Child Protection Safeguarding & Prevent Policy.

‘We all share a responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, whether as a parent, or family member, a friend or neighbour, an employer or as a paid or volunteer worker. All members of the community can help to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people and should do so if they have any concerns about a child’s welfare’, Safeguarding Children: Working Together under the Children Act 2004.

1. Introduction
Safeguarding Children
In relation to children and young people, Acti-Fit adopts the above definition taken from The Children Act 2004, and the Department of Education (DfE) guidance document: “Working together to safeguard children 2018” which defines safeguarding and promoting children and young people’s welfare as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development
  • Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes Working together to safeguard children 2018 places statutory duty on three key agencies to hold local responsibility for safeguarding: The Local Authority, The Police and Health & Social Care (through the Clinical Commissioning Groups – CCG’s). It provides these three agencies with the freedom to develop local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements in line with the needs of their locality, whilst removing the statutory requirement for Local Safeguarding Children Board’s (LCSB). Working together 2018 provides guidance with regards to what new arrangements in local authorities should include. It also focuses on complex and contextual safeguarding which is a critical factor Acti-Fit, has a duty to ensure that appropriate policies and supporting procedures, protocols or guidelines are in place to comply with legislation, enabling all children, pupils and learners to be kept safe Acti-Fit recognises that in order to keep children safe, leaders must create a culture where children and staff are able to speak freely and share any concerns they have. There must be mechanisms in place to ensure children of all ages and abilities are able to communicate their views It is important to stress that this policy document must be used in conjunction with Keeping Children Safe In Education /KCSIE_2022.pdf (from this point referred to as KCSIE_2022. Some of the information in this document will be taken from KCSIE_2022.and in addition, referral to certain parts of the KCSIE_2022.document is essential for further statutory guidance and to fully implement this policy. In accordance with the guidance, educational Providers should ensure that this policy is:
  • Publicly available via Acti-Fit’s website or by other means;
  • Provided to all staff (including temporary staff) at induction along with a staff code of conduct. In addition, Educational Providers, Heads of Department and the Board of Directors should ensure that all staff have read Part One of KCSIE_2022.and sign a declaration form to confirm they fully understand their responsibilities. The overall responsibility for the approval of this Policy sits with the Proprietors of organisation. However, the day to day operational management and implementation of the Policy is the responsibility of each Head of Department

This policy will ensure that the Proprietors meet their legal responsibilities and provides a clear organisational approach to safeguarding and the protection of children for the organisation to follow.

Whilst this policy sets out the actions taken by our staff across our holiday clubs, before and after school clubs in safeguarding and protecting children in our care, it is important to be aware that safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside our provisions and/or can occur between children outside of these environments. All staff, but especially the designated safeguarding lead (and deputies) should consider whether children are at risk of abuse or exploitation in situations outside their families. This is more commonly known as contextual safeguarding.

All our staff are in a ‘position of trust’ and as such understand that inappropriate behaviour towards children is unacceptable and that their conduct towards all children must be beyond reproach. In addition, staff should understand that, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is an offence for a person over the age of 18 to have a sexual relationship with a person under the age of 18, where that person is in a position of trust, even if the relationship is consensual. This means that any sexual activity between an Acti-Fit member staff and a child under 18 may be a criminal offence, even if that child is over the age of consent.


This policy is to be read alongside our suite of Safeguarding and Prevent Policies outlined at the end of this document

Safeguarding1 is pivotal to what we do and fundamental to our success in providing first class teaching and support to all individuals through our holiday clubs, before and after school activities.

Acti-Fit is strongly committed to practices that protect children, young people and adults at risk from abuse, neglect, significant harm or radicalisation

The purpose of this policy is to set out Acti-Fit’s approach to safeguarding children2. It applies to everyone working for Acti-Fit acting on their behalf and provides the framework to help us safeguard our key stakeholders with commitment and confidence.

Acti-Fit is committed to working with existing local safeguarding partners, health and social care partnerships, police, and the Channel Programme to ensure the safeguarding of children in our care.

3. About this Policy

This policy describes the management systems and arrangements in place to create and maintain a safe learning environment for all children in our care. It identifies categories for concern and how Acti-Fit will act in such a way to minimise or negate the safeguarding risks that children are vulnerable to.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children goes beyond implementing basic child protection procedures. It is an integral part of all activities and functions of Acti-Fit. This policy complements and supports other main safeguarding policies, as outlined at the end of this document

4. The statutory Framework and Legislative Duties

In order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, this policy has been developed in accordance with the following legislation and guidance:

1 Definitions: Safeguarding is the action we take to promote the welfare or wellbeing of children and adults and protect them from harm.

2 Children: The term child/children includes babies, children and young people up to 18 years

  • The Children Act 1989
  • The Children Act 2004 – Education and Schools*
  • The Education Act 2002 (section 175/157)
  • The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005
  • Dealing with Allegations of Abuse Against Teachers and Other Staff (DfE 2011)
  • Children and Social Work Act 2017
  • Working together to Safeguard Children 2018
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education – which all schools and colleges must have regard to when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. KCSIE is revised every September – the most current edition is KCSIE_2022. Whilst this particular edition does not come into force until September 2022 but due to the importance of this guide we are adopting these from May 2022.

    *All people working in education and schools contribute to the safeguarding and promoting of children’s welfare. All schools and other educational institutions have a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Consequently, staff in these establishments play an important part in safeguarding children from abuse and neglect by early identification of children who may be vulnerable or at risk of harm and by educating children, about managing risks and improving their resilience through the curriculum. All schools and educational institutions should create and maintain a safe environment for children and young people and should be able to manage situations where there are child welfare concerns.
  • Learning difficulties
  • Physical impairments
  • Sensory impairments
  • Mental illness needs
  • Age related frailty
  • Dementia
  • Brain injuries
  • Drug or Alcohol problems
  • Domestic violence The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) is a legal framework which protects people who may lack capacity to make decisions for themselves. It also sets out how decisions should be made on their behalf, extra safeguards are needed if the restrictions and restraints used will deprive a person of their liberty. These are called the ‘Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’ (DoLS). The presumption is that adults have mental capacity to make informed choices about their safety, how they live their lives and a person’s ability to give consent. The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act 2005

Acti-Fit will adhere to and support all our students and employees with statutory legislation, including ‘Claire’s Law’/Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme3

6. Our Ethos

At Acti-Fit we promote and encourage children to respect the fundamental British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Acti-Fit ensures that partisan political views are not promoted in the teaching of any subject within our provision, and where political issues are brought to the attention of the children; reasonably practicable steps are taken to offer a balanced presentation of opposing views to children. At Acti-Fit, diversity is promoted through children being encouraged to accept another person’s point of view (we agree to disagree) and everyone has the right to their own opinion

7. Our Approach to Safeguarding

Our approach to safeguarding is driven by a number of principles which are informed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, The Governments Prevent Duty Guidance, relevant legislation and guidance, and by Acti-Fit’s values and understanding of best practice and in line with our core principles:

Principle 1 All children and adults considered to be at risk have a right to protection from harm and abuse, regardless of age, ability, gender, racial heritage, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, identity or additional vulnerabilities

Principle 2 The best interests of the child are paramount in all considerations about their welfare and protection, including when to maintain confidentiality and when to share information about them

Principle 3 Children have the right to participate in decisions about their lives. Their views, wishes, feelings and experiences are evident in our work with them.

Principle 4 Concerns or allegations that Spark staff or anyone acting on our behalf, have abused or neglected a child or adult will be managed sensitively and fairly in accordance with these policies, relevant legislation and local procedures

Principle 5 Working together with children, their parents/carers and other agencies is essential to promoting children’s welfare/wellbeing and ensuring their protection. In some limited circumstances, it will not be appropriate to engage with parents/carers to protect the child.

Principle 6 As part of working together we expect professionals to act on our concerns, and we will escalate our concerns in our efforts to be satisfied that the child has been protected, taking a stand in cases where we consider the protection of the child has not been taken seriously either within Spark or those investigating child protection.

Principle 7 Spark staff should understand what radicalisation means and why people may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism as a consequence of it. Know what measures are available to prevent and protect people from being drawn into it.

8. Our safeguarding foundations
8.1 Safe recruitment:
We apply a fair and consistent approach to recruitment to attract and recruit the best people and adhere to the guidance set out in Part Three of KCSIE_2022. We have a robust value-based recruitment process to minimise the risk of engaging anyone who may pose a risk to children. The SCR is maintained by the Operations Director, who has undertaken safer recruitment training and value based interviewing. Our safer recruitment practice includes scrutinising applicants, verifying identity and academic or vocational qualifications, obtaining professional and character references,

3 Clair’s Law is a scheme which allows Police to disclose individual details of partners with an abusive past. Also known as The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme

checking previous employment history and ensuring that a candidate has the health and physical capacity for the job. It also includes undertaking interviews and appropriate checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and other checks as detailed in Keeping Children Safe in Education Sept 22, and subsequent recording on our Single Central Register.

All recruitment materials include reference to Acti-Fit ‘s commitment to safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children. All staff/volunteers’ interviews incorporate ‘value based interviewing techniques’ and explore candidate’s commitment, understanding and knowledge of safeguarding children and young people.

9. DBS Checks
Portability refers to the re-use of a DBS disclosure, obtained for a position in one organisation and later used for a position in a new organisation. Acti-Fit will exercise its discretion to accept such DBS disclosures on a case by case and risk assessed basis – for example, in conjunction with other evidence presented, pending when the results of the DBS was obtained

9.1. Validity of DBS Disclosures

There is no period of validity for a DBS disclosure. Technically, it is out of date on the day that it is issued as a new or further criminal conviction, caution, etc, may be recorded against an individual at any time after the issue date. Acti-Fit requires an enhanced DBS check that is less than 3 years old and applies for new staff DBS disclosures on recruiting a new member of staff

In addition, Acti-Fit requires all staff to make an annual declaration of their suitability to work with under 18 year olds, and service providers to provide written evidence that their staff have undergone satisfactory DBS disclosure within the last 3 years.

9.2. Usage and storage of DBS disclosure information

Acti-Fit complies fully with the DBS Code of Practice regarding the correct handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of DBS disclosures and disclosure information. DBS disclosure information is passed only to those who are authorised to receive it in the course of their duties, i.e., those whose jobs deem it essential. Information disclosed as part of a DBS check will be treated as confidential. It is an offence for information in a disclosure to be passed to anyone who does not need it in the course of his/her duties.

Acti-Fit maintains a record of those to whom disclosures or disclosure information has been revealed. Acti-Fit will keep a record of the date of issue of a disclosure, the name of the subject, the type requested, the reason for which it has been requested, the unique reference number and the details of the recruitment decision taken.

10. Effective policies procedures and practices: We have a suite of robust policies and procedures which we require all our staff and those working on our behalf to read and understand. These are listed at the bottom of this document

11. Competent and confident workforce: We provide mandatory safeguarding induction and training as well as annual refresher courses. These incorporate all relevant professional regulatory requirements. Educare Flick and NSPCC are on our PSL list for safeguarding training.

12. Actively managing safeguarding risk: We practice regular risk assessments and react swiftly to any concerns. Escalating our robust safeguarding procedures when required

13. Culture and values: Safeguarding is at the heart of our culture and work with young people. Our culture supports, enables and mandates our approach to safeguarding – embodying our organisation and what we stand for

14. Roles and Responsibilities

The Board of Directors will ensure that:

a) A member of the SMT is nominated as the lead with responsibility for safeguarding b) The nominated lead is appropriately trained to fulfil this role
c) Safeguarding features on each meeting agenda

The SMT will ensure that:

1. The policies and procedures adopted by the Board of Directors to safeguard and promote the welfare of children are fully implemented
2. The Single Central Record (SCR) is compliant (Operations Director)
3. Safeguarding training is available and completed across the organisation, appropriate to each role

The Board of Directors will ensure that:
The SMT lead for Safeguarding will provide Acti-Fit with appropriate information about safeguarding and will liaise with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
b) A senior leader has DSL responsibility
c) The information contained within this policy is regularly reviewed (at least annually), updated and that Acti-Fit complies with local safeguarding partner procedures (Operations Director)
d) Acti-Fit operates safe recruitment and selection practices as outlined in their policies and KCSIE_2022. Part Three. This includes Section 128 checks School leaders as well as Enhanced DBS checks
e) All staff and volunteers who have regular contact with children and young people receive appropriate training which is updated regularly. Supply staff must also receive safeguarding guidance f) That staff adhere to the “Code of Conduct” policy alongside safeguarding procedures
g) Acti-Fit follows procedures contained with KCSIE_2022 Part Four and school disciplinary systems concerning dealing with allegations of abuse against staff, supply staff and volunteers
h) On appointment the DSL undertakes professional training and also undertakes an update course every 2 years
i) A member of the SMT, is nominated to liaise with the local authority on Child Protection issues, and in the event of an allegation of abuse made against Heads of Department, with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

15. Designated Safeguarding Lead Role

The DSL takes the lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection (including online safety). The DSL or a deputy should always be available to discuss safeguarding concerns. If in exceptional circumstances, the DSL and a deputy is not available, this should not delay appropriate action being taken. You should inform a member of the senior leadership team and/or take advice from local children’s services. In these circumstances, any action taken should be recorded and shared with the DSL or deputy as soon as is practically possible.

The DSL is responsible for:
1. Referral of suspected cases of abuse to the Local Authority Children’s Social Care
2. Making sure children, young people, parents and carers know who they can talk to if they have a welfare concern and understand what action Spark will take in response
3. Receiving and recording information from anyone who has concerns about a child
4. Taking the lead on responding to information they may constitute a safeguarding concern, including a concern that an adult involved with Acti-Fit may present a risk to children
This includes:

A)Assessing and clarifying the information
B) Making referrals to statutory organisations
C) Consulting with and informing the relevant members of Acti-Fit’s Management Team D) Following Acti-Fit’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

5. Liaise with, pass on information to and receive information from statutory safeguarding agencies such as:
A) The Local Authority Safeguarding Partners – (local authorities, chief officers of police and clinical commission groups

B) The Police – this includes making formal referrals to agencies where necessary
7. Store and retain safeguarding records according to legal requirements and Acti-Fit’s safeguarding policy and procedures
8. Work closely with management to ensure they are kept up to date with safeguarding issues and are fully informed of any concerns about organisational safeguarding practice
9. Report and document regularly to the management board on issues relating to safeguarding, to ensure that safeguarding is seen as an ongoing priority issue and that safeguarding requirements are being followed at all levels of the company
10. Be familiar with and work within inter-agency safeguarding procedures developed by local safeguarding agencies
11. Be familiar with issues relating to safeguarding, child protection and abuse, and keep up to date with new developments in this area
12. Subscribe to the NSPCC’s weekly email “CASPAR” to keep up to date with developments in child protection policy, research, practice and guidance. 13. Attend regular training in issues relevant to safeguarding and share knowledge from that training with everyone who works with children

16. The Role of the DSL for Looked After Children

The most common reason for children being “Looked After” is as a result of abuse or neglect. The Operations Director will ensure that staff have the skills, knowledge to keep “Looked After” children safe. A previously “looked After” child potentially remains vulnerable, and all staff should have the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep previously looked after children safe

17. Prevent Duty

The Government published the Prevent Strategy in 2010, to raise an awareness of the specific need to safeguard children, young people and families from violent extremism.

Extremist groups attempt to radicalise vulnerable children and young people to hold extreme views including views justifying political, religious, sexist or racist violence, or to steer them into a rigid and narrow ideology that is intolerant of diversity and leaves them vulnerable to future radicalisation.

Prevent is about safeguarding children to keep them both safe and within the law. The Prevent Duty is not about preventing children from having political and religious views and concerns, but it is about supporting them to use those views and concerns or act on them, in non-extremist ways.

The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty on certain bodies to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’

Responding to suspicions of Radicalisation and Extremism

We are alert to changes in a child’s behaviour or attitude which could indicate that they need help or protection:

1.When any colleague has concerns that a child may be at risk of radicalisation or involvement in terrorism, they should speak with the Designated Safeguarding Lead and Operations Director for investigation and action
2.Disclosure records are held by the DSL and stored on a secure server

3.Colleagues take care not to influence the outcome either through the way they speak to or question children at risk
5.All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared under the guidance of the Local BIS Prevent Coordinator.

Please refer to Acti-Fit’s Prevent Duty Policy and Procedures and its associated appendices for more information

18. Safety

The Board of Directors are responsible and accountable for ensuring the safety of Acti-Fit’s educational Provisions. They are responsible for ensuring there are appropriate policies and procedures in place, in order for appropriate action to be taken in a timely manner to safeguard and promote children’s welfare.

This includes:
1. An effective Child Protection, Safeguarding and Prevent Policy 2. A staff Safeguarding Code of Conduct

19. Whistleblowing

Acti-Fit has a detailed and robust Whistleblowing Policy which provides guidance to staff and volunteers on how to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practices and potential failures in the delivery of our provision’s safeguarding regime. Concerns are taken seriously be the Senior Management Team.

Where a staff member feels unable to raise an issue or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels are open to them

The NSPCC Whistleblowing helpline is available for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally. They can call 0800 028 0285 – available from 0800 hours to 2000 hours Monday to Friday. Email or you-can-do/report-abuse/dedicated-helplines/whistleblowing-advice-line

The Independent Charity: Protect, Speak up, Stop Harm; is a Free, Confidential Whistleblowing Advice Line, who gives free confidential advice
Their contact details are:
Protect, Speak Up, Stop Harm
The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London, EC2 9DA
Protect Advice Line: 020 3117 2520 (*option 1)
Business Support Line: 020 3117 2520 (*option 2)
Protect Advice Line:
Media Enquiries:
Business Support Services:

The office is open, and the helpline is staffed from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. There is an answering machine out of hours. If you need to speak to them outside office hours, leave your contact details and they will arrange a convenient time to contact you

20. Training

Acti-Fit ensures that all staff hold appropriate qualifications in Safeguarding Children and Young people and ensure that all staff and volunteers receive level 1 Safeguarding Children and Young People training at least every year delivered by outsourced trainers. Staff training is not only crucial in protecting children and young people, but also makes them aware of how they can protect themselves against allegations. In addition, all staff members receive regular safeguarding and child protection updates (e.g., via email, e-bulletins and staff meetings)

Our safeguarding policy underpins our Values and Behaviours and the general ethos of the provision, which should ensure that pupils are treated with respect and dignity, taught to treat each other with respect, feel safe, have a voice and are listened to.

21. Our Values and Behaviours

22. Types and Indicators of Abuse
What is Child Abuse?
1 in 5 children in the UK have suffered abuse or neglect
Abuse can take many different forms. It can be continuous over a period of time, but sometimes it can also be a one-off action. It can be physical, sexual or emotional and it can happen in person or online. It can also be a lack of love, care, and attention – this is neglect.

General signs of abuse

Children experiencing abuse often experience more than one type of abuse over a period of time. Children who experience abuse may be afraid to tell anybody about the abuse. They may struggle with feelings of guilt, shame or confusion – particularly if the abuser is a parent, caregiver or other close family member or friend

Many of the signs that a child is being abused are the same regardless of the type of abuse. Anyone working with children or young people needs to be able to recognise the signs. These include a child: 1. Being afraid of particular places or making excuses to avoid particular people
2. knowing about or being involved in ‘adult issues’ which are inappropriate for their age, or stage of development, for example, alcohol, drugs and/or sexual behaviour

3. Having angry outbursts or behaving aggressively towards others 4. Becoming withdrawn or appearing anxious, clingy or depressed 5. Self-harming or having thoughts about suicide
6. Showing changes in eating habits or developing eating disorders 7. Regularly experiencing nightmares or sleep problems

8. Regularly wetting the bed or soiling their clothes
9. Running away or regularly going missing from home or care 10. Not receiving adequate medical attention after injuries

These signs do not necessarily mean that a child is being abused. There may well be other reasons for changes in a child’s behaviour such as bereavement or relationship problems between parents or carers. However, we all have a duty of care and a responsibility and if you have any concerns about a child’s wellbeing, you should report them following Acti-Fit’s safeguarding and child protection procedures.

Abuse, including neglect, includes forms of maltreatment of a child or vulnerable adult. Somebody may abuse a child or vulnerable adult by inflicting harm, by failing to act to prevent harm. Children and vulnerable adults may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting; by those known to them or online. They may be abused by an adult/s or by another child/ren.

  • Acti-Fit requires all members of staff to be aware of the different types of abuse and to take appropriate action if required.
  • All members of staff are required to be aware of the indicators of peer-on-peer abuse, such as those in relation to bullying, gender-based violence, sexual assaults, and sexting.
  • All members of staff are required to be aware of the necessary procedures to follow to prevent peer-on-peer abuse, as outlined in Acti-Fit’s Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Acti-Fit’s IT equipment (including computers, laptops, mobile phones, notebooks etc) must not be used to view, download, create or share (with colleagues, children/adults illegal content including abusive images of children or vulnerable adults.

    A) Bullying and Cyberbullying Bullying is behaviour that hurts someone else. It includes name calling, hitting, pushing, spreading rumours, threatening, or undermining someone. It can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online. It is usually repeated over a long period of time and can hurt a child both physically and emotionally. It can also include hate crime or mate crime. For more details see our Bullying, Cyberbullying and Harassment Policy B) Child Sexual Exploitation Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. When a child or young person is exploited, they are given things, like gifts, drugs, money, status, and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities. Children and young people are often tricked into believing they are in a loving and consensual relationship. This is called grooming. They may trust their abuser and not understand that they are being abused. Children and young people can be trafficked into or within the UK to be sexually exploited. They are moved around the country and abused by being forced to take part in sexual activities, often with more than one person. Sometimes abusers use violence and intimidation to frighten or force a child or young person, making them feel as if they’ve no choice. They may lend them large sums of money they know cannot be repaid or use financial abuse to control them. Anybody can be a perpetrator of CSE, no matter their age, gender, or race. The relationship could be framed as friendship, someone to look up to or romantic. Children and young people who are exploited may also be used to ‘find’ or coerce others to join groups. Types of child sexual exploitation CSE can happen in person or online. An abuser will gain a child’s trust or control them through violence or blackmail before moving onto sexually abusing them. This can happen in a short period of time. Sexual abuse may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or nonpenetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside clothing. When a child is sexually exploited online, they might be persuaded or forced to:
    • send or post sexually explicit images of themselves
    • film or stream sexual activities
    • have sexual conversations. Once an abuser has images, video, or copies of conversations, they might use threats and blackmail to force a young person to take part in other sexual activity. They may also share the images and videos with others or circulate them online. Gangs use sexual exploitation:
    • to exert power and control
    • for initiation
    • to use sexual violence as a weapon. Children or young people might be invited to parties or gatherings with others their own age or adults and given drugs and alcohol. They may be assaulted and sexually abused by one person or multiple perpetrators. The sexual assaults and abuse can be violent, humiliating and degrading.

Signs of child sexual exploitation

Sexual exploitation can be difficult to spot and sometimes mistaken for “normal” teenage behaviour. Knowing the signs can help protect children and help them when they’ve no one else to turn to.

  • Unhealthy or sexual inappropriate behaviour
  • Being frightened of some people, places, or situations.
  • Bring secretive.
  • Sharp changes in mood or character.
  • Having money or things they cannot or will not explain.
  • Physical signs of abuse, like bruises or bleeding in their genital or anal area.
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Sexually transmitted infections.
  • Pregnancy. Other things you might notice:
  • Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Staying out late or overnight.
  • Having a new group of friends.
  • Missing from home or care or stopping going to school or college.
  • Hanging out with older people, other vulnerable people or in antisocial groups.
  • Involved in a gang
  • Involved in criminal activities like selling drugs or shoplifting. If you suspect a child may be being sexually exploited, you must act immediately To report sexual exploitation:
  • call 999 if the child is at immediate risk or call 101 if you think a crime has been committed
  • call Crime stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online.
  • Report to The DSL How To Report abuse: If you are concerned about the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult
    • If the child or adult is in immediate danger call 999
    • Contact your local children’s services/Safeguarding team or Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) * there is a contact list for different local authorities at the end of this document • You can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000, email or fill in the NSPCC online form.—report-abuse-form/ C) Child Trafficking Child trafficking and modern slavery are child abuse. Many children and young people are trafficked into the UK from other countries like Vietnam, Albania, and Romania. Displaced children from war zones are also extremely vulnerable to trafficking. Children are also trafficked around the UK. Trafficking is where children and young people are tricked, forced, or persuaded to leave their homes and are moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work, or sold. Children are trafficked for:
  • sexual exploitation
  • benefit fraud
  • forced marriage
  • domestic slavery like cleaning, cooking and childcare
  • forced labour in factories or agriculture
  • committing crimes, like begging, theft, working on cannabis farms or moving drugs. Trafficked children experience many types of abuse and neglect. Traffickers use physical, sexual, and emotional abuse as a form of control. Children and young people are also likely to be physically and emotionally neglected and may be sexually exploited Types of child trafficking Traffickers often groom children, families, and communities to gain their trust. They may also threaten families with violence or threats. Traffickers often promise children and families that they will have a better future elsewhere.

Trafficking is also an economic crime. Traffickers may ask families for money for providing documents or transport and they will make a profit from money a child “earns” through exploitation, forced labour or crime. They will often be told this money is to pay off a debt they or their family “owe” to the traffickers.

Traffickers may:

  • work alone or in small groups, recruiting a small number of children, often from areas they know and live in
  • be medium-sized groups who recruit, move and exploit children and young people on a small scale
  • be large criminal networks that operate internationally with high-level corruption, money laundering and a large number of victims. Signs of child trafficking Knowing the signs of trafficking can help give a voice to children. Sometimes children will not understand that what is happening to them is wrong. Or they might be scared to speak out. It may not be obvious that a child has been trafficked, but you might notice unusual or unexpected things. They might:

o spend a lot of time doing household chores
o rarely leave their house or have no time for playing
o be orphaned or living apart from their family
o live in low-standard accommodation
o be unsure which country, city, or town they are in
o cannot or are reluctant to share personal information or where they live
o not be registered with a school or a GP practice
o have no access to their parents or guardians
o be seen in inappropriate places like brothels or factories
o have money or things you would not expect them to
o have injuries from workplace accidents
o give a prepared story which is very similar to stories given by other children.

Children who are trafficked are intentionally hidden and isolated from the services and communities who can identify and protect them.

  • If you think a child or young person is in danger, contact the police on 999
  • Contact your local child protection services. You can find their contact details on the website for the local authority the child lives in.
  • Contact the Modern Slavery Helpline to get help, report a suspicion or seek advice. Call 0800 012 1700 or fill in their online form.
  • Report concerns to The DSL D) Contextual Safeguarding
    Contextual safeguarding
    is an approach to understanding, and responding to, young people’s experiences in a range of social contexts, and ultimately expanding child protection system objectives beyond their families, to recognise young people are vulnerable to significant harm in these areas. The contextual safeguarding framework was developed by Dr. Carlene Firmin at the University of Bedfordshire. It recognises that as a child or young person grows, the range of environments and the number of people outside of their family expands. This included within educational environments such as school or college, in their groups of friends, within the community and local area where they live, and even online. Children and young people can encounter risk in any or all of these different environments and/or with these additional individuals in their life. When these environments and groups of people overlap, there might even be multiple risks. This is often called extra familial abuse. The risk can vary, depending on the area in which the young person lives or socialises. In areas with a lot of problems surrounding gang culture, gun and knife crime might be a key safeguarding issue. We also know that young people communicate largely through social media, which can leave them unknowingly exposed to the risks of online grooming and harmful content.

The contextual safeguarding approach looks at how professionals could understand those risks, engage with the children or young people involved, and ensure their safety. This is an approach that’s more frequently been used to apply to teenagers, but the theory can equally be used with younger children, especially as children are exposed to larger groups earlier through the internet and use of technology.

The window of time between 7am and 9am and between 3.30pm and 5pm are the most dangerous times for an adolescent

Where children congregate is where we need to be mindful of that space and its effectiveness of being a safe place. We are all responsible for creating safe places for children

Individuals on their own rarely commit offences – it is when they form in groups. Young men who are part of violent peer groups are more likely to harm their partners, than those living in violent households.

We know that the younger you are the more likely you are to commit offences in groups than you are on your own. We see that in sentencing of Judges who say “if you hadn’t all been together, this young person you have killed would still be alive today – but once you got together, very bad decisions were made”

The only way we can think about these groups is about understanding where they are spending their time.

  • In school they are exposed to bullying, and corridor culture lifting of skirts etc
  • Educational establishments are targeted by crime groups to recruit young people to traffic drugs across the country.
  • In their neighbourhood, they are exposed to robbery, clothing, street-based victimisation, mobile phones, – who steps in to offer protection on the street? Case Story A Young girl was raped on a stairwell by a group of boys, all of the perpetrators were sent to prison, the victim, her family and witnesses were moved to other parts of the country. There was never any intervention to make the stair well safe so it remained a hot spot for rape for another 6 years with other young people using it to rape others. Case Story A young boy was regularly playing truant from school, was late for school and when in school would frequently go to the toilet during class time. It was discovered that he had a disabled sibling at home and presumed that this was the cause and so provided the family with more support. However, this didn’t stop him from playing truant so the school imposed a threat of a fine to the parents if he continued to play truant or be late for school. It worked – however, a few weeks later he was sexually assaulted by a group of boys in school. It was only then that the school discovered that the reason he was playing truant was in order to avoid the boys. He would come to school late so that he didn’t encounter them on the way into school and only entered the classroom when there was a teacher there, which afforded him protection. He visited the toilet during class time as it was unsafe to use the toilets in break times. Young people tell us that there are particular spaces and places where they feel unsafe. It’s the design and lack of supervision in those places that makes them a different person when they walk through their front doors or school corridors. “All roads lead to context” We need not to just work with the child and the parents who have experienced harm but identify “the stair well, the toilet, the park or social media space” and address the safety of places

E) County lines and Child criminal exploitation (CCE)

“County lines” – also known as “Criminal Exploitation” is when children as young as 7 are manipulated by criminals to undertake the selling and suppling of drugs. Any child can be exploited, no matter what their background. However, it is important to note that the experience of girls who are criminally exploited can be very different to that of boys.

Gangs and organised crime networks groom and exploit children to sell drugs – often these children are made to travel across counties, using dedicated mobile phone “lines” to supply drugs. The mobile phones are known as “The County Line”

Specific forms of CCE include children being forced or manipulated into transporting drugs or money, working in cannabis factories, shoplifting and pickpocketing. They can also be forced or manipulated into committing vehicle crime or threatening/committing serious violence to others.

Criminals deliberately target vulnerable children – those who are homeless, children with learning difficulties, going through family breakdowns, trapped in poverty, struggling at school, living in care or foster homes. These criminals groom children into trafficking drugs for them with promises of money, friendship, and status. Once they are drawn in, children are controlled with threats of violence and sexual abuse – trapped into a world that they have no option to escape from.

Signs of criminal exploitation and county lines include:

  • Indicators of taking drugs or being found with large amounts of drugs on them
  • Unexplained absences from training or work
  • Disruptive or aggressive behaviour
  • Using sexual, drug related or violent language you would not expect them to know As children involved in criminal exploitation often commit crimes themselves, their vulnerability as victims is not always recognised by adults and professionals, (particularly older children), and they are not treated as victims despite the harm they have experienced. If you think a young person could be in danger call 999, or if you have non-urgent information to share with the police, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. You must also report all concerns to the DSL. F) Domestic Abuse Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship. It can seriously harm children and young people and witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse. Domestic abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual, financial, or psychological, such as:
  • kicking, hitting, punching, or cutting
  • rape (including in a relationship)
  • controlling someone’s finances by withholding money or stopping someone earning
  • controlling behaviour, like telling someone where they can go and what they can wear
  • not letting someone leave the house
  • reading emails, text messages or letters
  • threatening to kill someone or harm them
  • threatening to another family member or pet. Effects of domestic abuse Living in a home where domestic abuse happens can have a serious impact on a child or young person’s mental and physical wellbeing, as well as their behaviour. And this can last into adulthood. If a child reveals abuse Listen to them carefully and reassure them that they have done the right thing by telling you, and that it is not their fault. Do not confront the alleged abuser but explain that you need to report it. Advise the child or young person that they can get support from the NSPCC by contacting Childline on 0800 1111 or Report to the DSL

G) Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is any type of abuse that involves the continual emotional mistreatment of a child. It is sometimes called psychological abuse. Emotional abuse can involve deliberately trying to scare, humiliate, isolate, or ignore a child.

Emotional abuse includes:

  • humiliating or constantly criticising a child
  • threatening, shouting at a child, or calling them names
  • making the child the subject of jokes, or using sarcasm to hurt a child
  • blaming and scapegoating
  • making a child perform degrading acts
  • not recognising a child’s own individuality or trying to control their lives
  • pushing a child too hard or not recognising their limitations
  • exposing a child to upsetting events or situations, like domestic abuse or drug taking
  • failing to promote a child’s social development
  • not allowing them to have friends
  • persistently ignoring them
  • being absent
  • manipulating a child
  • never saying anything kind, expressing positive feelings or congratulating a child on successes
  • never showing any emotions in interactions with a child, also known as emotional neglect. H) Female Genital Mutilation FGM FGM is when a female’s genitals are deliberately altered or removed for non-medical reasons. It is also known as ‘female circumcision’ or ‘cutting’ but has many other names. FGM is a form of child abuse. It is dangerous and a criminal offence in the UK.
    We know:
  • there are no medical reasons to carry out FGM
  • it is often performed by someone with no medical training, using instruments such as knives, scalpels, scissors, glass, or razor blades
  • children are rarely given anaesthetic or antiseptic treatment and are often forcibly restrained
  • it is used to control female sexuality and can cause long-lasting damage to physical and emotional health. FGM can happen at different times in a girl or woman’s life, including: • when a baby is new-born
    • during childhood or as a teenager
    • just before marriage • during pregnancy. Girls living in communities that practise FGM are most at risk. It can happen in the UK or abroad. In the UK, the Home Office has identified girls and women from certain communities as being more at risk: Somali; Kenyan; Ethiopian; Sierra Leonean; Sudanese; Egyptian; Nigerian; Eritrean; Yemeni; Kurdish; Indonesian. Girls are also at a higher risk of FGM if it is already happened to their mother, sister, or another member of their family. Professionals should note that girls at risk of FGM may not yet be aware of the practice or that it may be conducted on them, so sensitivity should always be shown when approaching the subject. It is important for all staff to be aware of the legal FGM Mandatory duty that requires colleagues to report where, during their professional duties, they are informed by a girl under 18 that an act of FGM has been carried out on her, or if they observe any physical signs which appear to show that an act of FGM has been carried out on a girl under 18.

I) Peer on Peer Abuse

Peer-on-Peer abuse can take various forms and include serious bullying, relationship abuse, domestic violence, child sexual exploitation, harmful sexual behaviour, and/or gender based violence.

This form of abuse occurs when there is any kind of physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse or coercive control exercised between young people. It includes bullying, cyberbullying, sexual violence, harassment and the sharing of nude and semi-nude images

It should be recognised that the behaviour in question is harmful to both the perpetrator (who is the young person) and the victim. Behaviour may be intimate or non-intimate.

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 Definition

Young people can abuse other young people. This is generally referred to as peer-on-peer abuse and can take many forms. This can include (but is not limited to) bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice based and discriminatory bullying); sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling or otherwise causing physical harm; abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers; causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi nudes images and or videos; upskirting and initiating/hazard type violence and rituals

Spotting the signs and symptoms

  • Absence from setting or disengagement from setting activities
  • Physical injuries
  • Mental or emotional health issues
  • Becoming withdrawn – lack of self esteem
  • Lack of sleep
  • Alcohol or substance misuse
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Inappropriate behaviour for age
  • Abusive towards others Vulnerable Groups
  • Abuse can happen to anyone at any age. Both boys and girls can be victims
  • Black and minority ethnic young people often under identified as victims and over-identified as perpetrators
  • Young people with intra-familial abuse in their histories or those living with domestic abuse are more likely to be vulnerable
  • Young people in care and those who have experienced loss of a parent, sibling or friend through bereavement
  • Young people with SEND are three times more likely to be abused than their peers
  • Young people who have been abused or have abused their peers Abusers can be younger than their victims It is important to remember that as with all safeguarding issues, peer-on-peer abuse can impact on young people without these characteristics. The issue facing professionals is that these characteristics will often make the young person more visible, whilst those without any of the characteristics above may be less likely to come into contact with professionals For example, when a young person goes missing from care (even for a small amount of time) the professional network will know about it, whilst if a young person regularly returns home later than their curfew their parents may not necessarily tell anyone. It is therefore important to look at interlinking factors and not isolated incidents. Contextual Safeguarding and Power Dynamics It is important to recognise that young people are vulnerable to abuse in a range of social contexts as they form different relationships in their neighbourhoods, educational setting and online and, these can feature violence and abuse which is often hidden to adults. Peer influence and pressure is a major factor in decisions made by young people to join groups. Keeping Children Safe in Education highlights the importance of awareness of factors across an educational setting’s local community so they understand where young people are living, who they come into contact with and the dynamics at play

J) Forced Marriage

Is where one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage or consent is extracted under duress. Duress includes both physical and emotional pressure. A clear distinction must be made between a “Forced Marriage” and an “Arranged Marriage”. Arranged Marriages are made under mutual consent.

If staff see any indications that children or vulnerable adults may or have been subjected to FGM or Forced Marriage, we have a legal duty to report as a matter or urgency to Social Care – even if it is against the person’s wishes.

Staff and colleagues must not discuss these concerns with the child or vulnerable adult’s parents, family, or others in the community. If there is imminent risk e.g. the child or vulnerable adult is being taken out of the country, the police must be informed (999) and the safety of the child or vulnerable adult, whilst awaiting police response, must be the prime consideration.

Advice and signposts are available for accessing additional support from: The NSPCC Helpline – 0808 800 5000
Childline – 0800 1111
Forced Marriage Unit – 020 7008 0151

K) Grooming

Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit, and abuse them. Children and young people who are groomed can be sexually abused, exploited, or trafficked.

Anybody can be a groomer, no matter their age, gender, or race. Grooming can take place over a short or long period of time – from weeks to years. Groomers may also build a relationship with the young person’s family or friends to make them seem trustworthy or authoritative.

Types of grooming

Children and young people can be groomed online, in person or both – by a stranger or someone they know. This could be a family member, a friend or someone who has targeted them – like a teacher, faith group leader or sports coach. When a child is groomed online groomers may hide who they are by sending photos or videos of other people. Sometimes this will be of someone younger than them to gain the trust of a “peer”. They might target one child online or contact lots of children very quickly and wait for them to respond.

L) Homelessness

It is important to pick up any signs of homelessness amongst apprentices/learners within the 16-17 age group. Their homelessness may not be family based and referrals to CSCS can be made if there is cause for concern. Links to relevant referral routes into the local housing authority are listed here for Walsall, Cannock, Lichfield, Birmingham and all its boroughs, and Nuneaton advice-service melessness/5

M) Honour based Violence

Honour based violence is a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and / or community by breaking their honour code. For young victims it is a form of child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.

It can be distinguished from other forms of violence, as it is often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and/or community members. Women, men, and younger members of the family can all be involved in the abuse.

Young victims may find themselves in an abusive and dangerous situation against their will with no power to seek help. The usual avenues for seeking help – through parents or other family members may be unavailable. Honour based violence manifests itself in a diverse range of ways with children and young people, including forced marriage, domestic and/or sexual violence, rape, physical assaults, harassment, kidnap, threats of violence (including murder), witnessing violence directed towards a sibling or indeed another family member, and female genital mutilation.

Victims can find it difficult to leave abusive relationships or ask for help if their immigration status is uncertain. They may face a number of issues such as a fear of deportation, bringing ‘shame’ on their families, financial difficulties, and homelessness, or losing their children.

The notion of shame and the associated risk to the victim may persist long after the incident that brought about dishonour occurred. This means any new partner of the victim, children, associates, or their siblings may be at serious risk of Significant Harm.

Behaviours that could be seen to transgress concepts of honour include:

  • Inappropriate make-up or dress.
  • The existence of a boyfriend or a perceived unsuitable relationship e.g. a gay/lesbian relationship.
  • Rejecting a forced marriage.
  • Pregnancy outside of marriage.
  • Being a victim of rape.
  • Inter-faith relationships (or same faith, but different ethnicity).
  • Leaving a spouse or seeking divorce.
  • Kissing or intimacy in a public place.
  • Alcohol and drugs use. It is important to be mindful that young people may be subject to honour-based violence for reasons which may seem improbable or relatively minor to others. Staff should never lose sight of the fact that they are interacting with extremely vulnerable women and men, who may be faced with making life changing decisions in an extremely short space of time. Many honour-based violence victims, as in other forms of domestic abuse, just want the abuse to stop. They fear ‘criminalising’ their parents, families and/or their faith group and fear being isolated from their communities. Protection and Action to be Taken It takes a lot of courage for a child, young person, vulnerable adult to report to an agency that they are afraid that they will be, or have been, subjected to HBV. It is essential, therefore, that staff act in a manner that will not further jeopardise the individual’s safety. Where an individual discloses fear of honour-based violence in respect of them or a family member, you should:
  • Take the disclosure seriously
  • See the individual immediately, and in a secure and private place
  • Seeing the individual on their own;
  • Explain to the individual the limits of confidentiality, what information may have to be shared, with whom and for what purpose;
  • Ask direct questions to gather enough information to make a referral to Children’s Social Care and the Police, including recording the child / young person’s wishes;
  • Agree a means of discreet future contact with the child / young person;
  • Explain that a referral to Children’s Social Care and Police will be made. It is vital that the following points are adhered to for the safety of the individual:
  • Under no circumstances should you allow the individual’s family or social network to find out about the disclosure, so as not to put the individual at further risk of harm;
  • Under no circumstances speak to victims in the presence of their relatives
  • Under no circumstances approach the family or community leaders, share any information with them or attempt any form of mediation. In particular, members of the local community should not be used as interpreters.

Any suspicion or disclosure of violence or abuse against an individual in the name of honour should be treated equally seriously as any other suspicion or disclosure or significant harm against an individual. However, there are significant differences in the immediate response required.

Involving families in cases of forced marriage is dangerous:

  • It may increase the risk of serious harm to the victim. Experience shows that the family may punish them for seeking help
  • Involving the family includes visiting the family to ask them whether they are intending to force their child to marry or writing a letter to the family requesting a meeting about their child’s allegation that they are being forced to marry;
  • Interpreters should be on the approved list. Relatives, friends, community leaders and neighbours should not be used as interpreters in case they are linked to the group suspected of carrying out the crime – despite any reassurances from this known person. In cases of violence in the name of honour and of forced marriage, it is essential to consider other siblings in the family that may be experiencing, or at risk of, the same abuse. Accurate record keeping in all cases of violence/abuse in the name of honour is important. Records should:
  • Be accurate, detailed, clear and include the date
  • Use the person’s own words in quotation marks
  • Document any injuries – include photographs, body maps or pictures of their injuries
  • Only be available to those directly involved in the person’s case. You must take care that information which increases the risk to the individual is not inadvertently shared with family members. The ‘One Chance Rule’ Anyone working with victims of honour-based violence need to be aware of the ‘one chance’ rule. That is, they may only have one chance to speak to a potential victim and thus they may only have one chance to save a life. This means that everyone working within statutory agencies need to be aware of their responsibilities and obligations when they come across these cases. If the victim is allowed to walk out of the door without support being offered, that one chance might be wasted. N) Children with family members in prison Children with a family member in prison should be offered pastoral support as necessary – please contact your DSL for details. Signpost them to National Information Centre for children of offenders and the following leaflet. Print a copy for them if appropriate and inform the DSL peoples-booklet.pdf O) Children required to give evidence in court Children required to give evidence in criminal courts, either for crimes against them or crimes they have witnessed, should be offered pastoral support as necessary – please contact your DSL for details. Please also ensure that they are provided with the booklet “Going to Court” which can be obtained from HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) P) Children’s Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Acti-Fit recognises that children with “SEND” can face additional safeguarding challenges and understands that further barriers may exist when determining abuse and neglect in this group of learners. Our staff will be aware of the following:
    • Certain indicators of abuse, such as behaviour, mood, and injury, may relate to the child’s disability without further exploration; however, it should never be assumed that indicators relate only to their disability
    • Children with “SEND” can be disproportionately impacted by things like bullying, without outwardly showing any signs
    • Communication barriers may exist, as well as difficulties in overcoming these barriers

• When reporting concerns or making referrals for children with “SEND”, the DSL will liaise with the child’s family where appropriate, to ensure that the child’s needs are effectively met.

Q) Neglect

Neglect can often be unseen and difficult to spot but takes many different forms and is the most common form of child abuse. Children can be left continually hungry or dirty, without proper clothing, shelter, supervision, or health care. Its long-term effects on their physical and mental wellbeing can be catastrophic.

  • Physical neglect
    A child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, or shelter, are not met or they are not properly supervised or kept safe.
  • Educational neglect
    A parent does not ensure their child is given an education.
  • Emotional neglect
    A child does not get the nurture and stimulation they need. This could be through ignoring, humiliating, intimidating, or isolating them.
  • Medical neglect
    A child is not given proper health care. This includes dental care and refusing or ignoring medical recommendations. R) Physical Abuse Physical abuse is any way of intentionally causing physical harm to a child, young person, or vulnerable adult. It also includes making up the symptoms of an illness or causing a child to become unwell.
    It includes:
  • hitting with hands or objects
  • slapping and punching
  • kicking, shaking, throwing, breaking bones
  • poisoning
  • burning and scalding
  • biting and scratching
  • breaking bones If a child or vulnerable adult regularly has injuries, there seems to be a pattern to the injuries or the explanation does not match the injuries, then this should be reported. Physical abuse symptoms include:
  • bruises
  • broken or fractured bones
  • burns or scalds
  • bite marks. It can also include other injuries and health problems, such as: • scarring • the effects of poisoning, such as vomiting, drowsiness or seizures • breathing problems from drowning, suffocation, or poisoning. Head injuries in babies and toddlers can be signs of abuse so it is important to be aware of these. Visible signs include:
  • swelling or bruising
  • fractures
  • being extremely sleepy or unconscious
  • breathing problems
  • seizures
  • vomiting
  • unusual behaviour, such as being irritable or not feeding properly. S) Sexual Abuse When a child or young person is sexually abused, they are forced or tricked into sexual activities. They might not understand that what is happening is abuse or that it is wrong. And they might be afraid to tell someone. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere – and it can happen in person or online. It is never a child’s fault they were sexually abused – it is important to make sure children know this.

There are 2 types of sexual abuse – contact and non-contact abuse. And sexual abuse can happen in person or online.

Contact abuse is where an abuser makes physical contact with a child. This includes:

  • sexual touching of any part of a child’s body, whether they are clothed or not
  • using a body part or object to rape or penetrate a child
  • forcing a child to take part in sexual activities
  • making a child undress or touch someone else.
  • It can also include touching, kissing and oral sex – sexual abuse is not just penetrative. Non-contact abuse is where a child is abused without being touched by the abuser. This can be in person or online and includes: • exposing or flashing
    • showing pornography
    • exposing a child to sexual acts
    • making them masturbate
    • forcing a child to make, view or share child abuse images or videos
    • making, viewing, or distributing child abuse images or videos
    • forcing a child to take part in sexual activities or conversations online or through a smartphone. T) Sexting – Sharing of nude and semi-nude Images “Sexting” describes the use of technology to share sexual and sexually implied content. This content includes texts, photos of partial nudity and sexual images for video. This can be shared between partners, peers, and strangers. Individuals may use a range of technology to share the content. It is important to remember that children and young people demonstrate a range of sexual behaviours as they grow up including sharing explicit messages and images. However, sexting can leave a young person feeling vulnerable to bullying, blackmail, online grooming, or abuse. Some young people can feel pressured into sexting when they do not want to. Here is an example scenario “The coach of a community football club notices that a 15-year-old is unhappy and asks what has happened. The boy tells his coach that he sent an explicit photo of himself to his 16-year-old boyfriend. He says he did not feel pressured into sending the photo and believed that it would remain private between the two of them, but then his boyfriend shared it with their friends, which he did not consent to. He is now being bullied about it by friends and other people who have seen the image” U) Self-Harm/Suicidal thoughts/Risk to others Individuals – both children and adults may at certain times experience a significant level of personal, emotional trauma and or stress, which can lead to self-harm, suicidal tendencies, or the potential risk to harm others. There are lots of things you can do to support someone who is self-harming. Your attitude and how you relate to them is one of the key things you can do to help them feel supported. Try not to be judgemental and let them know you are there for them, but remember you are not an expert and so don’t be afraid to sign post them to organisations that can help them: Remember to report to the DSL or If someone express suicidal thoughts – it is important that you talk to them about their feelings and encourage them to contact the Samaritans or talk to someone they feel they can trust. Check in on them regularly and make sure they know you care. Ensure you report to the DSL. The Samaritans can be contacted on: 116 123 or email Risk to Others If you suspect that a person’s life is in immediate danger, always seek professional emergency assistance and call 999. Do not take on an unstable or volatile situation on your own. When it is safe to do so always report it to the DSL/Head of Safeguarding.

V) Online/E Safety

Most of us are “connected to the digital world” via our laptops, mobile phones, tablets or personal computers. The internet is a valuable resource for entertainment and learning but the risk of illegal activity or abuse is very real. Unlike seeing someone face to face, on the net, people aren’t always what they first seem. In the same way you learn about safety when you leave the house, it is important to learn how to stay safe online.

1. What are the key risks?

  • Cyber Bullying, Harassment and Stalking – see Cyber Bullying and Harassment Policy
  • Eating Disorder and Self-Harm sites
  • Digital Footprint and Privacy
  • Identity Theft/Fraud
  • Grooming, sexual abuse, sexting and sexual exploitation
  • Radicalisation – see Prevent Duty Policy and Procedures
  • Security W) Cyber bullying, Harassment and Stalking Cyber bullying can be insidious as the bully is often unseen and ever present, but the bully can be traced as there is prominent evidence that it’s happened and where it’s come from so it’s important to report it. Harassment on the internet can be just as frightening as other forms of stalking, with women and girls being the most at risk from this kind of behaviour (but not exclusively). It can begin when a relationship ends, or when a purely online friendship turns sour. It can begin entirely at random, by one online stranger – particularly if the victim has widely shared information and images of themselves X) Eating Disorder and Self-Harm sites Although these sites are well hidden, Anorexia and Bulimia content can be found in forums or social networks aimed at young people. They offer children and young people the opportunity to discuss their eating disorders and their associated behaviours can be promoted. Some sites promote “thinspiration” and “ideal” body images which incite and encourage dangerous behaviours. Some blogs, forums and websites can reinforce harmful offline behaviours and encourage children and young people to self-harm. They may provide detailed information on how to self-harm, such as through pictures and films. They may promote cutting and in some instances, ways in which children and young people can take their own lives. There are many websites, forums and online chatrooms that work to support mental health and prevent young suicide. However, there are also pro-suicide sites operating legally in the UK that promote suicide. Support can be sought from
  • Childline –
  • Beat – The UK’s eating disorder charity Y) Digital Footprint and Privacy The internet provides children and young people with exciting opportunities to create and share their own content with others. Some young people achieve a level of fame and fortune from becoming vloggers and sharing pictures, videos and text online, which can be exciting and enticing. Sharing personal information and images can be risky and some people find that their digital footprint has caused them problems. Some people may find that content they shared when they were younger causes problems later on when applying for a course or a job. Personal or embarrassing comments, images or videos shared online can be hard to remove. Your digital footprint is the mark that you leave behind when using the internet and it can shape your online reputation. Your digital footprints are made up of the content you create, post and share; as well as the content that others post and share with you and about you. Your digital footprint can be positive or negative and affects how people see you now or in the future.

Digital Footprint Test

Before posting something online, young people should think about:

  • Who might see it – both now and in the future
  • What personal information it gives away about them, for example, the school they attend, their place of work or their home address
  • What impression it gives of them Does it pass the Billboard Test? If they wouldn’t want it to appear on a billboard for all to see, it’s probably not a good idea to share it online. Use this simple checklist to help manage and maintain your online reputation.
  1. Search yourself online. Do you know what is online about you? Do a simple web search of your name and see what you can find. If you find something you aren’t happy with, take the necessary steps to get that content removed. Remember if your Facebook or Twitter pages appear you can change this by adjusting your privacy settings.
  2. Check privacy settings. Make sure you know what information you are sharing on the websites you use and how to block people if you need to.
  3. Think before you post. Before you post that funny picture of your friend, or make that joke about someone on Twitter, ask yourself do you want everyone to see it; friends, family, grandparents, future employers? Would you be happy for others to post that type of content about you? You should be proud of everything you post online. Remember, once it is online it could potentially be there forever!
  4. Deactivate and delete. When you stop using a social networking profile or website, it’s a good idea to deactivate or delete your account. This will mean the content is no longer live and should not be searchable online; it will also remove the risk of these accounts being hacked without you knowing.

What are the first three results when you Google yourself?

Z) Identity theft

Identity theft is the UK’s fastest growing method used to carry out crimes. When people share so much about their lives online, it gives criminals the opportunity to collect information and use it to find out other personal details (e.g. using information they know about you to answer the secret question and change your password to be able to access your account) or to use what they do know about you to sign up for new accounts, products or services in your name.

Phishing attacks, whereby contact is made by a seemingly reputable company (e.g. your bank) asking you for personal information, help fraudsters to gather more information about someone. It is important to note that remembering a friend’s password and posing as them on social media can be a form of identity theft, which breaks the terms and conditions of the site, and is illegal in the UK

It is important to remember your digital footprint; anything that you publicly post online could stay online forever. The more information you share about yourself online, the easier it is for a fraudster to gather personal information about you. Be careful about the pictures and information you share online – could there be a password written on a page in the background? Make sure your social media accounts are set to private and you are only sharing personal information online with people that you already know and trust offline. If you are worried about someone impersonating you online, you can report this on social media.

If you realise your bank account or your personal information is being used by someone else, you can report suspected fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. They have more information on their site


The internet is a great place for communicating, research, and playing games, but it is also important to think about your safety and security while online. In the wider sense Acti-Fit takes responsibility for ensuring that there is an appropriate level of security in place to protect any personal data held. In order to fulfil this responsibility Acti-Fit ensures that:

  • ✓  Guidelines and advice for information security are checked
  • ✓  Security softwear is kept up to date using standard auto updating carried out daily; Enhanced filtering and protection of firewalls, servers, routers, work-stations etc
  • ✓  Staff receive appropriate training
  • ✓  Learner & children’s data is digitally stored safely and computers storing the data are physically secured
  • ✓  Confidential data stored on portable devices, such as laptops or USB disks, is encrypted
  • ✓  Strong passwords are used to protect security and identity
  • ✓  Confidential correspondence is kept and distributed in line with GDPR regulations
  • ✓  We are able to respond quickly and effectively to any security breach
  • ✓  Any incident is reported to the DSL To help keep your information private and your devices secure, follow these top four tips: 1. Be careful what you share online. Don’t reveal too much personal information while on social networks, as it can make it easier for people to track where you are or to learn more about you. Before posting a picture, think about what information it gives away e.g. a uniform can give away where you work, and details in the background can help someone identify landmarks and locations. The more information you publicly share online, the more opportunities someone has to impersonate you. 2. Keep passwords secure. To prevent other people guessing your password, accessing your personal information or ‘hacking’ your account, make sure your passwords are secure and that you don’t share your passwords with anyone else. 3. Install anti-virus protection and firewalls on your devices. To ensure your device is secure, you should install anti-virus protection on your computer, tablet and phone and keep it regularly updated to ensure they are protected against the latest viruses. Firewalls are also helpful as they create a barrier between your device and the internet. It limits both incoming and outgoing information and keeps your device safe from intruders. 4. Don’t reply to spam. If you reply to the messages, click on a link in them or click ‘unsubscribe’, you are merely informing the spammer that your email is a valid one. It is best to delete spam, or to ‘report as spam’ so that your email provider’s spam filters are trained to know what spam/junk emails look like. Grooming and Sexting
    Grooming is a process through which an offender seeks to build trust with a child or young person for the purpose of sexually abusing them. Grooming can be facilitated by technology and most instances of grooming now contain an online component. Offenders build and exploit a trusting relationship with a child or young person and uses that trust to exercise manipulation, coercion and control. Creating a relationship with a child or young person in order to later abuse them can be far easier online. Procedures for safeguarding and preventing online abuse To prevent online abuse, it is vital that Acti-Fit’s staff:
  1. Learn about the risks associated with online activities and complete e-safety training
  2. Develop the awareness and skills needed to keep safe online
  3. Know where to go for help
  4. Know how to report unacceptable activity or behaviour
  5. Complete an “Online Risk Assessment Self Audit” annually to test and refresh knowledge
  6. Comply with Acti-Fit’s Safeguarding Code of Conduct which includes: Not engaging with children/learners on social networking sites
    Keeping personal information private online
    Considering the long-term implications of content posted online
    Not uploading or posting inappropriate offensive or illegal content on any online space.

Acti-Fit’s Roles and Responsibilities

e-safety is an issue that affects the whole company and the implications of e-safety are considered across all areas. All staff are responsible for ensuring the safety of students/learners/apprentices/children and should report any concerns immediately to their line manager. All staff are required to familiarise themselves with the appropriate policy and procedures. Senior Management should co-ordinate and record any reported misuse of technology, in order to inform the relevant agencies, such as the police. These roles and responsibilities are covered by the following:

IT/Network Manager – Acti-Fit uses the services of an independent IT Solutions company to guide and support the technology infrastructure of the company, who carry out regular checks of the network for indications of misuse and ensure security systems are in place

Staff – ensure e-safety is embedded into preparation sessions for children who are participating in online activities – especially if these are provided by third party providers, for example when delivering e-sports at holiday clubs.

All children in our care must know what to do if they have online safety concerns and who to talk to. In most cases this will be their:

  • Coach or trainer
  • Their parents/carers or school
    Where appropriate, the DSL may be asked to intervene with appropriate additional support from external agencies Keeping children safe online
  • Children are considered to be a specific cohort of greater risk, due the vulnerabilities of their age.
  • If e-sports forms part of any activities, it is essential that a dialogue is opened up about the following four topics:
    1. What is e-safety? This is a good way to audit their current knowledge
    2. Responsible use of social networking? Share a fictitious social network profile and ask the child how this person is protecting their personal information and what they are doing wrong
    3. Are you a Cyberbully? Have they ever sent a “joke” that could have been interpreted as an act of unintentional bullying?
    4. What is your digital footprint? What information is there about you online? – see section 6
  • Make sure that all equipment has appropriate monitoring and filtering programmes on and that dangerous sites are blocked
  • Make sure online safety is an ongoing part of the child’s activity.
  • Supervise all online activity – do not leave children alone
  • Share the following with children: Golden rules Don’t give out personal information such as your address or phone number. Don’t send pictures of yourself to anyone, especially indecent pictures. Don’t open emails or attachments from people you don’t know.
    Don’t become online ‘friends’ with people you don’t know. Never arrange to meet someone in person who you’ve met online.
    If anything you see or read online worries you, tell someone about it. Responding to Online Abuse If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
    worried but the child or young person is not in immediate danger, in the first instance you should consult share your concerns with your Line Manager and DSL. Where appropriate share your concerns with the following:

• For guidance and advice – contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email Their trained professionals will talk through your concerns with you and give you expert advice

  • Contact your local “Safeguarding Partners”
  • Contact the Police
  • If your concern is about online sexual abuse, you can make a report to the National Crime Agency – Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) The police and NSPCC will assess the situation and take action to protect the child as appropriate. This may include making a referral to the local authority. Services will risk assess the situation and take action to protect the child as appropriate either through statutory involvement or other support. This may include making a referral to the local authority. Safeguarding responses to cases of online abuse If you identify a case of online abuse – it is extremely important to understand the impact it can have on the individuals’ wellbeing. In any instance where a child/young person discloses or shares concerns about online abuse, including bullying, identity theft, grooming, sexting, you should:
  • Listen calmly to what he or she has to say
  • Remember that the young person may be embarrassed and/or ashamed
  • Be non-judgmental and make sure the young person knows that abuse is never their fault.
  • It is also important to understand that online and offline abuse are often entwined and to ensure you ask tactful questions. This will enable you and Acti-Fit to provide the young person with the right support.
  • Where appropriate – parents should be informed about cases of online abuse unless to do so would put the young person at further risk of harm.
  • They may need additional support to understand what has happened and how best to help their child. In this instance signpost them to the NSPCC Helpline who are trained in supporting parents and families
  • If a young person tells you they’ve been involved in sexting it’s important to be understanding and non-judgmental. Try to find out a bit more about what’s happened, including who sent the image and who has seen it. Never view or save explicit images, videos or messages. You should take the following steps to get an explicit image or video removed if it’s been posted online. ➢ Report the image to the site or network hosting it.
    • ➢  Contact the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).
    • ➢  Children and young people can use Childline’s Report Remove tool.
    • ➢  Importantly the young person who has experienced online abuse will need to be

provided with ongoing support and should be signposted to Childline.

Prevent Duty

The Government published the Prevent Strategy in 2010, to raise an awareness of the specific need to safeguard children, young people and families from violent extremism.

Extremist groups attempt to radicalise vulnerable children and young people to hold extreme views including views justifying political, religious, sexist or racist violence, or to steer them into a rigid and narrow ideology that is intolerant of diversity and leaves them vulnerable to future radicalisation.

Prevent is about safeguarding our children to keep them both safe and within the law. The Prevent Duty is not about preventing children from having political and religious views and concerns, but it is about supporting them to use those views and concerns or act on them, in non-extremist ways.

The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty on certain bodies to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’

Responding to suspicions of Radicalisation and Extremism

We are alert to changes in a learner’s behaviour or attitude which could indicate that they need help or protection:
When any colleague has concerns that a child may be at risk of radicalisation or involvement in terrorism, they should speak with the Designated Safeguarding Lead for investigation and action

Disclosure records are held by the DSL and Head of Operations and stored on a secure server Colleagues take care not to influence the outcome either through the way they speak to or question children/adults at risk.

We will continue to welcome the child whilst investigations are being made. The child or their parents/carer may choose to withdraw from our activities whilst investigations take place.
All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared under guidance of the Local BIS Prevent Coordinator.

Please refer to Acti-Fits Prevent Duty Policy and Procedures and its associated appendices for more information

23. Procedures on What to do if you have a concern about a child
The child or young person’s welfare is paramount, and this means that the individual’s safety and protection must be the most important consideration and take priority over everything else.

These procedures outline what action should be taken if you have concerns about an individual’s safeguarding, including child protection.

The procedures also explain what action should be taken if no satisfactory action has been agreed with the relevant local authority/police or school (as appropriate) – this is referred to in section 11 as the resolution and escalation process

23.2 The procedures apply to the following individuals: all staff including management, secondees, interns, apprentices, agency staff, or students, who in the course of their work have information or receive information that gives them cause for concern about a child’s or young person’s safety and protection

23.3 Steps to take if you have concerns about a child or young person, or have safeguarding concerns about a colleague:


The key principles – known as the 4 R’s for referring concerns are:
Recognise concerns that a child or young person is being harmed or might be at risk of harm

Respond appropriately to a child or young person who is telling you what is happening to him or her Refer the concerns, if appropriate, to the NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000, police, or your local

safeguarding partners

Record the concerns appropriately and any subsequent action taken; do not delay in passing on concerns. Timescales are in place to ensure the matters are resolved in a timely way, but these are the maximum allowed and nothing should prevent a speedier response if this is required

23.4 Escalation and resolution.

In addition, Acti-Fit has a responsibility to ensure that appropriate protective action is taken by the police or local safeguarding partners and, if not, to escalate the concern so as to establish the right protective action is taken in order to ensure the individual is safe.

23.5. Relevant policies and procedures
Safeguarding Code of Conduct
2. Prevent Duty – Practice Guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults from radicalisation and extremism
3. Prevent Duty – Policy and Procedures and Accompanying Notes
4. Procedure for managing safeguarding allegations against staff
5. Online Safety Policy and Procedures

23.6. Reporting serious incidents to the Company Directors and Designated Safeguarding Lead
All incidents should be reported to The DSL and the Company Directors on the same day. This information can be brief in the first instance, with further information to follow if and as necessary.

23.7. Recognition of Abuse

“Abuse: is a form of maltreatment of a child or young person. Somebody may abuse or neglect an individual by inflicting harm, or by failing to prevent harm. An individual may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult, or adults, or another child or children”

A concern about an individual’s safety and welfare might arise as a result of:
a) A child or young person saying s/he is being abused or telling you about an experience or event that has happened to them that you think would be harmful
b) You are identifying signs or indicators of abuse or neglect *See Types and Indicators of Abuse including FGM, Homelessness and Modern Slavery Policy
The individual’s behaviour gives cause for concern

  1. d)  You directly witness a child being harmed by an adult or other young person
  2. e)  Somebody tells you, either face to face or by other means of communication, that a child or

young person is being harmed or is at risk of harm
f) The behaviour or language of an adult gives you cause for concern
g) A situation where the child is a foreign national and it is not clear who their parents/carer are, or that the child is with adults where the relationship is not clear

There are 4 types of child abuse: Physical, sexual, emotional and neglect

There are 11 categories of abuse: County Lines, Domestic Abuse, Discriminatory Abuse, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), Financial Abuse, Modern Slavery, Neglect, Organisational Abuse, Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse, sexual Abuse.

23.8. What to do if you have concerns that a Child or Young person’s life is threatened or is at risk of immediate harm
If it appears that the child needs urgent medical attention or needs police protection due to imminent harm, then:

1. Contact the emergency services on 999
Inform the DSL and the Company Directors 3. Record

What you can do if you are not sure

If you think a child might be being abused but they have not said anything to you, there are things you can do which can help.

Talk to them

Most people who are being abused find it exceedingly difficult to talk about. Or might not have somebody in their life they trust. Keep talking to them to help build a positive, trusting relationship. They may come to you when they are ready to talk.

Keep a diary

Keeping note of your concerns and how the child is behaving can help you identify patterns of behaviour and keep a track of what has been happening.

Talk to their teacher or coach confidentially

They may have spotted signs or noticed they are acting differently.

Speak to other people

Talking about your worries with someone you trust such as your DSL or line manager. It will help

you get someone else’s perspective. Sharing your concerns may help you feel more confident about taking the next steps.

Talk to the NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000

Their counsellors are there to listen to your concerns and offer support and advice. You can contact them anonymously if it makes you feel more comfortable.

23.9. Responding to concerns expressed by a child or young person

If you are in a situation where a child or young person discloses abuse to you, there are several steps you can take:
1. Listen carefully: Avoid expressing your own views on the matter. A reaction of shock or disbelief could cause the child to shut down, retract or stop talking

2. Let them know they have done the right thing: Reassurance can make a big impact to the child who may have been keeping the abuse secret for a long time

  1. Tell them it is not their fault: Abuse is never the child’s fault and they need to know this
  2. Tell them you are taking them seriously: Children keep abuse secret in fear they will not be

believed or taken seriously. They have told you because they want help and trust you to be the person who will listen and support them

5. Do not talk to the alleged abuser: Confronting the alleged abuser about what the child has told you could make the situation a lot worse for the individual
6. Explain what you are going to do next: Explain that you will need to report the abuse to someone who will be able to help

7. Do not delay reporting the abuse: The sooner the abuse is reported the better. Report as soon as possible so details are fresh in your mind and action can be taken quickly

23.10. The following organisations can provide help and support:

If the young person is under the age of 18, at an appropriate point in the conversation let the child know that s/he can also contact
Childline for support on 0800 1111

Victim Support –
Rape Crisis –
The Survivors Trust –
Male Survivors Partnership –
Refuge –
National Domestic Abuse Helpline – Women’s Aid –

24. Confidentiality, information sharing and records retention

Effective information sharing between organisations and safeguarding agencies, partnerships etc is essential for effective safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. Missed opportunities to record, understand the significance of and sharing information in a timely manner, can have severe consequences for the safety and welfare of the children at risk

24.1. The Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and human rights law, are not barriers to justifying information sharing, but provide a framework to ensure that person information about living individuals is shared appropriately and must be adhered to when handling personal information.

The golden rules to sharing information are:
1.Be open and honest with the child (and/or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so. If you have decided that you have a duty to share information anyway, then you should not seek consent, but should still explain what you intend

to do. You will need to base your judgement on the facts of the case. You will need to balance what might happen if you share, with what might happen if you do not

2.Seek advice if you are in any doubt, without disclosing the identity of the child if possible.

3.Consider safety and wellbeing: base your information-sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and wellbeing of the child and others who may be affected by their actions. In most cases, it is appropriate to seek consent. However, there are some cases where it is not

4.Necessary, proportionate, relevant, adequate, accurate, timely and secure: ensure that the information you share is necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, it is shared only with those individuals who need to have it, is accurate and up-to-date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely

5. Keep a record of your decision and the reasons for it – whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose

24.2. Fears about sharing information cannot stand in the way of the need to safeguard and protect the safety of children and young people.
Acti-Fit does not need to seek consent to share information if it might:
1. Be unsafe to seek (e.g., seeking consent might increase the risk to the child, or

2. Cause an unjustified delay, or
3. Prejudice the safeguarding from harm of the individual

An individual can always seek advice from their line manager, DSL, MASH or the NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000 about whether or not to inform the child and their family where they identify concerns that they intend to share with an external agency

When the NSPCC Helpline receives information about concerns it will normally pass on referrer details to the recipient unless to do so would endanger the child or family or where it is an anonymous referral

Staff should pass on information as necessary, and no individual should assume that someone else will pass on information which may be critical to keeping a child safe or that all professionals involved have the same information and knowledge of the family

Information should be shared in a secure and safe manner

If individuals identify an individual in need of early help and support because there are concerns about the child’s welfare, then they can signpost the child or young person, along with their families to support services. However, they cannot make an actual referral to any support service without the consent of the child (dependent on age) and his/her family, or their legal guardian in the event that there is no identified responsible adult for the child.

Records and information pertaining to children and their families must be stored, retained, and destroyed within the relevant time frames and information security requirements.

25. Safeguarding in specific circumstances

Different types of abuse can present in specific circumstances whereby additional knowledge and sometimes additional procedures are necessary to those already contained in this document. Therefore, staff should be familiar with the following guidance and procedures

* Honour based violence – see “Types & Indicators of Child Abuse” Policy – Section 11, Page 8 * Forced Marriage – see “Types and Indicators of Child Abuse” Policy – section 8, page 7
* Child sexual exploitation – see “Types & Indicators of Child Abuse” Policy – section 3, page 3 * Child Trafficking – see “Types and Indicators of Child Abuse” Policy – section 4, page 4

* Domestic abuse – see “Types and Indicators of Child Abuse” Policy – section 5, page 6

26. Key procedures in making referrals and accessing early help

All staff and volunteers should be aware of the referral pathway in the areas we operate in: Wolverhampton, Walsall, Cannock, Sutton Coldfield and Nuneaton. These are referred to as MASH Making a Referral to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Referral Hub (MASH)

Everyone has a responsibility for the protection of children and there is a duty placed on all those working with children and families to report concerns. This is not a matter for individual choice. Never delay emergency action to protect a child. Anyone believing a child is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm must make a referral to the Children and Young People’s service as soon as possible

Under no circumstances should any essential emergency action to safeguard a child or urgent medical treatment be delayed

The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is the single point of contact for all early help and safeguarding concerns regarding children and young people. It brings together expert professionals, from a range of services that have contact with children, young people and families, making the best possible use of their combined knowledge and information to meet children’s needs and keep them safe.


a) Is a ‘front door’ to manage early help and safeguarding referrals.
b) Provides a secure and confidential environment for professionals to share information
c) Enable early identification of potential safeguarding concerns and facilitates access to timely and effective interventions
d) Prioritises referrals using Red, Amber and Green (RAG) rating
e) Makes sure that cases that don’t meet the Threshold for Children’s Social Care are picked up by other agencies as Early Help or other appropriate support
f) Where necessary, activates ‘immediate response’ social work services to provide protection for a child or young person(s)

To report any concerns about a child’s safety or wellbeing – contact your local authority MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) Early Help and Social Care staff in the MASH will carry out a range of information checks to see what if any additional information there is in ‘partners’ files to ensure the best possible picture of the family is used to inform decisions about keeping children safe and the sort of help and support the family might need

Don’t’ forget, if you are not sure whether or not to call The MASH – just do it: always do something rather than nothing. The experienced staff in the MASH will be more than happy to talk through your concerns and help decide on the best way forward.

Once a telephone referral has been made, the member of staff making the referral must fill out and return a completed Multi-agency referral form to The MASH within 24 hours

The better the information you put on the Multi-Agency Referral Form, the more likely it is that the staff in The MASH will be able to make an accurate, safe and swift decision about how best to manage any risks and help both the child(ren) and their family.

The written referral should be acknowledged by The MASH within three working days of receipt of the initial contact indicating the actions to be taken.

The actions which may be taken in response to a referral are: a) No further action is taken
b) Provision of information and advice
c) Referral or signposting to other agencies

d) Single assessment

If the referrer has not received an acknowledgement within three working days, they should contact MASH again.

Where available, the following information should be provided with the referral (but absence of information must not delay referral). Where a Common Assessment has begun or been completed, this information may already have been recorded.

1. Full names, date of birth and gender of the child or children 2. Family address
3. Identity of those with Parental Responsibility
4. Names and date of birth of all household members

5. Ethnicity, first language and religion of the children and parent’s/carers
6. Any need for an interpreter, signer or other communication aid
7. Any special needs of the child or children
8. Any significant/important recent or historical events/incidents in the child or family’s life 9. Cause for concern including details of any allegations, their sources, timing and location 10. Child’s current location and emotional and physical condition

11. Referrer’s relationship and knowledge of the child and parents/carers
12. Known current or previous involvement of other agencies/professionals
13. Information regarding parental knowledge of, and agreement to, the referral

The Early Help Assessment Form is not a referral form although it may be used to support a referral or a specialist assessment

Normally a referral should be made only with the knowledge and informed consent of at least one person holding Parental Responsibility and the young person (if appropriate). However, in some child protection cases seeking parental consent to a referral may increase the risk of Significant Harm to the child and/or prejudice any police investigation. For Example:

1. Where Sexual abuse is suspected or disclosed
2. Where fabricated or induced illness is suspected
3. Where there are fears for the safety of a child, or others when informing parents, carers or others 4. Where it is not possible to contact the person whose consent is required immediately, and prompt action is required to establish or ensure the child’s safety.

26.1. Parents responses that cause concern

Research and experience indicates that the following response from parents or carers may suggest a cause for concern across all categories of abuse:-
1. Delay in seeking treatment that is obviously needed
2. Lack of awareness or denial of any injury, pain or loss of function (e.g., broken limb)

3. Incompatible explanations offered, several different explanations
4. Child is said to have acted in a way that is inappropriate to his/her age and development
5. Reluctance to give information or failure to mention other known injuries
6. Frequent presentation of minor injuries
7. A persistently negative attitude towards the child
8. Unrealistic expectations or constant complaints about the child
9. Alcohol misuse or other drug/substance misuse
10. Parents’ request removal of the child from home, or violence between adults in the household

27. Local Safeguarding Partners/MASH/Children’s Services

Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership If you have any concerns about the safety and/or welfare of a child or young person telephone the Children’s Advice & Support Service (CASS) on 0121 303 1888 or via secure email; Outside of normal office hours call 0121 675 4806 for the Emergency Duty Team


Cannock’s DSL’s for children, young people and vulnerable adults are:
Nirmal Samrai – 01543 464210 –
Oliver Greatbatch – 01543 464477 – Duncan Rollo – 01543 464387 –

• First Response Team (FRT) – 0800 131 3126 (between 8am and 5.30pm and 4.30pm on a Friday) or via a brief email

• Outside of 8am and 5.30pm – Emergency Duty Service (EDS) – 0845 604 2886
• Vulnerable Adult Referral 0345 604 2719
• Alternatively you can contact Staffordshire Police Central Referral Unit on 101 or Dial 999 in

an emergency

Coventry Safeguarding Children Partnership
if there is no immediate danger or you need advice or information, you should call the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub on 024 7678 8555.

Rugby and Warwickshire
Warwickshire Safeguarding
Making a Safeguarding Referral for Children:
Before making a referral
– please take a look at the Spectrum of Support document to decide whether your concerns require a referral to Children’s Social Care.
For urgent concerns – if you have an urgent child protection concern and need to get in touch with us, call the Front Door on 01926 414144.
Lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday – 8.30am – 5:30pm
  • Friday – 8.30am – 5:00pm
    You will then need to complete and return a Multi-Agency Contact Form (MAC) and send via email to the Front Door team:
    Please email –
    Out of hours – if you need to get in touch out of usual office hours, please contact the Emergency Duty Team immediately on 01926 886922.
    – if you think that a child is at immediate risk, contact the police immediately on 999. Non-urgent concerns – complete the Multi Agency Contact Form and send to email address as stated above. Nuneaton The safety and welfare of children, or child protection, means protecting children from physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect. All children have a right to be well looked after and protected from harm. Safeguarding children is everyone’s business. If you are worried about any child and think that they may be a victim of neglect, abuse or cruelty, there are several contacts below to contact if you concerned about any child. Do not keep this to yourself, don’t ignore it, child abuse of any kind is very serious and action must be taken quickly.
  • In an emergency, please dial 999
  • If you wish to make a new Safeguarding referral, please telephone the Warwickshire Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (known as MASH) ON 01926 414 144
    If you require any further advice or guidance, please use these contacts:
  • Warwickshire Safeguarding Children Board, Saltisford, Office Park, Ansell Way, Warwick, CV34 4UL. Telephone: 01926 742 510
  • Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Audit and Governance Team, Town Hall, Coton Road, Nuneaton, CV11 5AA. Telephone: 024 7637 6333

Walsall Safeguarding Partnership
If you suspect that a child or young person is being, or is at risk of being significantly harmed as a result of abuse or neglect, you must report this immediately:

  • During office hours (Monday – Thursday, 8.45am – 5.15pm Friday, 8.45am – 4.45pm) call Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub: 0300 555 2866
  • Out of office hours (evenings, weekends and bank holidays) Emergency Response Team Telephone: 0300 555 2922 To make a child protection referral, please send all information to the MASH using the Multi Agency Referral Form (MARF)
    Download the MARF available on the West Midlands Regional Proceducres
    Please send your completed form to: If you or another adult you know is being abused, we can help. Please contact us, we will work with you and listen to you.
    Telephone: 0300 555 2922
    Textphone: 07919014925 Email:
    Website: Wolverhampton
    Telephone: 01902 555392
    Out of hours please call Emergency Duty Team on 01902 552999 Reporting an Adult Safeguarding Concern:
    I feel I am being abused or neglected, how can I report this?
    1. Tell someone you trust immediately; this might be:
  • a family member
  • a friend
  • a visiting professional such as a nurse or care worker
  • your family doctor (GP)
  • a hospital doctor or nurse
  • a Police officer
  • a housing officer All of these people will be able to help you. They will pass on the information you give them to someone who can help or will help you to pass this information on yourself.
    They will not do anything which will make things worse for you and your views, wishes and feelings will always be considered. 2. Where an adult is:
  • Unable to look after themselves, due to the level of their care and support needs, and
  • Is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect Contact Social Care and Support on: 01926 412080. Our social care and support teams can offer advice and support to you and, where necessary, arrange appropriate services.
    3. To report a crime or raise a concern about abuse with Warwickshire Police, you can phone non- emergency number on: 101. But if it is an emergency always dial: 999 Wolverhampton
    If you are concerned about a vulnerable adult Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5pm, Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm 01902 551199; If you are concerned about a child or young person 01902 555392
  • For emergencies out of hours 01902 552999
  • If immediate action is needed dial 999

28. Localised Threats and Risks to safety
“Know the risks, be informed, get prepared, stay safe”

The same safety threats occur across the country with higher and lower variances according to the local demographic. In the main, city and town centres pose greater threats to young people. The key threats are:

  • Gangs, Knife crime and drugs
  • County lines
  • Violence and sexual offences
  • Terrorism
  • Bicycle theft
  • Vehicle crime
  • Drink Spiking 29. Corporate policies and procedures mandatory reading In addition to this policy, all staff and those acting on our behalf must read and understand the following safeguarding policies and procedures:
    Bullying and Harassment
    Information Sharing
    Online Safety policies & procedures
    Procedures for Photographing and Filming Children
    Prevent Duty Policy and Procedures
    Procedures on what to do if you have a concern about a child or Adult Procedure for managing safeguarding allegations against staff Safeguarding code of conduct and agreement
    Safe Recruitment
    Send Policy
    Types and indicators of Abuse