Reaching Higher Safeguarding Children & Young People Policy

1 Statement

The Reaching Higher leadership team and the board of trustees of Reaching Higher, recognise the importance of its obligations to young people (11-19yrs) and its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children and young people entrusted to the care of Reaching Higher. Reaching Higher are committed to:

  • Valuing, listening to and respecting young people as well as promoting their welfare and protection.
  • Safe recruitment, supervision and training for all Reaching Higher workers.
  • Adopting a procedure for dealing with concerns about possible abuse.
  • Encouraging and supporting parents/carers.
  • Supporting those affected by abuse in the youth group.
  • Maintaining good links with the statutory childcare authorities and other organisations.

2 Policy  

The Reaching Higher leadership recognises the need to provide a safe and caring environment for young people. It also acknowledges that young people can be victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect. The Reaching Higher leadership has therefore adopted the procedures set out in this document (hereafter called the policy). It also recognises the need to build constructive links with statutory and voluntary child protection agencies.

The Reaching Higher leadership is committed to on-going safeguarding and child protection training for all youth workers and volunteers and will annually review the operational guidelines attached. The Chief Executive Officer will be responsible for this, or a person nominated by him.

3 Safer Recruitment  

During interview process, Reaching Higher will ask all applicants of their understanding of child protection and safeguarding and how they might implement this into the role they are applying for.

Reaching Higher interviews all staff, trustees and volunteers and ask for all to provide references. Once selected, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be obtained. Every three years, there will be a repeat DBS check.

 

4 Safer Working

To ensure the children and young people are safeguarded appropriately, Reaching Higher require all staff, trustees and volunteers to follow our guidelines. It is our responsibility at Reaching Higher to ensure the safety of children and young people are protected against physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

 

4.1 Code of Conduct for staff and volunteers

It is important for all staff, trustees and volunteers to monitor their own behaviour, support each other and respect each other.

When working with children and young people, Reaching Higher want its staff and volunteers to follow good practice guidelines:

  • Fill out a risk assessment for all events and activities. Please use the template in the Reaching Higher Dropbox. Please include how many staff/volunteers are required.
  • If needing to meet with a child or young person, please make sure that this is as public as possible. Please inform another member of staff if more privacy is needed.
  • If a child or young person has told you information deemed as a safeguarding issue, please do not exaggerate or trivialise the allegation. Address and record it accordingly. Please do not deter anyone in any way from making an allegation.
  • Please be aware of physical contact between yourself and a child or young person. Do not make suggestive remarks or inappropriate jokes to a child or young person or engage with them in inappropriate attention-seeking behaviour.

 

4.2 Training

Reaching Higher provide safeguarding training to all staff and volunteers. This is given within the first 3 months of a new appointment and then annually thereafter.

It is compulsory training that all staff and volunteers must complete. Trustees are also invited to have safeguarding training. Training is given by Mark Hobbs, Sherise Hobbs or Titilola Dawudu.

 

4.3 Photography

Reaching Higher relies heavily on photography (and videos) to use as promotion and used as ways of communicating to other children and young people, parents/carers and funders. We always ask for permission to take and use photographs/video on our forms and letters for each new activity or event.

 

4.4 Residential trips away

Residential trips away are organised by the CEO and staff members of Reaching Higher. We need to follow best safeguarding practices to protect children and young people involved in the residentials.

  • A risk assessment will be done prior to staff/volunteers and young people getting to where the residential will take place. There is always a team that goes up before anyone else
  • Boys and girls to have separate dorms
  • Reaching Higher staff and volunteers not to share a room with a young person unless agreed prior to the residential in the case of a young person needing assistance from a carer
  • There should be an adequate amount of same sex staff and volunteers to a dorm

 

5 Responding to safeguarding concerns

Under no circumstance should a Reaching Higher volunteer staff member or volunteer carry out his or her own investigation into the allegation or suspicion of abuse. The person in receipt of allegations of abuse will do the following:

  • Concerns must be reported to one of the child protection coordinators (Mark Hobbs, Sherise Hobbs and Titilola Dawudu) who have been nominated by the trustees to act on their behalf in dealing with the allegation or suspicion of neglect or abuse, including referring the matter to the statutory authorities. They can be contacted through the office on 02089455560
  • Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above. A written record of the concerns will be made by the co-ordinator and kept in a secure place.
  • Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to one of the coordinators, their absence should not delay referral to Social Services Department.
  • Seek medical help if needed urgently, informing the doctor of any suspicions.
  • For lesser concerns (e.g. poor parenting), encourage parent/carer to seek help, but not if this places the child at risk of injury.
  • Where parent/carer is unwilling to seek help, offer to accompany them. In cases of real concern, if they still fail to act, contact Social Services for advice.
  • The trustees will support the coordinators in their role, and accept that any information they may have in their possession will be shared in a strictly limited way on a need to know basis.
  • It is, of course the right of any individual as a citizen to make a direct referral to the child protection agencies or seek advice from a relevant body.
  • If, however, the individual with the concerns feels that the coordinator(s) have not responded appropriately, or where they have a disagreement with the coordinator(s) as to the appropriateness of a referral they are free to contact Croydon Children’s Services on 020 8726 6400 (24 hrs). We hope by making this statement that the Reaching Higher trustees demonstrate their absolute commitment to effective child protection.

 

The role of the coordinator is to collate and clarify the precise details of the allegations or suspicion and pass this information on to the Social Services Department. It is the duty of the Social Services Department to investigate the matter under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.

 

5.1 How to respond to a disclosure

It is important to listen, stay calm and let the person making the disclosure feel safe enough to do so.

  • Let the child/young person lead and only ask questions to clarify your understanding of what they are saying. Do not ask leading questions or ask them to explain what they meant. It most likely will be difficult for the child/young person to disclose this information. If they can not finish what they are telling you, make them aware that they can always come back and talk to you, or if not, refer them to Childline – 0800 1111
  • Please do not tell the child/young person that you will keep what they have told you a secret. Let them know that is will be kept confidential meaning that the only other people that need to be told is the safeguarding team. Explain why and let them know what will happen next.
  • Please do not confront the alleged abuser(s). Once you have filled out a referral form, please pass onto the safeguarding team as soon as you can.
  • At the next available opportunity, please record everything that you were told by the child/young person in his or her own words.

 

5.2 For young volunteers

Reaching Higher encourages young people from 17 years and over to be volunteers. If another young person tells you something that you feel is not right and you are uncomfortable, please inform a member of the safeguarding team.

  • Let the young person know that you cannot keep what they have said a secret and you will let Mark Hobbs, Sherise Hobbs or Titilola Dawudu know.
  • Please do not think you are betraying their trust, especially if you are friends or know the person well that has given the disclosure.
  • Do not confront the alleged abuser. Your role is to listen, encourage them that they have done the right thing by telling you and immediately let the safeguarding team know.
  • You too will be asked to fill out a referral form.

 

See Appendix C for a referral form. They are also kept in the Reaching Higher Dropbox which only staff have access to or in the office at the South Norwood Methodist Church. They can be emailed straight to you as well.

 

6 Appointment, support, supervision & training of leaders, employees and volunteer workers

The Reaching Higher leadership will ensure all youth workers are appointed, trained, supported and supervised in accordance with the principles set out in government guidelines in the publication “Safe from Harm” (HMSO 1993) as well as CCPAS guidance.

 

This will include checking the individual status of all volunteers’ who are involved in regulated activity through the DBS. We define the context of regulated activity as being:

  • Working in a position of responsibility as a youth worker at youth meetings on a frequent basis
  • Working intensively with the youth on three or more consecutive days (e.g. a youth production)
  • Volunteering at any residential camps where they are staying overnight

All workers who wish to join Reaching Higher will be allowed no more than 3 opportunities of observation within any 12 months before we will insist on them being checked with DBS. If a volunteer worker refuses to be checked they will automatically be refused any further involvement with Reaching Higher.

  

7 Support to those affected by abuse

The Reaching Higher leadership is committed to offering pastoral care, working with statutory agencies as appropriate, and support to those attending activities that have been affected by abuse.

 

8 Working with offenders

If someone attending public events or meetings is known to have abused children, the leadership will supervise the individual concerned and offer pastoral care. However, our primary commitment remains the protection of children and young people and we therefore set boundaries for that person which they will be expected to keep. We will consult with the DBS and we reserve the right to bar anybody from all public meetings if we deem them to place a risk to young people

REACHING HIGHER SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN POLICY STATEMENT

In recognition of its responsibilities and obligations to children and young adults, Reaching Higher is committed to:

  • Supporting parents and families.
  • The nurturing, protection and safeguarding of children and young people.
  • Recognising that child protection is everybody’s responsibility.
  • Following the agreed procedures and following statutory, denominational and specialist guidelines.
  • Supporting those affected by abuse as much as resources are available.
  • Reviewing the child protection policy annually.

If you have any concerns for a child or in relation to any child protection matter, please speak to one of the following people who have been approved as child protection co-ordinators for this youth group. Each one of them may be contacted through the Reaching Higher office on 02089455560.

  1. Mark Hobbs
  2. Sherise Hobbs

A copy of the full policy can be received from the Reaching Higher Office.