We acknowledge that all children have a right to grow up in an environment that is not abusive. We are aware that child abuse occurs to children of both sexes, at all ages and in all cultures, religions, social classes and to children with and without disabilities. We have a responsibility to our members and to the authorities to report suspected child abuse. Procedures will be followed sensitively but absolutely. Our loyalty in such circumstances remains with the child.
When any person has knowledge or suspicion that a child is either being abused, or is at risk of abuse, or that a carer has seriously neglected or failed to protect a child, he/she has a personal duty to report this to the Camp Manager of the camp on site; or the Managing Director 07799 538413 or the Local Child Protection Agency (Suffolk 0345 606 1499 / Essex 0345 603 7627). It is essential that staff realise that child abuse is a complex problem and that diagnosis is the responsibility of professionals. However, staff should be watchful for the physical and/or behavioural signs that may indicate child abuse is taking place. These include:
- Injuries to the child that are not consistent with the normal recreational habits of children, either in body position or type.
- Inconsistent or unreasonable explanation of an injury by a child, parent or carer.
- Inconsistent or inappropriate behaviour such as sexually suggestive remarks or actions, mood swings, uncharacteristically quiet/aggressive, severe tantrums
- Becoming isolated socially
- Overeating/loss of appetite, weight loss/gain
- Inappropriately dressed or ill-kept and/or dirty
- Self inflicting injury
- Open distrust of or discomfort with, parent or carer.
- Delayed social development, poor language and speech
- Excessively nervous behaviour such as rocking or hair twisting
- Exceptionally low self-esteem
- General indicators of abuse though often typical of sexual abuse
- Recurring abdominal pain
- Reluctance to go home
- Flinching when approached or touched
- Recurring headaches
Regardless of how knowledge of abuse arises, the first steps when talking to a child are critical. Often a child will be frightened, confused and feeling vulnerable. The child should be reassured in a calm manner that he/she is safe and has done the right thing by telling someone. Listen carefully to the child without leading their conversation or showing any kind of reaction. When a child discloses information that suggests abuse, the following action should be taken.
- As soon as a member of staff or volunteer becomes concerned about what a child is telling them they should explain to the child that have to pass on the information. The member of staff or volunteer is required to report to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) all of the information that they have been given.
Immediately afterwards a safeguarding form should be completed detailing:
- The nature of the allegation
- Details of any bruising or other injury
- Times, dates and any other relevant information
- Dates, times and names of those adults involved in the conversation with the child
Decisions on next steps will be agreed by the Designated Safeguarding Lead, the Camp Manager and the Managing Director.
Above all, the respect for the child’s privacy must be paramount and the staff involved must not discuss the details with anyone other than those necessary to carry out the procedures outlined above. Staff must not discuss instances of disclosure with anyone else. Protection of the child’s identity and privacy is vital.
- All allegations of potential abuse by a member of staff will be reported to the Managing Director.
- The Managing Director will be responsible for investigating the allegation.
- The parents of the child who has made the allegation will be informed of the allegation by the Managing Director.
- The Managing Director will decide whether the member of staff should be removed from the setting whilst the investigation takes place.
- The Managing Director will decide, in conjunction with the DSL which other organisations should be contacted. Informal or formal advice should be taken from Duty Social Services Officer or Duty Police Officer as appropriate.
- The Managing Director will produce a written report of the incident which will be shared with the parents of the child and member of staff involved as appropriate.
- The Managing Director will ensure that a report of the incident is forwarded to Ofsted.
DBS for Members of Staff
The new DBS update service allows for ongoing monitoring of each member of staff’s current DBS status. At interview each candidate will be required to provide an original DBS certificate and the reference number for the update service can be verified thereafter.
DBS for Volunteers and Crew Trainees
As managing Director of Kitcrew Camps it is always my responsibility to ensure all necessary and recommended steps are strictly followed to guarantee the safety of staff and children on our camps. The issue of applying for DBS checks for all staff has been discussed and I have made the following decisions:
Enhanced Disclosures for crew trainees and volunteers.
All KitCrew Trainees are volunteers. They are helpers and will not be in charge of groups of children. They will never be left unsupervised with children. Crew Trainees will only ever work ALONGSIDE Crew Leaders, therefore they do not need a DBS disclosure. However all Crew Leaders and Crew Managers will carry Enhanced Disclosures.
For further guidance I have contacted relevant government organisations for advice. In particular clarification on DBS responsibilities for volunteers working with young people and vulnerable adults. Two case studies in particular have served to clarify my decision:
A group for the Bangladeshi community has just got funding for a one-week summer school. Now that the group is doing some work with children, do the trustees need to get DBS checks?
If the summer school is a one-off event, there’s no need for a check. Of course, anyone who is involved in running the school who has direct contact with children should have a check.
A volunteer won’t have any unsupervised contact with children, and is supported by staff who have been DBS checked. Should he be checked?
If this is an ongoing placement, we would advise that the volunteer does get checked, even though her responsibilities don’t include unsupervised contact. If the placement was only temporary – a few days – it would be reasonable to decide that a check would not be necessary. http://www.vawcvs.org
Given my findings, I have determined that it is reasonable to conclude that a DBS check on Crew Trainee is unnecessary.