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Safeguarding policy

This policy applies to all staff, the board of trustees, volunteers (including students and ambassadors), or anyone working on behalf of The Brain Tumour Charity.

The purpose of this policy is:

  • To protect children and adults at risk who are in contact with The Brain Tumour Charity. This includes the children of adults who are in contact with The Brain Tumour Charity.
  • To protect staff and volunteers.
  • To provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to safeguarding.

The Brain Tumour Charity comes into direct contact with children and adults at risk through our support and information services, face to face meetings, and home visits as well as at our events such as family days, information events and fundraising events. A large proportion of our work also involves communicating with individuals online, through social media and Live Chat and also via telephone and post.

The Brain Tumour Charity believes that a child or adult at risk should never experience abuse of any kind. Through the implementation of this safeguarding policy, The Brain Tumour Charity will demonstrate its commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and adults at risk.

All children and adults at risk require the same protection, paying due regard to the 9 protected characteristics as cited in the Equality Act 2010. This policy will not discriminate, either directly or indirectly, on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation).

The Safeguarding Team are responsible for reviewing and deciding on the best course of action for all safeguarding enquiries which are received from staff across the charity. The safeguarding team consists of staff members from officer to director level and they bring expertise and experience from a wide range of backgrounds.

The safeguarding lead, in consultation with the board of Trustees, will be responsible for regularly updating this policy and ensuring that all employees of the charity are familiar with its contents.

Legal framework

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

  • What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused: advice for practitioners (Department for Education, 2015).
  • Working together to safeguard children (Department for Education, 2018).
  • The Children Act (1989).
  • The Children Act (2004).
  • The Care Act (2014).
  • The Equality Act (2010).

Definitions

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment.
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development.
  • Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, and
  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes (‘Working Together’ 2018) .

In this policy, a child is defined as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday.

Safeguarding Adults at risk means protecting their right to live in safety free from abuse or neglect. Safeguarding duties for adults at risk apply when working with anyone aged 18 or over who:

  • Has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs).
  • Is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect.
  • As a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect (The Care Act, 2014).

An adult at risk of abuse may:

  • Have an illness affecting their mental or physical health.
  • Have a learning disability.
  • Suffer from drug or alcohol problems.
  • Be frail.

Abuse is a selfish act of oppression and injustice, exploitation and manipulation of power by those in a position of authority. This can be caused by those inflicting harm or those who fail to act to prevent harm. Abuse is not restricted to any socio-economic group, gender or culture.

It can take a number of forms, including the following:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Bullying
  • Neglect
  • Financial (or material) abuse

Recruitment and training

We will implement safe recruitment practices to ensure that all staff, volunteers and the Board of Trustees are suitable and legally able to act in their positions and that Disclosure and Barring Service checks are sought where a role is eligible. Inductions of new staff will include discussions of the Safeguarding Policy (and confirmation of understanding). The policy will be updated annually and disseminated to all paid staff and volunteers.

All paid staff, volunteers and the Board of Trustees are required to complete a Safeguarding Course every 3 years and members of The Safeguarding Team are required to complete training every 2 years. Staff are therefore expected to have a sound understanding of safeguarding concerns, including potential abuse and neglect of children and adults at risk, which may come to light in the workplace as well as in the settings which we visit and are based. At whatever level we identify risks we will highlight them and seek to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to safeguard the individuals concerned.

We recognise that the involvement in situations where there is a risk or actual harm can be stressful for staff concerned. The mechanisms in place to support staff include:

  • debriefing support for paid staff and volunteers, so they can reflect on issues dealt with.
  • seeking further support as appropriate.

Reporting

The processes outlined below detail the stages involved in raising and reporting safeguarding concerns about children and adults at risk.

5.1 Action to take if you are in direct contact with the person raising the concern, for instance through a telephone call, receipt of a complaint or a meeting face to face.

  • Stop other activity and focus on what you are being told, or have just seen. Responding to suspicion of abuse takes immediate priority.
  • Do not promise confidentiality or agree to ‘keep it a secret’. Explain clearly to the person raising the concern that you need to pass on the concern to someone who can help. You can express support and reassurance to the person giving you the information, particularly if it is a child.
  • Avoid asking leading questions like ‘Did they do X to you?’ but confine yourself to open questions like ‘Can you tell me what happened?’
  • If talking with a child then work at their pace – do not rush them.
  • Avoid expressing opinions or emotions.
  • Ask only what you need to know to gather factual details. You do not need full details but do need sufficient information for an informed referral including: details of the concern or allegation and if possible name, date of birth and address of the individual concerned.
  • Take notes of what has been said, what you have heard or seen – if it is not possible to take notes at the time, do so immediately afterwards. Keep the notes taken at the time, without amendment, omission or addition, whatever subsequent reports may be written. The notes should be dated, signed and kept in a secure place. Include the date, time and location of the alleged incident and names of the individuals involved. .
  • Do not investigate the case yourself.
  • Do not, at this stage, tell the person who is the subject of an allegation or suspicion what you have been told. Whilst it is good practice to seek permission to make subsequent referrals to outside agencies, this should only be actioned if there are assurances that it will not place an individual at any increased risk. It is also important to ensure that any discussions with the family do not jeopardise any subsequent investigations or enquiries.
  • Refer all concerns to the Safeguarding Team in the first instance, who will discuss next steps and if the case needs to be referred on to the police or Social Services. In an emergency situation, where a child or adult at risk is in immediate danger, or where a criminal act has been witnessed, call 999 or the relevant Social Services Department.
  • Take actions to ensure your own safety (if required) and in an emergency dial 999. Refer to the lone working policy for further details on how to keep yourself safe.

5.2 If you are not in direct contact with the person raising the concern, for instance if you have received a letter, email or have identified a concern on social media.

  • Stop other activity and focus on what you are being told. Responding to suspicion of abuse takes immediate priority.
  • Retain any written records including emails and letters.
  • Refer all concerns to the Safeguarding Team, who will discuss next steps and if the case needs to be referred on to the police or Social Services.

5.3 Reporting concerns outside of normal working hours

All safeguarding concerns should be reported to the safeguarding team (during normal working hours) or the nominated safeguarding lead (at charity events). The Safeguarding lead/ team will discuss the concerns and decide next steps. If the concerns are identified outside of normal office hours and the Safeguarding lead/team or CEO is unavailable, decide whether there is an immediate risk to the child or adult at risk. In an emergency situation, where an individual is in immediate danger, or where a criminal act has been witnessed, call 999 or the relevant Social Services Department. This will usually be via the main switchboard number of the local authority. Inform the Safeguarding lead and your line manager of your concerns and actions as soon as practicable.

5.4 Allegations about a member of The Brain Tumour Charity staff

Staff may come into contact with children at charity events, in the community and during home visits. During these times, staff should not be left alone with children. A parent/carer or another staff member should be present. On occasion, it may be appropriate to meet someone under the age of 18 on a 1:1 basis however this would require the prior agreement of the employees line manager, also giving due regard to the ‘Lone Working policy’.

Where concerns are reported about a staff member of The Brain Tumour Charity, they should always be passed to the CEO. If the CEO is not available, then the Head of Talent or a senior manager should be contacted.

The CEO will liaise with a member of the Safeguarding Team. Together, they will coordinate decisions and any actions to be taken, including any referral to children’s social care services / police and / or The Charity Commission.