PURLEY UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
Introduction to Purley United Reformed Church’s Safeguarding Policy for Children, Young People and Adults at Risk
Purley United Reformed Church, along with the whole Christian community, believes each person has a value and dignity which comes directly from God’s creation of human beings in God’s own image and likeness. This implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.
We acknowledge children’s, young people and adult’s right to protection from abuse, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs. We consider that the welfare of children and young people is paramount. We will follow legislation, statutory guidance and recognised good practice in order to protect vulnerable people in our church.
We recognise that none of us is invulnerable but that there is a particular care for those whose risk is increased by age, situations, disabilities or reduction in capacities. It is recognised that this increased risk may be temporary or permanent and may be visible or invisible, but that it does not diminish our humanity and seeks to affirm the gifts and graces of all God’s people.
This policy addresses the safeguarding of children, young people and adults at risk. It is intended to be a dynamic policy. It is intended to support the Church in being a safe supportive and caring community for children, young people, adults at risk, for survivors of abuse, for communities and for those affected by abuse.
We seek to establish a caring environment in which there is an informed vigilance about the dangers of abuse. We have implemented and will maintain and regularly review the procedures outlined in this policy, which are designed to prevent and to be alert to abuse.
The church has appointed a Safeguarding Coordinator and Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator for children and young people and a Safeguarding Coordinator and Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator for adults at risk, who will have specific responsibilities for safeguarding, although we recognise that safeguarding is a whole church responsibility. The Safeguarding Coordinators are the persons to whom all concerns or allegations should be addressed. In the absence of the Safeguarding Coordinators, the Deputy Safeguarding Coordinators should be contacted. Their contact details can be found in Appendix 3 and the relevant job descriptions are in appendix 4.
We organise activities in such a way as to promote a safe environment and minimise the risk of harm to children, young people and adults.
We follow a safer recruitment process for the selection and appointment of people to work with children, young people or adults at risk, whether voluntary or paid, lay or ordained.
We are committed to providing support, supervision, resources and training to those who work with children, young people and adults.
We use rigorous and careful supervision to protect people from the risks associated with known offenders within the congregation, including implementing contracts with known offenders and those who have been assessed as posing a risk.
We believe that abuse in all its forms is unacceptable and inconsistent with a Christian way of living and recognise that it can affect adults, children and young people.
All concerns and allegations of abuse will be responded to appropriately, including referring to the statutory authorities if necessary.
We will co-operate with the statutory authorities in any investigation, will follow multi-agency decisions and will maintain confidentiality of any investigations to those directly involved.
We will refer concerns about staff – volunteers and paid, lay and ordained – that meet the relevant criteria to the Local Authority Designated Officer
Our Safeguarding Policy Statement and Commitment are attached as Appendices 1 and 2, respectively.
Aim and purpose of this policy
The aim of this policy is to provide procedures for promoting safeguarding, preventing abuse and protecting children, young people adults at risk and staff (volunteers or paid). This includes clear procedures for taking appropriate action when safeguarding concerns are raised involving children, young people and adults within our church, or those who attend our activities and events.
Who this policy applies to
This policy is approved and endorsed by the Elders and applies to:
- all those who attend our church
- elders, trustees and staff (both paid and voluntary)
The policy and procedures should be interpreted in the light of the most recent URC good practice guidance (currently, Good Practice 4). Children, young people and parents/carers will be informed of this policy and our procedures.
The term(s) ‘children and young people’ refer(s) to those under the age of 18 years.
Duty of care and confidentiality
We have a duty of care to all beneficiaries of the church, whether adults, children or young people. We will maintain confidentiality at all times, except in circumstances where to do so would place the individual or another individual at risk of harm.
Activities are organised in accordance with URC good practice guidelines so as to promote a safe environment and healthy relationships, whilst minimising opportunities for harm, misunderstanding or false accusation. For each event, risk assessments is carried out, appropriate consent forms are used (for children’s and young people’s activities), appropriate records are kept and adequate insurance is in place.
We are committed to safer recruitment and selection of all paid staff and volunteers and ensure that these procedures are followed (see appendix 5).
Safeguarding and other relevant training is provided and volunteers and paid staff are given support and supervision in their role.
All elders, trustees, paid staff and volunteers working with children and young people work within the code of conduct outlined in Appendix 6 and understand that there may be action taken if this code is not followed, possibly involving suspension or termination of working with us.
If we become aware of someone within our congregation known to have harmed children, young people or adults in the past, we will inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer and co-operate with them and the relevant statutory authorities to put in place a plan to minimise the risk of harm to children, young people and adults.
What are we protecting people from?
The definitions of abuse differ between children, young people and adults. A copy of the definitions relating to children and young people is attached to this policy at Appendix 7. A copy of the definitions of abuse in relation to adults is attached as Appendix 8.
How to recognise abuse
It is important to be aware of the possible signs and symptoms of abuse. Please see Appendix 9 for those relating to children and young people and Appendix 10 for those relating to adults at risk. Some signs could be indicators of a number of different categories of abuse.
It is essential to note that these are only indicators of possible abuse. There may be other, innocent, reasons for these signs and/or behaviour. They will, however, be a guide to assist in assessing whether abuse of one form or another is a possible explanation for a child, young person’s or adult’s behaviour.
What to do if there is a disclosure or allegation of abuse
If a child, young person or adult makes a disclosure that they are being abused and/or an allegation of abuse against someone, it is important that the person being told:
- stays calm and listens carefully
- reassures them that they have done the right thing in telling
- does not investigate or ask leading questions
- explains that they will need to tell someone else if anyone is at risk of harm, in order to help them
- does not promise to keep secret what they have been told
- informs the relevant church Safeguarding Coordinator as soon as possible (if they are implicated in the allegation, informs the relevant Deputy or the Synod Safeguarding Officer)
- makes a written record of the allegation, disclosure or incident and signs and dates this record (using the template in Appendix 11 should be given to the relevant church Safeguarding Coordinator and stored securely in a locked filing cabinet.
Procedure in the event of a concern of abuse
If there is an immediate threat of harm, the Police should be contacted without delay.
Where it is judged that there is no immediate threat of harm, the following will occur:
- The concern should be discussed with the relevant church Safeguarding Coordinator and a decision made as to whether the concern warrants a referral to the statutory authorities (see Key Contacts, Appendix 3 for the relevant statutory contacts)
- A confidential record will be made of the conversation and the circumstances surrounding it using the template at Appendix 11. This record will be kept securely and a copy passed to statutory authorities if a referral is made.
- The person about whom the allegation is made must not be informed by anyone in the church.
- The Synod Safeguarding Officer should be kept informed of any serious concerns.
If someone in the church is alleged or known to have harmed children, young people or adults
We will inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer so that they can offer advice and support, and we will contact the relevant statutory authority.
If the allegation concerns a church staff member or volunteer
For any concerns relating to children or young people, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) will be contacted. The timing and method of any action to be taken will be discussed and agreed with the LADO. This will cover communication with the worker, suspension, investigation and possible strategy meetings.
A decision will be taken by the LADO about when to inform the worker and the church will follow this advice. For LADO contact details, see Key Contacts, Appendix 3.
For concerns relating to adults, Adult Social Care will be contacted. See Key Contacts, Appendix 3 for details.
In accordance with the law, a referral will be made to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) if the church withdraws permission for an individual to engage in work with children/young people/adults at risk OR would have done so had that individual not resigned, retired, been made redundant or been transferred to a different position because the employer believes that the individual has engaged in relevant conduct, satisfied the harm test, or committed an offence that would lead to automatic inclusion on a barred list.
In such cases, a report will also be made to the Charity Commission, as they deem such a referral to be a ‘serious incident’ and therefore require notification.
Concerns, Complaints and Compliments
Should anyone have any concerns, complaints or compliments, please contact:
John Denison – Church Secretary
If would be helpful to have complaints in writing, as this avoids any possible misunderstanding about what the issue is. However, whether verbal or in writing, complaints will be acted upon. Any written complaint will be responded to within 10 days.
The Elders will review this policy annually, amending and updating it as required, and informing the Church Meeting that this has been done.
Date of the most recent review: 11th January 2018
Date of the next review: 10th January 2019
(Church Secretary – on behalf of the Church Elders)
Policy Statement for Safeguarding Children, Young People and Adults at Risk
Purley United Reformed Church, along with the whole Christian community, believes each person is created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore:
- We have a duty to value all people, treat each person with dignity and protect them from harm.
- We are committed to the safeguarding of children, young people and adults at risk, and to ensure their well-being.
- We recognise that abuse affects children, young people and adults and believe that abuse in all its forms is unacceptable and inconsistent with a Christian way of living.
- We believe that all children, young people and adults at risk should know that they are valued within the church and safely enjoy and have access to every aspect of the life of our church.
- We respect the personal dignity and rights of children, young people and adults at risk (for example, as set out in the Human Rights Act 1989 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) and will ensure that our policies and procedures reflect this.
- We recognise that we all have a responsibility to help prevent the physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect of children and young people under 18 years of age.
- We recognise that we all have a responsibility to help prevent the physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, financial, discriminatory abuse and neglect of adults at risk.
- We will report any abuse of children, young people or adults at risk that we discover or suspect.
- Where an allegation suggests that a criminal offence may have been committed, the police will be contacted as a matter of urgency.
- We recognise that Children’s Services has responsibility for investigating all allegations or suspicions of abuse where there are concerns about a child or young person, and that Adult Services do so for adults at risk.
- We acknowledge that Local Authority Designated Officers (LADOs) or the equivalent in Scotland and Wales have responsibility for dealing with all allegations and concerns about people working with children or young people, whether paid or voluntary workers, lay or ordained.
We recognise that safeguarding is a whole church responsibility.
Purley United Reformed Church is committed to:
- The establishment of a loving environment, which is safe and caring, and where there is an informed vigilance about the dangers of abuse.
- Following the relevant legislation, statutory, denominational and specialist guidelines in relation to safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk.
- Ensuring that we keep up to date with national and local developments relating to safeguarding.
- Building constructive links with the relevant Voluntary and Statutory Authorities.
- Taking all reasonable steps to ensure that as a church, everyone works within the agreed procedures of our safeguarding policies.
- Supporting the Safeguarding Coordinators and Deputies in their work and in any action they may need to take in order to protect children, young people and adults at risk.
- Following safer recruitment principles in the appointment and selection of all those who work with children, young people and adults at risk, be they volunteer or paid staff, lay or ordained.
- Supporting, supervising, resourcing and training all those who undertake work with children, young people and adults at risk.
- Ensuring that the children, young people and adults we have contact with know that they are valued and feel empowered to tell us if they are suffering harm.
- Reporting any abuse of children, young people or adults at risk that we discover or suspect. Supporting all those in our church who are affected by abuse.
- Supporting and supervising those who pose a risk to children, young people or adults at risk, implementing contracts of behaviour, whilst bearing in mind the overarching principle that the welfare of the child, young person or adult is paramount.
- If an assessment is made that someone poses an unmanageable risk to those in need of protection and could not safely attend our church, we will ensure that they continue to be offered pastoral care and will signpost them to appropriate agencies for support.
Key Contacts: Sources of advice and support
Purley United Reformed Church’s Safeguarding Coordinator for children and young people and the person to whom all concerns and allegations should be addressed:
Miss Jill Berry
020 8681 2990
In the absence of the Safeguarding Coordinator, the Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator for children and young people can be contacted:
Mr. Andrew Mander
020 8407 1647
Purley United Reformed Church’s Safeguarding Coordinator for adults at risk can be contacted:
Mrs Jill Denison
In the absence of the Safeguarding Coordinator, the Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator for adults can be contacted:
Ms Louise Willmer
020 8686 4866
United Reformed Church – Southern Synod
Synod Safeguarding Officer – Children and Young People
Revd. Roger Jones
020 8640 4053
Synod Safeguarding Officers – Adults
Revd. Colin Telfer
Revd. Hilary Nabarro
United Reformed Church Safeguarding Officer
020 7916 2729 079099 11404
Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) (This should only be used for urgent advice if you are unable to contact your Synod Safeguarding Officer)
24 hour helpline: 0845 120 4550
Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)
020 8726 6000 Ext.84322
4th Floor, Zone F
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk
Croydon, CR0 1EA
Statutory contact in the case of a child
Croydon Council Children’s Social Services
020 8726 6400
4th Floor, Zone F
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk
Croydon, CR0 1EA
Statutory contact in the case of an adult at risk
020 8726 6500
4th Floor, Zone F
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk
Croydon, CR0 1EA
The Role of a Church Safeguarding Coordinators
We believe that children, young people and adults at risk deserve the best possible care that the church can provide and that the church should be a safe place for everyone involved. We recognise and give thanks for the time and devotion given by anyone carrying out this role.
Purpose of the role:
• To coordinate safeguarding policy and procedure in the church.
• To be the first point of contact for safeguarding issues.
• To be an advocate for good safeguarding practice in the church.
To coordinate safeguarding policy and procedure in the church
• To familiarise themselves with church policies and procedures and URC good practice guidelines in safeguarding and to keep abreast of any changes and developments.
• To ensure that church policies and procedures are reviewed annually, kept up to date, and are fit for purpose.
• To make others in the church aware of the church safeguarding policies and procedures, as well as URC guidelines.
• To ensure safer recruitment practices are operated in the recruitment of all workers (both volunteers and paid) including, but not exclusively, ensuring that the relevant workers have up to date Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) / Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG) checks.
To be the first point of contact for safeguarding issues
• To be a named person that children, young people / adults at risk, church members and outside agencies can talk to regarding any issue to do with safeguarding.
• To be aware of the names and telephone numbers of appropriate contacts within Social Care and the Police in the event of a referral needing to be made.
• To be aware of when to seek advice, and when it is necessary to inform Social Care, the Police or the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) or the equivalent in Scotland and Wales of a concern or incident.
• To take appropriate action in relation to any safeguarding concerns which arise within the church.
•To cooperate with Social Care or the Police in safeguarding investigations relating to people within the church.
- To ensure that appropriate records are kept by the church, and that information in relation to safeguarding issues is handled confidentially and stored securely.
- To inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer at the time of any referrals made to the statutory authorities, or of any information received from the statutory authorities.
- To report summary safeguarding information annually to the Synod Safeguarding Officer to enable them to monitor safeguarding in the Synod.
To be an advocate for good safeguarding practice in the church
• To promote sensitivity within the church towards all those affected by the impact of abuse.
• To promote positive safeguarding procedures and practice and ensure procedures are adhered to.
• To arrange and/or promote opportunities for training in safeguarding to any relevant members of the leadership team and congregation, including both paid staff and volunteers.
• To update their own safeguarding training every three years.
• To seek appropriate support and advice in carrying out this role.
• To make arrangements for the deputy to carry out this role when they are on leave, and to publicise who this is and the dates of the alternative arrangements.
Purley United Reformed Church is committed to safer recruitment and appointment of all paid staff and volunteers in order to deter and identify the small minority who seek to harm children, young people and adults at risk.
We will ensure that these procedures are followed, which include:
- asking applicants to complete an application form
- providing workers with job descriptions and person specifications
- completion of self declaration forms obtaining Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) / Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG) checks wherever legally entitled to do so
- taking up two references (not from family members); If, however, the candidate is a member of the congregation (normally, for more than 2 years) it would be reasonable for references to be taken from the Minister, Church Secretary and/or Pastoral Assistant.
- interviewing candidates.
Code of Conduct for working with children
or young people
We should all be aware that behaviour in a worker’s personal life (including online) may impact upon their work with children or young people. Therefore, all workers should agree not to behave in a manner which would lead any reasonable person to question their suitability to work with children or young people or act as a role model within the United Reformed Church.
All workers should agree to the following code of conduct when working with children and young people:
• Do treat all people with dignity and respect
• Don’t abuse the power and responsibility of your role. Don’t belittle, scapegoat, put down, or ridicule a child or young person (even in ‘fun’) and don’t use language or behaviour with sexual connotations (e.g. flirting or innuendo)
• Do act inclusively, seeking to make everyone feel welcome and valued
•Don’t exclude other children, young people or workers from conversations and activities unless there is a good reason
• Do treat people with equal care and concern
• Don’t show favouritism (e.g. in selection for activities, in giving rewards, etc) or encourage excessive attention from a particular child or young person (e.g. gifts)
• Do encourage everyone to follow any behaviour agreement or ground rules and apply sanctions consistently
• Don’t threaten or use sanctions which have not been agreed, or make empty threats
• Do refer to a more senior worker if a child or young person does not respond to your instructions despite encouragement and warning of possible consequences
• Don’t feel you have to deal with every problem on your own
• Do seek to diffuse aggressive or threatening behaviour without the use of physical contact
• Don’t use physical restraint except as a last resort to prevent injury. This should use minimum force
• Do relate to children or young people in public. If a child or young person wants to talk one-to-one about an issue, tell another worker and find somewhere quieter, but still public, to talk
• Don’t spend time alone with children or young people out of sight of other people
• Do make sure that any electronic communication is done with parental consent and is transparent, accountable, recorded and adheres to safeguarding policies
• Don’t keep communication with children or young people secret, while still respecting appropriate confidences
• Do have a designated photographer to take, store and share photos of your group’s activities, in line with URC good practice guidelines
• Don’t take photos or videos without consent, store them in a safe place designated by the church and only use them in the ways agreed, in line with URC good practice guidelines
• Do use physical contact wisely; it should be:
• in public
• appropriate to the situation and to the age, gender and culture of the child or young person
• in response to the needs of the child or young person, not the adult
• respectful of the child(’s) or young person’s privacy, feelings and dignity
• Don’t use physical contact which could be misconstrued as aggressive (e.g. rough games) or sexual
• Do respect children(’s) and young person’s privacy
• Don’t assume that children or young people should tell you anything you ask just because you are a worker
• Do respect the right of children and young people to wash, change and use the toilet in private
• Don’t walk in unnecessarily or unannounced
• Do listen to children and young people and tell the church Safeguarding Officer if you have any concerns about a child(‘s) or young person’s welfare
• Don’t promise to keep something secret if it is about a child or young person being harmed or at risk of harm, but only tell those who need to know
• Do respect and promote the rights of children and young people to make their own decisions and choices
• Don’t work in ways that put your needs and interests before those of the children you work with
• Do encourage respect for difference, diversity, beliefs and culture
• Don’t discriminate or leave discrimination or bullying unchallenged
I agree to abide by the above code of conduct while working with children and young people on behalf of Purley United Reformed Church
Name of worker:
What is abuse and neglect of children
or young people?
The below definitions are taken from Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013 and apply to England. Please note that there are national variations for Scotland (National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014) and Wales (All Wales Child Protection Procedures 2008).
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child or young person. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child or young person by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children or a young person may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger, for example, via the internet. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children or young person.
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child or young person. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child or young person.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child or young person such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on that individual’s emotional development.
It may involve conveying to a child or young person that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving that individual 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 that individual. These may include interactions that are beyond that individual’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing that individual
It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber-bullying), causing the child or young person to frequently feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children or young people.
Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child or young person, though it may occur alone.
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 or young person 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 or young people in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children or a young person to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child or a young person 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 or young people.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s or a young person’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of their 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 or young person from physical and emotional harm or danger;
• ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers)
• ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s or young person’s basic emotional needs.
What is abuse and neglect of adults at risk?
Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons. Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or an omission to act, or it may occur when an adult at risk is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she has not consented, or cannot consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it.
This is the infliction of pain or physical injury, which is either caused deliberately, or through lack of care.
Psychological or emotional abuse
These are acts or behaviour, which cause mental distress or anguish or negates the wishes of the adult at risk. It is also behaviour that has a harmful effect on the adult at risk’s emotional health and development or any other form of mental cruelty.
This is the involvement in sexual activities to which the person has not consented or does not truly comprehend and so cannot give informed consent, or where the other party is in a position of trust, power or authority and uses this to override or overcome lack of consent.
Neglect, or Act of Omission
This is the repeated deprivation of assistance that the adult at risk needs for important activities of daily living, including the failure to intervene in behaviour which is dangerous to the adult at risk or to others. An adult at risk may be suffering from neglect when their general well being or development is impaired.
Financial or material abuse
This is the inappropriate use, misappropriation, embezzlement or theft of money, property or possessions.
This is the inappropriate treatment of an adult at risk because of their age, gender, race, religion, cultural background, sexuality, disability, etc. Discriminatory abuse exists when values, beliefs or culture result in a misuse of power that denies opportunity to some groups or individuals. Discriminatory abuse links to all other forms of abuse.
This is the mistreatment or abuse of an adult at risk by a regime or individuals within an institution (e.g. hospital or care home) or in the community. It can be through repeated acts of poor or inadequate care and neglect or poor professional practice.
Signs of possible abuse in children or young people
Physical signs include:
• Unexplained injuries
• Injuries that are inconsistent with the explanation
• Injuries that reflect an article being used e.g. an iron
• Bruising, especially the trunk, upper arm, shoulders, neck or finger tip bruising
• Burns/scalds, especially from a cigarette • Human bite marks
• Fractures, especially spiral
• Swelling and lack of normal use of limbs
• Serious injury with lack of / inconsistent explanation
• Untreated injuries
Psychological/emotional signs include:
• Unusually fearful with adults
• Unnaturally compliant to parents
• Refusal to discuss injuries/fear of medical help
• Withdrawal from physical contact
• Aggression towards others
• Wears cover up clothing
Fictitious illness by proxy
• This is a psychiatric illness, whereby a parent or carer deliberately inflicts harm onto a child or young person, normally that individual’s mother. The child or young person has commonly had genuine serious illness in the first year of life and a dependency on medical attention has developed in the mother. It is very difficult to diagnose/evidence.
Female Genital Mutilation
• A cultural (not religious) procedure whereby parts of female genitalia are removed – also referred to as female circumcision. This is normally undertaken on pre pubescent girls, who are either taken abroad for procedure or “practitioners” come to the UK. There can be no anaesthetic and no sterile equipment used. Complications include serious infection, septicaemia, numerous gynaecological problems and in some cases, death.
The classic description of emotional abuse is a “Low Warmth, High Criticism” style of parenting.
• Physical, mental and emotional lags
• Acceptance of punishments, which appear excessive
• Over reaction to mistakes
• Continual self-depreciation
• Sudden speech disorders
• Fear of new situations
• Neurotic behaviour (such as rocking, hair twisting, thumb sucking)
• Self harm
• Extremes of passivity or aggression
• Drug/solvent abuse
• Running away
• Overly compliant behaviour
• Overeating or loss of appetite
• Sleep disorders
Physical signs include:
• Poor personal hygiene
• Poor state of clothing
• Emaciation, potbelly, short stature
• Poor skin tone and hair tone
• Untreated medical problems
• Failure to thrive with no medical reason
Psychological/emotional signs include:
• Constant hunger
• Constant tiredness
• Frequent lateness/non attendance at school
• Destructive tendencies
• Low self esteem
• Neurotic behaviour
• No social relationships
• Running away
• Compulsive stealing/scavenging
• Multiple accidents/accidental injuries
Physical signs include:
• Damage to genitalia, anus or mouth
• Sexually transmitted disease
• Unexpected pregnancy, especially in very young girls
• Soreness to genitalia area, anus or mouth
• Repeated stomach aches
• Loss of weight
• Gaining weight
• Unexplained recurrent urinary tract infections, discharges or abdominal pain
• Unexplained gifts/money
Psychological/emotional signs include:
• Sexual knowledge inappropriate for the child’s age
• Sexualised behaviour in young children
• Sexually provocative behaviour/promiscuity
• Hinting at sexual activity
• Sudden changes in personality
• Lack of concentration, restlessness
• Socially withdrawn
• Overly compliant behaviour
• Poor trust in significant adults
• Regressive behaviour, onset of wetting – day or night
• Suicide attempts, self mutilation, self disgust
• Eating disorders
Signs of possible abuse in adults
• A history of unexplained falls, fractures, bruises, burns, minor injuries
• Signs of under or over use of medication and/or medical problems unattended
•Alteration in psychological state e.g. withdrawn, agitated, anxious, tearful
• Intimidated or subdued in the presence of the carer
• Fearful, flinching or frightened of making choices or expressing wishes
• Unexplained paranoia
• Pregnancy in a woman who is unable to consent to sexual intercourse
• Unexplained change in behaviour or sexually implicit/explicit behaviour
• Torn, stained or bloody underwear and/or unusual difficulty in walking or sitting
• Infections or sexually transmitted diseases
• Full or partial disclosure or hints of sexual abuse
Neglect or Omission
• Malnutrition, weight loss and /or persistent hunger
• Poor physical condition, poor hygiene, varicose ulcers, pressure sores
• Being left in wet clothing or bedding and/or clothing in a poor condition
• Failure to access appropriate health, educational services or social care
• No callers or visitors
Financial or Material
• Disparity between assets and living conditions
• Unexplained withdrawals from accounts or disappearance of financial documents
• Sudden inability to pay bills
• Carers or professionals fail to account for expenses incurred on a person’s behalf
• Recent changes of deeds or title to property
• Inappropriate remarks, comments or lack of respect
• Poor quality or avoidance of care
• Lack of flexibility or choice over meals, bed times, visitors, phone calls, etc
• Inadequate medical care and misuse of medication
• Inappropriate use of restraint
• Sensory deprivation e.g. denial of use of spectacles or hearing aids
• Missing documents and/or absence of individual care plans
• Public discussion of private matter
• Lack of opportunity for social, educational or recreational activity
The PURC Safeguarding Reporting form can be viewed by clicking on this link (and forms part of the above document).