Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility

Purpose and Aims

Multi-skills TavistockThe purpose of West Devon Swords’ safeguarding policy is to provide a secure framework for the workforce in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of those children/young people who attend our setting.

The policy aims to ensure that:

  • All our children are safe and protected from harm.
  • Other elements of provision and policies are in place to enable children to feel safe and adopt safe practices;
  • Staff, children, West Devon Swords committee and trustees, visitors, volunteers and parents are aware of the expected behaviours’ and the settings legal responsibilities in relation to the safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all of our children.


All children deserve the opportunity to achieve their full potential. In 2003, the Government published the Every Child Matters Green Paper. This Paper set out five outcomes that are key to children and young people’s wellbeing:

  • be healthy;
  • stay safe;
  • enjoy and achieve;
  • make a positive contribution; and
  • achieve economic wellbeing.

The five outcomes are universal ambitions for every child and young person, whatever their background or circumstances. Improving outcomes for all children and young people underpins all of the development and work within this setting.

Safeguarding at West Devon Swords is considered everyone’s responsibility and as such our setting aims to create the safest environment within which every child has the opportunity to achieve their Five Outcomes.

West Devon Swords recognises the contribution it can make in ensuring that all children registered or who use our setting feel that they will be listened to and appropriate action taken. We will do this by working in partnership with other agencies and seeking to establish effective working relationships with parents, carers and other colleagues to develop and provide activities and opportunities throughout our activities that will help to equip our children with the skills they need. This will include activities and learning experiences that will encourage our children to develop essential life skills and protective behaviours.

Responsibilities and expectations

West Devon Swords recognises its’ responsibility is to make sure that the setting has an effective safeguarding policy and procedures in place and monitors that the setting complies with them. The policy is made available to parents and carers on request.

It is the responsibility of the Safeguarding Designated Officer to ensure that all staff and volunteers are properly checked to make sure they are safe to work with the children who attend the setting and that the setting has procedures for handling allegations of abuse made against members of staff or volunteers.

The club has appointed a Safeguarding Designated Officer (SDO) who has lead responsibility for dealing with all safeguarding issues in the setting.

The Safeguarding Designated Officer

Our Designated Safeguarding Officer is Vicki Pritchard

It is the responsibility of the SDO to ensure that all safeguarding issues raised in setting are effectively responded to, recorded and referred to the appropriate agency.

Both the SDO and coaches of West Devon Swords are responsible for arranging the whole settings safeguarding training for all staff and volunteers who work with children and young people in the setting.

The SDO must ensure that the whole settings safeguarding training takes place at least every three years; which they can deliver within setting provided they are linked in to the support and quality assurance process offered by the Local Authority.

The SDO is required to attend or ensure that a senior member of staff who has the relevant training and access to appropriate supervision, attends where appropriate, all child protection case conferences, reviews, core groups or meetings where it concerns a child at West Devon Swords’ setting and to contribute to multi-agency discussions to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare.

All Child Protection concerns need to be acted on immediately. If anyone is concerned that a child may be at risk or is actually suffering abuse, you must tell the Safeguarding Designated Officer.

All Adults, including the SDO, have a duty to refer all known or suspected cases of abuse to the relevant agency including Children and Young Peoples Service (CYPS) – Social Care or the Police. Where a disclosure is made to a visiting staff member from a different agency, e.g. Early Years Consultants, Health Visitors, it is the responsibility of that agency staff to formally report the referral to the Setting’s Designated Person in the first instance.

Any records made should be kept securely on the Child’s Protection file.

Recognising concerns, signs and indicators of abuse

Safeguarding is not just about protecting children from deliberate harm. For our setting it includes such things as child safety, bullying, racist abuse and harassment, visits, intimate care and internet safety etc. The witnessing of abuse can have a damaging affect on those who are party to it, as well as the child subjected to the actual abuse, and in itself will have a significant impact on the health and emotional well-being of the child. Abuse can take place in any family, institution or community setting, by telephone or on the internet. Abuse can often be difficult to recognise as children may behave differently or seem unhappy for many reasons, as they move through the stages of childhood or their family circumstances change. However, it is important to know the indicators of abuse and to be alert to the need to consult further.

Physical Abuse

This can involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, punching, kicking, scalding, burning, drowning and suffocating. It can also result when a parent or carer deliberately causes the ill health of a child in order to seek attention through fabricated or induced illness. This was previously known as Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse is where a child’s need for love, security, recognition and praise is not met. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of someone else such as in Domestic Violence or Domestic Abuse. A parent, carer or authority figure is considered emotionally abusive when they are consistently hostile, rejecting, threatening or undermining toward a child or other family member. It can also occur when children are prevented from having social contact with others or if inappropriate expectations are placed upon them. Symptoms that indicate emotional abuse include:

  • Excessively clingy or attention seeking.
  • Very low self-esteem or excessive self-criticism.
  • Withdrawn behaviour or fearfulness.
  • Lack of appropriate boundaries with strangers; too eager to please.
  • disorders or self-harm

Sexual Abuse

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. This may include physical contact both penetrative and non-penetrative, or viewing pornographic material including through the use of the internet. Indicators of sexual abuse include: allegations or disclosures, genital soreness, injuries or disclosure, sexually transmitted diseases, inappropriate sexualized behaviour including words, play or drawing.


Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs which can significantly harm their health and development. Neglect can include inadequate supervision (being left alone for long periods of time), lack of stimulation, social contact or education, lack of appropriate food, shelter, appropriate clothing for conditions and medical attention and treatment when necessary.

What to do if you are concerned

If a child makes an allegation or disclosure of abuse against an adult or other child or young person, it is important that you:

  • Stay calm and listen carefully.
  • Reassure them that they have done the right thing in telling you.
  • Do not investigate or ask leading questions.
  • Let them know that you will need to tell someone else.
  • Do not promise to keep what they have told you a secret.
  • Inform your Safeguarding Designated Officer as soon as possible.
  • Make a written record of the allegation, disclosure or incident which you must sign, date and record your position using the setting safeguarding record log forms.

If you are concerned that a member of staff or adult in a position of trust poses a danger to a child or young person or that they might be abusing a child or young person you should report your concerns to the Safeguarding Designated Officer.

Where those concerns relate to the Senior Safeguarding Designated Officer however, this should be reported to the Manager and West Devon Swords Chair of Committee using the settings ‘Whistle blowing’ policy.

Managing Allegations

We are aware of the possibility of allegations being made against members of staff or volunteers that are working or may come into contact with children and young people whilst in our setting. Allegations will usually be that some kind of abuse has taken place. They can be made by children and young people or other concerned adults. Allegations are made for a variety of reasons:

  • Abuse has actually taken place.
  • Something has happened to the child that reminds them of a past event – the child is unable to recognise that the situation and people are different; Children can misinterpret your language or your actions.
  • Some children recognise that allegations can be powerful and if they are angry with you about something they can make an allegation as a way of hitting out.
  • An allegation can be a way of seeking attention.

If an allegation is made against an adult in a position of trust whether they be members of staff or volunteers this should be brought to the immediate attention of the SDO who will advise the Manager and Chair of the Committee.

In the case of the allegation being made against the SDO this will be brought to the immediate attention of the Manager and Chair of Committee.

The SDO/Manager and the Chair of the Committee will need to discuss with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) the nature of the allegations in order for the appropriate action to be taken. This may constitute an initial evaluation meeting or strategy discussion depending on the allegation being made. SDO in conjunction with the Manager and the Chair of the Committee will need to:

  • Refer to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) immediately and follow up in writing within 48 hours. Consider safeguarding arrangements of the child or young person to ensure they are away from the alleged abuser.
  • Contact the parents or carers of the child/young person if advised to do so by the LADO.
  • Consider the rights of the staff member for a fair and equal process of investigation.
  • Advise Ofsted of allegation
  • Ensure that the appropriate disciplinary procedures are followed including whether suspending a member of staff from work until the outcome of any investigation is deemed necessary.
  • Act on any decision made in any strategy meeting.
  • Advise the Independent Safeguarding Authority where a member of staff has been disciplined or dismissed as a result of the allegations being founded.


All members of staff and volunteers will have access to whole setting safeguarding training at least every three years. West Devon Swords will also, as part of our induction, issue information in relation to our Safeguarding policy and any policy related to safeguarding and promoting our children/young people’s welfare to all newly appointed staff and volunteers.

Our Safeguarding Designated Officer will undertake further safeguarding training in addition to the whole setting training. This will be undertaken at least every three years which updates their awareness and understanding of the impact of the wide agenda of safeguarding issues. This will support both the SDO to be able to better undertake their role and support the school in ensuring our safeguarding arrangements are robust and achieving better outcomes for the children in our setting. This includes taking part in multi-agency training in addition to safeguarding training.

West Devon Swords Committee will have access to safeguarding training.

Our safeguarding arrangements are reported on an annual basis to West Devon Swords Committee and our Safeguarding policy is reviewed annually, in order to keep it updated in line with local and national guidance/legislation.

We will include our Safeguarding Policy in our settings prospectus/website and will post copies of our policy throughout the setting. We are also able to arrange for our policy to be made available to parents whose first language is not English, on request.

Useful Contacts:

Devon Safeguarding Children Board

South West Child Protection Procedures

Devon Early Years and Childcare Service

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Agency

NSPCC Safe (Safe Activities for Everyone) Network

CYPS area contact numbers:

(9am – 5pm Monday to Thursday, 9am – 4pm Friday)

If you have an urgent safeguarding concern contact MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) on 0345 155 1071 or email

To contact the DSCB office (not to report safeguarding concerns), please call 01392 386067

Worried about a child?

call Devon 0345 155 1071

Devon out of hours 0845 6000 388

Out of hours:

5pm -9am and at weekends and public holidays, please contact:

Emergency Duty Service 0845 6000 388 (low-rate call)

Police Central Referral Unit: 0845 605 116

Child Protection Chairs and LA Designated Officers for managing allegations against staff:

Exeter and East Frances Hunt 01392 384965

Jan Liff 01392 384965

South and West Chris Vigar 01392 386675

North and Mid Ray Charran 01392 388670

Allegations against staff Referral Co-ordinator 01392 386013

Current Safeguarding Issues

(The following Safeguarding issues are all considered to be child Protection issues and should be referred immediately to the most relevant agency. The issues featured below are linked to guidance and local procedures which can be found on the South West Child Protection Procedures at (Direct links to the policies listed below are included where available).

Some members of our communities hold beliefs that may be common within particular cultures but which are against the law of England.

West Devon Swords does not condone practices that are illegal and which are harmful to children. Examples of particular practices are:

Forced Marriage

West Devon Swords does not support the idea of forcing someone to marry without their consent.

Under-age Marriage

In England, a young person cannot legally marry until they are 16 years old (without the consent of their parents or carers) nor have sexual relationships.

Genital mutilation/female circumcision

This is against the law, yet for some communities it is considered a religious act and cultural requirement. It is illegal for someone to arrange for a child to go abroad with the intention of having her circumcised. If any of the above areas of concern is brought to the attention of West Devon Swords we will report those concerns to the appropriate agency in order to prevent this form of abuse taking place.

Ritualistic Abuse

Some faiths believe that spirits and demons can possess people (including children). What should never be considered is the use of any physical or psychological violence to get rid of the possessing spirit. This is abusive and will result in the criminal conviction of those using this form of abuse even if the intention is to help the child.

Sexually Active under Eighteen years old

It is acknowledged by those working with young people that most young people under the age of 18 will have an interest in sex and sexual relationships. The Protocol for Sexually Active Young People under 18 years old has been designed to assist those working with children and young people to identify where these relationships may be abusive, and the children and young people may need the provision of protection or additional services.

Safeguarding Disabled Children

Disabled children have exactly the same human rights to be safe from abuse and neglect, to be protected from harm and achieve the Every Child Matters outcomes as non-disabled children.

Disabled children do however require additional action. This is because they experience greater risks and ‘created vulnerability’ as a result of negative attitudes about disabled children and unequal access to services and resources, and because they may have additional needs relating to physical, sensory, cognitive and/ or communication impairment (Safeguarding Children, DCSF, July 2009)

West Devon Swords will ensure that our disabled children are listened too and responded to appropriately where they have concerns regarding abuse. In order to do this we will ensure that our staffs receives the relevant training to raise awareness and have access to specialist staff in the event they have concerns regarding abuse of a child.

Safer Recruitment and Selection

It is a requirement for all agencies to ensure that all staff recruited to work with children and young people are properly selected and checked.

West Devon Swords we will ensure that we have a member on every recruitment panel who has received the appropriate recruitment and selection training. That all of our staff are appropriately qualified and have the relevant employment history and checks to ensure they are safe to work with children in compliance with the Key Safeguarding Employment Standards.

Honour Based Violence

Honour based violence’ is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community’. It is important to be alert to signs of distress and indications such as self-harm, absence from setting, infections resulting from female genital mutilation, isolation from peers, being monitored by family, not participating in setting activities, unreasonable restrictions at home. Where it is suspected that a child/young person is at risk form Honour based violence West Devon Swords will report those concerns to the appropriate agency in order to prevent this form of abuse taking place.

Trafficked Children

Child trafficking involves moving children across or within national or international borders for the purposes of exploitation. Exploitation includes children being used for sex work, domestic work, restaurant/ sweatshop, drug dealing, shoplifting and benefit fraud. Where West Devon Swords is made aware of a child is suspected of or actually being trafficked/exploited we will report our concerns to the appropriate agency.

Domestic Abuse

The Government defines domestic abuse as “Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality”.

The SDO in conjunction with plans made and implemented with relevant staff needs to understand what is required of them if children are members of the household where domestic abuse is known or suspected to be taking place. The policy includes action to be taken regarding referrals to the Police and Children and Young People’s Services and any action to be taken where a member of staff is the alleged perpetrator or victim of domestic abuse. At West Devon Swords we will follow our safeguarding policy and report any suspected concerns regarding Domestic Abuse to the relevant agency.

Private Fostering

Private fostering is an arrangement made between the parent and the private foster carer, who then becomes responsible for caring for the child in such a way as to safeguard and promote his/her welfare.

A privately fostered child means a child under the age of 16 (18 if a disabled child) who is cared for and provided with accommodation by someone other than:

  • A parent
  • A person who is not a parent but has parental responsibility
  • A close relative
  • A Local Authority

for more than 28 days and where the care is intended to continue. It is a statutory duty for us at West Devon Swords to inform the Local Authority where we are made aware of a child or young person who may be subject to private fostering arrangements.

Child Exploitation and E-Safety

Children and young people can be exploited and suffer bullying through their use of modern technology such as the internet, mobile phones and social networking sites. In order to minimize the risks to our children and young people West Devon Swords will monitor and observe the use of mobile phones and phone internet at our activities. West Devon Swords allow children to carry mobile phones but not to use them without the permission of a member of staff. Guidelines are available to staff.

West Devon Swords will ensure that staff are aware of how not to compromise their position of trust in or outside of the setting and are aware of the dangers associated with social networking sites.

Our Safeguarding policy states that mobile phone or electronic communications with a child at our setting is not acceptable other than for approved setting business. Where it is suspected that a child is at risk from internet abuse or cyber bullying we will report our concerns to the SDO.

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub – MASH

This is an initiative which has been developed by Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon Children and Young People’s Service (CYPS) and partner agencies, supported by the Devon Safeguarding Children Board. Devon’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) will provide information sharing across all partners involved in safeguarding – including statutory, non-statutory and third sector sources. All partners work together to provide the highest level of knowledge and analysis to make sure that all safeguarding activity and intervention is timely, proportionate and necessary.

How will it work

All information within the MASH is collected and decision-making will takes place in a timely manner within agreed timescales depending on the priority criteria when the concern is referred to a Hub.


MASH information package to be completed within 2 hrs and

Police & CYPS assessment team receive immediate notification with research to follow

Immediate and serious safeguarding concern requiring action to ensure the safety of the child and possible necessity to secure and preserve physical evidence that might otherwise be lost.


MASH product within one working day

There are significant concerns but immediate urgent action is not required to safeguard the child although an investigation under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 is likely.


MASH information package to be completed within three working days or

Immediate referral to Early Response Service (Practice Manager, CYPS, decision)

The referrer clearly has concerns about a child’s wellbeing. The child may be a child in need as defined by section 17 of Children Act 1989 however there is no information at this stage to suggest an investigation under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 would be required.


Manages contacts and referrals received from any source (usually CYPS and Police 121A reports). Develops a document recording the concern information and all other available information in the Hubs within agreed timescales and an Early Years and Families manager makes an informed decision using all of the available information.

Develops concern information into an Early Years and Families referral if services are required under section 17 or section 47 of The Children Act 1989. Liaises with the Early Response Service for children and young people who need services but do not meet The Children Act 1989 threshold. Provides consultation to agency referrers about thresholds, appropriate action to be undertaken and services.

The Hub contributes to improved outcomes for safeguarding children because it has the ability to swiftly collate and share information held by the various agencies and to provide a multi-agency risk assessment of each case for ‘actual or likely harm’.

The above list is not exhaustive and as new policy guidance and legislation develops within the remit of Safeguarding we will review and update our policies and procedures as appropriate and in line with the Devon Safeguarding Children Board and Local Authority.

Related West Devon Swords Policies

‘Safeguarding’ covers more than the contribution made to child protection in relation to individual children.  It also encompasses issues such as child health and safety and bullying, equality policy and a range of other issues, for example, arrangements for meeting the medical needs of children, providing first aid, setting security, drugs and substance misuse, etc.

This policy will cross reference to related setting policies and other protocol:

Behaviour (Including guidance on positive-handling)



Health and Safety

Equality and Diversity

Code of Conduct

Safe Recruitment

Complaints Policy

Legislation relating to this policy:

Children Act 1989, 2004

Education Act 1996, 2002 (Section 175)

Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education Guidance DfES 2007

Every Child Matters

Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2008

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010

Last Updated 21st September 2017