INTRODUCTION – POLICY STATEMENT
Our Safeguarding Policy reflects and is underpinned by our values.
Sanctuary in Chichester has strong values of inclusivity, collaboration and transparency which underpin our work as volunteers. We seek to understand and meet the needs of refugees and asylum seekers and to help them to feel welcome, safe, valued, supported, hopeful and able to contribute. Our role is to support them both practically and emotionally, to empower and enable them to make decisions in relation to their future, to access the services they require and to find ways to meet their religious, social and cultural needs.
‘Sanctuary’ is a place of welcome and a place of safety and provision of both is the primary purpose of Sanctuary in Chichester. Safeguarding relates to the actions taken to promote the welfare and wellbeing of children, young people and adults at risk and the actions taken to protect them from serious harm, exploitation or neglect. The people we support, both adults and children are all ‘at risk’. They may be vulnerable either directly or through family members who remain in their country of origin and are linked to their escape e.g. debts to people traffickers or perceived cultural transgressions. They have usually experienced trauma, usually have limited ability to communicate in English and they are initially at least socially isolated and unclear how many of the systems they need to navigate work. Much of what we do is designed to address these issues through befriending, through provision of education and through supporting to access those services available to other UK citizens. It is imperative that in the process we take all necessary steps to ensure that we provide support in a safe and secure environment.
All trustees, staff and volunteers of Sanctuary in Chichester have an explicit duty of care towards the children and vulnerable adults we support. In addition we have a Designated Safeguarding Lead who is the nominated trustee on the Board for Safeguarding.
Currently the Designated Safeguarding Lead is Mark Stables.
Email: email@example.com Tel: 07544278312
OUR POLICY AIMS
Sanctuary in Chichester is wholeheartedly committed to safeguard and protect the welfare of all we support by:
- Embedding safeguarding into the fabric of the organisation through regular training, supervision and support for staff and volunteers ensuring that duty of care responsibilities are fully understood
- Embedding an understanding that safeguarding is ‘everybody’s business’
- Ensuring that everyone – whether providing or receiving support – is clear on recognising signs of abuse and on procedures for reporting abuse in a timely and objective manner.
- Adopting Safer Recruitment processes and the appropriate level of criminal records check (through the Disclosure and Barring Service)
- Responding to any concerns or allegations appropriately and taking necessary action
- Ensuring that all members of the organisation including volunteers have clear guidance around boundaries and the aims of the organisation
- Empowering those we support by ensuring that they clearly understand the safeguarding policy, reporting procedures, guidance to volunteers on boundaries. This will include making policy and guidelines available in appropriate languages
- Creating a safe, healthy, trauma-informed environment within our organisation. This will include an approach to all support that respects culture, boundaries, the rights, feelings and wishes of the individual and does not inadvertently or otherwise disempower
- Providing clarity on accountability
THE MAIN FORMS OF ABUSE
Abuse can take a number of forms:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual exploitation
- Emotional/ psychological abuse
- Financial abuse
- Discriminatory abuse
- Violation of rights
- Neglect and acts of omission
Other forms of abuse to consider:
- Hate Crime
- Mate Crime (fake friendship to take advantage of a vulnerable person)
- Abuse between adults at risk
- Domestic abuse
- Controlling or coercive behaviour (act or acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse used to harm, punish or frighten their victim)
- Radicalisation – ‘grooming’ and other forms of exploitative recruitment by extremists
REPORTING AND DEALING WITH CONCERNS
We are determined that all staff, trustees, volunteers and those we support should know what steps to take if they have concerns regarding possible abuse or allegations are made. No volunteer will begin their role prior to an induction which will cover this area.
Responding to a disclosure
By ‘disclosure’ we mean someone making another person aware of a safeguarding concern or allegation. A disclosure may be made by a volunteer, a child or vulnerable adult or by a member of the public. Anyone a disclosure is made to must inform the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) without unnecessary delay that a disclosure/ allegation has been made.
Principles of responding to a disclosure:
- Assure the person that you are taking them seriously
- Consider communication needs and take any necessary measures without inhibiting the disclosure
- Listen carefully to what they are telling you, stay calm, try to get a better picture but avoid asking leading questions
- Do not give assurances of complete confidentiality
- Explain that you have a duty to inform the DSL and that their concerns may be shared with others who could have a part to play in protecting them or others involved
- Reassure them that they will be involved in decisions about what will happen
- Explain that you will try to take steps to protect them or those they are concerned about from further abuse or neglect
- Do not be judgemental or jump to conclusions
- Do not confront the person alleged to have caused harm
- Take notes as soon as is practicable being careful to stick to statements of fact and record accurately what was said without speculation or interpretation
- You MUST pass the concern/allegation on to the DSL, or if they are unavailable or implicated, a member of staff or Chair of the trustees. (We are currently developing an internal safeguarding incident reporting form which will be made available at the bottom of this page by 1st December 2021). Don’t discuss the allegation with others until you have done so and maintain confidentiality afterwards.
The DSL is responsible for ensuring that anyone receiving a disclosure/ concern receives any support that they may need, appreciating that the experience can be distressing.
They and/ or the staff member or Chair of trustees that the concern has been raised with is responsible for taking appropriate action, taking all necessary steps to ensure that people are safe in the immediate situation and contacting the appropriate authorities.
West Sussex County Council (WSCC) reporting contacts:
firstname.lastname@example.org / (01403) 229900
email@example.com / (01243) 642121
Out of Hours: 03302227007
If in immediate danger – Police – 999
The DSL is responsible for referring anyone vulnerable to radicalisation to West Sussex Social Care, where concerns will be assessed by the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub).
Guidance for those we support
We recognise that it is critically important that those we support are aware of their rights and are empowered to protect themselves. If we reinforce boundaries for volunteers but the recipients of the volunteer support are unaware of those boundaries, the potential for a volunteer to abuse is increased. If the person at risk does not know how to raise a concern or make an allegation, their vulnerability is significantly increased. We will therefore produce clear, simple versions of volunteer guidelines and the safeguarding process for those we support in the language appropriate to them. We will do this by 1st January 2022. Between January 1st and March 1st we will ensure by a combination of group training events and individual meetings that all recipients of support clearly understand both the role, boundaries of volunteers and the process for raising a concern. Everyone referred to Sanctuary in Chichester in future will be informed in person of the policies and procedures within 1 month of their joining, unless there is a clear reason related to their wellbeing that would delay this. Annually the DSL or member of the Board of Trustees will contact supported individuals and families for a discussion that will include whether they have any concerns regarding overstepping of boundaries, or the attitude and behaviour of volunteers. The policies and guidance with any updates will be made available.
Allegation against a member of staff or volunteer
Should an allegation be made against a member of staff or volunteer, advice will be sought from the local authority safeguarding services regarding suspension (if employed) or cessation of volunteering activity. Staff and volunteers will be made aware of this in their induction and of the fact that suspension involves no assumption of wrong-doing.
Volunteers place themselves in a position of trust, working with people who are potentially vulnerable because of their previous experiences, social and linguistic isolation and unfamiliarity with local social norms. As such, we need to be scrupulous about recruiting and training volunteers, about safe working practices and about arrangements for reporting concerns.
Volunteers who will have direct, unsupervised contact with children and vulnerable adults will apply for their position in writing, using a standard application form; they will provide a Curriculum Vitae, details of two referees who are not members of their family; they will have an interview with a panel of at least two Board members which will cover safeguarding; they will have a full DBS check and they will also be checked against any ‘barred person’ list maintained by the police or central Government.
The DSL will maintain a ‘Single Central Record’ with details of all active volunteers on it, to demonstrate that these checks have been carried out.
Training and induction
All volunteers will complete induction training before commencing any volunteering activity. The aim is to offer induction training in groups, either in person or virtually.
Induction training covers:
- Information about the context to our work – the situation regarding migration and asylum
- The purpose and values of Sanctuary in Chichester
- The structure of the organisation and role of DSL
- Respecting cultural difference and offering ‘personalised’ support
- Health & Safety
- Lone working
- ‘Prevent’ duty requiring volunteers to be aware of vulnerability to radicalisation
The training offers opportunity for discussion. If concerns emerge regarding the attitude, values or behaviour of any prospective volunteer during induction their continuance will be reviewed by the trustees at a Board meeting at which the DSL must be present.
All new volunteers will be required to read the Safeguarding Policy and all other relevant policies and documents and sign to confirm that they have done so and that they understand their contents. Volunteers who will have contact with children and vulnerable adults will attend regular training on safeguarding.
Training regarding boundaries (contained in the Volunteering Policy) and safeguarding will be refreshed at least annually. Case scenarios will be used to support discussion around areas of potential ambiguity and to ensure that all are clear and informed on the policies. The DSL is responsible for ensuring that the content of the training is appropriate and that the person delivering the training is competent and confident to do so.
At least one trustees’ meeting per year will be used for safeguarding refresher training and to review/ refresh the Safeguarding Policy.
Safe working practices
All volunteers will receive quarterly supervision. All supervision will include reference to safeguarding and the guidance and procedures set out in the Volunteering Policy. The latter includes requirements around:
- Use of transport
- Use of social media (not connecting with people we support on social media)
- Not initiating contact outside the scope of the volunteering role
- Use of language
- Respecting cultural norms including around contact with opposite sex
- Non acceptance of gifts or loans
- Not placing yourself in a situation that could be misinterpreted or which makes yourself vulnerable to allegation
- Not being alone unsupervised with a child or with anyone with learning disabilities or developmental disorders.
- Lone working
- Taking and/ or use of images
As stated above, ”Annually the DSL or member of the Trustees Committee will contact supported individuals and families for a discussion that will include whether they have any concerns regarding overstepping of boundaries, or the attitude and behaviour of volunteers”.
Volunteers should not invite people to their home, initiate contact with them outside the voluntary work agreed with Sanctuary in Chichester, or encourage them to develop relationships with their own friends or associates. The basis of all our work is the development of relationships characterised by trust, confidence and rapport. We recognise that such relationships may develop into genuine friendships. To ensure that the application of these rules does not become unduly obstructive, it will be possible to approve exceptions but only at the discretion of the DSL or the Chair, or someone nominated to act on their behalf, who will consider all the circumstances carefully before making a judgement – and the decision of that officer will be final. The views and wishes of the recipient of support will in all cases be sought.
REVIEW OF THE SAFEGUARDING POLICY
This policy was adopted in November 2021 and is reviewed annually