Ronald McDonald House Glasgow
Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
Ronald McDonald House Glasgow believes that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to practice which safeguards and protects them Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) describes safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children as:
• 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.
We recognise that:
The welfare of the child/young person is paramount. All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation, or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers’ and other agencies is essential in promoting children and young peoples welfare.
The purpose of the policy:
• To provide safety and protection for the children and young people, who may stay at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow.
• To provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of harm.
• The policy applies to all staff including the Board of trustees, volunteers and other agencies working on behalf of Ronald McDonald House Glasgow.
We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:
• Valuing them, listening to and respecting them.
• Adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers.
• Recruiting volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made.
• Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers.
• Sharing information about concerns with agencies that need to know and involving parents and children appropriately.
• Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.
• We are also committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.
This policy ensures that all our staff, trustees, volunteers and agencies working on our behalf are clear about the action necessary with regard to a child protection issue, its aims are:
• To raise the awareness of all staff/volunteers and identify responsibility in reporting possible causes of abuse.
• To ensure effective communication between all staff/volunteers when dealing with child protection issues.
• To establish the correct procedures for those who encounter an issue of child protection.
• To identify a named representative of the organisation to take responsibility for child protection issues.
Definitions of Abuse
It is important that our staff and volunteers are aware of the different types of abuse and are able to recognise the signs.
May involve, hitting, shaking, throwing poisoning, burning, or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Any hitting around the head or assault with the use of an implement would considered to be a criminal offense, as outlined in law.
Signs to look out for:
• Unexplained bruising, marks or injuries.
• Bruises which reflect hand marks or fingertips.
• Cigarette burns.
• Bite marks.
• Broken bones.
Changes in behaviour which can also indicate physical abuse may include:
• Fear of parents being approached for an explanation.
• Aggressive behaviour or severe temper outbursts.
• Flinching when approached or touched.
• Reluctance to get changed for example, wearing long sleeves in hot weather.
• Withdrawn behaviour.
This is the emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve someone telling children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued so far as they meet the need or another person. It may feature inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. The lack of or denying emotional availability or warmth would also be considered to be emotionally abusive, especially if the child is in distress. Children may feel frightened or in danger. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child though it may occur alone.
Signs to look out for
• A failure to thrive and grow.
• Sudden speech disorders.
• Development delay, either in terms of physical or emotional progress.
Changes in behaviour which can also indicate emotional abuse may include
• Neurotic behaviour e.g. hair twisting, rocking.
• Being unable to play.
• Fear of making mistakes.
Involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether the child is aware of what is happening or not. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may involve 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. They may involve online sexual exploitation grooming and being coerced into sending inappropriate pictures. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Agencies can provide additional advice (see Appendix A).
Signs to look out for
• Pain or itching in the genital/anal areas.
• Bruising or bleeding near genital/anal areas.
• Sexually transmitted disease.
• Vaginal discharge or infection.
• Stomach pains.
Changes in behaviour which may also indicate sexual abuse may include
• Fear of being left with a specific person or group of people.
• Sexual knowledge which is beyond their age or developmental level.
• Sexual drawings or language.
• Self-harm or mutilation, sometimes leading to suicide attempts.
• Substance or drug misuse.
• Suddenly having unexplained sources of money.
• Not being allowed to have friends (particularly in adolescence).
• Eating problems, such as anorexia or overeating.
• Having nightmares.
• Sudden or unexplained changes in behaviour.
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. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.
Children who experience neglect can suffer from Global Developmental Delay as they have not had enough stimulation, or have missed significant periods of school. This leads to them to become behind where they should be at their stage of development for their age. Any child where there are concerns of this nature merit further assessment, however it will be usually be accompanied by other signs as well.
Signs to look out for
• Running away.
• Constant hunger, loss of weight, stealing food from other children.
• Poor personal hygiene.
• Inappropriate dress for the conditions.
• Untreated medical problems.
If a child should make a disclosure to a staff member or volunteer within the House or should a staff member or volunteer recognise/identify possible signs of abuse, then the following actions should be taken.
If a child tells you about abuse or neglect:
Tell they child they are not to blame, and that it was right to tell.
Reassure the child but do not make promises of confidentiality, which may not be feasible in the light of subsequent developments. Explain early on that the information will need to be shared and what you will do next (as simply as possible).
Do not show anger or disgust.
Do not ask direct questions – who, what, where, when.
Do not stop the free recall of significant events.
Do not ask a child to repeat their account to anyone else.
Do not put words into the child’s mouth by suggesting what has happened and by whom.
Take what the child says seriously, recognising the difficulties in interpreting what a child who has speech and language difficulties says.
Keep calm and even if you find what they are saying difficult or painful, keep listening.
Make a full record of what has been said, heard, and or seen as soon as possible using the child’s own words – record facts clearly, including details of the child, date time, parties involved, action taken and any referrals make to statutory agencies.
Do not contact or confront the individual who is alleged to be responsible
Inform the Designated Safeguarding Officer (See Appendix B) of this incident.
They will then report any concerns to the relevant agency.
If a staff member, volunteer, trustee, or person working on behalf of the House has any concern about a child, they should in the first instance discuss their concerns with the Designated Safeguarding Officer or in their absence the House Manager.
If an incident takes place out of hours, staff and volunteers who have a concern should speak to the On Call manager (See Appendix C).
What to do if you have concerns about a parent who does not have a child staying in the House
At times the way a parent presents themselves or their behaviour may cause us some concern; an example of this is when we suspect a parent may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Both parental substance misuse and domestic violence are child protection registration categories and any child exposed to these would be considered to be at significant risk of harm until further assessment is undertaken.
Where there are incidents reported of fighting or domestic abuse, or the parents behaviour is disrupting the rest of the House. These behaviours may make us question how that parent is able to safeguard their children either in hospital, on return to home, or other siblings in the family.
We do not judge families, but where we may have concerns that a family may be experiencing difficulties, we need to ensure we speak to the safeguarding team at the hospital. We may find out more information about the family such as involvement with children’s services, or what support they are receiving from their health visitor. The safeguarding team will discuss are concerns with the staff on the ward, and this will help build a picture of the families ability to safely care for their children. This will also help the team make any decisions on future actions they need to take, such as informing children’s services.
If any member of staff or volunteer is worried about the behaviour of a parent staying in the House they should in the first instance discuss it with the Designated Safeguarding office or House Manager.
Any person who has a concern about the welfare of a child, and is unable to discuss this with the Designated Safeguarding Officer, House Manager or On Call manager, should not let this stop them from sharing their concerns with children’s services, the procedure for this is as follows:
Making a referral
If the child is in immediate danger the police (999) should be notified as they alone have the power to remove a Child to a place of safety without recourse to courts, contact should also be made with Children’s Services.
How to refer
If you are worried about a child contact:
During office hours, you can contact Social Care Direct by phone (0141 287 0555), textphone 18001 0141 276 4710 or email Social Care Direct: firstname.lastname@example.org
Outwith office hours, you can phone Glasgow and Partners Emergency Social Work Services on Phone 0300 343 1505.
Be prepared to give as much of the following information as possible (in emergency situations all of this information may not be available):-
• Your name, telephone number, position, and request the same of the person to whom you are speaking.
• Full name and address, telephone number of family, date of birth of child and siblings.
• Gender, ethnicity, first language, any special needs.
• Names, dates of birth and relationship of household members and any significant others.
• The names of other professionals involved with the child/family.
• The nature of the concern and supporting evidence.
• An opinion on whether the child may need urgent action to make them safe.
• Your view of what appears to be the needs of the child and family.
Action to be taken following the referral.
Once a referral has been made to Children’s Social Care it is important to:
• Ensure that you keep an accurate record of your concern made at the time, signed, and dated.
• Accurately record the action agreed or that no further action is to be taken and the reasons for this decision.
• Respond to invitations to attend any inter-agency meetings in respect of the referral.
Ensure you inform the House Director, House Manager or Out Call manager of your actions.
Allegations of abuse against a person of trust (this includes staff/volunteers/trustees, or those working on behalf of Ronald McDonald House Glasgow.)
Children can be abused in every setting. Unfortunately, the circumstance may arise when you either become suspicious or aware of allegations of, or disclosure of abuse by a professional.
Procedures should be followed when there is an allegation that a person who works with children has:
• Behaved in a way that has harmed a child or may have harmed a child.
• Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child.
• Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children.
• Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed children in connection with his/her employment or voluntary activity or where,
• Concerns arise about the person’s behaviour with regard to his/her own children.
• Concerns arise about the behaviour in the private or community like of a partner, member of the family or other household member.
The abuse may therefore involve:
A sibling of a child staying at the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow or other hospitals in the West of Scotland, friend or relative staying in or visiting the House.
• A child in the family of a person of trust.
• Any domestic abuse in an employee’s household where there are children.
In such instances you must take the following action:
• Contact the Designated Safeguarding Officer immediately and support and advice will be given. (If the concern relates to the DSO, the chair of trustees must be contacted).
• DO NOT share information with any other member of staff/colleague.
• Any allegation or disclosure of abuse by a person of trust will be taken seriously by Ronald McDonald House Glasgow and appropriate action taken.
Effective Information Sharing
Information sharing underpins integrated working and is a vital element of both early intervention and safeguarding.
The cross-government guidance “Information sharing: Guidance for Practitioner and Managers” (2008) provides advice on when and how frontline practitioners can share information legally and professionally.
Research and experience have shown repeatedly that to keep children safe from harm requires professionals and others to share information about:
• A child’s health and development and exposure to possible harm.
• Parents who may need help and may not be able to care for child adequately and safely.
• Those who pose a risk of harm to children.
Ronald McDonald House Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow Hospital work closely together to ensure that families and children receive the best service they can offer. This includes at times sharing information with the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow Hospital, or any other hospital the child is receiving treatment to ensure the welfare of children staying in the hospital and their siblings staying in the house.
Always seek further advice from the Designated Safeguarding Officer if you are unsure what information you should share.
Looked after children and Ronald McDonald House Glasgow
The term “looked after” describes children and young people in Scotland in the care of the Local Authority. The Local Authority have a specific duty to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children looked after by them
Children may become looked after in two ways:
• A voluntary agreement between parent and local authority.
• Involuntary agreement by an order of the court.
Looked after children may be cared for at home with their parents, by extended family. In foster placements or children’s homes.
It is necessary for Ronald McDonald House Glasgow to establish who has parental responsibility for all children who are staying in the House.
Recruitment and selection of Staff/Volunteers
Staff/Volunteers shall be subject to a careful and rigorous selection process with the following elements:
• Complete of application form and checking identity by birth certificate or passport.
• References from at least 2 people who are not related to the volunteer.
• Completion of a criminal record check through Disclosure Scotland.
• Volunteers will have no unsupervised access to children and young people.
Trustees will be subject to the following:
• The completion of a criminal record check through Disclosure Scotland.
• Trustees will have no unsupervised access to children and young people.
Supporting Staff/ Volunteers
Ronald McDonald House Glasgow will ensure that staff and volunteers have the opportunity to learn about child protection and keeping children safe through relevant training and access to information.
Other actions Ronald McDonald House Glasgow will do to minimise the risk of harm to children and young people:
• Ensure volunteers roles are defined.
• Take out appropriate insurances to cover activities undertaken.
• Perform risk assessments where appropriate.
• Keep an accident or incident book.
• Gain appropriate authorisation where required from parents/carers for children undertaking group activities.
• Ensure regular staff supervision.
• Ensure regular training for staff and volunteers through workshops, training, and events.
Code of conduct
It is important that service users, staff and volunteers can participate in Ronald McDonald House Glasgow activities in a safe and secure environment. This code of conduct has been developed for the protection of service user, volunteers, and staff.
Staff and Volunteers will:
Abide by the guiding principles of Ronald McDonald House Glasgow, in all activities as a staff member or volunteer.
Will inform the management of Ronald McDonald House Glasgow of any relevant police record or other factor, of any change in his/her circumstance, which may make him/her unsuitable either as a member of staff or volunteer
Recognise that the role of Ronald McDonald House Glasgow staff member or volunteer places him/her is a position of trust with regard to all children who are service users, and undertakes to uphold that trust at all times.
Undertakes to maintain, within the organisation’s procedures, the confidentiality of any information relating to Ronald McDonald House Glasgow, its service users, staff or volunteers, made available to her/him in the course of their role.
Attend training where possible and show a commitment to ongoing events to support the safeguarding of children.
This policy was adopted on 17 September 2020
Next review September 2021
Appendix A – Sexual Abuse Support Agencies
Advice can be found at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/
Thinkuknow is the education programme from National Crime Agency – Child Exploitation and Online Protection (NCA-CEOP), a UK organisation which protects children both online and offline.
CEOP is a law enforcement agency to help keep children and young people safe from sexual abuse and grooming online.
Female Genital Mutilation
Appendix B – Designated Safeguarding Officer
The Designated Safeguarding Officer at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow is:
Helen Craig, House Director
Contact: 0141 201 1900 / 07786895032
If the Designated Safeguarding Officer is not available report to:
Tara Harvey, House Manager
Contact: 0141 201 1900 / 07879046947
Appendix C – Out of hours Safeguarding Contact Details
If an incident takes place out of hours, speak to the On Call manager on telephone number:
Helen Craig: 07786895032
Tara Harvey: 07879046947