Information Area

Introduction

This policy is based on

National Deaf Children’s Society, Child Protection Policy, Procedure and Guidance. Local Groups Version.

This policy relates directly to The Surrey Deaf Children’s Society and details our procedures and responsibilities.

Staffing

We have a designated Child Protection Officer (Xenia James) who has been specifically trained in line with the NDCS policy detailed in the introduction.

All committee members have undertaken Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks or DBS checks. These checks are regularly updated according to NDCS guidelines.

All committee members have received safeguarding training through the NDCS.

Responsibilities

At the SDCS we take our safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously and meet these in various ways:

Organising Events

Every time we organise an event we carry out a risk assessment for the activity. The risk assessment considers ways in which children (and adults) could be injured at an event, possibility of children becoming lost, access to children at the event from both our members and the public and children’s (and adult’s) ability to communicate at events.

It is very rare that we organise events wherein children are left in the care of the SDCS without their caregiver. When an event is organised where members of the public will also have access to SDCS children we state this on the flyers advertising the event. We explain to caregivers that they remain responsible for their children throughout the event, however we do our utmost to ensure that we adequately staff an event to enable us to provide a further ‘watchful eye’.

When members express an interest in an event we ask them to complete an event booking form. This form asks for the communication needs of the family. Where a family needs assistance with communication (such as a BSL interpreter) we provide this.

Vigilance

It is the responsibility of all committee members, as well as all adults, to be vigilant when around children. It is important to notice and question anything unusual and concerning such as bruises on children, children appearing unkempt (even if it is unusual for that child), children who appear poorly or inappropriately dressed, children appearing malnourished or extremely hungry at an event, or children being unusually withdrawn or angry.

Sometimes the situation can be approached with the child in an unobtrusive way such as, “How did you hurt your eye?” or “Did you have any breakfast this morning?” This can lead to more information. However if the child does not offer any more information do not push the matter. Also do not ask a leading question or one which provides an answer like, “Did you fall off your bike?”

If you notice anything about a child which concerns you pass the information to the Child Protection Officer (Xenia James) as soon as possible, do not wait until the end of the event. If Xenia James is not at the event inform the most senior committee member at the event. Do this even if the child has provided an explanation but also pass on what that explanation was.

If a child tells you something that concerns you – listen, support and pass information on

(Taken from National Deaf Children’s Society, Child Protection Policy, Procedure and Guidance. Local Groups Version).

Listen carefully

Most children find it difficult to talk about abuse. If they have summoned up the courage to talk to you, it is because they believe you can help. Now is not the time to be working out whether what you hear can possibly be true.

Let the child lead the pace

Try not to ask questions. Don’t jump in to fill pauses. Keep the conversation going with encouraging nods, attentive eye contact and repetitions of what has been said or signed.

Once is enough

Once you know you will have to report what you have been told, don’t ask the child to repeat what s/he said. Make sure that the child knows s/he is not alone, and that you are taking what s/he said seriously. You will be getting help from someone who knows what to do in this kind of situation.

Be honest

Answer the child’s questions as honestly as you can; if you don’t know the answer, say so, but say you will try to find out.

Don’t investigate, don’t confront

Your job will be to pass on the information, not to investigate. Don’t confront the alleged abuser; this will not be helpful and may cause difficulties for any investigation.

Remember the boundaries of confidentiality

Never promise total confidentiality, the child must be told that if you believe they or anyone else might be harmed, you will have to pass the information on to someone that can help.

Seek advice

Explain to the child that this kind of thing happens to a lot of children; that’s why you are able to talk to people who know what to do to help.

Write down exactly what the child told you, as far as possible using the child’s own words. Do not make assumptions or allow any personal opinion or bias to enter your report. Sign your report and write the date and time of the disclosure. You should write the report straight away once the child has made a disclosure, do not wait until later.

The Child Protection Officer, or other committee member if the CPO is unavailable, will contact Children’s Social Care for advice as soon as possible. This can be done without mentioning names if appropriate. Advice can also be obtained from the NDCS Local Groups Designated Person or the NDCS Child Protection Advisor.