Safeguarding children policy
This policy was last updated April 2022.
Our safeguarding children policy in detail
1. Purpose & aim
This policy refers to all children up to 18 years of age (including the unborn). If a child has learning disabilities or is a care leaver their needs may extend to their 21st birthday. The term ‘child’ or ‘children’ will be used throughout this policy to refer to children and young people.
This policy exists to ensure appropriate action is taken when a child is suspected of either being abused or at risk from parents, guardians, carers, adult visitors, other responsible adults, or other young people. Blind Veterans UK recognises that the safety and protection of children is paramount and has priority over all other interests. The purpose of this policy is to protect any young person, whilst delivering services to children may not form part of our core business, we recognise that everyone working with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe and we have a statutory duty to ensure that robust procedures are in place.
This policy will detail the guiding principles that direct our approach to child safeguarding, outline our duties in working collaboratively with partner organisations and the safeguarding governance structures that frame the organisation.
This policy applies to all staff, volunteers, bank workers, agency staff, students or anyone working on behalf of Blind Veterans UK. Staff must be familiar with this policy and comply with it. The policy establishes a framework to support those working for or on behalf of Blind Veterans UK in their practices and clarifies the organisations expectations.
3. Equality statement
Blind Veterans UK is committed to providing services, which embrace diversity and promote equality of opportunity. Everyone who accesses our services or works for us in a paid or voluntary capacity should be safe, empowered to play a part in promoting their own welfare and that of others and able to live a life free from abuse. This applies to all, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, or belief.
4. What is child safeguarding?
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.
A “concern of abuse” is where someone suspects that a child is being abused. This abuse may be apparent in the real world, or online, in the form of conversation or imagery.
A “disclosure of abuse” is where a child states that they are being abused.
Safeguarding means protecting a child’s right to live, grow and develop in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the child’s wellbeing is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that children, due to their age and circumstance, may not recognise their need to be safeguarded and may not have the skills to verbalise their wishes and feelings. They may even react vehemently against any actions to safeguard them.
Blind Veterans UK has a responsibility for keeping children safe. It is vital that every individual working with children and families is aware of the role that they have to play and the role of other professionals. Any member of staff with concerns about a child’s welfare should make a referral to local authority Children’s Social Care.
The statutory safeguarding children guidance across the four jurisdictions of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can be found in the Safeguarding Policy Guidance. Below is the overarching statute that govern safeguarding children’s procedures:
- England: The Children Act 1989/2010, The Children and Families Act 2014 and the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
- Wales: The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014.
- Scotland: Children (Scotland) Act 1995 & Children (Scotland) Act 2020.
- Northern Ireland: The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995. Safeguarding Board Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 and Children Services Co-Operation act (Northern Ireland) 2015.
6. Guiding principles
Blind Veterans UK will seek to keep children and young people safe by:
Empowerment: We will empower children by listening, respecting, and responding in a compassionate but effective way.
A child centred approach: We will ensure a child centred approach to service planning and delivery and keeping the child in focus when making decisions about their lives.
Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility: Everyone working or volunteering for Blind Veterans UK has a responsibility to keep adults and children who need care and support safe from abuse and neglect.
Prevention: We will put sensible measures in place to prevent abuse, including the use of safe recruitment practices, promoting safe working practice, and raising awareness of safeguarding.
Protection: We will provide policy, procedures, information, and training to enable all Blind Veterans UK staff and volunteers to identify and respond appropriately to concerns about abuse.
Partnership: Blind Veterans UK will work in Partnership with statutory, regulatory, and other relevant organisations to ensure that safeguarding concerns are responded to appropriately.
Accountability: We aim to be transparent in our approaches and recognise the need for continuous learning and improvement.
7. Types of abuse
Blind Veterans UK will ensure that staff and volunteers working for and on behalf of Blind Veterans UK recognise and respond to child abuse and/or neglect. The main types of abuse are listed below, these categories of abuse are those generally used by Children’s Social Care and the Police. This list is not exhaustive but provides and illustration as to the sort of behaviour that could rise to a safeguarding concern:
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Child Sexual Exploitation
- Online abuse
- Influences of extremism leading to radicalisation
8. Multi organisational approach
In delivering our services Blind Veterans UK will take all steps to ensure prevention and early detection of any form of abuse and neglect. When a safeguarding concern is identified Blind Veterans UK will work within the relevant Local Safeguarding Partners’ guidance and procedures. In doing so, staff must ensure safeguarding timescales as determined by the relevant Local Authority in addition to the internal Safeguarding Procedures are adhered to.
Safeguarding children is a governance priority and fundamental to operating as a charity for the public benefit. The Charity Commission requires Blind Veteran UK Trustees, employees, and volunteers to promote a fair, open, and positive culture to safeguarding so all involved feel able to report concerns, confident that they will be heard and responded to. Below is a breakdown of the different roles and responsibilities that are held by staff within Blind Veterans UK.
Blind Veterans UK Trustees have a responsibility to ensure safeguarding policies are in place. They have a duty of care to the charity, which includes taking the necessary steps to safeguard those at risk from abuse, managing risk and protecting the reputation of the charity.
The Senior Leadership Team have a responsibility to ensure that safeguarding is included, where appropriate, in the strategic plans, risk assessments, communications and quality assurance processes of their Directorate. In some cases, they will be required to make decisions relating to complex or serious safeguarding concerns.
Designated Safeguarding Lead is responsible for developing quality assurance safeguarding activity across the charity and supporting best practice. They will receive respond seriously, swiftly, and appropriately to any concerns related to safeguarding practice. In some cases, they will be required to make decisions relating to complex or serious safeguarding concerns.
Safeguarding Committee will ensure Blind Veterans UK meets its legal requirements. The committee will review data relating to safeguarding referrals, it will establish what action is required to ensure our legal and organisation responsibilities are met and review any lessons learnt relating to safeguarding practice.
Managers will ensure the staff and volunteers they supervise are aware of Blind Veterans UK safeguarding policies and procedures and have undertaken relevant training when required. They will be responsible for making decisions relating to safeguarding concerns and ensuring safeguarding referrals are followed up and all actions required are taken.
Staff and volunteers are responsible for ensuring they are familiar with safeguarding policies and procedures and have completed all relevant training as required. They will be responsible for ensuring all safeguarding concerns are recorded and reported.
10. Recruitment and training
All new staff and volunteers must be fully mentored whilst working with beneficiaries and will not work unaccompanied with beneficiaries until the criminal record check relevant to their specific job role has been fully completed.
Staff and volunteers will be provided with training regarding Safeguarding to ensure that they are confident in dealing with safeguarding issues and can comply with all aspects of this policy. The completion of this training must be in accordance with the requirement of the job role as outlined in the organisation mandatory training matrix.
11. Whistleblowing and allegations management
Blind Veterans UK recognises its duty to respond to any safeguarding allegations made against its staff (paid or unpaid). If a safeguarding concern involves a member of staff or volunteer, then the Head of Organisation Development (People Development Directorate) and Assistant Director/Director (Operations) must be notified. If a safeguarding concern involves a Trustee, then the Chair of Trustees and Head of Governance and Risk (Secretariat) should also be notified.
If any safeguarding concern involving a staff member is referred to the relevant Local Authority, then Blind Veterans UK should be guided by how the Local Authority wish to proceed their enquiries. Blind Veterans UK may wish to implement its own Investigation Procedure but should be careful not to take any decisions or any action that might compromise any Local Authority enquiry.