The Cambridge Universities' Holiday Playscheme (CUHP) believes that children have the right to be completely secure from both the fear and reality of abuse, and we are committed to safeguarding all the children in our care from harm.
CUHP will ‘Designate’ a Child Protection Officer (DP) who has suitable experience, training and expertise; they are responsible for liaising with Social Care, the Local Children's Safeguarding Board and Ofsted in any child protection matter. Currently, the Playscheme Co-ordinator, Deputy and the Manager of Childcare Services are trained in the role of DP. CUHP's Child Protection Procedures comply with all relevant legislation and other guidance or advice from the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).
Recognising Child Abuse
Child abuse manifests itself in a variety of different ways, some overt and others much less so. A person may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children and young people may be abused in a family or in an institution or community setting; by those known to them or, more rarely by a stranger.
- Physical Abuse
- Hitting, shaking, throwing, burning, suffocating or any other physical harm. Deliberately causing a child's ill health also constitutes physical abuse.
- Sexual Abuse
- Forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. Showing children pornographic materials, sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways also constitutes sexual abuse.
- Emotional abuse
- Varying degrees of emotional abuse are present in virtually all child protection incidents, but can also constitute abuse in its own right. Emotional abuse involves persistent or severe emotional ill treatment or torture causing, or likely to cause, severe adverse effects on the emotional stability of a child. Such behaviour may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless, unloved, or inadequate, or making them feel unnecessarily frightened or vulnerable.
- Persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical, emotional or psychological needs and may have a severe impact on their health, development or emotional stability. Neglect may involve failing to provide adequate food, shelter or clothing for a child, or failing to adequately protect them from physical harm/ill health. Neglect can also manifest itself in a failure to meet a child's basic emotional needs.
What to do if a child discloses
Not all child protection information results in a referral, but small pieces of information may be significant on their own to create a wider picture.
All information should be recorded on a Log.
The DP should be informed and given the record. They will then decide if they need to contact Social Care or make a referral.
If Playworkers feel that the incident has not been adequately followed up, they have a right to call Social Care themselves.
If the child protection concern is with regard to a Playworker, the CUHP Whistle Blowing Procedure should be followed (see Child Protection Whistleblowing policy).
Third Party Information
Third party information is when anyone (other than those directly involved with CUHP) passes on information or expresses their concerns. Information from a third party regarding suspicions of child abuse cannot be ignored. If the person imparting the information has concerns, they should be encouraged to contact Social Care. If they do not wish to do so, it should be explained to them that CUHP is obligated to. The concerns should be logged and any action taken recorded fully.
Allegations against Playworkers or Volunteers
If an allegation of any form of child abuse is made against any adult the matter must be reported to the DP onsite in the first instance or the Manager of Childcare Services in the Childcare Office if necessary. This information will then be passed onto the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and Ofsted. LADO will advise if other external/internal agencies (e.g. police) should be informed, and we will act upon the advice given to ensure that any investigation is not jeopardised. CUHP will display and follow the Allegation of abuse made against an adult in a childcare setting procedure. If an allegation is made against a Playworker, it will be factually recorded on a Logging a Concern about a Child's Safety and Welfare form stating the actions taken. It may be necessary for CUHP to refer to its Staff disciplinary procedure regarding suspensions and exclusions following advice sought from the LADO. CUHP also has the right to seek professional advice from Employment Law specialists.
Playworkers Support and Training
CUHP is committed to ensuring that it meets its responsibilities in respect of child protection through the provision of support and training to Playworkers. Therefore, CUHP will ensure that:
- All Playworkers have access to child protection training and will be vigilant to signs and evidence of physical, sexual and emotional abuse or neglect.
- All Playworkers, students and volunteers are carefully recruited, have verified references and have full and up to date enhanced Criminal Record Bureau checks.
- All Playworkers and volunteers are given a copy of the Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy during their induction, and have its implications explained to them.
- All Playworkers and volunteers receive regular training and supervision in child protection issues and are provided with any relevant information and guidance.
- All Playworkers are provided with supervision and management support commensurate with their responsibilities in relation to child protection, and their requirement to maintain caring and safe relationships with children.
- All Playworkers are aware of the main indicators of child abuse.
- All Playworkers are aware of their statutory requirements in respect of the disclosure or discovery of child abuse and the procedure for doing so. All students and volunteers are instructed to report the disclosure or discovery of abuse to one of the DPs.
- CUHP will take appropriate action in relation to the findings of any investigation into allegations of abuse, consistent with its duties to protect the safety of children and uphold fair processes for Playworkers, students and volunteers.
- Any Playworkers, student or volunteer under investigation for the alleged abuse of a child, will be subject to the provisions of the Staff Disciplinary Procedures.
- CUHP will display and follow the ‘What to do if you're worried a Child Is Being Abused’ flowchart.
All Playworkers follow CUHP's Child Protection Procedures and have had access to appropriate training and guidance in the principles of safe caring. To this end:
- Every effort will be made to avoid times when Playworkers, students or volunteers are left alone with a child. If Playworkers are left alone with a child, the door of the room should be kept open and another member of Playworker staff should be informed.
- If a child makes inappropriate physical contact with a Playworkers or volunteer, this will be recorded.
- Playworkers will never carry out a personal task for children that they can do for themselves. Where this is essential, Playworkers will help a child whilst being accompanied by a colleague. Unless a child has a particular need, Playworkers should not accompany children into the toilet. Playworkers are aware that this and other similar activities could be misconstrued.
- Playworkers will be mindful of how and where they touch children, given their age and emotional understanding. Unnecessary or potentially inappropriate physical contact will be avoided.
Policy reviewed 14 December 2011.