Terms & Policies

 


Creative Mentor Network Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy

We believe that child and vulnerable adults safeguarding and protection is the individual and collective responsibility of everyone working in or visiting the organisation. Our policy recognises that the welfare and interests of children and vulnerable adults are paramount in all circumstances.  We are committed to ensuring our safeguarding practices exceed statutory requirements and the requirements of our various accrediting bodies in the UK.

1 Terminology

A child / children is any individual under the age of 18.

Vulnerable adults are:

  • People aged 18 or over

  • Those who are receiving or may need community care services and support, because of learning, physical or mental disability, age or illness

  • Who are or may be unable to take care of themselves, or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.

(No Secrets, Department of Health, updated 2015)

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults is:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment

  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development

  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

  • Promoting the freedom and dignity of the person who has experienced or is experiencing abuse

  • Promoting the rights of all people to live free from abuse and coercion

  • Ensuring the safety and well-being of people who do not have the capacity to decide how they want to respond to abuse that they are experiencing

  • Managing services in a way which promotes safety and prevents abuse

  • Recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made

  • Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training

Duty of Care means that everyone is required to take reasonable care in any situation in which harm to someone else could be foreseen. Higher Duty of Care is the standard of care expected from someone with increased experience and specialist expertise where, through training or experience, one may be expected to visualise more clearly the results of one’s actions in one’s area/s of specialism. The duty of care may be breached through a negligent act(s) or failure to act in situations where it could be reasonably expected that someone with a duty of care would have acted.

The Safeguarding Lead is the person with the overall responsibility of ensuring the organisation’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy is implemented and enforced. At the time of compilation of this document the Safeguarding Lead is Rochelle Robertson - Youth Programme Manager.

The Deputy Safeguarding Lead is the person who will have the role of the Safeguarding Lead when they are not contactable or available. The deputy safeguarding lead is Isabel Farchy  - Founder of Creative Mentor Network.

2 Statement

Creative Mentor Network is committed to the definition ‘safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults’. This policy is written with regard to the following documents:

  • ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (March 2015)

  • ‘What to Do If You’re Worried a Child Is Being Abused’ (2006)  

  • The Children Acts 1989 and 2004

  • Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015  

  • The Prevent Strategy (June 2015)

  • Safeguarding Adults Board Policy and Procedures (Department of Health, updated 2015)

  • Adult Support and Protection Scotland Act 2007

Our policy recognises that the welfare and interests of children and vulnerable adults are paramount in all circumstances and we are committed to ensuring our safeguarding practices exceed statutory requirements and the requirements of our accrediting bodies.

As Part of our safeguarding policy Creative Mentor Network will:

  • Promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults

  • Ensure all adults working with children understand their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and is provided with appropriate learning opportunities to recognise, identify and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children and young people via our training programme.

  • Ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of incidents/concerns of abuse and support is provided to the individual/s who raise or disclose the concern

  • Ensure that confidential, detailed and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored

  • Prevent the employment of unsuitable individuals

  • Ensure robust safeguarding arrangements and procedures are used effectively.

Procedures

  • To ensure safe recruitment, we shall undertake appropriate pre-employment, selection, vetting and identity checks before offering employment to any job applicants.  

  • All adults involved in Creative Mentor Network, who have access to children, must be subjected to appropriate vetting checks in respect of their suitability to work with children, such as a DBS check in the UK.

  • All new members of staff and volunteers are provided with a copy of this policy, [the Code of Conduct.]

  • All staff and volunteers should acknowledge their understanding of their obligations in relation to safeguarding.

  • Staff and volunteers should conduct themselves with children and vulnerable adults mindful of this policy.

  • As a general rule, staff should avoid situations where they are on their own with a child and, in such situations, plan ahead and signal the arrangement with another member of staff. Adults working with children should not give lifts in cars to children, particularly one-to-one, other than in an emergency, where another member of staff, preferably the Safeguarding Lead, should be informed.

  • In order that staff and volunteers do not place themselves or children at risk of harm or of allegations of harm, staff and volunteers should seek immediate advice from the Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Safeguarding Lead if a child's interaction with you seems inappropriate, out of the ordinary or makes you feel uncomfortable.

  • The policy and procedures will be widely promoted. Failure to comply with the policy and procedures will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in disciplinary action, dismissal/exclusion from the organisation.

3 Entitlement

Creative Mentor Network acknowledges that some children and vulnerable adults, can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and we accept the responsibility to take all reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure their welfare. This safeguarding  policy aims to ensure that regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, all persons:

  • Have a positive and enjoyable experience in a safe environment

  • Are protected from abuse whilst participating in dealings with Creative Mentor network.



4 Adult Responsibilities

Adults working with children at Creative Mentor Network have a duty to:

  • Understand, adopt, adhere to and implement the Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy

  • Respect and promote the rights, wishes and feelings of all children and vulnerable adults

  • Safeguard and promote the welfare of all children and vulnerable adults

  • Conduct themselves in accordance with the Creative Mentor Network Code of Conduct

5 Policy Review

When: The policy will be reviewed in January of each year and in light of new or updated guidance from the UK Government.  

How: The  Creative Mentor Network Safeguarding Lead will monitor updates from the UK Government regarding best practice. Feedback is welcomed and collected from members and staff and this will be collated, discussed and implemented.  

By Whom: The Creative Mentoring Network Safeguarding Lead will be responsible for this process.

6 Roles and responsibilities

Creative Mentor Network meets its child and vulnerable adult protection responsibilities by ensuring that adults working with children are briefed on Safeguarding policies and best practice.

All Creative Mentor Network staff are given ample time to read and consider the Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy before signing the declaration. Deviation from the guidelines or failure to enforce the Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy may result in immediate dismissal / exclusion from the organisation.  

If an issues arises or you have a concern it is important to escalate the matter to a senior member of staff. In some cases you may feel the need to report issues / concerns directly to Safeguarding Lead. Concerns shared will be treated with the strictest of confidence and investigated fully.

7 Code of Conduct

It is important that adults working with children and vulnerable adults understand that the nature of their work and the responsibilities related to it, place them in a position of trust. At Creative Mentor Network we aim to create a safe culture by ensuring adults working with children and vulnerable adults follow a Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct endeavours to:-

  • Assist staff working with children , young people and vulnerable adults to work safely and responsibly and to monitor their own standards and practice

Set clear expectations of behaviour and codes of practice relevant to the role

8 Power and Positions of Trust

As a result of their knowledge, position and/or the authority invested in their role, adults working with children and vulnerable adults, are in positions of trust.

There is potential for exploitation and harm of vulnerable adults and children. Where a person aged 18 or over is in a specified position of trust with a child under 18, it is a criminal offence for that person to engage in sexual activity with or in the presence of that child, or to cause or incite that child to engage in or watch sexual activity.

This means that staff should not:

  • Use their position to gain access to information for their own or others’ advantage

  • Use their position to intimidate, bully, humiliate, threaten, coerce or undermine children and vulnerable adults

  • Use their status and standing to form or promote relationships which are of a sexual nature, or which may become so.



9 Propriety and Behaviour

There may be times, for example, when a person’s behaviour or actions in their personal life come under scrutiny from the work environment, the local communities or public authorities. This could be because their behaviour is considered to compromise their position or indicate an unsuitability to work with children. Misuse of drugs, alcohol or acts of violence would be examples of such behaviour.

People in contact with children should therefore understand and be aware, that safe practice also involves using judgement and integrity about behaviours in places other than the work setting.

This means that staff should not:

  • Smoke or drink alcohol whilst in the company of, or whilst responsible for, children or vulnerable adults

  • Behave in an aggressive, violent or forceful manner which would lend any reasonable person to question your suitability to work with children and vulnerable adults or act as a role model.


10 Infatuations

Occasionally, a child may develop an infatuation with a staff member. Staff should deal with these situations sensitively and appropriately to maintain the dignity and safety of all concerned. They should remain aware, however, that such infatuations carry a high risk of words or actions being misinterpreted and should therefore make every effort to ensure that their own behaviour is above reproach. In this situation a staff member who becomes aware that a child is developing an infatuation should discuss this at the earliest opportunity with the safeguarding lead  so appropriate action can be taken to avoid any hurt, distress or embarrassment.

This means that staff should not:

  • Be in a one-to-one situation with the child

  • Encourage the obsession.

11 Sexual Contact

Staff should clearly understand the need to maintain appropriate boundaries in their contact with children and vulnerable adults. Intimate or sexual relationships between children or vulnerable adults and the adults who work with them will be regarded as a grave breach of trust. Allowing or encouraging a relationship to develop in a way which might lead to a sexual relationship is also unacceptable. Any sexual activity between an adult and the child or vulnerable adult with whom they work will be regarded as criminal offence and reported accordingly. Additionally, this will always be a matter for disciplinary action.

Children are protected by specific legal provisions regardless of whether the child or young person consents or not. The sexual activity referred to does not just involve physical contact including penetrative and non-penetrative acts. It may also include non-contact activities, such as causing children to engage in or watch sexual activity or the production of pornographic material. There are occasions when a person may embark on a course of behaviour known as 'grooming' where the sole purpose is to gain the trust of a child, and manipulate that relationship so sexual abuse can take place. Adults should be aware that consistently conferring inappropriate special attention and favour upon a child might be construed as being part of a 'grooming' process and as such will give rise to concerns about their behaviour and, in relation to staff, could result in disciplinary action.

This means that staff should not:

  • Have sexual relations with children or vulnerable adults

  • Have any communication which could be interpreted as sexually suggestive or provocative – either verbal, letter, notes, email, text, calls or physical contact

  • Talk about your own sexual relationships

  • Make sexual remarks about children or vulnerable adults

Relationships should be professional, healthy and respectful at all times. Your language, demeanour attitudes and conduct all require careful thought when dealing with children and vulnerable adults.

12 Dress and Appearance

Staff should dress in ways which are appropriate to their role and this may need to be different to how they dress when not at work. People who work with children should ensure they take care to ensure they are dressed appropriately for the tasks and the work they undertake.

Staff should wear clothing appropriate to the role:

  • Not viewed as offensive, revealing or sexually provocative

  • Does not distract, cause embarrassment or give rise to misunderstanding

  • Is absent of any political or otherwise contentious slogan

  • Is not considered discriminatory and is culturally sensitive

13 Behaviour Management

All children and vulnerable adults have a right to be treated with respect and dignity even in those circumstances where they display difficult or challenging behaviour.

Staff should:

  • Not use any form of degrading treatment to punish a child or vulnerable adult

  • Not use sarcasm, demeaning or insensitive comments towards children or vulnerable adults. It is not acceptable in any situation.

  • Never use corporal punishment.

14 Physical Contact

There are occasions when it is entirely appropriate and proper for staff to have physical contact with children or vulnerable adults, but it is crucial that they only do so in ways appropriate to their professional role. The general culture of 'limited touch' should be adapted and staff should use their professional judgement at all times.

Physical contact should take place only when it is necessary in relation to a particular situation. Some of these situations are:

  • During certain activities such as drama, sports and outdoor activities

  • When a child or adult is in distress

  • For restraint and physical intervention

  • Medical and First Aid

This means that staff should never:

  • Use physical force as a means of punishment and discipline

  • Never touch a child or vulnerable adult in a way which may be considered indecent

  • Indulge in ‘horse-play’.

The use of unwarranted physical force is likely to constitute a criminal offence.

15 Communication

Communication with children and vulnerable adults by whatever method, should take place within clear and explicit professional boundaries. We do encourage mentees and mentors to communicate via email and their professional social media accounts, and in some cases even by phone. However in our training sessions we highlight that these communications should not include the sharing of personal information and should be kept professional at all times. Creative Mentor Network, is copied into all communication between the mentees and mentors via email.

includes the wider use of technology such as mobile phones text messaging, e-mails, cameras, and websites. Staff should not share any personal information with a child or vulnerable adult and should not use their personal mobile to communicate with any child on a personal level such as texting, social media contact and taking photographs/videos without the express, written permission of the child's parents.  A person should ensure that all communications are transparent and open to scrutiny.

This means that staff should:

  • Not give their personal contact details to children, including their mobile or email

  • Inform a senior member of staff immediately if contacted by a young person on a personal mobile.  Ensure that mobile numbers of children must not be stored on a personal mobile and children should not have access to staff members' personal mobile numbers

  • Only make contact with children for professional reasons and in accordance with any organisation policy

  • Recognise that text messaging is not an appropriate way to respond to a child

  • Not use internet or web-based communication channels to send personal messages to a child

  • Not use a social network site to complain or criticize colleague /child etc nor to communicate with or befriend a child

  • Report any unwanted contact/emails/messages from children to the Safeguarding Lead.

16 Child and vulnerable adult protection guidance

16.1 How to respond to concerns

If you have concerns about a child or vulnerable person’s safety or well-being, discuss your concerns with the Safeguarding Lead who will have the appropriate training and expertise to support you and advise on the next stage. You should act swiftly. There should not be any time delay. If you cannot contact this person and you believe that a child or vulnerable adult may be in imminent danger of abuse you should contact the Police immediately.

16.2 How to respond to a disclosure

A concern may come to light as a response of something a child or vulnerable adult says to you. Often, this disclosure can be made during casual conversation. If a disclosure is made to you:

  • Listen to the information and accept what you hear without passing judgement or dismissing what you hear. Do not dismiss or trivialise what the child or vulnerable adult has told you. Stay calm. Be aware of your own reactions. Do not transmit shock, anger or embarrassment

  • Never enter into a pact of secrecy with the child or vulnerable adult. Assure them you will try and help but this may involve telling a more senior trained member of staff. Do not promise confidentiality but that the information will be treated with great care but reiterate you may need to share the information with a trained safeguarding person

  • Reassure and praise them. Tell them you believe them and it is not their fault. Children rarely lie about abuse but they may have tried to tell others and not been heard or believed

  • Encourage the child or vulnerable adult to talk without leading questions. Do not put words into their mouth or make judgemental statements about any person. Keep your own responses short and simple and do not offer new information. Do not interrogate them. Check you have understood what they are telling you. Do not comment on the offender – it may be someone they love

  • Be aware the child or vulnerable adult may retract what they have told you, but it is essential to report what you have heard

  • As soon as possible afterwards (if possible during the conversation) make a detailed record of the conversation, including questions you asked. Do not add your opinion

  • Immediately after the meeting you should contact the Safeguarding Lead and report the outcome of the meeting, producing the written record of the conversation

  • Take into account the child or vulnerable adult's age, their level of understanding, their culture and level of language

  • Confidentiality: you must never discuss issues with colleagues, family or friends. The information you have received must remain between yourself and the Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Safeguarding Lead

  • Any information divulged must be on a need to know basis

  • Parents / Guardians of a child will always be informed of allegations of abuse made by a child unless this puts the child or the subsequent investigation at risk (e.g. if they are the subject of the allegation).

16.3 Recording Information and Record Keeping

Why?

  • Clarifies the nature and extent of concerns

  • Provides a clear record of development of concerns

  • Identifies patterns of behaviour

  • Assists any subsequent referrals

  • Ensures consistency

What?

  • Signs and Indicators

  • Disclosures

  • Relevant contact with parents / guardians

How?

  • Factually - day, date, time place

  • Give background information

  • Record words verbatim

  • Keep any initial notes

  • Record action taken and the reasons

Secure provision is made for all records produced during any welfare discussions or disclosures. These records are then transferred to the Mentee safeguarding folder, where they are held for three years.  

17 Recognising symptoms of abuse

Although a child or vulnerable adult may make a disclosure of abuse to you, it is entirely possible that you will become concerned about the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult because of their behaviour or because you notice physical symptoms of abuse.

The four areas of abuse are physical, emotional, neglect and sexual (PENS).  

There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes as significant harm. Consideration of the severity of ill-treatment may include the degree and extent the duration and frequency of all the four abuses.

17.1 What is abuse and neglect?

These are forms of maltreatment – a person may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or failing to act to prevent harm. Children and vulnerable adults may be abused by a family member or in an institution or residential or community setting; by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger.


Type of abuse: Physical

May involve hitting, shaking, throwing, squeezing, burning or scalding, poisoning, biting, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm.

There can be a lot of overlap between the signs and symptom of one type of abuse and another.

Indicators of abuse could be:

- Unexplained cuts, bruises, marks, abrasions, burns

- Unwell

- Distress

- Self-harm or attempts at suicide

- Withdrawn / isolated

- Aggressive

- Overtly sexual behaviour

- Unwashed / clothes unchanged

- Bed-wetting

- Not taking part in activities

- Not eating

Type of abuse: Emotional

Is the persistent emotional maltreatment such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the emotional development of the child or vulnerable adult. It may involve conveying to them they are worthless, inadequate, unloved and threatening severe punishment, preventing the child or vulnerable adult from taking part in normal activities and/or abandonment. Also verbal abuse, taunting and shouting. It may take the form of text or cyberbullying.


Type of abuse: Sexual

Young and vulnerable people are abused by adults, those in a position of trust, adolescents or other young people who use them to meet their own sexual needs. This involves sexual intercourse, attempted sexual intercourse, fondling, and any penetrative act (oral/anal) intercourse, masturbation and exposure to pornographic material. ‘Grooming’ a child or vulnerable adult in preparation for abuse, including via the internet, is a form of sexual abuse.


Type of abuse: Neglect

Is persistent failure to meet a child or vulnerable adults basic physical and /or psychological needs. This can include not providing appropriate food, clothes, warmth and medical care or leaving a child unsupervised and failing to protect them from physical or emotional harm.

18 Handling allegations of abuse against staff

If an allegation is made against a member of Creative Mentor Network member of staff, the quick resolution of that allegation is our priority to the benefit of all concerned. At any stage of consideration or investigation, all unnecessary delays should be avoided.

  • Any allegation of abuse by a member of staff should be reported to the Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Safeguarding Lead straight away.

  • The Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Safeguarding Lead will then immediately launch a full investigation and decide on strategy going forward. The Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Safeguarding Lead will inform the accused person about the allegations as soon as possible after completion of investigation.

  • In response to an allegation staff suspension will not be the default option. An individual should only be suspended if there is no reasonable alternative. If suspension is deemed appropriate, the reasons and justification should be recorded by the charity and the individual notified of the reasons.

  • Allegations that are found to have been malicious will be removed from personnel records and any that are not substantiated, are unfounded or malicious should not be referred to in employer references.

19 Other safeguarding issues

Safeguarding covers a range of issues. We should do everything possible to ensure that children feel safe at all times.

19.1 Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

CSE involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people receive something (for example food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, gifts, money or in some cases simply affection) as a result of engaging in sexual activities. Sexual exploitation can take many forms ranging from the seemingly ‘consensual’ relationship where sex is exchanged for affection or gifts, to serious organised crime by gangs and groups. What marks out exploitation is an imbalance of power in the relationship. The perpetrator always holds some kind of power over the victim which increases as the exploitative relationship develops. Sexual exploitation involves varying degrees of coercion, intimidation or enticement, including unwanted pressure from peers to have sex, sexual bullying including cyberbullying and grooming. However, it also important to recognise that some young people who are being sexually exploited do not exhibit any external signs of this abuse.

If you suspect a child is at risk of CSE or that this has already taken place this should be reported to the Safeguarding Lead.

19.2 E-Safety

New technologies are becoming / will become more and more popular in the lives of young people and adults in today’s society. The use of these technologies can put young people at risk. [•] staff should be aware of this and look out for signs such as overuse of phones and mood changes after phone calls.

Creative Mentor Network Mentor Code of Conduct

As a Mentor it is important that you are aware of the issues surrounding Child Protection. CMN has a duty of care to help protect you and the young people you will be working with. The following is CMN’s Code of Conduct. Please make sure you read it thoroughly.

A mentor should

  • Do what you can to ensure that your mentee is safe.

  • Treat everyone equally with the same fairness and respect you would expect to be treated with.

  • Respect participant’s background, culture and traditions and be aware certain behaviour may offend his/her beliefs.

  • Discourage negative or abusive attitudes or behaviour (e.g. ridicule, racism, swearing, exclusion, bullying).

  • Inform young people if their behaviour is inappropriate.

  • Be aware that you are a role model for the young people you are working with.

  • Try to work in areas with other people around.

  • Avoid unnecessary physical contact with the young people.

  • You can give out your phone number but it’s advisable not to accept friendship requests on social networking sites, although professional sites like LinkedIn and in some cases Instagram, are necessary.

  • If there is a problem raise it with Rochelle Robertson.

  • Ensure your own protection. These procedures are in place to protect YOU as well as those you are working with.

  • Ensure you are never left alone with a young person. Work in pairs, in open spaces or ensure another member of staff is present.

  • Avoid any physical contact with the young people

  • Never meet or make contact with a young person outside the designated hours and location of the session

  • Keep your mobile phone on during an event in case we need to contact you, but keep it on a discreet setting