SAFEGUARDING POLICY & PROCEDURE

Urban Wilderness is committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all participants, so they can participate in activities in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. Abuse, and poor practice, of any kind is unacceptable.  Urban Wilderness takes child protection and safeguarding of adults at risk very seriously and this policy sets out some of the types and indicators of abuse, along with our procedure for responding to incidents or concerns. 

Where this policy is written in reference to children or young people, it is similarly applicable to adults at risk in circumstances where they are involved in Urban Wilderness activities.

The Safeguarding Officer for Urban Wilderness is Jenny Harper, who can be contacted at info@urbanwildernesscic.com

Types of abuse

Abuse is any form of mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm. Abuse can happen to a person regardless of their age, gender, race or ability. Abusers can be adults or young people, and are often known to and trusted by the person and family. An individual may abuse or neglect a person directly, or may be responsible for abuse because they fail to prevent another person harming that person.

The six types of abuse are as follows:

  • Physical abuse

  • Emotional abuse

  • Sexual abuse

  • Neglect

  • Bullying

  • Harassment

Indicators of abuse

Most children find it difficult to disclose their concerns and some groups in society will find it harder than others, specifically children from ethnic minority groups and children with disabilities. Abuse is not always easy to identify, however some signs may indicate that a child may be being abused are as follows:

This is not an exhaustive list of indicators and alone cannot be seen to be definitive proof that a child or young person is being abused.

Physical abuse

Unexplained and unusual bruising, finger, strap and bite marks, cigarette burns, fractures, scalds, missing teeth. Fear of contact, aggression, temper, fear of going home, reluctance to change or uncover body, depression, withdrawal, cowering, bullying or abuse of others.

Emotional abuse

Weight change, lack of growth/development, unexplained speech disorders, self harm, clothing inappropriate for child’s age, gender or culture. Unable to play, fear of mistakes, fear of telling parents, withdrawn, unexplained speech and language difficulties, few friends.

Sexual abuse

Genital pain, bleeding, bruising, discharge, stomach pains, discomfort, pregnancy, incontinence, urinary infections or STDs, thrush, anal pain on passing motions. Apparent fear of someone, nightmares, running away, age inappropriate sexually explicit knowledge or behaviour, bed-wetting, eating problems, substance abuse, unexplained money or gifts, inappropriate masturbation, sexual approaches to others, sexual games with toys.

Neglect

Constant hunger, ill-fitting or inappropriate clothes, weight change, untreated conditions, continual minor infections, failure to supply hearing aids, glasses and/or inhalers. Always being tired, late, absent, few friends, regularly left alone, seeking adult company or withdrawing from people, stealing, no money, parent or carer not attending or interested.

Bullying

Weight change, unexplained injuries and bruising, stomach and headaches, incontinence, disturbed sleep, hair pulled out. Difficulty making friends, anxiety over school, truancy, withdrawn, depressed, anger, moodiness, suicide attempts, reduced performance, money or possessions reported as ‘lost’, stealing from the family, distress and anxiety on reading e-mails or texts.

Self harm

Self harm is when a person hurts themselves intentionally, and is most common among adolescents and young adults (those in their twenties). The following behaviours are possible types of self harm: cutting, burning, punching or stabbing themselves; banging or throwing themselves against something hard; swallowing inappropriate objects/medicines.

Responding to Incidents/Concerns about Abuse

Concerns may arise about issues or incidents taking place at Urban Wilderness activities, or outside of Urban Wilderness (eg in the home, at school).

 At Urban Wilderness events and activities, there are the following risks of abuse:

  • lack of support or supervision when using tools or exploring spaces which put the child at an increased risk of being hurt

  • repeated criticism and negative feedback by Urban Wilderness team members

  • name-calling, persistent teasing, humiliation, or bullying activity between participants

Everyone involved in Urban Wilderness has a responsibility to raise concerns about potential poor practice and abuse/unacceptable behaviour in order to prevent the problem increasing, protect or reduce the risk to others or prevent becoming a party to the concern by lack of appropriate action.  Concerns should never be ignored, with the assumption that ‘all will be well’ or that it is someone else’s responsibility. 

The following section gives clear guidance on the procedures that must be followed when a concern about abuse is identified.

Three Stages of Action

1.     React to any disclosure/concern/poor practice allegation made

2.     Report to the relevant person or persons

3.     Record the relevant information

React

If you have a concern regarding child safeguarding or abuse, you should:

  • Always stay calm and listen.

  • Not show you are either upset, disgusted or that you may disbelieve what you are hearing.

If a child reports a concern directly to you:

  • Ensure that they are in a safe environment.

  • Keep an open mind.

  • Do not ask questions unless to clarify what is being said.

  • Do not make assumptions or judgments about what is being said.

  • Do not show shock or distaste.

  • Do not make comments about the person against whom the allegations have been made.

  • Always take the concerns raised seriously.

  • Never promise to keep the concern a secret.

  • Write down has been said as soon as possible, with the child’s agreement.

If an adult reports a concern to you:

  • Listen to what they are reporting and consider what action you need to take.

  • Ask them if they have written down what they have observed in line with the information required in “recording” below.

  • Ensure they understand the need for confidentiality.

Never:

  • Confront the alleged abuser.

  • Promise to keep a secret.

  • Take any action yourself until you have considered and shared the information appropriately.

  • Act alone. Instead you should follow Urban Wilderness guidance in this document on whom to share the information within an appropriate and proper manner.

Report

All involved in Urban Wilderness have a responsibility to take action if they witness behaviour that they may deem to be inappropriate, and not think that they are overreacting or that it is not their problem. However, it is for the Safeguarding Officer to consider and decide if abuse has taken place, supported by advice from external agencies.

Disclose information only to those who “need to know.” Ensure confidentiality is maintained at all times and ensure that others with whom information is shared understand this confidentiality.

Concern for a child at an Urban Wilderness event or activity

In an emergency, when a child may be at immediate risk of harm they should:

  • Ensure the child is safeguarded at all times.

  • Speak to the most senior Urban Wilderness team member on site.

  • Call 999.

  • Once the incident is under control, if the Safeguarding Officer is not present, report the incident to them as soon as possible.

  • If the parents are not implicated in the concern, the most senior Urban Wilderness team member on site must make them aware at the earliest opportunity.

If a volunteer or participant has a concern, or is told of a concern by a child due to an incident at an Urban Wilderness event or activity, the following procedure must be followed:

  • The most senior Urban Wilderness team member on site should be informed of the concern. If that person is the alleged perpetrator, they should contact another Urban Wilderness Director who will advise about further action (involving external agencies, as necessary).

  • Urban Wilderness must ensure the wellbeing of other participants while they respond to the concern.

  • Urban Wilderness will make a detailed note of what they have seen or heard as soon as possible.

  • Following the event or activity, Urban Wilderness will complete an Incident Report using the template form at the end of this policy

  • If the parents are not implicated in the concern, the most senior Urban Wilderness team member on site must make them aware at the earliest opportunity.

  • Confidentiality should be maintained at all times and disclosure should take place only to those who “need to know”. The important factor is to keep the information restricted to as small a circle as possible.

  • Urban Wilderness will make a decision about further action in consultation, as necessary, with external agencies (such as the Local Safeguarding Children Board, the police, the Local Authority Designated Officer (“LADO”) or other support services).

Concern for a child, outside of an Urban Wilderness event or activity

  • The concerned individual should contact Urban Wilderness in person or by email to info@urbanwildernesscic.com and outline, in detail, their concern.

  • Urban Wilderness will take written notes and will complete an Incident Report using the template form at the end of this policy as soon as possible. If the parents are not implicated in the concern and contact details are available, Urban Wilderness will make them aware at the earliest opportunity.

  • Confidentiality should be maintained at all times and disclosure should take place only to those who “need to know.”

  • Urban Wilderness will make a decision about further action in consultation, as necessary, with external agencies (such as the Local Safeguarding Children Board, the police, the Local Authority Designated Officer (“LADO”) or other support services).

Reporting to External Agencies

Where Urban Wilderness has been informed of a safeguarding concern or has noted a safeguarding concern, the Safeguarding Officer shall report this concern to external agencies as are considered necessary, which may include:

  • In the case of children, the Local Safeguarding Children Board. In Stoke-on-Trent, the Safeguarding Referral Team can be contacted on 01782 235100 in office hours or 01782 234234 outside office hours.  Outside Stoke-on-Trent, the contact details can be found on the local authority website for that area

  • In the case of adults, the local authority social care team.  In Stoke-on-Trent, the contact number is 0800 5610015

  • The local police service

  • For advice and support on any concerns in Stoke-on-Trent, the Advice & Access Team can be contacted on 01782 232200

  • Advice and support can also be sought from the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000

Record

As specified above, written details of all concerns and incidents that take place at an Urban Wilderness event or activity, should be recorded in an Incident Report using the template form at the end of this policy. 

Records may be passed, by Urban Wilderness to external agencies, such as the Police or Children’s Social Care Team, and therefore it is important that all information is recorded as soon as possible and is factual.

Urban Wilderness stores safeguarding files on a password protected portable hard drive with access restricted to Urban Wilderness Directors.

Support for those involved

Urban Wilderness assures all involved in incidents/concerns that they will be treated fairly, that all concerns will be properly considered and treated in confidence. Urban Wilderness can direct all involved to appropriate child safeguarding support services as required.

Anyone that acts in good faith in reporting a concern, even if the suspicion is unfounded, will be supported and no action will be taken against them. Urban Wilderness has a responsibility to protect the person reporting a concern from harassment of any kind that results from disclosure.

The referrer may not be informed by the Urban Wilderness, or external agencies (such as the Police or Children’s Social Care Team) of the outcome of the matter. This is to maintain confidentiality and in no way a comment on the referrer’s action.

Missing child

Urban Wilderness events are held in areas of open space and therefore, although unlikely, it is possible for children to go issing. The following procedure should be followed should a child go missing:

1.     An Urban Wilderness team member should be informed of the situation.

2.     Urban Wilderness should ensure the other children at the event are looked after appropriately.

3.     The parent/guardian/other participants should be asked to give a detailed description of the child (gender, age, height, eye colour, build, clothing).

4.     Urban Wilderness should divide the location into search areas, and allocate each area to a responsible adult to search. It is best to take a short time to organise the search properly so that all places are searched fully.

5.     All those searching should report back to Urban Wilderness at a specific point.

6.    If the parent/guardian can be located or contacted, they should be informed of the situation and reassured the team is doing all it can to locate the child.

7.     If the search is unsuccessful Urban Wilderness should then report the concern to the police NO LATER THAN TWENTY (20) MINUTES AFTER THE YOUNG PERSON’S DISAPPEARANCE IS NOTED EVEN IF THE SEARCH IS NOT COMPLETE.

8.    If at any stage the young person is located Urban Wilderness must inform all adults involved including the parents, searchers - and police, if by then involved.

9. Following the event or activity, Urban Wilderness will complete an Incident Report using the template form at the end of this policy.

Over-familiarity

Everyone working with children is in a ‘position of trust’ with power and influence, invested in them by the parents, the organisation deploying them, and the child. The power and influence a volunteer or adult has over someone attending a group activity cannot be underestimated.

There could be occasions when participants, particularly children, become overly familiar with, or dependent on, volunteers or other team members. This can put both parties in a compromising position.

All adults should be aware of the possibility that a child may become dependent, emotionally attached or overly familiar, and take steps to address the issue should they deem that such behaviour is becoming inappropriate.

We would advise the person to alert an Urban Wilderness Director who can speak with the child’s parent/guardian, to inform them of the situation and request that they speak to their child about their behaviour. If the situation persists Urban Wilderness will consider what further action to take in consultation with external agencies as necessary.

Confidentiality and information sharing

The UK Government White Paper “Every Child Matters” states that information sharing is important to:

  • Enable early intervention to help children, young people and families who need additional services to achieve positive outcomes, thus reducing inequalities between disadvantaged children and others.

  • Safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.

The rights of the child must be paramount in all situations, ensuring the protection of child welfare at all times.

Urban Wilderness recognises that issues involving child safeguarding must be kept confidential. All paperwork relating to a concern regarding a child must be kept in a safe and secure manner. However, confidentiality must never prevent an individual sharing information with appropriate and relevant persons, when not to do so may prevent appropriate safeguarding and place a child or children at risk of harm. It is for this reason this policy states no person being made aware of a child safeguarding concern should promise to keep such information secret.

To keep children safe from harm it is essential that all who work with children maximise the potential for safe partnership with parent/s and share relevant information appropriately. Often, it is only when information from a number of sources has been shared, collated and analysed, that it becomes clear a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm.

Our policy is that only those that need to know are told. This means only those individuals stated within the reporting structure and no one else, unless directed by statutory agencies and/or Urban Wilderness.

The key factor in deciding whether or not to disclose confidential information is ‘proportionality’, i.e. is the proposed disclosure a proportionate response to the need to protect the child’s welfare? The amount of confidential information disclosed and the number of people to whom it is disclosed should be no more than is necessary in protecting the health and well-being of the child.

The approach to confidential information should be the same whether any proposed disclosure is internally within the organisation, or with an external statutory agency.

The Government Guidance document “Information Sharing for Practitioners” lists seven golden rules for information sharing:

1.     Remember that the Data Protection Act is not a barrier to sharing information but provides a framework to ensure that personal information about living persons is shared appropriately.

2.     Be open and honest with the person (and/or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.

3.     Seek advice if in doubt, without disclosing the identity of the person where possible.

4.     Share with consent where appropriate and, where possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent if, in your judgment, that lack of consent can be overridden in the public interest. Base your judgment on the facts of the case.

5.     Consider safety and well-being. Base information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well-being of the person and others who may be affected by their actions.

6.    Ensure actions are necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely, and secure. Ensure that the information shared is necessary for the purpose for which it is being shared, is shared only with those people who need to have it, is accurate and up to date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely.

7.     Keep a record of the decision and the reasons for it – whether it is to share information or not. If shared, then record what has been shared, with whom and for what purpose.

The Government document “What to do if you feel a child is being abused” summarises the above information in the document’s appendices.

Disciplinary Action and Appeals

Urban Wilderness has the right to temporarily or permanently suspend a person from Urban Wilderness activity at the request of the statutory agency involved in any disciplinary action and/or appeal.

 

ACCIDENT POLICY

Urban Wilderness seeks to manage risks at events and activities, considering the age of participants, the anticipated activities and the site environment to keep children, young people and young adults safe from serious injury, while simultaneously securing the benefits of adventurous and healthy activities. In that way, we can enable those we work with to take control of their own activities and thus learn to negotiate some of life’s risks and challenges.

Urban Wilderness will undertake a risk assessment before undertaking any events or activities at a particular site and will ensure that procedures and supervision requirements set out in the risk assessment are followed during the event or activity.

Urban Wilderness will ensure that a basic first aid kit is available at any events or activities.

In the event of an emergency due to serious accident or injury

1.       Call 999 and follow any advice instructed

2.      As much as is practical, ensure that any other participants at the event are safe and looked after

3.      Inform the most senior Urban Wilderness team member on site as soon as possible

4. If the parent/guardian can be located or contacted, they should be informed of the situation and reassured the team is doing all it can

5. Following the event or activity, Urban Wilderness will complete an Incident Report using the template form at the end of this policy.

In the event of minor accident or injury

1.       Ensure that any other participants at the event are safe and looked after

2.      Inform the Urban Wilderness designated first aider as soon as possible

3. If the parent/guardian is at the event and can be located they should be informed of the situation

4. The Urban Wilderness designated first aider shall administer any appropriate first aid

5. At the end of the event, the parent/guardian shall be informed about what has happened and any first aid administered

6. Following the event or activity, Urban Wilderness will complete an Incident Report using the template form at the end of this policy.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about this policy, please contact Jenny Harper (Safeguarding Officer) at Urban Wilderness.  info@urbanwildernesscic.com

INCIDENT REPORT FORM

To be completed as soon as possible once the incident is under control and emailed to info@urbanwildernesscic.com.

Event:

Location of Event:

Urban Wilderness team present:

Concise but detailed summary of incident:

Name and contact (where possible) of anyone involved including witnesses and friends/family:

Any action taken including any first aid administered:

Referral to any other agency including the name of the contact at the agency and their contact details:

Name of person completing form:

Date: