CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Child Protection is defined as “the action that is taken to protect children who are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm”, and it forms a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare.
The Arbor School (“Arbor”, “we”, “the school”) recognises the importance of child protection as a key component of safeguarding and is strongly committed to establishing mechanisms to raise awareness, aid prevention, encourage reporting, and ease response, in line with all applicable laws and guidelines. This will also include ensuring that staff are aware of how to detect and effectively respond to child protection issues so as to protect children who are suffering, or likely to suffer, abuse in any form. More fundamentally, we will develop a trusting and respectful relationship with all our students to make them feel listened and supported, as well as confident to approach any member of staff if they have a concern.
1. KEY CONTACTS
1.1. WITHIN THE SCHOOL
2.2. WITHIN LOCAL AREA
3. ABUSE: DEFINITION AND CLASSIFICATION
Abuse is defined as a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm (e.g. hitting) or by failing to act to prevent harm (e.g. not attending their basic needs). Children 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 by another child or children.”
There are the four main categories of abuse:
- Physical abuse is “a form of abuse which 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”.
- Emotional abuse is “the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child from participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone”.
- Sexual Abuse involves “forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. The sexual abuse of children by other children is a specific safeguarding issue in education”.
- 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, for example, as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs”.
2.1. SPECIFIC SAFEGUARDING ISSUES
All staff must be aware of specific safeguarding issues that can put children at risk of harm. This is most likely to include (but may not be limited to): Bullying (including cyberbullying); physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; sexual violence and sexual harassment; sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery); female genital mutilation; and initiation / hazing type violence and rituals. Staff must also remain vigilant and aware of children with sexually harmful behaviour, and promptly report any concern to a member of the safeguarding team.
For more information, please refer to the school’s Anti-bullying Policy and Responsible Use of Electronic Devices Policy.
2.2. CHILDREN WHO MAY BE PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE
Some children may be at increased risk of neglect and / or abuse. Many factors can contribute to an increase in risk, including prejudice and discrimination, isolation, social exclusion, communication issues and reluctance on the part of some adults to accept that abuse happens, or who have a high level of tolerance in respect of neglect. To ensure that all children receive equal protection, we will give special consideration and attention to children who are:
- Disabled or have special educational needs;
- Living in a known domestic abuse situation;
- Affected by known parental substance misuse;
- Living away from home;
- Vulnerable to being bullied, or engaging in bullying;
- Living in temporary accommodation or transient lifestyles;
- Living in chaotic, neglectful and unsupportive home situations;
- Vulnerable to discrimination and maltreatment on the grounds of race, ethnicity or religion.
3. RAISING AWARENESS
Protecting children is everyone’s responsibility at our school and this includes the involvement of every member of the school community, including staff, parents and children. To that end, the school will ensure that staff are well-trained to fulfil their responsibilities by providing them with regular safeguarding and child protection training; children are taught safeguarding and child protection issues through different learning opportunities; and parents are actively encouraged to participate in different awareness activities aimed to prevent and address safeguarding and child protection issues. At a minimum, the school will hold workshops with parents / carers to provide them with useful information about child protection issues, and to advise them about how to deal with specific safeguarding issues such as bullying, cyber-safety, etc;
For more information, please refer to the school’s Safeguarding Policy.
4. REPORTING A DISCLOSURE OR RAISING A CONCERN
The school is fully opened to receive and rapidly address concerns, disclosures or allegations related to child protection issues with the appropriate confidentially. To that end, the school will ensure that:
- Staff and volunteers are actively encouraged to raise concerns or reporting a disclosure by contacting the Designated Safeguarding Lead (“DSL”) or any member of the school’s safeguarding team, in line with the school’s internal Child Protection Procedure. They are also strongly supported to raise concerns / allegations in confidence against other members of staff by rapidly contacting the school’s DSL, in line with school’s internal Whistleblowing Policy.
- Parents wishing to raise a concern or allegation about poor practice towards their children or child protection issues, are informed about the school’s safeguarding team members and how to contact them.
5. FOLLOWING A DISCLOSURE
Following a disclosure, the member of the safeguarding team who received the Safeguarding Concern Form or verbal report must alert the DSL, who will evaluate the case and decide how to proceed. This would be normally involve discussing any concerns about the child with parents, however, if the school believes that notifying parents could increase the risk to the child or exacerbate the problem, the advice will be first sought from The Community Development Authority (“CDA”).
6. CONFIDENTIALITY AND RECORD KEEPING
All staff must fully understand that child protection issues warrant a high level of confidentiality, not only out of respect for the child and staff involved but also to ensure that being released into the public domain does not compromise evidence.
Staff shall only discuss concerns with the school’s safeguarding team. The safeguarding team member will then decide who else needs to have the information and they will disseminate it on a “need-to-know” basis.
Child protection information will be stored and handled in line with all applicable data protection regulations. Information will be processed for limited purposes; adequate, relevant and not excessive; accurate; kept no longer than necessary; processed in accordance with the data subjects’ rights; and secure.
Records of safeguarding concern forms and relevant information about child protection issues will be kept in a confidential and separate file; and stored in a locked facility by the school’s DSL. Any electronic information will be password protected, and only made available to relevant individuals. If a student transfers from the school, these files will be copied for the new establishment and forwarded to the student’s new school marked confidential and for the attention of the receiving school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.
7. SUPPORTING THOSE INVOLVED IN A CHILD PROTECTION ISSUE
With the aim of minimising the stress caused to students, parents and staff involved in child protection issues, the school will ensure to inform all parties about any new information. Concerns or allegations will be informed to the individual subject of it as soon as possible and an explanation of the likely course of action should be given, unless there is an objection by the children’s social care services or the police.
ABBREVIATIONS AND DEFINITIONS