ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd
Child Protection Policy
Issued: May 2014
Reviewed: May 2018
Next Review: May 2022
1.1 ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd aims to create a safe, child-friendly environment for all who come to participate in the ABR programme. ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd also aims to support staff and sub-contractors who assist in the provision of this service and who work hard to achieve high standards. Safeguarding children is the responsibility of everyone, and these guidelines are for the use of all staff and sub-contractors.
1.2 ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd is not a childcare agency but we have a role is to share information where that becomes necessary. Any child protection concerns will be taken seriously and acted upon appropriately. ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd will pay attention to what any service user, staff or sub-contractors say and feel. ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and consequently required to meet certain standards with regards to confidential information. This confidentiality will be respected wherever possible but the safety and welfare of the child will always be paramount in the decision to share information.
1.3 ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd recognises the statutory responsibilities of the apropriate Child Protection agencies SocialWork Services and Police Scotland) and will work with them to ensure the welfare and protection of children and young people who come in contact with our service.
1.4 ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd recognises that the protection of children at risk of harm is placed above all other operating principles and supersedes the principle of confidentiality.
2. Organisational Responsibilities
2.1 Recruitment and selection
- The Recruitment and Selection Policy for ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd will be adhered to at all times in the employment of staff.
- Background checks will be undertaken to ensure suitability to work with children and young people.
2.2 Development of staff and sub-contractor’s staff
- All staff within ABR Scotland Ltd and our sub-contractors who have access to children will be provided with training in this child protection policy.
- The supervision of staff and sub-contractor’s staff will be used as a means of ensuring that child protection is given a priority and that all staff understand their individual responsibilities in respect to safeguarding children.
3. Codes of Conduct for Staff & Sub-contractor’s staff
3.1 To ensure wherever possible that all forms of abuse are prevented and to help protect staff and sub-contractor’s staff who work with children the following code should be followed:
- All staff must ensure that children are at all times accompanied by a parent, guardian, carer or other suitable adult. ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd does not offer child care services and requires that parents make suitable arrangements for their child to be accompanied at all times.
- All staff must constantly display high standards of personal behaviour and appearance.
- Never engage in rough physical games including horseplay.
- Never permit or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
- Never make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
4. Responding to and Reporting a Child Protection Issue
4.1 To provide guidance for staff on definitions of child abuse and to raise awareness on this complex issue see Appendix 1 attached to this policy.
A Child Protection issue may come to the notice of any staff member in different ways, for example:
- A child / adult may make a direct allegation
- A child / adult may make a comment which seems to suggest abuse
- A child may have bruises or marks
4.2 If a child / adult makes a direct allegation:
The staff member should let the child / adult speak but should not question him / her. They must not promise to keep the allegation a secret. The basic rule is to ask only questions, which are necessary to clarify whether the child / adult is alleging that abuse has taken place. If at any time it becomes clear that the staff member has misunderstood the situation and the child / adult is not alleging that abuse has taken place, the situation should be re-assessed in consultation with the Director of ABR Scotland (Therapy) Ltd.
If the child / adult is clearly alleging abuse, the Director of ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd must immediately contact Social Work Services and / or the Police. Social Work Services / Police will interview the child / adult and any further questions must be left for them. This does not mean that the staff member should tell the child / adult to say nothing more until the appropriate agencies arrive. Allow the child / adult to speak for as long as he / she wants.
4.3. If a child’s / adult’s comments seem to suggest abuse:
If the child / adult seems to be suggesting abuse, but it is not clear, the staff member should try to listen carefully, remembering that a child may not have the vocabulary to explain clearly what it is that distresses him/her. The staff member should let the child / adult speak and should ask questions only if they are necessary to clarify whether this is something which should be referred to Social Work Services. As soon as it becomes clear that the child / adult is alleging abuse, all further questions must be left to the enquiry by Social Work Services and the Police.
4.4 Staff members should always take the child / adult seriously and listen to them, but this does not mean accepting everything the child / adult says as fact. If as a result of what the child has said, staff members are suspicious about a particular person, they should not try to question the person against whom the allegation is being made.
4.5 If a bruise or mark causes suspicion:
There are a number of things, which may raise questions in the mind of a member of staff. They may see that a child has bruises or other marks, or may notice something unusual in their behaviour. Often these observations could have several different explanations and staff may be unsure whether they should be concerned or not. Staff members are not expected to be experts in identifying child abuse.
If a staff member is concerned, they should try to be clear in their own mind exactly what it is that is concerning them. It may be appropriate to ask the child about a mark or about unusual behaviour. Suspicion may be aroused more by an evasive or unconvincing answer than by the mark or behaviour itself.
If a staff member becomes suspicious they should note the names of anyone else who saw the mark, behaviour etc which caused the concern and discuss with the Director of ABR Therapy (Scotland) immediately.
5. If suspicion falls on a member of ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd’s staff or a sub-contractor’s member of staff
5.1 If an allegation is made about any member of staff, or for any reason suspicion falls on any member of staff, ABR Scotland Ltd will immediately contact and follow the advice of Social Work Services until the enquiries are complete. It may be necessary to suspend from duty the staff member. This action is intended to safeguard the welfare of the child and also the staff member. It is a neutral position and does not assume the guilt of any staff member. This being the case, staff members may need support and help should be provided to sign post him/her to a suitable source of support.
5.2 When suspicion falls on any staff member, there are three possible outcomes:
1. It may be proved to the satisfaction of the investigating agency that the staff member is not guilty of abuse; or
2. It may be proved to the satisfaction of the investigating agency that the staff member has abused one or more children;
3. The enquiries may not be conclusive, leaving suspicion, but no proof about the staff member. The organisation will deal with these cases sensitively and involve external agencies when necessary.
5.3 You should seek the Director of ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd immediately and provide as detailed an account as you can recall. Write down the nature of your concern and anything the person may have told you using, as far as possible, the words used by the person. This information will form the basis of the referral, and will also be required if there is an investigation.
This information will be kept and securely stored. The Director of ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd will determine who this information can be shared with and will maintain an overview of reports from any other staff.
6. Co-operating with the Child Protection Enquiries
6.1 Child Protection enquiries are carried out by the Local Authority Social Work Services and Police usually acting together. Directors and staff are expected to co-operate with enquiries as far as possible.
7. Use of Premises by Other Organisations
7.1 Due to the sensitivity of our service ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd does not share rooms with other organisations. When using rented premises we will always insist on exclusive use and organise our events accordingly.
8. Policy Review
8.1 Staff / sub-contractors can access this policy at all times at the following locationhttp://www.abr-therapy.com/child-protection-policy
In addition staff / sub-contractors can access the West of Scotland Child Protection Procedures here:http://proceduresonline.com/westofscotland/
These procedures outline how all organisations work together to identify, investigate and respond to child protection concerns.
Staff Training and Development Policy identifies how staff / sub-contractor on-going training needs around child protection will be identified and met. This policy can be found at the following location: ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd, 36 Troubridge Avenue, Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, PA10 2AU.
8.2 This policy will be reviewed annually by the Director of ABR Therapy (Scotland) Ltd to comply with any legislative changes.