Safeguarding

Here at West Norwich Helping Hands our volunteers of varying roles are proficient in their ability to uphold high standard of safeguarding. We as a community group also aim to be transparent with how we engage with the public.

Please click on a link below to find the relevant information for you that is stated on our safeguarding policies.

Statement of Purpose 

The introduction of this ‘Child safeguarding policy and procedures document’ should highlight the fact that West Norwich Helping Hands is determined to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect from harm, those children and young people who participate in activities within the jurisdiction within which West Norwich Helping Hands operates.

This policy establishes the West Norwich Helping Hands position, role and responsibilities and clarifies what is expected from everybody involved within the project. It very clearly highlights the importance placed by group name in the protection of children and young people. 

Every child and young person who participates in the activities of the project should be able to participate in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from abuse. This is the responsibility of every adult involved in this organisation. We recognise however, that child abuse is a very emotive and difficult subject. It is important to understand the feelings involved but not to allow them to interfere with our judgement about any action to be taken. 

West Norwich Helping Hands recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional abuse and neglect. It is determined to meet its obligation to ensure that West Norwich Helping Hands provides opportunities for children and young people to do so, with the highest possible standard of care.

Definitions of abuse and neglect can be viewed in the Appendix at the bottom of this policy. 

 

Aims:

West Norwich Helping Hands will ensure that:- 

  • the welfare of the child is paramount 
  • all children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity, have the right to protection from abuse 
  • all suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately 
  • all members, volunteers and staff have a responsibility to report concerns to the designated safeguarding officer. 

 

Key principles 

West Norwich Helping Hands will take responsibility for:

  • respecting and promoting the rights, wishes and feelings of children and young people 
  • train and supervise all volunteers to adopt best practice to safeguard and protect children and young people from abuse 
  • abide by the appropriate codes of conduct and the Child Safeguarding Policies and Procedures outlined within this document 
  • respond to any allegations appropriately 
  • review the policy annually. 

A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).

 

Room hire policy

It is important that groups using the centre demonstrate good safeguarding practice.  Therefore hire of rooms to user groups that may work with or include children, young people and/or vulnerable adults will be asked to supply an appropriate safeguarding policy and evidence of satisfactory Disclosure & Barring service (DBS) checks for key members.

Promoting good practice 

Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important volunteers understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with their judgement about the appropriate action to take. 

There may be some people in the organisation who will have regular contact with children and young people and provide an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported to the organisation’s designated child safeguarding officer and the guidelines in this policy should be followed.

 

Good practice means: 

  •  always working in an open environment, where possible, avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication 
  •  treating all young people equally with respect and dignity
  • always putting the welfare of each child or young person first. 
  • maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with service users (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child) 
  • building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children to share in decision making 
  • keeping up to date with training, qualifications and insurance. 
  • involving children/young people/ parents/carers wherever possible. 
  • recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people, including any special educational needs or learning disabilities
  • securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and or other medical treatment 
  • keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given 
  • requesting written parental consent if club officials are required to transport young people in their cars. 
  • As an organisation using the DBS to assess volunteers’ suitability for positions of trust, West Norwich Helping Hands complies fully with the DBS Code of Practice and undertakes to treat all fairly.  It undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a Disclosure on the basis of a conviction or any other information revealed.

The committee will endeavour to ensure all volunteers follow the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Children Board and take account of guidance issued by the Department for Education and Skills to:

  • ensure we have a designated child safeguarding officer who has received appropriate training and support for this role.
  • ensure every member and volunteer knows the name of the designated child safeguarding officer and their role.
  • ensure all staff and volunteers understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns to the designated child safeguarding officer.
  • keep written records of concerns about children, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately.
  • ensure all records are kept securely and in a locked location.
  • develop and then follow procedures where an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer.

 

The procedure – what you should do if a young person reports abuse to you: 

If someone discloses that they are being abused, then upon receiving the information you should: 

  • react calmly 
  • reassure the child that they were right to tell and that they are not to blame and take what the child says seriously 
  • keep questions to an absolute minimum to ensure a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said. Don’t ask about explicit details 
  • reassure but do not promise confidentiality, which might not be feasible in the light of subsequent developments 
  • inform the child/young person what you will do next 
  • make a full and written record of what has been said / heard as soon as possible and don’t delay in passing on the information.
  • talk to your designated officer as soon as possible


The report will include the following: 

  • the child’s name, age and date of birth 
  • the child’s home address and telephone number 
  • whether or not the person making the report is expressing their own concerns of those of someone else. 
  • the nature of the allegation, including dates, times and special factors and other relevant information.  Include quotes where relevant.
  • make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay 
  • a description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Also any indirect signs, such as 
  • behavioural changes 
  • details of witnesses to the incidents 

What West Norwich Helping Hands will do next: 

It is not our responsibility to decide whether abuse has taken place or not, however we will pass on the information to the appropriate authority; the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0344 800 8020.  Partner members of the MASH have a statutory duty under The Children Act 1989 to ensure the welfare of a child is paramount. When a child protection referral is made, they have a legal responsibility to investigate and all agencies have a duty to co-operate with those investigations. This may involve talking to the child and their family, and gathering information from other people who know the child. Enquiries may be carried out jointly with the police. Concerns about children must not be taken lightly.

When appropriate to report an incident to MASH, calmly explain what you have to do and whom you have to tell to the involved child or young person, or the person informing of the abuse.  Ensure that they are kept informed about what will happen next, so they can be reassured about what to expect.  

If a disclosure is to be made, you will need to decide if it is to be made by you or the designated child safeguarding officer.   Ensure that the child or young person subject to the alleged abuse is safe and supported before proceeding with any other action.   Where a child or young person is at risk of immediate harm, immediate action should be taken to protect the child or young person by calling the police on 999.  

A direct call to the police on the non-urgent number 101 is appropriate if the child or young person wishes to talk to the police at that time, and/or there is evidence to preserve and/or the alleged perpetrator of the offence may return before you can act to protect the child or young person.

The protection of children is paramount and if we have any concerns about a child being abused or neglected we will contact the (Group name) designated child safeguarding officer.

West Norwich Helping Hands is committed to equality within both our community centre and our local neighbourhood; eliminating all forms of discrimination through its own work and in accordance and compliance to the Equalities Act 2010.   

We promote accessible, fair services and celebrate the diversity and contribution different groups make to create a vibrant centre. This is about making sure we and the groups using our community centre do not discriminate against someone because of perceived difference. It also means to remove barriers to participation and accessibility for all members of the community.

The responsibility for ensuring equality rests ultimately with the committee of West Norwich Helping Hands. However volunteers, staff and committee members are all responsible for the implementation of the policy, its observance, monitoring it on a day-to-day basis.

West Norwich Helping Hands will ensure that no group, individual, volunteer or employee is directly or indirectly discriminated against or harassed on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or gender, sexual orientation,  or through pregnancy and maternity, marriage or civil partnership. 

West Norwich Helping Hands understands that discrimination can be classed as any of the following:

Direct discrimination: Being treated less favourably than someone else due to a perceived difference.

Indirect discrimination: The way something is done means you are treated less favourably than someone else due to a perceived difference.

Discrimination arising from a disability: Where the discrimination is as a result of the disability

Perception discrimination: Being treated less favourably than someone else because of a perceived difference, regardless of whether it is true.

Discrimination by association: Being treated less favourably than others because of your association with someone with a protected characteristic (which protects carers).

Victimisation: Being treated badly when making a complaint or taking out a grievance in relation to the Equalities Act.

Harassment: Unwanted conduct relating to a protected characteristic.

As a result we will:

  • treat each other with dignity and respect
  • make every reasonable effort for our services to be accessible and open to everyone
  • challenge discrimination and harassment, and promote positive attitudes to equality
  • promote good relations between community groups
  • support our employees and volunteers to access appropriate training
  • ensure that any activities, policies or procedures are inclusive and do not put individuals or groups at a disadvantage.
  • monitor our services and ask for feedback regularly
  • promote good relations between community groups 
  • support people who feel they have been harassed or discriminated against
  • not victimise or treat a person differently because they have made a complaint or are supporting someone who has made a complaint.
  • take appropriate action where evidence of discrimination or harassment has been found,.

All volunteers, employees and users will be made aware of this policy and their responsibility to uphold it.  Should you wish to make a complaint you can contact the designated equality officer on the details below. Alternatively you can write to the community centre. 

 

Recognising that passive policies will not achieve change, West Norwich Helping Hands will, through regular monitoring of policies and practice, take active steps to combat discrimination.