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Ravensbourne Child Protection Policy and Procedure

(including vulnerable adults)

A.    Policy aims and objectives

Ravensbourne regards the welfare of children and young people as paramount and takes seriously its statutory duty and moral responsibility to ensure that, in all its activities and functions, robust measures exist to safeguard children and young people and to protect them from harm or abuse.  In promoting the wellbeing of children and young people, the specific aims of the child protection policy are to:
•    provide a safe, supportive and positive learning environment in which children and young adults are protected from harm;
•    ensure that staff and those working on behalf of Ravensbourne understand their role, responsibilities and boundaries in relation to the protection and safeguarding of children and young people.
This will be done by:
•    Taking seriously suspicions or allegations of abuse or harm and responding to them appropriately;
•    Investigating allegations and reviewing processes and outcomes to ensure that the policy and procedure is operating effectively;
•    Ensuring that there are robust recruitment procedures for staff and students entering the College;
•    Ensuring staff are trained so that they are alert to the signs of abuse and can take action to report their concerns and also to protect themselves against allegations.

B.    Background and Context

Ravensbourne is a higher education institution with further education provision.  The majority of staff do not routinely work with children or young people in this setting.  For the purpose of this policy a child is defined as a young person under the age of 18.  There are therefore situations where direct contact with children may take place, including:
•    teaching students, personal tutorials
•    providing support services to applicants, including counselling, disability advice, financial advice, accommodation advice
•    summer school activities on campus
•    outreach activities in schools
•    open days
•    admissions and recruitment
•    working with children in the production of college work

C    Roles and responsibilities

1.    Senior Child Protection Officer – is responsible for overseeing and reviewing the child protection processes for investigating suspected cases of abuse or neglect operate in accordance with Ravensbourne’s policy and procedure.  Within the legal framework, where necessary the SPCO will refer cases to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) if it is a child protection issue or the Police for a criminal investigation.
The Director and Chief Executive, Professor Robin Baker and the Director of Human Resources and Further Education, Doreen De Bellotte, are the designated Senior Child Protection Officers (SCPO). 
2.    Child Protection Officer - is responsible for investigating suspected cases of abuse or neglect and reporting them to the SCPO. 
The Subject Leader for Further Education, James Ward, and the Progression Officer, Lucy McLeod, are the designated Child Protection Officers (CPO).
3.    All staff have a responsibility to be alert to the possibility that a child or student may be at risk of being abused: if they form such a concern they have both the duty and responsibility to make their concerns known to one of the above officers.

D    Child protection and safeguarding procedure

1.    If a member of staff has any reason to suspect, or has heard a disclosure that a child/ young person has been abused in the past or is currently being abused s/he should report the matter immediately to a CPO.
2.    If a member of staff has any concerns or suspicions about the behaviour of an adult or student participating in activities involving young people, the concerns must be conveyed to the CPO immediately. Any member of staff who reports a child protection matter will be treated in accordance with Ravensbourne’s whistle blowing policy. 
3.    Good practice guidelines for dealing with a disclosure of abuse from a young person are as follows:
•    Stay calm and listen carefully, and wherever possible take factual notes;
•    If at all possible try and ask the young person disclosing to agree to the presence of another adult;
•    Re-assure the young person – the best way to do this is to listen carefully to what they have to say and explain that there is a set procedure which needs to be followed;
•    Do not promise confidentiality as it cannot be guaranteed;
•    Remain impartial and avoid making comments on any of the information disclosed that could be considered judgemental;
•    Do not ask leading questions;
•    As soon as possible, take the young person to the CPO; alternatively explain that you will be contacting them yourself.
•    Do not discuss the disclosure with any other person other than the designated child protection personnel.
•    After hearing a disclosure of abuse, the staff involved may wish to seek support for hers/himself - Student Services can offer advice.
4.    The CPO is the first point of contact for disclosure of abuse. S/he may receive disclosure from the young person directly, or through a member of staff who has heard a disclosure, or witnessed abuse.
5.    The CPO will determine a course of action which will include:
•    Co-ordinating and collating details of the alleged abuse, meeting with the people involved in the disclosure if possible;
•    Making notes and preparing a detailed report, wherever possible verbatim accounts should be recorded;
•    Taking the report and allegations to the SCPO as a matter of priority, and agreeing what actions will be taken and assessing whether the case needs to be reported to the LADO.
6.    The SCPO will assume key responsibility for deciding the course of action to take in relation to any person/s (staff or students) who are alleged/ witnessed to have been involved in abuse against a young person which will include:
•    authorising the recommended action plan from the CPO without delay or unnecessary deliberation, particularly where contact with the Police or the LADO is recommended. 
•    implementing disciplinary proceedings and both pending and subject to the conclusions of an external investigation. The SCPOS’s will also be responsible for taking appropriate immediate action (on the advice of the Police and other relevant external agencies) which may include temporary suspension from duty/ studies of any person/s who are alleged or witnessed to be involved in the abuse of a young person.
7.    The CPO will be responsible for ensuring the young person has access to immediate support, and for determining the most appropriate means of support. This may mean referral to a counsellor, or to an external agency. The CPO is also responsible for ensuring on-going support of the young person and maintaining regular contact with her/him and any external support agency involved.

E    Confidentiality

1.    The SCPO will take ultimate responsibility to ensure confidentiality is maintained and information will be disseminated on a need to know basis.  Cases may be referred to the Police or the LADO.
2.    Parents will only be informed if it is understood that they themselves pose no harm to the child.
3.    Documentation relating to the investigation will be stored securely in accordance with the relevant Data Protection Act for one calendar year or for the duration of the child’s course of study, whichever is the longer.

F    Recruitment and training

1.    The Human Resources department is responsible for ensuring that the recruitment of staff complies with the recruitment policy and the CRB checks are routinely carried out for staff who may come into contact with children or young people.
2.    The Director of Human Resources and Further Education in conjunction with the CPOs are responsible for implementing awareness and good practice training for all members of staff.
3.    The CPOs will attend specialist training for designated child protection officers and ensure this is updated annually.

G    Review

1.    The process for investigating suspected case or allegation of abuse or harm will be reviewed every time it is invoked.
2.    The Child Protection Policy and Procedure will be reviewed annually and reported to the Board of Governors.

Appendix A - Definition of vulnerable adult

For the purposes of this policy, the definitions of "vulnerable adult" has been adapted from the Police Act 1997 (Enhanced Criminal Record Certificates)(Protection of Vulnerable Adults) Regulations 2002.
Vulnerable adult means a person aged 18 or over who is receiving services of a type listed in paragraph (1) below, and in consequence of a condition of a type listed in paragraph (2) below has a disability of a type listed in paragraph (3) below.    The services are:

1. Service Type
[a]    personal care or nursing or support to live independently in her/his own home;
[b]    any services provided by an independent hospital, independent clinic, independent medical agency or National Health Service body;
[c]     social care services.

2.    The conditions are:
[a]    a learning or physical disability;
[b]    a physical or mental illness, chronic or otherwise, including an addiction to alcohol or drugs; or
[c]     a reduction in physical or mental capacity.
 
3.    The disabilities are:
[a]    a dependency upon others in the performance of, or a requirement for assistance in the performance of, basic physical functions;
[b]    severe impairment in the ability to communicate with others; or
[c]    impairment in a person's ability to protect her/himself from assault, abuse or neglect.

Appendix B - Definitions of Child Abuse

Physical Abuse 

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, attempted drowning suffocation and otherwise causing physical harm to a child/young person.  Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child whom they are looking after.  This situation is commonly described using terms such as fabricated illness by proxy or Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child/young person such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child/young person’s emotional development.  It may involve conveying to children/young people that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.  It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children/young people.  It may involve causing children/young people to frequently feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children/young people.  Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child/young person though it may occur alone.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activity, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.  The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (eg rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts.  They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material, or watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.  It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failure to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.  It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Significant Harm

It is recognised that many aspects of life contain abusive elements from a Safeguarding perspective this becomes a Child Protection concern if Significant Harm is occurring. There are legal definitions for Significant Harm.
Some members of the college community may have suffered significant harm in the past; others may still be doing so in their late adolescence and early more vulnerable adult years. The recognition that significant harm is occurring is often the trigger point for putting individuals on a list or register: This procedure is managed by Social Services and is within the responsibility of the LSCB.  College evidence could be a vital part of the evidence link in relation to Protecting Children and Vulnerable Adults from harm, that is why all staff should follow procedure and use the correct reporting procedures if they have a concern.

Appendix C - Good practice guidelines for staff

An important aim of the child protection policy is to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for young learners and vulnerable adults. Promoting good practice and adopting the following guidelines can reduce opportunities for the abuse of young people and help to protect staff, student mentors and volunteers from false allegations being made.
Staff, student mentors and volunteers should avoid:
•    Spending excessive time alone with young people away from others.
•    Taking young people alone in a car journey, however short
•    Taking young people to their home
•    Taking photographs of the young person for any purpose, other than agreed and authorised photography for use in College publications.
   
Staff, student mentors and volunteers must never:
•    Engage in physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay
•    Allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any form
•    Allow young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged
•    Make over-familiar or sexually suggestive comments or approaches to a young person, even in fun
•    Let allegations, over-familiar or sexually suggestive comments or approaches made by a young person go unchallenged or unrecorded

Good practice for one to one mentoring and tutorial work
There are clearly occasions when it is necessary to work alone with young people and vulnerable adults. In such cases, try to:
•    Choose a room that has visual access to other work areas
•    Let other teaching staff know that you are in a one to one meeting with a student and approximately how long you expect this to last

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last edited by Morgan, Steve on 25-02-2013 14:22

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