top of page

Safeguarding children policy

July 2022

The welfare of the child is paramount.  All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity, have the right to protection from abuse.  All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately. All staff (paid/unpaid) working with children and young people have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.  

 

Child Protection Policy Statement 

Papa's Park has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in the playground from harm. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989). 

 

Policy aims

The aim of the Papa's Park child protection policy is to:

  • promote good practice

  • provide children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of Papa's Park

  • allow all staff/volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues 

 

Promoting good practice
Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take.
 

Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and other youth sector environments. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. A youth worker, sports coach, instructor, teacher, official or volunteer will have regular contact with children and young people and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious practice shall be reported following the guidelines in this document. 
 

When a child engages with this group or activity, having been subjected to any form of child abuse outside the youth sector environment, the group or activity can play a crucial role in improving the child’s self-esteem. In such instances the group must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child receives the required support.

 

Code of Good Conduct
Incidents that must be reported/recorded 
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed: 

  • If you accidentally hurt a child or young person

  • If a child or young person seems distressed in any manner 

  • If a child or young person appears to be sexually aroused by your actions 

  • If a child or young person misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done 

A child has an accident which does not require hospital treatment
The parents/carers should be informed on their return.  The accident should be recorded in the accident book – see Papa's Park Health and Safety policy and procedures.  

Death of a child whilst using a Papa's Park service
If a child dies then Papa's Park should have followed all emergency procedures as appropriate i.e. emergency first aid, emergency services.  
 

If a child dies before the parents have been contacted, under no circumstances should parents/carers be told over the phone about the death of a child and Papa's Park should be advised by emergency services, or social services.  The Papa's Park employee or volunteer should contact the named person responsible for child protection or line manager as soon as practical. The named person should then inform the rest of the management committee and associated members as necessary. Papa's Park must follow any insurance procedures as necessary 

Recruitment and selection of staff and volunteers
Papa's Park recognises that ANYONE may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children.  

 

Pre-selection checks must include the following: 

  • All volunteers/employees working with children, young people or vulnerable young adults should complete an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check application form. The application form will elicit information about an applicant’s past and a self-disclosure about any previous criminal record. 

 

Papa's Park requires: 

  • employees to attend a recognised 2-hour child protection awareness training workshop, to encourage good practice and to facilitate the development of a positive culture towards good practice and child protection. 

  • other employees and volunteers to complete recognised awareness training on child protection policies and procedures. 

  • relevant personnel to undergo accredited first aid training. 

  • attendance of updated training when necessary. Information about meeting training needs can be obtained from Sports Coach UK, the NSPCC and Sport England. 

Responding to allegations or suspicions

It is not the responsibility of anyone working in Papa's Park in a paid or unpaid capacity, to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place.  However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities.  Papa's Park will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports his/her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.  

 

Allegations against a Papa's Park member

Where there is a complaint against a paid member of staff or volunteer there may be three types of investigation: 

  • A criminal investigation 

  • A child protection investigation 

  • A disciplinary or misconduct investigation 

 

The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence the disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily.  

 

Action: 
1. Concerns about poor practice: 

  • If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice, the Named person responsible will deal with it as a misconduct issue. 

  • If the allegation is about poor practice by the Named person responsible, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to another relevant person such as a committee member, who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings. 

 

2. Concerns about suspected abuse: 

  • Any suspicion that a child has been abused by someone inside the group such as a member of staff or volunteer, should be reported to the Named person responsible, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk. 

  • The Named person responsible will refer any allegations to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) via the Lambeth Safeguarding Children Board. The LADO will involve the police and children’s social care as appropriate. If there is, or seems to be, immediate risk to a child or children, contact the police directly. 

  • The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department. 

  • The Named person responsible should only notify other members of Papa's Park of events on a need to know basis, see confidentiality below. 

  • It is often recommended that groups have two Named people responsible, as if the subject of the suspicion/allegation is one of the Named people responsible, then the report must be made to the other Named person responsible or the Chairperson/Manager in his/her absence of the Papa's Park

  • They will then refer the allegation to social services. 

 

Internal enquiries and suspension
The Papa's Park Named person responsible will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries. 

 

Irrespective of the findings of the social services or police inquiries the Papa's Park Disciplinary Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether a member of staff or volunteer can be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision, particularly where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the police. In such cases, the Papa's Park Disciplinary Committee must reach a decision based upon the available information, which could suggest that on a balance of probability; it is more likely than not that the allegation is true. The welfare of the child should remain of paramount importance throughout.  

Allegations of previous abuse
Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (e.g. by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member of staff who is still currently working with children). 
 

Where such an allegation is made, the organisation should follow the procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the Duty Care Team or the police. This is because other children, either within or outside the organisation, may be at risk from this person. 
 

Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children. This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act 1999. 

 

Action if bullying is suspected
If bullying is suspected, the same procedure should be followed as set out in ‘concerns about suspected abuse’ above. 

 

Action to help the victim and prevent bullying: 

  • Take all signs of bullying very seriously 

  • Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns.  Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge or someone in authority. 

  • Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure the victim is safe. Speak with the victim and the bully(ies) separately. 

  • Reassure the victim that you can be trusted and will help them, although you cannot promise to tell no-one else. 

  • Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when). 

  • Report any concerns to the Named person responsible. 

  • Action towards the bully(ies): 

  • Talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation, and try to get the bully(ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour. Seek an apology to the victim(s). 

  • Inform the bully(ies)’s parents. 

  • Insist on the return of ‘borrowed’ items and that the bully(ies) compensate the victim. 

  • Impose sanctions as necessary. 

  • Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour. 

  • Hold meetings with the families to report on progress. 

  • Inform all organisation members of action taken. 

  • Keep a written record of action taken. 

  • Look at supporting the bully(ies) with any issues they may have, link in with existing support services in your area. 

 

Concerns outside the immediate environment (eg a parent or carer)

Report your concerns to the Named people responsible, who should contact the Duty Care team or the police as soon as possible. 

  • See below for the information social services or the police will need. 

  • If the Named people responsible are not available, the person being told of or discovering the abuse should contact social services or the police immediately. 

  • The Duty Care team and the Named person responsible will decide how to involve the parents/carers. 

  • The Named person responsible should also report the incident to the Papa's Park management committee. The management committee should ascertain whether or not the person(s) involved in the incident play a role in Papa's Park and act accordingly. 

  • Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only. 

  • See below regarding information needed for social services. 


Information for social services or the police about suspected abuse
To ensure that this information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern, which should include the following: 

  • The child’s name, age and date of birth of the child. 

  • The child’s home address and telephone number. 

  • Whether or not the person making the report is expressing their own concerns or those of someone else. 

  • The nature of the allegation. Include dates, times, any special factors and other relevant information. 

  • Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay. 

  • A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes. 

  • Details of witnesses to the incidents. 

  • The child’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred. 

  • Have the parents been contacted? 

  • If so, what has been said? 

  • Has anyone else been consulted? If so, record details. 

  • If the child was not the person who reported the incident, has the child been spoken to? If so, what was said? 

  • Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details. 

  • Where possible referral to the police or social services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours and the name of the contact who took the referral should be recorded. 

 

If you are worried about sharing concerns about abuse to a senior colleague, you can contact social services or the police direct, or the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline on 0808 800 5000, or Childline on 0800 1111.

 

Confidentiality
Confidentiality shall be maintained at all times. Information shall be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. 
This includes the following people: 

  • The Named person responsible 

  • The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused 

  • The person making the allegation 

  • Social services/police 

  • Any Papa's Park management committee and Papa's Park Named person responsible 

  • The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child). 

 

Social services will advise on whom should approach the alleged abuser; this will rarely be someone from the group itself. 
 

Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure). 

 

If a child discloses any information about abuse to you: 

  • Discuss confidentiality, and that you will try to offer support, but that you may have to pass the information on to keep them safe. 

  • Allow the child to speak without interruption, accepting what is said. 

  • Alleviate feelings of guilt and isolation, while passing no judgement. 

  • Reassure the child that they have done the right thing by telling you. 

  • Report to the Named person responsible as discussed previously. 

  • Never tell the child that everything will be alright, as often it may not be. 

 

Support to deal with the aftermath of abuse

  • Consideration should be given to the kind of support that children, parents and members of staff or volunteers may need. Use of helplines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an open culture and help the healing process. The British Association for Counselling Directory is available from The British Association of Counselling, 1 Regent Place, Rugby, CV21 2PJ, Tel: 01788 550899, Fax: 01788 562189, E-mail: bac@bacp.co.uk, Internet: www.bacp.co.uk 

  • Consideration should be given to what kind of support may be appropriate for the alleged perpetrator. 

 

On behalf of Papa's Park, we, the undersigned, will oversee the implementation of the Child Protection Policy and take all necessary steps to ensure it is adhered to. 

Papa's Cafe: About Us
bottom of page