In this section
Last updated: 14th February 2023
Statement of intent
The purpose of this policy is:
- to protect children and young people who receive Loughborough Muslim Centre Services. This includes the children of adults who use our services
- to provide parents, staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.
This policy applies to anyone working on behalf of Loughborough Muslim Centre, including directors, paid staff, volunteers, sessional workers, agency staff and students.
Loughborough Muslim Centre believes that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people and to keep them safe. We are committed to practise in a way that protects them.
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in England namely:
- Children Acts 1989 and 2004
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1991
- Data Protection Act 1998
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
- Children and Families Act 2014
- Special educational needs and disability (SEND) Code of Practice: 0–25 years: Statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities; HM Government 2014
- Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers; HM Government 2015
- Working together to safeguarding children: A guide to interagency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; HM Government 2015
The formal definition of child abuse is
‘Children may be in need of protection where their basic needs are not being met, in a manner appropriate to their age and stage of development, and they will be at risk thought avoidable acts of commission or omission on the part of their parent(s), sibling(s) or other relative(s), or carer(s)’. The categories commonly used to describe the areas of abuse are:
- Physical Injury
- Sexual Abuse
- Non-organic failure to thrive
- Emotional Abuse
- Physical Neglect
We believe that:
- children and young people should never experience abuse of any kind
- we have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practise in a way that protects them.
We recognise that:
- the welfare of the child is paramount
- all children, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion belief, sex, or sexual orientation have a right to equal protection from all type of harm or abuse
- some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issue• working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.
We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:
- valuing, listening to and respecting them appointing a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) for children and young people for safeguarding
- adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies, procedures and code of conduct for staff and volunteers
- developing and implementing an effective online safety policy and related procedures
- providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures
- recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
- recording and storing information professionally and securely
- sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with children, their families, staff and volunteers via leaflets, posters, group work and one-to-one discussions
- using our safeguarding procedures to share concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know, and involving children, young people, parents, families and carers appropriately
- using our procedures to manage any allegations against staff and volunteers appropriately
- creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment and ensuring that we have a policy and procedure to help us deal effectively with any bullying that does arise
- ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place
- ensuring that we provide a safe physical environment for our children, young people, staff and volunteers, by applying health and safety measures in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance.
Dealing with an incident:
Upon receipt of any information from a child or suspicions, it is necessary to:
- listen to the child and take what they are saying seriously
- inform them that if they continue to tell you information that you cannot keep secret that you will have to pass this on to others who can help
- reassure them that they are doing the right thing by telling you
- remain calm and neutral, no matter what they are telling you
- clarify anything you are unsure of but do not interrogate
- allow them the time they need to speak – it may be very difficult for them to tell you some things and you must let them say it in their own words – remember, they must trust you very much at this moment
- write down accurately everything that was said or seen and what action you took, remember to date and sign any documentation
- treat everything said as confidential between you, the child and the designated person and tell the child this
- pass on all information to the designated person and allow them to deal with it
Dealing with urgent cases:
If the situation is clearly an urgent case, the child is too frightened to go home or you have serious doubts about the child’s safety, contact First Response or the Police immediately.
Recruitment and selection of staff and volunteers
Those who subject children to abuse look just like any other adult and may seek employment either paid or unpaid in roles which bring them into contact with young people. It is the responsibility of the Directors of the organisation to ensure that all possible steps are taken to check the suitability of those they employ. This will be done in the following way:
- All staff and volunteers with regular access to children will be D.B.S. checked.
- Previous addresses will be requested on application forms
- The names of two referees may be requested so that written references can be provided. We may also interview referees personally
- All prospective volunteers and staff will be interviewed
- All relevant previous experience of staff and volunteers will be noted
- All staff and volunteers will undergo a 6-month probationary period
Training of staff and volunteers
All staff and volunteers will be aware of the contents of this policy and guidance and will attend appropriate Child Protection training where possible. They will be made familiar with reporting procedures and the identity of the designated person. All staff and volunteers will be consulted on the appropriateness of this document and stated procedures on an annual basis.
The role of the designated person
The designated person is responsible for ensuring that this policy is up to date, that it is clearly displayed (if possible) and that volunteers and staff are aware of its content, have read and understood it.
- Hold a register of every child involved with the club and have a contact name close to hand in case of emergencies
- Remember that some issues are confidential
- Where possible consider activities which involve more than one adult being present or at least within sight and hearing of others
- Remember, someone might misinterpret your actions even if they are well-intentioned
- Respect a child’s right to personal privacy
- Provide time for children to talk to you
- Encourage children to respect and care for others
- Take action to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour
- Remember to REFER not INVESTIGATE any suspicions or allegations of abuse
- Only discuss these concerns with the necessary and appropriate staff or volunteers
- If possible, designate a male and female adult who will be responsible for dealing with concerns around Child Protection and ensure that they are known to those using the group and to parents or carers
The designated person may consider that complaints of a lesser nature (although still serious) such as bullying, cheating etc. may be handled internally without outside involvement. It must be emphasized however, that each case will be thoroughly investigated and remedied to the satisfaction of the young person/reporting person concerned.
Complaint of abuse against a member of staff
Should this type of complaint be made, there may be three types of investigation:
- A criminal investigation
- A child protection investigation
- A disciplinary or misconduct investigation
Issues of misconduct will be dealt with by the Loughborough Muslim Centre committee. The group will ensure appropriate action is taken and that at all times, we recognise the importance of maintaining confidentiality where this is required in a legal context.
This policy will be reviewed every year