Tavistock Youth Café Safeguarding Policy
This policy has been devised in order to comply with legal requirements for the protection and safety of young people under the age of 18. It is recognised that while many young people under the age of 18 are, to all intents and purposes, adults, they are still under-age as far as the law is concerned. This policy is designed to ensure that children receive the level of protection to which they are entitled.
Meaning of terms used in this policy:
Abuse: can include physical, sexual or emotional harm, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment radicalisation or exploitation. Abuse can take place in person or online, by any person (which could include by other Children and Adults at Risk or by people in positions of trust).
Children and Adults at Risk: Children and young people (meaning people under the age of 18 years) and adults who may be vulnerable due to, for example, their age, mental health, disability, illness, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, economic status or who may be unable to take care of themselves against abuse.
Staff: any paid or unpaid project worker, support worker or mentor.
The Lead Youth Worker is the Manager of the New Tavistock Youth Café.
Safeguarding: proactive steps taken to prevent abuse against Children and Adults at Risk, including the action the organisation takes to promote the welfare of people including Children and Adults at Risk to protect them from harm.
Protecting: responding to concerns and/or disclosures that a Child or Adult at Risk may be experiencing or be at risk of abuse.
General Statement of Intent:
The project is concerned about the safety and welfare of all young people and will do the upmost to protect them from physical, sexual and emotional harm.
Working Together: The Children Act 1989 requires agencies working with children and young people to develop and follow procedures to ensure their safety and protection. These procedures must also set out which action to take if agencies suspect that a child has been abused or is at risk of abuse. Finally they must cover circumstances in which a member of staff is accused of abuse.
The designated member of staff for Child Protection is the Lead Youth Worker. Their role is to ensure:
Procedure and policy required by law is in place.
All staff are DBS checked through The New Tavistock Youth Cafe
All DBS checks are renewed every three years
All staff are aware of the procedures, how to follow them and receive appropriate training.
Specific concerns are discussed, and appropriate action is taken
Accurate records relating to individual young people are kept in a secure place.
Procedures for Staff:
If any member of staff is concerned about a young person, he or she must inform the Lead Worker immediately.
The Lead Worker will refer on as necessary (See code of behaviour)
Clear, precise and factual information about the concern must be recorded by the person raising it on the same day.
The Lead worker will decide, in conjunction with the member of staff raising the issue, whether to make a MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) referral.
If a safeguarding referral is made, a written report of the concerns will be sent to MASH within 48 hours.
The Lead worker will ensure that the young person is kept informed of any action taken.
Signs to look out for:
Staff should be concerned about a young person if they:
Have any injury for which there is no explanation, or for which the explanation changes or is inconsistent
Regularly have unexplained injuries or frequent injuries which may appear to have a reasonable explanation.
Exhibit significant changes in behaviour/performance or attitude.
Show signs of substance misuse
Disclose an experience in which they or another young person may have been significantly harmed.
Dealing with a disclosure:
All young people covered by this policy will be told at the time of joining that disclosure of abuse CANNOT be kept confidential and MUST be referred. If a young person discloses that he or she has been abused in some way, staff should take the following action:
Do not promise confidentiality or to make other promises which it might not be possible to keep.
Allow the young person to talk freely.
Accept what is being said without displaying shock or disbelief.
Use listening skills.
Ask minimal questions – keep them open not direct.
Reassure that the young person is not to blame.
Stress it was the right thing to disclose.
Do not criticise the perpetrator.
Explain what must be done next and who has to be told.
When a young person has made a disclosure of abuse, staff must:
Make brief notes as soon as possible after the conversation noting the date, time and place of the disclosure and any non-verbal communication by the young person.
Record accurate statements and observations not interpretations and assumptions.
Keep the notes in a locked cabinet/draw on the premises in case they are needed by a court.
Information can be shared with colleagues who work with the Young Person, where deemed necessary, but this information MUST stay confidential.
It is recognised that dealing with a disclosure of abuse by a young person is a stressful experience and the member of staff should seek support from the Lead worker, if the staff member is the Lead worker then they must seek support from the Chair person or nominated trustee. Further support can be arranged for staff supporting young people if the member of staff requires it.
(See The New Youth Café Code of Behaviour).
Allegations involving Project Staff:
If a young person makes an allegation of abuse against a member of staff, the person receiving it must take it seriously and immediately inform the Lead worker or, in their absence, the Chair Person.
Any member of staff who has concerns that a young person may have been abused by a staff member must immediately inform the Lead worker or the nominated trustee.
The Lead worker, Chairperson or nominated trustee will assess the accusation as soon as possible to decide the following:
If the accusation constitutes a criminal offence - it should be referred to the police or social services as appropriate, without delay.
If the accusation constitutes a breach of The New Youth Café Code of Behaviour Policy - it will be dealt with in accordance with the New Youth Café disciplinary procedure.
During the time any accusation is being investigated, either internally or by an external agency, the member of staff will have no contact with the young person making the accusation, and the young person whom they are accused of abusing if this is different.
During the period of the investigation, other work duties of the member of staff concerned will be re-assessed to ensure they have no further unsupervised contact with young people.
This policy will be reviewed annually.