Apple Orchard School
Child Protection Policy
Including Statement for Procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff
This document is developed in accordance with the principles established by the Children’s Act 1989 and in line with Government Publications:
- “Working Together to Safeguard Children” 2015 updated July 2018
- The children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 5
- Local Safeguarding Board – Manual of Procedures
- Care Standards Act 2000
- Every Child Matters
- Children’s Homes Regulation 2015
- Social Work Act 2017
This document incorporates the following areas:
- Safeguarding Children against Abuse
- Discipline Procedures, including our policy for positive reinforcement
- Staff Protection Procedures
- Staff Induction Training
- Care Staff Definition of Child Protection
- Care Standards Act 2000
- Sexual Exploitation
- To ensure staff understand the different types of child abuse
- To raise awareness of staff regarding the signs of abuse
- To ensure staff are aware of their own responsibilities regarding child protection procedures
- To recognise the dilemmas of confidentiality
- To provide support for both staff who have experienced disclosure and for young people who have disclosed
- To provide further training for staff and include discussion of child protection issues in the programme of induction for new staff
- To raise awareness of staff regarding the risks of Child Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation
ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
All members of staff have a responsibility to be aware of the procedures to be followed in cases of suspected child abuse. Staff in regular contact with young people are well placed to notice signs of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect, behavioural change or failure to develop as expected.
If a member of staff suspects a young person may be at risk or hears a disclosure from a young person the DSL (Designated Safeguarding Lead) must be informed. Failure by a member of staff to report actual or reasonably suspected abuse is a disciplinary offence. The member of staff will be required to record the disclosure, which will then be passed to the Manager.
It is a legal requirement to report to the police any evidence of children / young people becoming involved in prostitution.
Sussex Safeguarding Board Procedures are available online –
It is advised that any printed copies of the procedures either in whole or in part are only kept for a maximum of 72 hours due to the regularity to which they are changed and updated.
SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN PROCEDURES
(ASSAULT AND ABUSE)
The manager has the specific responsibility for co-ordinating action in the home and for the liaison with the Social Services Departments and other agencies over suspected or actual cases of child abuse or assault.
The designated DSL’s for Orchard House are:
Barbara Sharp – Principal Manager
Mark Riglar – Manager Fastbridge
Kathy Dodd – Manager Orchard House
Sheri Weir – Manager Oakdene
Anne Davis – Apple Orchard School
The role of the DSL is to:
- Ensure safeguarding children procedures are in place and updated as appropriate
- Ensure all staff are aware of both Local Safeguarding Children procedures and the
Orchard House Policy
- Be available to provide advice / support to staff and for confidential discussion about concerns
- Be available to provide support to young persons
- Liaise with the owners of Orchard House to keep them informed regarding child protection issues
- Liaise with social services in accordance with Local procedures
- Keep records of any concerns / suspected cases of abuse / referral
When the DSL has been informed of a case of suspected abuse or of a young person who may be at risk of abuse, they must refer the matter to Social Services Safeguarding Children Bureau within 24 hours, in writing or with written confirmation of a telephone referral. Prompt notification (i.e. within the same 24-hour period) of the initiation and outcome of any child protection enquiries involving the home must be made to Ofsted. Social Services will then advise the DSL regarding any contact with the family as is the responsibility of the Social Services Department to inform the parents.
Staff have the responsibility to acquaint themselves with the four categories of abuse as defined by the Children Act 1989 and indicators of such abuse.
These are: Neglect Emotional Abuse Physical Abuse Sexual Abuse
MULTI AGENCY PARTNERSHIP
As a residential home we work in partnership with safeguarding children teams in both our locality and the young persons’ home areas. In accordance with County procedures we are required to liaise with social services in all cases of abuse, or suspected abuse. This multi-agency approach enhances the effectiveness of identifying and dealing with child abuse issues that arise.
The staff and owners of Orchard House support the following ten principles adopted by the Pan Sussex Safeguarding Children Committee for all agencies and professionals working with young people.
- The prime concern at all stages must be the interests and safety of the young person. Where there is a conflict of interest between the child and parent, the interests of the young person must be paramount.
- All young people have the right to be protected
- Child abuse occurs in all cultures, all religions and all social classes.
- Staff must be sensitive to the many differing factors which need to be taken into account depending on the young person’s racial, cultural and social background.
- Young people who have been abused need the same care and sensitivity regardless of whether they have been abused by a parent, carer or stranger.
- An aim should be to minimise damage to the child and promote recovery.
- The responsibility to refer young people thought to be at risk rests with the person who has the concern.
- All agencies receiving information in the context of a child protection investigation must treat it as confidential. They must not disclose it for any other purpose without consulting the person who provided it.
- Our procedures provide a framework to ensure that agencies work together for the protection of young people.
- Everyone, and particularly the young person and their family must be treated sensitively at all stages of the investigation.
ACTION TO BE TAKEN BY STAFF CONCERNED THAT THE POSSIBILITY OF ABUSE OR AN ASSAULT HAS TAKEN PLACE.
- Inform the DSL. (Should the perpetrator of the alleged abuse/assault be the manager, then inform one of the deputy managers who will inform the owners)
2 . The DSL will then decide on the further action to be taken. These will include:
a. Discussion with the senior members of the team reporting the incident, unless that senior member of staff is allegedly involved.
b. The Children’s Services Assessment Team in Sussex will be contacted, who will advise on the next steps to be taken.
The reporter of the incident will be kept fully aware of the developments in the investigation.
It must be noted and clearly understood that interviewing and examination of the young person by various staff immediately following discovery of possible abuse must be avoided, and staff should work closely together to achieve this. Failure to do so will compound the abuse.
On receiving information of child abuse staff need to be very aware of the sensitivity of the issues and should be guided by the following:
- Listen to the young person rather than directly question him
- Never stop the young person who is freely recalling significant events
- Record the discussion
This procedure should be implemented in the event that the sexual incident is either abusive or consensual.
The most common disclosure that Orchard House has to deal with is that of sexually inappropriate contact between two young people at the home. All young people who are placed at Orchard House have a history of Harmful Sexual Behaviours and therefore pose a risk to each other. Although this risk is managed and minimised by staff supervision and the rules of the home, if two young people are determined to involve themselves in this type of relationship, then there are always ways around the safety net.
Local Safeguarding Boards are slowly beginning to recognise that sexual contact between young people below the age of consent can be abusive and potentially a criminal offence. Both Surrey and Sussex safeguarding Procedures now have a section which focusses on sexually active children and those who display harmful sexual behaviour.
The following information should only be used as a guide, as each safeguarding board regularly updates their procedures and therefore no longer produce a printed copy.
Sussex Safeguarding Board guidance is in Section 8.8 “Children who harm other children”
And can be found at https://sussexchildprotection.procedures.org.uk
This information should be able to guide you through the procedure needed when a sexual incident between two young people occurs.
Although you may not seek information, a young person may wish to confide in you about having suffered some kind of abuse. Additional guidance is available through the Government website – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-to-do-if-youre-worried-a-child-is-being-abused
- Find somewhere quiet to talk as soon as possible
- Stay calm and reassuring
- Explain that you cannot promise to keep what you are told secret – you may have to inform the DSL
- Do not press the young person for details – some cases of abuse may need further investigation. It is better for the young person not to have to repeat details unnecessarily.
- Tell the young person you are pleased that he has decided to tell someone and that this was the right thing to do.
MEETING THE NEEDS OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE
(SUBJECT OF ALLEGED ASSAULT)
The Manager should be notified immediately. In the case that the alleged assailant is the manager, then notify the Deputy Manager, who will immediately notify the Principal Manager/ Owners.
The DSL will provide immediate support and help to the young person to deal with their reactions to the assault and to re-establish confidence.
Following any incident involving physical intervention by a member of staff when a young person is involved, it is particularly important to:
- Monitor the effects of the incident on the young person (it could be that a young person is deliberately provoking confrontation as a means of seeking attention or testing the limits of the home)
- Consider the use of physical restraint in any future incident and alternative ways of meeting those needs
- The incident should be accounted for in writing
- The manager will read all accounts of the incident
- They will speak with all staff and young people involved
- They will contact the parents/guardians of the young person
- The owners will be notified
- Staff will advise of developments
The young person must be given the opportunity to explain his actions in addition to reading (or being read) the accounts of others involved in the incident. The young person must have the opportunity to record (or have recorded) their account of the incident.
The young person must be informed of his right to complain if he feels aggrieved.
If the young person wishes to complain he must be given the assistance to write out the complaint, or have it written for them. It will then be read out and verified by the young person. Stamped addressed envelopes to Ofsted are available on the young people’s notice board.
The manager will then need to investigate the complaint by considering all the appropriate evidence. The young person’s social worker will be informed of the complaint.
- If the manager, having examined all the facts, is satisfied that there was no other course of action available, and that no policies of the home have been breached, she/he will:
- Notify the young person and his social worker of the outcome of the investigation
- Notify the young person’s parents or guardian
- Notify the owners
- Record the outcome of the investigation, sign the record of the incident, and place a copy on the young person’s file
Further action by way of therapy or disciplinary steps may need to be taken.
If the manager concludes that the young person’s complaint has substance, it will be necessary to consider further action:
- Invoking the disciplinary procedures of the home in relation to a member of staff
- And/Or referral of the complaint for investigation under the Local Safeguarding Children Procedures
MEETING THE NEEDS OF OUR STAFF
(SUBJECT TO AN ALLEGED ASSAULT BY A YOUNG PERSON)
The Manager should be notified immediately. The Manager or deputy, will provide immediate help to the member of staff to deal with their reactions to the assault and to re-establish confidence.
- The incident will be reported to the owners, who will receive a copy of the manager’s report, as will the member of staff who has been assaulted
- The member of staff clearly has the right to report the incident to the police
- The manager will ensure that the member of staff’s union or professional body, or personal advocate (friend/colleague) is represented at any meeting to discuss the incident if that member of staff so wishes
- The young person’s social worker will be informed of the situation and a meeting requested
MEETING THE NEEDS OF STAFF SUBJECT TO ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THEM
In the event that the alleged perpetrator of the abuse is a member of staff, that member of staff will be stood down from duty, on full pay, pending the result of an enquiry.
It is essential that each member of staff realises that this is done in order to protect them, and is no way a suggestion or indication of guilt.
- The member of staff will be able to speak to the manager at any time with regards to
- the allegations.
- They will have access to any written material that is submitted.
- They will be informed as to the progress of the enquiry on a weekly basis, but more frequently
(i.e. immediately) if a material change has occurred.
- The member of staff has the right to be accompanied by a friend, trade union
- representative or legal advisor at any discussions relating to the incident.
STAFF INDUCTION AND TRAINING
It is the responsibility of the Manager that new staff are made aware of the home’s policy and that of Local Procedures in relation to Safeguarding Children.
New members of staff will be given their own copy of the home’s policy and be able to question current practice, and be given the necessary training to implement the home’s policy.
Regular training sessions are held for our staff team covering a variety of work focussed subjects, including child protection issues. A training folder for all staff is kept at Orchard House. Procedures are discussed and updated regularly, and this is done by way of group and individual supervision.
The management team at Orchard House are committed to updating and maintaining the Safeguarding Children Policy.
KEEPING SAFE: – STAFF & YOUNG PEOPLE
SUPERVISION OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE
The staff ratio at Orchard House is one member of staff to every two boys. In exceptional circumstances when a young person is considered to be in need of one-to-one support, either for the young person’s safety or for the safety of the house, this will always be facilitated.
We are aware as a team of the importance of high levels of supervision. New staff, during their induction period, will be guided through the necessity for not only good supervision skills, but also for the need to hand over and record any relevant observances they have made.
When dealing with vulnerable young people it is important to get the balance right between good supervision and intrusion, at Orchard House we are committed to building positive relationships with the young people we work with, and this can be partly achieved by involving ourselves in the activities they are doing and not just being there as ‘sentries’. We must also be mindful that at times it is useful to keep a discreet but safe distance, and to recognise that teenage boys may not always want the presence of an adult at too close a distance. By sitting in the same room yet not ‘on top’ of the young people we can maintain safe supervisory levels while allowing them some degree of space.
PHYSICAL CONTACT BETWEEN STAFF & YOUNG PEOPLE – NO TOUCH POLICY
Orchard House has a strict ‘no touch’ policy, which applies to staff and clients. We understand that this is often a difficult issue, especially when we are dealing with young people who are traumatised and frequently in crisis or distress. We strive to create a calm and nurturing environment and have over the years been able to offer comfort and reassurance without a hand on approach. Wrapping a distressed young person in a blanket, sitting beside them and talking in a calm, quiet way and simply allowing the young person to work through their distress with a reassuring presence is effective in conveying to a young person that they are not alone and that they will be cared for.
Because of the nature of the work we do the safety of all our young people is paramount. A ‘No touch’ policy ensures boundaries are not blurred and the risk of inappropriate contact is reduced.
The young people who come to live at Orchard House have a clear understanding about the ‘no touch’ policy and the reason that this is in place; they will have been told all about the home and the ‘no touch’ rule and the consequence of a sanction if this is breached prior to moving in, and they will have also completed a one-week assessment.
GIFT GIVING & RECEIVING
Relationships between staff and young people should be based on mutual respect and understanding along with clear professional and personal boundaries.
The practice of gift giving and receiving is generally not advisable at Orchard House.
We understand that staff in their generosity often feel they would like to buy the young people gifts, especially at key points through the year. For this reason, staff have the opportunity to donate a small sum of money for Birthdays and Christmas or for a leaving gift. The buying of personal gifts by a member of staff for any young person at Orchard House is not permitted. If a young person makes the request to buy a gift for a particular member of staff e.g. for a keyworker as a thank-you when the young person is leaving, then the gesture may be accepted but will need to be recorded and this witnessed by a senior member of staff. A record of gifts bought for staff can be made on the young person’s daily sheet.
ONE-TO-ONE TIME WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
- There will be times when it is both necessary and beneficial to spend time with a young person on a one-to-one basis, e.g. keyworker sessions. For the safety of both parties the following guidelines should be adhered to at all times: –
- Under no circumstances are staff permitted to take any young person back to their home.
- Inform other staff members on duty when and where you will be on a one-to-one basis with a young person and the reason you need to do this.
- If you have reason to be alone with a young person in their bedroom, the door should remain open and you should be placed for an easy exit. Any inappropriate comments by a young person should be immediately reported to the senior on duty. Ask staff to check on you regularly if what you are doing is likely to take some time. Staff should never sit on a young person’s bed; a chair can be taken to the room if necessary.
- Appropriate dress for staff – skirts or dresses should be calf/ankle length. Shorts can be worn during the summer months, but must be knee length and only to be worn at weekends or holiday times, and not during office hours.Crop trousers are acceptable.
- No see-through or gaping tops are permitted and sensible footwear is recommended at all times. All staff need to be mindful of the tightness of trousers or jeans when coming on duty.
The Oxford Concise Dictionary gives the following definition of bullying: –
“A bully is a person who uses his strength or power to hurt or frighten others, to intimidate”.
Bullying is about intimidating, both in public and in private. It is designed to humiliate and demean the individual, gradually eroding their sense of self-worth. Staff and fellow residents can be responsible for bullying. Bullying can take place within the home, school and during activities, or during family / outside contact. The following list of behaviours, which usually occur over a period of time, have been recognised as constituting bullying:
- Destructive innuendo and sarcasm
- Aggression, including threats, shouting abuse and obscenities
- Removing responsibilities without consultation
- Deliberately ignoring and exclusion
- Constant undervaluing
- Setting up to fail
- Unreasonable refusal of requests
- Continuous berating/reprimanding of an individual in the presence of others or in private
- Insulting and uncooperative attitude
The action taken will take into account the severity of the behaviour and the effects on the complainant, together with the attitude of the alleged harasser or bully. Action could include:
- Some form of disciplinary action
- An undertaking by the individual that the bullying will stop
- An apology and/or an agreement to take part in awareness training
Should the bullying behaviour be perpetrated by staff the following action should be taken:
- If found to be true, the disciplinary procedure should be followed
Should the bullying behaviour continue, or if the incident is not an isolated one, the perpetrator will receive a three-day grounding and possible exclusion from the rest of the group. The entire group devised this sanction in a house meeting. The group would be consulted in a meeting before this particular sanction was imposed.
The young person responsible for bullying another will be offered suitable guidance in the form of discussion in a group meeting, and the advice to take the issue into his individual therapy session.
It is the responsibility of all staff employed by Orchard House to be vigilant at all times about the safety and welfare of the young people placed here.
Staff are encouraged during monthly group supervision sessions with the Therapy team to address issues of personal boundaries, and to challenge each other about any conduct that they may feel is inappropriate, however slight they may consider it. These sessions are designed to be supportive and to encourage open discussions between members of the staff team.
Instances of more serious misconduct by a member of staff, whether directed at a young person of another staff member, should always be acted on immediately. This can include incidents of intimidation, physical or verbal bullying or sexually inappropriate behaviour. This behaviour should never be ignored, over-looked, or left until a later date for supervision, or written off as unimportant.
Any staff member who has concern in regards to the safe practice of the home, any employee, volunteer or visitor should report the concern to a senior member of staff. It is understood that staff may find it difficult to report concerns regarding staff that are in seniority to them, and with this in mind; staff are encouraged to approach a manager from one of the other homes. For example; if the concern is regarding the practice of the Home manager of the home where you are based, then you would approach the home manager of one of the other homes or the Principal Manager
Staff witnessing or hearing a complaint from a young person about issues of should go directly to a senior member of staff, who will then contact the home manager, DSL or Barbara Sharp, Principal Manager.
All concerns will be recorded and fully investigated by the DSL; the staff member will receive support during this time, from either a member of the management team or the therapy team and informed of the outcome of the investigation.
If it is still felt that the matter has not been resolved satisfactorily, the staff member reporting the incident should contact the Proprietors, John Silvester & Steve Thomson. They are also able to contact Ofsted or the LSCB; contact details are available in the Safeguarding file.
Further Guidance is available through www.gov.uk or through the links below.
CSE involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person) receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities.
Child Sexual Exploitation Policy – Apple Orchard
What is CSE?
CSE Policy and Procedures
This CSE Policy and Procedure document sets out Apple Orchard’s CSE procedures and should be followed whenever a young person is thought may be at risk of or already experiencing child sexual exploitation (CSE) and has been identified via the Screening Tool as being at medium or high level risk.
All young people who are placed at Apple Orchard will have a CSE screening tool completed in order to identify the level of risk.
Due to the nature of the young people placed at Apple Orchard and the levels of supervision that the young people receive as part of their placement and risks associated with their harmful Sexual Behaviour, the risk to them of CSE is greatly reduced when they reside at Apple Orchard.
As the young person’s placement at Apple Orchard proceeds they will have a greater level of freedom and have access to the wider community through Work Experience, Free time program and College. As their access to the community greatens, so does their potential to experience CSE. Staff are aware of this and have reporting procedures established through the Free time program and College links for any concerns to be reported to Apple Orchard by the young person and/or staff at the college.
During their placement any young person who is suspected at being at risk of CSE or who has a history of CSE should have an up to date CSE screening tool completed which should be presented to the home manager to assess.
The manager, or in their absence the Deputy Manager/ Principal Manager, will report the concerns and a copy of the completed CSE Screening tool to the LSCB in Sussex/ Surrey and to the Placing Authorities LSCB – contact details for which can be located in the Protection of Children file.
Any concerns related to CSE should be handled in the same way, and with the same level of importance as a CP concern or disclosure. (see Handling Disclosures – Protection of Children Policy CP policy)
The young person’s social worker should be informed that a concern has been raised and reported to LSCB, along with a copy of the concern and CSE screening Tool.
Thresholds – when to complete CSE Risk Assessment
Example of an appropriate CSE Risk Assessment:
- Child Y absconds/stays out late.
- Child Y talks of meeting people online in person.
- Child Y says that people give him alcohol/cannabis/money but states that he does nothing in return for this.
- Child Y reports that he is wanted by drug dealers as he owes money,
- Child Y has reported 3 sexual assaults in past 3 years (perpetrated by Peer and adults)
Significant Risk Indicators
- Periods of going missing overnight or longer and missing from school.
- Older ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ or relationship with a controlling adult.
- Physical or emotional abuse by that ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ or controlling adult.
- Entering and/or leaving vehicles driven by unknown adults.
- Unexplained amounts of money, expensive clothing or other items.
- Frequenting areas known for sex work.
- Involvement in gangs
- Key cards to hotel rooms/keys to unknown premises
- More than one mobile phone
- Repeated pregnancies/emergency contraception users/STIs
- Physical injury without plausible explanation
Guidance and Risk Assessments
As with any other type of disclosure or child protection concern, we at Apple Orchard do not investigate. Our responsibility lies solely with reporting of any concerns to the LSCB and the Placing Authority. Staff receive training on CSE as part of Safeguarding and will have the opportunity to raise concerns regarding CSE as part of Daily shift evaluation, weekly staff meetings and Monthly individual supervision.
Each young person will have a CSE screening tool completed when they arrive at Apple Orchard and again when they move to either of the semi-independent Homes (Oakdene and Fastbridge) where they will have more freedom develop friendships outside of Apple Orchard and be away form staff for longer periods and if there are any CSE concerns reported by Staff, young people and College staff.
After each full assessment a Risk assessment for each home will be completed based on the outcomes of the individual young people’s risk assessment. This will identify all current risk management strategies and any new strategies introduced in order to further manage a highlighted risk.
Date: 25th January 2019