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Little People UK

Child and Vulnerable Adults Protection Policy

1. Child and Vulnerable Adults Protection Policy

Little People UK (LPUK) believes that concern for the general wellbeing and welfare of all children and young people who are members of or associated with the LPUK is of paramount importance. It is hoped that this policy will help promote good health and development for young people connected with the LPUK, particularly those with dwarfism conditions.

DEFINITION

A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989)

A Vulnerable Adult is defined as any person aged 18 or over who is or may be in need of assistance by reason of mental or physical or learning impairment, age or illness, who is or maybe unable to take care of him/herself against significant harm or serious exploitation which may be occasioned by the actions or inactions of other people. 

2. Scope

This policy applies to all areas of LPUK's activities where children/vulnerable adults are concerned and in particular, to LPUK's organised events where children and young people are likely to be present. 

3. Aim of Policy

The aim of the policy is to highlight those issues most relevant to a child/vulnerable adults protection and to assist staff, members of the Committee and adult members of LPUK recognise those issues and to handle them properly. The protection of children/vulnerable adults has to be the key priority for all employees and members of the LPUK. The policy is not intended to be a good practice guide but is intended to provide advice and assistance. 

The protection of children/vulnerable adults is of equal importance for their well-being, the good name of LPUK and our own personal safeguards as representatives of LPUK. 

4. The Issues

a. Child/Vulnerable Adult abuse 

The Children Act 1989 requires that if the local authority has 'reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm*, they must make, or cause to be made, such enquiries as they consider necessary……'  

Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or failing to act to prevent harm. Children/vulnerable adults may be abused in a family or in an institution or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. A child/vulnerable adult may suffer more than one category of abuse. The following definitions of child abuse recommended for registration are as stated in the joint government departments’ document, ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ published in 2005. Any amendments to the definitions will be posted in the updated version of notes on our website. Each definition is preceded by a typical example. 

b. Physical Abuse.

Boy (a) (13 Years). A teacher had noticed bruising when Boy (a) was changing for PE. Stepfather told Boy (a) to say that they were the result of a rough game of football. A doctor found bruises on his trunk, arms buttocks and legs. Boy (a) later said that stepfather had ‘hit him all over’.

Definition. Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.  Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.    

c. Sexual Abuse.

Girl (a) (6 years). Friend of the family, Girl (b) aged 14, who babysits, started getting into her bed to play secret games. Girl (a) now cries if she is going to be left.  

Definition. Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.  The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (eg rape or buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts (oral sex).  They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.  

d. Neglect

Boy (b) (3 years). Child is left in his cot most of the day and fed on a diet of cola and chips. He is of normal intelligence but behind. Police had to break into the house when Boy (b) was left on his own.  His mum, a single parent, was working nights in a supermarket.  

Definition. Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child's health or development.  Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.  Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food and clothing, shelter including exclusion from home or abandonment, failing to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger, failure to ensure adequate supervision including the use of inadequate care-takers, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.  It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child's basic emotional needs.  

e. Emotional Abuse

Fifteen year old Girl (c’s) parents drink heavily and are continually arguing and fighting. They hurl abuse and they throw furniture at each other. Girl (c) tries to stop them but has only succeeded in angering them further. All she can do is keep her younger siblings out of the way.

Definition. Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child's emotional development.  It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.  It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.  These may include interactions that are beyond the child's developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction.  It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another.  It may involve causing children to frequently feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.  Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment of a child/vulnerable adult, though it may occur alone.

Ways in which possible abuse can be established

  • The child/vulnerable adult tells you 
  • From another person (adult or child)
  • Through the child's/vulnerable adults behaviour
  • Visual signs e.g. injury. 

N.B. Identification of any of the above signs does not necessarily mean that child/vulnerable adult abuse has taken place. However, if you are concerned about the welfare of the child/vulnerable adult you must act. DO NOT ASSUME ANYONE ELSE WILL HELP THE CHILD.

The person identifying possible abuse is responsible for taking action. LPUK's nominated Child Protection Officers must be informed along with either the Child Protection Coordinator, Chairperson of the Committee or Charity Administrator. 

Where the information has come from a child: 

Do: 

  • Inform the child/vulnerable adult, that it is in their best interests that someone else is informed immediately
  • Listen with care and consideration and show that you are taking the child/vulnerable adult seriously
  • Stay calm and reassure them
  • Ask minimum questions to try and establish the immediate risk.
  • Stress to the child/vulnerable adult that they have done the right thing by telling you and that they are not to blame for abuse
  • Write a brief note and speak to the Child Protection Coordinator.  

Do Not: 

  • Promise the child/vulnerable adult that you will act in confidence
  • Take any inappropriate action 
  • Make promises you cannot keep 
  • Ask leading questions or investigate the incident
  • Suppose parents or carers are not part of the abuse
  • Speculate or accuse anybody 
  • Fill in words, or finish their sentences or make assumptions

Prevention of abuse

The prevention of child/vulnerable adult abuse is much better than a cure. Each member of LPUK needs to be careful, when, for reasons of restraint, providing reassurance or medical attention, there is likely to be contact with a child/vulnerable adult. 

It is not reasonable to assume that people will touch children/vulnerable adults in emergencies only, particularly younger children. However, innocent actions are sometimes misinterpreted. Never touch a child/vulnerable adult anywhere on the body or in a way likely to be considered indecent.  

Where there is no alternative to physically restraining a child/vulnerable adult for his/ her own safety or the safety of others only the minimum force, absolutely necessary should be used. Always seek the assistance of another adult in these circumstances.  

Recording abuse

1. The person who has taken the disclosure or has a concern should make a note of the concern and pass it to a member of the committee who will pass it on to the Child Protection Officers.

2. Where a child/vulnerable adult has made a disclosure, it should be written in the child's/vulnerable adults own words. All reports should be confined to facts and not include judgements, interpretation or opinion.

3. All information should be dealt with confidentially and only shared on an immediate need to know basis and in accordance with attached flow chart. 

Allegations of physical injury or neglect

If a child/vulnerable adult has a physical injury or symptom of neglect, the Child Protection Coordinator will ensure that they or someone else:

  • Contacts Social Services for advice in cases of deliberate injury, if concerned about a child's/vulnerable adult’s safety or if a child is afraid to return home.  
  • Will not tell the parents or carers unless advised to do so having contacted Social Services.  
  • Seek medical help if needed urgently, informing the doctor of any suspicions.  
  • For lesser concerns, (e.g. poor parenting), encourage parent/carer to seek help, but not if this places the child/vulnerable adult at risk of injury.  
  • Where the parent/carer is unwilling to seek help, offer to accompany them. In cases of real concern, if they still fail to act, contact Social Services direct for advice. 

Allegations of sexual abuse

In the event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse, the Child Protection Coordinator will ensure that they or someone else:

  • Contact the Social Services Department Duty Social Worker for children and families or Police Child Protection Team direct. They will NOT speak to the parent/carer or anyone else.
  • All reporting to Social Services refers to the Social Services Department in the area where the event is taking place.

Accusations of abuse against LPUK staff or volunteers

If anyone who attends LPUK (including member of staff or volunteers) is accused of abuse then LPUK will co-operate with other agencies in the enquiry.

During the course of the enquiry it is recommended that the person concerned is not involved in face to face youth and children’s work. Salaried staff and volunteers will take a period of special leave during which they will continued to be paid (if appropriate). If the enquiry is not concluded within a month or two this action may need to be reassessed.

LPUK staff and volunteers must report any allegation made about themselves or others to the LPUK Chairperson or his/her delegated representative.

Confidentiality

What if you suspect that a child/vulnerable adult in your care is being abused? Children's workers and carers sometimes find themselves in difficulties, having received information about possible abuse. What is the responsibility to the child/vulnerable adult? Should the authorities be told particularly if the perpetrator seems repentant?  

Government and other guidance stresses the need for concerns about possible child/vulnerable adult abuse be reported to the statutory services responsible for child protection, ie Children’s Social Services, (formerly Social Services), or NSPCC, or the Police. If leaders fail to act in this way, then they may incur criticism, being seen as acting to protect the interests of the adult rather than those of the child/vulnerable adult. They will probably then find themselves excluded from any follow-up action.  

Professionals are advised that they should discuss their suspicions with the specialist colleague first, with a view to then informing the statutory agency. Similarly, the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service is available to ministers and leaders seeking advice on how to handle such disclosures.  

In every local area there are procedures for investigating child/vulnerable adult protection concerns. If an initial enquiry suggests that a child/vulnerable adult protection investigation is necessary, Children’s Social Services will take the lead responsibility. In such cases procedures will normally involve joint interview by social workers and police officers. A child protection case conference will be arranged when it appears that there is risk to a child which has not been resolved, and that the child requires a formal child protection plan.  

A leader may be asked to attend either to give information to the Conference or to support the parent/family at the meeting.  It is important to clarify in what capacity you have been invited and how you want to be seen by the family i.e. as a member of the Conference or as a support.

Allegation or suspicion

Where you have a concern/suspicion that has not arisen from a direct disclosure, this should be discussed with the Child Protection Officers, ideally before discussing with parent/child/vulnerable adult. After this, it may be appropriate to discuss the concern with the parent e.g. a parenting issue or matter that requires support. It may be appropriate to monitor the situation before any further steps are taken. It may be that the matter is referred to Social Services. Advice will be sought about the point at which parents are made aware of concerns/suspicions/allegation. In some situations e.g. a request for support from Social Services, parental consent would be required for the referral to be made

1. Allegation

An allegation is where there is a direct statement by an individual, who maybe the child /vulnerable adult, that abuse has taken place. A child/vulnerable adult alleging abuse should be taken very seriously and reassured it was right to tell. 

All allegations from what ever source must be referred to the investigating agencies immediately.

2. Suspicions

A suspicion is where there are behavioural/emotional or physical factors or symptoms, which indicate that child/vulnerable adult abuse may have taken place, but there is no direct allegation or disclosure to support this.

See views of person with parental responsibility (except in cases of suspected sexual abuse)

5. General

LPUK's nominated Child Protection Officers will be the subject of an enhanced disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) as to their suitability to work with children. LPUK does not have sufficient resources to become a registered body with the CRB. Therefore the disclosure will be sought via umbrella body e.g., local authority social services department. 

 

This policy was adopted:

Date: August 2017                     Next Review Date:  August 2018

Signed: S.Davis (Chairperson) On behalf of Little People UK Committee

 

APPENDIX 1

What happens if you are concerned?

 

Concern about a child/vulnerable adult or disclosure made.

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Manage immediate situation with the help of LPUK Committee.

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Record any details in the log and separate recording sheets.

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Consult with one of the LPUK Child Protection Officers, who are: Sarah Griffiths, Rebecca Nuttall, Emma Belcher and Simeon Dyer.

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Report to Donna Bonner

(Child Protection Coordinator)

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Child Protection Coordinator to discuss with parents (if appropriate). If this is inappropriate refer to Social Services.

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 If your concerns persist, keep up to date records and keep Child Protection Coordinator informed.

 

Appendix 2

Incident report timeline

Guidelines For Incident Reporting

These guidelines aim to provide guidance and support for the reporting of incidents at Little People UK (LPUK) events. Where children and/or vulnerable adults are directly or indirectly involved the Child and Vulnerable Adults Policy should be consulted.

An incident is any event or circumstance arising from or during LPUK activities that could have or did lead to unintended or unexpected harm to a person, injury, distress, loss or damage to a person or property.

It is important to report on incidents to ensure the charity has a record:  

  • To learn from incidents 
  • To respond to concerns and complaints
  • For purposes of mitigation / insurance claims

A good incident report gives a thorough and accurate account of what happened. (An incident report form can be obtained from the Charity Administrator)

Recording of Incident 

1. Once the incident has been dealt with or stabilised the basic facts should be recorded. It is important to write the report with the first 24 hours.

2. Provide the basic facts of date, time, location. If the time is unknown enter the time the incident was discovered. Where the incident's duration is over a period of time, record times of events/actions throughout.

3. Record your name and status.

4. Record names of those involved in the incident (use initials).

5. Record names of other members of committee, members of LPUK, non-members who were called/responded to the incident. (When an incident occurs the Chair and/or Vice Chair should be informed. Where an incident involves a child and/or vulnerable adult a Child Protection Officer should be called).

6. Record the names of any witnesses where appropriate.

7. Describe what happened. Who, what, when and where.

  • Write a chronological narrative of exactly what happened.
  • Describe what brought you to the scene.
  • Be thorough. Write as much as you can remember.
  • Be factual and accurate. Do not write anything in the report that you are not sure actually happened. Ensure you are entering factual information and not opinions or assumptions. Report hearsay as hearsay and not as fact.
  • Be clear and concise. Use short, to the point sentences that emphasise facts, not leaving room for interpretation.
  • Include an accurate description of your own role in the course of what occurred.
  • Where actions are taken give justification to those actions where possible.

Following completion of the report this should be submitted to LPUK Administrator and kept on file, should it be required for future purposes. Any further events arising from the incident or actions taken should be recorded. 

 

 

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