BRWR Safeguarding Policy & Guidance
Approved by Committee August 2023.
Review date August 2024
BRWR are committed to taking concerns about the safety and welfare of individuals very seriously. We expect all volunteers to share this commitment and work within the law.
It is the policy of BRWR to support volunteers in raising a concern about suspected abuse of children or vulnerable adults.
In all cases, any suspicion, allegation, incidents of abuse or actions taken as above, must be reported.
For the purposes of this policy the following definitions shall apply:
Linda Fleming: Committee member responsible for adult safeguarding.
Sophie Vokal: BRWR volunteer responsible for child safeguarding.
No volunteer is expected to deal with concerns without support from the safeguarding hierarchy of BRWR and the county.
It is the responsibility of the BRWR Safeguarding leads otherwise the BRWR Chairperson to refer to the council or the the police unless in an emergency eg when the police need to be contacted immediately as a crime is being committed.
These can be contacted as follows:
The shared website below includes a link where concerns can be raised. There is also advice on the appropriate action dependent on the level of concern and various contacts for support and reporting.
Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board
Telephone: 01905 768053
Out of hours emergency contact: 01905 768020.
Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Partnership
Telephone: 01905 822666
Out of hours emergency contact: 01905 768020
Concerns which relate to potential criminal offences should also be reported to the police via the 101 phone line. In an emergency, the 999 phone line should be used.
Safeguarding protocol for volunteers:
All volunteers working directly with children and young people or vulnerable adults must be enhanced DBS checked and at that time they must advised about this policy, the operational guide and the incident form which can be accessed on the BRWR website www.brwr.uk
Risk assessments must always be carried out to ensure children, young people or vulnerable adults, are kept safe. Volunteers are also expected to exercise their common sense in regard to safeguarding adults who are supported by BRWR. Volunteers planning activities that pose potential risks that are out of the ordinary, should refer their plans to the committee, who will offer support and, as necessary, approve or decline the activities.
Definition of a Child
Child Protection Procedures apply to children and young people who have not yet reached their 16th birthday. (Procedures also apply to young people with additional support needs which may place them at increased risk, up to 18 years). BRWR considers all refugees and asylum seekers located here to be vulnerable persons therefore Child Protection Procedures apply to Refugees up to the age of 18.
Volunteers should not be alone with a child. BRWR’s principle is that working to help children should always involve their parent(s) or carer.
Definition of a Vulnerable Adult
A vulnerable adult is a person who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of themselves, or unable to protect themselves. BRWR considers all refugees and asylum seekers relocated here to be Vulnerable Persons.
The definition of ‘vulnerable adult’ has now been widened to include individuals who might be at risk of being radicalised.
Recognising areas of concern:
1. What is child abuse (or abuse of a vulnerable adult)?
Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human or civil rights by another person or people. It is the result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance.
Abuse can involve any one or more of the following:
- Physical injury– this may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, misuse of medication, chemical restraint or otherwise causing physical harm to a child/vulnerable adult. It may also be caused through an omission or the failure to act to protect a child/vulnerable adult at risk.
- Emotional Abuse – this is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child/vulnerable adult. It includes threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, verbal or racial abuse, or isolation from others. It may involve making a child/vulnerable adult feel worthless, unloved, or inadequate; have inappropriate expectations imposed on them; making a child/vulnerable adult feel frequently frightened or in danger, exploited or corrupted.
- Sexual Abuse – involves causing or encouraging a child/vulnerable adult to take part in sexual activities, whether or not they are aware of, or consent to what is happening. This involves both physical acts but also non-contact activities, such as viewing sexual activity, or being involved in the production of pornographic materials, or being encouraged to act in sexually inappropriate ways.
- Neglect– is the persistent failure to meet a child’s/vulnerable adult’s basic physical and/or psychological needs. It includes ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life – such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
It is accepted that in all forms of abuse there are elements of emotional abuse, and that some children/vulnerable adults are subjected to more than one form of abuse.
- Domestic abuse – this includes psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse, ‘honour based’ violence.
- Financial or material abuse: this includes theft, fraud, internet scamming, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions: or the misuse of property, possessions or benefits
- Modern slavery: this includes human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude
- Discriminatory abuse: this includes harassment, slurs or similar treatment: because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
- Institutional abuse: this is repeated instances of poor care of individuals or groups of individuals. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of structures, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.
2. How might someone recognise or become aware of child abuse (or abuse of vulnerable adult)
Recognising child abuse or abuse of a vulnerable adult is not easy. It is not the responsibility of BRWR to decide whether abuse has taken place or if a child/vulnerable adult is at significant risk. That is the responsibility of Safeguarding agencies following a referral to them of concern about a child/vulnerable adult. We do, though, have the responsibility to act on concerns, and all complaints, allegations or suspicions must be taken seriously.
Someone may become aware of child abuse or abuse of a vulnerable adult by:
- Being told by a child/vulnerable adult.
- Someone else reporting that a child/vulnerable adult has told them or that they strongly believe that a child/adult has been is being abused.
- A child/vulnerable adult showing some signs of physical injury for which there appears to be no satisfactory explanation.
- Witnessing a child’s/vulnerable adult’s behaviour which may indicate that it is likely that they are being abused.
- Something in the behaviour of other individuals, or in the way the individual relates to a child/vulnerable adult, which alerts them to the possibility of abuse.
- Observing one child/vulnerable adult abuse another.
- Being shown pornographic or other damaging and offensive material on a mobile phone or other electronic device.
- Multiple bruising or finger marks, a history of unexplained falls or injuries, injuries not consistent with explanations, deterioration of health for no apparent reason, loss of weight, inappropriate or soiled clothing, withdrawal/mood changes,
carer or person in a position of power to the victim being unwilling to allow access to the victim, the victim is unwilling to be alone with the particular carer/person in a position of power, unexplained shortage of money.
3. Areas of concern other than abuse
Volunteers should be aware that there may be situations other than abuse or suspected abuse that should be reported. These may include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Inappropriate behaviour by a child/vulnerable adult.
- Pressure to take part in drugs distribution.
- Situations that may be open to misinterpretation.
If in doubt the group member should complete a safeguarding incident form as soon as possible and phone the Safeguarding lead otherwise the BRWR chairperson who will decide whether further action is needed. The safeguarding form will be filed confidentially and kept for six years.
4. Areas of concern with relation to the Prevent Strategy
The Prevent Strategy is part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy led by the Home Office. This encourages organisations to work with the police to contribute to the prevention of terrorism. Members may have concerns relating to an individual’s behaviour, which could indicate that they may be being drawn into terrorist activity.
Signs or indicators that someone is being drawn into terrorist activity may include:
- Graffiti symbols, writing or artwork promoting extremist messages or images.
- Volunteers, young people or staff accessing terrorist related material online, including through social network sites.
- Parental/family reports of changes in behaviour, friendships or actions, coupled with requests for assistance.
- Other Voluntary Sector organisations’, local authority services’ and police reports of issues affecting people in other organisations.
- Volunteers, young people or staff voicing opinions drawn from terrorist related ideologies and narratives.
- Use of extremist or hate terms to exclude others or incite violence.
Responding to concerns of abuse or inappropriate behaviour:
1. Responding to signs of, or suspicions of, abuse or other concerns
How to respond to concerns will vary depending upon where and in what circumstances suspicions arise. The designated safeguarding lead will be the first point of contact and will decide on further action which might include taking advice from Worcestershire County Council safeguarding board, the Police, Social Services, NSPCC regarding what has happened and what action needs to be taken.
2. Designated Safeguarding Lead
The responsibilities of the Designated Safeguarding Lead in relation to concerns of abuse or inappropriate behaviour are to:
- Receive and record in writing information from volunteers and others who have Safeguarding concerns and using a BRWR safeguarding form.
- Assess the information promptly and carefully, clarifying or obtaining more information about the matter as appropriate, and then to record such further information.
- Inform and consult with Social Services, the police or the NSPCC of relevant concerns.
- Ensure that all relevant procedures are followed.
- If appropriate, make a formal referral to either the Social Services or the police without delay.
- Ensure that appropriate information is available at the time of referral and the referral is confirmed in writing, under confidential cover.
- Keep relevant people in the organisation informed about action taken and further action required, for example against a volunteer.
- Ensure that an individual case record is maintained of the action taken by the organisation and liaison with other agencies on the Safeguarding form.
- Provide information and advice on Safeguarding within the organisation.
- Advise the organisation of Safeguarding training needs.
- Establish contact with the senior member of staff of Social Services responsible for Safeguarding in the local area.
- Be aware of the Area Safeguarding Committee and be familiar with local procedures.
3. Responding to a child or vulnerable adult disclosing abuse
If a child/vulnerable adult discloses an allegation of abuse to a group member they should:
- Stay calm.
- Listen carefully to what is said.
- Not promise to keep secrets – explain at an early opportunity that it is likely you will need to share the information.
- Allow the child/vulnerable adult to continue at their own pace.
- Ask questions for clarification and only to understand what is being alleged. This is because the use of leading questions can cause problems for the subsequent investigation and any court proceedings.
- Reassure the child/vulnerable adult that they have done the right thing in telling you.
- Tell them what you will do next and with whom the information will be shared.
- Record in writing what was said using the child’s/vulnerable adult’s own words as soon as possible.
More detailed advice on what to do is in the BRWR 3 page Operational Procedure
If this happens at a school or other venue, volunteers should contact that venue’s liaison person, unless this is clearly inappropriate. Volunteers should then report what has happened to BRWR’s Designated Safeguarding Lead as soon as possible. If the Designated Safeguarding Lead cannot be contacted, or that person is involved in the allegation, the report should be made to the BRWR Chair.
On being notified of any such matter the Designated Safeguarding Lead or alternative contact shall take such steps as they consider necessary to ensure the safety of the child/vulnerable adult in question, in line with 2 above.
4. Responding to allegations of abuse against a BRWR Volunteer
Any suspicion, allegation or actual abuse of a child/vulnerable adult by a volunteer in BRWR must be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead as soon as possible. If the Designated Safeguarding Lead cannot be contacted, or that person is involved in the allegation, the report should be made to the alternative contact.
On being notified of any such matter the Designated Safeguarding Lead shall:
- Notify the alternative contact.
- Take such steps as they consider necessary to ensure the safety of the child/vulnerable adult in question and any other child/vulnerable adult who might be at risk.
- The volunteer in question will have their volunteering duties suspended until the matter is resolved.
5. Responding to allegations of abuse against someone else
Any suspicion, allegation or actual abuse of a child by someone not volunteering in or for BRWR must be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead with responsibility for safeguarding as soon as possible. If this happens at a school or other venue you should contact that venue’s liaison person.
If the Designated Safeguarding Lead cannot be contacted the report should be made to the Chair of BRWR.
On being notified of any such matter the Designated Safeguarding Lead or alternative contact shall take such steps as they consider necessary to ensure the safety of the child/vulnerable adult in question and any other child/vulnerable adult who might be at risk.
6. Responding to concerns relating to the Prevent strategy:
The definition of ‘vulnerable adult’ has been widened to include individuals who might be at risk of being radicalised. If concerns are raised regarding potential radicalisation the following procedure should be followed:
(a) Observe : Note down factual signs and symptoms of potential or suspected radicalisation without alarming the individual.
(b) Discuss: Alert and discuss your concerns with your Designated Safeguarding Lead.
(c) Act: If appropriate, the Designated Safeguarding Lead will inform the Worcestershire Safeguarding Team and supply them with a copy of your recorded observations. When reporting information, reports should be restricted to
- The nature of the suspicious behaviour or concern.
- Facts which support the concerns.
(d) Confirm: Telephone notifications will be confirmed in writing by email or letter within 48 hours.
(e) Record: Ensure that all observations are recorded and related to the Worcestershire Safeguarding Team/police. They should be kept confidentially in the safeguarding file together with advice received and actions taken.
(f) Recording and Reporting Information
A full record should be made as soon as possible of the nature of the allegation/observation and any other relevant information on BRWR’s safeguarding form including:
- The date.
- The time.
- The place where the alleged abuse or concerning behaviour happened.
- The name of the complainant if there is one and, where different, the name of the child/vulnerable adult who has allegedly been abused or at risk of radicalisation, including any other names mentioned.
- The nature of the alleged abuse or behaviour.
- Description of any injuries observed.
- The account which has been given of the allegation.
- Signed and dated with contact details.
- This information should be kept in a secure and confidential place
Recording actions after an allegation
All details of the report and actions taken after an allegation of abuse is made shall be recorded by the Designated Safeguarding Lead. The report shall deal with all the matters set out in section 1 above, plus:
- Date and time of incident or disclosure.
- Parties who were involved.
- Any action taken by the organisation involved to investigate the matter further, if relevant.
- Any further action e.g. suspension of a volunteer.
- Where relevant, reasons why there is no referral to a statutory agency.
- Names of persons reporting and to whom reported.
The record should be clear and factual as it may be needed as evidence in court.
Copies of reports, notes etc. will be kept secure at all times and kept for a period of not less than six years.