Safe Space is committed to creating and maintaining an enjoyable and safe environment for all the children, young people and vulnerable
adults involved in our activities.
We accept a responsibility to help safeguard the welfare of young people and protect them from any poor practice, abuse or bullying, while them with the highest possible standard of care.
We expect our team to follow procedures that protect children and report any concerns about their welfare to appropriate authorities.
Defining child abuse/ Signs of child abuse
Please see the attached Child Protection fact sheet ‘The definitions and signs of child abuse’ published by the NSPCC in June 2010.
Good practice with children and young people
As far as possible a worker should not be alone with a child where their activity cannot be seen. This may mean leaving doors open, or two
groups working in the same room.
Access to the building is safe and well-lit.
The volunteer should:
Treat all children and young people with respect and dignity befitting their age; watch language, tone of voice and where you put your body.
Respect a child’s privacy, and expect them to respect yours.
Not engage in any of the following:
who should carry out all personal care activities.
Good practice with other volunteers
If you see another volunteer acting in ways which might be misconstrued, be prepared to speak to them or to a Trustee about your concerns. Leaders should encourage an atmosphere of mutual support and care which allows all workers to be comfortable enough to discuss inappropriate attitudes or behaviour.
How to respond to any suspicions
There are many ways in which you may become aware of the possible occurrence of child abuse. Including: witnessing it; it may be reported to you; or you may be directly informed by the young person affected.
It is important to remember that no matter how you have been made aware, it is not the responsibility of any of Safe Space’s volunteers to make the decision as to whether a child is actually being abused. It is simply your responsibility to act on any concerns by contacting Beth Townsend (07715 238610) or the agencies listed below, in order that the appropriate action can be taken to protect the young person and to report to the authorities as required.
If you are directly informed by the young person then it is important that you respond carefully. Do not act shocked or frightened as this will only make matters worse. Support the child and listen carefully to show that you are taking them seriously, however avoid questioning them, as we
need to avoid leading questions or suggesting things to the child or adult.
The main priority is the safety of the young person. If any medical attention is needed you must call an ambulance immediately. Ensure that the child knows that you will need to tell other people in order to stop the abuse continuing.
Make certain that you record all information straight away and report the incident as soon as possible to Safe Space’s Welfare Officer – Beth Townsend (07715 238610). If Beth is not available then you should contact the NSPCC advice line on 0808 800 5000, or South Gloucestershire
Social Services (01454 866000.) or the police (101 or 999 for emergencies).
Information recorded should be very thorough and should be made at the time, or as soon as possible after the time of the concern, detailing all the facts and not including your own opinions.
The record should include the following:
Safe Space expects its members to talk about any concerns they may have about the welfare of a child immediately with Gina Jones, Welfare Officer. If this person is not available then you should seek advice from NSPCC, Children’s Social Care or the police as detailed above.
Please note: If there is any doubt, you must report the incident, as it may be just one of a series of other incidents which together cause concern.
Internal inquiries and suspension
Safe Space will make an instant decision, potentially after a conversation with the person in charge of the activity, about whether the accused should be suspended until further police and social services inquiries are carried out. Irrespective of the police or social services inquiries, Safe Space will review all individual cases in order to make a decision as to whether the accused person can return and how it would carefully be handled. The welfare of the child will however remain of paramount importance throughout.
All information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws.
Adopted on: 22/03/15
Last reviewed: 22/03/15