported immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) Sophie Bale. 

Contact Sophie at Sophie@lejeuneclinic.com 

If abuse is disclosed, the Safeguarding Lead will contact socialservices@rbkc.gov.uk or telephone 020 7361 3013 and discuss the situation with them and act on their advice. 

If abuse is suspected, the DSL will discuss the concerns and seek guidance from Social services before actual reporting any child protection issues.

In all situations, the parents/carers will be informed, unless to do so would put the child in danger.

Confidentiality will be maintained at all times.

For more information visit the Local Safeguarding Children Board's website

 

5. Alleged Abuse by Staff or Volunteers


If abuse is disclosed, the recipient must stay calm, listen and reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling and will not ask leading questions. Be honest with the child about who you will need to talk to in order to keep them safe.

It is not the role of volunteers or staff at the Lejeune Clinic to investigate the allegation of abuse, and so decide whether or not it has taken place, but it is their responsibility to act on the disclosure. It must be reported immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) Sophie Bale.

Contact Sophie at Sophie@lejeuneclinic.com

If abuse is disclosed, the Safeguarding Lead will contact socialservices@rbkc.gov.uk or telephone 020 7361 3013 and discuss the situation with them and act on their advice. 

If abuse is suspected, the DSL will discuss the concerns and seek guidance from Social services before actual reporting any child protection issues.

In all situations, the parents/carers will be informed, unless to do so would put the child in danger.

Confidentiality will be maintained at all times.

For more information visit the Local Safeguarding Children Board's website

 

6. Record Keeping


Any person receiving disclosure or having safeguarding concerns must make an accurate record as soon as possible, noting what has been said or seen, putting the event in context and giving the date, time and location. These records must be signed and dated. Any decisions made about this event will be recorded along with the reasons for making those decisions.

All hand-written records will be retained even if they are later typed for more formal reporting. All written records of concerns must be stored even if there was no immediate onward referral as advised by rbkcsocial services.

All records will be stored in a secure space and will remain confidential.

 

7. Training


All staff, volunteers and trustees of the Lejeune Clinic will be made aware of this policy and asked if they have read and understood it. They will be signposted to training and training materials for anyone working with children.

 

8. Review


The Lejeune Clinic is committed to review this policy annually or in response to any changes in legislation or after any significant event within our organization.

 

Useful Contacts

 

 

Contact the NSPCC’s Knowledge and Information Service with any questions about child protection or related topics:

Tel:     0808 800 5000
Email: help@nspcc.org.uk