Has someone done something online that has made you or a child or young person you know, feel worried or unsafe?
It has come to our attention that some students at one of our Trust schools have been using a website called Omegle. This site offers 'subscribers' to meet strangers through various means. Some students had been daring each other to use the site and to push the boundaries putting themselves at risk with a number of site users.
We recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of students. We will endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected and valued. We will be alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and will follow our procedures to ensure that children receive effective support, protection and justice.
We have put together these pages to give you some information about how we meet our safeguarding and child-protection responsibilities. We have also included some tips to help you to keep your child safe.
Our designated safeguarding lead is Miss Jane Shaw (Deputy Headteacher) and our deputy designated safeguarding lead is Miss Jessica Congreve.
If you have any questions about this information, or if you would like to see our child-protection
policy please contact Miss Shaw at school on 01302 312140.
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE SAFETY OR WELFARE OF YOUR CHILD, OR A CHILD YOU KNOW, YOU SHOULD ACT WITHOUT DELAY.
Child abuse and what to look for
No parent or carer wants to think about the possibility of their child becoming a victim of abuse and most children are never abused. Even so, it is important for parents and carers to be aware of the possibility and to know that help is available if the unthinkable does happen.
Most children know their abusers. They may be family members or friends of the family, someone who works with the child or someone who lives in the community.
There are many signs, or indicators, that a child might be suffering abuse. There may be injuries, but it is more likely that you will notice some change in your child’s behaviour. If you notice anything that concerns you, talk to your child to see if you can find out what is happening. Remember that if your child is being harmed, she or he may be too frightened to tell you. If your child becomes distressed or you are not happy with the explanations, you could talk to an adult you trust or call a helpline or children’s social care services.
Some signs to look for are:
- bruises or other injuries
- a change in behaviour – from quiet to loud, or from happy-go-lucky to withdrawn
- pain or discomfort
- fear of a particular person, or a reluctance to be alone with them
- secrecy around a relationship with a particular person
- reluctance to discuss where they go, or who they are with
- sexual talk or knowledge beyond their years
- being watchful, or always on edge
- losing interest in their appearance, hobbies or family life
- alcohol or drug taking
- having money and refusing to say where it has come from
- wetting the bed
- becoming clingy
What we will do if we have a concern about your child
If we are concerned that your child may be at risk of abuse or neglect, we must follow the agreed safeguarding procedures. The procedures have been written to protect all students. They comply with our statutory responsibilities and are designed to support students, families and staff. The procedures are based on the principle that the welfare of the child is the most important consideration.
In almost all circumstances, we will talk to you about our concerns and we will also tell you if we feel we must refer our concerns to children’s social care. If we think that talking to you first might in some way increase the risk to your child, we will report our concerns to children’s social care and take advice from them.
All child-protection records are kept separate from your child’s general school file. The only members of staff who have access to the records are those who need to know about the concerns in order to protect and support your child.
Child protection is a very sensitive issue and it raises many questions and a range of strong emotions. We will do everything we can do to support our students and you can be assured that any action we take will be in the best interests of your child.
If you still have concerns, you could contact one of the agencies listed below:
National Child Protection Agencies
0808 800 5000
08451 205 204
National Mental Health Agencies
0808 802 5544
Mental Health Foundation:
020 7803 1100
0845 766 0163
Parents’/Carers’ Support Agencies
0808 800 2222
National Internet Safety Agencies
Child Exploitation and Online Protection:
0870 000 3344
Internet Watch Foundation
Think U Know:
0870 000 3344