Any links to local or national advice and guidance can be accessed via the safeguarding in education webpages: www.hants.gov.uk/educationandlearning/safeguardingchildren/guidance
Links to online specific advice and guidance can be found at https://www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth/childrenandfamilies/safeguardingchildren/onlinesafety
Links to other pages from the local authority on safeguarding can be found at https://www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth/childrenandfamilies/safeguardingchildren
The procedures of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board can be accessed at http://4lscb.proceduresonline.com/hampshire/contents.html
This policy should be read in conjunction with the school’s Child Protection Policy and Staff Code of Conduct.
Policy StatementSafeguarding determines the actions that we take to keep children safe and protect them from harm in all aspects of their school life. As a school we are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all of our pupils.
The actions that we take to prevent harm; to promote wellbeing; to create safe environments; to educate on rights, respect and responsibilities; to respond to specific issues and vulnerabilities all form part of the safeguarding responsibilities of the school. As such, this overarching policy will link to other policies which will provide more information and greater detail.
- To provide staff with the framework to promote and safeguard the wellbeing of children and in so doing ensure they meet their statutory responsibilities.
- To ensure consistent good practice across the school.
- To demonstrate our commitment to protecting children.
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. As such it does not rest solely with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and their deputies to take a lead responsibility in all of the areas covered within this policy.
Some areas, such as Health and Safety, are a specialist area of safeguarding and a separate lead for this area is in place in the school.
Safeguarding processes are intended to put in place measures that minimise harm to children. There will be situations where gaps or deficiencies in the policies and processes we have in place will be highlighted. In these situations a review will be carried out in order to identify learning and inform the policy, practice and culture of the school.
All pupils in our school are able to talk to any member of staff to share concerns or talk about situations which are giving them worries. The staff will listen to the pupil, take their worries seriously and share the information with the safeguarding lead.
In addition, we provide pupils with information of who they can talk to outside of school both within the community and with local or national organisations who can provide support or help.
As a school, we review this policy at least annually in line with DfE, HSCB, HCC and any other relevant guidance.
Areas of Safeguarding
Within this document:
‘Safeguarding’ is defined in the Children Act 2004 as protecting from maltreatment; preventing impairment of health and development; ensuring that children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care; and work in a way that gives the best life chances and transition to adult hood. Our safeguarding practice applies to every child.
The term Staff applies to all those working for or on behalf of the school, full time or part time, in either a paid or voluntary capacity. This also includes parents and Governors.
Child refers to all young people who have not yet reached their 18birthday. On the whole, this will apply to pupils of our school; however the policy will extend to visiting children and students from other establishments
Parent refers to birth parents and other adults in a parenting role for example adoptive parents, guardians, step parents and foster carers.
The designated safeguarding lead for the school is:
The deputy designated safeguarding lead are:
Part 1 – High risk and emerging safeguarding issues
Contextual SafeguardingIn KCSiE 2018 the DfE refer to contextual safeguarding as a specific term that has come out of research from the University of Bedfordshire.
The definition of Contextual Safeguarding is “an approach to understanding, and responding to, young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. It recognises that the different relationships that young people form in their neighbourhoods, schools and online can feature violence and abuse. Parents and carers have little influence over these contexts, and young people’s experiences of extra-familial abuse can undermine parent-child relationships. Therefore, children’s social care practitioners need to engage with individuals and sectors who do have influence over/within extra- familial contexts, and recognise that assessment of, and intervention with, these spaces are a critical part of safeguarding practices. Contextual Safeguarding, therefore, expands the objectives of child protection systems in recognition that young people are vulnerable to abuse in a range of social contexts.”
For us as a school, we will consider the various factors that have an interplay with the life of any pupil about whom we have concerns within the school and the level of influence that these factors have on their ability to be protected and remain free from harm particularly when it comes to child exploitation or criminal activity.
While this term applies to this specific definition, the notion of considering a child within a specific context is also important. What life is like for a child outside the school gates, within the home, within the family and within the community are key considerations when the DSL is looking at any concerns.
Preventing Radicalisation and ExtremismThe prevent duty requires that all staff are aware of the signs that a child maybe vulnerable to radicalisation. The risks will need to be considered for political; environmental; animal rights; or faith based extremism that may lead to a child becoming radicalised. All staff have received prevent WRAP training in order that they can identify the signs of children being radicalised.
As part of the preventative process resilience to radicalisation will be built through the promotion of fundamental British values through the curriculum.
Any child who is considered vulnerable to radicalisation will be referred by the DSL to Hampshire children’s social care, where the concerns will be considered in the MASH process. If the police prevent officer considers the information to be indicating a level of risk a “channel panel” will be convened and the school will attend and support this process.
Gender based violence / Violence against women and girls
The government has a strategy looking at specific issues faced by that women and girls. Within the context of this safeguarding policy the following sections are how we respond to violence against girls. Female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour based violence and teenage relationship abuse all fall under this strategy.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and hence interferes with the natural function of girls’ and women’s bodies.
The age at which girls undergo FGM varies enormously according to the community. The procedure may be carried out when the girl is newborn, during childhood or adolescence, just before marriage or during the first pregnancy. However, the majority of cases of FGM are thought to take place between the ages of 5 and 8 and therefore girls within that age bracket are at a higher risk.
FGM is illegal in the UK.
On the 31 October 2015, it became mandatory for teachers to report known cases of FGM to the police. ‘known’ cases are those where either a girl informs the person that an act of FGM – however described – has been carried out on her, or where the person observes physical signs on a girl appearing to show that an act of FGM has been carried out and the person has no reason to believe that the act was, or was part of, a surgical operation within section 1(2)(a) or (b) of the FGM Act. In these situations, the DSL and/or head will be informed and that the member of teaching staff has called the police to report suspicion that FGM has happened.
At no time will staff examine pupils to confirm this.
For cases where it is believed that a girl may be vulnerable to FGM or there is a concern that she may be about to be genitally mutilated, the staff will inform the DSL who will report it as with any other child protection concern.
While FGM has a specific definition, there are other abusive cultural practices which can be considered harmful to women and girls. Breast ironing is one of five UN defined ‘forgotten crimes against women’. It is a practice whereby the breasts of girls typically aged 8-16 are pounded using tools such as spatulas, grinding stones, hot stones, and hammers to delay the appearance of puberty. This practice is considered to be abusive and should be referred to children’s social care
Forced MarriageIn the case of children: ‘a forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses
cannot consent to the marriage and duress is involved. Duress can include physical,
psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.’ In developing countries 11% of girls are married before the age of 15. One in 3 victims of forced marriage in the U.K. are under 18.
It is important that all members of staff recognise the presenting symptoms, how to respond if there are concerns and where to turn for advice.
Advice and help can be obtained nationally through the Forced Marriage Unit and locally through the local police safeguarding team or children’s social care.
Policies and practices in this school reflect the fact that while all members of staff, including teachers, have important responsibilities with regard to pupils who may be at risk of forced marriage, teachers and school leaders should not undertake roles in this regard that are most appropriately discharged by other children’s services professionals such as police officers or social workers.
Characteristics that may indicate forced marriage
While individual cases of forced marriage, and attempted forced marriage, are often very particular, they are likely to share a number of common and important characteristics, including:
- an extended absence from school/college, including truancy;
- a drop in performance or sudden signs of low motivation;
- excessive parental restriction and control of movements;
- a history of siblings leaving education to marry early;
- poor performance, parental control of income and students being allowed only limited career choices;
- evidence of self-harm, treatment for depression, attempted suicide, social isolation, eating disorders or substance abuse; and/or
- evidence of family disputes/conflict, domestic violence/abuse or running away from home.
On their own, these characteristics may not indicate forced marriage. However, it is important to be satisfied that where these behaviours occur, they are not linked to forced marriage. It is also important to avoid making assumptions about an individual pupil’s circumstances or act on the basis of stereotyping. For example, an extended holiday may be taken for entirely legitimate reasons and may not necessarily represent a pretext for forced marriage.
Honour Based Violence
Honour based violence is a violent crime or incident which may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family or community.
It is often linked to family or community members who believe someone has brought shame to their family or community by doing something that is not in keeping with their unwritten rule of conduct. For example, honour based violence might be committed against people who:
- become involved with a boyfriend or girlfriend from a different culture or religion
- want to get out of an arranged marriage
- want to get out of a forced marriage
- wear clothes or take part in activities that might not be considered traditional within a particular culture
- convert to a different faith from the family
- domestic abuse
- threats of violence
- sexual or psychological abuse
- forced marriage
- being held against your will or taken somewhere you don’t want to go
Teenage Relationship AbuseResearch has shown that teenagers do not understand what constitutes abusive behaviours and controlling behaviours which could escalate to physical abuse, e.g. checking someone's ‘phone, telling them what to wear, who they can/can't see or speak to; or that this abuse is prevalent within teenage relationships. Further research shows that teenagers are likely not to understand what consent means within their relationships. They often hold the common misconception that rape could only be committed by a stranger down a dark alley and do not understand or recognise that it could happen within their own relationships.
This can lead to these abusive behaviours feeling ‘normal’ and therefore left unchallenged as they are not recognised as being abusive.
In response to these research findings the school will provide education to help prevent young people from becoming victims and perpetrators of abusive relationships, by encouraging them to rethink their views of violence, abuse and controlling behaviours, and understand what consent means within their relationships.
Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Between ChildrenSexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children.
Within our school all staff are made aware of what sexual violence and sexual harassment might look like and what to do if they have a concern or receive a report. Whilst anyreport of sexual violence or sexual harassment should be taken seriously, staff are aware it is more likely that girls will be the victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment and more likely it will be perpetrated by boys.
As a school we are clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up. It cannot be described as ‘banter’, ‘having a laugh’ or ‘boys being boys’.
We will also take seriously any sharing of sexual images (photos, pictures or drawings) and videos; sexual jokes, comments or taunting either in person or on social media; or on-line sexual harassment.
Within the child protection policy, there is a clear procedure for how we deal with situations where sexual assaults or behaviour considered criminal between children has taken place.
As a school we will follow the “Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges” advice provided by the DfE
We will challenge all contact behaviours that have a sexual nature to them such as pushing or rubbing against, grabbing bottoms, breasts or genitals, pinging or flicking bras, lifting skirts or pulling down trousers and impose appropriate levels of disciplinary action, to be clear that these behaviours are not tolerated or acceptable.
The Trigger TrioThe term ‘Trigger Trio’ has replaced the previous phrase ‘Toxic Trio’ which was used to describe the issues of domestic violence, mental ill-health and substance misuse which have been identified as common features of families where harm to women and children has occurred.
The above are viewed as indicators of increased risk of harm to children and young people. In an analysis of Serious Cases Reviews undertaken by Ofsted in 2011, they found that in nearly 75% of these cases two or more of the issues were present.
These factors will have a contextual impact on the safeguarding of children and young people.
Domestic AbuseDomestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
Research indicates that living within a home where domestic abuse takes place is harmful to children and can have a serious impact on their behaviour, wellbeing and understanding of what constitutes a normal relationship.
Children witnessing domestic abuse is recognised as ‘significant harm’ in law. These children may become aggressive; display anti-social behaviours; suffer from depression or anxiety; or fail to reach their educational potential.
Indicators that a child is living within a relationship with domestic abuse may include:
- being withdrawn
- suddenly behaving differently
- being clingy
- problems sleeping
- eating disorders
- bed wetting
- soiling clothes
- excessive risk taking
- missing school
- changes in eating habits
- obsessive behaviour
- experiencing nightmares
- taking drugs
- use of alcohol
- thoughts about suicide
If staff believe that a child is living with domestic abuse, this will be reported to the designated safeguarding lead for referral to be considered to children’s social care.
Parental mental health
The term ‘mental ill health’ is used to cover a wide range of conditions, from eating disorders, mild depression and anxiety to psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Parental mental illness does not necessarily have an adverse impact on a child's developmental needs, but it is essential to always assess its implications for each child in the family. It is essential that the diagnosis of a parent/carer's mental health is not seen as defining the level of risk. Similarly, the absence of a diagnosis does not equate to there being little or no risk.
For children the impact of parental mental health can include:
- The parent / carer's needs or illnesses taking precedence over the child's needs
- Child's physical and emotional needs neglected
- A child acting as a young carer for a parent or a sibling
- Child having restricted social and recreational activities
- Child finds it difficult to concentrate- impacting on educational achievement
- A child missing school regularly as (s)he is being kept home as a companion for a parent / carer
- A child adopt paranoid or suspicious behaviour as they believe their parent’s delusions.
- Witnessing self-harming behaviour and suicide attempts (including attempts that involve the child)
- Obsessional compulsive behaviours involving the child
Parental Substance misuseSubstance misuse applies to the misuse of alcohol as well as 'problem drug use', defined by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs as drug use which has: 'serious negative consequences of a physical, psychological, social and interpersonal, financial or legal nature for users and those around them.
Parental substance misuse of drugs or alcohol becomes relevant to child protection when substance misuse and personal circumstances indicate that their parenting capacity is likely to be seriously impaired or that undue caring responsibilities are likely to be falling on a child in the family.
For children the impact of parental substance misuse can include:
- Inadequate food, heat and clothing for children (family finances used to fund adult’s dependency)
- Lack of engagement or interest from parents in their development, education or wellbeing
- Behavioural difficulties- inappropriate display of sexual and/or aggressive behaviour
- Bullying (including due to poor physical appearance)
- Isolation – finding it hard to socialise, make friends or invite them home
- Tiredness or lack of concentration
- Child talking of or bringing into school drugs or related paraphernalia
- Injuries/accidents (due to inadequate adult supervision)
- Taking on a caring role
- Continued poor academic performance including difficulties completing homework on time
- Poor attendance or late arrival.
These behaviours themselves do not indicate that a child’s parent is misusing substances, but should be considered as indicators that this may be the case.
If staff believe that a child is living with parental substance misuse, this will be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead for referral to be considered for children’s social care.
Missing, Exploited and Trafficked Children (MET)Within Hampshire, the acronym MET is used to identify all children who are missing; believed to be at risk of or being exploited; or who are at risk of or are being trafficked. Given the close links between all of these issues, there has been a considered response to join all these issues, so that cross over of risk is not missed.
Children Missing from EducationPatterns of children missing education can be an indicator of either abuse or safeguarding risks. A relatively short length of time a child is missing does not reduce risk of harm to that child, and all absence or non-attendance should be considered with other known factors or concerns.
DSLs and staff should consider:
Missing lessons: Are there patterns in the lessons that are being missed? Is this more than avoidance of a subject or a teacher? Does the child remain on the school site or are they absent from the site?
- Is the child being exploited during this time?
- Are they late because of a caring responsibility?
- Have they been directly or indirectly affected by substance misuse?
- Are other pupils routinely missing the same lessons and does this raise other risks or concerns?
- Is the lesson being missed one that would cause bruising or injuries to become visible?
- Is the child being sexually exploited during this day?
- Do the parents appear to be aware and are they condoning the behaviour?
- Are the pupil’s peers making comments or suggestions as to where the pupil is at?
- Can the parent be contacted and made aware?
- Did we have any concerns about radicalisation, FGM, forced marriage, honour based violence, sexual exploitation?
- Have we had any concerns about physical or sexual abuse?
- Does the parent have any known medical needs? Is the child safe?
The school will view absence as both a safeguarding issue and an educational outcomes issue. The school may take steps that could result in legal action for attendance, or a referral to children’s social care, or both.
Children Missing from Home or CareChildren who run away from home or from care, provide a clear behavioural indication that they are either unhappy or do not feel safe in the place of residence.
Research shows that children run away from conflict or problems at home or school,
neglect or abuse, or because children are being groomed by predatory individuals who
seek to exploit them. Many run away on numerous occasions.
The Association of Chief Police Officers has provided the following definitions and guidance:-
“Missing person is: ‘Anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established and where the
circumstances are out of character or the context suggests the person may be the subject of crime or at risk of harm to themselves or another.’
An absent person is: ‘A person not at a place where they are expected or required to be.’
All cases classified as ‘missing’ by the police will receive an active police response – such as deployment of police officers to locate a child. Cases where the child was classified as ‘absent’ will be recorded by the police and risk assessed regularly but no active response will be deployed.
The absent case will be resolved when a young person returns or new information comes to light suggesting that he/she is at risk. In the latter instance, the case is upgraded to ‘missing’.
Within any case of children who are missing both push and pull factors will need to be considered.
Push factors include:
- Conflict with parents/carers
- Feeling powerless
- Being bullied/abused
- Being unhappy/not being listened to
- The Trigger Trio
- Wanting to be with family/friends
- Drugs, money and any exchangeable item
- Peer pressure
- For those who have been trafficked into the United Kingdom as unaccompanied asylum seeking children there will be pressure to make contact with their trafficker.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology (Definition and a guide for practitioners, local leaders and decision makers working to protect children from child sexual exploitation, February 2017).
•Exploitation can be isolated (one-on-one) or organised group/criminal activity
•There can be a big age gap between victim and perpetrator, but it can also be peer-on-peer
•Boys can be targeted just as easily as girls – this is not gender specific
•Perpetrators can be women and not just men
•Exploitation can be between males and females or between the same genders
•Children with learning difficulties can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation as can children from particular groups, e.g. looked after children, young carers, children who have a history of physical, sexual emotional abuse or neglect or mental health problems; children who use drugs or alcohol, children who go missing from home or school, children involved in crime, children with parents/carers who have mental health problems, learning difficulties/other issues, children who associate with other children involved in exploitation. However, it is important to recognise that any child can be targeted
Indicators a child may be at risk of CSE include:
- going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late;
- regularly missing school or education or not taking part in education;
- appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions;
- associating with other young people involved in exploitation;
- having older boyfriends or girlfriends;
- suffering from sexually transmitted infections;
- mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing;
- drug and alcohol misuse;
- displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour.
CSE can happen to a child of any age, gender, ability or social status. Often the victim of CSE is not aware that they are being exploited and do not see themselves as a victim.
As a school we educate all staff in the signs and indicators of sexual exploitation. We use the sexual exploitation risk assessment form (SERAF) and associated guidance to identify pupils who are at risk and the DSL will share this information as appropriate with children’s social care.
We recognise that we may have information or intelligence that could be used to both protect children and prevent risk. Any relevant information that we have will be shared on the community partnership information (CPI) form (see Annex 1 for a hard version of this attachment)
Child Criminal Exploitation (including county lines)Child Criminal Exploitation is defined as:- ‘where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into any criminal activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or (c) through violence or threat of violence. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Child Criminal Exploitation does not always involve physical contact, it can occur through the use of technology’
The exploitation of children and young people for crime is not a new phenomenon as evidenced by Fagan’s gang in Charles Dickens book, Oliver Twist. Children under the age of criminal responsibility, or young people who have increased vulnerability due to push/pull factors who are manipulated, coerced or forced into criminal activity provide opportunity for criminals to distance themselves from crime.
A current trend in criminal exploitation of children and young people are ‘county lines’ which refer to a ‘phone line through which drug deals can be made. An order is placed on the number and typically a young person will deliver the drugs to the specified address and collect the money for the deal. These lines are owned and managed by organised crime gangs, often from larger cities, who are expanding their markets into rural areas.
Indicators that a child may be criminally exploited include:
- Increase in Missing episodes – particular key as children can be missing for days and drug run in other Counties
- Having unexplained amounts of money, new high cost items and multiple mobile phones
- Increased social media and phone/text use, almost always secretly
- Older males in particular seen to be hanging around and driving
- Having injuries that are unexplained and unwilling to be looked at
- Increase in aggression, violence and fighting
- Carrying weapons – knives, baseball bats, hammers, acid
- Travel receipts that are unexplained
- Significant missing from education and disengaging from previous positive peer groups
- Parent concerns and significant changes in behaviour that affect emotional wellbeing
We will treat any child who may be criminally exploited as a victim in the first instance and refer to children’s social care in the first instance. If a referral to the police is also required as crimes have been committed on the school premises, these will also be made.
Trafficked Children and Modern SlaveryHuman trafficking is defined by the UNHCR in respect of children as a process that is a combination of:
- Movement (including within the UK);
- Control, through harm / threat of harm or fraud
- For the purpose of exploitation
Any child transported for exploitative reasons is considered to be a trafficking victim.
There is significant evidence that children (both of UK and other citizenship) are being trafficked internally within the UK and this is regarded as a more common form of trafficking in the UK.
There are a number of indicators which suggest that a child may have been trafficked into the UK, and may still be controlled by the traffickers or receiving adults. These are as follows:
- Shows signs of physical or sexual abuse, and/or has contracted a sexually transmitted infection or has an unwanted pregnancy
- Has a history with missing links and unexplained moves
- Is required to earn a minimum amount of money every day
- Works in various locations
- Has limited freedom of movement
- Appears to be missing for periods
- Is known to beg for money
- Is being cared for by adult/s who are not their parents and the quality of the relationship between the child and their adult carers is not good
- Is one among a number of unrelated children found at one address
- Has not been registered with or attended a GP practice
- Is excessively afraid of being deported.
- Physical symptoms (bruising indicating either physical or sexual assault)
- Prevalence of a sexually transmitted infection or unwanted pregnancy
- Reports from reliable sources suggesting the likelihood of involvement in sexual exploitation / the child has been seen in places known to be used for sexual exploitation
- Evidence of drug, alcohol or substance misuse
- Being in the community in clothing unusual for a child i.e. inappropriate for age, or borrowing clothing from older people
- Relationship with a significantly older partner
- Accounts of social activities, expensive clothes, mobile phones or other possessions with no plausible explanation of the source of necessary funding
- Persistently missing, staying out overnight or returning late with no plausible explanation
- Returning after having been missing, looking well cared for despite having not been at home
- Having keys to premises other than those known about
- Low self- image, low self-esteem, self-harming behaviour including cutting, overdosing, eating disorder, promiscuity
- Truancy / disengagement with education
- Entering or leaving vehicles driven by unknown adults
- Going missing and being found in areas where the child or young person has no known links; and/or
- Possible inappropriate use of the internet and forming on-line relationships, particularly with adults.
When considering modern slavery, there is a perception that this is taking place overseas. The government estimates that tens of thousands of slaves are in the UK today.
Young people being forced to work in restaurants, nail bars, car washes and harvesting fruit, vegetables or other foods have all been slaves ‘hiding in plain sight’ within the U.K and rescued from slavery. Other forms of slavery such as sex slaves or household slaves are more hidden but have also been rescued within the UK.
If staff believe that a child is being trafficked or is a slave, this will be reported to the designated safeguarding lead for referral to be considered to children’s social care.
Technological hardware and software is developing continuously with an increase in functionality of devices that people use. The majority of children use online tools to communicate with others locally, nationally and internationally. Access to the Internet and other tools that technology provides is an invaluable way of finding, sharing and communicating information. While technology itself is not harmful, it can be used by others to make children vulnerable and to abuse them.
Online Safety and Social Media
With the current speed of on-line change, some parents and carers have only a limited understanding of online risks and issues. Parents may underestimate how often their children come across potentially harmful and inappropriate material on the internet and may be unsure about how to respond. Some of the risks could be:
- unwanted contact
- online bullying including sexting
- digital footprint
- Acceptable use agreements for children, teachers, parents/carers and governors
- Curriculum activities involving raising awareness around staying safe online
- Information included in letters, newsletters, web site
- Parent evenings and sessions
- High profile events / campaigns e.g. Safer Internet Day
- Building awareness around information that is held on relevant web sites and or publications
CyberbullyingCentral to the school’s anti-bullying policy is the principle that ‘bullying is always unacceptable’ and that ‘all pupils have a right not to be bullied’.
The school also recognises that it must take note of bullying perpetrated outside school which spills over into the school; therefore, once aware we will respond to any cyber-bullying we become aware of carried out by pupils when they are away from the site.
Cyber-bullying is defined as ‘an aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual using electronic forms of contact repeatedly over time against a victim who cannot easily defend himself/herself.’
By cyber-bullying, we mean bullying by electronic media:
- Bullying by texts or messages or calls on mobile ‘phones
- The use of mobile ‘phone cameras to cause distress, fear or humiliation
- Posting threatening, abusive, defamatory or humiliating material on websites, to include blogs, personal websites, social networking sites
- Using e-mail to message others
- Hijacking/cloning e-mail accounts
- Making threatening, abusive, defamatory or humiliating remarks in on-line forums
Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 makes it an offence to send, by public means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or one of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 makes it an offence to knowingly pursue any course of conduct amounting to harassment.
If we become aware of any incidents of cyberbullying, we will need to consider each case individually as to any criminal act that may have been committed. The school will pass on information to the police if it feels that it is appropriate or is required to do so.
Sexting'Sexting' often refers to the sharing of naked or ‘nude’ pictures or video through mobile phones and/or the internet. It also includes underwear shots, sexual poses and explicit text messaging.
While sexting often takes place in a consensual relationship between two young people, the use of sexted images in revenge following a relationship breakdown is becoming more commonplace. Sexting can also be used as a form of sexual exploitation and take place between strangers.
As the average age of first smartphone or camera enabled tablet is 6 years old, sexting is an issue that requires awareness raising across all ages.
The school will use age appropriate educational material to raise awareness, to promote safety and deal with pressure. Parents should be aware that they can come to the school for advice.
GamingOnline gaming is an activity in which the majority of children and many adults get involved. The school will raise awareness:
- By talking to parents and carers about the games their children play and help them identify whether they are appropriate
- By supporting parents in identifying the most effective way to safeguard their children by using parental controls and child safety mode
- By talking to parents about setting boundaries and time limits when games are played
- By highlighting relevant resources.
Online reputationOnline reputation is the opinion others get of a person when they encounter them on-line. It is formed by posts, photos that have been uploaded and comments made by others on people’s profiles. It is important that children and staff are aware that anything that is posted could influence their future professional reputation. The majority of organisations and work establishments now check digital footprint before considering applications for positions or places on courses.
GroomingOn-line grooming is the process by which one person with an inappropriate sexual interest in children will approach a child on-line, with the intention of developing a relationship with that child, to be able to meet them in person and intentionally cause harm.
The school will build awareness amongst children and parents about ensuring that the child:
- Only has friends on-line that they know in real life
- Is aware that if they communicate with somebody that they have met on-line, that relationship should stay on-line.
- Recognise the signs of grooming
- Have regular conversations with their children about on-line activity and how to stay safe on-line
- Running sessions for parents
- Include awareness around grooming as part of their curriculum
- Identifying with parents and children how they can be safeguarded against grooming.
Part 2 – Safeguarding issues relating to individual pupil needs
As a school we recognise that being homeless or being at risk of becoming homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare. The impact of losing a place of safety and security can affect a child’s behaviour and attachments.
In line with the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 this school will promote links into the Local Housing Authority for the parent or care giver in order to raise/progress concerns at the earliest opportunity.
We recognise that whilst referrals and/or discussion with the Local Housing Authority should be progressed as appropriate, this does not, and should not, replace a referral into children’s social care where a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm.
Children & the Court SystemAs a school, we recognise that children are sometimes required to give evidence in criminal courts, either for crimes committed against them or for crimes they have witnessed. We know that this can be a stressful experience and therefore the school will aim to support children through this process.
Along with pastoral support, the school will use age-appropriate materials published by HM Courts and Tribunals Services (2017) that explain to children what it means to be a witness, how to give evidence and the help they can access.
We recognise that making child arrangements via the family courts following separation can be stressful and entrench conflict in families. This can be stressful for children. This school will support children going through this process.
Alongside pastoral support this school will use online materials published by The Ministry of Justice (2018) which offers children information & advice on the dispute resolution service.
These materials will also be offered to parents and carers if appropriate.
Children with family members in prisonChildren who have a family member in prison are at greater risk of poor outcomes including poverty, stigma, isolation and poor mental health.
This school aims to:-
- Understand and Respect the Child’s Wishes
We will respect the child’s wishes about sharing information. If other children become aware the school will be vigilant to potential bullying or harassment
- Keep as Much Contact as Possible with the Parent and Caregiver
- Be Sensitive in Lessons
- Provide Extra Support
Alongside pastoral care the school will use the resources provided by the National Information Centre on Children of Offenders in order to support and mentor children in these circumstances.
Pupils with medical conditions (in school)There is a separate policy outlining the school’s position on this (Link to be added).
As a school, we will make sure that sufficient staff are trained to support any pupil with a medical condition.
All relevant staff will be made aware of the condition to support the child and be aware of medical needs and risks to the child.
An individual healthcare plan may be put in place to support the child and their medical needs.
Pupils with medical conditions (out of school)There will be occasions when children are temporarily unable to attend our school on a full-time basis because of their medical needs. These children and young people are likely to be:
- children and young people suffering from long-term illnesses
- children and young people with long-term post-operative or post-injury recovery periods
- children and young people with long-term mental health problems (emotionally vulnerable).
Special educational needs and disabilitiesChildren who have special educational needs and/or disabilities can have additional vulnerabilities when recognising abuse and neglect.
These can include:
As a school, we will respond to this by:
Intimate and personal care'Intimate Care' can be defined as care tasks of an intimate nature, associated with bodily functions, bodily products and personal hygiene, which demand direct or indirect contact with, or exposure of, the sexual parts of the body. The Intimate Care tasks specifically identified as relevant include:
- Dressing and undressing (underwear)
- Helping someone use the toilet
- Changing continence pads (faeces/urine)
- Bathing / showering
- Washing intimate parts of the body
- Changing sanitary wear
- Inserting suppositories
- Giving enemas
- Inserting and monitoring pessaries.
Those Personal Care tasks specifically identified as relevant here include:
- Skin care/applying external medication
- Administering oral medication
- Hair care
- Dressing and undressing (clothing)
- Washing non-intimate body parts
- Prompting to go to the toilet.
Where Intimate Care is required we will follow the following principles:
- Involve the child in the intimate care
Try to encourage a child's independence as far as possible in his or her intimate care. Where a situation renders a child fully dependent, talk about what is going to be done and give choices where possible. Check your practice by asking the child or parent about any preferences while carrying out the intimate care.
- Treat every child with dignity and respect and ensure privacy appropriate to the child's age and situation.
Staff can administer intimate care alone however we will be aware of the potential safeguarding issues for the child and member of staff. Care should be taken to ensure adequate supervision primarily to safeguard the child but also to protect the staff member from potential risk.
- Be aware of your own limitations
Only carry out activities you understand and with which you feel competent. If in doubt, ASK. Some procedures must only be carried out by members of staff who have been formally trained and assessed.
- Promote positive self-esteem and body image
Confident, self-assured children who feel their body belongs to them are less vulnerable to sexual abuse. The approach you take to intimate care can convey lots of messages to a child about their body worth. Your attitude to a child's intimate care is important. Keeping in mind the child's age, routine care can be both efficient and relaxed.
- If you have any concerns you must report them.
If you observe any unusual markings, discolouration or swelling, report it immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or a Deputy DSL.
If a child is accidentally hurt during the intimate care or misunderstands or misinterprets something, reassure the child, ensure their safety and report the incident immediately to the DSL. Report and record any unusual emotional or behavioural response by the child. A written record of concerns must be made available to parents and kept in the child's child protection record on CPOMS.
- Helping through communication
There is careful communication with each child who needs help with intimate care in line with their preferred means of communication (verbal, symbolic, etc.) to discuss the child's needs and preferences. The child is aware of each procedure that is carried out and the reasons for it.
- Support to achieve the highest level of autonomy
As a basic principle children will be supported to achieve the highest level of autonomy that is possible given their age and abilities. Staff will encourage each child to do as much for themselves as they can. This may mean, for example, giving the child responsibility for washing themselves. Individual intimate care plans will be drawn up for particular children as appropriate to suit the circumstances of the child. These plans include a full risk assessment to address issues such as moving and handling, personal safety of the child and the carer and health.