Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults means protecting a person's right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
The Care Act 2014 sets out statutory responsibilities for organisations and defines safeguarding as:
Protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action.
This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances.
Burning Nights CRPS Support is committed to, and has a duty to, safeguard and promote the welfare of the children, young people, and adults at risk who are beneficiaries of its services or with whom it comes into contact. The policy and procedures will be widely promoted and are mandatory for everyone involved with Burning Nights CRPS Support. Failure to comply with the policy and procedures will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in dismissal/exclusion from the organisation.
This policy is made in accordance with Burning Nights CRPS Support’s vision and mission, for everyone affected by Complex Regional Pain Syndrome whether they are patients, family members, friends or carers and either adults or children to be supported by the charity.
Burning Nights CRPS Support works with children and young adults on a range of its projects and programmes and has a responsibility to promote the wellbeing and safety of all people it comes into contact with. Burning Nights CRPS Support believes that it is always unacceptable for a person to experience abuse or neglect of any kind and is committed to practice that protects children and vulnerable adults from harm and recognises its duty to ensure that appropriate action is taken where a child or vulnerable adult is experiencing harm or is at risk of harm.
As per the definitions set out in the Children Act 1989, a ‘child’ is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. It also includes unborn children.
Such a definition includes adults with physical, sensory and mental impairments and learning disabilities, however those impairments have arisen - e.g. whether present from birth or due to advancing age, chronic illness or injury. Also included are people with a mental illness, dementia or other memory impairments, people who misuse substances or alcohol.
The definition includes unpaid carers (family and friends who provide personal assistance and care to adults on an unpaid basis). The definition may include victims of Domestic Abuse, hate crime, anti-social behaviour, self-neglect and mandatory reporting of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The presence of a particular condition or disability does not automatically mean that an adult is an adult at risk. A person can have a disability but be perfectly able to look after their own wellbeing. Their circumstances as a whole should be considered and all three elements of the definition must be met in order for them to be classed as an adult at risk.
Everyone has a right to be safeguarded from abuse or neglect. There is a legislative framework in place in place to safeguard children and vulnerable adults through The Children Act 1989 (as amended by section 53 of the Children Act 2004) and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.
Further guidance that sets out the requirements and expectations on professionals to work together to effectively safeguard children include Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015), Safeguarding Disabled Children: Practice Guidance (2009) and What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (2015) (Department for Education 2015).
Burning Nights CRPS Support does not have a statutory duty to comply with the key arrangements listed in Working Together, however it should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, as well as vulnerable adults.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal in England and Wales under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003. It is a form of child abuse and violence against women. While the duties under the Act are limited to regulated health and social care professionals and teachers, non-regulated practitioners also have a responsibility to take appropriate safeguarding action in relation to any identified or suspected case of FGM.
The definition of ‘harm’ referred to in this policy does not exclusively pertain to ill treatment (including sexual abuse and all forms of ill treatment which are not physical), but includes the impairment of, or an avoidable deterioration in physical, or mental health or emotional well-being.
Abuse pertains to the violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by another person or persons. It may consist of a single or repeated act. It may be an act of neglect (abuse by omission) or it may occur when a vulnerable adult is persuaded to enter into a financial transaction or sexual act to which he/she has not consented or whose consent was deemed diminished due to a lack of understanding.
Abuse results in significant harm, or exploitation of, the vulnerable adult. It may be perpetrated by anyone who has power over the person whether as a carer, relative, paid member of staff, volunteer or spouse, or as a result of persistently poor care or a rigid and oppressive regime. When occurring in a family, this can be termed as ‘domestic abuse’, the most common being between spouses, or parents and children.
Explanations and examples of the above can be found in the Appendix 1 - Signs of Abuse.
This policy applies to all paid employees, seconded staff, trustees, volunteers, mentors, students, agency workers, contract, and unpaid staff working on behalf of Burning Nights CRPS Support in any capacity and in any setting.
Young members, young people on work experience and any children or young adults involved in the work of Burning Nights CRPS Support should be made aware of Burning Nights CRPS Support’s safeguarding policies and procedures. Those with specific communication needs because of language or disability should have access to information in appropriate forms to ensure their understanding.
This policy relates to all children from unborn up to 18 years of age and includes children with whom Burning Nights CRPS Support has direct or indirect contact with, for example children known to adults with whom Burning Nights CRPS Support works directly. The policy also relates to vulnerable adults over the age of 18 years who need to be safeguarded from harm.
In project proposals and tenders, Burning Nights CRPS Support’s Safeguarding Policy should be mentioned and attached where appropriate. Project information leaflets for children and vulnerable adults, parent/carers and local agencies should all have a statement on safeguarding with contact details as appropriate.
Safeguarding relates to the action taken to promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and to protect them from harm.
All Projects, Areas, Regions and Nations are required to have a named Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) who is appropriately experienced and trained. (N.B. This may be the same person for both Vulnerable Adults and Children and Young People.) The contact details of the Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) should be available to all volunteers, staff, administrative volunteers, supervisors and management volunteers. Lisa Davis is the DSO for Burning Nights CRPS Support.
If any member of staff or volunteer has any concerns about a child or vulnerable adult, they must alert Burning Nights CRPS Support’s Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) immediately who will then take advice as necessary and identify the most appropriate response. If the DSO agrees there is grounds for concern, they must take appropriate action to safeguard the child or vulnerable adult. This may include contacting the relevant local authority social care service or the local police child abuse investigation team.
If a child or vulnerable adult is in immediate danger, the member of staff who first becomes aware of the danger should dial 999 for the police.
The above may include concerns about a member of staff, a suspicion that a child or vulnerable adult is being abused or neglected, or a suspicion that an activity is taking place that could place a person at risk. If the concern relates to a member of staff, Burning Nights CRPS Support’s designated safeguarding officer (DSO) should contact the local authority designated officer (LADO) responsible for providing advice and liaison in such cases. This is a general guide as the role of the LADO is expected to change, additionally some local authorities will have new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements.
In any situation where there is a suspicion of abuse, the welfare needs of the child or vulnerable adult must come first even where there may be a conflict of interest (e.g. where the suspected perpetrator may be a member of staff).
The Charity Commission is the regulator of charities in England and Wales and maintains the charity register. The Charity Commission strategy for dealing with safeguarding issues in charities can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/strategy-for-dealing-with-safeguarding-issues-in-charities
These procedures are set within the wider context of Burning Nights CRPS Support’s organisational policy and practice, which promote children and young adult’s interests across all aspects of their lives. All of Burning Nights CRPS Support’s work is underpinned by the values and principles that Burning Nights CRPS Support advocates.
The Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) is responsible for ensuring that safeguarding is given high priority within Burning Nights CRPS Support. Specific responsibilities include:
The DSO has responsibility for deciding whether to refer any reported matters onto the police or to the local authority social care service. Where possible, referrals should be made on the same working day and certainly within 24 hours. It is the responsibility of the DSO to decide whether the parents/carers (if applicable) of the child or young person should be informed of the referral.
To comply with their legal duties, trustees must react responsibly to reports of safeguarding risks and incidents of abuse and take steps to make sure all staff and volunteers know how to deal with these.
Trustees should report a serious incident to the Charity Commission if:
All Burning Nights CRPS Support staff and volunteers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults with whom they work. It is the responsibility of staff and volunteers to promote good practice and minimise and manage potential risks. All staff - including volunteers, freelance staff and associates - must be aware of the requirements within these procedures.
Burning Nights CRPS Support staff have no powers to investigate abuse. Nonetheless, all Burning Nights CRPS Support staff have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and a responsibility to work closely and cooperatively with other agencies in order to achieve this. Staff may have a role as referrers, witnesses or supporters in safeguarding processes.
If a member of staff suspects that a child or vulnerable adult is being harmed by experiencing, or already has experienced, abuse or neglect and/or is likely to suffer harm in the future, they must talk to the Designated Safeguarding Officer. The DSO will agree next steps, including making any necessary referrals.
If anyone other than the DSO makes a referral, they should inform the DSO as soon as possible.
It is not the responsibility of Burning Nights CRPS Support to decide whether or not abuse has taken place. It is the responsibility of staff at Burning Nights CRPS Support to act if there is cause for concern, in order that the appropriate agencies can investigate and take any action necessary to protect the young and/or vulnerable adult.
If a member of staff is concerned that a child is in immediate danger, or requires immediate medical treatment, they should call the police and/or emergency medical services on 999 straight away.
Burning Nights CRPS Support staff and volunteers working with children and/or vulnerable adults may be required to undergo awareness training.
Any project that provides service users with direct access to the Internet must have protocols in place to ensure safe use. The Internet is a significant tool in the distribution of indecent photographs and some adults use the Internet to try to establish contact with young and/or vulnerable people to “groom” them for inappropriate or abusive relationships.
Burning Nights CRPS Support would consider staff and volunteer involvement in such activities as gross misconduct, which could ultimately lead to dismissal and referral for police investigation.
Staff and volunteers should take care when communicating with others online, particularly when identifying themselves as Burning Nights CRPS Support volunteers or staff members and when in contact with children and vulnerable adults. For guidance relating to Burning Nights CRPS Support staff and volunteers obtaining and accessing inappropriate text and images, please see also Burning Nights CRPS Support’s internet policy.
Staff members and volunteers authorised to use the Internet must not download pornographic or other unsuitable material onto Burning Nights CRPS Support machines, or distribute such material to others. Burning Nights CRPS Support would consider this gross misconduct which could ultimately lead to dismissal and referral for police investigation.
In addition, users must not place any material on to the Internet that would be considered inappropriate, offensive or disrespectful of others. Disciplinary action will be taken against staff that breaches this policy. Where this is done inadvertently, the user must escape from the website and/or delete the material immediately. They should also report the incident to their line manager, the DSO or HR Manager. Breach of this will be treated as gross misconduct.
Where exemption is required, because of the nature of the work of the member of staff, permission must be given in advance by the line manager, Designated Safeguarding Officer and in consultation with the IT services provider. Children and vulnerable adults should not be given access to such websites.
If a child or vulnerable adult reports to a member of staff or volunteer that they have sent, or been sent, indecent images (sometimes referred to as ‘sexting’), they should discuss the concern with the Designated Safeguarding Officer.
Details of the incident and the actions taken must be recorded in writing.
Staff or volunteer should avoid looking at the image, video or message in question. If it is on a device belonging to Burning Nights CRPS Support, it may need to be isolated so that nobody else can see it. This may involve blocking the network to all users.
In any work with children and/or vulnerable adults it is important to be clear about confidentiality. Confidentiality and safeguarding should be discussed with children and/or vulnerable adults at the beginning of any piece of work and reminders and information given from time to time, to ensure that they understand the processes and what responsibilities members of staff have.
It is absolutely essential to be clear about the limits of confidentiality well before any such matter arises.
While personal information held by professionals and agencies is subject to a legal duty of confidence and should not normally be disclosed without the subject’s consent, it is essential that staff respond quickly where they have concerns or suspicions of abuse. Any concerns about confidentiality should not override the rights of children and/or vulnerable adults at risk of, or suffering, harm.
Burning Nights CRPS Support’s responsibility for protecting children and vulnerable adults means that, where necessary to protect welfare, it will breach confidentiality to raise concerns.
Information sharing must be done in a way that is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the common law duty of confidentiality. However, a concern for confidentiality must never be used as a justification for withholding information when it would be in the child or vulnerable adult’s best interests to share information.
Should it become necessary to pass on information shared by another party this decision should always be discussed with the person in question and, where possible, their cooperation sought beforehand. Explanations of the reasons, processes, likely sequence of events, and who to contact for information or for support should also be provided.
When a child or vulnerable adult makes an allegation of abuse, they may hope that the abuse will stop without further enquiries. They may fear the effect this will have on their family and may fear retribution from the abuser. They should be helped to understand why the referral to the Designated Safeguarding Officer must be made and what is likely to happen as a result.
It is important to reassure the child or vulnerable adult, but they must not be told that their allegation will be treated in a particular way or that the information will be kept a secret.
A record should be kept of any decision and the reasons for it, whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose.
Even if a concern has been discussed with a named contact/line manager/the DSO, it is important that all concerns are properly recorded in writing whether or not further action is taken.
Burning Nights CRPS Support has a standard Safeguarding and Child Protection Report form for recording suspected abuse to help people record relevant information. This form must be used for all concerns and passed as soon as possible to the DSO. It is important that concerns raised are recorded accurately and in detail. All discussions should end with clear and explicit recorded agreement about who will be taking what action. Where no further action is the outcome, the reason for this should be clearly recorded.
Some of the information requested by the form may not be available. Staff should not pursue the questioning of the child or vulnerable adult for this information if it is not given freely. There should be no delay in reporting the matter by waiting for all the information. In completing the form it is important not to write speculative comments but to stick to the facts. Staff’s opinion may be crucial but it should be recorded as an opinion and any evidence stated to support these opinions.
Records pertaining to issues of child protection may be accessible to third parties such as Children’s Services, Police, the Courts and Solicitors. Records must be kept securely in a locked place or file to which access is restricted. Managers have a particular responsibility in maintaining the confidentiality of these records and must ensure that the records, or any information they contain, are made available only to relevant parties.
The transfer of information - verbally, through the mail, electronically, etc. - should be done in such a way that confidentiality is maintained.
A Risk Assessment should be carried out at least 48 hours before any activity involving a child and/or vulnerable adult takes place. Safeguarding and Code of Conduct procedures apply whether the activity is on or off-site.
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 sets out that it is an offence for an employer to knowingly employ someone in a regulated position if they are barred from doing so.
Where there is regular contact, but not ‘regulated’ (i.e. supervised) it is still possible to consider an enhanced criminal records check but this will not include a check of the barred list through the Disclosures and Barring Service (DBS). You must seek advice from the trustees.
Some roles within Burning Nights CRPS Support, whilst not ‘regulated positions’, may involve working directly with children and/or vulnerable adults. Activities could include, but are not limited to: convening meetings, holding focus groups, and conducting interviews with children and/or vulnerable adults. Where this is the case, the relevant member of staff will be required to have a DBS check carried out prior to commencing any direct work with children and/or vulnerable adults.
Where a criminal conviction is disclosed by an applicant or through a DBS check/basic disclosure, the employee’s line manager and the Chair of Trustees will consider this assessment objectively and, where the assessment indicates that the level of risk is too high to allow the individual to start/continue working in a particular role/activity, the consequences of this for the individual will dependent upon:
Possible outcomes include amended duties, redeployment, withdrawal of an offer of employment or, where the individual started work before the relevant screening check was completed, dismissal.
Safe recruitment practice of checking work history, identity and explanations for any gaps must be followed for all staff working at Burning Nights CRPS Support and partner organisations even if direct contact with children and/or vulnerable adults is not part of their role.
It is the responsibility of the trustees and volunteer coordinator to ensure that the staff and volunteers they manage/co-ordinate are aware of and understand the procedures and have levels of knowledge and skills commensurate to the level and nature of their direct involvement with children and/or adults.
Any suspicion, allegation or actual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult by an employee, trustee, volunteer, mentor, student, agency worker, contract, or unpaid staff must be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer and/or to the Chair of Trustees immediately. Concerns about staff must be treated with the same rigour as other concerns. If there are concerns that abuse has taken place the DSO will pass this information to the Local Authority Designated Officer for investigation.
The DSO will work with the member of staff’s line manager and with the Board of Trustees. The DSO and Trustees will also need to refer to the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure and decide whether the member of staff should be suspended pending a full investigation. If the member of staff is not happy with the response they receive from the DSO, then they should refer to the Burning Nights CRPS Support’s Whistleblowing Policy.
There may be instances when a staff member’s performance or conduct when working with children and/or vulnerable adults will lead to Burning Nights CRPS Support’s disciplinary procedures being invoked. The Disciplinary Policy is available on our Google Drive. The nature of the concern about the staff member’s conduct and/or performance will determine how and what disciplinary action is taken.
On occasion, a child or vulnerable adult may abuse another child or vulnerable adult. Safeguarding procedures should be followed in respect of all parties in those situations.
If any member of staff is involved in an actual or suspected serious safeguarding incident, or if a serious safeguarding incident takes place within any of Burning Nights CRPS Support’s workplaces or working context, in addition to following the protocols set out within this policy, it should also be reported to the Charity Commission. It is the responsibility of Trustees to ensure that this takes place.
All suspected or actual safeguarding incidents should be reported to the Charity Commission by email at: RSI@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk. In addition, immediate action should be taken to:
It is important that staff work to a high standard of professional conduct and act with integrity at all times, in order to minimise the risk of abuse from within Burning Nights CRPS Support. It is important to create a work environment where the risk of abuse is minimised and children and vulnerable adults feel comfortable and safe (see Burning Nights CRPS Support Participation Guidelines).
When incidents of abuse are raised or suspected it is important that staff have the necessary information and support and follow the procedures appropriately.
Staff and volunteers should make sure they have read Burning Nights CRPS Support’s safeguarding procedures in full. They should highlight and discuss any issues requiring clarification and any training issues with their line manager. Staff should make sure that they have a working knowledge of the different forms of abuse and possible indicators.
All staff should ensure that, when working with children and/or vulnerable adults, all colleagues, volunteers and other staff from partnering organisations have the appropriate employee checks in place which must include a full career history, identity checks and references and adherence to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) where applicable.
It is the responsibility of the commissioning manager to ensure that freelance staff and associates are familiar with this document and agree to work within this framework. If there are any concerns with the conduct of freelance staff or associates, these concerns must be raised following the steps outlined in this policy.
If you suspect that a child or vulnerable adult needs protection or is at risk of abuse, please contact Burning Nights CRPS Support’s Designated Safeguarding Officer, Miss Lisa Davis:
Miss Davis is also contactable through WhatsApp and our internal communications app - Slack.
The Deputy DSO is Mrs Victoria Abbott-Fleming MBE:
Mrs Abbott-Fleming is also contactable through WhatsApp and Slack.
This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees every 2 years or before depending on legal changes.