Safeguarding Children and Young People policy

Part of the Trust’s ASB and Hate Crime Framework and Access & Customer Care Framework Level 1 policy approval - Version 2  APPROVED 27 September 2018

Angela Macpherson – Board Champion 

1. Purpose and Scope

1.1. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust – as a housing provider – has an important role to play in keeping people safe.

1.2. The Board is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people who use or are connected to our services and to protecting them from abuse or neglect. This policy applies to all employees of the Trust, including Board Members, sub-contractors, agents or volunteers operating on our behalf.

2. Definition

2.1. Safeguarding is a term which is broader than ‘child protection’ and relates to the action taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Safeguarding is defined in Working together to Safeguard Children 2018 as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s health and 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

2.2. A child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital or in custody in the secure estate, does not change his or her status or entitlements to service or protection.

2.3. Safeguarding includes the following categories:

  • Physical Abuse – Any intentional act causing injury or trauma to another person by way of bodily contact
  • Domestic Violence / Abuse – any incident of threatening behaviours, violence or abuse between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.
  • Sexual Abuse – Any incident of unwanted sexual contact or behaviour forced upon another person
  • Psychological Abuse – A form of abuse, characterised by a person subjecting, or exposing, another person to behaviour that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Financial Abuse – The illegal or unauthorised use of a person's property, money, financial documents or other valuables (including changing the person's will to name the abuser as heir), often fraudulently.
  • Discriminatory Abuse – This includes some forms of harassment, slurs or unfair treatment relating to race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation and religion.
  • Organisational Abuse – This involves the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to vulnerable people. It can be seen or detected in attitudes, behaviours and processes that amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and stereotyping. It includes a failure to ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to protect vulnerable adults and maintain good standards of care in accordance with individual needs, including training of employees, supervision and management, record keeping and liaising with other providers of care.
  • Modern Slavery – This includes slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals in to a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.
  • Hate Crime – Defines any crime that is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be racist, homophobic, transphobic or due to another person’s religion, belief, disability or gender identity. This definition is based on the perception of the victim and is not reliant on evidence.
  • Neglect – Not being provided with enough food or with the right kind of food, or not being taken proper care of. Not being helped to wash or change dirty or wet clothes, not getting a person to a doctor when they need one or not making sure they have the right medicines all count as neglect.
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genital organs or any other injury to the female organs for non-medical reasons
  • Mate Crime – Can occur when someone is faking care or a friendship in order to take advantage of a vulnerable person. Mate crime is committed by someone known to the person and they may have known them for a long time or only met recently. A ‘Mate’ may be a ‘friend’, family member, supporter, employee or another person with access to the individual.
  • Cyber Crime – Involves using the internet and social media with the intention of bullying or threatening another person with the possible intention of harm. 
  • Honour based violence – Is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community. It is a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.
  • Forced marriage – Is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties are married against their will or without their consent. A ‘forced’ marriage differs from an arranged marriage, in which both parties consent to the assistance of their parents or a third party in locating a spouse. A forced marriage can be a particular risk for people lacking capacity or with learning difficulties.
  • Radicalisation exploitation – Involves the exploitation of susceptible people who are drawn in to violent extremism by radicalisers. Violent extremists often use charismatic individuals to attract people to their cause. The aim is to attract people to their reasoning, inspire new recruits and embed their extreme views and persuade vulnerable individuals of the legitimacy of their cause. The Prevent Strategy, launched in 2007, seeks to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. It is the preventative strand of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy.
  • Suicidal tendencies - The propensity for a person to have suicidal thoughts or to make suicide attempts.

3. Policy Statement

3.1. The following principles will apply to safeguarding children and young people, we will :

  • Apply this policy to all children and young people at risk, regardless of age up 18, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partner status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.
  • Share relevant personal information about children and families with lead agencies where there are safeguarding concerns in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. In all other circumstances agencies need to obtain consent.
  • Have in place arrangements which clearly set out the processes and timescales for sharing information with the relevant Local Authority, lead partners, external agencies and / or the Police.
  • Listen to children and young people and take in to account their feelings and wishes whilst not promising confidentiality where the child or young person may be at risk.
  • Ensure photographs and filming will only take place with the explicit consent to parents or guardians.
  • Establish clear lines of responsibility and accountability for the detection, recording and reporting of safeguarding concerns.
  • Ensure any systems related to the recording of safeguarding matters are confidential, robust and secure.
  • Establish leadership responsibility at Board Level and a senior managerial level lead for our safeguarding arrangements.
  • Undertake quarterly case reviews of all referrals to ensure policies and procedures have been followed.
  • Ensure that contractors and volunteers working on behalf of The Trust are aware of and uphold this policy.
  • Provide appropriate supervision and support for employees, creating an environment where employees feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role.
  • Treat reports from employees who are at risk of reprisals as anonymous where possible but we cannot guarantee reporters will remain anonymous.
  • Ensure recruitment processes follow the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) requirements, which include checking certain groups of employees and volunteers. DBS was set up to prevent unsuitable people from working with children.
  • Ensure allegations and complaints against our employees or volunteers (people in positions of trust ‘PIPOT’) are treated seriously. If any allegations are made of this nature then they will be referred to the Head of Community Services for further investigation and in accordance with the disciplinary policy in conjunction with the Head of Employee Engagement.
  • Alternatively, employees or volunteers may have concerns regarding behaviour they have witnessed from employees employed by external agencies or volunteers (people in positions of trust ‘PIPOT’). In this instance the disclosure or concern will be raised with the Head of Community Services.
  • Record and refer all concerns, suspicions or allegations of abuse, harm or neglect referrals promptly to the lead agencies responsible for carrying out safeguarding assessments and enquiries; namely the relevant Local Authority Safeguarding Board, lead partners, external agencies and / or the Police. We will record the reasons why if a decision is made not to refer a concern.
  • Work together with the lead agencies, and other statutory and voluntary agencies to protect the wellbeing of children and young people by contributing to multi-agency meetings, case conferences, or serious case reviews when requested to do so.
  • Ensure all relevant employees receive training on safeguarding and their roles and responsibilities to identify, record and report concerns of abuse, harm and neglect.

3.2. The Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board provides a comprehensive guide for our employees with guidance when making referrals. Click here to see the Safeguarding Children Board's threshold tool.

4. Equality and Diversity

4.1. In accordance with our Equality and Diversity Policy we will ensure that this policy is applied fairly and we do not discriminate against children and young people under 18, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partner status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation. To this aim we will complete an Equality Impact Assessment and monitor the application of the policy and procedures.

4.2. No child or group of children will be treated any less favourably than others in being able to access effective services that meet their particular needs. This applies to the process of identification of need and risk faced by the individual child and the process of assessment.

5. Value for Money

5.1. The Trust’s primary objective within this Policy is to set out its commitment to safeguarding children and young people.

5.2. The Trust through the implementation of the Safeguarding Children and Young People’s Procedure links with key partners to ensure all cases are managed effectively and efficiently.

6. Consultation

6.1. We have consulted the appropriate local authority Safeguarding Adults Teams, (Buckinghamshire County Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Northamptonshire County Council and Hertfordshire County Council) the Trust’s Senior Managers’ Policy Group and Residents Forum. Whilst initial comments have been addressed it is possible that further comments will be forthcoming and any material changes will be reported back to the Board.

7. How the Policy will be Implemented

7.1. The Trust’s Board through the Chief Executive has overall responsibility for this Policy, its development, review and monitoring. The Head of Community Services has overall responsibility for the implementation of this policy.

7.2. All employees who work with adults have responsibility for the implementation of the policy in their day to day work.

8. Monitoring the policy

8.1 The Board has overall responsibility in terms of challenging and monitoring our safeguarding practice as well as ensuring we are achieving our objectives and responsibilities in this area.

8.2 We will monitor the Policy to ensure it delivers the expected outcomes. Periodic case reviews are typical of the monitoring systems in use. We will also produce an annual safeguarding report for the Board.

9. Period of review

9.1. We will review this policy when an organisational need arises. Typically we will review policies on a three year cycle. Our review programme is driven by service improvement initiatives, changes to legislation, regulation, best practice or as a result of feedback from key stakeholders.

10. Key Legal / Regulatory References and Linked Policies

10.1 There are a number of linked policies and procedures as well as key legal regulatory references which link closely to this policy. These are:

  • Children Act 1989 and 2004
  • Data Protection Act 2018
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • Anti Social Behaviour Policy
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018
  • Information Sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers 2015.
  • Safeguarding Adults Policy
  • Domestic Abuse Policy
  • Hate Crime and Harassment Policy
  • Access and Customer Care Policy
  • Disclosure and Barring Service Policy 2012
  • Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 – section 5b
  • Equality and Diversity Policy
  • Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement 2018
Contact and publication details
Author Mark Frayne-Johnson
Job title Tenancy Services Manager
Email Mark.Frayne-Johnson@vaht.co.uk
Phone 01296 732612
Publication Public