Health, Safety & Welfare
Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
“Somerset Equus believe that safeguarding children and young people is a responsibility everyone holds. We strive to ensure that Somerset Equus provides a supportive, nurturing environment where children and young people can feel safe to build positive relationships which encourage resilience, self-regulation and self-reflection. Where, also, best practice is entrenched in our ethos ensuring child protection and safeguarding issues are dealt with swiftly, effectively and always with the best interests of the child at the fore.”
Somerset Equus is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people. Safeguarding, in addition to Child Protection, includes other issues such as health and safety, sexual health and healthy relationships, anti-bullying/on-line bullying, medical provision and drugs and substance misuse.
Whilst we strive to minimise risk, we are fully aware that child protection risk cannot be eliminated.
Our policy applies to all staff, including volunteers and is available via the website or on request. The policy comprises of the following elements
- Establishing a positive, supportive, secure environment in which children and young people can achieve and develop, together with an ethos, which promotes, in all children and young people, a sense of being valued.
- Ensuring we practise safer recruitment in checking the suitability of all staff and volunteers who work at Somerset Equus.
- Raising awareness of child protection issues and equipping children with the skills needed to keep themselves safe through the content of their sessions.
- Developing and implementing procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse.
- Supporting children and young people who have been abused in accordance with his/her agreed child protection plan.
In the event of a disclosure to Somerset Equus staff by a child or young person the referrer will be notified and guidance will be sought from specialist services where appropriate. Somerset Equus agree to work alongside any recommendations from those specialist services where possible.
If we suspect that a child is at risk of abuse including sexual exploitation Somerset Equus will inform the referrer, contact Somerset Direct and seek guidance. Somerset Equus agree to work alongside any recommendations made where possible.
If an allegation is made by a child or young person to a member of Somerset Equus staff concerning another professional, Somerset Equus will first contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and follow guidance as appropriate, we will then contact the referrer and / or their line manager to inform of any actions recommended by the LADO.
If Somerset Equus staff witness any incident or behaviour that could be deemed as abusive or as a safeguarding concern, we will address any actions that need immediate attention. Somerset Equus will inform the referrer, their line manager and specialist services as appropriate. Somerset Equus agree to work alongside any recommendations made where possible.
Should any allegations be made to another professional/organisation by a child or young person against Somerset Equus staff or its directors, Somerset Equus will keep detailed records and share this information as and when requested with other services. We will work alongside other services including the LADO and police, if appropriate, until a conclusion is reached. Somerset Equus with then act on recommendations from those specialist services including the LADO and police.
In the event of an allegation being made by a child or young person against Somerset Equus staff or its directors an independent body will be appointed to conduct any investigations necessary.
If a child protection or safeguarding concern is raised by a child or young person concerning another child or young person, Somerset Equus will contact Somerset Direct to report concerns or specialist services as appropriate. In this instance, Somerset Equus will endeavour to reassure and inform the child or young person of actions taken by us.
Wherever possible, safe and appropriate, Somerset Equus will keep in contact with parents or carers and inform them of any disclosures made or actions taken.
All members of the Somerset Equus staff should be alert to the possible signs of abuse of a child or young person. Abuse may take several forms, which are not mutually exclusive:
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.
Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Emotional abuse is harder to detect and may result from conveying to a child they are worthless, teasing or humiliation, the denial of love and affection, interests or friendships. It may include developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children including interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability or over protection and the limitation of opportunities to explore and learn.
Emotional abuse can include seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another person, bullying (including on-line bullying) and the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, but it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, or non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, such as the provision of adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment),protection from physical and emotional harm or danger, adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers),and access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
There will be other circumstances, not amounting to abuse, which give cause for serious concern about the welfare of children and young people. Questions of the young person being in moral danger, being uncared for, engaging in antisocial or inappropriate behaviour and so on should be referred to Somerset Direct or the child or young person’s lead professional.