Safeguarding Policy

Updated: 22 March 2021

Definitions:

Throughout this policy, the term 'Lighthouse' shall be taken to mean, collectively:

  • Lighthouse Beaconsfield, Registered Charity No. 1151896
  • Lighthouse Bletchley South, Registered Charity No. 1187747
  • Lighthouse Bourne End, Registered Charity No. 1180779
  • Lighthouse Burnham, Registered Charity No. 1182190
  • Lighthouse Cressex, Registered Charity No. 1183476
  • Lighthouse Hazlemere, Registered Charity No. 1178562
  • Lighthouse High Wycombe, Registered Charity No. 1114541
  • Lighthouse Langley, Registered Charity No. 1181000
  • Lighthouse Mansfield, Registered Charity No. 1164680
  • Lighthouse Marlow, Registered Charity No. 1178062
  • Lighthouse Princes Risborough, Registered Charity No.1178119
  • Lighthouse Shelswell, registered Charity No. 1187651
  • Lighthouse Central, Registered Charity No. 1169839

These charities share a common administration system and database.  Applicants may transfer between Lighthouses at any time.  Data including DBS Disclosure information that is shared is done so under GDPR regulations.

This Safeguarding Policy has been written in line with the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board multi-agency procedures.

This Safeguarding Policy covers:

  1. Statement of Policy on Safeguarding
  2. Guidance for Volunteers
  3. Dealing with an allegation of abuse
  4. Role of Safeguarding Officer
  5. Reporting a Concern
  6. Vulnerable Adults
  7. Photography of children on site
  8. DBS Policy

1. Statement of Policy on Safeguarding

The Trustees and Management Teams of each Lighthouse recognise the importance of our ministry with children and young people in need of protection and our responsibility to protect everyone entrusted to our care.  We are committed to their safeguarding and well-being.

 Specifically:

  • We recognise that we all have a responsibility to help prevent the physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect of children, young people (those under 18 years of age) and vulnerable adults to report any such abuse that we discover or suspect.
  • We believe every child and young person should be valued, safe and happy.  We recognise their personal dignity and rights to be treated with respect; to be listened to and to be protected from all forms of abuse.  We want to make sure that those we have contact with know this and are empowered to tell us if they are suffering harm.
  • We believe all adults should enjoy and have access to every aspect of the life of Lighthouse unless they pose a risk to the safety of those we serve.
  • We undertake to exercise proper care in the appointment and selection of all those who will work with children and young people.

We are committed to:

  • Having a named Safeguarding Officer at each Lighthouse with primary responsibility for managing and reporting concerns about children and for putting into place procedures to safeguard children in that Lighthouse
  • Supporting the Safeguarding Officers in their work and in any action they may need to take in order to protect children and young people.
  • Keeping up to date with and following UK legislation; denominational requirements and good practice recommendations in relation to safeguarding children and young people.
  • Respecting the rights of children as described in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Supporting, resourcing, training, monitoring and providing supervision to all those who undertake this work and ensuring that they agree to and follow the agreed procedures of our Safeguarding Policy.
  • Supporting parents and families.
  • Nurturing, protecting and safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults.
  • Supporting all in our Lighthouse community that are affected by abuse.

We recognise that:

  • Social Services (or current equivalent) has lead responsibility for investigating all allegations or suspicions of abuse where there are concerns about a vulnerable adult.
  • Children’s Social Services (or current equivalent) has lead responsibility for investigating all allegations or suspicions of abuse where there are concerns about a child.
  • Where an allegation suggests that a criminal offence may have been committed then the police should be contacted as a matter of urgency.
  • Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.

In support of these ends we will:

  • Make children, young people and vulnerable adults aware of sources of help available to them.
  • Apply current nationally required procedures and good practice recommendations in the recruitment of leaders and helpers
  • Train and monitor our volunteers in the code of conduct and necessary procedures as laid out in the Lighthouse Volunteers' Handbook
  • Ensure our procedures for dealing with situations where abuse is observed or reported, as described in the Lighthouse Volunteers' Handbook, are up to date.

We will review this statement and our policy and procedures annually.  If you have any concerns for a child, young person or vulnerable adult, then speak to the Safeguarding Officer for the relevant Lighthouse.  These officers will be introduced at the pre-Lighthouse briefing sessions.

2.            Guidance for Volunteers

We will do all we can to ensure that children and young people are treated with respect, as individuals. The welfare of the child is paramount. The following recommendations provide a framework within which children should be safe from harm, and adults protected from false allegations or temptation.

  • Do treat all children and young people with respect
  • Do watch your speech, tone of voice and body language
  • Do praise and encourage the children
  • Do set clear boundaries for children and make them aware of the consequences of stepping over those boundaries.
  • Do not invade a child’s privacy whilst washing or toileting. Younger children may ask for help with clothes. If they can manage on their own then respect their independence.
  • Do not play rough, physical, or sexually provocative games. Don’t give piggy backs, swing the children, or let them use you as a climbing frame. Accidents do happen and a child could get hurt, and so could you
  • Do not be sexually suggestive about, or to, a young person, even in fun
  • Do not touch inappropriately, or intrusively
  • Do not scapegoat, ridicule, or reject a child or young person
  • Do not show favouritism to any one child. Some children will want to sit on leaders’ knees and hold hands. That’s fine as long as one or two children don’t dominate and take the majority of your attention
  • Do not be alone with children in potentially vulnerable situations
  • Do not permit abusive peer activities (e.g. ridiculing, bullying, rough physical games, etc.)
  • Do not allow unknown adults access to children.

A word about touch:  Some children, especially younger ones, are very affectionate. Touch is part of the way we express love to others. We do not want to keep children at arm’s length, but we must be sensitive and realise our responsibilities. Holding hands, or a hand on the shoulder, is often enough for children to feel you care

3.            Dealing with an allegation of abuse

 Abuse falls into four categories, which can be defined as follows:

  • Physical Injury- any injury to a child or young person, caused by a family member or other person.   
  • Neglect - a failure to meet a child or young person’s basic needs for food, warmth, protection and care.
  • Emotional Abuse -The persistent, severe emotional ill treatment, or rejection, that severely affects the emotional and behavioural development of a child or young person.
  • Sexual Abuse -The use of a child or young person to meet an adult’s sexual needs.

The most important consideration for all volunteers is to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children and young people in our care. Any allegation of abuse must be taken seriously, and Lighthouse has a duty to report it to the relevant statutory agencies. Allegations may come from a child, or young person, themselves and may relate to abuse from a family member, or someone outside the family that could be a teacher, youth leader, pastor etc. No group of people are exempt from being abusers.

If a child or young person begins to tell a volunteer about abuse, it is VITAL that you do the following:

  • Never promise to keep it a secret and not to tell anyone
  • Listen carefully but do not press for information
  • Reassure the child, or young person, that they have done the right thing by telling someone
  • Complete a Lighthouse Record of Concern Form using the child’s own words
  • Pass the information immediately to the designated Safeguarding Officer. This is confidential information; do not discuss it with anyone else.

Important things to remember

  • It is not the responsibility of Lighthouse to investigate the truth of any allegation. This is the responsibility of the Police, Children’s Social Care and, in some cases, the NSPCC
  • What has been disclosed is very confidential and should only be shared with others on a need-to-know basis. The first person to be told of the abuse may be asked to provide a statement for the Police.
  • After telling of abuse a child or young person can be distressed, frightened and worried about what will happen next. They should be reassured that they have done the right thing and should not be left on their own.

The best interest of the child or young person, and the need for the abuse to stop, comes before the interests of the organisation or the abuser.

4. Role of Safeguarding Officer

The Children's Act 1989 was brought out as a means to promote and protect the welfare of all children, and the Working Together framework states that the community as a whole has a responsibility for the well-being of children. This means that everyone should remain alert to circumstances in which children may be harmed. Voluntary organisations can assist the statutory authorities by bringing cases to their attention. The role of the voluntary organisation is not an investigative one.

Concerns may arise from conversations with children or noticing injuries that appear inconsistent with the normal bumps and scrapes that children suffer.

5.            Reporting a Concern

If there is immediate risk of harm to a child, call the Police on 999

Lighthouses in Buckinghamshire:

If you are concerned about a child, call Buckinghamshire Council’s First Response Team on 01296 383962 (out of hours: 0800 999 7677). They will listen to your concerns and decide on the appropriate course of action.

Email: secure-cypfirstresponse@buckscc.gov.uk

You may need to complete a MARF – Multi Agency Referral Form which you can download  from this page https://www.bucks-lscb.org.uk/...

Lighthouses in Oxfordshire:

If you have a concern about a child in Oxfordshire, please call MASH on 0345 050 7666.  (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub).

The on line form to supply details is here: https://www2.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/node/222403

Lighthouses in Nottinghamshire:

If you think a child is at risk of abuse, please call MASH on 0300 500 80 80. If you require an urgent response outside of working hours (08:30-17:00), contact the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) on 0300 456 4546.

The on line form to supply details is here: https://www.nottinghamshire.go...

Above all it is important that you talk to someone about this. Don’t ignore your concerns or delay taking action.

6.            Vulnerable Adults

A vulnerable adult is any person aged 18 or over who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself against significant harm or exploitation. This may be because he or she has a mental health problem, a disability, a sensory impairment, is old or frail, or has some form of illness.

7.            Photography of children on site

We live in an age in which digital technology has vastly increased the use, and potential misuse, of photography. Lighthouse seeks the consent of parents for photography/videoing of their child/children during the Lighthouse week and any such images will only be taken by an official photographer.

Any photos and/or video footage is checked by each Lighthouse's Admin team to ensure no child is shown where consent has not been given.

We have a strict policy of no photography/videoing using mobile phones on site.

 8.            DBS Policy

Please refer to the Lighthouse DBS Policy document

An Enhanced DBS check is required for all volunteers aged 16 and over, including Trustees and other management committee members. If a volunteer is not on site at the same time as children (e.g. overnight security, car park attendant, site build up and breakdown) no DBS is required.