Hackberry Safeguarding Policy





Hackberry Safeguarding Policy Created July 2019 to be reviewed yearly
Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
 
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Mrs S Trevethan
07814395378
Designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead
Mrs C Freer
07814395378
Review Date
 
September 2020
 
Introduction
 
Hackberry recognises its responsibilities for safeguarding, child protection and promoting the welfare of children. This policy applies to all staff, visitors and parents. This policy has been developed in accordance with the requirements identified in ‘Keeping Child Safe in Education 2019’.
 
This includes guidance on:
 
child sexual exploitation (CSE)
domestic violence and so called honour based violence
female genital mutilation (FGM)
forced marriage (FM)
anti-radicalisation and the Prevent strategy
child missing in education (CME)
sexual violence and sexual harassment between children (May 2018)
criminal exploitation of children (Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: county lines (Home Office, 2017)
 
Hackberry will fulfil its local and national responsibilities and have due regard to the following documents:-
 
DfE ‘Keeping Child Safe in Education’, Sept 2019
2. DfE ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ 2018 (Please see appendix 10 for other relevant documents)
 
Prevention
 
Children feel secure in a safe environment in which they can learn and develop in a culture of vigilance.
Children know that there are adults in Hackberry whom they can approach if worried or in difficulty.
Children develop realistic attitudes to their responsibilities in adult life and are taught the skills needed to keep themselves safe; including understanding and recognition of healthy/unhealthy relationships and support available.
Children are supported in recognising and managing risks in different situations, including on the internet, being able to judge what kind of physical contact is acceptable and unacceptable, recognising when pressure from others, including people they know, threatens their personal safety and well-being and supporting them in developing effective ways of resisting pressure.
All adults feel comfortable and supported to draw safeguarding issues to the attention of the Designated Safeguarding Lead and are able to pose safeguarding questions with ‘respectful uncertainty’ as part of their shared responsibility to safeguard children ‘Think the unthinkable’ Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019.
There is a proactive approach to substance misuse. Incidents of drugs and substance misuse are recorded.
All children have a right to be protected, respected, valued and to be heard. This will be achieved by:
The identification of children at risk of suffering significant harm, exploitation or extremism
Reducing the potential risks pupils face of being exposed to violence, extremism, exploitation, or victimisation
Raising awareness of all staff through effective communication and training
The referral of all disclosures to the appropriate agencies
Addressing concerns at the earliest possible stage to Hackberry and support Early Help procedures
Working in partnership with the Local Safeguarding Child Board (LSCB)
 
1.1 Policy Statement
 
We recognise that because of the day to day contact with childen, staff are well placed to observe the outward signs of abuse, neglect, victimisation and exploitation. We will therefore:
 
Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are listened to
Ensure children know that there are adults in Hackberry whom they can approach if they are worried
 
We will follow the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Child Board (LSCB) and guidance issued by the Department for Education to:
 
Ensure we have a nominated Team member responsible for Safeguarding.
Ensure every member of staff (including temporary, supply and volunteers) and members of the governing body; know the name and understand the role of the designated senior person responsible for Safeguarding.
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 senior person responsible for Safeguarding.
Ensure that parents have an understanding of the responsibility placed on the provision staff for Safeguarding by setting out their obligations by updating and publishing our policy on the Hackberry website annually.
Notify the allocated social worker and school immediately if there is an unexpected absence of a pupil who is subject to a child protection plan.
Develop effective links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with their enquiries regarding child protection matters.
Keep records of concerns about children and notify the child’s school, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately.
Ensure all records are kept securely; separate from the main pupil file, and in locked locations.
Follow procedures where an allegation is made against a member of Hackberry staff or volunteer.
Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed.
Ensure we support schools with Early Help processes to support children who need additional support
Hackberry recognises that children who are abused or witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self-worth. They may feel helplessness, humiliation and some sense of blame. Their behaviour may be challenging and defiant or they may be withdrawn. We will endeavour to support the pupil through:
The content of the curriculum.
Our ethos.
Our behaviour policy, which is aimed at supporting vulnerable pupils.
Ensuring that the pupil knows that some behaviour is unacceptable, but they are valued and not to be blamed for any abuse which has occurred.
Liaison with the child’s school and other agencies that support the pupil such as social services, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), Education Welfare Service and Educational Psychology Service.
We will seek information on pupils who have been referred from their school.
We recognise that child with SEN and disabilities are more likely to be abused or neglected and we will monitor these young people to keep them safe.
 
Related Issues
 
Safeguarding covers more than the contribution made to child protection in relation to individual young people. It also encompasses issues such as pupil health and safety, bullying and a range of other issues. For example, arrangements for meeting the medical needs of children, providing first aid, building security, drugs and substance misuse, positive behaviour, etc. There may also be other safeguarding issues that are specific to the local area or population that need to be identified in partnership with the Local Authority e.g. gang membership and the safeguarding of vulnerable adults. Hackberry has a duty to ensure that safeguarding permeates all activities and functions. This policy therefore complements and supports a range of other safeguarding issues
 
Bullying including online safety
Child missing education
Child missing from home or care
Child sexual exploitation (CSE)
Domestic violence
Drugs
Fabricated or induced illness
Faith abuse
Female genital mutilation (FGM)
Forced marriage
So called honour based violence
Gangs and youth violence
Gender based violence/violence against women and girls (VAWG)
Hate
Mental health
Missing child and adult strategy
Private fostering
Preventing radicalisation
Relationship abuse
Sexting
Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment between children (May 2018)
Trafficking
 
1.2 Responsibilities: Hackberry Directors
 
 
1.2.1 Hackberry will oversee and keep under review Hackberry’s Child Protection and Safeguarding policy and ensure they:
 
Have robust Safeguarding procedures in place.
Operate safer recruitment procedures and ensures appropriate checks are carried out on new staff and adults working on Hackberry site. This includes checking the Single Central Record (SCR).
Have procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against any member of staff or adult on site.
Appointed member of staff from Hackberry Directors to the role of Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Always have cover for the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Provide a broad and balanced curriculum with children being taught about safeguarding, including on-line, through teaching and learning opportunities.
Have appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place to proactively monitor internet use particularly for vulnerable pupils.
Take steps to remedy any deficiencies or weaknesses with regard to safeguarding arrangements.
Carry out an annual review of the Safeguarding policy and procedures.
Carry out an Annual Safeguarding Audit.
Ensure that Hackberry contributes to inter-agency working in line with the statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018.
Comply with its obligations under section 14B of the Child’s Act 2004 to supply the LSCB with information to fulfil its functions.
Ensure that at least one person on any appointment panel has undertaken safer recruitment training.
Hackberry should utilise the experience and expertise of their staff when shaping safeguarding policies.
 
1.2.2 All adults working at Hackberry (including visiting staff, volunteers and pupils on placement) are required to report instances of actual or suspected child abuse or neglect (as defined in the latest DfE ‘Keeping Child Safe’ 2019 guidance) to the Designated Safeguarding Lead with responsibility for child protection.
 
The Deputy Designated Lead for Safeguarding is Mrs C Freer.
 
1.2.3 Mrs S Trevethan will:
 
Be responsible for the implementation of the policy and procedures and ensuring that the outcomes are monitored.
Ensure that all staff, parents and children are aware of the policy and procedures in place.
Select/appoint two Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) - the DSL and Deputy DSL. The DSL needs to have the flexibility to act immediately on a referral that requires an urgent response and to be able to give time to meetings.
Ensure that details of the DSL and Deputy DSL are clearly displayed in staff areas and any staff handbook.
Determine an appropriate training programme in consultation with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) reflecting the requirements of Keeping Child Safe in Education 2019.
 
1.2.4 The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is responsible for:
 
Ensuring that all cases of suspected or actual concerns associated with child protection are referred to the appropriate agencies, child’s school and parent/carer.
DSL will have training on Safeguarding and Child protection every 2 years and at least annual updates.
Being aware of the latest national and local guidance and requirements and keeping the staff informed as appropriate.
Ensuring that effective communication and liaison takes place between Hackberry and the child’s school, and any other relevant agencies, where there is a safeguarding concern in relation to a child.
Ensuring that all staff have an understanding of child abuse, neglect and exploitation and their main indicators. This will include training for all staff at least annually.
Dealing with allegations of abuse in accordance with local procedures.
Ensuring that appropriate training for staff is organised according to the agreed programme. This training must now be ‘at least annually’ (with regular updates as necessary).
Ensuring that adequate reporting and recording systems are in place.
 
The Designated and Deputy Safeguarding Lead will meet at the end of each day to discuss any safeguarding concerns which will be reported to an appropriate agency and the school if required.
 
1.2.5 All staff, including supply teachers and other visiting staff (e.g. School nurses) and those supporting educational visits will be informed of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSLs) name, the named Deputy, and Hackberry’s policy for the protection of children:
 
During their first induction to Hackberry.
Staff training or briefing meetings
 
All staff need to be alert to the signs of harm and abuse. They should report any concerns if not immediately, as soon as possible, to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or named deputy. If in any doubt, staff should consult with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).
 
All staff must have read and understood, Staff code of Conduct, Safeguarding and Child Protection policy, Hackberry Behaviour policy and school procedure for Child Missing Education
   
2. Allegations of Abuse
 
2.1 When a member of staff suspects that any child may have been subject to abuse, or a child has suggested that abuse has taken place either to themselves or another child, the allegation must be reported immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or the Deputy DSL, if the DSL is off site.- unless it relates to these people
 
2.2 The DSL (or Deputy DSL if the DSL is off site) will ensure the allegation is acted on within the Hackberry day (including extended hours).
 
2.3 The DSL will ensure that the Deputy DSL are informed of all allegations and how they are dealt with.
 
2.4 The DSL will deal with the allegation in accordance with locally agreed LSCB procedures.
 
2.5 The DSL will be best placed to carry out a risk assessment of the issue and determine the escalation and timescales for dealing with the allegation.
 
3. Allegations against Staff - Reporting Procedures
 
3.1 We will manage cases of allegations that might indicate a person would pose a risk of harm if they continue to work in regular or close contact with children in their present position, or in any capacity. It will be used in respect of all cases in which it is alleged that a teacher or member of staff (including volunteers) has:
 
Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he/she is unsuitable to work with children.
 
We will follow guidance in Keeping Children Safe in education 2019 and LSCB guidance.
 
3.2 We have a duty of care to our employees. We will ensure we provide effective support for anyone facing an allegation and provide the employee with a named contact if they are suspended. It is essential that any allegation of abuse made against a member of staff or volunteer in Hackberry is dealt with very quickly, in a fair and consistent way that provides effective protection for the child and at the same time supports the person who is subject to the allegation.
 
3.3 The procedures for dealing with allegations will be applied with common sense and judgement. Many cases may well either not meet the criteria set out above, or may do so without warranting consideration of either a police investigation or enquiries by local authorities child’s services. In these cases we will link to the LSCB procedures.
 
To access the full procedures visit lscb website.
 
4. Training
 
Hackberry also has a commitment to training annually in house and to multi agency training run through the LSCB or Local Authority.
 
Time will be given to enable this commitment to be met.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and Deputy DSL will receive relevant training at least every two years with updates at least annually.
All staff volunteers new to the Hackberry will be given appropriate Safeguarding training as part of their induction programme to the provision.
All Hackberry staff will undertake training annually as organised by the DSL.
Newly recruited staff have safeguarding and child protection training as part of their induction and will receive specific training including being made aware of local risk factors for extremism.
Appropriate members of staff are required to complete Safer Recruitment Training Recruitment’.
Online training can be obtained from the NSPCC http://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-youcan-do/get-expert-training/safer-recruitment-education-course or through the LSCB website.
 
5. Safe Staff Recruitment
It is vital that schools and colleges create a culture of safe recruitment and, as part of that, adopt recruitment procedures that help deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children. Proprietors must act reasonably in making decisions about the suitability of the prospective employee based on checks and evidence including: criminal record checks (DBS checks), barred list checks and prohibition checks together with references and interview information.
The level of DBS certificate required, and whether a prohibition check is required, will depend on the role and duties of an applicant to work in a school or college, as outlined in KCSIE 2019.
For most appointments, an enhanced DBS certificate, which includes barred list information, will be required as the majority of staff will be engaging in regulated activity. In summary, a person will be considered to be engaging in regulated activity if as a result of their work they:
 
• will be responsible, on a regular basis in Hackberry, for teaching, training instructing, caring for or supervising children; or
• will carry out paid, or unsupervised unpaid, work regularly in Hackberry where that work provides an opportunity for contact with children; or
• engage in intimate or personal care or overnight activity, even if this happens only once.
 
Regulated activity
The full legal definition of regulated activity is set out in Schedule 4 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
Regulated activity includes:
 
a) Teaching, training, instructing, caring for (see (c) below) or supervising child if the person is unsupervised, or providing advice or guidance on well-being, or driving a vehicle only for children,
b) Work for a limited range of establishments (known as ‘specified places’, which include schools and colleges), with the opportunity for contact with child, but not including work done by supervised volunteers;
c) Relevant personal care, or health care provided by or provided under the supervision of a health care professional:
• personal care includes helping a child, for reasons of age, illness or disability, with eating or drinking, or in connection with toileting, washing, bathing and dressing;
• healthcare means care for children provided by, or under the direction or supervision of, a regulated health care professional.
 
Please refer to the Safer Recruitment Specific Guidance and KCSIE 2019
 
6. Safeguarding Children who are Vulnerable to Extremism; the Prevent Duty
 
Hackberry follow statutory guidance as set out in Appendix six on the responsibility to dispense the Prevent Duty.
 
Through our ethos, values and behaviour policy, Hackberry provides a platform to ensure children and young people are given the support to respect themselves and others, and understand their role as a local and global citizen, being aware of the potential issues they face.
 
6.1 We are aware there have been several occasions both locally and nationally in which extremist groups have attempted to radicalise vulnerable childrenn and young people, to hold extreme views including views justifying political, religious, sexist or racist violence, or to steer them into a rigid and narrow ideology that is intolerant of diversity and leaves them vulnerable to future radicalisation.
 
The Prevent strategy aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Whilst it remains rare for children and young people to become involved in terrorist activity, we recognise young people from an early age can be exposed to terrorist & extremist influences or prejudiced views. As with other forms of safeguarding strategies, early intervention is always preferable.
 
We value inclusion, tolerance, the freedom of speech and the expression of beliefs/ideology as fundamental rights underpinning healthy communities in which Hackberry is based. Both pupils and staff have the right to speak freely and voice their opinions. However, freedom comes with responsibility. Free speech that is designed to manipulate the vulnerable or that leads to violence and harm of others, goes against the moral principles in which freedom of speech is valued. Free speech is subject to treating others with respect, understanding differences, equality, human rights, community safety and community cohesion.
 
Hackberry is committed to working with the local authority and other local partners, families and communities to play a key role in ensuring young people and our communities are safe from the threat of terrorism.
 
Definitions of radicalisation and extremism, and indicators of vulnerability to radicalisation are in Appendix 6 under Prevent Duty Guidance from the DfE.
 
We seek to protect children and young people against the messages of all extremism including, but not restricted to, those linked to Daesh (ISIS), Far Right/White Supremacist ideology, Irish Nationalist and Loyalist paramilitary groups and extremist Animal Rights movements.
 
6.2 Risk Reduction
 
The Designated Safeguarding Lead will assess the level of risk within Hackberry and put actions in place to reduce that risk. Actions will include, risk assessment which will include the use of our premises by external agencies, integration of pupils by gender and SEND, anti-bullying policy and other issues specific to the Hackberry profile, community and ethos.
 
There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to a terrorist/radical ideology. As with managing other safeguarding risks, all staff are alert to changes in the child’s behaviour which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. Children at risk of radicalisation may display different signs or seek to hide their views. Staff are advised to use their professional judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act proportionately.
 
Hackberry recognises that the Prevent duty does not require unnecessary intrusion into family life but, as with any other safeguarding risk, they must take action when they observe behaviour of concern. Some of the indicators staff look out for include:
 
Vulnerability: identity crisis, personal crisis, migration, unmet aspirations and history of criminality
Access to extremist influences: through friendship groups, internet activity, activities abroad i.e. military camps, child vocalising support of illegal or extremist/militant groups
Experiences and influences: social rejection, personal impact from civil unrest and wide spread media coverage of international events, change in appearance and behaviour, family conflict over religious reviews, verbal or written evidence of support for terrorist activities
Travel: pattern of travel, regular extended travel, evidence of falsifying identity documents, consideration of unexplained absences
Social factors: disadvantaged background, lack of empathy and/or affinity with others, severe learning difficulties or mental health, is the child a foreign national or refugee, experience of trauma or sectarian conflict, extremist views of a significant other.
 
6.3 Response
 
Hackberry will identify a Prevent Single Point of Contact (SPOC) who will be the lead within Hackberry for safeguarding in relation to protecting individuals from radicalisation and involvement in terrorism: this will normally be the Designated Safeguarding Lead. The responsibilities of the SPOC are described in Appendix 8.
 
When any member of staff has concerns that a pupil may be at risk of radicalisation or involvement in terrorism, they should speak with the SPOC/Designated Safeguarding Lead and record the concerns.
 
If there is a concern that a young person is being radicalised or at risk of being drawn into terrorism refer to the school and Children’s Services as with any other safeguarding concern.
 
7. Safeguarding Pupils who are Vulnerable to Exploitation, Child Sexual Exploitation, Forced Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, or Trafficking
 
Through our ethos, values and behaviour policy, Hackberry provides a platform to ensure children and young people are given the support to respect themselves and others, and understand their role as a local and global citizen, being aware of the potential issues they face.
 
The ethos of healthy open relationships, inclusion and treating everyone equally permeates all we do. We place a strong emphasis on our values such as self-respect, building a sense of personal identity, tolerance and the value of a human life. We work hard to broaden our children’s experience, to prepare them for life and work in contemporary Britain. We teach them to respect and value the diversity around them as well as understanding how to make safe, well-considered decisions through our approach.
 
We are equipping our children and pupils to consider their responsibilities and see themselves as active participants and champions of the transformation of attitudes and therefore communities. Hackberry keeps itself up to date on the latest advice and guidance provided to assist in addressing specific vulnerabilities and forms of exploitation and access support, advice and resources from the LSCB
 
What is human trafficking?
Healthy relationships and grooming
Online safety
Staff training on child trafficking
Vulnerable communities
 
Through use of these resources and others, our staff are supported to recognise warning signs and symptoms in relation to specific issues.
 
Our staff are supported to talk to families about sensitive concerns in relation to their child and to find ways to address them together wherever possible.
 
Our Designated Safeguarding Lead knows where to seek and get advice as necessary from the Local Authority and national specialist organisations. Staff are available for advice and links to relevant support with dealing with a potential trafficking situation if needed. https://www.stopthetraffik.org/
 
Additional guidance on Forced Marriage can be found in Appendix 3
 
Additional guidance on FGM can be found in Appendix 4
 
Specific guidance on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) can be found in Appendix 5
 
7.1 Procedure for Childs Identified as being ‘at risk’
 
Where risk factors are present but there is no evidence of a particular risk then our DSL/SPOC advises us on preventative work that can be done within Hackberry to engage the child into mainstream activities and social groups. The DSL may well be the person who talks to and has conversations with the child’s family, sharing Hackberry’s concern about the young person’s vulnerability and how the family, Hackberry and school can work together to reduce the risk.
 
In this situation, depending on how worried we are and what we agree with the parent and the young person (as far as possible):
 
The DSL/SPOC can decide to notify the Single Access Point of the decision so that a strategic overview can be maintained and any themes or common factors can be recognised; and
The School will review the situation after taking appropriate action to address the concerns.
 
The DSL/SPOC will also offer and seek advice about undertaking an early help assessment with the child’s school and/or making a referral to Social Services by contacting the Single Access Point (SAP). If the concerns about the child are significant and meet the additional/complex needs criteria of the Local Authority, he/she will be referred to the (SAP). This includes concerns about a child/young person who is affected by the behaviour of a parent or other adult in their household.
 
All staff are aware that if they discover (through disclosure by the victim) or that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18, they are under a legal obligation to personally report to the police a disclosure that FGM has been carried out as well as informing the DSL immediately.
 
  8. Child Missing in Education
 
We believe all children, regardless of their circumstances or background are entitled to an education which is suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs or disability.
 
8.1 We operate a stringent attendance tracking system. The tracking and use of effective attendance management strategies enables us to ensure every child is accounted for.
 
8.2 We undertake to support early intervention for emerging needs with the use of a Hackberry daily report and report on such children on a timely basis to the school, including those children and young people who are not receiving a full time education within Hackberry.
 
8.3 We recognises that some children seeking leave of absence, are vulnerable to risk of abuse, neglect or travelling to conflict zones, or at risk of FGM or forced marriage. The DSL will, as soon as a concern is established, alert the Local Authority through an immediate referral to the Duty team of Children’s Social Care and the school.
 
8.4 All staff are alert to these triggers and Hackberry works in partnership with the Local Authority to ensure localised risks are particularly taken note of and shared with all staff. Staff who have pastoral responsibility undergo training on attendance and safeguarding issues on a regular basis.
 
8.6 Child absence will be followed up on a daily basis as a matter of priority and the school will be informed. To facilitate contact from Hackberry, parents/carers must ensure we have at least two contact numbers for their child.
 
Through the Child Missing in Education procedures, the child’s school and Hackberry has a statutory duty to identify children who are not registered and are not receiving a suitable education. The overall aim is for all children and young people in Lincolnshire to have the opportunity to fulfil their potential through access to education.
 
That all pupils who go missing from schools in the Lincolnshire area and move to other areas are speedily located and child are adequately safeguarded in the process.
All departments, services and agencies will work together and share information regarding children who may be missing education – this includes all schools/academies
Support is given to other local authorities to locate their own missing pupils
The local authority encourages all independent and non-maintained schools to notify them when children of compulsory school age leave their roll, and of their destination wherever possible.
 
The admissions register at Hackberry is kept up to date and times attended are updated daily.
 
9. E-Safety
 
Our Online Safety Policy can be found on our website. This policy sets out specific measures that ensure children in Hackberry are safe from terrorist or extremist material via online platforms alongside other measures to minimise risk to the welfare of children due to other safeguarding threats.
 
9.1 Sexting: responding to incidents and safeguarding young people What does this advice cover? This advice covers:
 
Responding to disclosures
Handling devices and imagery
Risk assessing situations
Involving other agencies, including escalation to the police and children’s social care
Recording incidents
Involving parents and the child’s school
Preventative education
 
More detailed information is available through reference to the UKCCIS guidance: Sexting in schools and colleges, responding to incidents, and safeguarding young people (2017)
Please refer to appendix 8 Peer on Peer abuse and Sexual violence and Sexual harassment between child.
 
9.2 Safer Use of Technology, Social Media, Personal Devices and Mobile Phones
 
There is a separate Online Safety Policy which covers the following:
 
Section 8 – Online Safety
Section 9 – Social Media
Section 10 – Personal Devices and Mobile Phones The policy can be found on the school website
 
10. Confidentiality and Record Keeping Based on guidance document: Information sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services (DfE, 2015)
 
10.1 Staff have the professional responsibility to share relevant information about the protection of children with the DSL and potentially external investigating agencies under the guidance of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).
 
10.2 If a child confides in a member of staff and requests that the information is kept secret, it is important that the member of staff tells the child sensitively that he/she has a responsibility to refer the matter to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) for the child's welfare. At the same time, the child should be reassured that the matter will be only be disclosed to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), who will then decide on appropriate action.
 
10.3 Accurate written notes will be kept of all incidents or Child Protection concerns relating to individual pupils. If a member of staff have a child protection concern, they should inform the DSL as soon as possible. These will be kept on the child’s Child Protection file.
 
10.4 Child Protection records must be kept secure and arrangements in Hackberry must comply with the Data Protection Policy. The DSL will ensure that all Child Protection information is kept separately from pupil records and stored securely, by encryption and/or password protecting electronic files, or ensuring that paper records are in a locked cabinet with restricted access. Information from child protection files will only be shared with relevant staff when it is necessary to do so and in a manner consistent with data protection legislation.
 
10.5 Upon receipt of any request regarding direct access to Hackberry documentation on a Child Protection file, the DSL will be informed and a decision taken on the appropriate way forward in accordance with the Data Protection Policy.
 
10.6 Any external individual or organisation contracted by Hackberry to work with children must report any child protection incidents or disclosures from children to the DSL at the earliest opportunity. Such bodies will, as part of their contractual arrangements, be required to work in accordance with the Hackberry child protection and safeguarding policy.
 
11. Working with Parents
 
Parents play an important role in protecting their child from abuse. Hackberry is required to consider the safety of the child and should a concern arise the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) will contact the DSL at school to seek advice prior to contacting parents;
Hackberry will work with the school and parents to support the needs of their child;
Hackberry aims to help parents understand that the School and Hackberry have a responsibility for the welfare of all children and has a duty to refer cases to the Local Authority in the interests of the child as appropriate.
 
12. Diversity
 
Peer on Peer abuse will not be tolerated or passed off as banter or part of growing up.
‘We will treat everyone fairly, celebrating difference and meeting different needs so that all members of our community are free to live, learn and enjoy’.
Tackling discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender identity (gender reassignment and transgender), pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex (gender) or sexual orientation.
 Advancing equality of opportunity.
Creating good relations between different groups (Please see Equality and Diversity Policy).
 
13. Monitoring and Review
 
a. The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) will monitor the working of this policy and will report as required.
 
b. The DSL will report on Safeguarding daily to the school.
 
c. Hackberry will actively evaluate the effectiveness of this policy by monitoring the staff’s understanding and application of the procedures within this policy as their overall duty to safeguard children and staff. Hackberry will undertake a yearly audit to assure that safeguarding systems and processes are working effectively.
 
Appendix 1
 
DfE Guidance and Safeguarding Children and Pupils - Staff Guidance
 
A. Types of children Abuse:
 
Child abuse exists where child have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused or severely neglected. Abuse of children is likely to be noticed by Hackberry, School staff and Health Workers or Education Welfare Officers. It is essential, therefore that all those whose work brings them into contact with children and their families know the signs of child abuse and are aware of the procedures that they must follow to safeguard the child.
 
Hackberry has the role of recognising and responding to potential indicators of abuse and neglect, all other action should be taken by those with statutory powers to help the child. Early contact and close liaison with such agencies is therefore regarded as essential.
 
In the event of an actual or suspected case of children abuse by adults, parents, teachers or any other adult, it is the responsibility of staff to report this to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) as soon as possible. The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is responsible for ensuring that children are identified and the school and appropriate agencies are involved. The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) may call on appropriate members of staff for reports. It is important that if staff overhear children discussing 'abuse' or 'neglect' that this information is relayed for investigation.
 
Staff leading School off-site visits, should provide a list of those children taking part to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) to ensure that they are made aware of all essential information relating to the children in their care.
 
A confidential register will be maintained of all those children known to be at risk.
 
B. Guidance for all Staff on Dealing with Disclosure / Suspected Abuse / Neglect
 
I. Dealing with disclosures of abuse:
 
Always listen carefully and quietly – do not press for any evidence at all.
Remain calm and reassuring – do not dismiss the disclosure – do not show distress or concern.
Do not refute the allegation.
Show that you care through open and reassuring facial and body language.
Do not interrogate or ask leading questions (it could later undermine a case). Use of the TED questions; Tell me, Explain, Describe are ok.
Ensure you take a written verbatim account of the child’s disclosure using the appropriate Disclosure Form.
 
II. At this point, take the following steps:
 
Explain to the child that the disclosure must be reported – emphasise your trust in them.
Do not promise to keep the allegation secret or that ‘everything will be alright’.
Reassure by telling the child that they have done the right thing in telling you, do not offer physical reassurance.
Do not admonish in any way e.g. ‘I wish you had told me sooner’.
Inform the DSL initially verbally.
Under no circumstances discuss the matter with any other person - if the allegations prove to be untrue, any such discussion would be deemed defamatory. Information to staff is on a ‘need to know’ basis at the discretion of the DSL.
If the child agrees, take them with you to the DSL.
With the DSL, prepare a detailed report itemising:
the information revealed by the child with absolutely no opinion.
actions taken by yourself, including when the suspicions were reported, to whom the suspicions were reported, and follow-up action taken within Hackberry.
date and sign any written record of events and action taken and keep confidential and secure.
you must keep, in absolute confidence, a copy of the report, as will the DSL.
The DSL keeps Child Protection records centrally and securely, and are not kept in the child’s file.
 All staff are under a duty to report all suspicions of abuse to the DSL.
 The DSL is responsible for passing on these concerns to Child’s Services.
 Accurate records are essential in the event of further investigations.
 
III. If you see or hear something that concerns you:
 
Don’t ignore it.
Write up on the Hackberry child protection sheet and seek advice immediately from your DSL
Don’t feel silly – if it worries you, someone else needs to know.
If it is something related to safeguarding, but not a child whose safety is immediately at risk – inform the child’s school.
If it is related to a child being at risk – see the DSL, or Deputy DSL immediately and definitely before the child goes home that day.
All staff may raise concerns directly with Children’s Services, if they feel an incident is not being dealt with appropriately, or they are unable to locate relevant staff.
Concerns about adults in the School should be made directly to a Director.
 
Child Protection Procedures – Points of Action
 
1. Discovery or Suspicion of children Abuse
 
Inform the DSL. The DSL will, in the appropriate manner and according to procedures, assess the situation.
 
2. The DSL will, if appropriate, take the following steps:
 
Where it is clear that a Child Protection Referral (significant harm) is needed, contact Social Services and the school without delay.
Where the DSL is not sure whether it is a Child Protection issue, or where the DSL needs to check the Child Protection register, they may seek advice from the single access point.
Follow agreed protocols which can be found on the LSCB website.
 
Appendix 2
 
Additional Information on Child Abuse Categories of Abuse
Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.
 
Physical Abuse
Physical abuse: a form of abuse which 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
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of children such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s development. It may involve conveying to the child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunity to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on the child. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploring or learning, or preventing children participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying) causing the child to frequently feel frightened or in danger, exploitation or corruption of the child. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
 
Sexual Abuse
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 include physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving a child in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging a child 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
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic or physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger, ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.
 
All staff and volunteers should be concerned about a child if he/she presents with indicators of possible significant harm. Training will be provided to all staff on the ‘signs of abuse’.
 
Signs of Abuse in Children
 The following non-specific signs may indicate something is wrong:
 
Significant change in behaviour.
• Extreme anger or sadness.
• Aggressive and attention-seeking behaviour.
Suspicious bruises with unsatisfactory explanations.
Lack of self-esteem.
Self-injury.
Depression.
Age inappropriate sexual behaviour.
Child Sexual Exploitation.
 
Risk Indicators
The factors described in this section are frequently found in cases of child abuse. Their presence is not proof that abuse has occurred, but:
 
must be regarded as indicators of the possibility of significant harm
justifies the need for careful assessment and discussion with designated/named/lead person, manager, (or in the absence of all those individuals, an experienced colleague)
may require consultation with and/or referral to the Single Access Point (SAP)
 
The absence of such indicators does not mean that abuse or neglect has not occurred. In an abusive relationship the child may:
 
appear frightened of the parent/s carer
act in a way that is inappropriate to her/his age and development (though full account needs to be taken of different patterns of development and different ethnic groups) The parent or carer may:
persistently avoid child health promotion services and treatment of the child’s episodic illnesses
have unrealistic expectations of the child frequently complain about/to the child and may fail to provide attention or praise (high criticism/low warmth environment)
be absent or misusing substances
persistently refuse to allow access on home visits
be involved in domestic abuse.
Staff should be aware of the potential risk to children when individuals, previously known or suspected to have abused children, move into the household.
 
Recognising Physical Abuse
 
The following are often regarded as indicators of concern:
 
An explanation which is inconsistent with an injury.
Several different explanations provided for an injury.
Unexplained delay in seeking treatment.
The parents/carers are uninterested or undisturbed by an accident or injury.
Parents are absent without good reason when their child is presented for treatment.
Repeated presentation of minor injuries (which may represent a “cry for help” and if ignored could lead to a more serious injury).
Family use of different doctors and A&E departments.
Reluctance to give information or mention previous injuries.
 
Bruising
Children can have accidental bruising, but the following must be considered as non-accidental unless there is evidence or an adequate explanation provided:
 
Any bruising to a pre-crawling or pre-walking baby.
Bruising in or around the mouth, particularly in small babies which may indicate force feeding.
Two simultaneous bruised eyes, without bruising to the forehead, (rarely accidental, though a single bruised eye can be accidental or abusive).
Repeated or multiple bruising on the head or on sites unlikely to be injured accidentally.
Variation in colour possibly indicating injuries caused at different times.
The outline of an object used e.g. belt marks, handprints or a hairbrush.
Bruising or tears around, or behind, the earlobe/s indicating injury by pulling or twisting.
Bruising around the face.
Grasp marks on small child.
Bruising on the arms, buttocks and thighs may be an indicator of sexual abuse.
 
Bite Marks
Marks can leave clear impressions of the teeth. Human bite marks are oval or crescent shaped. Those over 3cm in diameter are more likely to have been caused by an adult or older child. A medical opinion should be sought where there is any doubt over the origin of the bite.
 
Burns and Scalds It can be difficult to distinguish between accidental and non-accidental burns and scalds, and will always require experienced medical opinion. Any burn with a clear outline may be suspicious e.g.:
 
Circular burns from cigarettes (but may be friction burns if along the bony protuberance of the spine).
Linear burns from hot metal rods or electrical fire elements. Burns of uniform depth over a large area.
Scalds that have a line indicating immersion or poured liquid (a child getting into hot water of his/her own accord will struggle to get out and cause splash marks).
Old scars indicating previous burns/scalds which did not have appropriate treatment or adequate explanation.
Scalds to the buttocks of a small child, particularly in the absence of burns to the feet, are indicative of dipping into a hot liquid or bath.
 
Fractures
Fractures may cause pain, swelling and discolouration over a bone or joint. Non-mobile children rarely sustain fractures.
 
There are grounds for concern if:
 
the history provided is vague, non-existent or inconsistent with the fracture type
there are associated old fractures
medical attention is sought after a period of delay when the fracture has caused symptoms such as swelling, pain or loss of movement
there is an unexplained fracture in the first year of life
 
Scars
A large number of scars or scars of different sizes or ages, or on different parts of the body, may suggest abuse.
 
Recognising Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse may be difficult to recognise, as the signs are usually behavioural rather than physical. The manifestations of emotional abuse might also indicate the presence of other kinds of abuse.
 
The indicators of emotional abuse are often also associated with other forms of abuse. The following may be indicators of emotional abuse:
 
Developmental delay.
Abnormal attachment between a child and parent/carer e.g. anxious, indiscriminate or not attachment.
Indiscriminate attachment or failure to attach.
Aggressive behaviour towards others.
Scape-goated within the family.
Frozen watchfulness, particularly in pre-school child.
Low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
Withdrawn or seen as a “loner” – difficulty relating to others.
 
Recognising Signs of Sexual Abuse
Boys and girls of all ages may be sexually abused and are frequently scared to say anything due to guilt and/or fear. This is particularly difficult for children to talk about and full account should be taken of the cultural sensitivities of any individual child/family.
 
Recognition can be difficult, unless the child discloses and is believed. There may be no physical signs and indications are likely to be emotional/behavioural.
 
Some behavioural indicators associated with this form of sexual abuse are:
 
Inappropriate sexualised conduct.
Sexually explicit behaviour, play or conversation, inappropriate to the child’s age. Continual and inappropriate or excessive masturbation.
Self-harm (including eating disorder), self-mutilation and suicide attempts.
Involvement in prostitution or indiscriminate choice of sexual partners. •
An anxious unwillingness to remove clothes e.g. for sports events (but this may be related to cultural norms or physical difficulties).
 
Some physical indicators associated with this form of abuse are:
 
Pain or itching of genital area.
Blood on underclothes.
Pregnancy in a younger girl where the identity of the father is not disclosed.
Physical symptoms such as injuries to the genital or anal area, bruising to buttocks, abdomen and thighs, sexually transmitted disease, presence of semen on vagina, anus, external genitalia or clothing.
 
Sexual Abuse by Young People –Peer on Peer abuse
The boundary between what is abusive and what is part of normal childhood or youthful experimentation can be blurred. The determination of whether behaviour is developmental, inappropriate or abusive will hinge around the related concepts of true consent, power imbalance and exploitation. This may include child and young people who exhibit a range of sexually problematic behaviour such as indecent exposure, obscene telephone calls, fetishism and sexual abuse against adults, peers or child.
 
Developmental sexual activity encompasses those actions that are to be expected from children and young people as they move from infancy through to an adult understanding of their physical, emotional and behavioural relationships with each other. Such sexual activity is essentially information gathering and experience testing. It is characterised by mutuality and of the seeking of consent.
 
Inappropriate sexual behaviour can be inappropriate socially, in appropriate to development, or both. In considering whether behaviour fits into this category, it is important to consider what negative effects it has on any of the parties involved and what concerns it raises about a child or young person. It should be recognised that some actions may be motivated by information seeking, but still cause significant upset, confusion, worry, physical damage, etc. it may also be that the behaviour is “acting out” which may derive from other sexual situations to which the child or young person has been exposed.
 
If an act appears to have been inappropriate, there may still be a need for some form of behaviour management or intervention. For some children, educative inputs may be enough to address the behaviour.
 
Abusive sexual activity including any behaviour involving coercion, threats, aggression together with secrecy, or where one participant relies on an unequal power base.
 
Assessment
In order to more fully determine the nature of the incident the following factors should be given consideration. The presence of exploitation in terms of:
 
Equality – consider differentials of physical, cognitive and emotional development, power and control and authority, passive and assertive tendencies
Consent – agreement including all the following:
Understanding that is proposed based on age, maturity, development level, functioning and experience.
Knowledge of society’s standards for what is being proposed.
Awareness of potential consequences and alternatives.
Assumption that agreements or disagreements will be respected equally.
Voluntary decision.
Mental competence.
Coercion – the young perpetrator who abuses may use techniques like bribing, manipulation and emotional threats of secondary gains and losses that is loss of love, friendship, etc. Some may use physical force, brutality or the threat of these regardless of victim resistance.
 
In evaluating sexual behaviour of children and young people, the above information should be used only as a guide.
 
Recognising Neglect
Evidence of neglect is built up over a period of time and can cover different aspects of parenting. Indicators include:
 
Failure by parents or carers to meet the basic essential needs e.g. adequate food, clothes, warmth, hygiene and medical care.
A child seen to be listless, apathetic and irresponsive with no apparent medical cause.
Failure of children to grow within normal expected pattern, with accompanying weight loss.
Child thrives away from home environment.
Child frequently absent from school.
Child left with adults who are intoxicated or violent.
Child abandoned or left alone for excessive period.
 
Appendix 3
 
Domestic Violence/ So called Honour based Violence/ Forced Marriage (FM)
 
Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship. But it isn’t just physical violence – domestic abuse includes emotional, physical, sexual, financial or psychological abuse.
Abusive behaviour can occur in any relationship. It can continue even after the relationship has ended. Both men and women can be abused or abusers.
Domestic abuse can seriously harm children and young people. Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse, and teenagers can suffer domestic abuse in their relationships.
Honour' based violence (HBV) is a form of domestic abuse which is perpetrated in the name of so called ‘honour'. The honour code which it refers to is set at the discretion of male relatives and women who do not abide by the ‘rules' are then punished for bringing shame on the family. Infringements may include a woman having a boyfriend; rejecting a forced marriage; pregnancy outside of marriage; interfaith relationships; seeking divorce, inappropriate dress or make-up and even kissing in a public place.
HBV can exist in any culture or community where males are in position to establish and enforce women's conduct, examples include: Turkish; Kurdish; Afghani; South Asian; African; Middle Eastern; South and Eastern European; Gypsy and the travelling community (this is not an exhaustive list).
Males can also be victims, sometimes as a consequence of a relationship which is deemed to be inappropriate, if they are gay, have a disability or if they have assisted a victim.
In addition, the Forced Marriage Unit have issued guidance on Force Marriage and vulnerable adults due to an emerging trend of cases where such marriages involving people with learning difficulties.
This is not a crime which is perpetrated by men only, sometimes female relatives will support, incite or assist. It is also not unusual for younger relatives to be selected to undertake the abuse as a way to protect senior members of the family. Sometimes contract killers and bounty hunters will also be employed.
This is an entirely separate issue from arranged marriage. It is a human rights abuse and falls within the Crown Prosecution Service definition of domestic violence. Young men and women can be at risk in affected ethnic groups. Evidence shows that the issue of forced marriage affects certain sectors of communities, typically girls in the age range of 14 – 16 years old originating from Pakistan, India & Bangladesh (approx. 60% of the cases) together with a percentage of cases of children origination from the Middle-East and African countries.
 
A signal of FM is the removal of the child from school and lengthy absence which is often unexplained. Other indicators may be detected by changes in adolescent behaviours. Whistleblowing may come from younger siblings.
 
Any member of staff with any concerns should report this immediately to the DSL who should raise the concern with the Local Police Safeguarding Unit email or by phone. Never attempt to intervene directly or through a third party. Whilst the onus of the investigation for criminal offences will remain with the Police, the DSL should co-operate and liaise with the relevant agencies in line with current child protection responsibilities.
 
Appendix 4
 
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
 
It is essential that staff are aware of FGM practices and the need to look for signs, symptoms and other indicators of FGM.
 
It is the responsibility of an individual staff member to report FGM if they discover it (through disclosure not physical examination) to the police. They may discuss it with the DSL for advice but it is their duty to report it.
 
The Home Office have published some procedural information on the mandatory duty to inform police, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/469448/FGMMandatory-Reporting-procedural-info-FINAL.pdf
 
Multi –agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/goverment/publications/mutli-agency-statutory-guidance-on-female-genitalmutilation
 
What is FGM?
 
Female Genital mutilation comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to female genital organs whether for cultural or for non-medical reasons.
 
Types of FGM
 
The World Health Organisation (WHO) classified FGM into four broad categories in 1995 and again in 2007. Four categories and types of procedure:
Type 1 Clitoridectomy – partial/total removal of clitoris
Type 2 Excision – partial/total removal of clitoris and labia minora
Type 3 Infibulation - entrance to vagina is narrowed by repositioning the inner/outer labia
Type 4 all other procedures that may include: pricking, piercing, incising, cauterising and scraping the genital area.
 
Why is it carried out?
 
Belief that:
 
FGM brings status/respect to the girl – social acceptance for marriage.
Preserves a girl’s virginity.
Part of being a woman/rite of passage.
Upholds family honour.
Cleanses and purifies the girl.
Gives a sense of belonging to the community.
Fulfils a religious requirement.
Perpetuates a custom/tradition.
Helps girls be clean/hygienic.
Mistakenly believed to make childbirth easier.
 
The Home Office have also developed an FGM information sheet to raise awareness about the law. This is also available on their website in different languages:
 
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statement-opposing-female-genital-mutilation
 
 Further guidance and information is available from NSPCC FGM Helpline contact days and times: 24 hours Tel: 0800 028 3550 Email: fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk
 
FORWARD (Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development)
 
A leading national organisation working on FGM Tel: 020 8960 4000 Website: http://www.forwarduk.org.uk/
 
Indicators that may point to FGM happening:
 
Child talking about getting ready for a special ceremony.
Family taking a long trip abroad.
Child’s family being from one of the high prevalence countries for FGM.
The following countries are considered ‘high risk’ Guinea, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Mali, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ethiopia in Africa. As well as areas of the Middle East such as Iraq and Yemen and in some countries in Asia like Indonesia. Evidence also suggests that FGM exists in places including Colombia, India, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Knowledge that the child’s sibling has undergone FGM.
Child talks about going abroad to be ‘cut’ or to prepare for marriage.
 
Signs that may indicate a child has undergone FGM:
 
Prolonged absence from school and other activities.
Behaviour change on return from a holiday abroad, such as being withdrawn and appearing subdued.
Bladder or menstrual problems.
Finding it difficult to sit still and looking uncomfortable.
Complaining about pain between the legs.
Mentioning something somebody did to them that they are not allowed to talk about.
Secretive behaviour, including isolating themselves from the group.
Reluctance to take part in physical activity.
Repeated urinal tract infection.
Disclosure.
 
The ‘One Chance’ rule. As with Forced Marriage, there is the ‘One Chance’ rule. It is essential that action is taken without delay.
 
Appendix 5
 
Child sexual exploitation
DfE Publication 16th February 2017
Definition and a guide for practitioners, local leaders and decision makers working to protect children from child sexual exploitation
Advice for all practitioners who work with children
 
What is child sexual exploitation?
 
Child sexual exploitation is a form of children sexual abuse. Sexual abuse may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside clothing. It may include non-contact activities, such as involving child in the production of sexual images, forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities, encouraging child to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).
The definition of children sexual exploitation is as follows:
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
Like all forms of child sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation:
can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years, including 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to have sex;
can still be abuse even if the sexual activity appears consensual;
can include both contact (penetrative and non-penetrative acts) and non-contact sexual activity;
can take place in person or via technology, or a combination of both;
can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence;
may occur without the child or young person’s immediate knowledge (through others copying videos or images they have created and posting on social media, for example);
can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and children or adults. The abuse can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse; and
is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the abuse. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources. Child sexual exploitation is a complex form of abuse and it can be difficult for those working with children to identify and assess. The indicators for child sexual exploitation can sometimes be mistaken for ‘normal adolescent behaviours’. It requires knowledge, skills, professional curiosity and an assessment which analyses the risk factors and personal circumstances of individual children to ensure that the signs and symptoms are interpreted correctly and appropriate support is given. Even where a young person is old enough to legally consent to sexual activity, the law states that consent is only valid where they make a choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. If a child feels they have no other meaningful choice, are under the influence of harmful substances or fearful of what might happen if they don’t comply (all of which are common features in cases of child sexual exploitation) consent cannot legally be given whatever the age of the child.
 
Child sexual exploitation is never the victim’s fault, even if there is some form of exchange: all children and young people under the age of 18 have a right to be safe and should be protected from harm.
One of the key factors found in most cases of child sexual exploitation is the presence of some form of exchange (sexual activity in return for something); for the victim and/or perpetrator or facilitator.
Where it is the victim who is offered, promised or given something they need or want, the exchange can include both tangible (such as money, drugs or alcohol) and intangible rewards (such as status, protection or perceived receipt of love or affection). It is critical to remember the unequal power dynamic within which this exchange occurs and to remember that the receipt of something by a child/young person does not make them any less of a victim. It is also important to note that the prevention of something negative can also fulfil the requirement for exchange, for example a child who engages in sexual activity to stop someone carrying out a threat to harm his/her family.
Whilst there can be gifts or treats involved in other forms of sexual abuse (e.g a father who sexually abuses but also buys the child toys) it is most likely referred to as child sexual exploitation if the ‘exchange’, as the core dynamic at play, results in financial gain for or enhanced status of, the perpetrator.
Where the gain is only for the perpetrator/facilitator, there is most likely a financial gain (money, discharge of a debt or free/discounted goods or services) or increased status as a result of the abuse.
If sexual gratification, or exercise of power and control, is the only gain for the perpetrator (and there is no gain for the child/young person) this would not normally constitute child sexual exploitation, but should be responded to as a different form of child sexual abuse.
 
 How common is child sexual exploitation?
 
The signs and indicators of all forms of abuse can be difficult to detect and child sexual exploitation is no exception. A variety of factors can make it difficult to accurately assess how prevalent child sexual exploitation is. Many children who are sexually exploited may have been victims of other forms of abuse; the grooming methods that may be used can mean that children who are sexually exploited do not always recognise they are being abused, which can also affect detection rates. What is clear is that child sexual exploitation can occur in all communities and amongst all social groups and can affect girls and boys. All practitioners should work on the basis that it is happening in their area.
 
Who is vulnerable to child sexual exploitation?
 
Any child, in any community: Child sexual exploitation is occurring across the country but is often hidden so prevalence data is hard to ascertain. However, areas proactively looking for child sexual exploitation are uncovering a problem. All practitioners should be open to the possibility that the child they work with might be affected.
 
Age: Child aged 12-15 years of age are most at risk of children sexual exploitation although victims as young as 8 have been identified, particularly in relation to online concerns. Equally, those aged 16 or above can also experience child sexual exploitation, and it is important that such abuse is not overlooked due to assumed capacity to consent. Account should be taken of heightened risks amongst this age group, particularly those without adequate economic or systemic support.
 
Gender: Though child sexual exploitation may be most frequently observed amongst young females, boys are also at risk. Practitioners should be alert to the fact that boys may be less likely than females to disclose experiences of child sexual exploitation and less likely to have these identified by others.
 
Ethnicity: Child sexual exploitation affects all ethnic groups.
 
Heightened vulnerability factors: Working Together makes clear the requirements for holistic assessment. Sexual exploitation is often linked to other issues in the life of a child or young person, or in the wider community context. Practitioners should be alert to the fact that child sexual exploitation is complex and rarely presents in isolation of other needs and risks of harm (although this may not always be the case, particularly in relation to online abuse). Child sexual exploitation may be linked to other crimes and practitioners should be mindful that a child who may present as being involved in criminal activity is actually being exploited.
 
Practitioners should not rely on ‘checklists’ alone but should make a holistic assessment of vulnerability, examining risk and protective factors as set out in the statutory guidance Working Together.
 
Appendix 6
Prevent Duty for Schools
 
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protecting-child-from-radicalisation-the-prevent-duty
From 1 July 2015 all schools must have regard to the statutory guidance. Paragraphs 57-76 of the guidance are concerned specifically with schools and childcare providers. They are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty. It applies to a wide range of public-facing bodies.
This advice complements the statutory guidance and refers to other relevant guidance and advice. It is intended to help schools and childcare providers to think about what they can do to protect child from the risk of radicalisation and suggests how they can access support to do this. It reflects actions that many schools and childcare providers will already be taking to protect children from this risk.
 
Understanding and Recognising Risks and Vulnerabilities of Radicalisation
 
Principles
 
A child is defined in the Child Acts 1989 and 2004 as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday.
Children and young people can be drawn into violence or they can be exposed to the messages of extremist groups by many means. These can include through the influence of family members or friends and/or direct contact with extremist groups and organisations or, increasingly, through the internet. This can put a young person at risk of being drawn into criminal activity and has the potential to cause significant harm. Children and young people are vulnerable to exposure to, or involvement with, groups or individuals who advocate violence as a means to a political or ideological end. Examples of extremist causes that have used violence to achieve their ends include animal rights, the far right, internal terrorist and international terrorist organisations;
Most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in extremism. Numerous factors can contribute to and influence the range of behaviours that are defined as extremism. It is important to consider these factors in order to develop an understanding of the issue. It is also necessary to understand those factors that build resilience and protect individuals from engaging in extremist activity.
Safeguarding children and young people from radicalisation is no different from safeguarding them from other forms of harm. Indicators for vulnerability to radicalisation are the same as those you are already familiar with:
family tensions
sense of isolation
migration
distance from cultural heritage
experience of racism or discrimination
feeling of failure etc.
being excluded from social and peer networks
Those in the process of being radicalised may:
become involved with a new group of friends
be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging
possess extremist literature or advocate violence actions
change their behaviour and language
seek to recruit others to an extremist ideology.
 
It is important to note that children and young people experiencing these situations or displaying these behaviours are not necessarily showing signs of being radicalised. There could be many other reasons for the behaviour including those you are already familiar with alcohol or drug abuse, family break down, domestic abuse, bullying etc or even something more minor.
 
Caution should be exercised in assessing these factors to avoid inappropriately labelling or stigmatising individuals because they possess a characteristic or fit a specific profile. It is vital that all professionals who have contact with vulnerable individuals are able to recognise those vulnerabilities and help to increase safe choices.
 
The risk of radicalisation is the product of a number of factors and identifying this risk requires that practitioners exercise their professional judgement, seeking further advice as necessary. It may be combined with other vulnerabilities or may be the only risk identified.
 
Some children may be at risk due to living with or being in direct contact with known extremists. Such children may be identified by the police or through Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) processes.
 
5) Vulnerability/ Risk Indicators
   
NB - The following lists are not exhaustive and all or none may be present in individual cases of concern. Nor does it mean that vulnerable people / young people experiencing these factors are automatically at risk of exploitation for the purposes of extremism. The accepted view is that a complex relationship between the various aspects of an individual’s identity determines their vulnerability to extremism. Oversimplified assessments based upon demographics and poverty indicators have consistently demonstrated to increase victimisation, fail to identify vulnerabilities and, in some cases, increase the ability of extremists to exploit, operate and recruit.
There is no such thing as a ‘typical extremist’ and those involved in extremism come from a range of backgrounds and experiences. The following indicators have been provided to support professionals to understand and identify factors that may suggest a child, young person or their family may be vulnerable or involved with extremism.
 
Vulnerability
 
Identity Crisis - Distance from cultural/ religious heritage and uncomfortable with their place in the society around them
Personal Crisis – Family tensions; sense of isolation; adolescence; low self-esteem; disassociating from existing friendship group and becoming involved with a new and different group of friends; searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging
Personal Circumstances – Migration; local community tensions; events affecting country or region of origin; alienation from UK values; having a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy
Unmet Aspirations – Perceptions of injustice; feeling of failure; rejection of civic life
Criminality – Experiences of imprisonment; poor resettlement/ reintegration, previous involvement with criminal groups
 
Access to extremism / extremist influences
 
Is there reason to believe that the child/young person associates with those known to be involved in extremism - either because they associate directly with known individuals or because they frequent key locations where these individuals are known to operate? (e.g. the child/young person is the partner, spouse, friend or family member of someone believed to be linked with extremist activity)
Does the child/young person frequent, or is there evidence to suggest that they are accessing the internet for the purpose of extremist activity? (e.g. Use of closed network groups, access to or distribution of extremist material, contact associates covertly via Skype/email etc.)
Is there reason to believe that the child/young person has been or is likely to be involved with extremist/ military training camps/ locations?
Is the child/young person known to have possessed or is actively seeking to possess and/ or distribute extremist literature/ other media material likely to incite racial/ religious hatred or acts of violence?
Does the child/young person sympathise with, or support illegal/illicit groups e.g. propaganda distribution, fundraising and attendance at meetings?
Does the child/young person support groups with links to extremist activity but not illegal/illicit e.g. propaganda distribution, fundraising and attendance at meetings?
 
Experiences, Behaviours and Influences
 
Has the child/young person encountered peer, social, family or faith group rejection?
Is there evidence of extremist ideological, political or religious influence on the child/ young person from within or outside UK?
Have international events in areas of conflict and civil unrest had a personal impact on the child / young person resulting in a noticeable change in behaviour? It is important to recognise that many people may be emotionally affected by the plight of what is happening in areas of conflict (i.e. images of children dying) it is important to differentiate them from those that sympathise with or support extremist activity
Has there been a significant shift in the child/young person’s behaviour or outward appearance that suggests a new social/political or religious influence?
Has the child/young person come into conflict with family over religious beliefs/lifestyle/ dress choices?
Does the child/young person vocally support terrorist attacks; either verbally or in their written work?
Has the child/young person witnessed or been the perpetrator/ victim of racial or religious hate crime or sectarianism?
 
Travel
Is there a pattern of regular or extended travel within the UK, with other evidence to suggest this is for purposes of extremist training or activity?
Has the child/young person travelled for extended periods of time to international locations known to be associated with extremism?
Has the child/young person employed any methods to disguise their true identity? Has the child/young person used documents or cover to support this?
 
Social Factors
Does the child/young person have experience of poverty, disadvantage, discrimination or social exclusion?
Does the child/young person experience a lack of meaningful employment appropriate to their skills?
Does the child/young person display a lack of affinity or understanding for others, or social isolation from peer groups?
Does the child/young person demonstrate identity conflict and confusion normally associated with youth development?
Does the child/young person have any learning difficulties/ mental health support needs?
Does the child/young person demonstrate a simplistic or flawed understanding of religion or politics?
Does the child/young person have a history of crime, including episodes in prison?
Is the child/young person a foreign national, refugee or awaiting a decision on their immigration/ national status?
Does the child/young person have insecure, conflicted or absent family relationships?
Has the child/young person experienced any trauma in their lives, particularly any trauma associated with war or sectarian conflict?
Is there evidence that a significant adult or other in the child/young person’s life has extremist view or sympathies?
 
More critical risk factors could include:-
 
Being in contact with extremist recruiters
Articulating support for extremist causes or leaders
Accessing extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element
Possessing extremist literature
Using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage
Justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues
Joining extremist organisations
Significant changes to appearance and/or behaviour
 
6) Referral and intervention process
 
Professionals should refer to the Early Help Safeguarding Strategy to determine the level of need of the child which correlates with the concerns identified.
If you have a concern about an individual and want to make a referral use the Channel referral form and/or send your concerns through to the dedicated Prevent inbox e.g. Prevent@humberside.pnn.police.uk.
 
Where a child is considered at risk of significant harm a referral to social work services should as outlined in the Early Help Safeguarding Strategy as well as a referral to Channel.
 
Where there are concerns that a child may be at risk of / potential risk of being involved/ potentially involved in supporting or following extremism, further investigation by the police will be required.
 
Any professional who identifies vulnerability concerns as outlined above, should discuss their concerns with to the named or designated safeguarding professional in their organisation or agency. However this should not prevent immediate action being taken where a child is at immediate risk or at risk of significant harm. In these circumstances a referral should be made to Children’s Social Care and in an emergency a 999 call made to the police.
The named or designated safeguarding professional should consider whether a situation may be so serious that an emergency response is required. Professionals should exercise professional judgement and common sense to identify whether an emergency situation applies.
 
Channel Referral Process
If you have a concern about an individual and want to make a referral use the Channel referral form and/or send your concerns through to the dedicated Prevent inbox e.g. Prevent@humberside.pnn.police.uk.
It is important to remember that any information you give to the police at this stage will be investigated in the pre-criminal space. It does not assume that any criminal activity has taken place and the police will be looking to support rather than arrest. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/channel-guidance
   
Appendix 7
 
SPOC Responsibilities
 
Raising awareness
 
As the SPOC for your organisation, it is important to raise awareness around this agenda and promote the necessity to safeguard vulnerable children and adults from being exploited and recruited into violent extremism. It is expected that the SPOC will promote their position and responsibility, providing advice and guidance to practitioners within their organisation. The Channel coordinators having a range of training packages to help raise awareness, by training your trainers the aim is to mainstream this safeguarding agenda.
 
2. Receiving Referrals
 
As the SPOC for your organisation, it is expected that once a practitioner within your organisation identifies an individual vulnerable to radicalisation that they contact you first to discuss the case internally. If deemed suitable, the practitioner will then be asked to complete the Referral and Risk assessment form (RAF). This should then be emailed to the school DSL and the Channel coordinator at channel.@gmp.projectpolice.uk. The Channel Officer will then carry out an extensive risk assessment that aims to identify known risks and additional vulnerabilities. (At no point will the person be created on a criminal record system.) The co-ordinator will then complete a case summary and return it to both the SPOC and the practitioner. The practitioner should then arrange a multi-agency safeguarding meeting with the necessary professionals to support the vulnerable individual. Channel can assist this process by using a list of SPOC’s from other agencies to help ensure the right people are brought to the multi-agency meeting
 
Finding out more. ‘Learning together to be Safe, guidance for schools and colleges’ www.dius.gov.uk HM Government
 
‘The Prevent Strategy: A guide for Local Partners in England’ http://security.homeoffice.gov.uk
   
Appendix 8
 
Peer on Peer Abuse /Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment
 
Peer on peer abuse
 
Children can abuse other children. This is generally referred to as peer on peer abuse and can take many forms. This can include (but is not limited to) bullying (including cyberbullying); sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; sexting and initiating/hazing type violence and rituals. (Hazing is seen in many different types of social groups, including gangs, sports teams, schools, military units. The initiation rites can range from relatively benign pranks, to protracted patterns of behaviour that rise to the level of abuse or criminal misconduct. )
Sexual violence and sexual harassment between child in schools and colleges.
 
Context
Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children.
Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment will likely find the experience stressful and distressing. This will, in all likelihood, adversely affect their educational attainment. Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap, they can occur online and offline (both physical and verbal) and are never acceptable. It is important that all victims are taken seriously and offered appropriate support. Staff should be aware that some groups are potentially more at risk. Evidence shows girls, children with SEND and LGBT children are at greater risk.
Staff should be aware of the importance of:
 
making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up;
not tolerating or dismissing sexual violence or sexual harassment as “banter”, “part of growing up”, “just having a laugh” or “children being children”; and
challenging behaviours (potentially criminal in nature), such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, flicking bras and lifting up skirts. Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them.
 
What is Sexual violence and sexual harassment?
 
Sexual violence
 
It is important that Hackberry staff are aware of sexual violence and the fact children can, and sometimes do, abuse their peers in this way. When referring to sexual violence we are referring to sexual offences under the Sexual Offences Act as described below:
 
Rape:
A person (A) commits an offence of rape if: he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
 
Assault by Penetration:
A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of her/his body or anything else, the penetration is sexual, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
 
Sexual Assault:
A person (A) commits an offence of sexual assault if: s/he intentionally touches another person (B), the touching is sexual, B does not consent to the touching and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
What is consent?
Consent is about having the freedom and capacity to choose. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, e.g.to vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if s/he agrees by choice to that penetration and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
 It is important Hackberry staff (and especially designated safeguarding leads and their deputies) understand consent. This will be especially important if a child is reporting they have been raped.
 
 
Project deSHAME from Childnet provides useful research, advice and resources regarding online sexual harassment.
 
Sexual harassment
 
When referring to sexual harassment we mean ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline. When we reference sexual harassment, we do so in the context of children on child sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is likely to: violate a child’s dignity, and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.
Whilst not intended to be an exhaustive list, sexual harassment can include:
 
sexual comments, such as: telling sexual stories, making lewd comments, making sexual remarks about clothes and appearance and calling someone sexualised names;
sexual “jokes” or taunting;
physical behaviour, such as: deliberately brushing against someone, interfering with someone’s clothes (schools and colleges should be considering when any of this crosses a line into sexual violence - it is important to talk to and consider the experience of the victim) and displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature; and
online sexual harassment. This may be standalone, or part of a wider pattern of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence. It may include:
non-consensual sharing of sexual images and videos;
sexualised online bullying;
unwanted sexual comments and messages, including, on social media; and
sexual exploitation; coercion and threats
 
The response to a report of sexual violence or sexual harassment
 
The initial response to a report from a child is important. It is essential that all victims are reassured that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever be made to feel ashamed for making a report.
 
If staff have a concern about a child or a child makes a report to them, they should follow the referral process as set out from paragraph 23 in Part 1 of this guidance. As is always the case, if staff are in any doubt as to what to do they should speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy).
 
Reference UKCCIS guidance : Sexting in School and Colleges, responding to incidents, and safeguarding young people (2017)
 
Appendix 9
Useful Contact Numbers
   
Designated Safeguarding Lead Mrs S Trevethan 07814395378, strevethan@hackberry.co.uk
Deputy Safeguarding Lead Mrs C Freer 07814395378, cfreer@hackberry.co.uk
 
NSPCC Whistleblowing Helpline
 0800 028 0285
 
Appendix 10
   
Legislation
   
This guidance refers to the legislation below:
 
 Education
 
• The Child Act 1989 and 2004
• Education Act 2002
• The Education (Health Standards) (England) Regulations 2003
• The Further Education (Providers of Education) (England) (Regulations) 2006
• The Education (Pupil Referral Units) (Application of Enactments) (England) Regulations 2007 as amended by SI 2010/1919, SI 2012/1201, SI 2012/1825, SI 2012/3158
• The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 as amended by SI 2012/1740 and SI 2013/1940
• The Education (Non-Maintained Special Schools) (England) Regulations 2011 as amended by SI 2015/387
• The Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012
• The Child and Families Act 2014
• The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014
 
Police
 
• Police Act 1997
• The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002, as amended
• The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (No 2) Regulations 2009, as amended
• The Sexual Offences Act 2003
 
Other
 
• Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
• Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
• Equality Act 2010
• The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975
 
 
   
Appendix 11
       
Criminal exploitation of children (County Lines)
 
Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults is a geographically widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines activity. It is a harm which is relatively little known about or recognised by those best placed to spot its potential victims.
This guidance is intended to explain the nature of this harm to enable practitioners to recognise its signs and respond appropriately so that potential victims get the support and help they need.
What is county lines exploitation? County lines is the police term for urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas and market and coastal towns using dedicated mobile phone lines or “deal lines
It involves child criminal exploitation (CCE) as gangs use children and vulnerable people to move drugs and money.
Gangs establish a base in the market location, typically by taking over the homes of local vulnerable adults by force or coercion in a practice referred to as ‘cuckooing’.
County lines is a major, cross-cutting issue involving drugs, violence, gangs, safeguarding, criminal and sexual exploitation, modern slavery, and missing persons; and the response to tackle it involves agencies and VCS (voluntary and community sector) organisations.
 County lines activity and the associated violence, drug dealing and exploitation has a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults and local communities.
Like other forms of abuse and exploitation, county lines exploitation: can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years; can affect any vulnerable adult over the age of 18 years; can still be exploitation even if the activity appears consensual; can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and is often accompanied by violence or threats of violence can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and young people or adults; and is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the exploitation. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
 One of the key factors found in most cases of county lines exploitation is the presence of some form of exchange (e.g. carrying drugs in return for something). Where it is the victim who is offered, promised or given something they need or want, the exchange can include both tangible (such as money, drugs or clothes) and intangible rewards (such as status, protection or perceived friendship or affection).
It is important to remember the unequal power dynamic within which this exchange occurs and to remember that the receipt of something by a young person or vulnerable adult does not make them any less of a victim.
It is also important to note that the prevention of something negative can also fulfil the requirement for exchange, for example a young person who engages in county lines activity to stop someone carrying out a threat to harm his/her family.
Who is vulnerable to county lines exploitation?
 
 The national picture on county lines continues to develop but there are recorded cases of:
 
Children as young as 12 years old being exploited by gangs to courier drugs out of their local area; 15-16 years is the most common age range.
Both males and females being exploited.
White British children being targeted because gangs perceive they are more likely to evade police detection.
The use of social media to make initial contact with children and young people.
Class A drug users being targeted so that gangs can take over their homes (known as ‘cuckooing’).
We do know that county lines exploitation is widespread, with gangs from big cities including London, Manchester and Liverpool operating throughout England, Wales and Scotland.
Gangs are known to target vulnerable children and adults; some of the factors that heighten a person’s vulnerability include:
Having prior experience of neglect, physical and/ or sexual abuse;
What to do if you are concerned. Any practitioner working with a vulnerable person who they think may be at risk of county lines exploitation should follow their local safeguarding guidance and share this information with local authority social care services.
If you believe a person is in immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police.
Lack of a safe/stable home environment, now or in the past (domestic violence or parental substance misuse, mental health issues or criminality, for example); Social isolation or social difficulties; Economic vulnerability; Homelessness or insecure accommodation status; Connections with other people involved in gangs; Having a physical or learning disability; Having mental health or substance misuse issues; Being in care (particularly those in residential care and those with interrupted care histories Any sudden changes in a young person’s lifestyle should be discussed with them.
Some indicators of county lines involvement and exploitation are listed below, with those at the top of particular concern: Persistently going missing from school or home and / or being found out-of-area; Unexplained acquisition of money, clothes, or mobile phones Excessive receipt of texts / phone calls Relationships with controlling / older individuals or groups Leaving home / care without explanation Suspicion of physical assault / unexplained injuries Parental concerns Carrying weapons Significant decline in school results / performance Gang association or isolation from peers or social networks Self-harm or significant changes in emotional health and well-being.
Use your local safeguarding process, the first step of which is usually to contact your designated safeguarding lead within your organisation. Your designated safeguarding lead has the responsibility for linking in with your local authority’s social care services. If you are not satisfied with the local authority’s response, you should follow up your concerns by discussing these with your safeguarding lead.
 
 
 
 
 

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