Riverside Bridge School Safeguarding Policy

Date approved:                       Draft for approval by Governors

Review Frequency:                Annually

Date next review due:           July 2017

Scope of Policy:                     This policy applies to all staff, pupils and volunteers at Riverside Bridge School


 Strategic Safeguarding Lead – Anna Hope

Designated Safeguarding Person – Anna Hope, Matthew Guise and Miya Unnithan

Nominated Governor – Gail May




Alec Parsons

Child Protection Advisor (LADO)

020 8227 2265

Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team – 020 8227 6122


LBBD Safeguarding Lead for Education:

Mike Cullern

020 8227 3934


Barking and Dagenham Safeguarding Children Board:

Room 119, Town Hall


IG11 7LU

Phone: 020 8227 3578



Community Safety & Neighbourhood Services –Adults:

Glynis Rogers

Head Community Safety & Neighbourhood Services -Adults



The action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play


Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment;
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.


This policy has been developed to ensure that all adults in Riverside Special School are working together to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils.

This policy describes the management systems and arrangements in place to create and maintain a safe learning environment for all Riverside Bridge School pupils and staff. It identifies actions that should be taken to adress any concerns about pupil welfare.

The Head of School or, in their absence, the member of staff deputising for them, has the ultimate responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of pupils.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of pupils goes beyond implementing basic child protection procedures. It is an integral part of all the activities and functions of Riverside Bridge School.

This policy has been drawn up in accordance with guidance set out in:

  • Working Together to Safeguard Children (A guide to inter-agency working) March 2015
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015
  • ‘What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused’ (advice for practitioners) March 2015
  • Safeguarding Disabled Children Practice Guidance July 2009

This policy also adheres to guidance and procedures contained in:

  • The London Child Protection Procedures, London Safeguarding Children Board 5th Edition 2010
  • Policies and Procedures of the Barking and Dagenham Safeguarding Children Board


A copy of this policy and ‘What to Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused’ is available for all staff to read on the school intranet.

Other Relevant Policies

The Governing Body’s responsibility for safeguarding the welfare of children goes beyond pure child protection. This policy therefore complements and supports a range of other policies, procedures and curriculum initiatives including:

Acceptable Use and e safety




Charter of Children’s Rights

Code of Conduct

Complaints procedure


Drug and Alcohol

Equal Opportunities

First Aid and the Administration of Medicines

Health and Safety

Intimate Care

Offsite Trips and Visits


Physical Intervention

Safe Recruitment

Sex & Relationships

Single Central Record

Single Equality Policy

Special Educational Needs

Supply and volunteer guidance leaflets

Whistle Blowing

Work experience


2.   School Commitment and Aims

In accordance with Working Together to Safeguard Children the school will ensure that appropriate procedures are in place for responding to situations in which they believe that a child has been abused or is at risk of abuse, including procedures to cover circumstances in which a member of staff is accused of, or suspected of, abuse.

Abuse is when a child is hurt or harmed by another person in a way that causes significant harm to that child and which may well have an effect on the child’s development or wellbeing.

Significant harm can be caused by one traumatic event or a compilation of events that interrupt, change or damage the child’s physical or psychological development.

At Riverside Bridge School we are committed to:

  • maintaining children’s welfare as a paramount concern;
  • providing an environment in which children feel safe, secure, valued and respected, confident to talk openly and sure that they will be listened to;
  • providing suitable support and guidance so that pupils know how to approach adults if they are in difficulties or worried;
  • including opportunities in the PSHE curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse;
  • raising the awareness of all teaching, non-teaching staff and volunteers of the need to safeguard children and of their responsibilities in identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse;
  • ensuring all staff are able to recognise and are alert to signs of abuse;
  • ensuring all staff know to whom they should report any concerns or suspicions;
  • ensuring there is an effective structured procedure in place to be followed by all members of the school community in cases of suspected abuse
  • providing a systematic means of monitoring children who have been identified as “in need” or at risk of harm;
  • keeping confidential records, which are stored securely and shared appropriately with other professionals;
  • ensuring procedures are in place for dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff and volunteers;
  • establishing effective joint working relationships with all other agencies, involved in safeguarding children and that the school contributes effectively to assessments of need and support plans;
  • operating safe recruitment procedures and making sure that all appropriate checks are carried out on new staff who work with pupils (see Safe Recruitment Policy);
  • ensuring that all adults (including other community users of our facilities) have been checked as to their suitability;
  • working with parents to build an understanding of the school’s duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children, including the necessity for child protection policies and procedure, information sharing and work in partnership with other agencies.


3.   ETHOS

    1. Riverside Bridge School aims to create and maintain a safe learning environment where all pupils and adults feel safe, secure and valued and know they will be listened to and taken seriously. The school implements policies, practices and procedures which promote safeguarding and the emotional and physical well being of pupils and staff.
    2. The Continuum of Needs and Response, Education Health and Care Plans (EHC) and the Common Assessment Framework is embedded into everyday practice and procedures when responding to pupils’ needs. The pupils have access to appropriate curriculum opportunities, including emotional health and well being, to support the development of the skills needed to help them stay safe and healthy, develop their self-esteem and understand the responsibilities of adult life, particularly in regard to child care and parenting skills.
    3. Access to cross-curricular activities will provide opportunities to develop self-esteem and self-motivation and to help pupils respect the rights of others, particularly those groups who may be considered a minority.



    1. All pupils have access to an appropriate curriculum, differentiated to meet their needs. This enables them to learn to develop the necessary skills to build self-esteem, respect others, defend those in need, resolve conflict without resorting to violence, question and challenge and to make informed choices in later life.
    2. Pupils are encouraged to express and discuss their ideas, thoughts and feelings through a variety of activities and have access to a range of cultural opportunities which promote respect and empathy for others. There is access to information and materials from a diversity of sources which promote social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.
    3. Personal Health and Social Education, Citizenship and Religious Education lessons will provide opportunities for pupils to address a range of subjects including lifestyles, forced marriage, family patterns, religious beliefs and practices and human rights issues.
    4. All pupils know that there are adults in the school whom they can approach in confidence if they are in difficulty or feeling worried and that their concerns will be taken seriously and treated with respect.



    1. In accordance with the Riverside Bridge School Attendance Policy, absences are rigorously pursued and recorded. The school, in partnership with the appropriate agencies, takes action to pursue and address all unauthorised absences in order to safeguard the welfare of pupils in its care.
    2. The Attendance Policy identifies how individual cases are managed and how the school works proactively with parents to ensure that they understand why attendance is important. In certain cases this may form part of a review of the pupil’s Education Health and Care Plan (EHC), Common Assessment Framework (CAF) or a Parenting Contract.
  •  Riverside Bridge School implements the statutory requirements in terms of monitoring and reporting pupils missing education and off-rolling and understands how important this practice is in safeguarding pupils.
  • Young people who require access to alternative provision will have a personalised learning or behaviour support plan designed to meet their needs. Their attendance and progress will be monitored by Riverside Bridge School.
  •  The Safeguarding Lead will be informed when an exclusion is being considered and any safeguarding issues will be considered. Where it is felt that a child or young person is likely to be excluded a review of the pupil’s Education Health and Care Plan (EHC) will be instigated to ensure that there is improved understanding of the needs of the young person and their family and that the key agencies are involved.



    1. Riverside Bridge School will keep and maintain up to date information on pupils on the school roll including where and with whom the child is living, attainment, attendance, referrals to and support from other agencies and any other significant event in a child’s life.



All adults working with children have a responsibility to safeguard and promote their welfare. This includes a responsibility to be alert to possible abuse and to record and report concerns to staff identified with child protection responsibilities within the school. The names of those carrying these responsibilities for the current year are listed at the start of this document.

The School is responsible for ensuring that all action taken is in line with the Local Safeguarding Children Board and London Child Protection Procedures 5th Edition. The role of the school within this procedure is to contribute to the identification, referral and assessment of children in need, including children who may have suffered, are suffering, or who are at risk of suffering significant harm. The school may also have a role in the provision of services to children in need and their families.

The role of the school in situations where there are child protection concerns is NOT to investigate but to recognise and refer.

  • The Executive Principal and Head of School will ensure that:
  •  The policies and procedures adopted by the Governing Body to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils are fully implemented and followed by all staff, including volunteers.
  • The procedures laid down by the London Child Protection Procedures 5th Edition are followed.
  • Safe recruitment and selection of staff and volunteers is practiced.
  • There is a senior member of the school’s leadership team – Strategic Safeguarding Lead – who is designated to take strategic responsibility for safeguarding within the school.
  • A Designated Member of staff for day to day management of safeguarding and child protection – the Safeguarding Lead – is identified and receives appropriate on-going training, support and supervision.
  • Sufficient time and resources are made available to enable the Safeguarding Lead to discharge their responsibilities, including attending inter-agency meetings, contributing to the assessment of pupils, supporting colleagues and delivering training as appropriate.
  • All staff and volunteers receive appropriate training which is updated every three years.
  • All temporary staff and volunteers are made aware of the school’s safeguarding policy and arrangements.
  • All staff and volunteers feel safe about raising concerns about poor or unsafe practice in regard to the safeguarding and welfare of the pupils and such concerns will be addressed sensitively and effectively.
  • Parents/carers are aware of and have an understanding of the school’s responsibilities to promote the safety and welfare of its pupils:
  • Confidential child protection files are securely stored in a separate filing cabinet apart from normal pupil records and with access confined to specific staff, i.e. the Strategic Safeguarding Lead, Designated Safeguarding Lead and Senior Pupil Administrator with responsibility for Child Protection.
  • The Governing Body of the school will ensure that
  • A member of the Governing Body is identified as the designated governor for Safeguarding and receives appropriate training. The identified governor will provide the governing body with appropriate information about safeguarding and will liaise with the Safeguarding Lead. He or she will visit the school at least three times a year to review safeguarding policy and practice and specifically to personally check the completeness of the Single Central Record.
  • There is a senior member of the school’s leadership team – Strategic Safeguarding Lead -who is designated to take strategic responsibility for safeguarding within the school.
  • The Safeguarding Lead undertakes training, in addition to basic child protection training, and refresher training at two-yearly intervals.
  • The school’s safeguarding policy is regularly reviewed and updated and the school complies with local safeguarding procedures.
  • The school operates safe recruitment and selection practices including appropriate use of references and checks on new staff and volunteers.
  • Procedures are in place for dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff and volunteers and these are in line with local procedures.
  • All staff and volunteers who have regular contact with pupils receive appropriate training which is up-dated by refresher training every 3 years:
  • A section 11 self-assessment of safeguarding duties and child protection is provided to the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board by the Strategic Safeguarding Lead.
  • The Safeguarding Lead:
  • Has a specific responsibility for championing the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of pupils registered in the school. The Safeguarding Lead will:
  • Act as the first point of contact with regards to all safeguarding matters.
  • Attend up-dated training every two years.
  • Provide an annual report with relevant information to the Governing Body on how the school carries out its safeguarding duties.
  • Provide support and training for staff and volunteers and make sure that they receive refresher training every three years.
  • Ensure that the school’s actions are in line with the Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures framework and that the All London Child Protection Committee established procedures are followed
  • Refer cases of suspected abuse or allegations to the Assessment Team following the London Child Protection procedures and protocols and complete the referral in writing on agreed templates (Multi Agency Referral Form) within 48 hours.
  • Inform parents of referral unless it would pose a risk to the child.
  • Represent or ensure representation at inter-agency meetings, in particular conferences, strategy meetings, core groups and network meetings.
  • Ensure written reports are provided to the family and Chair of Conference at least 48 hours before an initial CP Conference and 5 days before a Review CP conference using the agreed template.
  • Ensure the school effectively monitors children about whom there are concerns.
  • Keep copies of all referrals to external agencies related to safeguarding pupils.
  • Ensure that all staff and volunteers receive information on safeguarding policies and procedures from the point of induction.
  • Manage and keep secure the school’s safeguarding records.
  • Ensure that all staff and volunteers understand and are aware of the school’s reporting and recording procedures and are clear about what to do if they have a concern about a child.
  • Liaise with the Executive Principal, Head of School and Strategic Safeguarding Lead as necessary about any safeguarding issues.
  • Ensure that the Safeguarding Policy is regularly reviewed and up-dated.
  • Publish a copy of the safeguarding children policy on the school website.
  • Keep up to date with changes in local policy and procedures and are aware of any guidance issued by the DfE concerning Safeguarding.
  • Send a pupil’s child protection or safeguarding file separately from the main file to a new establishment if a pupil leaves the school. Keep a copy of the file.
  • Ensure that any absence of two days, without satisfactory explanation, of a pupil who has a child protection plan is referred to their Access and Attendance Officer and / or Social Worker



    1. The school’s recruitment and selection policies and processes adhere to the DfE guidance set out in “Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education Settings” (January 2007).



    1. Riverside Bridge School has developed effective links with other relevant agencies and co-operates as required with any enquiries regarding child protection issues. The school will notify relevant external agencies if:
  • A child subject to a child protection plan is about to be excluded.
  • There is an unexplained absence of a pupil who is subject to a child protection of more than two days from school.
  • It has been agreed as part of any child protection plan or core group plan



    1. Staff ensure that confidentiality protocols are followed and information is shared appropriately. The Head of School, Strategic Safeguarding Lead or Safeguarding Lead discloses any information about a pupil to other members of staff on a need to know basis only. This will be judged against the Eight Golden Rules for Information Sharing.
    2. All staff and volunteers must understand that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard pupils. All staff and volunteers must be clear with pupils that they cannot promise to keep secrets.



    1. Training is provided for all staff and volunteers. Induction training includes basic safeguarding information about the school’s policies and procedures, signs and symptoms of abuse (emotional, physical and sexual) and physical neglect, how to manage a disclosure from a child as well as when and how to record a concern about the welfare of a child.
    2. All staff and volunteers who are in regular contact with pupils will receive basic training which is up-dated by refresher training every 3 years. The Safeguarding Lead will receive refresher training every two years as well as further higher-level training.


12.       Vulnerable Groups

Any child with a disability is by definition a ‘child in need’ under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 and disability has been shown to confer an increased level of vulnerability. Studies have shown that disabled children are 3.8 times more likely to be neglected, 3.8 times more likely to be physically abused, 3.1 times more likely to be sexually abused and 3.9 times more likely to be emotionally abused.

Child abuse is defined within procedures as physical abuse (including female genital mutilation), emotional abuse (including that arising from domestic violence and forced marriage), sexual abuse (including the sexual exploitation associated with child prostitution) and physical neglect, which the person with custody, or charged with care of the child, causes or knowingly fails to prevent. In addition to the universal indicators of abuse / neglect, in the case of a disabled child the following abusive behaviours must also be considered:

  • force feeding
  • unjustified or excessive physical restraint
  • rough handling
  • extreme behaviour modification including the deprivation liquid, medication, food or clothing
  • misuse of medication, sedation, heavy tranquillisation
  • invasive procedures against the child’s will
  • deliberate failure to follow medically recommended regimes
  • misapplication of programmes or regimes



    1. There is no individual discretion allowed to any member of staff who has knowledge or suspicion that a child might be at risk of child abuse. In child protection matters the child protection procedures must be followed at all times. Any knowledge or suspicion the child may be at risk must be reported to the Safeguarding Lead immediately, to ensure help and to ensure any intervention necessary to protect the child is accessed as early as possible.

Concerns for pupils and in particular those with disabilities may come to the attention of staff in a variety of ways, for example through observation of behaviour, injuries or disclosure. The following should trigger concern:

  • when there is a suspicion that an injury maybe non-accidental
  • when there are signs of neglect
  • when a child displays behaviour unusual for that particular child, for example – aggression, withdrawal, depression, or demonstration of inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • when a child fails to thrive.
  • when a child discloses abuse, or describes something, which may be associated with abuse (sexual and non-sexual abuse).
  • when you are worried about a child / young person for any reason.
    1. All staff, volunteers and visitors have a responsibility to report any concerns about the welfare and safety of a child and all such concerns must be taken seriously. If a concern arises all staff, volunteers and visitors must:
  • Speak to the Safeguarding Lead or the person who acts in their absence
  • Agree with this person what action should be taken, by whom and when it will be reviewed
  • Record the concern using the school’s safeguarding pro-forma
    1. It is important that records are factual and reflect the words used by the pupil. Opinion should not be given unless there is some form of evidence base, which can also be quoted. Records must be signed and dated with timings if appropriate.



    1. Riverside Bridge School’s approach to working with parents/carers is one of transparency and honesty and the school’s responsibility is to safeguard and promote the welfare of all the pupils in its care. The school aims to do this in partnership with its parents/carers. In most cases parents and carers will be informed when concerns are raised about the safety and welfare of their child. Parents and carers should be given the opportunity to address any concerns raised.
    2. Parents and carers will be informed if a referral is to be made to an external agency
    3. Parents/carers will not be informed if it is believed that by doing so would put the child at risk. In such cases the Safeguarding Lead, Strategic Safeguarding Lead or Head of School will seek advice from the Borough’s Children’s Social Services team.



    1. The school is aware that pupils’ development, as well as their social and emotional resilience, is affected by many factors including exposure to domestic abuse within the family situation and that this is a safeguarding issue.
    2. Pupils react to domestic abuse in similar ways to other types of abuse and trauma
    3. Information about Domestic Abuse and its effect upon pupils will be incorporated into staff Safeguarding and Child Protection training and briefings and the school’s Safeguarding and Child Protection’s Policies and Procedures will be used to protect pupils exposed to, and at risk from, domestic abuse.
    4. Any child or young person thought to be at immediate risk will be reported without delay to the police service as a 999 emergency and the Borough’s Children’s Social Services team will be contacted as soon as possible.



    1. The school is sensitive to differing family patterns and lifestyles and child-rearing patterns that vary across different racial, ethnic and cultural groups. Forced marriage is a form of child, adult and domestic abuse and, in line with statutory guidance, is treated as such by the school. Child abuse cannot be condoned for religious or cultural reasons.
    2. Information about Forced Marriage will be incorporated into staff Safeguarding and Child Protection training and briefings and the school’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policies will be used to protect a victim or potential victim of forced marriage
    3. If a case of forced marriage is suspected, parents and carers will not be approached or involved about a referral to any other agencies.



    1. Members of staff asked to attend a child protection conference or other relevant core group meetings about an individual pupil will need to have as much relevant updated information about the pupil as possible. A child protection conference will be held if it is considered that the pupil is suffering or at risk of significant harm.
    2. All reports for a child protection conference should be prepared in advance of the meeting and will include information about the pupil’s physical, emotional and intellectual development and well being as well as relevant family related issues. This information will be shared with the parents/carers
    3. The Safeguarding Lead will ensure written reports are provided to the family and Chair of Conference at least 48 hours before an initial CP Conference and 5 days before a Review CP conference using the agreed template.



    1. The school follows the procedures recommended by the Local Authority and the Local Safeguarding Children Board when dealing with allegations made against staff and volunteers.
    2. If suspicions of abuse relate to any member of the school’s staff or volunteer they must be reported to the Head of School. The Headteacher on all such occasions will discuss the content of the allegation with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)
    3. If suspicions of abuse, relate to the Head of School they must be reported to the Safeguarding Lead who will inform the Chair of Governors who will in turn consult with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO
    4. All allegations made against a member of staff and volunteers, including contractors or security staff working on site, will be dealt with quickly and fairly and in a way that provides effective protection for the child while at the same time providing support for the person against whom the allegation is made.



    1. Any concern or expression of disquiet made by a pupil will be listened to seriously and acted upon as quickly as possible to safeguard his or her welfare.
    2. Riverside Bridge School will make sure that the pupil or adult who has expressed the concern or made the complaint will be informed not only about the action to be taken but also where possible about the length of time required to resolve the complaint. The school will endeavour to keep the pupil or adult informed about the progress of the complaint/expression of concern.


20.       Whistleblowing

    1. We recognise that children and young people cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so.All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, about attitudes or actions of colleagues. The school has adopted the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Whistle Blowing policy a copy of which is on the school intranet.


21.       Physical Intervention / Positive Handling

    1. Our policy on physical intervention / positive handling by staff is set out separately, as part of our Physical Intervention Policy. It complies with DfES guidance on positive handling strategies (2001) and circular 10/98, ‘The Use of Force to Control or Restrain Pupils’. This guidance states that staff must only ever use physical intervention as a last resort, e.g. when a child is endangering him/herself or others and that, at all times it must be the minimal force necessary to prevent injury to another person.

Such events should be recorded making use of the school’s Physical Intervention Record form and signed by a witness.

Staff who are likely to need to use physical intervention should be appropriately trained.

We understand that physical intervention, of a nature which causes injury or distress to a child, may be considered under child protection or disciplinary procedures.


22.       Anti-Bullying

Our policy on the prevention and management of bullying is set out in a separate policy and acknowledges that to allow or condone bullying may lead to consideration under child protection procedures.


23.       Racist Incidents

Our policy on racist incidents is set out in a separate policy and acknowledges that repeated racist incidents or a single serious incident may lead to consideration under child protection procedures.


24.       Health & Safety

Our Health & Safety policies, set out in separate documents, reflect the consideration we give to the protection of our children both physically within the school environment and, for example, in relation to internet use, and when away from the school when undertaking school trips and visits.

Appendix 1

Definitions and signs and symptoms of abuse taken from London Child Protection Procedures, 4th edition

4.1 Concept of significant harm

4.1.1 Some children are in need because they are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. The Children Act 1989 introduced the concept of significant harm as the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of children, and gives local authorities a duty to make enquiries to decide whether they should take action to safeguard or promote the welfare of a child who is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.

4.1.2 There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes significant harm. Consideration of the severity of ill-treatment may include the degree and the extent of physical harm, the duration and frequency of abuse and neglect, the extent of premeditation, and the presence or degree of threat, coercion, sadism and bizarre or unusual elements.

4.1.3 Each of these elements has been associated with more severe effects on the child, and / or relatively greater difficulty in helping the child overcome the adverse impact of the maltreatment.

4.1.4 Sometimes, a single traumatic event may constitute significant harm (e.g. a violent assault, suffocation or poisoning). More often, significant harm is a compilation of significant events, both acute and longstanding, which interrupt, change or damage the child’s physical and psychological development.

4.1.5 Some children live in family and social circumstances where their health and development are neglected. For them, it is the corrosiveness of long-term neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse that causes impairment to the extent of constituting significant harm.

4.2 Definitions of child abuse and neglect


Physical abuse

4.2.1 Physical abuse 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 fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child

Emotional abuse

4.2.3 Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent effects on the child’s emotional development, and may involve:

  • Conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person;
  • Imposing age or developmentally inappropriate expectations on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction;
  • Seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another;
  • Serious bullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children;
  • Exploiting and corrupting children.

4.2.4 Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

4.2.5 See section 5. Children in specific circumstances who may be at risk of suffering emotional abuse.

Sexual abuse

4.2.6 Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts.

4.2.7 Sexual abuse includes abuse of children through sexual exploitation. Penetrative sex where one of the partners is under the age of 16 is illegal, although prosecution of similar age, consenting partners is not usual. However, where a child is under the age of 13 it is classified as rape under s5 Sexual Offences Act 2003. See section 5.23. ICT-based forms of abuse, section 5.39. Sexually active children and section 5.40. Sexually exploited children.

4.2.8 Sexual abuse includes non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of pornographic materials, watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.


4.2.10 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.

4.2.11 Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.

4.2.12 Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent 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);
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

4.2.13 It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

4.2.14 See section 5. Children in specific circumstances who may be at risk of suffering neglect.


4.3 Recognition of abuse and neglect

4.3.1 The factors described below are frequently found in cases of child abuse or neglect. Their presence is not proof that abuse has occurred, but:

  • Must be regarded as indicators of the possibility of significant harm;
  • Indicates a need for careful assessment and discussion with the agency’s nominated child protection person;
  • May require consultation with and/or referral to the LA children’s social care and / or the police.

4.3.2 The absence of such indicators does not mean that abuse or neglect has not occurred.

4.3.3 In an abusive relationship the child may:

  • Appear frightened of the parent;
  • Act in a way that is inappropriate to their age and development.

4.3.4 The parent may:

  • Persistently avoid routine child health services and/or treatment when the child is ill;
  • Have unrealistic expectations of the child;
  • Frequently complain about / to the child and may fail to provide attention or praise (high criticism / low warmth environment);
  • Be absent or leave the child with inappropriate carers;
  • Have mental health problems which they do not appear to be managing;
  • Be misusing substances;
  • Persistently refuse to allow access on home visits;
  • Persistently avoid contact with services or delay the start or continuation of treatment;
  • Be involved in domestic violence;
  • Fail to ensure the child receives an appropriate education.

4.3.5 Professionals should be aware of the potential risk of harm to children when individuals (adults or children), previously known or suspected to have abused children, move into the household.

Recognizing physical abuse

4.3.6 The following are often regarded as indicators of concern:

  • An explanation which is inconsistent with an injury;
  • Several different explanations provided for an injury;
  • Unexplained delay in seeking treatment;
  • The parent/s are uninterested or undisturbed by an accident or injury;
  • Parents are absent without good reason when their child is presented for treatment;
  • Repeated presentation of minor injuries (which may represent a ‘cry for help’ and if ignored could lead to a more serious injury);
  • Frequent use of different doctors and accident and emergency departments;
  • Reluctance to give information or mention previous injuries.


4.3.7 Children can have accidental bruising, but the following must be considered as indicators of harm unless there is evidence or an adequate explanation provided. Only a paediatric view around such explanations will be sufficient to dispel concerns listed below:

  • Any bruising to a pre-crawling or pre-walking baby;
  • Bruising in or around the mouth, particularly in small babies which may indicate force feeding;
  • Two simultaneous bruised eyes, without bruising to the forehead, (rarely accidental, though a single bruised eye can be accidental or abusive);
  • Repeated or multiple bruising on the head or on sites unlikely to be injured accidentally;
  • Variation in colour possibly indicating injuries caused at different times;
  • The outline of an object used (e.g. belt marks, hand prints or a hair brush);
  • Bruising or tears around, or behind, the earlobe/s indicating injury by pulling or twisting;
  • Bruising around the face;
  • Grasp marks on small children;
  • Bruising on the arms, buttocks and thighs may be an indicator of sexual abuse.

Bite marks

4.3.8 Bite marks can leave clear impressions of the teeth. Human bite marks are oval or crescent shaped. Those over 3cm in diameter are more likely to have been caused by an adult or older child.

4.3.9 A medical opinion should be sought where there is any doubt over the origin of the bite.

Burns and scalds

4.3.10 It can be difficult to distinguish between accidental and non- accidental burns and scalds, and will always require experienced medical opinion. Any burn with a clear outline may be suspicious, e.g:

  • Circular burns from cigarettes (but may be friction burns if along the bony protuberance of the spine);
  • Linear burns from hot metal rods or electrical fire elements;
  • Burns of uniform depth over a large area;
  • Scalds that have a line indicating immersion or poured liquid (a child getting into hot water of its own accord will struggle to get out and cause splash marks);
  • Old scars indicating previous burns / scalds which did not have appropriate treatment or adequate explanation.

4.3.11 Scalds to the buttocks of a small child, particularly in the absence of burns to the feet, are indicative of dipping into a hot liquid or bath.


4.3.12 Fractures may cause pain, swelling and discolouration over a bone or joint, and loss of function in the limb or joint.

4.3.13 Non-mobile children rarely sustain fractures.

4.3.14 There are grounds for concern if:

  • The history provided is vague, non-existent or inconsistent with the fracture type;
  • There are associated old fractures;
  • Medical attention is sought after a period of delay when the fracture has caused symptoms such as swelling, pain or loss of movement;
  • There is an unexplained fracture in the first year of life.


4.3.15 A large number of scars or scars of different sizes or ages, or on different parts of the body, may suggest abuse.

Recognizing emotional abuse

4.3.16 Emotional abuse may be difficult to recognise, as the signs are usually behavioural rather than physical.

4.3.17 The indicators of emotional abuse are often also associated with other forms of abuse. Professionals should therefore be aware that emotional abuse might also indicate the presence of other kinds of abuse.

4.3.18 The following may be indicators of emotional abuse:

  • Developmental delay;
  • Abnormal attachment between a child and parent (e.g. anxious, indiscriminate or no attachment);
  • Indiscriminate attachment or failure to attach;
  • Aggressive behaviour towards others;
  • Appeasing behaviour towards others;
  • Scapegoated within the family;
  • Frozen watchfulness, particularly in pre-school children;
  • Low self esteem and lack of confidence;
  • Withdrawn or seen as a ‘loner’ – difficulty relating to others.

Recognizing sexual abuse

4.3.19 Sexual abuse can be very difficult to recognise and reporting sexual abuse can be an extremely traumatic experience for a child. Therefore both identification and disclosure rates are deceptively low.

4.3.20 Boys and girls of all ages may be sexually abused and are frequently scared to say anything due to guilt and / or fear. According to a recent study36 three-quarters (72%) of sexually abused children did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time. Twenty-seven percent of the children told someone later, and around a third (31%) still had not told anyone about their experience/s by early adulthood.

4.3.21 If a child makes an allegation of sexual abuse, it is very important that they are taken seriously. Allegations can often initially be indirect as the child tests the professional’s response. There may be no physical signs and indications are likely to be emotional / behavioural.

4.3.22 Behavioural indicators which may help professionals identify child sexual abuse include:

  • Inappropriate sexualised conduct;
  • Sexually explicit behaviour, play or conversation, inappropriate to the child’s age;
  • Contact or non-contact sexually harmful behaviour;
  • Continual and inappropriate or excessive masturbation;
  • Self-harm (including eating disorder), self-mutilation and suicide attempts;
  • Involvement in sexual exploitation or indiscriminate choice of sexual partners;
  • An anxious unwillingness to remove clothes for e.g. sports events (but this may be related to cultural norms or physical difficulties).

4.3.23 Physical indicators associated with child sexual abuse include:

  • Pain or itching of genital area;
  • Blood on underclothes;
  • Pregnancy in a child;
  • Physical symptoms such as injuries to the genital or anal area, bruising to buttocks, abdomen and thighs, sexually transmitted disease, presence of semen on vagina, anus, external genitalia or clothing.

4.3.24 Sex offenders have no common profile, and it is important for professionals to avoid attaching any significance to stereotypes around their background or behaviour. While media interest often focuses on ‘stranger danger’, research indicates that as much as 80 per cent of sexual offending occurs in the context of a known relationship, either family, acquaintance or colleague37.

Recognizing neglect

4.3.25 It is rare that an isolated incident will lead to agencies becoming involved with a neglectful family. Evidence of neglect is built up over a period of time. Professionals should therefore compile a chronology and discuss concerns with any other agencies which may be involved with the family, to establish whether seemingly minor incidents are in fact part of a wider pattern of neglectful parenting.

4.3.26 When working in areas where poverty and deprivation are commonplace professionals may become desensitised to some of the indicators of neglect. These include:

  • Failure by parents or carers to meet essential physical needs (e.g. adequate or appropriate food, clothes, warmth, hygiene and medical or dental care);
  • Failure by parents or carers to meet essential emotional needs (e.g. to feel loved and valued, to live in a safe, predictable home environment);
  • A child seen to be listless, apathetic and unresponsive with no apparent medical cause;
  • Failure of child to grow within normal expected pattern, with accompanying weight loss;
  • Child thrives away from home environment;
  • Child frequently absent from school;
  • Child left with inappropriate carers (e.g. too young, complete strangers);
  • Child left with adults who are intoxicated or violent;
  • Child abandoned or left alone for excessive periods.

4.3.27 Disabled children and young people can be particularly vulnerable to neglect

4.3.28 Although neglect can be perpetrated consciously as an abusive act by a parent, it is rarely an act of deliberate cruelty. Neglect is usually defined as an omission of care by the child’s parent, often due to one or more unmet needs of their own. These could include domestic violence (see section 5.11), mental health issues (see section 5.29), learning disabilities (see section 5.30), substance misuse (see section 5.31), or social isolation / exclusion (see section 5.1.1 to 5.1.4), this list is not exhaustive.

While offering support and services to these parents, it is crucial that professionals maintain a clear focus on the needs of the child.




Appendix 2 – Other forms of abuse


  1. Child Sexual Exploitation


1.1 Definition


Sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them performing, and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation can occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; for example being persuaded to post sexual images on the Internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain. In all cases, those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child or young person’s limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.


Sexual exploitation results in children and young people suffering harm, and causes significant damage to their physical and mental health. Some young people may be supported to recover whilst others may suffer serious life-long impairments.


1.2 Factors which may lead to vulnerability to Child Sexual Exploitation


Evidence available points to several factors that can increase a child’s vulnerability to being sexually exploited. The following are typical vulnerabilities in children prior to abuse:

  • Living in a chaotic or dysfunctional household (including parental substance use, domestic violence, parental mental health issues, parental criminality)
  • History of abuse (including familial child sexual abuse, risk of forced marriage, risk of ‘honour’-based violence, physical and emotional abuse and neglect)
  • Recent bereavement or loss
  • Gang association either through relatives, peers or intimate relationships (in cases of gang-associated CSE only)
  • Attending school with young people who are sexually exploited
  • Learning disabilities
  • Unsure about their sexual orientation or unable to disclose sexual orientation to their families
  • Friends with young people who are sexually exploited
  • Homeless
  • Lacking friends from the same age group
  • Living in a gang neighbourhood
  • Living in residential care
  • Living in hostel, bed and breakfast accommodation or a foyer
  • Low self-esteem or self-confidence
  • Young carer



1.3 Signs to look out for


The following signs and behaviour are generally seen in children who are already being sexually exploited:

  • Missing from home or care
  • Physical injuries
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Involvement in offending
  • Repeat sexually-transmitted infections, pregnancy and terminations
  • Absent from school
  • Evidence of sexual bullying and/or vulnerability through the internet and/or social networking sites
  • Estranged from their family
  • Receipt of gifts from unknown sources
  • Recruiting others into exploitative situations
  • Poor mental health
  • Self-harm
  • Thoughts of or attempts at suicide



1.4 What to do if you suspect CSE


Evidence shows that any child displaying several vulnerabilities from the above lists should be considered to be at high risk of sexual exploitation. If you identify a child who you consider to be suffering from or at high risk of CSE, it is important that the Designated Safeguarding Lead in school is informed so that they can take the appropriate action.



  1. Extremism


2.1 Definition


Extremism is defined by the Government in the Prevent Strategy as:


“Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule oflaw, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.”


Extremism is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as:


The demonstration of unacceptable behaviour by using any means or medium to express

views which:


  • Encourage, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs;
  • Seek to provoke others to terrorist acts;
  • Encourage other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious

criminal acts; or

  • Foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.



2.2       Indicators of vulnerability to extremism or radicalisation


There is no such thing as a “typical extremist”: those who become involved in extremist

actions come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and most individuals, even

those who hold radical views, do not become involved in violent extremist activity.


Pupils may become susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal and

environmental factors – it is known that violent extremists exploit vulnerabilities in individuals

to drive a wedge between them and their families and communities. It is vital that school

staff are able to recognise those vulnerabilities.


Indicators of vulnerability include:


  • Identity Crisis – the student / pupil is distanced from their cultural / religious heritage

and experiences discomfort about their place in society;


  • Personal Crisis – the student / pupil may be experiencing family tensions; a sense of

isolation; and low self-esteem; they may have dissociated from their existing friendship

group and become involved with a new and different group of friends; they may be

searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging;


  • Personal Circumstances – migration; local community tensions; and events affecting

the student / pupil’s country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance

that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of

Government policy;


  • Unmet Aspirations – the student / pupil may have perceptions of injustice; a feeling of

failure; rejection of civic life;


  • Experiences of Criminality – which may include involvement with criminal groups,

imprisonment, and poor resettlement / reintegration;


  • Special Educational Need – students / pupils may experience difficulties with social

interaction, empathy with others, understanding the consequences of their actions and

awareness of the motivations of others.


However, this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that all young people experiencing the

above are at risk of radicalisation for the purposes of violent extremism.


More critical risk factors could include:


  • Being in contact with extremist recruiters;


  • Accessing violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element;


  • Possessing or accessing violent extremist literature;


  • Using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage;


  • Justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues;


  • Joining or seeking to join extremist organisations; and


  • Significant changes to appearance and / or behaviour;


  • Experiencing a high level of social isolation resulting in issues of identity crisis and / or

personal crisis.



2.3 What to do if you suspect extremism/radicalisation

If you have a concern about a particular pupil you should follow the school’s normal safeguarding procedures, including discussing with the school’s designated safeguarding lead.

You can also contact your local police force or dial 101 (the non-emergency number). They can talk to you in confidence about your concerns and help you gain access to support and advice.

The Department for Education has dedicated a telephone helpline (020 7340 7264) to enable staff and governors to raise concerns relating to extremism directly. Concerns can also be raised by email to Please note that the helpline is not intended for use in emergency situations, such as a child being at immediate risk of harm or a security incident, in which case the normal emergency procedures should be followed.














Appendix 3

Eight Golden Rules for Information Sharing


  1. Remember that the Data Protection Act is not a barrier to sharing information but provides a framework to ensure that personal information about living persons is shared appropriately.
  2. If there are concerns that a child may be at risk of significant harm or an adult at risk of serious harm, then it is your duty to follow the relevant procedures without delay. Seek advice if you are not sure what to do at any stage and ensure that the outcome of the discussion is recorded.
  3. Be open and honest with the person (and/or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.
  4. Seek advice if you are in any doubt, without disclosing the identity of the person where possible.
  5. Share with consent where appropriate and, where possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent to share confidential information. You should go ahead and share information without consent if, in your judgement, that lack of consent can be overridden in the public interest, or where a child is at risk of significant harm. You will need to base your judgement on the facts of the case.
  6. Consider safety and well-being: Base your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well-being of the person and others who may be affected by their actions.
  7. Necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely and secure: Ensure that the information you share is necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, is shared only with those people who need to have it, is accurate and up-to-date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely.
  8. Keep a record of your decision and the reasons for it – whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose.