Child protection policy

Youth Radio Rocks believes that chil­dren and young people have the right to pro­tec­tion from abuse and neg­lect and that the well being of chil­dren must be the para­mount con­sid­er­a­tion when provid­ing ser­vices. Youth Radio Rocks is com­mit­ted to ensur­ing that all staff who work with chil­dren and young people, includ­ing vol­un­tary work­ers, are able to provide a safe envir­on­ment where children/young people are safe at all times.

Within the frame­work of the law (Chil­dren Act 1989), Youth Radio Rocks staff and volun­teer work­ers are obliged to have an import­ant role in the pro­tec­tion of chil­dren from abuse, namely: phys­ical, sexual, emo­tional and that of neglect.

Youth Radio Rocks will ensure that all activ­it­ies provided for children / young people are care­fully planned and that activ­it­ies and ser­vices are appro­pri­ate to the age and needs of the chil­dren and young people participating.

Youth Radio Rocks will oper­ate safe recruit­ment pro­ced­ures and all volun­teers and staff will be sub­ject to a care­ful selec­tion and vet­ting pro­cess. Enhanced Crim­inal Records Bur­eau checks will be car­ried out on all people apply­ing to work with chil­dren and no unsu­per­vised access to children / young people will be per­mit­ted until this pro­cess has been completed.

Youth Radio Rocks Child Pro­tec­tion Policy and Pro­ced­ures apply to all chil­dren and young people regard­less of gender, eth­ni­city, dis­ab­il­ity, sexu­al­ity or religion.

Chil­dren and young people will be made aware of the policy in ways that are appro­pri­ate to their age, situ­ation or dis­ab­il­ity and Youth Radio Rocks will ensure that all staff and volun­teers work­ing with chil­dren have adequate train­ing in Child Pro­tec­tion policies and procedures and Youth Radio Rocks has knowledge and understanding of the “Every child matters government initiative”.

If staff or volun­teers have con­cerns, how­ever minor, of any issue relat­ing to a child that arouses suspi­cion; they have a duty to bring those con­cerns to the atten­tion of their imme­di­ate supervisor.

Youth Radio Rocks named child pro­tec­tion rep­res­ent­at­ive will be the Pro­ject Man­ager and their con­tact details will be avail­able to all rel­ev­ant staff within the project.

It is worth stating from the outset that no volunteer or child will be left unattended at anytime in the studio environment by a member of the core Youth Radio Rocks team or an appropriate parent, guardian or teacher. All our core team members are CRB checked. For additionally safety and security Youth Radio Rocks has in its studios CCTV cameras recording on a permanent basis. This is not only for the security of the equipment in the studio but also for the safety of those within it.

Child Pro­tec­tion Procedures

Under­stand­ing the dif­fer­ent forms of abuse

Phys­ical Abuse

Phys­ical abuse may involve hit­ting, shak­ing, throw­ing, pois­on­ing, burn­ing or scald­ing, drown­ing, suf­foc­at­ing or oth­er­wise caus­ing phys­ical 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 they are look­ing after. A per­son might do this because they enjoy or need the atten­tion they get through hav­ing a sick child. Phys­ical abuse can also be caused through omis­sion or fail­ure to act to protect.

Emo­tional Abuse

Emo­tional abuse is the per­sist­ent emo­tional ill treat­ment of a child as to cause severe and per­sist­ent adverse effects on the child’s emo­tional devel­op­ment. It may involve mak­ing a child feel or believe that they are worth­less or unloved, inad­equate or val­ued only inso­far as they meet the needs of another person.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse 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 fond­ling. Sexual abuse may also involve 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 every sec­tion of society.

Neg­lect

Neg­lect is the per­sist­ent fail­ure to meet a child’s basic phys­ical and/or psy­cho­lo­gical needs. It may involve a par­ent or carer fail­ing to provide adequate food, shel­ter and cloth­ing, fail­ing to pro­tect a child from phys­ical harm or danger, or the fail­ure to ensure access to appro­pri­ate med­ical care or treat­ment. It may also include neg­lect of, or unre­spons­ive­ness to, a child’s basic emo­tional needs.

What to look for:

Phys­ical Abuse

Vis­ible signs:

  • Injur­ies to any part of the body
  • Chil­dren who find it pain­ful to walk, sit down, move their jaws or exhibit other signs of pain
  • Injur­ies which are not typ­ical of the bumps and bruises asso­ci­ated with children’s activities
  • The reg­u­lar occur­rence of unex­plained injuries
  • The child who is fre­quently injured where even appar­ently reas­on­able reas­ons are given

Beha­vi­oural signs:

  • Furt­ive or secret­ive behaviour
  • Unchar­ac­ter­istic aggres­sion or with­drawn behaviour
  • Com­puls­ive eat­ing or sud­den loss of appetite
  • The child who sud­denly becomes ill co-ordinated
  • The child who finds it dif­fi­cult to stay awake
  • The child who is repeatedly absent

What to listen for:

  • Con­fused or con­flict­ing explan­a­tions about how injur­ies were sustained
  • Eval­u­ate care­fully what is said and prefer­ably doc­u­ment it verbatim
  • Con­sider if the explan­a­tion is in keep­ing with the nature and site of the injury

Con­sider:

  • What you know about the family?
  • Is there a his­tory of known or sus­pec­ted abuse?
  • Has the fam­ily been under stress recently?
  • Do you have con­cerns about the family?

Emo­tional Abuse

Watch for parent/carer behaviours:

  • Poor attach­ment with the child
  • Unre­spons­ive or neg­lect­ful beha­viour towards the child’s emo­tional needs
  • Per­sist­ent neg­at­ive com­ments about the child
  • Inap­pro­pri­ate or incon­sist­ent devel­op­mental expect­a­tions of the child
  • Par­ental prob­lems that super­sede the needs of the child
  • Dys­func­tional fam­ily rela­tion­ships, includ­ing domestic violence

Watch for child behaviours:

  • Signs of low self-esteem, unhap­pi­ness, fear, dis­tress, anxiety
  • Atten­tion seek­ing, oppos­ing, with­drawn, insecure
  • Fail­ure to thrive/faltering growth, delay in achiev­ing devel­op­mental, cog­nit­ive or edu­ca­tional milestones

Sexual Abuse

There may be no obvi­ous signs of sexual abuse, but the fol­low­ing may be signs that a child is, or has been, sexu­ally abused:

Phys­ical signs:

  • Signs of blood or dis­charge on the child’s under clothes
  • Awk­ward­ness in walk­ing or sit­ting down
  • Tummy pains
  • Regres­sion into bed-wetting
  • Tired­ness

Beha­vi­oural signs:

  • Extreme vari­ations in beha­viour (e.g. anxi­ety or withdrawal)
  • Sexu­ally pro­voc­at­ive beha­viour or know­ledge that is incom­pat­ible with the child’s age or understanding
  • Draw­ings and/or writ­ing that is sexu­ally expli­cit (this can be an indir­ect disclosure)
  • Dir­ect dis­clos­ure; it is import­ant to recog­nise that young chil­dren have neither the exper­i­ence or the under­stand­ing to be able to make up stor­ies about sexual assault.

Neg­lect

Phys­ical signs:

  • Abnor­mal growth includ­ing fail­ure to thrive
  • Under­weight or obesity
  • Recur­rent infection
  • Unkempt, dirty appearance
  • Smelly
  • Inadequate/unwashed clothes
  • Hun­ger
  • List­less­ness

Beha­vi­oural signs:

  • Attach­ment disorders
  • Indis­crim­in­ate friendliness
  • Poor social relationships
  • Poor con­cen­tra­tion
  • Devel­op­mental delays
  • Low self-esteem

Envir­on­mental signs:

  • Insuf­fi­cient food, heat­ing and vent­il­a­tion at home
  • Risk from anim­als in the household
  • Inap­pro­pri­ate sleep­ing arrange­ments and inad­equate bedding
  • Dan­ger­ous or haz­ard­ous environment


How to respond to abuse or sus­pec­ted abuse

If any mem­ber of staff or a volun­teer has con­cerns that a child may be being abused in any form, they must inform their imme­di­ate super­visor imme­di­ately. If the Man­ager (child pro­tec­tion rep­res­ent­at­ive) is unavail­able, the Chair per­son of the Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee should be informed.
If any mem­ber of staff or a volun­teer has a con­cern regard­ing another staff member’s con­duct with a child they must com­mu­nic­ate these con­cerns to their imme­di­ate super­visor or the Man­ager (pro­ject child pro­tec­tion rep­res­ent­at­ive) immediately.

If a child / young per­son dis­closes abuse:

DO

  • Do treat any alleg­a­tions extremely ser­i­ously and act at all times towards the child/young per­son as if you believe what they are say­ing, irre­spect­ive of their level of devel­op­ment or communication
  • Do tell the child/young per­son that they were right to tell you
  • Do reas­sure them that they are not to blame
  • Do be hon­est about your own pos­i­tion, who you have to tell and why
  • Do tell the child/young per­son what you are doing, and when, and keep them up to date with what is happening
  • Do take fur­ther action – you may be the only per­son able to pre­vent fur­ther abuse – tell your imme­di­ate super­visor immediately
  • Do write down everything said and what action was taken (see guidelines for record­ing) – always state facts and not opinions
  • Do seek med­ical atten­tion for the child/young per­son if necessary
  • Do inform parents/carers – unless there is sus­pi­cion of their involvement

DON’T

  • Don’t make prom­ises you can’t keep
  • Don’t inter­rog­ate the child – it is not your job to carry out an invest­ig­a­tion — this is the respons­ib­il­ity of the police and social ser­vices who have exper­i­ence in this.
  • Don’t cast doubt on what the child has told you, don’t inter­rupt or change the subject.
  • Don’t say any­thing that might make the child feel respons­ible for the abuse
  • Don’t do noth­ing – make sure you tell your imme­di­ate super­visor and the project’s nom­in­ated child pro­tec­tion rep­res­ent­at­ive imme­di­ately – they will take the lead in fol­low­ing up your con­cerns and seek­ing fur­ther advice.

Guidelines for mak­ing con­fid­en­tial records of concerns

When a child pro­tec­tion con­cern arises, it is essen­tial that some­body records what is said or seen and what action was taken. These records are extremely sens­it­ive and should be kept in a locked cab­inet or drawer. Access should be lim­ited to only the Pro­ject Man­ager (nom­in­ated child pro­tec­tion rep­res­ent­at­ive) and the Chair per­son of the Man­age­ment Committee.
These records may be shown to the police or social ser­vices and could be used as evid­ence in court, although this is rare. The child / young per­son involved can be shown this doc­u­ment, but dis­cre­tion should be used. If the young per­son is old enough, their per­mis­sion should be sought before show­ing it to their parents / carers.

Con­fid­en­tial records should include:

  • Name of child
  • Child’s date of birth
  • Child’s lan­guage and reli­gion and any known spe­cial needs
  • Child’s address
  • Name/s of parents/carers
  • Phone num­bers of parents/carers and child
  • What is said to have happened or what was seen
  • When and where it occurred
  • Who else, if any­one, was involved and how
  • What was said by any­one else who was involved
  • Any obvi­ous signs – e.g. bruis­ing or bleed­ing, changed beha­viour etc.
  • What the child said about what happened and how they described it
  • Who has been told about what and when
  • Whether or not the parents/carers know
  • Sig­na­ture of the per­son who has made the record and the project’s child pro­tec­tion representative
  • Date of the record

Tak­ing Action

If the project’s child pro­tec­tion rep­res­ent­at­ive wishes to seek advice about whether to make a refer­ral, or if they want to make a refer­ral, they should con­tact the Social Ser­vices Duty and Assess­ment Team (DAT)

The Local Author­ity will make a decision about the next course of action within 24 hours fol­low­ing dis­cus­sion with the per­son mak­ing the refer­ral and by liais­ing with other agen­cies as neces­sary. An invest­ig­a­tion may then be ini­ti­ated to determ­ine whether there is ‘reas­on­able cause’ to sus­pect that a child is suf­fer­ing or is at risk of suf­fer­ing sig­ni­fic­ant harm. Social Ser­vices will advise the pro­ject child pro­tec­tion rep­res­ent­at­ive as soon as they can.

Pro­jects should be aware of the Area Child Pro­tec­tion Com­mit­tees (ACPC) that are respons­ible for mak­ing sure that child pro­tec­tion arrange­ments are oper­at­ing effect­ively in their area and co-ordinating child pro­tec­tion across agencies.

Pro­jects should ensure that links are made with other agen­cies that have a role in identi­fy­ing, report­ing and invest­ig­at­ing cases of sus­pec­ted abuse. These include; Social Ser­vices Depart­ments, Edu­ca­tion Depart­ments, Police, Schools, Health Pro­fes­sion­als, Pro­ba­tion Ser­vices and other Vol­un­tary Agencies.

Staff Train­ing and Supervision

WPCP staff and volun­teers work­ing with children / young people should have basic train­ing and induc­tion to cover basic defin­i­tions of abuse, recog­nising signs of abuse, beha­viour of abusers, how to respond to alleg­a­tions or con­cerns about abuse and what action to take. Child pro­tec­tion rep­res­ent­at­ives should have fur­ther train­ing to ensure they are clear about the agen­cies to con­tact and how to con­tact them if child pro­tec­tion con­cerns arise.

They will also have the respons­ib­il­ity to ensure that staff and volun­teers know how to respond where there are con­cerns about a child / young per­son. Where appro­pri­ate, staff and volun­teers will be given train­ing in phys­ical restraint of children/young people in order to pre­vent immin­ent injury to an indi­vidual or them­selves or pre­vent ser­i­ous dam­age to property.

Reg­u­lar staff super­vi­sion, staff team meet­ings and oppor­tun­it­ies to dis­cuss the work will be provided and this should be the mech­an­ism for ensur­ing that the Child Pro­tec­tion Policy and Pro­ced­ures are being imple­men­ted and that staff are able to fully adhere to this policy and procedures.

These measures should ensure that:

  • Staff and volun­teers fully under­stand Youth Radio Rocks Child Pro­tec­tion Policy and Pro­ced­ures and how this should be imple­men­ted within their project.
  • That they adhere to the code of con­duct for staff and volun­teers work­ing with children/young people
  • That they remain vigil­ant and responsive

Code of Beha­viour for volun­teers work­ing with children / young people

The fol­low­ing points may be sup­ple­men­ted by ser­vice spe­cific policies and pro­ced­ures that are in place to take account of the par­tic­u­lar needs of the children/young people being worked with in the pro­ject – e.g. beha­viour policies, safe trans­port pro­ced­ures, pro­ced­ures to be fol­lowed if a child is lost or col­lec­ted late and deal­ing with aggress­ive behaviour,.

In gen­eral, staff and volun­teers should observe the following:

  • Appro­pri­ate con­duct and rela­tion­ships with children/young people
  • Avoid ini­ti­at­ing phys­ical con­duct with children/young people
  • Avoid phys­ical expres­sion of emo­tion such as kiss­ing or hugging
  • Avoid intrus­ive forms of play (e.g. tick­ling or rough and tumble)
  • If phys­ical con­tact is ini­ti­ated by a child or a young per­son, cease it as soon as pos­sible without mak­ing them feel rejected
  • Avoid any phys­ical con­tact when alone with a child/young person
  • If a child/young per­son per­sists in inap­pro­pri­ate phys­ical con­tact, it must be explained that staff should not kiss or hug people they work with
  • If inap­pro­pri­ate phys­ical con­tact from a child/young per­son per­sists, this should be brought to the atten­tion of a senior mem­ber of staff
  • It is good prac­tice for all staff to work along­side a col­league where pos­sible as this helps to ensure the safety of children/young people and helps to pro­tect staff and volun­teers against false allegations.

 

When work­ing with children/young people, Youth Radio Rocks staff and volun­teers must not:

  • Have any sexual con­tact with children / young people
  • Lend or bor­row money or property
  • Give or receive sig­ni­fic­ant gifts
  • Carry out exclus­ive or secret relationships
  • Take ser­vice users into their homes

All Youth Radio Rocks staff and volun­teers should strive to develop work­ing rela­tion­ships with col­leagues that are based on mutual respect. All staff are expec­ted to con­trib­ute and take respons­ib­il­ity for cre­at­ing a pos­it­ive work­ing envir­on­ment and for con­duct­ing them­selves in a pro­fes­sional and cour­teous manner.

All staff and volun­teers must be aware that any issues around sus­pec­ted abuse are con­fid­en­tial. Incid­ents must not be dis­cussed with any­one other than those staff and man­agers who are imme­di­ately involved with the investigation.

Use of the Com­plaints Procedure

Staff should ensure that Youth Radio Rocks Con­cerns and Com­plaints Pro­ced­ure which is explained to ser­vice users, and parents / carers where appro­pri­ate, so that they are able to voice any con­cerns and complaints.

Review

This policy and its asso­ci­ated pro­ced­ures should be reviewed annually.