Rescue4Children (R4C) is a charity that works to improve the lives of children and young people. We believe that every individual who accesses our services should be treated with dignity and respect, have their choice respected and not be forced to do anything against their will. R4C is committed to safeguarding all children and young people coming into contact with the charity, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs.
R4C personnel and volunteers come into direct and indirect contact with children and young people through delivery of a range of services. This policy defines a child as anyone under the age of 18.
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and all staff who, during the course of their employment have direct or indirect contact with children or vulnerable adults, or who have access to information about them, have a responsibility to safeguard and promote their welfare.
This policy applies to anyone employed directly or indirectly by R4C and includes Trustees, staff, volunteers, work placements, trainers and consultants. This policy is available to independent contractors and should be implemented as good practice. While this policy focuses on the workplace responsibilities of staff, responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults extend to an individual’s personal and domestic life.
Charity Trustees are responsible  for ensuring that those benefiting from or working with their charity are not harmed in any way through contact with it. This policy has been approved and endorsed by the Board of Trustees.
This child protection and vulnerable adult safeguarding policy statement will be available on the R4C website.
An annual audit of safeguarding concerns, action taken and staff training and support will be conducted annually and safeguarding policy and procedures will be reviewed every three years or in the light of significant changes to best practice or legislation.
Date of last review
Date of next review April 2015
For Recue4Children this means ...
1. ensuring that R4C practices safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff, freelancers and volunteers to work with vulnerable adults and have contact with children.
2. ensuring safe environments, Ensuring services are provided in safe environments and that sufficient safeguards are in place. Checking the suitability of childcare providers who we may make referrals to or work in partnership with.
3. raising awareness of how and when to signpost vulnerable adults and children to appropriate services.
4. raising awareness of child and adult protection situations, and our procedures for identifying and reporting concerns or suspected cases.
5. building a culture that values and respects all children and adults and modelling appropriate conduct in line with our values
6. setting out clear roles and responsibilities for safeguarding
We set out below the steps R4C is taking and requires all R4C personnel to take in order to safeguard children and vulnerable adults.
1. Safe recruitment
a. Staff and volunteers
R4C’s Recruitment and Selection Policyput in place procedures to ensure that thorough checks are made prior to appointment of staff, volunteers and freelance consultants, in order to prevent a person using their position to harm a child or young person. At present we do not routinely carry out CRB checks on staff or volunteers as they do not have unsupervised access to children, young people and vulnerable adults. We will review this annually.
- For all posts at R4C the following vetting checks are carried out prior to confirming the appointment:
- a Self Disclosure form to disclose previous unspent convictions and disciplinary or capability procedures.
- Identity documents including photographic identity.
- Proof of right to work in the UK or country of work.
- References including a professional reference using a pro-forma template.
- Qualification certificates if required for the role.
Volunteers and freelance consultants pose the same level of risk as paid staff. Vetting checks include:
· a self-disclosure form to disclose previous unspent convictions
· References including a professional reference using a pro-forma template
In line with R4C’s Recruitment Policy a criminal record does not prevent employment at R4C. The Director and a trustee carry out a thorough Risk Assessment if convictions are revealed on the declaration form, prior to confirming or withdrawing an appointment.
R4C’s Induction Policy ensures a thorough induction for new staff into the organisation. As part of Induction, the line manager must ensure new staff read key corporate policies, including Safeguarding, Child Protection, Vulnerable Adult Protection, Data Protection and Confidentiality policies, and understand their personal responsibilities within these, and that any training needs are identified and addressed.
R4C’s Appraisal Policy ensures that all staff receive regular on going management support and feedback on performance, to ensure that performance meets appropriate standards and training and development opportunities are discussed.
2. Safe environments
a. Childcare providers
R4C sometimes arranges childcare for disabled children and children with support needs. R4C policy is to use only an established childcare facility.
b. Safe environments
R4C will ensure that all environments where services and activities are delivered will not cause harm to vulnerable adults or children. As well as ensuring that suitable staff deliver activities, all service delivery environments will be assessed in line with R4C’s Health and safety policy.
c. The media
R4C case studies are frequently used to support and illustrate the issues faced by children and young people. Our media policy provides clear guidelines on how children and young people will be protected when supporting R4C in this way.
R4C’s use of images policy and consent form for use of photographs ensures informed consent is given before images can be used.
3. Signposting vulnerable adults to support
A number of staff come into contact with children and young people by phone or face to face and some staff and moderators may interact with children and young people via online forums, social media and other written communication.
Some of these children and young people may be particularly vulnerable, experiencing distress (for example due to the effects of war, family conflict or experience of domestic violence) or have mental health issues. For the majority of these children and young people their situation will not be of a nature that requires a member of staff to report a concern. However R4C believe it is important to recognise the vulnerability of these children and young people. R4C does not have appropriate expertise to deal directly with these issues although our intervention may be helpful, nor do we provide counselling support, so it is vital that staff understand how to identify signs and signpost effectively to other services.
R4C will support staff to recognise the signs of distress, to handle this and their own reactions, and to signpost children and young people to services that can provide support.
R4C will provide up to date signposting information for use by staff and volunteers which details organisations that can be contacted to support children and young people in a range of situations ranging from domestic violence, to mental health, drugs and alcohol and child safety.
The Safeguarding lead manager Mrs Aysen Ipek will ensure that these resources are updated regularly.
4. Child and adult protection
Contact with children, young people and vulnerable adults
There are a number of situations where contact might occur in refugee camps or on other site visits. Staff are not likely to be alone with a child face to face in any of the above situations but they may occasionally be providing support services on a one to one basis. Children and young people should never be transported in a vehicle with a lone member of staff or a volunteer and they should never enter staff or volunteer accommodation.
Awareness of R4C’s policies
All staff and volunteers are required to read R4C’s Safeguarding Policy and the Child protection and safeguarding policy statement to know their responsibilities in their role and to provide signed confirmation of this on the Induction checklist. Staff and volunteers working directly with children and young people should receive additional training to identify signs of abuse and know how to report concerns.
Alert to the signs of abuse
Our role in protecting children, young people and vulnerable adults is to pick up cues that the child or adult may need protecting and pass this information to those who can assess the situation and act when required. Staff are required to be aware of the different types and signs of abuse and the circumstances in which it can occur (see Guidance on recognising abuse).
Aware of duty to report concerns.
All concerns and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to appropriately (this may require a referral to a family support unit, children’s services and / or emergencies, the Police). Staff have a duty to report concerns in line with R4C’s procedures. Failure to comply with these responsibilities will be seen as a serious matter which may lead to disciplinary action.
Recognising that “the welfare of the child is paramount” Children’s Act 1989, considerations of confidentiality which might apply to other situations should not be allowed to override the right of children to be protected from harm. R4C’s Confidentiality policy therefore requires staff to act in any situation in which a child is at risk and in particular situations when a vulnerable adult is at risk.
While all staff should be open to the possible abuse of vulnerable adults in all situations, we envisage that there will be very few instances where staff will need to report adult protection concerns. The situations where this is most likely to happen and where staff will be expected to act are
· There is a significant risk that the adult may seriously physically harm another person.
In respect of vulnerable adults all action, including referrals to the police, must be subject to the consent of the service user. In every situation it will be assumed that a person can make their own decisions and action will only be taken in the absence of consent from the service user where;
· they or others are in physical danger
· after seeking advice from an appropriate agency you have been advised to report the concern as it is believed that the vulnerable adult is unable/incapable of making an informed decision for himself or herself.
Staff should never give absolute guarantees of confidentiality to anyone wishing to tell them about something serious.
R4C’s complaints procedure is an important way in which concerns can be surfaced and should be easily accessible to clients.
Aware of how and when to take action
Staff should follow Guidance: acting on safeguarding concerns to help them assess the risk of harm and take action if required.
All incidents should be recorded on the recording form and emailed to the safeguarding lead manager and copied to the Director. This form will be stored securely in compliance with relevant legislation.
Allegations of abuse or concerns raised against members of staff, volunteers, trainers or trustees, will always be treated seriously. Where there is an allegation against a member of staff the Safeguarding lead manager, Director and the trustees should be informed and a disciplinary investigation will be carried out. There may also be criminal (police) investigations. Where the allegation concerns any of the above personnel the chair of the trustees will be involved in the investigation.
Staff are encouraged in line with “how we work” and the equality and diversity policy to value diversity and respect the contribution of each individual.
Employees are encouraged to raise concerns about employment practices and concerns will be taken seriously. Unlawful discrimination, bullying or harassment will not be tolerated. The Grievance Policy sets out how to raise concerns both informally and formally, how concerns will be investigated and support for individuals raising a concerns as well as for employees who are the subject of a complaint. Employees will not suffer any negative treatment for giving constructive criticism or raising a genuine grievance.
R4Cs’s whistle blowing policy provides guidance for staff on confidential reporting of concerns about wrong doing in the workplace.
R4C also has a clear policy for staff on IT usage forbidding inappropriate use of materials which includes sexually explicit material, obscene remarks and abusive or discriminatory messages.
b. Online forums and Facebook
R4C works to ensure that our online forums and Facebook page are safe and supportive places where young people feel comfortable to express themselves and share their experiences.
While we encourage lively debate, we do not tolerate behaviour which makes other users feel uneasy or unable to contribute to the page. As such, we reserve the right to remove posts which are aggressive in tone, abusive towards other users or disruptive to how the forum or page operates. Racist, sexist, homophobic or bullying posts will be removed without delay. This is common practice and corresponds with Facebook’s terms and conditions.
6. Roles and responsibilities
Safeguarding and Child Protection Responsibilities are set out as follows:
- Trustees are accountable for R4C and therefore all safeguarding within the organisation and will receive annual reports on safeguarding.
- The Director is accountable to Trustees for safeguarding within the organisation and will ensure a clear framework for the management accountability for safeguarding is in operation.
- The On Site co-ordinators are accountable to the Director for safeguarding within their areas, for giving leadership on safeguarding as a corporate issue and ensuring it is integral to their area plan.
- Safeguarding lead managers provide advice and support to staff unsure about how to proceed with a particular case, and take line management responsibility for the safe delivery, quality and effectiveness of their services. They will also be responsible for assessing at the start of a project whether there are Local Children and Adult Safeguarding procedures that should take precedence over R4C’s procedures where there are significant differences.
- Safeguarding lead manager ‘s will stay abreast of developments on safeguarding best practice, advise on changes to policy and practice and coordinate Safeguarding audits and reporting.
- The list of Safeguarding managers and their role description is set out in guidance on recognising abuse.
7. Related policies and resources
This policy relates to measures in a range of other R4C policies that have been referred to and highlighted throughout this policy where relevant.
The term ‘safeguarding’ refers to inward facing procedures such as awareness raising, reporting concerns, responding appropriately to issues of abuse and exploitation and preventing harm through sound recruitment and safe programming. (Charity Commission’s Strategy for dealing with safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Issues in Charities, April 2012)
 Vulnerable adult
For the purpose of this policy a vulnerable adult is defined as
“anyone over the age of 18 who: is or may be in need of Community Care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and is or may be unable to take care of himself or herself or is unable to protect themselves against significant harm or serious exploitation” No Secrets, DOH (2000).
People who may be included in a definition of a Vulnerable Person:
- People with learning disability
- People with physical disabilities
- People with sensory impairment
- People with mental health needs including dementia
- People who misuse substances of alcohol
- People who are physically ill or mentally frail
Junior staff outside these definitions may also be vulnerable due to low self-esteem, social exclusion, effects of war, offending history, homelessness, domestic abuse, ethnicity, immigration status or lack of experience etc.
 Trustee responsibilities
Trustees of charities which work with children and vulnerable adults have a duty of care to their charity which will include taking the necessary steps to safeguard and take responsibility for those children and vulnerable adults. They must always act in their best interests and ensure they take all reasonable steps to prevent any harm to them. Trustees also have duties to manage risk and to protect the reputation and assets of the charity. [Charity Commission’s Strategy for dealing with safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Issues in Charities, April 2012]