Heads Above The Waves is a Community Interest Company that, through merchandise, workshops, online content, and research, aims to provide benefit to anyone struggling to cope with the pressures of everyday life, with a particular focus on young people in Wales and England from 11-25 years old demonstrating harmful behaviours to themselves.
This policy applies to all staff, including senior managers, paid staff, volunteers, sessional works, agency staff, students or anyone working on behalf of Heads Above The Waves.
Throughout this policy, the terms “child” and “young person” shall refer to anyone under the age of 18.
To protect children and young people who receive the services of Heads Above The Waves. This includes children of any adults who use our services;
To provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.
Heads Above The Waves believes that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind, including face to face, and via the use of digital technology. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people to keep them safe. We are committed to practise a way that protects them.
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children, namely:
We recognise that:
We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:
We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practise continually.
Any workers/volunteers/employees/staff working on behalf of Heads Above The Waves will be required to produce a valid and up to date DBS Certificate, and may be subject to an interview carried out by the board of directors. Anyone working with children on behalf of Heads Above The Waves will be issued with a copy of the child protection policy, and any other relevant documentation.
Heads Above The Waves identifies 5 different forms of child abuse, all of which can cause long term damage to a child. Most types of child abuse can take one or several of the below forms, as defined by the NSPCC.
A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This doesn’t have to be physical contact, and it can happen online. Sometimes the child won’t understand that what’s happening to them is abuse. They may not even understand that it’s wrong.
There are two different types of child sexual abuse: contact abuse and non-contact abuse. Contact abuse is where an abuser makes physical contact with a child, including penetration. Non-contact abuse covers other acts where the abuser doesn’t touch the child, such as grooming, exploitation, persuading children to perform sexual acts over the internet and flashing.
Child sexual abuse involves:
Physical abuse is deliberately hurting a child causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns, or cuts. It isn’t accidental – children who are physically abused suffer violence such as being hit, kicked, poisoned, burned, slapped, or having objects thrown at them, resulting in physical harm to the child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the web, however it is accessed, including through social networks, playing online games or using mobile phones. Children and young people may experience cyberbullying, grooming, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or emotional abuse.
Children can be at risk of online abuse from people they know, as well as from strangers. Online abuse may be part of abuse that is taking place in the real world, or it may be that the abuse only happens online.
Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic needs. A child may be left hungry or dirty, without adequate clothing, shelter, supervision, medical or health care. Neglect can also be defined as a child being put in danger, or not protected from physical or emotional harm. They may not get the love, care and attention they need from their parents. Neglect may involve not ensuring adequate supervision, including access to inadequate care givers. Neglect happens when parents or carers can’t or won’t meet a child’s needs. This may be because they don’t have the skills or support needed, or it may be due to other problems such as mental health issues, drug and alcohol problems, or poverty.
Neglect can be broadly split into 4 types:
Failing to provide for a child’s basic needs such as food, clothing or shelter. Failing to adequately supervise a child or provide for their safety.
Educational neglect Failing to ensure a child receives an education.
Failing to meet a child’s needs for nurture and stimulation, perhaps by ignoring, humiliating, intimidating or isolating them.
Failing to provide appropriate health care, including dental care, and refusal of care or ignoring medical recommendations.
Emotional abuse is the ongoing emotional maltreatment or emotional neglect of a child.
Emotional abuse includes:
Abuse may be bought to your attention when:
Signs that a child may be experiencing abuse include if she or he is:
This list is by no means comprehensive.
It is the duty and responsibility of all staff, volunteers, or workers, working with young people through Heads Above The Waves to be vigilant in spotting these signs, and take the appropriate steps, as outlined below.
A decision will need to be made about who should inform the child’s family and the local authority children’s social care department, and when they should be informed. If you have involved the police and/or the health services, they should be part of this decision. Consider the welfare of the child in your decision making as the highest priority.
Issues that will need to be taken into account are:
A referral involves giving Social Services or the Police information about concerns relating to an individual or family in order that enquiries can be undertaken by the appropriate agency followed by any necessary action.
In certain cases the level of concern will lead straight to a referral without external consultation being necessary.
Parents/carers should be informed if a referral is being made unless the parent/carer is the cause for concern.
If your concern is about abuse or risk of abuse from a family member or someone known to the children, you should make a telephone referral to your local Social Services Office.
However, inability to inform parents for any reason should not prevent a referral being made. It would then become a joint decision with Social Services about how and when the parents should be approached and by whom.
If your concern is about abuse or risk of abuse from someone NOT known to the child or child’s family, you should make a telephone referral directly to the police and consult with the parents.
Be prepared to give as much of the following information as possible (in emergency situations all of this information may not be available). Unavailability of some information should not stop you making a referral.
Use the reporting form to record the concern and how it is dealt with. The relevant sections of the form should be completed and signed at each stage of the procedure. It can be used to forward information to the statutory child protection authorities if a referral to them is needed.
The form should be signed and dated by all those involved in its completion and kept confidentially on the child’s file, in a locked drawer or on a secure online server. The name of the person making the notes should be written alongside each entry.
Heads Above The Waves will, wherever possible, keep up to date with the progress of a referral, and the actions taken as a result of it. This will be either in person, if regular contact with the child remains, or through a third party (e.g. a school). If a child is not happy with the service provided or the actions taken, Heads Above The Waves will commit to resolving this by either taking further action, or supporting the child to make an official complaint.
Heads Above The Waves will take steps to ensure that staff/workers are not vulnerable to false allegation. This includes developing the following code of conduct:
Any restraint used to prevent injury to a young person must been deemed ‘reasonable’. Staff should balance any decision to use physical restraint against the likelihood of serious harm to the young person if they do not do so, also taking into account the worker’s own safety.
Staff should not get involved physically in any fight between young people, but should seek immediate assistance from other colleagues. It is generally more effective to diffuse a volatile situation by using an authoritative tone, than by becoming involved at a physical level.
Heads Above The Waves will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith, reports his or her concern that a member of staff is, or may be, abusing a child or young person. Where there is a complaint about a member of staff allegedly abusing children, there will be a disciplinary or misconduct investigation, which will involve the member of staff being suspended on full pay (if applicable), for the duration of the investigation. The investigation will be carried out by the Directors – unless it is felt that this would be a conflict of interest – in association with any affiliated bodies. The investigation will seek to determine the facts of the event leading to the allegation, and then the appropriate action to be taken as a result. Information will be shared within the service and Heads Above The Waves on a need to know basis only.
There may also be:
Named person for child protection: Hannah Morgan – 07792365362 – Hannah@hatw.co.uk
South Wales Police non-urgent crime: 101
South Wales Police general enquiries: 01656 655 555
Cardiff Children Social Care Department: 02920 536490 (Out of hours: 02920 788 570)
NSPCC Helpline: 0808 800 5000 – firstname.lastname@example.org
ChildLine: 0800 1111 (textphone: 0800 400 222) – childline.org.uk
All staff in Heads Above The Waves services should read this policy and sign to record having done so, and that they understand their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding children. All staff should attend Safeguarding Children training and regular refresher training.Reporting Child Protection Concerns