Safeguarding children and young people policy and procedures
The purpose of this policy is to protect people, particularly young people, children and beneficiaries of assistance, from any harm of which The Masonic Charitable Foundation becomes aware.
This policy applies to all staff and volunteers and should be read alongside the “Safeguarding Policy and Procedures: Adults at Risk”
What is Safeguarding?
According to Working Together 2018, safeguarding children is defined as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment: protecting children from harm, abuse and neglect.
- Preventing impairment of children’s health or development: ensuring children have access to the care and support they need.
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of
safe and effective care: enabling safe and effective parenting.
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes: giving children equal opportunities in life.
What is child protection?
Child Protection is part of safeguarding process, protecting individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This includes the child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation believes that everyone has a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practise in a way that protects them. This is in line with the Children Act 1989, Working Together 2018 and the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
We will make sure that all children and young people have the same protection regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. We recognise that some children are more vulnerable to harm (e.g. children with disabilities and communication impairments).
What we will do
The Masonic Charitable Foundation will demonstrate our commitment to safeguarding children and young people by:
- Listening to children and respecting them
- Appointing a Designated Safeguarding Lead and a Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
- Writing safeguarding and child protection procedures
- Taking all reasonable steps to ensure that all staff and volunteers follow the safeguarding procedures.
Who is defined as a child?
In England and Wales, a child is defined as anyone who has not reached their 18th birthday. Children therefore means ‘children and young people’ throughout this policy.
What is child abuse?
Child abuse occurs when children are hurt physically, emotionally, sexually or in some other way. Children can be abused in any section of society. Abuse occurs within all cultural, ethnic and religious communities. Children may be abused by family or friends, by professionals who are in a caring role, by other children or by strangers. All forms of abuse are wrong and will not be tolerated by the Foundation.
What do we mean by child abuse?
Physical abuse may include hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may be caused when an individual fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs and is likely to seriously harm the child’s health or development. Examples of neglect include:
- Failing to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
- Not protecting a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
- Not ensuring adequate supervision (including the use of adequate care givers)
- Failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment
- Not being responsive to a child’s basic emotional needs.
Sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. It may take place in the real world or online. The activities may involve using sexually explicit language, physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, for example, involving children in looking at sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse.
Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. Sexual behaviour between children is considered harmful if one of the children is much older or one is pre-pubescent and the other isn’t.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child to cause negative effects on the child’s emotional development. This can include degrading punishments, threats, and withholding love and affection, which can undermine a child or young person’s confidence.
Domestic abuse includes physical, emotional, sexual, financial or psychological abuse between people in a relationship. Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse.
Bullying and cyberbulling is behaviour that hurts someone else. It usually happens over a lengthy period of time and can harm a child both physically and emotionally. Bullying can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online.
Child trafficking involves recruiting and moving children who are then exploited. Many children are trafficked into the UK from overseas, but children can also be trafficked from one part of the UK to another. Modern slavery is another term which may be used in relation to child trafficking. Modern slavery encompasses slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking.
Female genital mutilation is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It’s also known as female circumcision or cutting. Religious, social or cultural reasons are sometimes given for FGM. However, FGM is child abuse and a criminal offence.
What to do if you suspect a child is being abused
If you are concerned that a child is suffering harm, has suffered harm, or is likely to suffer harm from another person, then you have a responsibility to report your concerns immediately in accordance with the following procedure.
It is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (“DSL”) to ensure that these procedures are rigorously adhered to. If the allegation concerns the DSL, the deputy should be informed. In the exceptional circumstances that both are involved, it is the duty of the person concerned to directly contact social care.
If a serious event, whether actual or alleged, takes place which involves the Foundation then it is the duty of the Chief Executive to inform the Charity Commission.
If anyone is concerned the Foundation is not managing safeguarding concerns appropriately they can refer directly to the police or Social Care services.
Any staff reporting concerns, or complaints through formal whistleblowing channels will be protected by the Foundation’s Whistleblowing Policy.
The Foundation will apply appropriate disciplinary measures to staff and volunteers found in breach of this policy.
The Foundation will recruit using appropriate procedures, safeguards and checks. The Designated Safeguarding Officer will be responsible for monitoring this.
All roles will have a written job description. At interview the Foundation has procedures and recording to ensure it is satisfied, and can evidence that the applicant is appropriate for the role.
The Foundation will take up two written references for all paid posts and volunteer roles prior to appointment. Where the role is eligible we will use Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks at the appropriate level to help us to assess suitability.
The Foundation will regularly review our recruitment procedures in response to changes in legislation and systems external to our organisation (e.g. DBS and barring list checks).
The Foundation will renew DBS checks for staff on a regular basis in line with guidance issued by the DBS, in consultation with the DSL.
Any positive DBS checks will be subject to a risk assessment made on a case by case basis.
Masonic Charitable Foundation employees and volunteers with relevant roles and responsibilities will receive training in safeguarding during their induction, and annually as mandatory training thereafter.
We will communicate this policy to all staff, volunteers, service users and their families/carers. For example, by publishing it on our website and referring to it in appropriate communications.
To encourage everyone involved in our organisation to understand that safeguarding is everybody’s business and is our collective responsibility, we will provide training and opportunities for discussions about issues and concerns, review and continue to learn and improve our safeguarding responsibilities.
The Foundation endorse the principle that the welfare of the individual overrides any obligations of confidentiality we may hold to others. If information is shared or discussed it will only be on a “need to know” basis.
DSL details and role
The Foundation’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is Gill Valentine. The Foundation’s Deputy DSL is Sam Maddocks
Telephone: 020 3959 2817
(Office hours only. If there is an emergency or an immediate risk of significant harm then contact the police immediately).
The role of the DSL and Deputy DSL is to oversee and ensure that the Foundation’s Safeguarding Children and Young People policy is fully implemented. The deputy will be available to support or cover for the DSL. They will also handle any complaints or allegations against the DSL if appropriate.
This policy is reviewed by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees on an annual basis.
[Approved by James Newman, Chairman, Board of Trustees]
Last reviewed / updated: November 2020
Next review / update due: November 2021