Safeguarding Policy - Mindfully Alive
The purpose of this policy:
- to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults who receive services from Mindfully Alive
- to provide anyone working on behalf of the organisation with the overarching principles that guide our approach to safeguarding and child protection
Mindfully Alive believes that a child, young person or vulnerable adult should never experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children, young people and vulnerable adults to keep them safe. We are committed to practise in a way that protects them.
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children, namely:
- Children Act 1989
- United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
- Data Protection Act 1998
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Children Act 2004
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
- Children and Families Act 2014
- Special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice: 0 to
- 25 years - Statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities; HM Government 2014
- Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers; HM Government 2015
- Working together to safeguarding children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; HM Government 2015
Definition of a child:
- A child is under the age of 18 (as defined in the United Nations convention on the Rights of a Child).
Definition of Vulnerable Adults:
A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited. This may include, but is not limited to a person who is:
- Elderly and frail
- Has a mental illness including dementia
- Has a physical or sensory disability
- Has a learning disability
- Has a severe physical illness
- Is a substance user
- Is homeless
We recognise that:
- the welfare of the child is paramount, as enshrined in the Children Act 1989
- all children, young people and vulnerable adults, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
- some children and young people are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
- working in partnership with children, young people, vulnerable adults, teachers, parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people's welfare.
We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:
- valuing them, listening to and respecting them
- adopting child protection and safeguarding practices through relevant procedures and codes of conduct
- providing effective self-management and management of anyone working on behalf of the organisation through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures
- recording and storing information professionally and securely and sharing information appropriately.
- sharing concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know, and involving children, young people, parents, teachers, families and carers appropriately.
- creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment.
- ensuring that we provide a safe physical environment for children, young people and vulnerable adults by applying health and safety measures in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance.
At Mindfully Alive we must be aware that we have a professional duty to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children and vulnerable adults. The public interest in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults may override confidentiality interests. However, information will be shared on a need-to-know basis only. All staff and partners must be aware that they cannot promise students that they will keep secrets.
If you have Safeguarding concerns:
If any staff of Mindfully Alive has reason to believe that abuse is or may be taking place, they have a responsibility to act on this information. If a child, young person or vulnerable adult discloses abuse to you directly, use the following principles to respond to them:
- Assure them that you are taking the concerns seriously
- Do not be judgemental or jump to conclusions
- Listen carefully to what they are telling you, stay calm, get as clear a picture as you can.
- Use open ended questions
- Do not start to investigate or ask detailed or probing questions
- Explain that you have a duty to inform the local authority Safeguarding Team
- Reassure the child/vulnerable adult, but do not make promises of confidentiality, the child, young person or vulnerable adult needs to know you may need to share this information.
Your responsibilities are:
- To take action to keep the child, young person or vulnerable adult safe if possible. If an urgent police presence is required to keep someone safe-call 999.
- If the person needs urgent medical assistance such as an ambulance- call 999
- If a crime has occurred, be aware of the need to preserve evidence
- Clearly record what you have witnessed or been told, record your responses and any actions taken.
Sharing Concerns with Parents/Carers/Guardians
There is always a commitment to work in partnership with parents or carers where there are concerns about their children. Therefore, in most situations, it would be important to talk to parents, carers or guardians to help clarify any initial concerns. For example, if a child seems withdrawn, there may be a reasonable explanation. He/she/they may have experienced an upset in the family such as a parental separation, divorce or bereavement.
Once children reach the age of 16, they are presumed in law to be competent. In many respects they should be treated as adults and can give consent for their own treatment, and refuse, including admission to hospital. Parents cannot override consent or refusal from a competent 16/17-year-old. Neither can they consent on behalf of their competent 16/17-year-old. However, the Department of Health recommends that it is good practice to encourage children of this age to involve their families in decisions about their care, unless it would not be in the child’s interests to do so.
When it is not appropriate to share concerns with Parents/Carers/Guardians
There are circumstances in which a child, young person or vulnerable adult might be placed at even greater risk if concerns are shared (e.g. where a parent, carer or guardian may be responsible for the suspected abuse or not able to respond to the situation appropriately). In these situations or where concerns still exist, any suspicion, allegation or incident of abuse must be reported to the Local Authority Safeguarding Board or the Police, who will advise on contacting parents.
- Document the concern and any actions or decisions taken
- Ensure all actions and decisions are fully recorded. It is possible that your records may be required as part of an enquiry, be as clear and accurate as you can.
- Record the reasons for your decisions and any advice given to you in making these decisions.
- Ensure that appropriate records are maintained, including details of: The nature of the safeguarding concern/allegation, the decision of the organisation to raise a concern or not
How to Raise a Safeguarding Concern
- To raise a safeguarding concern, contact 0345 6789021 Shropshire Child Social Care and Health
- Public Protection Unit (West Mercia Police): 0300 333 3000
- NSPCC: 0800 800 5000
- Childline: 0800 1111
If a child is in immediate danger
- call the emergency services on 999.
Mindfully Alive, Sam O’Sullivan.
07715 579433 - [email protected]
This policy will be reviewed every 3 years or before if new legislation comes into force.
Last reviewed 21st January 2021.