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An introduction to Child Protection and Safeguarding

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1 An introduction to Child Protection and Safeguarding

2 As a student Mentor it is important that you are aware of the issues surrounding Child protection. We have a duty of care to help protect you and the young people you will be working with. Procedures and safeguards have been developed to help with this. These safeguards are designed to protect YOU as well as the young people.

3 University of Worcester Safeguarding Children Policy Be aware of University policy and practice. The University of Worcester has a policy on safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults. You should familiarise yourself with its contents. It can be found on the personnel pages of the University website under Health & Safety – Children/ Work experience (

4 Student mentor conduct: Ensure that the young people are safe. Treat everyone equally with the same fairness and respect you would expect to be treated with, whether staff or young person Respect participant’s background, culture and traditions and be aware certain behaviour may offend his/her beliefs. Discourage negative or abusive attitudes or behaviour (e.g. ridicule, racism, exclusion, bullying) Inform young people if their behaviour is inappropriate Be aware that you are a role model for the young people you are working with If there is a problem raise it with school staff or your Project leader

5 As a student mentor you should: Ensure you are never left alone with a young person. Work in pairs or ensure a member of school or project staff are present. Avoid any physical contact with the young people Never give out personal contact details or accept friendship requests on social networking sites Never meet or make contact with a young person outside the designated hours and location of the session Keep your mobile phone on during an event in case we need to contact you, but keep it on a discreet setting; Photos should only be taken if using a camera supplied by project staff for the event. Never use camera phones. Ensure your own protection. These procedures are in place to protect YOU as well as those you are working with.

6 Signs of Abuse We all have a duty of care to the young people we work with. If you have any concerns, report them to UW project staff or your contact at the school/ college you are working in. It is important to be aware of the different types of abuse and of how you should act if you have concerns.

7 There are four main areas of abuse: Neglect - 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. Physical - may involve hitting, shaking, burning or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Sexual - forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. Emotional - the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.

8 Be alert for signs of abuse: Listening to and watching young peoples interactions with others Look for changing behaviour Difficult or challenging behaviour Obvious signs of distress / signs of abuse Young persons appearance If because of someone’s behaviour, speech, attitude or appearance you suspect abuse or have concerns, you should refer it on.

9 Confidentiality Young people may on some occasions reveal confidential information about themselves. This may be anything from their home address and phone number to personal details about their life and circumstances. The information may be given in conversation or written. When a young person does give out confidential information, they need to be sure that the information will not be passed on to anyone else without their permission.

10 Confidentiality However, when you are working with young people you have a responsibility to act on any information that indicates that the young person may be at risk. This includes anything that is illegal for young people e.g. drinking, sex and drug taking. Legality does not depend upon your personal feelings or what you might feel is acceptable behaviour. In order to develop a trusting relationship with young people, you must make explicit the kind of information that you cannot keep secret. You should do this at the beginning and reiterate the situation if you feel you are having a conversation in which something may be revealed.

11 Confidentiality Situations in which confidentiality will need to be broken include: 1.Disclosure or evidence of physical, sexual or serious emotional abuse or neglect 2.Suicide threatened or attempted 3.Disclosure of serious self harm including drug or alcohol misuse that may be life threatening 4.Evidence of serious mental illness

12 In the event of a child protection issue, pass on all information as soon as possible to a member of staff at the school or college or to the project team. Do not try to investigate or resolve the issue yourself.

13 Disclosure If a young person makes a disclosure: Listen and accept what they say. Don’t ask any leading questions or offer an opinion. Record the disclosure in their own words. Take what the person is saying seriously. Acknowledge the young person and explain your intended action. Do not reassure or promise confidentiality. Be open and honest about your own responsibility. Do not attempt to investigate. Do not collude with the young person. Pass onto staff to deal with. Do not try to deal with it yourself.

14 Summary Never place a young person at risk. If you have any concerns about the welfare of a child report them to a member of the project or school/college staff. Ensure your own protection. These procedures and safeguards are in place to protect YOU as well as those you are working with. Be aware of University policy and practice. The policy on safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults should be read & can be found on the personnel pages of the University website (

15 Any Questions?

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