Scope and Purpose of Policy
Brightlink Learning Ltd has a moral and statutory duty to promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and safeguard them from abuse. This Policy states these responsibilities, in response to current legislation and guidance. Brightlink has a zero-tolerance approach to abuse and other harmful behaviour.
This Policy applies to all staff, associates, volunteers, and others who work in direct contact with Brightlink service participants. Abuse may take place both outside and inside of the Brightlink work setting; everyone who is part of the Brightlink community is responsible for safeguarding, promoting and protecting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults. This responsibility refers to individuals when they are both in and out of Brightlink premises and designated places of work and includes use of the internet and electronic communication devices such as email, mobile phones, games consoles, social networking sites, video conferencing etc. regardless of ownership of the communication device.
The Legal Framework
In developing the Policy, Brightlink will take account of guidance issued by the UK and Welsh Governments including:
- The Protection of Freedom Acts (2012)
- The Prevent Strategy (2011)
- All Wales Child Protection Procedures (2008)
- Safeguarding Children in Education Circular No 005/2008 (April 2008)
- Safeguarding Children: Working together under the Children Act Circular No:12/2007
- Complaints Procedures for School Governing Bodies in Wales 2012
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- Respecting others: anti-bullying guidance 2003
- Safeguarding Children in Education: handling allegations of abuse against teachers and other staff circular no: 009/2014
- Keeping Children Safe in Education
Consideration will be given to other relevant bodies and publications.
The following definitions apply throughout the Safeguarding Policy and associated procedures:
Child or Children: The Children Act 1989 defines a child as a person under eighteen for most purposes.
Vulnerable Adult or Adults: A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited. This may include a person who:
- Is elderly and frail.
- Has a mental illness including dementia
- Has a physical or sensory disability
- Has a learning disability
- Has a severe physical illness
- Is a substance misuser
- Is homeless
Forms of Abuse
Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons. It can take a number of forms:
Physical abuse may take many forms e.g. hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating.
It may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child or vulnerable adult. This unusual and potentially dangerous form of abuse is now described as fabricated or induced illness.
Emotional abuse is persistent emotional ill treatment causing severe and persistent effects on the child or vulnerable adult’s emotional development and may involve:
- Conveying the message that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person
- Imposing developmentally inappropriate expectations
- Causing the child or vulnerable adult to feel frightened or in danger – e.g. witnessing domestic violence
- Exploitation or corruption of children or vulnerable adults
- Radicalising children and vulnerable adults, encouraging their involvement in illegal activities.
Some level of emotional abuse is involved in most types of ill treatment, although emotional abuse may occur alone.
Sexual abuse involves a child or young person or vulnerable adult being forced or coerced into participating in or watching sexual activity. It is not necessary for the child or vulnerable adult to be aware that the activity is sexual, and the apparent consent of the child is irrelevant.
Neglect and acts of omission
Neglect involves the persistent failure to meet basic physical and / or psychological needs which is likely to result in serious impairment of the child or vulnerable adult’s health and development. This may involve failure to provide adequate food, shelter or clothing, failure to protect from physical harm or danger or failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of basic emotional needs.
Financial and material abuse
Financial and material abuse occurs when someone’s sense of need, entitlement or greed for money or material goods is greater than their ability to remain fair, honest and caring towards another.
Financial abuse involves a perpetrator using or misusing money in order to control or exploit another person. It can include: theft of money or possessions, fraud or scamming, preventing a person from accessing their own money, benefits or assets, undue pressure, duress, threats or undue influence put on the person in connection with loans, wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, denying assistance to access benefits, misuse of personal allowance in a care home. It may also include misuse of benefits or direct payments in a family home, someone moving into a person’s home and living rent free without agreement or under duress, false representation, using another person’s bank account, cards or documents or exploitation of a person’s money or assets (e.g. unauthorised use of a car). In educational settings, you may see learners who:
- regularly have money taken by other learners
- have benefits, meal money or bursary funds taken by friends or family
- are manipulated or coerced by others while isolated, physically unwell or in other vulnerable situations.
Child on child abuse
Child-on-child abuse takes place between children and young people and can be sexual, emotional, physical and/or financial.
It may involve coercive control within intimate or non-intimate relationships.
Discriminatory abuse is unequal treatment based on the ‘protected characteristics’ set out by the Equality Act 2010.Top of Form
Brightlink recognises that for young people who have been abused or who are being subjected to abuse, Brightlink may be the only stable and secure element in their lives. Brightlink’s Safeguarding Policy and procedure is based on the following principles:
- All allegations and suspicions of abuse will be taken seriously and will be responded to swiftly and appropriately.
- The promotion of a positive, supportive and secure environment where learners feel valued, respected and understood as individuals and have their wishes taken into account.
- All students regardless of age, gender, disability, race, religion/belief or sexual orientation have an equal right to protection from harm and abuse.
- Liaison with other agencies that support learners such as social / children’s services to embrace a partnership approach to safeguarding and wellbeing.
- A commitment to restorative approaches to ensure that we repair harm and build relationships.
Brightlink is committed to:
- Ensuring Brightlink practises safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with young people and takes appropriate action to exclude or refuse admission to any individual who may pose a risk.
- Developing procedures to deal with allegations of abuse against staff.
- Embedding mechanisms throughout Brightlink to ensure that the risks to children and vulnerable adults are eliminated e.g. I.T. systems which protect staff, associates and service users, risk assessment procedures etc.
- Developing and implementing procedures for identifying and reporting cases or suspected cases of child abuse. This will include developing:
- Joining procedures which allow for the early identification of service users who are vulnerable and may be at risk, to enable them to be effectively supported.
- Procedures to monitor service users during the academic year for changing circumstances which may result in them becoming vulnerable.
- Raising awareness of child protection issues amongst staff and giving appropriate training. Brightlink will ensure that the level of training is appropriate to the role e.g. specific training for the Designated Person, training on safeguarding for staff etc.
- Raising awareness of safeguarding, protection and good practice with learners – training them how to be safe via induction and tutorial activities, as well as embedding activities within the curriculum.
- Ensuring that all stakeholders comply with Brightlink’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.
- Supporting any young person or vulnerable adult who has been abused and involving them as much as possible in these activities.
- Sharing information about suspected and reported allegations with the appropriate authority, agency and/or parent/guardian as is appropriate. This would be in line with our Data Protection Policy.
- Reviewing regularly the effectiveness of our policy and our response to safeguarding concerns.
The Chief Executive will be responsible for ensuring that:
- Brightlink’s Safeguarding Policy and procedures are fully implemented and followed by staff and associates.
- All staff and associates feel able to raise concerns about the safety of children and vulnerable adults.
- Such concerns are dealt with sensitively, effectively and in a timely manner.
- Brightlink has a Safeguarding Policy and procedures in place which is reviewed annually and includes safe recruitment and dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff.
- Ensuring that each year the Board is informed of how Brightlink and its staff have complied with the Policy, including a report on the training that staff have undertaken.
- Ensuring that Brightlink’s Relationship Management Policy and procedures make provision for wilful or recurrent non-compliance with this Policy.
- Providing appropriate training and development.
- Ensuring that Brightlink complies with Protection of Freedoms Act (2012) and maintains a complete and accurate central record of checks for staff.
The Designated Senior Staff members with responsibility for the protection of children and vulnerable adults are Teresa Watkins, Kayleigh Long and Vincent Baldry and they will be responsible for ensuring that:
- All staff, associates, service users, volunteers and visitors are made aware of issues relating to the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and the promotion of a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults working with Brightlink.
- Brightlink keeps up to date with developments in child and vulnerable adults’ protection issues.
- Producing an annual report to the Board setting out how Brightlink has discharged its duties.
- Reporting any identified deficiencies in procedure or policy to the Board at the earliest opportunity.
- Chairing a Safeguarding Committee.
- Brightlink has appropriate risk assessment processes in place.
- Offering support, advice and expertise on safeguarding issues to staff, associates, volunteers and service users.
- Dealing with allegations or suspicions of abuse.
- Liaising with other Brightlink team members where necessary and making referrals to external agencies.
- Obtaining information from staff, associate, volunteers, children, parents or carers who have concerns relating to the protection of children or vulnerable adults and to record this information. Assessing information quickly and carefully and asking for further information where appropriate.
- Consulting with a statutory child protection agency e.g. the local social services department, to clarify doubts or worries.
- Making referrals to statutory child protection agencies, Protection of Vulnerable Adults Committee or the police without delay.
All staff, associates and volunteers will be responsible for:
- Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults. Attending training to help them understand their responsibilities. Failure to comply with these responsibilities will be seen as a serious matter which may lead to action under the Relationship Management Policy and Procedure.
- Familiarising themselves with the Safeguarding Policy and associated procedures and following these to ensure they alert the Designated Safeguarding Officer if they have concerns about a child or vulnerable adults.
Visitors to Brightlink premises will be responsible for:
Behaving in a way that supports the Policy, including reporting any concerns they may have.
How to report concerns
Anyone with safeguarding concerns can report them to any of Brightlink’s designated safeguarding leads in person, by telephoning 02921 888386 and asking to speak to them or to have them call back or by email to
Teresa Watkins – email@example.com
Kayleigh Long – firstname.lastname@example.org
Vincent Baldry – email@example.com
Your report will be treated seriously and with respect and will be dealt with immediately.