1.2 Underlying Policy, Principles and Values
Last reviewed in October 2021
Date of next review October 2022
- Safeguarding and Promoting Children's Welfare(Jump to)
- Child Protection(Jump to)
- Shared Beliefs(Jump to)
- Cultural competency(Jump to)
- Gender Identity(Jump to)
- Children who are lesbian, gay, bi, or trans (LGBT+)(Jump to)
- Principles Underpinning all Work to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children(Jump to)
- Working in Partnership with Children and Families(Jump to)
- Six key practice themes to make a difference in reducing serious harm and preventing child deaths caused by abuse or neglect.(Jump to)
- Case Recording(Jump to)
Safeguarding and Promoting Children's Welfare
Throughout this manual, safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:
All professionals across Sussex play a role in ensuring children have optimum life chances to enter adulthood successfully.
Children may be vulnerable to neglect and abuse or exploitation from within their family and from individuals they come across in their day-to-day lives. These threats can take a variety of different forms, including: sexual, physical and emotional abuse; neglect; domestic abuse, including controlling or coercive behaviour; exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups; trafficking; online abuse; sexual exploitation and the influences of extremism leading to radicalisation. Whatever the form of abuse or neglect, practitioners should put the needs of children first when determining what action to take.
Child protection is part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering or at risk of suffering Significant Harm.
Effective child protection is essential as part of wider work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. However, all agencies and individuals should aim pro actively to safeguard and promote the welfare of children so that the need for action to protect children from harm is reduced.
Professionals in all agencies and organisations (including public services, commissioned provider services and voluntary organisations; whether paid or a volunteer) who come into contact with children, who work with adult parents/carers or who gain knowledge about children through working with adults, should:
Multi-agency training will be important in supporting this collective understanding of local need and the services available to support children and young people. Practitioners working in both universal services and specialist services have a responsibility to identify the symptoms and triggers of abuse and neglect, to share that information and provide children with the help they need. To be effective, practitioners need to continue to develop their knowledge and skills in this area and be aware of the new and emerging threats, including online abuse, grooming, sexual exploitation and radicalisation. Practitioners should also continue to develop their understanding of domestic abuse, which includes controlling and coercive behaviour from perpetrators of domestic abuse, and the impact this has on children. To enable this, the three safeguarding partners should consider what training is needed locally and how they will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of any training they commission.
The effects of language used in safeguarding and child protection
The language used in safeguarding and child protection is so important. It is important that professionals take the time to reflect on the language they use and the impact this might have on those around them.
Different agencies and professions have different ways of understanding and describing needs and thus a complex range of terminology and acronyms are often used. If this terminology is not explained, it can mean that other professionals and the people and families at the centre of safeguarding work, feel disempowered and excluded, which in turn, may harm partnership working and ultimately affect outcomes and wellbeing.
'Why language matters' is a series exploring the language used in safeguarding and child protection, how this affects the actions and perspectives of those who work with children, and what we can all do to place the child front-and-centre in the words we use. Why language matters: digging deeper than "did not attend" | NSPCC Learning
The needs of the child are paramount and should underpin all child protection work and resolve any conflict of interests.
All children deserve the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
All children have the right to be safeguarded from harm and exploitation whatever their:
Responsibility for the protection of children must be shared because children are safeguarded only when all relevant agencies and individuals accept responsibility and co-operate with one another.
The wishes and feelings of children are vital elements in assessing risk and formulating protection plans, and must always be sought and given weight according to the level of understanding of the child.
During enquiries, the involvement and support of those who have parental responsibility for, or regular care of a child, should be encouraged and facilitated, unless doing so compromises that enquiry or the child's immediate or long term welfare.
Practitioners should be aware that to facilitate social inclusion and equality of potential outcome, they should take all reasonable steps to support parents and children who have experienced any form of prejudice. This stance needs to be incorporated into planning, delivering, monitoring or providing training about child protection services.
Culturally competent practice acknowledges and aims to understand the meaning of cultural identity within each individual’s and family’s lives. Cultural competence is being responsive to the beliefs, practices and cultural and linguistic needs of children and families. It places children's wellbeing and protection within their cultural context and, by being culturally competent, practitioners can better identify which aspects of the family's difficulties are 'cultural', which are neglectful, and which are a combination of factors.
'Knowledge and understanding of culture and faith is critical to effective assessments of harm through neglect and/or abuse. However, culture and faith should not be used as an excuse to abuse and must never take precedence over children's rights' Safeguarding Children's Rights Special Initiative: Final Evaluation Report (Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of East London Centre for Social Work Research, 2011)
Where there is a cultural explanation given in relation to significant harm, The Children Act 1989 is clear that the welfare of the child is paramount and should remain the focus of any professional intervention. Whilst an understanding of cultural context is necessary, this should not get in the way of measures to protect the child from significant harm.
The following framework comprises six competencies for professionals, which seek to assist the professional to be clear about the risks from neglect and/or abuse to a child wellbeing Six competencies for effective safeguarding - cultural competency
The Sussex Safeguarding Children Partnerships condemns racism in all its forms. The partnerships recognise the importance of their multi-agency safeguarding system being fundamentally anti-racist. Only through the eradication of systemic racism, discrimination and injustice will we be able to effectively safeguard Black children and those from other marginalised ethnic groups.
Gender identity is a way to describe whether someone feels most aligned with girl, boy, neither, both or without gender at all. Some children and young people are very clear on what their gender identity is and for others it may change over time through a period of exploration. These children may be trans, non-binary or gender exploring.
When children experience discomfort or uncertainty about their gender identity this can have a detrimental impact on their physical and emotional health and wellbeing as can the prejudice, discrimination and misunderstanding they may be subject to by both children and adults.
Safeguarding the mental & physical health of children and young people is paramount. Some trans, non-binary and gender exploring children and young people may be particularly vulnerable and require additional support. Whilst being trans, non-binary or gender exploring would not generally, in isolation, necessitate safeguarding intervention, neither should it be a barrier to such intervention.
Children who are lesbian, gay, bi, or trans (LGBT+)
The fact that a child or a young person may be LGBT is not in itself an inherent risk factor for harm. However, children who are LGBT can be targeted by other children. In some cases, a child who is perceived by other children to be LGBT (whether they are or not) can be just as vulnerable as children who identify as LGBT.
Risks can be compounded where children who are LGBT lack a trusted adult with whom they can be open. It is therefore vital that professionals endeavour to reduce the additional barriers faced, and provide a safe space for them to speak out or share their concers.
Principles Underpinning all Work to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children
The safeguarding partners and all managers, employees, professionals, volunteers, carers, independent contractors and service providers must ensure that their practice reflects an approach which is:
Working in Partnership with Children and Families
Work in partnership with families must be based on the following principles:
Six key practice themes to make a difference in reducing serious harm and preventing child deaths caused by abuse or neglect.
The annual report from the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (May 2021) has highlighted six key practice themes to make a difference in reducing serious harm and preventing child deaths caused by abuse or neglect. The annual report can be read here - Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The following is intended to ensure the security of children's case records and the integrity of the information that they contain.
Good quality case recording is essential in ensuring: