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General guidelines

The guidelines below are to support any member of the University community working with children, young people, and adults at risk.

  • Always put the welfare of each child or young person first.
  • Make sure that you have completed a risk assessment before the commencement of any project or activity.
  • Check to make sure insurance policies are up to date and that all team members have access to relevant guidelines.
  • Where appropriate, ensure you have indemnity forms from parents or guardians stating that information has been read and understood and any medical information and emergency contact details have been given.
  • Treat all children and young people equally, with respect and dignity.
  • Listen to them carefully.
  • Be alert to potential indicators of harm, abuse or neglect.
  • Always work in an open environment, avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets.
  • Maintain a safe and appropriate distance. It is not good practice to spend unreasonable amounts of time alone with children or young people away from others.
  • Strive for equitable relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children and young people to share in the decision-making process.
  • Be an excellent role model – do not smoke or drink in the company of children / minors.
  • Recognise the development needs and capacity of the people taking part in the activity and do not push them against their will.
  • Give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Where possible, ensure the activity is fun and enjoyable.
  • Where appropriate defer to and involve parents, carers, teachers or youth leaders wherever possible.
  • When supervising groups in a changing room, ensure leaders work in pairs, and do not enter changing or dressing rooms of the opposite sex.
  • Never leave children unattended or excluded from the group.
  • Challenge children and young people using appropriate language.
  • Keep a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details and any treatment given.
  • Act on and record any allegations made by either a participant or member of staff following the steps under the ‘identifying a concern’ section of the safeguarding page

Responding to allegations

How to respond to a person making an allegation of abuse in the case of disclosure:

  • Stay calm.
  • Listen carefully to what is said without interrupting.
  • Be non-judgemental.
  • Explain that it is likely that the information will need to be shared with others – do not promise to keep secrets.
  • Make it clear that you are taking them seriously.
  • Allow the person to continue at their own pace.
  • Do not interrupt the individual as they give details of significant events.
  • In the event of an accusation, record only what is said (as is legally required).
  • Keep questions to a minimum to ensure an accurate understanding of what has been said.
  • Ensure that any questioning is neutral and does not show a bias on either side.
  • Questioning should be for purposes of clarification only. Many cases fall down where it is possible to infer that leading questions were asked even at these early stages.
  • Do not interrogate the individual and do not make suggestions to the individual about what may or may not have happened, your role is to listen and reassure only.
  • Reassure the person that they have done the right thing in telling you.
  • Reassure them that you are going to do everything that you can to help.
  • Tell them what you will do next and with whom the information will be shared.
  • Make as accurate a record of what was said and done as soon as possible and before leaving work or talking to others. Use the participant’s own words and record the date, time, and venue of the incident.
  • Keep all original notes as they may be needed for evidence.
  • Do not examine the individual to inspect alleged injuries.
  • Report the allegation immediately to one of the Designated Safeguarding Officers or nominated authority for appropriate action.
  • Do not discuss this with anyone else. If you require some reassurance yourself, tell the Designated Safeguarding Officer or request support from the a confidential interview with the University’s Counselling Service.
  • Do not make any judgements or jump to conclusions on the basis of what you have heard or seen. Judgements in such cases can only be made by professionals in the field.

If a disclosure occurs out of hours and you need immediate assistance contact Campus Support on 01695 654227 or contact the Police for advice on 101.

If you consider there to be serious, immediate danger to a child or young person you can refer to the Police on 999. If the situation is on campus, notify Campus Support that you have contacted the Police and advise Campus Support where to direct the Police to. (NB, student ambassadors should not do this directly, as there is always a member of staff available to discuss this with.)

The first person who encounters a case of alleged or suspected harm or abuse is not responsible for deciding whether or not abuse has occurred. In the case of an adult at risk, responsibility rests between the University’s senior management, the individual themselves and may also involve professional safeguarding agencies.

In the case of a disclosure from someone over the age of 18 who is not an adult at risk themselves, your initial role is to encourage that individual to make direct contact with Social Services or the Police unless you believe there is significant and immediate risk to other children or adults, in which case, follow the procedure to report matters to a Designated Safeguarding Officer.

Direct observation

If you directly observe an incident(s), or the results of an incident(s):

  • Record your observations as accurately and as quickly after the event as possible, including dates and times, where appropriate.
  • Remain calm.
  • Do not try to investigate yourself.
  • Report your observations as soon as possible to one of the designated safeguarding officers.
  • Do not discuss this with anyone else. If you require some reassurance yourself, tell the designated safeguarding officer or request a confidential interview with the University’s counselling service.
  • Do not make any judgements or jump to conclusions on the basis of what you have heard or seen. Judgements in such cases can only be made by professionals in the field.

Main areas of activity

The following list, which is not exhaustive, covers the main areas of activity where staff and students of the University may come into contact with vulnerable groups:

  • Teaching, supervision and support of enrolled students, including young persons (aged between 16 to 18) and those considered adults at risk.
  • Accommodating residential students, including young persons (aged between 16 to 18) and those considered adults at risk.
  • Employment of under 18’s and adults at risk.
  • The provision of work experience opportunities for school and college pupils.
  • School and college pupils visiting the University on organised day or residential visits.
  • Public access to university facilities such as Edge Hill Sport, the Arts Centre or for open events.
  • Students or trainees undertaking work placements or work-based learning as part of their prescribed course in a range of subject areas including but not limited to health, education, social work, sports, performing arts, social and psychological sciences and criminology.
  • Delivering to employees on the degree apprenticeship / short course vocational programmes, in designated off site locations which are provided by the organisation.
  • Apprentices when in the workplace (depending on the setting).
  • Staff supervision of students, apprentices or trainees, as noted above.
  • Staff undertaking outreach activities in schools and colleges.
  • Research involving individuals from vulnerable groups.
  • Staff and students participating in volunteering programmes.

First aid incidents

Although there is an accepted risk of accidents occurring during activities with participants of any age, any situation carries a certain amount of risk. When working with children and young people the following guidelines should be adhered to:

  • Ensure that an indemnity / consent form is completed by a parent or guardian and all medical information and emergency contact details have been given.
  • Make sure that there are staff trained in First Aid on hand to deal with accidents.
  • It is preferable that a female member of staff deals with female participants and a male member of staff with male participants.
  • It is not advisable to deal with anyone involved in an accident on a one-to-one basis. If possible enlist the help of another member of staff or ask one of the participant’s friends to accompany you.
  • If physical assistance is required always explain what you are going to do and why, prior to carrying out your actions.
  • Do not administer medicine unless you have prior, written, consent to do so.
  • In the event of an accident and if there is any element of doubt as to whether an ambulance is required, the decision will rest with the appointed first aider. Parents or guardians should be contacted.
  • In the case of an accident where an ambulance is not deemed necessary please refer to details regarding transportation in the section below ‘practice to be avoided’.
  • Make sure that you complete an accident report form to record any injury that occurs, along with the details and any treatment given.

Practices to be avoided

The following practices should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge. For example a participant sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital.

  • Do not transport children or young people in your private car. Where possible and if appropriate use a private hire vehicle.
  • It is not appropriate to take children or young people unaccompanied on car journeys, however short. Groups should travel together and there should be an agreed meeting and pick up times. Where supervision is required participants should be accompanied by a minimum of two members of staff/ relevant external staff for example accompanying teachers.
  • Where applicable, transport details should be confirmed with parents/carers in advance and written consent obtained prior to event.
  • When using taxis or contracted bus services always check with the company that the drivers are DBS cleared to transport children.
  • During residential events, avoid one to one situations and being alone with a child or young person in a bedroom.
  • Do not take participants to your home.
  • Be aware of and avoid using inappropriate language.
  • When using email or text as a form of communication be aware of your professional role and use only professional language for example do not use kisses to sign off even if the other person does this.
  • Be aware of and avoid inappropriate physical contact. There may be times when physical contact is unavoidable or necessary, such as providing comfort and reassurance to a distressed child, or physical support, for example in sports or working with a disabled child. Physical contact should only take place with the consent of the participant and the purpose of the contact should be made clear.

Incidents which must be reported/ recorded

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another member of staff or volunteer and record the incident. You should also ensure that the parents or carer of the participant are informed.

  • If you accidentally hurt a participant.
  • If a participant is distressed in any manner.
  • If a participant misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done or said.

Useful documents and resources

Below is a list of links to useful resources relating to safeguarding.