Safeguarding Children Policy for Guy Payne Counselling Services

It is my aim to be aware of the signs and symptoms of abuse and to follow the procedures.

Terms of Reference: – Legislation – section 47(1) The Children’s Act 1989.
“The local authority has a duty to investigate situations where it has ‘reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found in their area is suffering; or likely to suffer significant harm’. Enquiries must be made to decide whether it should take any action to safeguard the child’s welfare.”

I have received two days training from the Borough of Poole in identifying child protection concerns and how to manage those concerns. I also take into account the child protection procedures of section 47(1) The Children’s Act 1989 and the procedures of the agency employing me.

CATEGORIES OF CONCERN:-

 Neglect: The persistent or severe neglect of a child which results in significant impairment of the child’s health or development. e.g.
• Failure to provide adequate food, clothing or shelter (including abandonment or exclusion from home)
• Failure to protect from physical or emotional harm.
• Failure to meet child’s basic emotional needs.
• Failure to ensure adequate supervision.
• Failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care.

 Physical Abuse: Deliberate or intended injury to a child. e.g.
• Hitting shaking, throwing, burning, scalding, drowning, suffocating, or poisoning.
• Deliberate inducement of an illness.

 Sexual Abuse: Actual or likely sexual exploitation. e.g.
• Use of force or enticement to take part in sexual activity penetrative, or non – penetrative.
• Involvement in non contact activities such as looking at or making abusive images.
• Encouraging children to watch sexual activities.
• Encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
• Any sexual activity with a child under the age of 16. (with or without agreement)

 Emotional Abuse: Persistent or severe emotional ill treatment or rejection which adversely affects the child’s emotional and behavioural development. e.g.
• Conveying to a child that they are worthless, unloved or inadequate.
• Overprotection, limiting exploration and learning, preventing normal social interaction or imposing inappropriate expectations.
• Causing a child to feel frightened or in danger by the witnessing of violence towards another person whether domestic or not.

RECOGNITION OF POSSIBLE ABUSE:

It is extremely difficult to determine if abuse has occurred. I look carefully at the behaviour of the child or children and I am alert for significant changes. I am aware, among other symptoms, of the following indications that there may be cause for concern:
• Disclosure.
• Non accidental injury, bruising or marks.
• Explanation inconsistent with injury.
• Several different explanations for an injury.
• Reluctance to give information about an injury
• A sudden change in behaviour – aggression, extroversion, depression, withdrawn.
• Attention seeking
• Hyperactivity
• Poor attention
• Appear frightened of parents or family members
• Abnormal attachment between parent and child
• Indiscriminate attachment
• Hyper alertness.
• Reduced response.
• Frozen watchfulness.
• Nightmares.
• Anxiety/irritability.
• Abdominal pain/headaches.
• Poor self esteem.
• Poor peer relationships
• Act in an inappropriate way for age
• Over sexualised play/talk or drawings.
• Excessive or inappropriate masturbation
• Self harm/eating disorder
• Frequent visits to the toilet (urinary infection).
• Reluctance to change for P.E.
• Failure to thrive
• Poor hygiene
• Recurrent/untreated infections of skin or head lice
• Untreated health/dental issues
• Frequent absence from school or repeated lateness
• Delay in meeting normal developmental milestones

PROCEDURES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The procedure route will depend upon the urgency of the situation and whether it is merely a suspicion of abuse or an actual disclosure.

 Suspicion of Abuse-procedures for The Westbourne Practice (if abuse is suspected but there has been no disclosure.)
1. Ask casual open questions about the nature of the concern e.g. bruises, marks, change in behaviour etc. “Can you tell me about…”
2. Believe the child and reassure them that they were right to talk to you.
3. Record the facts and conversation in writing immediately afterwards using the exact words spoken not implied. Sign and date the report (it may be required as evidence.)
4. Report the suspicion to the employing agency and to Poole Social Services.
 Disclosure-procedures for The Westbourne Practice
1. Allow the child to talk – ask only open questions e.g. “Can you tell me more about….” Do not press for detail, put forward your own ideas or use words that the child has not used themselves.
2. Stay calm and reassuring.
3. Do not make promises that cannot be kept e.g. confidentiality – tell the child that you will have to tell someone else who will be able to help.
4. Believe the child but do not apportion any blame to the perpetrator. (it may be someone they love)
5. Reassure the child that they were not to blame and they were right to talk to you.
6. Ask the child if they have told anyone else.
7. Keep an open mind.
8. Record the conversation and facts verbatim in writing immediately afterwards (writing notes during the interview may put undue pressure on the child). Sign and date the report (it may be required as evidence).
9. Establish details of full name, D.O.B. address and names of parents/guardians.
10. Report the suspicion to the employing agency and to Poole Social Services.

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

Establish the facts and details as above and contact the Social Services.

• Phone the Borough Council within which I am practicing and ask for Social Services – Children and Families.
• Ask for the Duty Social Worker
• Check to see if the family are already known to Social Services
• Discuss the situation and ask for advice
• A social worker may wish to talk to the child.
• Establish who will be responsible for informing the parents.
• Social services will contact the police (Child Protection Unit) as necessary.
• If action is taken, follow up the phone call with a written referral

I, Guy Payne, am the only person who will counsel or advise referred young people for, and on behalf of Guy Payne Counselling.