18. Safeguarding Policy


West Hill Nursery

18. Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and Procedures



Date of publication:        5.9.16

Review date:  5.9.17 or when new information needs adding.


Reviewed by:



Designated Safeguarding Officer  Ruth Garland. 

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer(s)  Tracy Butler/ Leo Kybert

Manager/Playleader   Ruth Garland.  

Proprietor   Ruth Garland. 


Table of Contents


Policy Statement and principals

Safeguarding legislation and guidance

Roles and responsibilities

Good practice guidelines and staff code of conduct

Abuse of position of trust

Vulnerable Children

Bruising on non-mobile babies

Children with Disability

Missing children

Helping children to keep themselves safe

Support for those involved in a child protection issue

Devon Escalation Policy

Complaints procedure

Whistle blowing

Allegations against staff

Staff training

Safer recruitment

Site security

Extended Activities and off-site arrangements

Photography and images

Online Safety

Child Protection procedures

Enquiries to MASH

Children with sexually harmful behaviour

Sexual exploitation of Children

Female Genital Mutilation

Forced Marriage

Radicalisation and Extremism

Private fostering arrangements

Confidentiality and sharing information

Reporting directly to child protection agencies

Related safeguarding portfolio policies

Special circumstances

Appendix 1 – Glossary


Policy statement and principals

This policy is one of a series in  (west hill nursery school)  integrated safeguarding portfolio.


The providers safeguarding arrangements are inspected by Ofsted under the judgements for the ‘Effectiveness of leadership and management’ and ‘Personal development, behaviour and welfare’.


This policy is available on the (west hill nursery)  website and is included in the staff/volunteers, induction packs


Our core safeguarding principles are:


·         the setting has (west hill nursery)  responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children is of paramount importance

·         children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure

·         [representatives of the(nursery)   children, parents, staff and management group  will be involved in policy development and review]

·         policies will be reviewed at least annually unless an incident or new legislation or guidance suggests the need for an interim review.


Child protection statement

We recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children. We endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected and valued. We are alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and follow our procedures to ensure that children receive effective support, protection and justice.


The procedures contained in this policy apply to all staff /volunteers and the management group [and are consistent with those of the Devon safeguarding children board (DSCB).]

Policy principles

·         The welfare of the child is paramount

·         All children, regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity, have equal rights to protection

·         All staff have an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may suggest a child is at risk of harm

·         Children  and staff involved in child protection issues will receive appropriate support

Policy aims

·         To provide all staff/volunteers/management group  with the necessary information to enable them to meet their child protection responsibilities

·         To ensure consistent good practice

·         To demonstrate the settings  commitment with regard to child protection to pupils, parents and other partners


Safeguarding legislation and guidance


·         The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (March 2014) section 3 covers the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements including child protection that early years providers must adhere to. All staff must read Early Years Foundation Stage  and staff can find a copy in (state where copies are kept)


·         The statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguarding Children 2015 covers the legislative requirements and expectations on individual services (including early years providers)  to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It also provides the framework for DSCBs to monitor the effectiveness of local services, including safeguarding arrangements in Early Years.


·         The statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015 is issued under Section 175 of the Education Act 2002, the Education Regulations 2014 and the Education (Non-Maintained Special Schools) (England) Regulations 2011. It is advised that Early Years providers should have regard to this guidance when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. (‘School’ includes maintained nursery schools).


·         What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused 2015 - Advice for practitioners is non statutory advice which helps practitioners (everyone who works with children) to identify abuse and neglect and take appropriate action  All staff must read this guidance and a copy can be found in ……….(state where copies are kept or accessible)


·         The prevent duty Departmental advice for schools and childcare providers June 2015  non statutory advice produced to help recipients understand the implications for the Prevent duty. The prevent duty is the duty to Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 on specified authorities ..


In the UK, more than 50,000 children are annually subject to a child protection plan.  Research suggests that one child a week dies from abuse and one child in six is exposed to violence in the home. The prevalence of neglect continues to be a major concern and online abuse is increasing.  The sexual exploitation of children is a growing problem and disabled children are three times more likely to be abused and neglected.


Due to their day-to-day contact with children, staff are uniquely placed to observe changes in children’s behaviour and the outward signs of abuse. Children may also turn to a trusted adult in the setting when they are in distress or at risk. It is vital that all staff are alert to the signs of abuse and understand the procedures for reporting their concerns. The (staff at west hill) will always act on identified concerns

Roles and responsibilities

 All early years providers should appoint a member of the leadership team to coordinate child protection arrangements. 


The Designated Safeguarding officer:

·         has the status and authority to carry out the duties of the post, including committing resources and supporting and directing other staff

·         is appropriately trained, with updates every three years

·         acts as a source of support and expertise  within the early years setting

·         encourages a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings

·         is alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and young carers

·         has a working knowledge of DSCB procedures

·         makes staff aware of training courses and the latest policies on safeguarding

·         has an understanding of locally agreed processes for providing early help and intervention

·         keeps detailed written records of all concerns, ensuring that such records are stored securely and flagged on, but kept separate from, the child’s general file

·         refers cases of suspected abuse to MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub)

·         notifies children’s social care if a child with a child protection plan is absent for more than two days without explanation

·         ensures that when a child leaves (west hill nursery), their child protection file is passed to the new provider or school (separately from the main child’sl file and ensuring secure transit) and confirmation of receipt is obtained. The child’s social worker is also informed

·         attends and/or contributes to child protection conferences

·         coordinates (west hill nursery) contribution to child protection plans

·         develops effective links with relevant statutory and voluntary agencies including the DSCB

·         ensures that all staff sign to indicate that they have read and understood the child protection policy

·         ensures that the child protection policy and procedures are regularly reviewed and updated annually, working with management group  regarding this

·         liaises with the nominated management person and Manager /Playleader  as appropriate

·         keeps a record of staff attendance at child protection training

·         makes the child protection policy available publicly, on the website or by other means

·         ensures parents are aware of (our) role in safeguarding and that referrals about suspected abuse and neglect may be made


The deputy designated safeguarding officer:

Is/are appropriately trained and, in the absence of the designated safeguarding officer, carries out those functions necessary to ensure the ongoing safety and protection of children. In the event of the long-term absence of the designated safeguarding officer, the deputy will assume all of the functions above.


The Management Group :

Ensures that:

·         appoints a DSO for child protection who is a member of the leadership team and who has undertaken training in inter-agency working, in addition to basic child protection training

·         ensures that the DSO role is explicit in the role holder’s job description

·         has a child protection policy and procedures, including a staff behaviour policy/code of conduct, that are consistent with DSCB and statutory requirements, reviewed annually and made available publicly on the website or by other means

·         has procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse made against members of staff including allegations made against the Manager/Playleader and allegations against other children

·         follows safer recruitment procedures that include statutory checks on staff suitability to work with children and disqualification by association regulations

·         develops a training strategy that ensures all staff, including the manager/playleader, receive information about the  safeguarding arrangements, staff behaviour policy or code of conduct and the role of the DSO on induction, and appropriate child protection training, which is regularly updated in line with any requirements of the DSCB. The DSO receives refresher training at three-yearly intervals.

·         ensures that all staff, including temporary staff and volunteers are provided with the  child protection policy and staff behaviour/conduct policy

·         ensures that the (setting) contributes to early help arrangements and inter agency working and plans

·         provides a coordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified

·         considers how children may be taught about safeguarding, including online appropriate to age and developmental of the children.

 The management group nominates a member to be responsible for liaising with the local authority and other agencies in the event of an allegation being made against the manager/playleader.

 It is the responsibility of the management group to ensure that (west hill nursery) safeguarding, recruitment and managing allegations procedures take into account the procedures and practice of the local authority and DSCB and national guidance.


An annual survey will be submitted, as required, to the local authority (Devon Early Years and Childcare Service) about how the safeguarding requirements have been implemented . Any weaknesses will be rectified without delay.

The Manager/Playleader:

·         ensures that the safeguarding/child protection policy and procedures are implemented and followed by all staff

·         allocates sufficient time, training, support and resources, including cover arrangements when necessary, to enable the DSO and deputy to carry out their roles effectively, including the assessment of children and attendance at strategy discussions and other necessary meetings

·         ensures that all staff feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and that such concerns are handled sensitively and in accordance with the whistle blowing procedures

·         ensures that children are provided with opportunities to learn about safeguarding, including keeping themselves safe online

·         ensure that the child’s wishes are taken into account when determining action to be taken or services to be provided

·         liaises with the designated safeguarding officer and Local authority designated officer (LADO) in the local authority where an allegation is made against a member of staff/volunteer  ensure Ofsted is informed within 14 days of the allegation

·         ensures that anyone who has harmed or may pose a risk to a child is referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Good practice guidelines and staff code of conduct

To meet and maintain our responsibilities towards children we need to agree standards of good practice which form a code of conduct for all staff. Good practice includes:

·         treating all children with respect

·         setting a good example by conducting ourselves appropriately

·         involving children in decisions that affect them

·         encouraging positive, respectful and safe behaviour amongst children

·         being a good listener

·         being alert to changes in childrens’ behaviour and to signs of abuse, neglect and exploitation

·         recognising that challenging behaviour may be an indicator of abuse

·         reading and understanding the settings child protection policy, staff behaviour policy and guidance documents on wider safeguarding issues, for example bullying, behaviour, physical contact, sexual exploitation, extremism, online safety and information-sharing

·         asking the child’s  permission before initiating physical contact, such as assisting with dressing, physical support or administering first aid

·         maintaining appropriate standards of conversation and interaction with and between children and avoiding the use of sexualised or derogatory language

·         being aware that the personal and family circumstances and lifestyles of some children  lead to an increased risk of abuse

·         referring all concerns about a child’s safety and welfare to the DSO, or, if necessary directly to police or MASH

·         following (West hill nursery) rules with regard to relationships with children and communication with children and families, including on social media

Abuse of position of trust

All staff are aware that inappropriate behavior towards children is unacceptable and that their conduct towards children must be beyond reproach.

(included in staff guidance)

In addition, staff should understand that, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is an offence for a person over the age of 18 to have a sexual relationship with a person under the age of 18, where that person is in a position of trust, even if the relationship is consensual. This means that any sexual activity between a member of the staff and a child/young person under 18 may be a criminal offence, even if that child/young person  is over the age of consent.

[Staff Behavior Policy/Code of Conduct/Ethical Practice sets out our expectations of staff and is signed by all staff members.]

Children who may be particularly vulnerable

Some children may have an increased risk of abuse. It is important to understand that this increase in risk is not principally down to the child’s personality, impairment or circumstances. Above all the risk is due to society’s attitudes and assumptions, and also to child protection procedures that fail to acknowledge children’s diverse circumstances. Many factors can contribute to an increase in risk, including prejudice and discrimination, isolation, social exclusion, communication issues and reluctance on the part of some adults to accept that abuse can occur.


To ensure that all of our children receive equal protection, we will give special consideration to children who are:


·         disabled or have special educational needs

·         young carers

·         affected by parental substance misuse, domestic violence or parental mental-health needs

·         asylum seekers

·         living away from home

·         vulnerable to being bullied, or engaging in bullying

·         living in temporary accommodation

·         live transient lifestyles

·         living in chaotic and unsupportive home situations

·         vulnerable to discrimination and maltreatment on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexuality

·         at risk of sexual exploitation

·         do not have English as a first language

·         at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM)

·         at risk of forced marriage

·         at risk of being drawn into extremism


This list provides examples of additionally vulnerable groups and is not exhaustive. Special consideration includes the provision of safeguarding information and resources in community languages and accessible formats for children with communication needs.

Bruising in Pre-mobile Babies

Bruising is the commonest presenting feature of physical abuse in children. The younger the child the higher the risk that the bruising is non-accidental, especially where the child is under the age of six months. Bruising in any child ‘not independently mobile’ should prompt suspicion of maltreatment an enquiry to MASH.

Children with Disabilities

Statistically, children with behavioural difficulties and disabilities are most vulnerable to abuse. Setting staff who deal with children with complex and multiple disabilities and/or emotional and behavioural problems should be particularly sensitive to signs of abuse

Missing children

Attendance, absence and exclusions are closely monitored. A child going missing from an ealry years and childcare provider this could be  a potential indicator of abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. The DSO will monitor absence and take appropriate action.

Helping children to keep themselves safe

The Ofsted (August 2015) Early Years Inspection Handbook  says  that children are taught to understand and manage how to keep themselves safe from relevant  risks, including when using the internet and social meida. Our approach is designed to help children to think about risks they may encounter and with the support of staff work out how those risks might be reduced or managed. Discussions about risk are empowering and enabling for all children and promote sensible behaviour rather than fear or anxiety. Children are taught how to conduct themselves and how to behave in a responsible manner. Children  and parents/carers are also reminded regularly about online safety, the risks of sharing content and images online and tackling bullying, including cyber bullying procedures. (name of Provider) continually promotes an ethos of respect for children, and children are encouraged to speak to a member of staff of their choosing about any worries they may have.

Support for those involved in a child protection issue

Child abuse is devastating for the child and can also result in distress and anxiety for staff/volunteers  who become involved.

We will support children, their families, and staff/volunteers by:

·         taking all suspicions and disclosures seriously

·         nominating a link person who will keep all parties informed and be the central point of contact

·         Where a member of staff is the subject of an allegation made by a child/parent/staff member, separate link people will be nominated to avoid any conflict of interest

·         responding sympathetically to any request from child or staff for time out to deal with distress or anxiety

·         maintaining confidentiality and sharing information on a need-to-know basis only with relevant individuals and agencies

·         storing records securely

·         offering details of helplines, counselling or other avenues of external support

·         following the procedures laid down in our child protection, whistleblowing, complaints and disciplinary procedures

·         co-operating fully with relevant statutory agencies.


Devon Escalation Policy

Escalation is the course of action that should be taken by professionals where there are concerns that the child or young person’s safety is compromised and the current action of other agencies does not support effective safeguarding of the child or young person.

The DSCB is clear that there must be respectful challenge whenever a professional or agency has a concern about the action or inaction of another. Agencies should not be defensive if challenged. Practitioners and managers should always be prepared to review decisions and plans with an open mind and revise decisions in the light of new information.

Problem resolution is an integral part of professional co-operation and joint working to safeguard children;

Professional disagreement requires resolution in a constructive and timely fashion

If you require support to follow the Escalation Policy, please call your Early Years Safeguarding Adviser  01392 383000.

The Escalation Policy can be found on the DSCB website: http://www.devonsafeguardingchildren.org/

Complaints procedure

Our complaints procedure will be followed where a child or parent/carer raises a concern about poor practice towards a child that initially does not reach the threshold for child protection action. Poor practice examples include unfairly singling out a child or attempting to humiliate them, bullying or belittling a child or discriminating against them in some way. Complaints are managed by manager/playleader. (An explanation of the complaints procedure is included in the Safeguarding Information Booklet for Parents. )


Complaints from staff are dealt with under (West Hill Nursery) complaints and disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Complaints which escalate into a child protection concern will automatically be managed under (west hill nursery) child protection procedures

Whistle blowing if you have concerns about a colleague

Staff who are concerned about the conduct of a colleague towards a child are undoubtedly placed in a very difficult situation. They may worry that they have misunderstood the situation and they will wonder whether a report could jeopardise their colleague’s career. All staff must remember that the welfare of the child is paramount. (west hill nursery)  whistleblowing policy enables staff to raise concerns or allegations, initially in confidence and for a sensitive enquiry to take place.

All concerns of poor practice or possible child abuse by colleagues should be reported to the DSO/Manager/Playleader. Complaints about the Manager/Playleader should be reported to the chair of the management committee or proprietor.

Staff may also report their concerns directly to children’s social care/Local  Authority Designated Officer  or the police if they believe direct reporting is necessary to secure action.

Allegations against staff

When an allegation is made against a member of staff, set procedures must be followed. It is rare for a child to make an entirely false or malicious allegation, although misunderstandings and misinterpretations of events do happen.


A child may also make an allegation against an innocent party because they are too afraid to name the real perpetrator. Even so, we must accept that some professionals do pose a serious risk to children and we must act on every allegation.

Staff who are the subject of an allegation have the right to have their case dealt with fairly, quickly and consistently and to be kept informed of its progress. Suspension is not the default option and alternatives to suspension will always be considered. In some cases, staff may be suspended where this is deemed to be the best way to ensure that children are protected.  In the event of suspension (West Hill Nursery)  will provide support and a named contact for the member of staff

The full procedures for dealing with allegations against staff can be found in Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, 2015) and in the Child Protection Policy  under  Managing Allegations. Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and Human Resources can provide advice.

Staff, parents and management group are reminded that publication of material that may lead to the identification of a staff member who is the subject of an allegation is prohibited by law. Publication includes verbal conversations or writing, including content placed on social media sites

Allegations concerning staff who no longer work at the (west hill nursery), or historical allegations will be reported to the police

Staff training

It is important that all staff receive training to enable them to recognise the possible signs of abuse, neglect and exploitation and to know what to do if they have a concern.


New staff and members of the management group will receive a briefing during their induction, which includes the providers safeguarding/child protection policy and staff behaviour policy, reporting and recording arrangements, and details for the DSO. All staff, including the manager/playleader (unless the manager/playleader is the DSO) and governors will receive  training that is regularly updated and the DSO will receive training updated at least [every three years], including training in inter-agency procedures.


All staff will be made aware of the increased risk to abuse of certain groups, including disabled and SEN children, looked after children and young carers

Safer recruitment

(West Hill Nursery)  endeavors to ensure that we do our utmost to employ safe staff by following the [guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2015) together with the DSCB and]  Staff Recruitment policy and procedures  


Safer recruitment means that applicants will:

·         complete an application form which includes their employment history and explains any gaps in that history

·         provide two referees, including at least one who can comment on the applicant’s suitability to work with children

·         provide evidence of identity and qualifications

·         if offered employment, be checked in accordance with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) regulations as appropriate to their role.  This will include an enhanced DBS check and a barred list check for those engaged in Regulated Activity

·         if offered employment, provide evidence of their right to work in the UK

·         be interviewed, if shortlisted.


The setting( west hill nursery)   will also

o   verify the preferred candidate’s mental and physical fitness to carry out their work responsibilities

o   obtain references for all shortlisted candidates, including internal candidates

o   carry out additional or alternative checks for applicants who have lived or worked outside the UK

Where possible  least one member of each recruitment panel will have attended safer recruitment training.


All new members of staff will undergo an induction that includes familiarisation with the  child protection policy and staff behaviour policy and identification of their child protection training needs.


All staff sign to confirm they have received a copy of the child protection policy and staff behaviour policy.


All relevant staff (involved in early years settings and/or before or after school care for children under eight) are made aware of the disqualification and disqualification by association legislation


(west hill nursery)  obtains written confirmation from supply agencies or third party organisations that agency staff or other individuals who may work in the setting  have been appropriately checked.


Trainees /apprentices  will be checked either by the Early Years provider or by the training provider, from whom written confirmation will be obtained.


(west hill nursery)  maintains a single central record of recruitment checks undertaken.

Regulated Activity

(west hill nursery)  are ‘specified place’ which means that the majority of staff and volunteers will be engaged in regulated activity.  A fuller explanation of regulated activity can be found in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2015) part three.


Volunteers, including management group will undergo checks commensurate with their work in the setting and contact with children. Under no circumstances will a volunteer who has not been appropriately checked be left unsupervised when engaging  in regulated activity.

Supervised volunteers

Volunteers who work only in a supervised capacity will undergo the safe recruitment checks appropriate to their role, in accordance with the settings   risk assessment process and statutory guidance.


(west hill nursery) checks the identity of all contractors working on site and requests DBS checks and barred list checks where appropriate. Contractors who have not undergone checks will not be allowed to work unsupervised or in regulated activity

Site security

Visitors to the setting, including contractors, are asked to sign in and are given a badge, which confirms they have permission to be on site. Parents who are simply delivering or collecting their children do not need to sign in. All visitors are expected to observe our  safeguarding and health and safety regulations to ensure children in are kept safe. The Manager/Playleader will exercise professional judgement in determining whether any visitor should be escorted or supervised while on site.

Extended activities and off-site arrangements

All extended and off site activities are subject to a risk assessment to satisfy health and safety and safeguarding requirements.   If other organisations provide services or activities on our site we will check that they have appropriate procedures in place, including safer recruitment procedures.

Photography and images

The vast majority of people who take or view photographs or videos of children do so for entirely innocent and legitimate reasons. Sadly, some people abuse children through taking or distributing images, so we must ensure that we have some safeguards in place.

To protect children and families  we will:

·         seek their consent for photographs to be taken or published (for example, on our website or in newspapers or publications)

·         use only the child’s first name with an image

·         ensure child’s are appropriately dressed

·         encourage children to tell us if they are worried about any photographs that are taken of them.

Online Safety

Our children, parents, volunteers and staff increasingly use electronic equipment on a daily basis to access the internet and share content and images via social networking sites such as facebook, twitter, MSN, tumblr, snapchat and instagram.  


Unfortunately some adults and young people/children will use these technologies to harm children. The harm might range from sending hurtful or abusive texts and emails, to grooming and enticing children to engage in sexually harmful conversations, webcam photography or face-to-face meetings.

Children may also be distressed or harmed by seeing and or accessing inappropriate websites that promote unhealthy lifestyles, extremist behaviour and criminal activity.


(West Hill Nursery) online safety policy  explains how we try to keep children safe, protect and educate children in the safe use of technology. We do not have internet acsess within the setting. Cyberbullying and sexting by children will be treated as seriously as any other type of bullying and will be managed through our anti-bullying procedures.  Serious incidents may be managed in line with our child protection procedures


Many children own or have access to hand held devices and parents are encouraged to consider measures to keep their children safe when using the internet and social media at home and in the community. Children our not aloud mobile devices within the setting.

All staff/volunteers  receive online safety training

Staff/children and family relationships

(West Hill Nursery) provides advice to staff regarding their personal online activity and has strict rules regarding online contact and electronic communication with children and families .  Staff found to be in breach of these rules may be subject to disciplinary action or child protection investigation. Staff our not to communicate via online services and parents our asked to contact us directly on site or via telephone.

Child protection procedures

Recognising abuse

To ensure that our children are protected from harm, we need to understand what types of behaviour constitute abuse and neglect.


Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, for example by hitting them, or by failing to act to prevent harm, for example by leaving a small child home alone, or leaving knives or matches within reach of an unattended toddler.


Abuse may be committed by adult men or women and by other children and young people.


Four categories of abuse

Physical abuse
Physical abuse is a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child. (this used to be called Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, but is now more usually referred to as fabricated or induced illness).


Emotional abuse
Emotional abuse is
the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.


Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse
involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.


Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

·         provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);

·         protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;

·         ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or

·         ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.


Definitions taken from Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015.



While bullying between children is not a separate category of abuse and neglect, it is a very serious issue that can cause considerable anxiety and distress. At its most serious level, bullying can have a disastrous effect on a child’s wellbeing and in very rare cases has been a feature in the suicide of some young people.

Indicators of abuse

Physical signs define some types of abuse, for example, bruising, bleeding or broken bones resulting from physical or sexual abuse, or injuries sustained while a child has been inadequately supervised. The identification of physical signs is complicated, as children may go to great lengths to hide injuries, often because they are ashamed or embarrassed, or their abuser has threatened further violence or trauma if they ‘tell’. It is also quite difficult for anyone without medical training to categorise injuries into accidental or deliberate with any degree of certainty. For these reasons it is vital that staff are also aware of the range of behavioural indicators of abuse and report any concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Officer.


It is the responsibility of staff to report their concerns. It is not their responsibility to investigate or decide whether a child has been abused.


A child who is being abused, neglected or exploited may:


·         have bruises, bleeding, burns, fractures or other injuries

·         show signs of pain or discomfort

·         keep arms and legs covered, even in warm weather

·         be concerned about changing for PE or swimming

·         look unkempt and uncared for

·         change their eating habits

·         have difficulty in making or sustaining friendships

·         appear fearful

·         be reckless with regard to their own or other’s safety

·         self-harm

·         be frequently absence, arrive late or leave the setting for part of the day

·         show signs of not wanting to go home

·         display a change in behaviour – from quiet to aggressive, or happy-go-lucky to withdrawn

·         challenge authority

·         become disinterested in their setting

·         be constantly tired or preoccupied

·         be wary of physical contact

·         be involved in, or particularly knowledgeable about drugs or alcohol

·         display sexual knowledge or behaviour beyond that normally expected for their age

·         acquire gifts such as money or a mobile phone from new ‘friends’


Individual indicators will rarely, in isolation, provide conclusive evidence of abuse. They should be viewed as part of a jigsaw, and each small piece of information will help the DSO to decide how to proceed. Staff are encouraged to use Devon’s Threshold Tool.


It is very important that staff report their concerns – they do not need ‘absolute proof’ that the child is at risk.


Impact of abuse

The impact of child abuse, neglect and exploitation should not be underestimated. Many children do recover well and go on to lead healthy, happy and productive lives, although most adult survivors agree that the emotional scars remain, however well buried. For some children, full recovery is beyond their reach, and the rest of their childhood and their adulthood may be characterised by anxiety or depression, self-harm, eating disorders, alcohol and substance misuse, unequal and destructive relationships and long-term medical or psychiatric difficulties. 

Taking action

Any child, in any family in any early years and childcare provider could become a victim of abuse.  Staff should always maintain an attitude of “it could happen here”.


Key points for staff to remember for taking action are:


·         in an emergency take the action necessary to help the child, if necessary call 999

·         report your concern as soon as possible to the DSO, definitely by the end of the day

·         do not start your own investigation

·         share information on a need-to-know basis only – do not discuss the issue with colleagues, friends or family

·         complete a record of concern

·         seek support for yourself if you are distressed.

If you are concerned about a child’s welfare

There will be occasions when staff may suspect that a child may be at risk, but have no ‘real’ evidence. The child’s behaviour may have changed, their artwork  or writing could be bizarre or physical but inconclusive signs may have been noticed. In these circumstances, staff will try to give the child  the opportunity to talk. The signs they have noticed may be due to a variety of factors, for example, a parent has moved out, a pet has died, a grandparent is very ill or an accident has occurred. It is fine for staff to ask the child if they are OK or if they can help in any way.


Staff should use the welfare concern form/safeguarding record log  to record these early concerns. If the child does begin to reveal that they are being harmed, staff should follow the advice below. Following an initial conversation with the child, if the member of staff remains concerned, they should discuss their concerns with the DSO.  

Concerns which do not meet the threshold for child protection intervention could be managed through the Early Help/DAF process

If a child discloses to you

It takes a lot of courage for a child to disclose that they are being abused. They may feel ashamed, particularly if the abuse is sexual; their abuser may have threatened what will happen if they tell; they may have lost all trust in adults; or they may believe, or have been told, that the abuse is their own fault.  Sometimes they may not be aware that what is happening is abusive.


If a child talks to a member of staff about any risks to their safety or wellbeing,  for younger children this could be through their play or conversations with their peers, key worker etc. the staff member will need to let the child know that they must pass the information on - staff are not allowed to keep secrets. The point at which they tell the child this is a matter for professional judgement. If they jump in immediately the child may think that they do not want to listen, if left until the very end of the conversation, the child may feel that they have been misled into revealing more than they would have otherwise.


During their conversations with the child staff will:

·         allow them to speak freely

·         remain calm and not overreact – the child may stop talking if they feel they are upsetting their listener

·         give reassuring nods or words of comfort – ‘I’m so sorry this has happened’, ‘I want to help’, ‘This isn’t your fault’, ‘You are doing the right thing in talking to me’

·         not be afraid of silences – staff must remember how hard this must be for the child

·         under no circumstances ask investigative questions – such as how many times this has happened, whether it happens to siblings too, or what the child’s mother thinks about all this. Do remember your TED questions: Tell me…. Explain…… Describe……

·         at an appropriate time tell the child that in order to help them, the member of staff must pass the information on

·         not automatically offer any physical touch as comfort. It may be anything but comforting to a child who has been abused

·         avoid admonishing the child for not disclosing earlier. Saying things such as ‘I do wish you had told me about this when it started’ or ‘I can’t believe what I’m hearing’ may be the staff member’s way of being supportive but may be interpreted by the child to mean that they have done something wrong

·         tell the child  what will happen next.

·         report verbally to the DSO

·         write up their conversation as soon as possible on the record of concern form and hand it to the designated person

·         seek support if they feel distressed

Notifying parents

(our setting)will normally seek to discuss any concerns about a child with their parents. This must be handled sensitively and the DSO will make contact with the parent in the event of a concern, suspicion or disclosure.

However, if the DSO believes that notifying parents could increase the risk to the child or exacerbate the problem, advice will first be sought from MASH Consultation Line.

Enquiry to MASH

The DSO will make an enquiry to MASH if it is believed that a child is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm by using the DSCB threshold tool as a guide. The child (subject to their age and understanding) and the parents will be told that an enquiry is being made, unless to do so would increase the risk to the child.

Any member of staff may make a direct enquiry to MASH children’s social care if they genuinely believe independent action is necessary to protect a child.

Children with sexually harmful behaviour

Children may be harmed by other children or young people. Staff will be aware of the harm caused by bullying and will use the) anti-bullying procedures where necessary. However, there will be occasions when a child’s behaviour warrants a response under child protection rather than anti-bullying procedures. In particular, research suggests that up to 30 per cent of child sexual abuse is committed by someone under the age of 18.


The management of children and young people with sexually harmful behaviour is complex and the (west hill nursery) will work with other relevant agencies to maintain the safety of the provider.  Young people who display such behaviour may be victims of abuse themselves and the child protection procedures will be followed for both victim and perpetrator.  Staff, who become concerned about a child’s sexual behaviour, including any known online sexual behaviour, should speak to the DSO as soon as possible.

Sexual exploitation of children

Sexual exploitation involves an individual or group of adults taking advantage of the vulnerability of an individual or groups of children or young people, and victims can be boys or girls. Children and young people are often unwittingly drawn into sexual exploitation through the offer of friendship and care, gifts, drugs and alcohol, and sometimes accommodation. Sexual exploitation is a serious crime and can have a long-lasting adverse impact on a child’s physical and emotional health. It may also be linked to child trafficking.

 A common feature of sexual exploitation is that the child often doesn’t recognise the coercive nature of the relationship and doesn’t see themselves as a victim.  The child may initially resent what they perceive as interference by staff, but staff must act on their concerns, as they would for any other type of abuse.

All staff are made aware of the indicators of sexual exploitation and all concerns are reported immediately to the DSO.

The setting will engage with and make referrals to the MACSE process and the REACH Team when and where appropriate and make an enquiry to MASH for any child that goes missing if they are not known to Children’s Services.

Female Genital Mutilation

FGM is the collective name given to a range of procedures involving the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways. The practice, which is most commonly carried out without anaesthetic, can cause intense pain and distress and long-term health consequences, including difficulties in childbirth.

FGM is carried out on girls of any age, from young babies to older teenagers and adult women, so school staff are trained to be aware of risk indicators.  Many such procedures are carried out abroad and staff should be particularly alert to suspicions or concerns expressed by female child/young person about going on a long holiday during the summer vacation period

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the practice is illegal under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.  Any person found guilty of an offence under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 is liable to a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment or a fine, or both.

Mandatory reporting of FGM* Duty applies to regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales. Requires these professionals to make a report to the police if, in the course of their professional duties, they:• are informed by a girl under 18 that an act of FGM has been carried out on her; or• observe physical signs which appear to show that an act of FGM has been carried out on a girl under 18 and have no reason to believe that the act was necessary for the girl’s physical or mental health or for purposes connected with labour or birth.*introduced in Section 5B of the FGM Act 2003, as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015

 (See DSCB guidance for further information http://www.devonsafeguardingchildren.org/uncategorized/female-genital-mutilation-free-online-training/ )

Forced Marriage

A forced marriage is a marriage in which a female (and sometimes a male) does not consent to the marriage but is coerced into it. Coercion may include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.  It may also involve physical or sexual violence and abuse.

A forced marriage is not the same as an arranged marriage. In an arranged marriage, which is common in several cultures, the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice of whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the prospective spouses.

Children may be married at a very young age and well below the age of consent in England.   Staff receive training and should be particularly alert to suspicions or concerns raised by a child about being taken abroad and not be allowed to return to England.

Since June 2014 forcing someone to marry has become a criminal offence in England and Wales under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.  (See DSCB guidance for further information )

Radicalisation and Extremism

The government defines extremism as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

Some children and families  are at risk of being radicalised: adopting beliefs and engaging in activities which are harmful, criminal or dangerous.  Islamic extremism is the most widely publicised form and providers should also remain alert to the risk of radicalisation into white supremacy extremism.

Staff receive training to help to identify signs of extremism.  Opportunities are provided  for children  to discuss issues of religion, ethnicity and culture and the provider follows the DfE advice Promoting fundamental British Values as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage September 2014.

Further information on Preventing Radicalisation’ has been included in Keeping Children Safe in Education in line with:


Prevent Duty Guidance: for England and Wales, published in March 2015 as part as the UK’s Counter Terrorism strategy. (p.10-15 for schools, registered childcare providers and further education).


The Prevent Duty, Departmental advice for schools and childcare providers, published in June 2015. This non-statutory departmental advice is for Management committees, proprietors, managers and staff in registered childcare settings. The document clarifies what the prevent duty means for schools and childcare providers  and what actions are necessary to demonstrate compliance with the duty. It also provides sources of information, advice and support.


Private fostering arrangements

A private fostering arrangement occurs when someone other than a parent or a close relative cares for a child for a period of 28 days or more, with the agreement of the child’s parents.  It applies to children under the age of 16, or aged under 18 if the child is disabled.  Children looked after by the local authority or who are placed in a residential school, children’s home or hospital are not considered to be privately fostered.

Private fostering occurs in all cultures, including British culture and children may be privately fostered at any age.

 Most privately fostered children remain safe and well but safeguarding concerns have been raised in some cases so it is important that providers  are alert to possible safeguarding issues, including the possibility that a child has been trafficked into the country

By law, a parent, private foster carer or other persons involved in making a private fostering arrangement must notify children’s services as soon as possible.   (http://www.devonsafeguardingchildren.org/documents/2014/04/private-fostering-leaflet.pdf)

Confidentiality and sharing information

All staff will understand that child protection issues warrant a high level of confidentiality, not only out of respect for the child and staff involved but also to ensure that information being released into the public domain does not compromise evidence.


Staff should only discuss concerns with the Designated Safeguarding Officer, Manager/playleader  or chair of committee/proprietor  (depending on who is the subject of the concern). That person will then decide who else needs to have the information and they will disseminate it on a ‘need-to-­know’ basis.


However, following a number of cases where Designated Safeguarding Officer, Manager/playleader  or chair of committee/proprietor    have failed to act upon concerns raised by staff, Keeping Children Safe in Education (2015) and the DSCB escalation policy  emphasises that any member of staff can contact  MASH (children’s social care) if they are concerned about a child.


Child protection information will be stored and handled in line with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Information sharing is guided by the following principles.  The information is:


·         necessary and proportionate

·         relevant

·         adequate

·         accurate

·         timely

·         secure


Information sharing decisions will be recorded, whether or not the decision is taken to share


[Record of concern forms and other written information will be stored in a locked facility and] any electronic information will be password protected and only made available to relevant individuals.


Every effort will be made to prevent unauthorised access, and sensitive information should not routinely be stored on laptop computers or other hand held device, which, by the nature of their portability, could be lost or stolen. [If it is necessary to store child protection information on portable media, such as a CD or flash drive, these items will also be kept in locked storage.] Child protection information will be stored separately from the child’s development  file and the development file can be ‘tagged’ to indicate that separate information is held.


The DSO will normally obtain consent from the child  and/or parents to share sensitive information within the setting  or with outside agencies. Where there is good reason to do so, the DSO may share information without consent, and will record the reason for not obtaining consent.


 Child protection records are normally exempt from the disclosure provisions of the Data Protection Act, which means that children and parents do not have an automatic right to see them. If any member of staff receives a request from a child or parent to see child protection records, they will refer the request to the Manager/Playleader or DSO


The Data Protection Act does not prevent providers  staff from sharing information with relevant agencies, where that information may help to protect a child.


The providers confidentiality and information-sharing policy is available to parents and children on request.

Reporting directly to child protection agencies

Staff should follow the reporting procedures outlined in this policy. However, they may also share information directly with children’s social care, police or the NSPCC if:


·         the situation is an emergency and the Designated Safeguarding Officer, their deputy, the Manager/Playleader and the chair of committee/ proprietor are all unavailable

·         they are convinced that a direct report is the only way to ensure the child’s safety

·         for any other reason they make a judgement that direct referral is in the best interests of the child.

Related safeguarding portfolio policies

·         Staff behaviour/code of conduct

·         Physical intervention and the use of reasonable force

·         Behaviour

·         Personal and intimate care

·         Complaints procedure

·         Tackling bullying

·         Physical contact

·         Safe working practice

·         On line Safety

·         Whistleblowing

·         SEN

·         Recruitment and selection

·         Managing allegations

·         Grievance and disciplinary

·         Staff/pupil online communication

·         Confidentiality and information sharing

·         Forced marriage

·         Preventing Radicalisation


Special Circumstances


Looked after children

The most common reason for children becoming looked after is as a result of abuse or neglect. The provider  ensures that staff have the necessary skills and understanding to keep looked after children safe.  Appropriate staff have information about a child’s looked after legal status and care arrangements, including the level of authority delegated to the carer by the authority looking after the child. The  DSO have details of the child’s social worker and the name and contact details of the local authority’s virtual head for children in care.





For Early Help, Consultation and Enquiries please contact:


Telephone:  0345 155 1071

E-mail: mashsecure@devon.gcsx.gov.uk

Fax: 01392 448951

Enquiry Form available at:


Post: Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub, P.O. Box 723, Exeter EX1 9QS

Emergency Duty Team out of hours

0845 6000 388

Police non emergency 101

For all LADO enquiries Exeter (01392) 384964



















Adapted from the integrated safeguarding portfolio in the Child Protection & Safeguarding Handbook for Schools by Ann Raymond




Appendix  1





Devon Safeguarding Children’s Board


Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub


The Missing and Child Sexual Exploitation Forum


Disclosure and Barring Service


Devon Assessment Framework


Sex and Relationship Education


Reducing Exploitation and Absence from Care or Home


Department of Education


Special Educational Needs


Female Genital Mutilation


Child Sexual Exploitation


Initial Child Protection Conference


Early Years


Key Stage


Further Education


Senior Leadership Team


Local Authority Designated Officer


Designated Safeguarding officer


Keeping Children Safe in Education