The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) should have the appropriate authority and be given the time, funding, training, resources and support to provide advice and support to other staff on child welfare and child protection. The DSL should liaise with the local authority and work with other agencies in line with Working Together 2013 and there should always be cover for this role.
The key responsibilities of the DSL are:
- managing referrals to children’s social care, LADO, DBS and Police;
- liaising with the headteacher around ongoing s47 or Police enquiries;
- providing support, advice and expertise on safety and safeguarding to other staff members; and
- ensuring that information is recorded and shared appropriately.
Every 2 years the DSL should complete updated child protection training and training to:
- understand Slough’s assessment process for providing Early Help;
- have a working knowledge to child protection conferences to enable them to contribute effectively; and
- ensure that child protection policies and procedures are reviewed annually, available publicly and understood by staff and volunteers.
Schools have a responsibility to record information about safeguarding concerns that they have about individual children, to maintain these records securely and to share information appropriately with other professionals and services, in particular Children’s Social Care and the Police.
All concerns about a child should be recorded in writing and this written record passed to the Designated Safeguarding Lead. While initial reports might be made verbally it is essential that contemporaneous written record is made of the concerns that have been noted or a disclosure made by a child.
A recommended Safeguarding Concern form for schools to use to record concerns can be downloaded below.
Records of all safeguarding concerns should be maintained, regardless of whether they result in a referral to children’s social care or any other action taken. This will enable the Designated Safeguarding Lead to identify any pattern or series of concerns that require a referral to children’s social care, where the concerns did not meet the threshold when considered individually.
In addition to safeguarding concerns, all referrals, reports, correspondence, discussions and meetings should be recorded on safeguarding files, with copies of any formal plans for the child.
The recommended contents of a Safeguarding File can be downloaded as a separate document.
All safeguarding records should be kept using a system that files information:
- separately for each child
The safeguarding record keeping system must be:
- separate (from other records such as the main pupil files)
- secure (access must be limited to only those who with need)
- accessible (there must always be a key holder present to enable access)
- Record of Safeguarding Concerns
- Safeguarding Files – Recommended Contents
Abuse is a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children. There are three categories of abuse:
- Physical abuse is a form of abuse which 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.
- Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another, 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, although it may occur alone.
- Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact or be non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
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. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter; protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.
Governing bodies and proprietors should put in place appropriate safeguarding responses to children who go missing from schools and colleges, particularly on repeat occasions.
Children and young people going missing from schools and colleges is a potential indicator for a number of factors and events, including:
- child sexual exploitation and child trafficking
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage