Safeguarding policy statement
Aim and scope
This policy applies to all volunteers or anyone operating on behalf of DLAG. This policy should be read alongside other guidance relating to safety and safeguarding.
The aim of this policy is to protect:
- Children under 18.
- Any adult that receives a service from DLAG, but with particular regard to ‘adults at risk’ (i).
- Staff and volunteers of DLAG
The aim is also to provide all volunteers and staff with the information and practices to keep them safe.
This policy must be read by all volunteers and staff within DLAG and they must understand their duties in relation to safeguarding and promoting the well-being of service users, themselves and other volunteers.
DLAG believes that no one should ever experience abuse of any kind. We are committed to carrying out our work in a way that protects everyone from harm. DLAG actively promotes an inclusive environment and open culture. This will ensure that individuals understand the conduct expected of them and that they feel comfortable about sharing concerns.
Safeguarding is defined as: protecting everyone from harm, preventing impairment to personal development and enabling best outcomes for all.
In order to achieve this DLAG is committed to:
- Ensuring that volunteers know how to report something that worries them whilst volunteering.
- Ensuring that volunteers know how to keep themselves safe.
- Protecting the privacy of volunteers and service users in line with DLAG’s General Data Protection Policy (GDPR) policy.
- Ensuring that service users (with particular attention to ‘adults at risk’ or ‘children in need of protection’) are treated with respect and care.
- Promoting and protecting the well-being of volunteers in connection with their role. This includes protection from bullying or harassment in any form.
- Recognising that all adults and children have a right to be safe and feel safe, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
- Working with statutory services in line with legislation and local guidance on safeguarding matters.
What we do to keep people safe:
- Ensure that volunteers understand their individual responsibility to safeguard vulnerable adults and children in need of protection.
- Have clear guidance in place regarding what to do if a safeguarding concern arises. See page 5 below.
- Maintain a culture of constant vigilance.
- Have an effective safety policy.
- Ensure that volunteers are given the necessary information and support to carry out their roles.
- Identify any risk factors associated with the volunteering role and control these as far as practicable.
- Record and store information professionally and securely in accordance with data protection regulations.
- Share concerns and relevant information only with agencies who need to know in line with legislation and statutory guidance.
- Report swiftly any relevant safeguarding matters to the responsible local authority or police in line with legislation and local guidance.
- Listen to and take seriously any concerns presented by volunteers with regard to their own well-being, the well-being of service users and/or any safeguarding allegations that they may have in relation to vulnerable adults and/or children in need of protection.
- Provide a code of conduct.
- Have effective whistleblowing measures in place.
- Provide a lead who will act as a point of contact and advise on how to proceed on any safeguarding concerns.
Guidance for volunteers and staff regarding concerns to the safety and welfare of service users
If you have any concerns about the welfare or safety of any person we have supported, including siblings or other children in the care of parents or carers, you should contact Rupert Jeffery, who will support you with your concern. It is your responsibility to report any concerns, not to investigate. More detail is given below.
Safeguarding Trustee: Rupert Jeffery: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 07729 481 245
Head of Operations: Craig Wellstead: email@example.com M: 07969 956 682
Deputy Head of Operations: Tim Marshall: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 07598 846 923
Guidance to safeguard the welfare of volunteers
DLAG provides a safe and friendly environment for all staff and volunteers which ensures that they are treated with dignity and respect. DLAG fulfils a duty of care to create an environment free of harassment and bullying or abuse.
The code of conduct within the volunteer’s handbook outlines the behaviour expected from volunteers. All volunteers must read and follow the code of conduct.
What is meant by bullying and harassment?
Bullying and harassment is behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated or offended. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient (iii). The impact on the individual can be the same as harassment and the words bullying and harassment are often used interchangeably in the workplace.
Bullying includes racist and homophobic behaviour. Bullying can be the physical, mental or emotional abuse of a person.
Examples of bullying or harassing behaviour include:
- spreading malicious rumours
- unfair treatment
- picking on or regularly undermining someone
- denying someone’s training or promotion opportunities
Bullying and harassment can happen:
- online, through messages or social media platforms
- in writing
- by phone
Forms of harassment include:
- Physical contact
- “Jokes” or “banter”
- Offensive language, shouting or intimidatory behaviour
- Offensive, insensitive or sectarian songs or messages
- Obscene or offensive messages or emails
- Coercion for sexual favours or sexually suggestive remarks
- Continued request for social activities after it has been made clear that such suggestions are not welcome; and
- Verbal, non-physical conduct of a sexual nature
- Harassment is ‘unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating people’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment’ (Equality Act 2010).
- The conduct relates to protected characteristics listed within the Equality Act. The relevant protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.
- Harassment is against the law. Therefore, individuals may be held legally liable for their actions. In some cases, it is a criminal offence.
What to do if concerned about bullying or harassment?
Contact the Head of Volunteering: email@example.com
(i) An adult at risk is defined under the Care Act 2014 as a person aged 18 years or over; who may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.
(ii) As defined within the Children Act 1989 and the Care Act 2014
Safeguarding issues and action to address concerns
There are many forms of abuse from which victims may suffer; broadly the following embraces the most prevalent:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Domestic abuse
Naturally, it is quite possible that people may suffer more than one type of abuse.
There are signs which may indicate that these types of abuse are present, of which the following is a guide, not an exhaustive list:
- Poor personal hygiene and clothing
- Marks on body, such as bruises, cuts, burns
- Being very withdrawn
- Inappropriate sexual behaviour/language (in children)
- Extreme anger
- Signs of overeating / undereating
- Excessive tiredness
Action to be taken
Safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone.
You may be concerned about harm to another person because of something you have seen or heard, information you have been told by others or because someone has confided in you about things that are happening or have happened to them.
You should not keep safeguarding concerns to yourself. If you have concerns and/or you are told about possible or alleged abuse, poor practice or wider welfare issues you must contact Rupert Jeffery firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
If you are concerned about harm being caused to someone else, please follow the guidance below.
- If you are concerned someone is in immediate danger or needs immediate medical attention, dial 999 straight away.
- Remember to be person-centred. If it will not put them or you at further risk, discuss your concerns with the person at risk and ask them what they would like to happen next. Inform them that you have to pass on your concerns. Do not speak to the person if the alleged perpetrator is likely to find out.
- Remember not to confront the person thought to be causing the harm.
Responding to a Direct Disclosure
If someone indicates that they are being harmed or abused, or information is received which gives rise to concern, the person receiving the information should:
- Take it seriously.
- Stay calm.
- Listen carefully to what is said, allowing the person to continue at their own pace.
- Be sensitive.
- Keep questions to a minimum; only ask questions for factual clarification.
- Reassure the person that they have done the right thing in speaking to you.
- Ask them what they would like to happen next.
- Explain what you intend to do next.
- Explain that you will have to share the information.
- Ask for their consent for the information to be shared outside the organisation.
- Act swiftly to report and carry out any relevant actions.
- Record in writing what was said as soon as possible, using the person’s own words.
It is important not to:
- Dismiss or ignore the concern.
- Panic or show shock or distaste.
- Make negative comments about the alleged perpetrator.
- Make judgements, assumptions or speculate.
- Probe for more information than is offered.
- Promise to keep the information secret.
- Conduct an investigation of the case.
- Confront the person thought to be causing harm.
- Take sole responsibility.
- Tell everyone.