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 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 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 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 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:
- 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
- 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
- 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?
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
There may be no obvious signs of sexual abuse, but the following may be signs that a child is, or has been, sexually abused:
- Signs of blood or discharge on the child’s under clothes
- Awkwardness in walking or sitting down
- Tummy pains
- Regression into bed-wetting
- 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.
- Abnormal growth including failure to thrive
- Underweight or obesity
- Recurrent infection
- Unkempt, dirty appearance
- Inadequate/unwashed clothes
- Attachment disorders
- Indiscriminate friendliness
- Poor social relationships
- Poor concentration
- Developmental delays
- Low self-esteem
- 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 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 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
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.
This policy and its associated procedures should be reviewed annually.