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Study Links’ Child Protection Policy

The purpose of this policy is to help create a safe and positive environment for children, it clarifies what is required of Study Links, in relation to the protection of children.

 

This policy helps to demonstrate Study Links’ commitment to safeguard children from harm, whilst deterring those who would wish to abuse children from joining Study Links.  It sets out standards of behaviour expected at Study Links, and what to do if they notice, or are told about inappropriate behaviour.

 

This policy also provides a basis of protection for Study Links employees and persons acting on behalf of Study Links.

 

The welfare of children at Study Links is paramount, every employee is committed to do everything possible to ensure that children are protected from harm at all times.

 

Definitions

 

For the purposes of this Child Protection Policy (CPP), all references to ‘child’ or ‘children’ – whether singular or plural – are used and are taken to refer to students enrolled at a school or other educational institution in the United Kingdom who are in the care of Study Links.

 

‘Guardianship Organisation’ or STUDY LINKS INTERNATIONAL LTD (Study Links) are used and are taken to refer to the company or organisation or individual employed by parents to be the Educational Guardians of a child in the UK.

 

‘Guardianship personnel’ means an educational guardian having any responsibility for a child as defined in the contract during that contractual period.  This may also refer to any personnel at Study Links, whether paid or unpaid, whether under a contract of service or apprenticeship, under a contract for services, or otherwise than under a contract, who has similar responsibility for a child and may be interacting with children for or on behalf of Study Links.  The normal duties of guardianship personnel include caring for, supervising or being in sole charge of children; they also involve unsupervised contact with children under arrangements made by a responsible person.

 

 

Study Links’ principles for the protection of children

Study Links recognises that child protection is not only a legal obligation but also an organisational and individual’s responsibility.

Study Links expectations, in terms of behaviour and good practice for working with children. Study Links believes that everyone involved must accept responsibility and take precautions to help create a safe environment for children. This requires every employee to be well informed and aware of child protection issues. Children, their parents and house staff should know that there is always a responsible adult within Study Links whom they can approach if they are worried or in difficulty. Study Links ensures that everyone involved is well informed and aware of child protection issues. Study Links ensures there is an ethos where children feel secure and are encouraged to talk.

 

Study Links has guidelines for responding appropriately if abuse of a child is alleged, disclosed, discovered or suspected. Study Links encourages openness about concerns relating to child protection matters, because child abuse thrives on secrecy. Guidelines in this policy explain what should be done about those concerns.

 

Types of abuse and neglect:

Study Links ensures everyone is aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases multiple issues will overlap with one another.  Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.  Types of abuse include:

 

 

 

 

 

A full list of government definitions of abuse can be found on the official government website.

 

 

Study Links has a Child Protection Co-ordinator (SLCPC) / Lead Safeguarding Officer, Sophie Richards who can be contacted on sophie@studylinks.co.uk and 01274 679710.  If you are unable to reach Sophie Richards, you can contact the deputy, Youmna Khan on youmna@studylinks.co.uk and 01274 679710.

 

Study Links Child Protection Co-ordinator, and the deputy are responsible for:

 

procedures and on the procedures.  This includes the briefing of new guardianship personnel as part of their induction after joining Study Links.

 

All who work at Study Links should be aware of:

 

The need to report allegations or suspicions of child abuse to the relevant person at Study Links.  Children often tell other children, rather than guardianship personnel or other adults, about abuse.

 

Study Links should keep accurate and unchanged/unchangeable records of alleged or suspected abuse, even if such abuse is only a minor incident.

The CPC has responsibility for receiving complaints of abuse, investigating those complaints and reporting any complaints to the appropriate authority.

Safeguarding and Child Protection Training of Study Links Employees and Homestays

 

Study Links complies with Local Safeguarding Children Boards, established by the Children Act 2004, which gives statutory responsibility to each locality to have in place a mechanism whereby each local Safeguarding Children Board ensures that key agencies work together to keep children safe.

 

Local Safeguarding Children Boards are also key to supporting and enabling Study Links to adapt their practice and become more effective in safeguarding children.

 

For these reasons, Study Links has established and maintains links with its local Safeguarding children Board: Bradford.

 

Bradford Council provide the requisite level of safeguarding and child protection training for Study Links.

 

Lines of communication within Study Links

 

Who should you speak to if you believe there is a problem?

 

If you are able you should speak with Study Links Child Protection Co-ordinator, or their deputy.

 

If a child has disclosed anything to you, then you need to advise SLCPC, as soon as you are able.

 

If you are at all concerned, about a child you can speak directly to your Local Safeguarding Children Board, or Bradford Safeguarding Children’s Board: they can be contact on 01274 437500, if you have contact the Local Safeguarding Children Board directly please also speak to SLCPC as soon as you are able.

 

Parents, in a similar way, should report alleged abuse to one of the guardianship personnel or the Child Protection Co-ordinator at Study Links or one of the house staff at school, depending on whom the alleged abuser is.

 

Any person responsible for the welfare of a child has a duty under English law to report any suspicions of abuse to the relevant authority.

 

How Study Links should respond to any suspicion of abuse

 

Any employee of Study Links who is told of any incident or has strong suspicion of any abuse must report the information to the SLCPC.  (In the absence of the SLCPC, an immediate report should be made to the deputy).

 

If a child or group of children disclose the fact that they are upset or worried, or if a child or group of children give the appearance of being upset, every effort should be made to keep the individual or group of individuals calm and not distressed.  It is not appropriate to try to force conversation whilst there is an emotive atmosphere.  The individual(s) concerned should be

taken to a private place where, if the situation warrants it, a second responsible adult should be asked to be present.  The following guidelines should be observed:

 

 

Action by Study Links

 

When the SLCPC at Study Links receives an allegation of abuse they should:

 

 

Allegations of abuse against an employee or any one working with or for Study Links.

 

Following investigation, Study Links should consider taking, and if necessary and appropriate, should take the necessary measures to safeguard the child against any member of the guardianship personnel or of his/her household, where it believes children are at risk of abuse from that member of the guardianship personnel or of their household, even in cases where there may be no criminal prosecution.  Cessation from a role within the guardianship personnel (without prejudice) may be necessary to protect all concerned, including the guardianship personnel or his/her household member.

 

Study Links must make its own decision on whether a child’s welfare is at risk, whatever the outcome of a police or Social Services Department investigation may be.  The level of evidence needed for criminal prosecution is likely to be higher than that which may trigger valid and appropriate precautionary proceedings taken by Study Links.

 

Appropriate precautionary proceedings and grounds for concern over its children’s welfare may therefore be based on ‘balance of probability’, rather than on evidence ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

 

In any instance of an allegation of child abuse Study Links will, after reasonable investigation and if satisfied on a balance of probabilities that there is substance to the allegation, immediately terminate any contract or other arrangement with that member of the guardianship personnel or other person.  Study Links has a duty to terminate any possible contact between the child and that person.

 

Where a Guardianship Organisation has ‘low level’ concerns that do not amount to allegations or suspicions of specific abuse, but which may indicate the possibility of abuse occurring, the Director of Study Links or designated member of staff should discuss these with the Social Services Department.

 

Recruitment and screening at Study Links

 

Study Links, ensures that when using outsourced services (e.g. taxi firms) whose employees  may have contact with a child, must obtain a written assurance from the service provider that all such employees have been subjected to enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks (CRB checks) and other relevant checks done according to the principles and guidelines of the AEGIS Code of Practice.

 

Study Links makes all Study Links employees, Student Support Representatives, Academic Consultants and Homestay Hosts aware of Study Links Child Protection Policy, and are asked to sign a declaration. Study Links takes up no fewer than two references as to the character and suitability of any person under their control and their suitability to have contact with a child.

 

All Study Links employees and those working with Study Links must declare any history, criminal or civil, of child abuse.  Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks are sought to confirm this.  Permission to interact with children is dependent upon a judgement of these declarations and the results of an enhanced DBS check.

 

If any employee of Study Links or working with Study Links is a risk to children, they will not be allowed to work with Study Links.

Complaints and abuse

 

Study Links ensures that key people who deal with complaints and concerns are fully aware of this policy document and that there is the possibility of certain complaints understating an allegation of abuse and therefore any such complaints should be routed via the appropriate channels.

False alarms

 

It is important to realise that the Children Act will inevitably lead to some investigations being triggered which do not substantiate the allegations made, as well as those that do.  It is a basic

assumption that it is better to accept some false alarms than to fail to initiate the specialist investigation of instances of real abuse.  The Local Safeguarding Children Board will work with Study Links personnel, parents and children involved in any false alarm investigation to assist in recovery from the incident, as well as working with the Study Links to assist in ‘living through’ and recovering from a substantial investigation.

 

Whistleblowing

 

We recognise that children cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where adults fail to do so.  All adults involved in Study Links provision of care should be aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, about the management of child protection, which may include the attitude or actions of other adults. The Whistleblowing policy can be found in the handbook.

 

Advice on one-to-one contact with children

 

Study Links employees and those working with Study links should be wary of placing themselves in situations where they are open to accusations of inappropriate conduct.  Essentially this involves exercising common sense.

 

Further information can be found at

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/550511/Keeping_children_safe_in_education.pdf

 

Review

 

This policy is reviewed annually taking into account any changes in legislation, practice or roles concerned throughout the year.

 

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