All personnel should adhere to the following principles and action:
- Where possible work in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets);
- Make your sessions fun and enjoyable: promote fairness, confront and deal with bullying;
- Treat all young people equally and with respect and dignity;
- Maintain a safe and appropriate distance from students;
- Avoid unnecessary physical contact with young people. Where any form of manual/physical support is required it should be provided openly and with the consent of the young person. Physical contact can be appropriate so long as it is neither intrusive nor disturbing;
- Be an excellent role model, this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people;
- Always give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism;
- Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of the young person and do not risk sacrificing welfare in a desire for personal achievements.
- Unnecessarily spending excessive amounts of time alone with young people away from others;
- Taking young people alone in a car on journeys, however short;
- Taking young people to your home where they will be alone with you;
- Engaging in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay;
- Allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any form;
- Allowing young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged;
- Making sexually suggestive comments to a young person, even in fun;
- Reducing a young person to tears as a form of control;
- Allow allegations made by a young person to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon;
- Do things of a personal nature that the young person can do for themselves.
Types of Abuse
- Neglect. The ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic needs. This can be physical, educational, emotional or medical
- Domestic. Any type of controlling bullying, threatening or violent behaviour
- Physical. The act of deliberately hurting a child and causing injuries such as bruised, broken bones, burns or cuts
- Emotional. This can include humiliation and isolation
- Sexual. This is when a child is forced or persuaded to take part in contact or non-contact sexual activities
- Grooming. When someone builds an emotional connection with a child and gains their trust
- Bullying. This includes cyber bullying and is any behaviour that intends to cause harm to someone else.
Some Behaviour to Look Out for That Could Indicate Abuse
- Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries
- An injury for which an explanation seems inconsistent
- The young person describes what appears to be an abusive act involving them
- Unexplained changes in a young person’s behaviour e.g. becoming very upset, quiet, withdrawn or displaying sudden outbursts of temper
- Inappropriate sexual awareness
- Distrust of adults, particularly those whom a close relationship would normally be expected
- Difficulty in making friends
- Being prevented from socialising with others
- Displaying variations in eating patterns including overeating or loss of appetite
- Becoming increasingly dirty or unkempt
It must be recognised that the above list is not exhaustive, but also that the presence of one or more of the indications is not proof that abuse is taking place. It is NOT the responsibility of those working on the course or in childcare to decide that child abuse is occurring. It IS their responsibility to act on any concerns.
Never assume! Your small observation could paint part of a bigger picture.
If during your care you accidentally hurt a young person, the young person seems distressed in any manner, appears to be sexually aroused by your actions and/or if the young person misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done, report any such incidents as soon as possible to Alexandra Ridgway and/or the other member of staff and make a written note of it in the Incident Log (Courses/Clubs only).
Alexandra Ridgway can be contacted on +44 (0)20 3637 71017 or [email protected]
In the event that a child informs you of abuse you should do the following:
- Stay calm so as not to frighten the young person;
- Reassure the child that they are not to blame and that it was right to tell;
- Listen to the child, showing that you are taking them seriously;
- Keep questions to a minimum so that there is a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said;
- Inform the child that you have to inform other people about what they have told you or at the very least do not promise to keep anything a secret;
- Safety of the child is paramount. If the child needs urgent medical attention call an ambulance, inform the doctors of the concern and ensure they are made aware that this is a child protection issue
- Record all information, stating facts not opinions (see below for detail)
- Report the incident IMMEDIATELY to Role Models’ Head of Child Protection (Alexandra Ridgway)
- Follow up. It is your responsibility to make sure that your concern is being acted upon correctly.
When recording information on any incident/disclosure include;
- Name, gender, ethnicity and age of the child
- Any disabilities the child has
- Your name and role
- Details of who raised the concern (if it was not you)
- What you were doing before/during the time that the concern was raised
- What the concern is and where it took place
- The names of anyone else present
- What you saw/heard
- The name/address of alleged abuser, if known
- Details of any historical information that may be relevant about the child
- Who said what – using exact words. This includes what you said
- Details of what actions you have taken/who you have told
- Any conclusions drawn from the incident or disclosure
- Name of who you are reporting to, the date and time you are reporting, and your signature
Further Key Points to Add
- Open Door Policy – If you ever find yourself in a room alone with a young person, ensure that the door is kept open.
- Mobile Phones/ Tablets/ iPads – Courses
- On non-residential courses, young people should not be bringing a mobile phone/ tablet/ iPad with them. If they do happen to bring one of these devices, ensure that it is turned off during the day. It would be good practice for staff to collect such devices and return them to the owner at the end of the day.
- On residential courses, young people are likely to bring a mobile phone/ tablet/ iPad with them. Activity on such devices should be monitored. Young people should only be allowed to use such devices during supervised mealtimes and free time activities.
- The Course Lead will have access to the Company phone, which they can use to take photos of attendees during the week to share with parents via email. Photos can only be taken of children whose parents have provided prior written consent, i.e. ticked photo authorisation in the registration form.
- Where appropriate, Role Models may be given permission to take photos of activities that children are partaking in on their personal devices. It is the Role Models responsibility to remove ALL these photos from ALL of their devices at the end of the week.
- If a staff member needs to use their phone to WhatsApp or text or make a call during the day, they should do their best to carry out such activities away from young people on the course, e.g. outside or in a separate room. In an emergency situation, this rule does not apply.
- Photos of Young People – Creative Childcare
- You must not take any photos of a child/children without prior written consent.
- Even if you have a conversation with the parent, you must email the parent and Cc [email protected], asking for their permission to take photos of their child/children.
- The Role Models Team will contact the parent separately regarding taking photos for marketing purposes – this is not of any concern to the Role Model.
- You must not under any circumstances post photos on social media. This includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social networks.
- You must not take any photos of a child/children without prior written consent.
- Extreme views
- Role Models also observes the Prevent duty issued by the UK Department for Education. Prevent is part of the national counter-terrorism strategy and aims to stop people being drawn into or supporting terrorism.
- If you have any concerns regarding the young person expressing extremist or radical views or depicting behaviour related to such, then please report any such concerns as soon as possible to Alexandra Ridgway.
- Similarly, as a Role Model, you should not be expressing extremist or radical views or depicting behaviour related to such in the company of a young person.
- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
- If you have any concerns relating to a young person experiencing FGM, then please report any such concerns as soon as possible to Alexandra Ridgway.