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Understanding Safeguarding of Children and Young People

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 1.1) The policies, procedures and practices for safe working with children and young people all stem from the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman by Ian Huntley. From this horrific act of evil the Safeguarding Vulnerable Group Act 2006 was born (see evidence ‘6’ – 520 1.3). Another public enquiry was set up to address the failure of the law after the death of Victoria Climbié. Within this enquiry, Lord Laming called for changes to be made in child protection policies. From this there was a new incentive born called ‘Every Child Matters’ in 2003. This became one of the most far reaching policy incentives to be released in the last 10 years. It covers children and young adults up to the age of 19 or 24 for those with disabilities. This also led to changes in the Children’s Act in 2004 and provided a detailed framework for working with children within multi agency partnerships. The themes that were adopted by all agencies working with children are – Be healthy

Stay safe
Enjoy and achieve
Make a positive contribution
Achieve economic well-being
This policy and other policies and guidelines alike it such as ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ 2006 and ‘The protection of Children in England: A progress report’ 2009 continue to promote the sharing of information and data between those working with vulnerable children. 516 2.1) There are different signs, symptoms, indicators and behaviours that may cause concerns in the context of safeguarding for each type of abuse. The government guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010’ identifies four types of abuse as being – Physical abuse

Emotional abuse
Sexual abuse
Physical Abuse
This is an action that results in a child being hurt in a physical manner such has hitting, shaking, burning, drowning or suffocating as the result of harm. Signs of physical abuse can include – Unexplained bruising or injuries
of any part of the body

Multiple bruises – on the upper arm or in the outside of the thigh Cigarette burns
Human bite marks
Multiple burns with a clearly demarcated edge such as those made by a cigarette If a child or young adult is being physically abused by someone, they could display changes in behaviour that could be an indicator. These changes are – Fear of parents being approached

Aggressive behaviour or temper outbursts
Flinching when approached or touched
Reluctance to get changed, for example, in hot weather
Withdrawn behaviour
Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is any act that can leave a child feeling unloved or inadequate. This can also include not giving the child chances to express their views, silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they talk. Changes of behaviour in a child that is being emotionally abused could be – Sulking, hair twisting, rocking or behaviour which is neurotic in nature Being unable to play

Fear of making mistakes
Speech disorders which develop suddenly
Self-harm such as cutting
Fear of parent being approached or involved in discussion
Development delay in terms of emotional progress
Sexual Abuse
This type of abuse can include forcing a child to take part in sexual activity of any kind including non-contact activities. Changes in child’s behaviour if they are being subjected to sexual abuse could be – Becoming aggressive or withdrawn

Fear of being left with a specific person or group of people Having nightmares
Trying to ruin away from home
Sexual knowledge which is beyond their age or sexual drawing or using sexual language Bedwetting
Eating problems such as overeating or anorexia
Self-harm or mutilation, or suicide attempts
Saying they have secrets they cannot tell
Substance or drug abuse
Suddenly having unexplained source of money or consumer items Not allowed to have friends
Acting in a sexually explicit way towards adults
There could also be physical signs that a child or young person is being subjected to sexual abuse. These signs can include – Pain or itching in the genital region
Bruising or bleeding near genital region
Sexually transmitted disease
Vaginal discharge or infection
Stomach pains
Discomfort when walking or sitting down
Neglect is failure to meet a child’s or young person’s basic physical need and/or psychological need. Neglect is likely to result in the child’s health or development becoming impaired. The physical signs of neglect could be – The child or young person being constantly hungry, sometimes stealing food from other children. Being smelly or dirty

Loss of weight or being constantly underweight
Inappropriate clothing for the weather conditions
Changes in behaviour that can indicate neglect can be –
Constant tiredness
Not attending medical needs and/or failing to attend appointments Being few friends
Mentioning being left alone or unsupervised.
2.2) The actions that need to be taken is there is suspicion of a child or young person is being subjected to or alleges abuse are to follow your organisations policies and procedures which are already in place and also follow the local authority’s safeguarding protocols. Along with the policies and procedures within your setting, you must remember that any suspicion or allegations could lead on a criminal investigation so you must not do anything to jeopardise any police investigation.

You must not ask any child any leading questions to attempt to investigate any allegations yourself. You must remember to keep a full record of information about the child and the allegation including names, addresses, gender, date of birth, names of the person/persons with primary care and primary carers. 516 2.3) Children, young people and their families have rights in situations where harm or abuse is being suspected or alleged. In 1991 the UN Convention on rights of the child 1989 was ratified in the UK and included the following rights for children – The right to protection from harm

The right to express their views
The right to be listened to
The right to care and service for disabled children or children living away from home
The right to protection from any form of discrimination
The right to receive and share information as long as that information is not damaging to others
The right to freedom of religion although they should also be free to examine beliefs
The right to education

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