Protection of children and vulnerable adults at risk of abuse Safeguarding Policy
The Charity is committed to complying with our legal obligations and social responsibilities in relation to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. Most if not all of St Petrocs clients will fall within the definition of a vulnerable adult but you may also come across people who are below the age of 18 and who are considered children in the eyes of the law.
Safeguarding is not just about safeguarding clients and it extends to your fellow staff members, volunteers, trustees and those you come across in the community.
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, and you owe a duty of care to those who you have dealing with in the course of your work.
St Petrocs believes it is good practice to have in place an appropriate safeguarding policy to ensure that employees, volunteers and trustees are aware of their responsibilities and that all allegations, suspicions and incidents of abuse, harm or the risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults or where there is a concern about the behaviour of an individual are reported immediately.
Under this policy abuse and neglect are defined as forms of maltreatment. This may be by omission or commission i.e. inflicting harm or failing to prevent harm. We recognise people can be abused in a family, institution or community setting by those known to them or by a stranger. The main categories of abuse are neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and financial abuse.
All necessary guidance on this policy will be given to you, normally on your induction and by your annual training updates via iHASCO. You are also required to complete your annual online safeguarding training and keep it up to date.
You need to follow the procedures to ensure that all allegations or suspicions of abuse or significant harm are reported and that this is then reported to the relevant authority. We will share all relevant information with the respective statutory protection agencies (children’s/adult services and/or police) without delay and within agreed protocols. The safeguarding legislation overrides duties of confidentially in the Data Protection Act 2018 but you should still be aware of the privacy rights of individuals.
St Petrocs will ensure that it fulfils its responsibilities to work jointly with others to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults.
Employee, Volunteers and Trustee Responsibilities (Staff)
Staff are not responsible for diagnosing abuse. However, everyone has a responsibility to be aware and alert to signs that all is not well with a child or vulnerable adult.
Staff should report in confidence to their line or service manager any suspicions or incidents of abuse, harm or the risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults or where there is a concern about the behaviour of an individual.
Line or service managers must then investigate the facts and events surrounding the incident with the member of staff who reported them. There are two safeguarding leads within the organisation who are the Director of Residential Services and the Legal Director and the line or service manager should notify one of them of the incident.
Not all concerns relate to abuse and there may well be another explanation. It is important while being vigilant to keep an open mind.
Reporting and Monitoring Procedures
If someone discloses that they are being abused, then upon receiving the information you should:
- Reassure the person that they were right to disclose this and that they are not to blame and take what they say seriously.
- Do not promise confidentiality.
- Inform them what you will do next.
Following suspected abuse the following actions will be required:
Make a full and written record of what has been said as soon as possible and don’t delay in passing on the information to your line or service manager.
If abuse is suspected the written report should record accurately concerns / observations / persons present, and are required to be signed, timed and dated.
If abuse is disclosed, record the facts using the words of the person disclosing, do not make judgements or opinions. Note the time, date and context/setting of the disclosure. Ensure that early in the disclosure that the person understands that you will need to report what they are telling you to others.
Staff should not investigate concerns or allegations themselves but involve their line or service manager and one of the safeguarding leads.
As a basic rule, only those people who need to know should be told of the incident or allegation.
It will be one of the safeguarding leads who will decide if a referral to the adult safeguarding board (or the MARU (Multi agency referral unit) in the case of a child) should be made and the staff member involved may in those cases be required to complete the safeguarding referral form provided by Cornwall Council. The staff member should then submit the form via the e mail address set out on the safeguarding website which is [email protected] You may seek support for this process if you need by one of the safeguarding leads.
Staff members may also, with the consent of their line or service manager seek advice from the safeguarding team at Cornwall Council on 01872 326433. Staff should make a written note on the conversation on In Form which should include the name of the officer who they spoke to, the time and date of the conversation and what was said.
Code of Safeguarding Conduct for Employees
The following guidelines are intended to be a common sense approach that may help to protect staff from any false allegation.
Do not spend excessive time alone with children/vulnerable adults away from others.
Do not take children/young people or vulnerable adults alone in a car journey, however short the journey without telling your line or service manager first if at all possible. Never take them to your home.
Do not allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any form, and exercise caution when initiating any physical contact with a child/vulnerable adult.
Do not make over-familiar or sexually suggestive comments or approaches to a child/ vulnerable adult even as a ‘joke’ or do not allow over familiar or sexually suggestive comments/approaches made by a child/vulnerable adult go unchallenged or unrecorded.
Treat all children/vulnerable adults with respect, and respect their right to personal privacy. Exercise caution when discussing sensitive issues.
Challenge all unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations, or suspicions of abuse.
St Petrocs shall ensure that all allegations, suspicions and incidents of abuse are reported immediately and shall promptly take appropriate disciplinary action against any member of staff who is engaged or is alleged to be engaged in any of the improper conduct. The Charity shall suspend the member of staff pending investigation and completion of appropriate disciplinary action.
If employees are in any doubt then they should contact their line or service Manager for further clarification on the contents of this policy.
If there is a complaint made against you and it is upheld after an investigation, then this could amount to gross misconduct and you could be summarily dismissed in appropriate circumstances.