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Safeguarding policy 

Child and vulnerable adult safeguarding and protection policy and procedures.

February 2024

Produced by Co Director Attention Autism Ltd.

Lorraine Scott

for

ATTENTION AUTISM LTD


Introduction

ATTENTION AUTISM LTD (the Company) is a Company whose purpose is to support the promotion ofengagement, attention and communication skills for autistic children and young people in liaison with parents,where possible autistic children and young people, and education and health services.

 

This publication is the property of Attention Autism Ltd.

 

The Company is based at:

1a Rushmore Drive, Lisburn
BT28 3WT

 

CHILD AND VULNERABLE ADULT PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES

 

This Safeguarding Protocol is a working document to incorporate the policy and procedures should we be working with children and vulnerable adults. Our guiding principles apply to the Directors.  Advanced Practitioners, contractors or anyone associated with this organisation.  They must be familiar with and abide by these guiding principles.


Purpose of the Policy

The Company believes that no child, young person, or vulnerable adult should experience abuse or harm and is committed to the protection of children, young people, and vulnerable adults.  This policy is intended to provide guidance and overarching principles to those who represent us as Directors volunteers, Associates, or staff to guide our approach to child and vulnerable adult safeguarding.  The Directors and Advanced Practitioners mainly work with Allied Health Professionals, teachers and parents, voluntary service staff in an online or in training venues.  They may, on occasion, train in schools or in health services or voluntary services facilities.  In these settings those associated with Attention Autism Ltd. follow the guidelines and procedures in the policies of the schools or health care and voluntary services we are working in.

 

We acknowledge that we have a responsibility to ensure that we respond to any concerns or disclosures and will do so in accordance with the legal guidelines across jurisdictions and as noted in the United Nations Convention on theRights of the Child and RF/CSSCU/005 version 12.4 – 30 November 2021.

 

Safeguarding Principles

Safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults from harm and abuse is an essential responsibility for our Company.  We are committed to ensuring that any child we encounter while providing our services is properly safeguarded.  Every person under this policy must ensure that they play an active role in ensuring that this is the case.

 

Every person under this policy holds responsibility for:

  • remaining alert and aware of possible safeguarding risks to children
  • guarding children against harmful environments with appropriate actions (for example, adequate supervision or ensuring safe environments)
  • taking positive steps to maintain the safety and wellbeing of children engaging with us as a Company
  • reporting concerns expeditiously and appropriately, in line with child protection procedures
  • understanding the duty to report specific concerns (and understanding how these interplays with confidentiality)
  • challenging any inappropriate or harmful behaviour of any other adult and reporting this accordingly
  • acting appropriately in the presence of children
  • not taking any inappropriate risks

 

All Directors and Advanced Practitioners are vetted through the local area vetting procedure for example, AccessNI. Directors attend a child protection and safeguarding training by Legal Island Ltd updated regularly.  Advanced Practitioners are training in Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding procedures in their place of employment and are familiarised with AA Ltd.’s policy.  Vendors and parents are also informed in the Terms andConditions of contracts of our Safeguarding and Child and Vulnerable Adult protection procedures and there is a link on our Website.

 

Safeguarding Officer

Any question, report, or concern in relation to the safeguarding of children should be shared with our Safeguarding Officer:

Name: Lorraine Scott

Email:   lorraine.scott@attentionautism.co.uk

Telephone: +447703438990


Confidentiality and Data Protection

All personal information we may process relating to children, shall be processed, and stored in accordance with our data protection privacy policy which can be located at:

 

1a Rushmore Drive                                                                                                                                         Lisburn

Co Antrim

BT28 2HN

 

The Risks to Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults

Children can be vulnerable to different forms of abuse and harm.  It is important to recognise that abuse and harm of children can cover a wide range of circumstances and behaviours.

 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF POSSIBLE ABUSE

This is not a definitive list any signs or symptoms raising concern should be reported.

 

SEXUAL ABUSE – involves forcing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities.

Young people may:

  • Be chronically depressed
  • Be suicidal
  • Use drugs or drink to excess
  • Self-harm
  • Become anorexic or bulimic
  • Runaway frequently
  • Be inappropriately seductive towards adults and/or peers
  • Be fearful about certain people like relatives or friends
  • Not be allowed to go out socially or have friends around
  • Find excuses not to go home or to a particular place
  • Be unable to concentrate or seem to be in a world of their own
  • Have a “friend who has a problem” and talk about friend’s abuse
  • Have chronic ailments such as stomach pains and headaches
  • Exhibit sudden changes in schoolwork habits or truant
  • Be withdrawn, isolated or excessively worried
  • Have outbursts of anger or irritability
  • Be reluctant to participate in PE or Games
  • Repeat obscene words or phrases
  • Talk or write about sexual matters

 

CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION (CSE)

SBNI defines Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) as “a form of sexual abuse in which a person(s) exploits, coerces and/or manipulates a child or young person into engaging in some form of sexual activity in return for something the child needs or desires and/or for the gain of the person(s) perpetrating or facilitating the abuse”.

 

Indicators of child sexual exploitation include being seen with older men; truancy; addiction to cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol; alienation from friends; teenage pregnancy.

PHYSICAL – involves the deliberate physical injury to a child or young person or the neglectful failure to prevent physical injury or suffering.

 

Young people may:

  • Have unexplained or recurrent injuries, burns or bald patches
  • Give improbable excuses to explain injuries
  • Refuse to discuss injuries
  • Have untreated injuries
  • Keep arms and legs covered in hot weather
  • Be reluctant to receive medical help
  • Be frightened of physical contact
  • Be reluctant to participate in PE or Games
  • Admit to punishment which appears excessive
  • Be frightened of parents being contacted
  • Be frightened to go home
  • Self-harm
  • Be aggressive towards others
  • Run away from home
  • Play truant from school

 

EMOTIONAL ABUSE – involves the persistent emotional ill treatment or rejection of a child or young person, such ascauses severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.

Young people may:

  • Over-react to mistakes
  • Develop sudden speech disorders
  • Become aggressive
  • Become passive
  • Be attention seeking
  • Be extremely frightened of parents being contacted
  • Steal compulsively
  • Be extremely frightened of new situations
  • Be excessively dependent
  • Be involved in drug or solvent abuse
  • NEGLECT – involves the persistent failure to meet a child or young person’s physical, emotional, or
  • psychological needs, likely to result in significant harm

Young people may:

  • Be noticeably hungry
  • Be noticeably tired
  • Wear dirty clothes
  • Have poor personal hygiene
  • Have no social relationships
  • Have untreated medical problems
  • Be frequently absent
  • Be frequently late

 

RISK OF SIGNIFICANT HARM – involves a child or young person whose own behaviour, such as consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs places the child at risk of significant harm.

We have assessed any potential for harm to a child or young person while availing of our services including the area of online safety when accessing the internet.  Below is a list of the areas of risk identified and the list of procedures managing these risks.

The causal factors of any such harm and/or abuse can also be wide-ranging.  For example, children can be placed at risk by family members or by members of the community.

In addition to the procedures listed in our risk assessment below, the following procedures support our intention to safeguard children and vulnerable adults.

Responding to a Safeguarding Concern Outside of an Education or Health Service Facility.

Where a child is at immediate risk of serious harm, any adult present should call 999.  Thereafter, the Safeguarding Officer should be contacted as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Where there is a safeguarding concern but no immediate risk of serious harm, outside of a school or health service facility, the adult who has heard or witnessed this concern should consult with the Safeguarding Officer as soon as practicable and by no later than the end of that same day.

They will:

  • make a confidential written record of the discussion either during the discussion or immediately afterwards. The record should include the key details of the disclosure together with any relevant times, dates, places, and people concerned. Audio and video recordings of children making disclosures should be avoided.
  • refer all relevant information to the Safeguarding Officer as soon as practicable afterwards in a protected format, and by no later than the end of the day and in a protected format if in writing.
  • Upon receipt of any safeguarding concern, the Safeguarding Officer shall consult with any other relevant persons and will make any appropriate referrals to the relevant authorities, such as the applicable Local Authority Children’s Services department.

Responding to a Safeguarding Concern in an Education or Health Service Facility.

Staff working directly and indirectly in schools, homes and in the community with children and young people who are both classified as vulnerable.

When working in schools AA Directors and Advanced Practitioners must be aware of who the person responsiblefor safeguarding is and report and concerns or disclosures to them.

Procedure for the management of allegations of abuse or misconduct against workers/volunteers towards a child, young person, or vulnerable adult.

Where any person has a concern regarding the conduct of an adult connected to the Company, which poses or may pose a safeguarding risk to children such as:

  • harming a child either physically or emotionally
  • exposing a child to behaviour which may cause physical or emotional harm
  • engaging in criminal activity concerning a child
  • this must be raised in the first instance with the Safeguarding Officer (or where this is not appropriate, to Lyndsay Barlow Co-Director of the Organisation) so that the next steps may be agreed and actioned. We recognise that there could be circumstances where a person may need to report a matter that has taken place in a setting outside of the person’s engagement with the Company.

Usually, any appropriate steps following a safeguarding referral in respect of an individual connected to the Company will include either:

  • further initial enquiries
  • escalation to the applicable Local Authority Children’s Services department for assessment and/or the police for investigation
  • instigation of any appropriate disciplinary, formal investigation processes and suspension of any person concerned within the Company
  • a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service, Disclosure Scotland or Access Northern Ireland, or any other relevant regulatory bodies

 

Any person within the Company who has allegations made against them shall be informed properly in a formal meeting of the particulars of the allegations and the relevant next steps which shall be taken.  Such a meeting should ordinarily be held by the Safeguarding Officer.  On certain occasions, such a meeting may not be convened until this has been approved by any authorities involved (such as the police or the relevant Local Authority).

Any person from within the Company who has allegations made against them shall be treated fairly. All enquires, investigations and decisions taken shall be just and fair, with the safety of any child concerned at the heart of the process.

Any person from within the Company who makes an allegation against another person from within the Company shall be listened to, taken seriously, and shall be treated fairly and justly throughout the process of enquiries, investigations and decision making.

Procedure for the safe recruitment and selection of workers and volunteers to work with children.

Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) across Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and Ireland.

Checks under the appropriate legislation should be undertaken wherever required. The groups of people we will usually undertake checks with the DBS, Access Northern Ireland, and Disclosure Scotland (whichever is applicable) in relation to are:

Advanced Practitioners and anyone providing a service on behalf of the Company if the service involves contact with children and young people.

Wherever we deem it is necessary and appropriate to remove any individual from a position of work in an activity which is regulated under the relevant legislation, we shall also be obliged to make a referral to the DBS, Access Northern Ireland, and Disclosure Scotland.

Reporting Concerns About Other Adults outside of the Company.

When working in schools AA Directors and Advanced Practitioners must seek out the person responsible for safeguarding and report and concerns or disclosures to them.

Safeguarding procedure for staff working directly and indirectly in schools, homes and in the community with children and young people who are both classified as vulnerable.

Where we visit a home or school or when we are online working with families and are directly involved with delivering services to children or young people, they will have a link to our policy in their contract. We will only work with children or young people where teachers or parents are always in the room or directly within clear observable distance. If we have a safeguarding concern, we will follow the procedures detailed in the Responding to a Safeguarding Concern Outside of an Education or Health Service Facility Section above.

Managing Risks Posed by Other Children

It is important for all adults engaged by us to recognise that children can face harm from their peers. This can commonly take the form of bullying. Bullying can be defined as any behaviour which is repeated; and has the intention of hurting somebody either physically or emotionally.

Bullying can sometimes be motivated by prejudices based on certain groups, for example, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Bullying can often include:

  • physical harm perpetrated against another child
  • name calling and threats
  • cyber bullying (threats and abusive comments made via technology)

Any instance of bullying or concern relating to bullying between children at any event or activities arranged by us will usually be dealt with by us in the first instance as follows:

Where any behaviour amounting to bullying continues following this, the steps will be taken in accordance with the 2 sections above:

Responding to a Safeguarding Concern Outside of an Education or Health Service Facility

Responding to a Safeguarding Concern in an Education or Health Service Facility

All steps in relation to the prevention or management of bullying should be taken in consultation with the Safeguarding Officer at AA Ltd.

Photography and Filming

On some occasions, we may use photographs or films featuring children.  We recognise that photography and filming of children carries risks, such as:

  • the potential for images to be re-used, shared, or adapted in a damaging or inappropriate manner
  • the general risk of sharing images and the impact this could have on child’s public image as they grow older

In view of these risks, we will:

  • ask for written permission from a child and their parent/guardian before taking and sharing any image of them
  • ensure that a child and their parent/guardian are properly informed how an image will be used and shared
  • ensure that a child’s identity is protected as far as is possible within any published material ask that parents, guardians, children, and any other person who may wish to share any of our published images which features other children to refrain from doing so
  • always store photos in accordance with our data protection policy

Photography by Members of the Public

We do also recognise that members of the public may wish to take photographs or films when they are attending our premises, events, or activities.

We ask that any parents, guardians, and other members of the public take the following into consideration when taking photos at our premises, events, or activities:

  • images of children used in presentations or should not be taken

Other Policies

We have referred within this document to the following other important policies which should be read in conjunction with this policy:

  • Our data protection policy

Legal Framework

This policy has been drawn up in accordance with all relevant and applicable legislation and guidance available to the Company in the jurisdictions it normally operates within.

This Policy is approved and robustly endorsed by ATTENTION AUTISM Ltd Directors and is due for review every 18 MONTHS.

Signed: _______________________________ ________ (Safeguarding Officer)

Date: 9th February 2024

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix One

 

Call Number or Referral Number: Time: Date:
Name of Staff Member
Name of Caller/Email Contact/ Referral/Parent/Teacher

Disclosing

Consent given YES

NO – Staff Member to Explain reporting to proceed

Child’sName Age/DOB Address
Adult at Risk of harmName DOB

Address

Nature of any injury and is/was medical attention required?
Brief description of actual / alleged abuse /potential risk
Immediate Action Taken

 

 

 

 

Staff Member Signature                                                                                                 

Follow up Actions by Designated Teacher
Official Services in Local Areas Contacted Yes No Social Worker Name Contact Number
Police contacted Yes No Officer Name Contact number

 

Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Officer

 

Signature                           ________ _____________Date           _________________

 

Appendix Two

Risk Assessment for Vulnerable Adults Guidelines Information

Risk assessment is a continuous process. It starts with the first contact with the caller and continues throughout subsequent contact. Below are some considerations when assessing risk:

  • Risk is dynamic, changing, and responsive to changes in circumstances
  • It can be minimised but not eliminated
  • Risk management should, where possible, be an active collaboration between the caller and helpline worker
  • Identification of risk carries with it the responsibility to do something about it
  • Assessment information and clinical decision making can be enhanced by multi-professional multi-agency collaboration
  • Defensible decisions are based on clear reasoning and are measured and appropriately documented
  • Risk taking can engage positive collaboration with good outcomes
  • Confidentiality may be breached when there is significant risk of serious harm to self or others

WHY RISK ASSESS?

  • To aid the reduction of caller distress and promote wellbeing of caller
  • To promote the safety of the caller, their family/carer, and the public
  • To fulfill our aim to be an organisation that is proactive in its approach to caller and community

safety

  • To maintain public confidence in the service
  • To maintain organizational and professional accountability
  • To fulfill organisational responsibilities
  • To follow policy and guidelines

The questions below can be used as a guideline, and you are not expected to ask them all. They can be helpful to bear in mind when assessing risk:

RISK OF SUICIDE

  • Level of hopelessness?
  • Any thoughts of ending life?
  • How strong are these thoughts?
  • Any plans made to end life?

 

Method of suicide?

  • Assess circumstances that are likely to make things worse – g., alcohol/drug taking
  • Assess willingness to turn to help if crisis occurs
  • What supports are in place now?
  • Would he/she tell you if things changed?
  • What would they do if it did?
  • Assess risk to others

EMOTIONAL STATE

Internal questions –

  • What are you noticing about the way the person is presenting emotionally?
  • How does that help you as part of the assessment?
  • Is the person incredibly quiet/talkative?
  • Does he/she seem to be emotionally connected/disengaged? How does listening to the caller affect you emotionally?
  • How do you show this emotion?
  • If you have any concerns about working with him/her – why? – and how does this contribute to theassessment?

CHILD PROTECTION ISSUES

  • Is there a child currently at risk?
  • What is the risk?
  • Does he/she wish to report the risk themselves and/or take other action?
  • What time period will be agreed upon doing this and who will the organisation contact to check reporting/action has been done?
  • Does he/she need help in reporting the risk?
  • Does the client wish the organisation to report the risk?

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

  • Have you any history of mental health issues? g., depression, anxiety?
  • Have you ever had any contact with mental health services? g., CPN, psychiatrist Are you on any medication?
  • Is this a long-standing problem?
  • Do you have a social worker and/or are you identified as a vulnerable adult?

CHECKLIST QUESTIONS

  • Have I got enough information to make a decision? If not, what else do I need to know or do? If not, why not?If yes, why yes? Give rationale for decision.
  • Do I need to consult with other professionals about any issues raised?
  • Talk to designated outside agencies and let the person If they are at risk of suicide inform them that you must talk to outside agencies

 

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