St Brigid’s Primary and Nursery School
CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Date Approved by Board of Governors:
Next Policy Review Date:
(Template updated by Education Authority CPSS September 2017 in accordance with Department Of Education Circular 2017/04)
1. Child Protection Ethos
St Brigid’s Mission Statement :Be the best that you can be.
St Brigid’s Vision: At St. Brigid’s Catholic Primary/Nursery School and learning support classes every child is nurtured and enjoys a high quality education. We encourage our pupils to become the best that they can be.
St Brigid’s Core Values: Inclusive, child-centred education. Embracing change to achieve excellence. Promote strong links with parents and the wider community.
We in St Brigid’s Primary School and Nursery Unit have a responsibility for the Pastoral Care, general welfare and safety of the children in our care and we will carry out this duty by providing a caring, supportive and safe environment, which reflects our Catholic ethos and where each child is valued for his or her unique talents and abilities, and in which all our young people can learn and develop to their full potential. All staff, teaching and non-teaching should be alert to the signs of possible abuse and should know the procedures to be followed. This Policy sets out guidance on the action, which is required where abuse or neglect of a child is suspected and outlines referral procedures within our school
- • The general principles, which underpin our work, are those set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and are enshrined in the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, The Education and Libraries (NI) Order 2003
the Department of Education (Northern Ireland) guidance Safeguarding and Child Protection: a guide for schools Circular 2017/04, the Area Child Protection Committees’ Regional Policy and Procedures (2005), Co- operating to Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland (2016), Safeguarding Board Act Northern Ireland (2011).
The following principles form the basis of our Child Protection Policy.
- · It is a child’s right to feel safe at all times, to be heard, listened to and taken seriously.
- We have a pastoral responsibility towards the children in our care and should take all reasonable steps to ensure their welfare is safeguarded and their safety is preserved.
- In any incident the child’s welfare must be paramount, this overrides all other considerations.
- A proper balance must be struck between protecting children and respecting the rights and needs of parents and families; but where there is conflict the child’s interest must always come first.
3. Other Relevant Policies
The school has a duty to ensure that safeguarding permeates all activities and functions. The child protection therefore complements and supports a range of other school policies including:
- · Positive Behaviour Policy
- · Anti-Bullying Policy
- · Safe Handling
- · Additional Needs Policy
- · Educational Visits
- · Administration of Medicines
- · Health and Safety Policy
- · Relationships and Sexuality Education
- · Intimate Care
- · Attendance Policy
- · E-Safety Policy (includes mobile phones/cameras)
These policies are available to parents and any parent wishing to have a copy should contact the School office or visit the school website at www.stbrigidsps.com
4. Roles And Responsibilities
4.1 The School Safeguarding Team
The following are members of the school’s Safeguarding Team
- · Chair of the Board of Governors (Mrs Martina Morrison)
- · Designated Governor for Child Protection (Mr Thomas Doherty)
- · Chair of Safeguarding Team (Ms Mary McCallion) Principal
- · Designated Teacher (Mr Paul O’Doherty)
- · Deputy Designated Teacher(s) (Miss Orla McNamamra)
- · Nursery Designated Teacher (Mrs Catriona Quigley)
- · ASD/LSC Designated Teacher (Mr Mark Doherty)
The main role of the team is to:
- · Monitor and periodically audit the safeguarding and child protection arrangements in the school
- · Identify any actions required to address audit findings or ETI inspection of its safeguarding/child protection arrangements
- · Provide support for the Designated and Deputy Designated teachers in the exercise of their child protection responsibilities.
The roles and responsibilities of individual members of the Safeguarding team are summarised in Appendix 1.
4.2 The Board of Governors
The Board of Governors as a body must ensure that the school fulfils its safeguarding responsibilities in keeping with current legislation and DE guidance including:
- ensuring that safeguarding/child protection is a standard item on the agenda of Board of Governor meetings
- approving the schools safeguarding/child protection policy at least once every 2 years
- ensuring that there is a time-tabled review (every 2/3 years) of all other safeguarding policies and that they are presented to the BOG for approval.
- receiving annual/termly child protection reports.
- ensuring there is a staff code of conduct for all adults working in the school
- attending relevant child protection/safeguarding training for Governors
4.3 School Staff
Teachers, Classroom Assistants and other Support staff in school see children on a daily basis over long periods and can notice physical, behavioural and emotional indicators and a child may choose to disclose to them allegations of abuse.
Members of staff must refer concerns or disclosures to the Designated/Deputy Teacher for Child Protection/Principal. In addition, class teachers should also keep the Designated Teacher informed in writing or verbally about poor attendance and punctuality, poor presentation, changed or unusual behaviour including self-harm and suicidal thoughts, deterioration in educational progress, discussions with parents about concerns relating to their child, concerns about pupil abuse or serious bullying and concerns about home circumstances including disclosures of domestic abuse. A pro-forma for reporting a concern or disclosure is included at appendix 4
If member of staff does not feel their concerns are being taken seriously or action to safeguard the child is not being taken by professionals and the child is considered to be at risk of continuing harm then they should speak to the Designated Teacher for Child Protection, Principal, Education Authority Designated Officer for Child Protection or to Social Services.
Parents can play their part in safeguarding by:
- telephoning the school on the morning of their child’s absence, or sending in a note on the child’s return to school, so as the school is reassured as to the child’s well-being;
- making requests to the school in advance for permission to allow their child to attend medical or other appointment including providing details of any arrangements for the collection of the child
- informing the school whenever anyone, other than themselves, intends to pick up the child after school;(primary schools only)
- familiarising themselves with the schools safeguarding policies e.g. Anti Bullying, Positive Behaviour, Internet and Child Protection Policies;
- reporting to the school office when they visit the school
- sharing any concerns, they may have in relation to their child with the school.
5. Definition of Harm
Harm can be suffered by a child or young person by acts of abuse perpetrated upon them by others. Abuse can happen in any family, but children may be more at risk if their parents have problems with drugs, alcohol and mental health, or if they live in a home where domestic abuse happens. Abuse can also occur outside of the family environment. Evidence shows that babies and children with disabilities can be more vulnerable to suffering abuse.
Although the harm from the abuse might take a long time to be recognisable in the child or young person, professionals may be in a position to observe its indicators earlier, for example, in the way that a parent interacts with their child. Effective and ongoing information sharing is key between professionals
(Co- operating To Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland 2016)
Harm can be caused by:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Neglect; and
The procedures outlined in this document are intended to safeguard children who are at risk of significant harm because of abuse or neglect by a parent, carer or other with a duty of care towards a child. The main types of abuse as well as their physical and behavioural indicators are included in appendix 3.
6. Dealing with Disclosures of Abuse
The following are guidelines for use by staff should a child disclose concerns of a child protection nature.
Receive – listen to what the child says, without displaying shock or disbelief. Accept what is said, making brief cursory notes. These notes should be retained.
Reassure- ensure the child is reassured that he/she will be safe and his/her interests will come first. No promise of confidentiality can or should be made to a child or anyone else giving information about possible abuse.
Respond- respond to the child only as far as is necessary for you to establish whether or not you need to refer the matter. Use open questions e.g. anything else to tell me? Do not interrogate or ask leading questions- this may invalidate your evidence and the child’s in any later court proceedings. Do not criticise the perpetrator- the child may love this person and reconciliation may be possible. Explain what you have to do next and to whom you have to talk.
Record- make notes at the time and write these up as soon as possible afterwards. Note the time, date, place, people present as well as what is seen and said. Record key phrases/words used, noticeable non-verbal behaviour and any physical injuries. Under no circumstances should a child be photographed or a child’s clothing removed. Do not destroy original notes.
Report- refer the matter to the Designated Teacher. Respect confidentiality i.e. the matter should only be discussed on a need to know basis.
7. Procedures for Reporting Suspected or Disclosed Child Abuse.
7.1 How a Parent can make a Complaint
We aim to work closely with parents/guardians in supporting all aspects of their child’s development and well-being. Any concerns a parent may have will be taken seriously and dealt with in a professional manner. If a parent has a concern they can talk to the Class Teacher, the Designated or Deputy Designated Teacher for child protection or the Principal. If they are still concerned they may talk to the Chair of the Board of Governors. At any time a parent may talk to a social worker in the local Gateway team or to the PSNI Public Protection Unit. Details of who to contact are shown in the flowchart in appendix 5.
A parent can make a referral to social services if they choose to do so, or are not satisfied with the investigation outcome in school.
7.2 Where the school has concerns or has been given information about possible abuse by someone other than a member of the school staff including volunteers
If a child makes a disclosure to a teacher or other member of staff which gives rise to concerns about possible abuse, or if a member of staff has concerns about a child, the member of staff must act promptly. He/she should not investigate- this is a matter for Social Services- but should report these concerns immediately to the Designated Teacher, discuss the matter with her, and make full notes.
These notes or records should be factual, objective and include what was seen, said, heard or reported. They should include details of the place and time and who was present and should be given to the Designated/Deputy Designated Teacher. The person who reports the incident must treat the matter in confidence.
The Designated/Deputy Designated Teacher will decide whether in the best interest of the child the matter needs to be referred to Social Services. He/she will discuss the matter with the Principal and may also seek advice or clarification from the Education Authority Designated Officer for Child Protection or from Social Services (Gateway Team). Where it is evident that a young person has been or is at risk of being abused and/or a criminal offence may have been committed then the school must make a referral.
Referrals to Social Services will be made by telephone in the first instance and within 24 hours will be followed by the completion of a UNOCINI (Understanding the Needs of Children in Northern Ireland) referral form. A copy of the UNOCINI form will be placed in the school’s child protection file.
This procedure with names and contact numbers is shown in appendix 6.
7.3 Where a complaint has been made about possible abuse by a member of the school’s staff or a Volunteer
When a complaint about possible child abuse is made against a member of staff the Principal (or the Designated Teacher if the Principal is not available) must be informed immediately. If the complaint is against the Principal then the Designated Teacher should be informed and he/she will inform the Chairperson of the Board of Governors who will consider what action is required in consultation with the employing authority. The procedure as outlined in appendix 7 will be followed in keeping with current Department of Education guidance (DE Circular 2015/13).
8. Attendance at Child Protection Case Conferences and Other Social Services Meetings
The Designated Teacher/Deputy Designated Teacher or Principal may be invited to attend an initial and review Child Protection Case Conferences, core group or family support planning meetings convened by the Health & Social Care Trust. They will provide a written report which will be compiled following consultation with relevant staff. Feedback will be given to staff under the ‘need to know ’principle on a case-by-case basis. Children whose names are on the Child Protection register will be monitored and supported in accordance with their child protection plan.
9. Consent from Pupils and Parents
Prior to making a referral to Social Services the consent of the parent/carers and/or the young person (if they are competent to give this) will normally be sought. The exception to this is where to seek such consent would put that child, young person or others at increased risk of significant harm or an adult at risk of serious harm, or it would undermine the prevention, detection or prosecution of a serious crime including where seeking consent might lead to interference with any potential investigation.
In circumstances where the consent of the parent/carer and/or the young person has been sought and is withheld we will consider and where possible respect their wishes. However our primary consideration must be the safety and welfare of the child and we will make a referral in cases where consent is withheld if we believe on the basis of the information available that it is in the best interests of the child/young person to do so.
10. Confidentiality and Information Sharing
Information given to members of staff about possible child abuse cannot be held “in confidence”. In the interests of the child, staff have a responsibility to share relevant information about the protection of children with other professionals particularly the investigative agencies. In keeping with the principle of confidentiality, the sharing of information with school staff will be on a ‘need to know’ basis. Should a child transfer to another school whilst there are current child protection concerns we will share these concerns with the Designated Teacher in the receiving school.
11. Record Keeping
All child protection records, information and confidential notes are stored securely and only the Designated Teacher/Deputy Designated Teacher and Principal have access to them. In accordance with DE policy on the disposal of child protection records these records will be stored from child’s date of birth plus 30 years as per (DE Circular 2016/20 Child Protection:Record Keeping in Schools)
12. Safeguarding and the Preventative Curriculum
The statutory personal development curriculum requires schools to give specific attention to pupils’ emotional wellbeing, health and safety, relationships, and the development of a moral thinking and value system. The curriculum also offers a medium to explore sensitive issues with children and young people in an age‑appropriate way which helps them to develop appropriate protective behaviours.(2017/04).
Our school seeks to promote pupils’ awareness and understanding of safeguarding issues, including those related to child protection through its curriculum. The safeguarding of children is an important focus in the school’s personal development programme and is also addressed where it arises within the context of subjects.
The pupil diary will include information directing a pupil on how to seek help and support within the school from September 2018.
13. Recruitment and Vetting Procedures
Vetting checks are a key preventative measure in preventing unsuitable individuals access to children and vulnerable adults through the education system and schools must ensure that all persons on school property are vetted, inducted and supervised as appropriate. All staff paid or unpaid who are appointed to positions in the School are vetted / supervised in accordance with relevant legislation and Departmental guidance.
14. Code Of Conduct For all Staff Paid Or Unpaid
All actions concerning children and young people must uphold the best interests of the young person as a primary consideration. Staff must always be mindful of the fact that they hold a position of trust and that their behaviour towards the child and young people in their charge must be above reproach.
All members of staff are expected to comply with the school’s Code of Conduct for Employees and Volunteers which is included as Appendix 2 to this policy.
Please note that the sample Code of Conduct attached is taken directly from the new Safeguarding and Child Protection in schools 2017 and staff will need to be consulted on and approved by the BOG before attaching to this policy.
15. Staff Training
When new staff or volunteers start at the school they are briefed on the school’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct and given copies of these policies. All staff will receive basic child protection awareness training and annual/regular refresher training. The Principal, Designated Teacher/Deputy Designated Teacher, Chair of the Board of Governors and Designated Governor for Child Protection will also attend child protection training courses specific to their roles which is provided by the Education Authority’s Child Protection Support Service for Schools.
16. Monitoring and Evaluation
This policy will be reviewed annually by the Designated Teacher for Child Protection and approved every 2 years by the Board of Governors for dessemination to parents, pupils and staff. It will be implemented through the schools staff induction and training programme and as part of day to day practice. Compliance with the policy will be monitored on an on-going basis by the Designated Teacher for Child Protection and periodically by the Schools Safeguarding Team.
Date of Next Review: _______________________________
Signed: _________________________________ (Chair of Board of Governors)
_________________________________ (Designated Teacher)
The School Safeguarding Team
Roles & Responsibilities
- 1. Chair of the Board of Governors
The Chair of the Board of Governors is responsible for:
- · Ensuring that a Child Protection policy is in place and that a safeguarding ethos is maintained in the school
- · Ensuring that a Designated Governor for Child Protection is appointed
- · Ensuring that Governors receive relevant training in Child Protection and Recruitment and Selection
- · Assuming lead responsibility in the management of a complaint/allegation against the School Principal.
- · Ensure that the Board of Governors receive regular updates in relation to child protection activity including a full written annual report
- 2. Designated Governor for Child Protection.
The Designated Governor is responsible for advising the Governors on matters related to child protection including the child protection policy, reports to Governors, the recruitment, selection and vetting of staff and the role of the Designated teacher.
- 3. Principal
The Principal is responsible for:
- · Ensuring that all relevant DENI guidance in relation to child protection and safeguarding in particular “Pastoral Care in Schools – Child Protection”(1999) is implemented within the school
- · Enabling the Board of Governors fulfil their Child Protection duties by keeping them informed of any changes to guidance, procedure or legislation relating to child protection and ensuring the inclusion of child protection activities on their agenda
- · Maintaining and securely storing the School Record of Child Abuse Complaints and to make it available at least annually to the Board of Governors.
- · The appointment of suitable staff to posts (teaching and non-teaching) within the school and the appointment of suitable teaching staff to the roles of Designated and Deputy Teacher for Child Protection
- · Ensuring that parents and pupils receive a copy of the Child Protection Policy and Complaints Procedures every 2 years.
- · Managing child protection concerns relating to staff.
4. Designated and Deputy Designated Teacher for Child Protection
Every school is required to appoint a Designated Teacher with responsibility for Child Protection. They must also appoint a Deputy Designated Teacher who as a member of the Safeguarding team will actively support the Designated Teacher in carrying out the following duties:
- · Providing child protection training for all teaching and non-teaching staff (whole school training) to be delivered a minimum of once every two years
- · Taking lead responsibility for the development and annual review of the school’s child protection policy
- · Promoting a child protection ethos in the school
- · Acting as a point of contact for staff (and parents) in relation to child abuse concerns
- Liaison with the Principal and Education Authority’sDesignated Officers for Child Protection in cases of suspected Child Abuse
- · Making referrals to other agencies, with the Principal’s knowledge
- · Maintaining and securely storing appropriate child protection records
- · Attending child protection case conferences and other relevant case planning meetings where appropriate and practicable
- · Providing an annual report to the Governors on child protection activity
The Deputy Designated Teacher will deputise for them in their absence.
Code of Conduct for Staff and Volunteers in Schools (Circular 2107/04 Annex C))
Date Ratified by BOG: 09/10/17
Review Date: 11 October 2019
Objective, Scope and Principles
This Code of Conduct is designed to give clear guidance on the standards of behaviour all school staff and volunteers are expected to observe. School staff and volunteers are role models and are in a unique position of influence and trust and must adhere to behaviour that sets a good example to all the pupils/students within the school. As a member of a school community, each person has an individual responsibility to maintain their reputation and the reputation of the school, whether inside or outside working hours.
This Code of Conduct applies to all staff and volunteers of the school.
This Code of Conduct does not form part of any employees’ contract of employment.
1. Setting an Example
1.1 All staff and volunteers who work in schools set examples of behaviour and conduct which can be copied by pupils/students. Staff must therefore for example avoid using inappropriate or offensive language at all times.
1.2 All staff and volunteers must, therefore, demonstrate high standards of conduct in order to encourage our pupils/students to do the same.
1.3 All staff and volunteers must also avoid putting themselves at risk of allegations of abusive or unprofessional conduct.
1.4 This Code helps all staff and volunteers to understand what behaviour is and is not acceptable and regard should also be given to the disciplinary rules set out by the employing authority.
1.5 All staff and volunteers are expected to familiarise themselves and comply with all school policies and procedures.
2. Safeguarding Pupils/Students
2.1 All staff and volunteers have a duty to safeguard pupils/students from physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and exploitation.
2.2 The duty to safeguard pupils/students includes the duty to report concerns about a pupil/student or colleague to a member of the school’s Safeguarding team (Designated Teacher (DT)/Deputy Designated Teacher (DDT) for Child Protection or the Principal).
2.3 The school’s DT years 1-7 is Mr Paul O’Doherty
The DDT years 1-7 is Miss Orla McNamara_
The Nursery DT is Mrs Catriona Quigley
The ASD/LSC DT is Mr Mark Doherty
2.4 All staff and volunteers are provided with personal copies of the school’s Child Protection Policy and Whistleblowing Policy and must be familiar with these documents and other relevant school policies eg e-Safety and Acceptable Use Policy.
2.5 All staff and volunteers should treat children with respect and dignity. They must not demean or undermine pupils, their parents, carers or colleagues.
2.6 All staff and volunteers should not demonstrate behaviours that may be perceived as sarcasm, making jokes at the expense of students, embarrassing or humiliating students, discriminating against or favouring students.
2.7 All staff and volunteers must take reasonable care of pupils/students under their supervision with the aim of ensuring their safety and welfare. Staff should also complete risk assessments where appropriate in accordance with school policies.
3. Relationships with Students
3.1 All staff and volunteers must declare any relationships that they may have with pupils/students outside of school; this may include mutual membership of social groups, tutoring, or family connections. Staff and volunteers should not assume that the school are aware of any such connections. A declaration form may be found in Appendix 1 of this document.
3.2 Relationships with students must be professional at all times, sexual relationships with students are not permitted and may lead to an abuse of trust and criminal conviction.
4. Pupil/Student Development
4.1 All staff and volunteers must comply with school policies and procedures that support the well-being and development of pupils/students.
4.2 All staff and volunteers must co-operate and collaborate with colleagues and with external agencies where necessary to support the development of pupils/ students.
5. Honesty and Integrity
5.1 All staff and volunteers must maintain high standards of honesty and integrity in their work. This includes the handling and claiming of money and the use of school property and facilities.
5.2 Gifts from suppliers or associates of the school must be declared to the Principal with the exception of “one off” token gifts from students or parents. Personal gifts from individual members of staff or volunteers to students are inappropriate and could be misinterpreted and may lead to disciplinary action. A record will be kept of all gifts received.
6. Conduct Outside of Work
6.1 All staff and volunteers must not engage in conduct outside work which could seriously damage the reputation and standing of the school or the staff/ volunteers own reputation or the reputation of other members of the school community.
6.2 In particular, criminal offences that involve violence, possession or use of illegal drugs or sexual misconduct are to be regarded as unacceptable.
6.3 Staff may undertake work outside school, either paid or voluntary, provided that it does not conflict with the interests of the school. It should not contravene the working time regulations or affect an individual’s work performance in the school. Staff should seek advice from the Principal when considering work outside the school.
7. E-Safety and Internet Use
7.1 Staff must exercise caution when using information technology and be aware of the risks to themselves and others. Regard should be given to the schools’ E-Safety
and ICT Acceptable Use Policy at all times both inside and outside of work.
7.2 Staff and volunteers must not engage in inappropriate use of social network sites which may bring themselves, the school, school community or employer into disrepute. Staff and volunteers should ensure that they adopt suitably high security settings on any personal profiles they may have.
7.3 Staff should exercise caution in their use of all social media or any other web based presence that they may have, including written content, videos or photographs, and views expressed either directly or by ‘liking’ certain pages or posts established by others. This may also include the use of dating websites where staff could encounter students either with their own profile or acting covertly.
7.4 Contact with students must be via school authorised mechanisms. At no time should personal telephone numbers, email addresses or communication routes via personal accounts on social media platforms be used to communicate with students.
If contacted by a student by an inappropriate route, staff should report the contact to the Principal immediately.
7.5 Photographs/stills or video footage of students should only be taken using school equipment for purposes authorised by the school. Any such use should always be transparent and only occur where parental consent has been given. The resultant files from such recording or taking of photographs must be retained and destroyed in accordance with the schools Records Management Policy and Disposal Schedules.
8.1 Members of staff and volunteers may have access to confidential information about students in order to undertake their every day responsibilities. In some circumstances staff may be given additional highly sensitive or private information. They should never use confidential or personal information about a student or his family for their own, or others’ advantage. Information must never be used to intimidate, humiliate, or embarrass the student.
8.2 Confidential information about students should never be used casually in conversation or shared with any person other than on a need to know basis. In circumstances where the student’s identity does not need to be disclosed the information should be used anonymously.
There are some circumstances in which a member of staff may be expected to share information about a student, for example when abuse is alleged or suspected. In such cases, individuals have a duty to pass information on without delay, but only to those with designated child protection responsibilities.
8.4 If a member of staff is in any doubt about whether to share information or keep it confidential he or she should seek guidance from a senior member of staff. Any media or legal enquiries should be passed to senior leadership.
8.5 Adults need to be aware that although it is important to listen to and support students, they must not promise confidentiality or request students to do the same under any circumstances.
8.6 Additionally concerns and allegations about adults should be treated as confidential and passed to a senior leader without delay.
9. Dress and Appearance
9.1 All staff and volunteers must dress in a manner that is appropriate to a professional role and promoting a professional image.
9.2 Staff and volunteers should dress in a manner that is not offensive, revealing or sexually provocative.
9.3 Staff and volunteers should dress in a manner that is absent from political or other contentious slogans.
10. Disciplinary Action
Staff and volunteers should be aware that a failure to comply with this Code of Conduct could result in disciplinary action including but not limited to dismissal.
All staff and volunteers must complete the form in Appendix 2 to confirm they have read, understood and agreed to comply with the code of conduct. This form should then be signed and dated.
Relationships with Students Outside of Work Declaration
It is recognised that there may be circumstances whereby staff and volunteers of the school are known to students outside of work. Examples include membership of sports clubs, family connections, or private tutoring.
Staff must declare any relationship outside of school that they may have with students.
I can confirm that I am fully aware of the code of conduct relating to contact out of school with students in line with this policy.
If I am tutoring a student outside of school I am aware that the following must be adhered to:
I do not, at any point, teach the child in question as part of my daily timetable - this is a stipulation of such tutoring.
I emphasise to parents that this is done completely independently of the school.
No monies come through the school at any point, informally (eg via the child) or formally.
No private tutoring is to take place on the school premises.
I confirm that if these circumstances change at any time I will complete a new form to ensure the school are aware of any relationships.
Signed ___________________________ Date ________________
Once completed, signed and dated, please return this form to the Principal.
Confirmation of Compliance
I hereby confirm that I have read, understood and agree to comply with the school’s code of conduct.
Position/Post Held __________________________________________________
Signed ___________________________ Date ________________
Once completed, signed and dated, please return this form to the Headteacher.
Types of Abuse and Physical/Behavioural Indicators
Neglect is the failure to provide for a child’s basic needs, whether it be adequate food, clothing, hygiene, supervision or shelter that is likely to result in the serious impairment of a child’s health or development. Children who are neglected often also suffer from other types of abuse. (Co- operating To Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland 2015)
Looks very thin, poorly and sad;
lack of energy;
untreated medical problems;
special needs of child not being met;
repeated accidents, especially burns.
Tired or listless (falls asleep in class);
begging from class friends;
misses school medicals;
reports that there is no carer is at home;
persistent non-attendance at school;
exposure to violence including unsuitable videos.
Physical Abuse is deliberately physically hurting a child. It might take a variety of different forms, including hitting, biting, pinching, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating a child. (Co- operating To Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland 2016)
Unexplained bruises – in various stages of healing
grip marks on arms;
human bite marks;
unexplained/untreated burns; especially cigarette burns (glove like);
lacerations or abrasions;
bruising on both sides of the ear – symmetrical bruising should be treated with suspicion;
injuries occurring in a time pattern e.g. every Monday
Self destructive tendencies;
aggression to other children;
behavioural extremes (withdrawn or aggressive);
appears frightened or cowed in presence of adults;
improbable excuses to explain injuries; chronic runaway;
uncomfortable with physical contact;
coming to school early or staying last as if afraid to be at home;
clothing inappropriate to weather – to hide part of body;
violent themes in art work or stories
Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child. It is also sometimes called psychological abuse and it can have severe and persistent adverse effects on a child’s emotional development. Emotional abuse may involve deliberately telling a child that they are worthless, or unloved and inadequate. It may include not giving a child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them, or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. Emotional abuse may involve bullying – including online bullying through social networks, online games or mobile phones – by a child’s peers. (Co- operating To Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland 2016)
Well below average in height and weight; “failing to thrive”;
poor hair and skin;
swollen extremities i.e. icy cold and swollen hands and feet;
recurrent diarrhoea, wetting and soiling; sudden speech disorders;
signs of self mutilation;
signs of solvent abuse (e.g. mouth sores, smell of glue, drowsiness);
extremes of physical, mental and emotional development (e.g. anorexia, vomiting, stooping).
Apathy and dejection;
inappropriate emotional responses to painful situations;
inability to play;
indifference to separation from family
reluctance for parental liaison;
fear of new situation;
attention seeking/needing behaviour;
poor peer relationships.
Sexual Abuse occurs when others use and exploit children sexually for their own gratification or gain or the gratification of others. Sexual abuse may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape, or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside clothing It may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in the production of sexual images, forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via e-technology). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. (Co- operating To Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland 2016)
bruises, scratches, bite marks or other injuries to breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs;
bruises or bleeding in genital or anal areas;
torn, stained or bloody underclothes;
chronic ailments such as recurrent abdominal pains or headaches;
difficulty in walking or sitting;
frequent urinary infections;
avoidance of lessons especially PE, games, showers;
unexplained pregnancies where the identity of the father is vague;
What the child tells you;
excessive sexual precociousness; seductiveness;
children having knowledge beyond their usual frame of reference e.g. young child who can describe details of adult sexuality; parent/child role reversal;
over concerned for siblings;
poor self esteem;
lack of confidence;
lack of involvement;
massive weight change;
suicide attempts (especially adolescents); hysterical/angry outbursts;
lack of emotional control;
sudden school difficulties e.g. deterioration in school work or behaviour;
inappropriate sex play;
repeated attempts to run away from home; unusual or bizarre sexual themes in children’s art work or stories;
vulnerability to sexual and emotional exploitation;
exposure to pornographic material
Exploitation is the intentional ill-treatment, manipulation or abuse of power and control over a child or young person; to take selfish or unfair advantage of a child or young person or situation, for personal gain. It may manifest itself in many forms such as child labour, slavery, servitude, engagement in criminal activity, begging, benefit or other financial fraud or child trafficking. It extends to the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation can be sexual in nature.
Although ‘exploitation’ is not included in the categories of registration for the Child Protection Register, professionals should recognise that the abuse resulting from or caused by the exploitation of children and young people can be categorised within the existing CPR categories as children who have been exploited will have suffered from physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or a combination of these forms of abuse (Co- operating To Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland 2016)
A child may suffer or be at risk of suffering from one or more types of abuse and abuse may take place on a single occasion or may occur repeatedly over time.
Child Abuse in Other Specific Circumstances
Bullying is not defined as a category of abuse within the Area Child Protection Committees’ Regional Policy and Procedures (2005). The policy does however state that the damage inflicted by bullying behaviour can frequently be underestimated. It can cause considerable distress to children and at the extreme cause them significant harm (including self harm).
The procedure for referral and investigation of abuse may therefore be implemented in certain circumstances such as when anti-bullying procedures have failed to be effective; the bullying behaviour is persistent and severe resulting in the target of the bullying suffering/likely to suffer significant harm; there are concerns that the bullying behaviour is indicative of the child exhibiting this behaviour suffering/likely to suffer significant harm or where concerns exist in relation to the parents/carer’s capacity to meet the needs of the child (either the target or the child exhibiting this behaviour).
Children Who Sexually Abuse Others or Display Sexually Harmful Behaviour
When abuse of a child is alleged to have been carried out by another child, the procedures outlined in section 7 of this policy will be followed. It is important in such situations to distinguish between behaviours which are experimental in nature and those that are exploitative and harmful. Advice and support will be sought in such circumstances from the Education Authority’s Designated Officer for Child Protection and where appropriate a referral made to the statutory agencies. In all such cases a risk assessment will be undertaken and an individual support and safety plan identified. Appropriate services will also be provided for the children involved. The above guidance follows DE Circular 2016/05 subject Children Who Display Harmful Sexualized Behaviour.
Child Sexual Exploitation
The Department of Health wrote to the SBNI to confirm that it has now amended section 7.2.7 of Co-operating to Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland to take account of a revised definition of Child Sexual Exploitation.
The revised definition, now adopted for use in Northern Ireland, is in line with that consulted on and agreed by the Department for Education in England and is as follows;
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/ or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
The key factor that distinguishes cases of CSE from other forms of child sexual abuse is the concept of exchange – the fact that someone coerces or manipulates a child into engaging in sexual activity in return for something they need or desire and/or for the gain of those perpetrating or facilitating the abuse. The something
received by the child or young person can include both tangible items and/or more intangible ‘rewards’ OR ‘benefits’ such as perceived affection, protection or a sense of value or belonging.
Any child under the age of eighteen, male or female, can be a victim of CSE, including those who can legally consent to have sex. The abuse most frequently impacts upon those of a post-primary age and can be perpetrated by adults or peers, on an individual or group basis.
The potential indicators of CSE can include, but are not limited to:
• Acquisition of money, clothes, mobile phone etc without plausible explanation;
• Leaving home/care without permission;
• Persistently going missing or returning late;
• Receiving lots of texts/phone calls prior to leaving;
• Agitated/stressed prior to leaving home/care;
• Returning distraught/ dishevelled or under the influence of substances;
• Requesting the morning after pill upon return;
• Truanting from school;
• Inappropriate sexualised behaviour for age;
• Physical symptoms or infections e.g. bruising, bite marks, sexually transmitted infections;
• Concerning use of the internet;
• Entering or leaving cars driven by unknown adults or by taxis;
• New peer groups;
• Significantly older ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’;
• Increasing secretiveness around behaviours;
• Low self-esteem;
• Change in personal hygiene (greater attention or less);
• Self harm and other expressions of despair;
• Evidence or suspicion of substance misuse.
Whilst these indicators can be usefully used to identify potential risk, it is important to note that their presence does not necessarily mean that CSE is occurring. More importantly, nor does their absence, mean that it is not.
When we become aware of young people below the age of consent engaging in sexual activity where we have concerns about a 16/17 year old in a sexual relationship the Designated Teacher has a duty to follow appropriate procedures and where necessary make a referral to Social Services.
The offence of taking indecent pictures of children under 18 years can apply in a situation where a pupil has taken an indecent picture using a mobile phone of others under 18 years of age. It is also an offence to distribute, possess with intent to distribute or show such photographs to others. In such circumstances the PSNI and Social Services will be contacted. The school also has an e-saefty/ mobile phone and electronic devices (or similarly named policies) which has/have been circulated to parents and pupils and which is available from the school.
Young Person whose Behaviour places him/her at Risk of Significant Harm
A child whose own behaviours e.g. self-harming behaviour, leaving school without permission etc. places him/her at risk of significant harm, may not necessarily constitute abuse as defined in Area Child Protection Committees’ Regional Policy and Procedures (2005). The decision to initiate child protection procedures is a matter for professional judgement and each case will be considered individually with advice sought from the Education Authority’s Designated Officer for Child Protection. The criminal aspects of such cases will be dealt with by the PSNI.
Domestic Violence and Abuse
Is defined as threatening, controlling, coercive behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological,virtual,physical,verbal,sexual,financial or emotional) inflicted on anyone (irrespective of age, ethnicity,religion,gender,gender, identity,sexual orientation or any form of disability) by a current or former intimate partner or family member.’ (Stopping Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse in Northern Ireland A Seven Year Strategy: March 2016)
Sexual Violence and Abuse
Is defines as ‘any behaviour (physical, psychological, verbal, virtual /online ) perceived to be of a sexual nature which is controlling, coercive, exploitative, harmful or unwanted that is inflicted on anyone (irrespective of age,ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any form of disability).’
Please note that coercive, exploitative and harmful behaviour includes taking advantage of an individual’s incapacity to give informed consent. (Stopping Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse in Northern Ireland A Seven Year Strategy: March 2016)
A child may live in a family where there is domestic abuse or a young person may be in a relationship where they become the subject of domestic abuse. In high risk cases involving domestic abuse Social Services and/or the Education Authority’s Designated Officer for Child Protection will contact the school in order to help assess the child/young person’s needs and to ensure that he/she is receives appropriate support.
Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a form of child abuse and violence against women and girls. FGM comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The procedure is also referred to as ‘cutting’, ‘female circumcision’ and ‘initiation’. The practice is medically unnecessary, extremely painful and has serious health consequences, both at the time when the mutilation is carried out and in later life.
FGM is a form of child abuse and, as such, teachers have a statutory duty to report cases, including suspicion, to the appropriate agencies, through agreed and established school procedures.
NOTE OF CONCERN
CHILD PROTECTION RECORD - REPORTS TO DESIGNATED TEACHER
Name of Pupil:
Date, time of incident / disclosure:
Circumstances of incident / disclosure:
Nature and description of concern:
Parties involved, including any witnesses to an event and what was said or done and by whom:
Action taken at the time:
Details of any advice sought, from whom and when:
Any further action taken:
Written report passed to Designated Teacher: Yes: No:
If ‘No’ state reason:
Date and time of report to the Designated Teacher:
Written note from staff member placed on pupil’s Child Protection file
If ‘No’ state reason:
Name of staff member making the report: ______________________________
Signature of Staff Member: __________________________ Date: __________
Signature of Designated Teacher: ____________________ Date: __________
Procedure for Parents who wish to raise a Child Protection Concern
Procedure where the school has concerns, or has been given information about possible abuse by someone other than a member of staff.
Procedure where a complaint has been made about possible abuse by a member of the school’s staff.