Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy

Introduction

Children and young people with visual impairments – many of whom have additional disabilities – are at the heart of The Amber Trust’s work. Their welfare is paramount. The Amber Trust believes that all children and young people regardless of age, disability, gender, race, sexual orientation or identity, or religious belief have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.

The Amber Trust adopts the definition used in the Children Act 2004 and the Department for Education guidance document, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 (updated February 2017), which define safeguarding and protecting the welfare of children as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment;
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

The above statutory guidance defines child protection as part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. Child protection is the activity undertaken to protect specific children and young people who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.

Policy Statement

This policy outlines the responsibilities of The Amber Trust in relation to the protection of the children and young people it supports. The charity undertakes to:

  • treat children and young people with care, respect and dignity;
  • listen to and help them (directly, or through their parents or advocates) with anything related to The Amber Music Awards or other Amber Trust services;
  • ensure that we avoid unsupervised contact with the children we support; and
  • assess and seek to minimise the risks to children who take part in activities funded and/or run by The Amber Trust.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who works with or on behalf of The Amber Trust, in either a paid or voluntary capacity, has a role to play and should ensure that their approach considers at all times what is in the best interests of the child.

The Amber Trust has a dedicated Safeguarding Officer, who is responsible for ensuring that the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy and procedures are adhered to. The Safeguarding Officer is Professor Adam Ockelford and he can be contacted on a.ockelford@roehampton.ac.uk and 07818 456 472.

In implementing this policy, The Amber Trust will:

  • communicate to all those who work with or on behalf of The Amber Trust, in either a paid or voluntary capacity, about their legal and moral responsibility to protect children and young people from harm, abuse and exploitation;
  • communicate to all those who work with or on behalf of The Amber Trust, in either a paid or voluntary capacity, about their responsibility to work to the standards that are detailed in the London Child Protection Procedures and the need to work at all times towards maintaining high standards of practice in protection of children and young people;
  • ensure that all those who work with or on behalf of The Amber Trust, in either a paid or voluntary capacity, understand their duty to report concerns that arise about a child or young person, or an individual’s conduct towards a child/young person, to the Safeguarding Officer;
  • ensure that The Amber Trust’s Safeguarding Officer understands his responsibility to refer any safeguarding concerns to the statutory child protection agencies (i.e. Police and/or Children’s Social Care);
  • ensure that any procedures relating to the conduct of individuals who work with or on behalf of The Amber Trust, in either a paid or voluntary capacity, are implemented in a consistent and equitable manner;
  • facilitate opportunities for children and young people to express their ideas and views on a wide range of issues in connection with the service they are provided with and to have access to The Amber Trust’s Complaints Procedure; and
  • facilitate involvement of parents or carers in the work of The Amber Trust and to make the safeguarding policy procedures available to them.

Amber Music Awards

Through its Music Awards scheme, The Amber Trust enables individual blind and partially sighted children to access and enjoy music. It also provides workshops for groups of blind and partially sighted children to access music. However, it does not provide direct services to these children, interacting with them and their families mainly as recipients of Amber Music Awards. The Trust checks that all music teachers, therapists and others working directly with the children it supports have enhanced DBS clearance.

Amber Trust Services

All Little Amber and Amber Plus practitioners and professionals/volunteers involved in delivering other Amber Trust services must have a valid, up-to-date enhanced DBS certificate (issued within the last three years) and their own Professional Liability Insurance in place to cover the sessions that they provide as part of their engagement with The Amber Trust. All practitioners sign an Agreement with The Amber Trust and confirm that they meet these safeguarding requirements. Little Amber and Amber Plus Practitioners also commit to follow data protection procedures outlined in the Privacy Policy to ensure that children/families’ personal information is stored securely and not shared without express consent.

Positive Touch

The Amber Trust promotes positive, appropriate and reassuring touch between adults and visually impaired children during music teaching and therapy. For some children, who are very young or who have additional disabilities, touch may be an essential element in their communication with others, and as they are supported to understand the world around them. All physical contact between adults and children should contribute to the child’s wellbeing, taking verbal and non-verbal clues about children’s consent to touch and ensuring interaction is welcome and respectful. Amber Trust practitioners should work in the presence of other adults wherever possible and feel confident in modelling and explaining interaction involving touch.

Identifying Potential or Actual harm to Children

Indicators of abuse can take many varied forms and the identification of physical signs can be complicated as children may go to great lengths to hide any such signs.

A child who is being abused or neglected may:

  • have bruises, bleeding, burns, fractures or other re-occurring minor injuries;
  • show signs of pain or discomfort;
  • keep arms and legs covered even in warm weather;
  • look unkempt and uncared for;
  • have difficulty in making or sustaining friendships;
  • appear fearful;
  • frequently arrive late for lessons;
  • display a change in behaviour;
  • be constantly tired or pre-occupied; or
  • be wary of physical contact.

Individual indicators will rarely, in isolation, provide conclusive evidence of abuse. However, it is important that practitioners, professionals and volunteers report any concerns in this regard, however minor or insignificant they may think they are – they do not need ‘absolute proof’ that the child is at risk nor is it their responsibility to investigate or decide whether such abuse is taking place

The Department for Education has published What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused; Advice for Practitioners 2015 which has information on understanding and identifying abuse and neglect. Examples of potential signs of abuse and neglect are highlighted throughout the advice. This includes information about the vulnerability of children with disabilities:

“The warning signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect can vary from child to child. Disabled children may be especially vulnerable to abuse, including because they may have an impaired capacity to resist or avoid abuse. They may have speech, language and communication needs which may make it difficult to tell others what is happening. Children also develop and mature at different rates so what appears to be worrying for a younger child might be normal behaviour for an older child. Parental behaviours may also indicate child abuse or neglect, so you should also be alert to parent-child interactions which are concerning and other parental behaviours. This could include parents who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if there is a sudden change in their mental health. By understanding the warning signs, you can respond to problems as early as possible and provide the right support and services for the child and their family. It is important to recognise that a warning sign doesn’t automatically mean a child is being abused.”

Discussing, recording and reporting concerns

Any concerns should be discussed with the Safeguarding Officer, Professor Adam Ockelford, and should be recorded and emailed to the Safeguarding Officer (a.ockelford@roehampton.ac.uk) and copied to the Chair of Trustees, Julia Walport (julia.walport@ambertrust.org). The records will be stored securely in compliance with relevant legislation and The Amber Trust’s Privacy Policy.

The Amber Trust Safeguarding Officer will complete an assessment on concerns reported to him. The Safeguarding Officer will discuss concerns with the relevant Local Safeguarding Children Board if advice is needed to decide upon the necessity for a referral to a relevant agency. A formal referral to Local Authority children’s social care, the police or accident and emergency services (for any urgent medical treatment) must not be delayed by the need for consultation with the Safeguarding Officer or the completion of an assessment.

The Amber Trust recognises its duty to follow up and report all concerns or allegations made against any of its practitioners, professionals, volunteers or trustees, and all such concerns of allegations of abuse will be treated seriously. If an allegation is made, the Safeguarding Officer and Chair of Trustees should be informed, and a disciplinary investigation will be carried out. There may also be criminal (police) investigations. If necessary, the appropriate authorities will be contacted and if there is any concern for the immediate safety of a child or young person then the police/social services will be contacted.

Anyone can raise the alert if necessary with the appropriate local service: www.gov.uk/report-child-abuse-to-local-council
The national helplines are 999 if the child is at immediate risk or the police on 101 if you think a crime has been committed
NSPCC: www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/report-abuse or 0808 800 5000 hotline

Case Studies

The Amber Trust uses case studies and stories of children and young people’s progress to demonstrate the positive impact of the Music Awards and other services, to publicise its work on its website and in social media and for fundraising appeals. We only do this with the consent of the parents/guardians and the young person if aged 13 years or older and has the capacity to consent. The Amber Trust uses first names, ages and general geographical location in any publicity. Children are always portrayed with dignity and respect in our literature.

Use of Personal Information

The Amber Trust uses images, video and audio recordings on its websites and within publications, and has a detailed photography, video and audio recording policy that covers this practice. We do not permit photographs, other images, video or audio recordings of children and young people to be taken without the consent of the parents/guardians and the young person if aged 13 years or older and has the capacity to consent. This consent is valid whilst the child is a beneficiary of The Amber Trust and for up to two years afterwards.

All images, video and audio recordings will be stored securely, and identified only through a child’s first name and first letter of their surname (so they cannot be traced). If images, video or audio recordings are selected to be used in high-profile contexts (such as YouTube videos and television programmes), we always ask further permission of parents/guardians and children. We take all steps to ensure these images are used solely for the purposes they are intended.

Personal information about the children and young people supported by The Amber Trust is stored securely as detailed in the Privacy Policy. The charity does not use children’s personal information for purposes other than the Amber Music Award, Little Amber or Amber Plus application processes, other Amber Trust services or in funding applications where we have explicit consent. The Amber Trust ensures that all contact with children is via a parent or carer and takes place with their consent.

This policy is to be read in conjunction with the following policies:

  • Privacy Policy
  • Photography, Video and Audio Recording Policy
  • Lone Working and Working in Others’ Homes Policy

Adoption date: 01/04/2018
Review date: 08/05/2018