GTFA works with children of all abilities. GTFA’s activities often involve vulnerable children, therefore child protection policies and procedures are required to promote child safety and welfare.

 

The policy relates to all staff (employees, volunteers and anyone in paid or unpaid work on behalf of GTFA). The organisations equal opportunities statement applies and the policy and procedures apply to all children and vulnerable people regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

 

We will endeavour to safeguard children in our care by:

  • Adopting child protection guidelines through play scheme procedures and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers.

  • Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents and carers, staff and volunteers.

  • Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately.

  • Following carefully the procedures for recruitment and selection of staff.

  • Providing effective management for staff through supervision, support and training.

 

Definitions:

The purpose of these procedures is to provide protection for children whilst they are in the care of GTFA staff.  These procedures apply to all staff working with children.

 

What is child abuse?  

It is generally accepted that there are four main forms of abuse:

 

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.

 

Emotional abuse

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

 

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of, or consents to, what is happening.

 

Neglect

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.

 

Recognition of abuse:  

Recognising abuse is not easy and it is not your responsibility to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place or if a child is at significant risk.  You do however have a responsibility to act on your concern.  Below is some information to make you more alert to the possible signs of abuse.

 

Physical abuse

  • Unexplained bruising, marks or injuries on any part of the body.

  • Bruises which reflect hand marks or fingertips (from slapping or pinching)

  • Cigarette burns

  • Bite marks

  • Broken bones

  • Scalds

 

Changes in behaviour, which can also indicate physical abuse:

  • Fear of parents being approached for an explanation

  • Aggressive behaviour or severe temper outbursts

  • Flinching when approached or touched

  • Reluctance to get changed, for example wearing long sleeves in hot weather

  • Depression

  • Withdrawn behaviour

  • Running away from home

 

Emotional abuse

  • Failure to thrive or grow, particularly if the child puts on weight in other circumstances, e.g. in hospital or away from their parents care

  • Sudden speech disorders

  • Development delay, either in terms of physical or emotional progress

  • Changes in behaviour, which can also indicate emotional abuse:

  • Neurotic behaviour, e.g. hair twisting, rocking

  • Being unable to play

  • Fear of making mistakes

  • Self harm

  • Fear of parent being approached regarding their behaviour

 

Sexual abuse

  • Pain or itching in the genital/anal areas

  • Bruising or bleeding near genital/anal areas

  • Sexually transmitted disease

  • Vaginal discharge or infection

  • Stomach pains

  • Discomfort when walking or sitting down

  • Pregnancy

 

Changes in behaviour, which can also indicate sexual abuse:

 

  • Sudden or unexplained changes in behaviour e.g. becoming aggressive or withdrawn

  • Fear of being left with a specific person or group of people

  • Having nightmares

  • Running away from home

  • Sexual knowledge which is beyond their age or development level

  • Sexual drawings or language

  • Bedwetting

  • Eating problems such as overeating or anorexia

  • Self harm or mutilation, sometimes leading to suicide attempts

  • Saying they have secrets they cannot tell anyone about

  • Substance or drug abuse

  • Suddenly having unexplained sources of money

  • Not allowed to have friends (particularly in adolescence)

  • Acting in a sexually explicit way towards adults

 

Neglect

 

  • Constant hunger, sometimes stealing food from other children

  • Constantly dirty or smelly

  • Loss of weight, or being constantly underweight

  • Inappropriate dress for the conditions

  • Changes in behaviour, which can also indicate neglect:

  • Complaining of being tired all the time

  • Not requesting medial assistance and / or failing to attend appointments

  • Having few friends

  • Mentioning their being left alone or unsupervised.

 

Responding to signs of abuse:

Where actual or suspected abuse comes to the attention of staff, they will report this to the manger at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

Staff are encouraged and supported to trust their professional judgement and if they suspect abuse has, or is taking place, to report this.

 

Full written records of all reported incidents will be produced and maintained. Information recorded will include full details of the alleged incident, dates, parties involved, times, locations and any other relevant information or evidence.

 

The manager will be responsible for ensuring that written records are dated signed and kept confidentially.

If an allegation of abuse is made against the manager, the registered person will be informed as soon as possible. They will then assume responsibility for the situation.

 

Staff will ensure that all concerns and allegations are treated with sensitivity and confidentiality.

 

Any children involved in alleged incidents will be comforted and reassured.

 

In circumstances where a child makes an allegation or a disclosure, the member of staff concerned will:

  • Listen fully to all the child has to say.

  • Make no observable judgement.

  • Ask open questions that encourage the child to speak in their own words.

  • Ensure the child is safe, comfortable and not left alone.

  • Make no promises that cannot be kept; such as promising not to tell anybody what they are being told.

 

Referring allegations to child protection agencies:

If their reasonable grounds for believing that a child has been, or is in grave danger of being subject to abuse, the following procedure will be activated:

 

  • Contact will be made, at the earliest possible opportunity, with the local social services department.

  • The manager will communicate as much information about the allegation and related incidents as is consistent with advice given by social services and the police.

  • At all times, the safety, protection and the interests of children concerned will take precedence. The manager and staff will work with and support parents/carers as far as they are legally able.

  • We will assist the social services and the police, as far as it is able, during any investigation of abuse or neglect. This will include disclosing written and verbal information and evidence.

 

Review:

 

We are also committed to reviewing our policy and good practice at regular intervals.

 

Sources of Information:

 

  • Every Child Matters Children Act 2004 

  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

  • Human Rights Act of 1998

  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child

 

Feb 2014 (Reviewed annually)