Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this guidance
- 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.
(In this document a child is defined as anyone who has not yet reached their 18 th birthday. ‘Children’ therefore means
‘children and young people’ throughout.)
Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play in safeguarding
children. Unravel staff and trainees are particularly important as they are in a position to identify
concerns early and provide help for children to prevent concerns from escalating. Schools and their
staff form part of the wider safeguarding system for children. Unravel should work with the school
and social care, the police, health services and other services to promote the welfare of children and
protect them from harm.
(Keeping Children Safe in Education – DfE, March 2015)
The document ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ – DFE March 2015, MUST be read in conjunction
with this policy.
As Unravel is a satellite organisation, Unravel strictly adheres to each’s schools individual
safeguarding policy and has a meeting with the Designated Lead/Deputy before work
commences with the school so that staff are fully aware of the safeguarding policies and
procedures within the school. All staff understand the importance of establishing a
safeguarding code of conduct within 1:1 sessions, and inform each child upon starting their
therapeutic intervention, the basis of this by giving out an Unravel safeguarding information
leaflet. Staff can also work on a private basis, however in doing so, they work in line with the
Unravel Safeguarding Policy and procedures.
2.1 Unravel takes seriously its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children and
young people in its care. “The welfare of the child is paramount” (the Children Act 1989).
2.2 Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places a statutory responsibility on the organisation to
have policies and procedures in place that safeguard and promote the welfare of children who
are pupils of the school.
2.3 There are three main elements to our Child Protection Policy:
- Prevention through the creation of a positive, trusting 1:1 sessions and the ability to form
healthy supportive relationships. This creates the space for disclosure around safeguarding
issues that can then be appropriately acted upon.
- Protection by following agreed procedures and ensuring all staff (including trainees) are trained
and supported to respond appropriately and sensitively to child protection concerns.
- Support to pupils who may have been abused or who are defined as a ‘Child in Need’.
2.4 This policy applies to all pupils, staff, parents and carers, trainees and private clients.
2.5 Unravel recognises it is an agent of referral and not of investigation.
3. UNRAVEL POLICY
We recognise that for our pupils, high self-esteem, confidence, supportive friends and clear lines of
communication with a trusted adult helps to prevent abuse.
Our organisation therefore aims to:
- Establish and maintain an environment where pupils feel safe and secure, are encouraged to talk
and listened to
- Ensure that pupils know that there are adults within the organisation and their school that they
can approach if they are worried or are in difficulty
- Ensure pupils receive the right help at the right time to address risks and prevent issues
- Ensure all concerning disclosures are passed as a matter as a matter of urgency to the relevant member of staff in the school, or if a concern is raised regarding a private client, Andrea Chatten MD and that they respond accordingly
- Protect children from harm and to ensure that they are taught in a way that is consistent with the law and our values and to promote respect for all others
- Provide an ethos which actively promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
- Promote tolerance of and respect for people of all faiths (or those of no faith), races, genders, ages, disability and sexual orientations
- Make parents and carers aware of the organisation’s policies and practice for safeguarding and ensure that, wherever possible, every effort will be made to establish open and honest effective working relationships with parents/carers and colleagues from partner agencies
4.1 Child protection and safeguarding is the responsibility of all adults and especially those working
with children. The development of appropriate procedures and the monitoring of good practise
are the responsibilities of the Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB).
4.2 In Sheffield, all professionals must work in accordance with the SSCB Child Protection and
4.3 Our organisation also works in accordance with ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (DfE, 2015),
‘Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE, 2015), ‘Information Sharing’ (DfE 2015),
‘Disqualification under the Childcare Act’ (DfE 2006) and ‘Thresholds of Needs Guidance’
5. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
5.1 All adults working with or on behalf of children have a responsibility to protect them and provide
a safe environment in which they can emotionally thrive. All of our staff are trained in
‘Awareness of Child Abuse’ and ‘Safeguarding Children in Education’ through the E-Learning
scheme on the SSCB website and the Managing Director trained to a Designated Lead level. The
names of these people are on the cover of this policy.
5.2 The Designated Safeguarding Lead in Unravel has responsibility for overseeing the passing on of
child protection referrals into every school, safeguarding training and raising awareness of all
child protection policies and procedures. They must ensure that everyone in the organisation
(including trainees) are aware of these procedures and that they are followed at all times. They
should be a source of advice and support for other staff (on child protection matters) and ensure
that disclosures are passed on as a matter of urgency to the school. If for any reason the
Designated Safeguarding Lead in the school is unavailable, staff from Unravel will pass on to one
of the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads. Staff will never leave a school without ensuring
that all concerns are passed onto the school.
5.3 Managing Director Andrea Chatten is responsible for ensuring that the organisation follows
recruitment procedures that help to deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children
(see ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ for further information). Each school Unravel staff work
in complete their own DBS check.
5.4 Ofsted have confirmed that any Sheffield school or education setting can adopt the safeguarding
policies and procedures on the SSCB website. The Local Authority is responsible for ensuring that
they are accurate and updated annually. The link to the website is as follows:
5.5 The organisation will actively promote online safety (e-safety) (if this is appropriate to the
session/concerns) through the sessions and signpost any parents or carers to information that
will help keep children safe online.
6.1 All action is taken in accordance with the following guidance;
- Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures
- Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, 2015)
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2015)
- Information Sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services (DfE 2015)
- Disqualification under the Childcare Act (DfE 2006)
6.2 When new staff or trainees join Unravel they are given the organisation’s Safeguarding Policy
along with a specific meeting slot with Andrea Chatten to ensure they understand the
procedures to follow if they have any safeguarding concerns or if abuse is disclosed to them. All
staff are expected to complete the initial Safeguarding E-Training.
6.3 All staff are kept informed about child protection and safeguarding responsibilities and
procedures through induction, briefings and awareness training. Updates are delivered as and
when needed. Staff training takes place every three years in line with statutory requirements.
6.4 Any member of staff or trainee who receives disclosure of abuse, an allegation or suspects that
abuse may have occurred MUST report it immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Lead in
the school they are working in or, in their absence, one of the Deputy Designated Safeguarding
Leads. In the absence of all of the above, the matter should be brought to the attention of the
most senior member of staff who should contact the Safeguarding Children Advisory Service for advice (Contact 0114 2053535, 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday). If concerns are raised with private clients staff MUST report it immediately to Andrea Chatten, who should contact the above
number for advice.
6.5 Staff and trainees will immediately refer cases of suspected abuse (including section 47 referrals)
to the Designated Safeguarding Lead in the school they are working In, or in their absence, one
of the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads who will then contact Children’s Social Care direct
by telephone and confirm in writing within 48 hours. If concerns are raised with private clients,
staff will immediately refer concerns to Andrea Chatten, who will then contact Children’s Social
Care by telephone and confirm in writing within 48 hours.
6.6 The organisation will always share our intention to refer to the School’s Safeguarding Team and
why, unless to do so could place the child at greater risk of harm or impede a criminal
investigation. With private clients Unravel staff will always share our intention to contact
Children’s Social Care with the child and their parents/carers, unless to do so could place the
child at greater risk of harm or impede a criminal investigation.
6.7 If a member of staff continues to have concerns about a child and feels the situation is not being
addressed or does not appear to be improving, the staff member concerned should voice their
concerns and press for re-consideration.
6.8 The organisation is aware of the document ‘SSCB Resolution of Practitioner Disagreements’ and
encourage its use where there are continuing professional concerns that a child remains at risk
of harm following a referral.
7. TRAINING AND SUPPORT
7.1 The Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board has agreed that Designated Safeguarding Lead and
Deputies should attend Advanced Refresher Safeguarding Children in Education Training for a half-
day each year in order to keep up to date with the developments taking place in their area of
safeguarding and to allow networking to take place between similar settings.
7.2 The organisation will ensure that the staff also undertakes multi-agency training as appropriate.
7.3 The organisation provides supervision for all staff, all of which has a significant safeguarding role.
Due to the nature of Andrea Chatten’s role she has access to supervision from John Davis Psychotherapist at The Stillpoint Practice.
7.4 All staff are expected to complete two E-learning courses on the Sheffield Safeguarding Board
Website when they are appointed to the post. Staff will have Safeguarding training every three
years in line with statutory requirements.
7.5 All staff have access to advice and guidance on the boundaries of appropriate behaviour and
conduct. These matters form part of the Safeguarding Induction Meeting.
8. CONFIDENTIALITY AND INFORMATION SHARING
8.1 Confidentiality is an issue which needs to be discussed and fully understood by all those working
with children, particularly in the context of safeguarding and child protection. The only purpose of
confidentiality in this respect is to benefit the child. A member of staff must never guarantee
confidentiality to a pupil, nor should they agree with a pupil to keep a secret as, where there is a
child protection concern, this MUST be reported to the DSL in the school or Deputy or Andrea
Chatten if it is a private client and may require further investigation by appropriate authorities.
8.2 Any member of staff receiving a disclosure of abuse will make an accurate record as soon as
possible noting what was said or seen, putting the event into context, and giving the date, time and
location. All records will be dated and signed and will include action taken.
8.3 Any allegation or disclosure involving a member of staff, a child’s foster carer or a trainee at the
school or organisation MUST be reported directly to the Headteacher and Andrea Chatten, unless it
involves the Headteacher or Andrea Chatten and then it should be reported directly to the Chair of
the Governing Body or appropriate authorities.
8.4 Staff will be informed of relevant information in respect of individual cases regarding child
protection on a ‘need to know’ basis only. Any information shared with a member of staff must be
8.5 The organisation recognises that it is essential to establish positive and effective working
relationships with schools and outside agencies. There is a joint responsibility on all agencies to
share information to ensure the safeguarding of all children. We share information:
- To ensure the fullest possible picture of the child’s circumstances
- To enable practitioners to assess the needs of the child properly
- To co-ordinate and improve service provision to the child and family
- To protect other adults and children
Some examples of information to be shared:
Child seems hungry, inappropriately dressed, has hygiene concerns;
- Child’s behaviour is concerning or has changed e.g. aggressive, withdrawn, overly familiar, and
- Suspicion/evidence child has an injury e.g. awkward/protective movement, bruising, marks, cuts,
- Things said by/about the child that are concerning
For further information see ‘Information Sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding
services’ (DfE 2015).
8.4 The organisation ensures:
- That all written information concerning a child of a child protection or safeguarding nature is
passed onto the school to be kept in a secure place, or in the respect of private clients kept in a
secure place within Unravel.
- That photocopies are not to be made or retained by other staff.
- That apart from the DSL and Deputies in the school, and Andrea Chatten, the only other staff
who may have access to such information are those who demonstrate ‘the need to know’.
9. SUPPORTING PUPILS AT RISK
9.1 The organisation recognises that children who are abused or who witness violence may find it
difficult to develop a sense of self-worth or view the world as a positive place.
9.2 The school the organisation works in, and within private sessions, may be the only stable, secure
and safe element in the lives of children at risk of, or who have suffered harm. Nevertheless, whilst
at school and in private sessions their behaviour may be challenging and defiant, or they may instead
be withdrawn, or display abusive behaviour towards other children and adults.
9.3 The school and Unravel will endeavour to view such behaviour as the impact of abuse or harm
suffered rather than viewing the behaviour as a problem within the child.
9.4 The organisation will endeavour to support all pupils through:
- The curriculum to encourage our pupils to stay safe, develop healthy relationships, self-esteem
- The organisations ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and
which gives all pupils and adults a sense of being respected and valued.
- The implementation of the individual’s school’s Behaviour for Learning Policy.
- A consistent approach which will endeavour to ensure the pupil knows that some behaviour is
unacceptable, but s/he is valued.
- Regular liaison with school staff, other professionals and agencies who support the pupils and
- A commitment to develop open and honest and supportive relationships with parents, with the
child’s best interest as paramount.
- Recognition that in a home environment where there is domestic abuse or drug or alcohol
abuse, children may be in need of support or protection.
9.5 Disabled Children:
Under the Children Act 1989 (s17 (10), a child or young person who is disabled is automatically a
Child in Need. This is because without the input of identified services, they are unlikely to reach or
maintain a satisfactory level of health or development, or their health and development will be
significantly impaired. The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA) defines a disabled person as
someone who has “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities”; this may include some long-term illnesses as well.
Disabled children and young people are more vulnerable to abuse for a range of reasons which
- May be socially more isolated
- Dependent on their carers for day to day assistance including intimate care
- They may have communication difficulties
- Be more vulnerable to bullying and intimidation
- May experience a lack of continuity of care so patterns of changes are missed
- May be fearful of making a complaint in case of loss of services
- May not have any one person to trust
- May not be believed
- May not be aware of good and bad touching by parents/carers
Practitioners should be aware of the impact on the whole family and any siblings as well. Some
families with a disabled child may be vulnerable to anti-social behaviour and bullying in their
neighbourhood and other discrimination and hate crimes. All such concerns should be taken
seriously by agencies.
10. ALLEGATIONS INVOLVING A MEMBER OF STAFF
10.1 The organisation works in accordance with statutory guidance in respect of allegations against
an adult working with children (in a paid or voluntary capacity).
10.2 Organisations must have processes in place for reporting any concerns about a member of staff
(or any adult working with children) and have a named lead to whom concerns should be reported.
The named person should have sufficient status and authority in the company to manage
employment procedures. Staffing matters are confidential and the organisation must operate within
statutory guidance around Data Protection. In our organisation, any allegations about members of
staff (or any adult working with children) must be made to the Managing Director, Mrs Andrea
Where the concern involves the Managing Director, it should be reported to the Police immediately.
SSCB procedures require that, where an allegation against a member of staff is received, the
Headteacher, senior named person or the Chair of Governors must inform the Local Area Designated
Officer (LADO) in the SSCB on 0114 2053535 within one working day. No further action/investigation
should take place until/unless sanctioned by the LADO.
For further information see ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (Part 4, DfE 2015)
All staff must be aware of their duty to raise concerns about the attitude or actions of a colleague in
line with the school’s Whistleblowing Policy. This duty is regularly reinforced via training and staff
11. DEFINITIONS OF ABUSE
11.1 General Definition: An abused child is someone under the age of 18 years who has suffered
physical injury, physical neglect, non-organic failure to thrive, emotional or sexual abuse which the
person or persons who had custody, charge or care of the child either caused (acts of commission) or
knowingly failed to prevent (acts of omission).
Some children will be deemed to be at particular risk where another child in the household has been
harmed, or the household contains, or is regularly visited by, a known abuser (Person Posing a Risk
11.2 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 or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.
Possible signs and indicators of Physical Abuse may include:
- Injuries that are not consistent with the explanation offered
- Presence of several injuries that are at various stages of healing
- Repeated injuries over a period of time
- Injuries that form the shape of a pattern (buckle, hand, iron, teeth, cigarette burns)
- Runaway attempts or fear of going home
- Extremely aggressive or withdrawn
- Drug/alcohol misuse
11.3 Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe
and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to
children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the
needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being
imposed 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. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of
another. It may involve serious bullying causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger,
or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of
maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Possible signs and indicators of Emotional Abuse may include:
- Bed-wetting or soiling that has no medical cause
- Has not attained significant developmental milestones
- Tearful, has low self-esteem
- Symptoms of depression, anxiety, withdrawal or aggression
- Self-harm, suicide attempts, engaging in drug or alcohol misuse
- Adult constantly calls the child names, labels the child or publicly humiliates them
- Adult has unrealistic expectations of the child
- Adult involves the child in ‘adult issues’ such as separation or access issues
11.4 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. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or
in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to
behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Possible signs and indicators of Sexual Abuse may include:
- Eating disorders
- Sexually transmitted disease(s)
- Sudden lack of interest in friends or activities
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Goes missing
- Truancy and / or running away from home
- Suicide attempts
- Drug / alcohol misuse
11.5 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. 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 and clothing, shelter including exclusion from
home or abandonment, failing to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger, failure
to ensure adequate supervision including the use of inadequate care-takers, or the failure to ensure
access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness
to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Possible signs and indicators of Neglect may include:
- Unattended medical appointments
- Lack of supervision
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Inappropriate dress for weather conditions
- Developmental delays
- Not attending school
- Constant hunger or steals food
- Lack of parental participation and interest
12. SPECIFIC ISSUES
12.1 Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
The sexual exploitation of children and young people is abuse and a criminal act. Many young people
have been subject to what is called ‘grooming’ whereby an adult or a person of a similar age seeks to
become their friend, supports their needs emotionally, financially and showers them with attention
to make them feel special. In the eyes of the young person, the ‘abuser/groomer’ is seen as a friend,
someone they can trust. Once in their power, the abuser may use the threat of physical, sexual or
verbal harm to manipulate the young person. They may also seek to isolate the young person from
their family and friends.
It can involve a broad range of exploitative activity, from seemingly ‘consensual’ relationships
through to very serious organised crime. Increasingly adults are using the internet to meet and
groom young people for sexual exploitation. Abuse of this kind can happen to anyone from any
background. It does not just happen to young females – young males can be victims of abuse too.
The following are typical vulnerabilities in children prior to abuse:
- Living in chaotic or dysfunctional household (Parental substance abuse, domestic abuse,
parental mental health issues, parental criminality)
- History of abuse
- Recent loss or bereavement
- Gang association
- Learning disabilities
- Low self-esteem or self-confidence
- Attending school with young people who are sexually exploited
The following signs and behaviour are generally seen in children who are already being exploited:
- Missing from home or care
- Physical injuries
- Drug or alcohol misuse
- Involvement in offending
- Absent from school
- Repeat sexually-transmitted infections, pregnancy and terminations
- Estranged from their family
- Receipt of gifts from unknown sources
12.2 Self-harm and suicide
Any child who self-harms or expresses thoughts about this or about suicide has to be taken seriously
and appropriate help and intervention should be offered at that point. Definitions from the Mental
Health Foundation (2003) are:
- Deliberate self-harm is self-harm without suicidal intent, resulting in non-fatal injury
- Attempted suicide is self-harm with intent to take life, resulting in non-fatal injury
- Suicide is self-harm, resulting in death
Informed consent to share information should be sought if the child is competent unless:
- The situation is urgent or seeking consent is likely to cause serious harm to someone or prejudice
the prevention or detection of serious crime
If consent is refused or cannot be sought, it should still be shared if:
- There is reason to believe that otherwise it will result in serious harm to a child or young person
- The risk is sufficiently great to outweigh the harm
- There is a pressing need to share the information
If a competent young person wishes to limit information to their parents/carers or to withhold
information, their wishes should be respected unless the conditions above apply. For further details
see chapter 3.22 in Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board Child Protection Procedures.
12.3 Forced Marriage (FM)
A Forced Marriage is a marriage conducted without the valid consent or one or both parties and
where duress is a factor. FM is now a specific offence under s121 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime
and Policing Act 2014.
A forced marriage of a young person under the age of 18 is a child protection issue, because it is
likely to cause Significant Harm. It impairs a young person’s emotional health and development. It
may also involve underage sex and/or rape. Young people taken out of school to be married
overseas suffer the loss of educational opportunities. As their marriages are not recognised in the UK
many are kept overseas until they turn sixteen. Some young women may not be allowed to return
home until they become pregnant. Young people unable to go against the wishes of their parents
may suffer emotionally, leading to depression and self-harm.
Indications that a child may be at risk of being forced into marriage may encompass some of the
- Request for extended leave of absence and failure to return from visits to country of origin
- Fear about forthcoming school holidays
- Surveillance by siblings or family members at school
- Being withdrawn from school by those with parental responsibility
- Not allowed to attend extra-curricular activities
- Prevented from going on to higher education
12.4 Honour Based Violence (HBV)
Honour based violence is a crime or incident which has or may have been committed to protect or
defend the honour of the family and/or community.
Honour based violence, where it affects children and young people, is a child protection issue. It is
an abuse of human rights. Children and young people who suffer Honour Based Violence are at risk
of Significant Harm through physical, sexual, psychological, emotional harm and neglect. In some
cases they are also at risk of being killed.
- Children may truant to avoid family and relatives knowing where they are
- Children may be isolated, depressed and there may be concerns about self-harming behaviour
- Families may continue to feel ‘shame’ and the risks may transfer to children or siblings
- Children may be excessively restricted in their movements; grounded permanently
- Denial of access to internet, phones, friends, passport
- Children may be stopped from seeing their mother
12.5 Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
FGM is a collective term for all procedures which include the partial or total removal of the external
female genital organs for non-medical or therapeutic reasons. It is acknowledged that some FGM-
practising families do not see it as an act of abuse. However, Female Genital Mutilation has severe
significant physical and mental health consequences both in the short and long term, and must not
be excused, accepted or condoned. The procedures are more common than most people realise and
work is taking place worldwide to eradicate this illegal and dangerous practice.
FGM is illegal in the UK and in October 2015 it became mandatory to report all concerns about FGM
on a girl under the age of 18 to the Police. This includes historical cases which may have occurred
many years previously and outside of the UK.
Signs and Indicators of FGM being planned may include:
- The family belonging to a community in which FGM is practised and that they are planning to
take a child on holiday, arranging vaccinations or planning absence from school
- The child may also talk about a special procedure or ceremony that is going to take place. FGM
does not take place exclusively abroad.
Indicators that FGM may already have occurred include:
- Prolonged absence from school with noticeable behaviour change on return, possibly with
bladder or menstrual problems
- The child finding it difficult to sit still and looking uncomfortable, or complaining about pain between their legs
- The child taking a long time when they visit the toilet
12.6 Extremism and Radicalisation
The ‘Prevent’ duty: All education settings must try to prevent people from being drawn into
terrorism & extremism, whilst carrying out our usual educational functions. The Prevent programme
must not involve any covert activity against people or communities, but specified authorities may
need to share personal information e.g. to ensure that a person at risk of radicalisation is given
Radicalisation is defined as the process by which people come to support terrorism and violent
extremism and, in some cases, to then participate in terrorist groups.
Schools can support young people in this: providing a safe environment for discussing controversial
issues and helping young people understand how they can influence and participate in decision-
making. We need to encourage young people to express their views but also to appreciate the
impact their views can have on others, to take responsibility for their actions and to understand that
the use of violence to further any cause is criminal.
Schools can help to protect children from extremist and violent views in the same ways that they
help to safeguard children from drugs, gang violence or alcohol. The purpose must be to protect
children from harm and to ensure that they are taught in a way that is consistent with the law and
Vulnerable children can be drawn into violence or they can be exposed to the messages of extremist
groups by many means. These can include through the influence of family members or friends
and/or direct contact with extremist groups and organisations or, increasingly, through the internet.
This can put a child at risk of being drawn into criminal activity and has the potential to cause
The risk of radicalisation is the product of a number of factors and identifying this risk requires that
staff exercise their professional judgement, seeking further advice as necessary. It may be combined
with other vulnerabilities or may be the only risk identified.
Potential indicators include:
- Use of inappropriate language
- Possession of violent extremist literature
- Behavioural changes
- The expression of extremist views
- Advocating violent actions and means
- Association with known extremists
- Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology
Staff may also become concerned about the content of a pupil’s written work (including drawings).
12.7 Peer Abuse
Peer abuse is behaviour by an individual or group, intending to physically, sexually or emotionally
hurt others. All staff should be aware of safeguarding issues from peer abuse including:
- Bullying (including cyber bullying)
- Gender based violence
- Sexual assaults and sexting.
This abuse can:
- Be motivated by perceived differences e.g. on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual
orientation, disability or other differences
- Result in significant, long lasting and traumatic isolation, intimidation or violence to the
victim; vulnerable adults are at particular risk of harm Children or young people who harm
others may have additional or complex needs e.g.:
- Significant disruption in their own lives
- Exposure to domestic abuse or witnessing or suffering abuse
- Educational under-achievement
- Involved in crime
Stopping violence and ensuring immediate physical safety is the first priority of any education
setting, but emotional bullying can sometimes be more damaging than physical. School staff,
alongside their Designated Safeguarding Lead and/or Deputy, have to make their own judgements
about each specific case.
Recognising peer abuse:
An assessment of an incident between peers should be completed and consider:
- Chronological and developmental ages of everyone involved
- Difference in their power or authority in relation to age, race, gender, physical, emotional or
- All alleged physical and verbal aspects of the behaviour and incident
- Whether the behaviour involved inappropriate sexual knowledge or motivation
- What was the degree of physical aggression, intimidation, threatening behaviour or bribery
- The effect on the victim
- Any attempts to ensure the behaviour and incident is kept a secret
- The child or young person’s motivation or reason for the behaviour, if they admit that it
Whether this was a one-off incident, or longer
- Always take complaints seriously
- Never ask a student for a written statement, it can interfere with a criminal investigation
- Assess needs of victim and perpetrator
- Consider referral to Police or Social Care and contribute to multi-agency assessments
If a member of staff has a concern about any of the safeguarding issues listed above, they must pass
these on to a member of the school’s safeguarding team without delay.
Further information on specific safeguarding issues, including issue led guidance, can be found on
the SSCB website. There are a number of factsheets and protocols in the Sheffield Safeguarding
Children Board Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures Manual which the Managing Director
and all other staff will find useful for quick reference.