48 Larner Road
Kent DA8 3RD
South East Community Music is committed to
practice which protects children from harm. Staff and volunteers in this
organisation accept and recognise our responsibilities to develop awareness of
the issues which cause children harm.
policy is based on the following principles:
- The welfare
of the child is paramount;
children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial
origin religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to
protection from abuse;
suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded
to swiftly and appropriately;
- All staff
(paid/unpaid) have a responsibility to report concerns to the Designated
Person with responsibility for child protection.
Staff/volunteers are not trained to deal with situations of abuse or to
decide if abuse has occurred.
We will aim to safeguard children by:
Adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of
conduct for staff and volunteers.
Sharing information about child protection and good practice with
children, parents and carers, staff and volunteers.
Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and
involving parents and children appropriately.
Carefully following the procedures for recruitment and selection of
staff and volunteers.
Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through
support, supervision and training.
We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice regularly.
sets out agreed guidelines relating to the following areas:
- Responding to allegations of abuse,
including those made against staff and volunteers
- Recruitment and vetting of Staff and
- Supervision of organisational
Definitions of abuse
are based on those from Working Together to Safeguard Children (Department of
Health, Home office, Department for Education and Employment, 1999)
may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding,
drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing harm to a child.
Physical harm may
also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately
causes ill health to a child whom they are looking after. This situation is
commonly described as factitious illness, fabricated or induced illness in
children or “Munchausen Syndrome by proxy” after the person who first
identified this situation.
A person might do
this because they enjoy or need the attention they get through having a sick
as well as being the result of a deliberate act, can also be caused through
omission or the failure to act to protect.
is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe
and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may
involve making a child feel or believe they are worthless or unloved,
inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of the other person.
It may feature
age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It
may also involve causing children to feel frequently frightened or in danger,
or the exploitation or corruption of a child.
Some level of
emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child, though it
may occur alone.
involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual
activities, whether or not the child is aware of, or consents to, what is
happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative
acts such as rape, buggery or oral sex, or non-penetrative acts such as
Sexual abuse may
also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at,
or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities,
or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Boys and girls
can be sexually abused by males and or females, by adults and by other young
people. This includes people from all different walks of life.
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.
It may involve a parent or a carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter
and clothing, leaving a young child home alone or the failure to ensure that a
child gets appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect
of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
It is accepted
that in all forms of abuse there are elements of emotional abuse, and that some
children are subjected to more than one form of abuse at any time. These four
definitions do not minimise other forms of maltreatment.
notes other sources of stress for children and families, such as social
exclusion, domestic violence, the mental illness of a parent or carer, or drug
and alcohol misuse. These may have a negative impact on a child’s health and
development and may be noticed by an organisation caring for a child. If it is
felt that a child’s well-being is adversely affected by any of these areas, the
same procedures should be followed.
2. Recognising and Responding to Abuse
following signs may or may not be indicators that abuse has taken place, but
the possibility should be considered.
signs of abuse
- Any injuries not consistent with the
explanation given for them
- Injuries which occur to the body in
places which are not normally exposed to falls or games
- Unexplained bruising, marks or
injuries on any part of the body
- Bruises which reflect hand marks or
fingertips (from slapping or pinching)
- Cigarette burns
- Bite marks
- Broken bones
- Injuries which have not received
- Neglect-under nourishment, failure to
grow, constant hunger, stealing or gorging food, untreated illnesses,
- Repeated urinary infections or
unexplained stomach pains
behaviour which can also indicate physical abuse:
- Fear of parents being approached for
- Aggressive behaviour or severe temper
- Flinching when approached or touched
- Reluctance to get changed, for
example, wearing long sleeves in hot weather
- Withdrawn behaviour
- Running away from home
signs of abuse
signs of emotional abuse may include;
- A failure to thrive or grow
particularly if a child puts on weight in other circumstances e.g. in
hospital or away from their parents’ care
- Sudden speech disorders
- Persistent tiredness
- Development delay, either in terms of
physical or emotional progress
behaviour which can also indicate emotional abuse include:
- Obsessions or phobias
- Sudden under-achievement or lack of
- Inappropriate relationships with
peers and/or adults
- Being unable to play
- Attention seeking behaviour
- Fear of making mistakes
- Fear of parent being approached
regarding their behaviour
signs of sexual abuse may include:
- Pain or itching in the genital/anal
- Bruising or bleeding near
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Vaginal discharge or infection
- Stomach pains
- Discomfort when walking or sitting
behaviour which can also indicate sexual abuse include:
- Sudden or unexplained changes in
behaviour e.g. becoming withdrawn or aggressive
- Fear of being left with a specific
person or group of people
- Having nightmares
- Running away from home
- Sexual knowledge which is beyond
their age or development al level
- Sexual drawings or language
- Eating problems such as over-eating
- Self-harm or mutilation, sometimes
leading to suicide attempts
- Saying they have secrets they can not
tell anyone about
- Substance or drug abuse
- Suddenly having unexplained sources
- Not allowed to have friends
(particularly in adolescence)
- Acting in a sexually explicit way
signs of neglect may include:
- Constant hunger, sometimes stealing
food from other children
- Constantly dirty or smelly
- Loss of weight or being constantly
- Inappropriate dress for the
behaviour which can also indicate neglect include:
- Complaining of being tired all the
- Not requesting medical assistance
and/or failing to attend appointments
- Having few friends
- Mentioning being left alone or
3. What to do if you suspect that abuse may have occurred
1. You must report the concerns immediately to the SECM secretary Chris Leeds
The role of the designated person is to:
- Obtain information from staff,
volunteers, children or parents and carers who have child protection
concerns and to record this information.
- Assess the information quickly and
carefully and ask for further information as appropriate.
- They should also consult with a
statutory child protection agency such as the local social services
department or the NSPCC to clarify any doubts or worries.
- The designated person should make a
referral to a statutory child protection agency or the police without
person has been nominated by South East Community Music to refer allegations or
suspicions of neglect or abuse to the statutory authorities. In the absence of
Chris Leeds the matter should be brought to the attention of Kate Atkinson.
will not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above.
3. It is the
right of any individual to make direct referrals to the child protection
agencies. If for any reason you believe that the nominated persons have not
responded appropriately to your concerns, then it is up to you to contact the
child protection agencies directly.
Allegations of physical injury or neglect
If a child
has a symptom of physical injury or neglect the designated person will:
- Contact Social Services for advice in
cases of deliberate injury or concerns about the safety of the child. The
parents should not be informed by the organisation in these circumstances.
- Where emergency medical attention is
necessary it will be sought immediately. The designated person will inform
the doctor of any suspicions of abuse.
- In other circumstances speak with the
parent/carer/guardian and suggest that medical help/attention is sought
for the child. The doctor will then initiate further action if necessary.
- If appropriate the parent/carer will
be encouraged to seek help from Social Services. If the
parent/care/guardian fails to act the designated person should in case of
real concern contact social services for advice.
- Where the designated person is unsure
whether to refer a case to Social Services then advice from the Area Child
Protection Committee will be sought.
of sexual abuse
event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse the designated person will:
- Contact the Social Service duty social
worker for children and families directly. The designated person will not
speak to the parent (or anyone else)
- If the designated person is unsure
whether or not to follow the above guidance then advice from the Area
Child protection Committee will be sought.
- Under no circumstances is the
designated person attempt to carry out any investigation into the
allegation or suspicions of sexual abuse. The role of the designated
person is to collect and clarify the precise details of the allegation or
suspicion and to provide this information to Social Services whose task it
is to investigate the matter under section 47 of the Children Act.
- Whilst allegations or suspicions of
sexual abuse should normally be reported to the designated person, their
absence should not delay referral to Social Services.
Responding to a child making an allegation of abuse
- Stay calm, listen carefully to what
is being said
- Find an appropriate early opportunity
to explain that it is likely that the information will need to be share with
others-do not promise to keep secrets
- Allow the child to continue at
his/her own pace
- Ask questions for clarification only,
and at all time avoid asking questions that suggest a particular answer
- Reassure the child 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 own words as soon as possible, note the date, time, any names
mentioned, to whom the information was given and ensure that the record is
signed and dated
statements to make
- I believe you (or showing acceptance
of what the child says)
- Thank you for telling me
- Its not your fault
- I will help you
Do not say
- Why didn’t you tell anyone before?
- I can’t believe it!
- Are you sure that this is true?
- Why? Who? When? Where?
- Never make false promises
5. What to do
after a child has talked to you about abuse
1. Make notes as
soon as possible (ideally within 1 hour of being told) you should write down
exactly what the child has said and what you said in reply and what was
happening immediately before being told (i.e. the activity being delivered) You
should record the dates, times and when you made the record. All hand written
notes should be kept securely.
You should use
the form “Reporting allegations or suspicions of abuse” This form is attached
at the back of this policy. (Appendix 1)
2. You should
report your discussion with the designated person as soon as possible. If this
person is implicated you need to report to the SECM Chairperson Kate
Atkinson. If both are implicated report to Social Services.
3. You should
under no circumstances discuss your suspicions or allegations with anyone other
than those nominated above.
4. After a child
has disclosed abuse the designated persons should carefully consider whether or
not it is safe for a child to return home to potentially abusive situation. On
these rare occasions it may be necessary to take immediate action to contact
Social Services to discuss putting safety measures into effect.
Recruitment and appointment of workers and volunteers
In recruiting and
appointing workers South East Community Music will be responsible for the
- Identifying the tasks and
responsibilities involved and the type of person most suitable for the
- Drawing up the Selection criteria and
putting together a list of essential and desirable qualifications,
skills and experience.
- All applicants should apply in
writing and their application will cover their personal details, previous
and current work/volunteering experience.
- We will always send a copy of our
child protection policy with the application pack.
- We will make sure that we
measure the application against the selection criteria
- All applicants need to sign a
declaration stating that there is no reason why they should be considered
unsuitable to work with children. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
(1974) requires that people applying for positions which give them”
substantial, unsupervised access on a sustained or regular basis” to
children under the age of 18 must declare all previous convictions which
are then subject to police checks. They can then only be offered a job
subject to a successful police check. This includes potential employees,
volunteers and self-employed people such as sports coaches. They are also
required to declare any pending case against them. It is important that
your applicant in this particular category understands that all
information will be dealt with confidentially and will not be used against
- We will ask for photographic
evidence to confirm the identity of the applicant e.g. their passport
- We will request to see
documentation of any qualifications detailed by the applicant.
- We will always interview our
candidates, ask for two references and a police check.
- We will at least two people
from our organisation on the interview panel.
- We will request two written
references from people who are not family members or friends and who have
knowledge of the applicant’s experience of working with children. We will
ask the referee to also comment on their suitability for working with
children. We will also try and follow up written references with a
- The same principles apply to young
people who have been involved with the organisation and have become
- We will ensure that our
successful applicant obtains an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate
(ECRC) from the Criminal Records Bureau. They will need to show the ECRC
before we will confirm them in post. The applicant will also need to get a
co-signature from a registered body.
7. Allegations against a member of
We will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support
and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague
is, or may be, abusing a child. Where there is a complaint against a member of
staff there may be three types of investigation:
- A criminal
- A child
disciplinary or misconduct investigation.
The results of the police and child
protection investigation may well influence the disciplinary investigation, but
there are concerns
1. Concerns about poor practice:
If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor
practice; this will be dealt with as a misconduct issue.
If the allegation is about poor practice by the Designated Person or if the matter has been
handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the Chair
who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not the
organisation should initiate disciplinary proceedings.
2. Concerns about suspected abuse
suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or a
volunteer should be reported to the Designated Person, who will take such
steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in
question and any other child who may be at risk.
Designated person will refer the allegation to the social services
department who may involve the police, or go directly to the police if
- The parents
or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following
advice from the social services department.
- If the
Designated Person is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report
must be made to the appropriate Manager or Chair who will refer the
allegation to Social Services.
Enquiries and Suspension
- The Designated Person will make an
immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be
temporarily suspended pending further police and social services
of the findings of the social services or police inquiries the organisation will assess all
individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or volunteer can be
reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a
difficult decision; particularly where there is insufficient evidence to
uphold any action by the police. In such cases, the organisation must reach a decision
based upon the available information which could suggest that on a balance
of probability, it is more likely than not that the allegation is true.
The welfare of the child should remain of paramount importance throughout
arrangements for the management of South East Community Music activities and
We will aim
to protect children from abuse and our team members from false allegations by
adopting the following guidelines:
- We will keep a register of all
children attending our activities.
- We will keep a register of all team
members (both paid staff members and volunteers)
- Registers will include arrival and
departure times and the names of others in the building at the time.
- We will keep a record of all sessions
including monitoring and evaluation records.
- Our team members will record any
unusual events on the accident/incident form.
- Written consent from a parent or
guardian will be obtained for every child attending our activities.
- Where possible our team members
should not be alone with a child, although we recognise that there may be
times when this may be necessary or helpful
- Team members should escort children
of the same sex to the toilet but are not expected to be involved with
toileting, unless the child has a special need that has been brought to
our attention by the parent/guardian.
- We recognise that physical touch
between adults and children can be healthy and acceptable in public
places. However our team members will be discouraged from this in
circumstances where an adult or child are left alone.
- All team members should treat all
children with dignity and respect in both attitude language and actions.
Support and Training
Community Music is committed to the provision of child protection training for
all our team members.
This policy was
This policy will
be reviewed on…24/9/2006………………………