Safeguarding

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL): Dr John Bradford, safeguarding@digilocal.org.uk

If you have a concern about any member of DigiLocal staff, Trustee, or volunteer, please let our DSL know immediately. You can use our Whistleblowing flow chart to guide your next steps.

Last reviewed and updated: 17 Oct 2019

Introduction

  1. DigiLocal believes that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to practice which protects them.
  2. We recognise that:
    1. the welfare of the child/young person is paramount;
    2. all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse;
    3. working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers, and their agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.
  3. We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:
    1. valuing them, listening to and respecting them;
    2. adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers;
    3. recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all appropriate checks are made;
    4. sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents/guardians, staff and volunteers;
    5. sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately;
    6. providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training;
    7. ensuring that DBS checks have been carried out on all staff, volunteers, or other representatives of DigiLocal, who work directly with young people and maintaining systems to ensure that volunteers taking part in our programmes have undergone background checks.

Purpose and Scope

  1. The purpose of this policy is to describe the procedures that should be followed in the event that someone suspects a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, abuse or harm in the following situations:
    1. Events organised and hosted by DigiLocal at our own premises, or at third party venues where they do not have a specific Safeguarding Policy;
    2. Events held at other venues which have their own Safeguarding Policies, but where DigiLocal is involved in the running of to some degree. In these instances, this policy should be seen as a supplement to, and superseded by, the venue’s policy. Such events include:
      1. DigiLocal clubs hosted by volunteers and held at third party venues, for example, schools, libraries, museums, and community centres;
      2. Events host by third party venues and supported by DigiLocal staff and/or volunteers, such as outreach events and workshops.
  2. This policy applies to all DigiLocal trustees, paid staff, paid contractors, volunteers and sessional workers, agency staff, students or anyone working on behalf of DigiLocal.
  3. This policy does not apply to events that have no substantive involvement from DigiLocal. Such events would be subject to the Safeguarding Policy of the venue. However, if there are ever any concerns about members of the public hosting events that appear to have some association with DigiLocal, we would like to be informed of these.

Definition of Child Abuse

Child abuse is the term used when an adult harms a child or a young person under the age of 18. Child abuse can take four forms, all of which can cause long term damage to a child: physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse. Most types of child abuse can take one or several of these forms, for example bullying and domestic violence are often both physical and emotional forms of abuse.

How to recognise abuse

  1. In this policy we are concerned about anyone who appears to be at risk of abusing a child attending or participating in events as described above, irrespective of whether the adult is somehow involved in the event being held, or a member of the public.
  2. The signs of child abuse aren’t always obvious, and a child might not tell anyone what’s happening to them. A child may be experiencing abuse if he or she is:
    • frequently dirty, hungry or inadequately dressed
    • left in unsafe situations or without medical attention
    • constantly “put down”, insulted, sworn at or humiliated
    • seems afraid of parents or carers
    • severely bruised or injured
    • displays sexual behaviour which doesn’t seem appropriate for their age
    • growing up in a home where there is domestic violence
    • living with parents or carers involved in serious drug or alcohol abuse.
  3. This list does not cover every possible type of child abuse. You may have seen other things in the child’s behaviour or circumstances that worry you.
  4. If a child confides details of abuse, or anything that concerns you, you must;
    • listen sensitively
    • reassure the child they are not in any trouble and that they are doing the right thing by telling you
    • get the facts
    • not ask leading questions
    • explain to the child that you will share this information with another adult
    • write down everything the child tells you as soon as you can
    • not promise to ‘make everything better’, or ‘bring them to justice’

Report signs or suspicions of abuse

  1. If you have a safeguarding concern about a child or children, you should always:
    1. Write down everything that you have seen and/or heard in as detailed and factual a way as possible, as soon as you can after witnessing or hearing about the incident.
      1. See our ‘Mobile Safeguarding Notes’ guide for how to record notes directly into our system securely.
    2. Raise the matter immediately with a member of staff at the venue where the activity is taking place. They will guide you on appropriate next steps in line with the venue’s safeguarding policy.
    3. Contact safeguarding@digilocal.org.uk and a DigiLocal member of staff will help you address your concerns swiftly.
    4. Use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that the adult withdraws from the session or event at which the complaint is made, and get their contact information if possible and safe to do so.
    5. If you suspect that criminal activity may be taking / have taken place, please contact the police immediately.
  2. If the activity is not endorsed, or organised, or hosted by DigiLocal, but may in some way appear to be associated with DigiLocal’s work or mission, you should raise the matter with a member of staff at the hosting venue, who will advise you of their policy. Please also email safeguarding@hbb.org.uk to inform us of your concerns and so that we may track how your concerns are dealt with.
  3. If you have any other questions or concerns please email them to safeguarding@digilocal.org.uk

What happens next?

  1. If you are liaising with the DSL of the event venue, please familiarise yourself with the venue’s policy to understand what process they will implement.
  2. If you have made contact with DigiLocal, we will take these steps:
    1. The relevant DSL will respond to any and all child protection concerns that are raised within 3 working days.
    2. Any concerns raised will be investigated and recorded in the DigiLocal Safeguarding Record Log. All concerns will be recorded, whether or not they appear upon investigation to not require contacting other authorities.
    3. The person(s) involved will be required to have no further contact with any child or parent while the matter is investigated, and until further notice.
    4. All reports will be stored securely and confidentially.
    5. If the matter requires escalating, the relevant DSL will inform social services in the location of the concern, or the NSPCC within 24 hours of the report being received. The Chief Executive Officer of DigiLocal will also be informed.
    6. If the concern is found to be genuine the DSL will contact the relevant Council Child Protection Team or the Police if the threat is immediate.
    7. You will be kept informed at appropriate stages as the incident is investigated and actioned.

What if a report is made about me?

If you are DigiLocal staff, Trustee, volunteer, contractor or other representative of DigiLocal:

  1. If a concern is raised about you, you must inform DigiLocal immediately via safeguarding@digilocal.org.uk and cease to participate in the activity.
  2. DigiLocal will cooperate with the venue while the matter is investigated.
  3. You must not have any contact with any child or parent of any child while the matter is investigated and until further notice.
  4. We will immediately suspend any accounts you have with all DigiLocal websites and forums. You will be notified about this via email.
  5. If the concern can be resolved to the satisfaction of both DigiLocal and the venue, you will be able to continue your activities and we will reinstate any accounts you have on DigiLocal websites and forums.
  6. If the concerns cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of both DigiLocal and the event venue, we will notify you in writing and refer the matter to the relevant Council Child Protection Team and the Police.
  7. Once the investigation is complete, DigiLocal will take appropriate steps depending on the outcome;
    1. this may include disciplinary action or your removal as a Trustee,
    2. DigiLocal may also report the details to the Disclosure and Barring Service and any other relevant parties;
    3. if the matter is resolved and no further child protection issues are remaining, you will be able to continue your activities and we will reinstate any accounts you have on DigiLocal websites and forums.

Relevant legislation

This policy has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children, namely:

  1. Children Act 1989
  2. United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
  3. Data Protection Act 1998
  4. Sexual Offences Act 2003
  5. Children Act 2004
  6. Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  7. Relevant government guidance on safeguarding children

Council Child Protection Team Contacts

  1. Bristol: 0117 903 6444
  2. Bath & North East Somerset: 01225 396312
  3. South Gloucestershire: 01454 866000
  4. North Somerset: 01275 888 808
  5. Out of Hours (common number for all areas): 01454 615165
  6. NSPCC 0808 800 5000 https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/report-abuse/