- TSW Training Ltd. (TSW) recognises the contribution it makes to safeguarding in line with Keeping Learners Safe (265/2020) and the statutory duties placed on all providers by the Counter Terrorism and Security Act (2015).
- There are three main elements to our policy:
- The culture, teaching and pastoral support offered to learners to seek to prevent safeguarding issues
- Procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases of abuse or where a learner may be at risk of radicalisation
- Support learners who may have been abused
2.1 This policy covers all organisational activities of TSW, and to all staff, learners and stakeholders engaged in Welsh Government funded provision.
2.2 TSW will work with other agencies in order to ensure there is a robust system for:
- Preventing unsuitable people from working with children and young people
- Promoting safe practice and challenge poor and unsafe practice
- Risk assessment and ensuring safety of learners whilst on site and working at employer locations
- Contributing to effective partnership working between all those involved in providing services for children and young people
- Site security in and around TSW’s training facilities at Fairwood House, including the admittance of visitors
2.3 This policy cannot be viewed in isolation and must be read in conjunction with the following TSW policies and strategies:
- TSW Acceptable Use of ILT and e-Safety Policy and Procedure
- TSW Anti-bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedure
- TSW Charitable Donations and Fundraising Policy and Procedure
- TSW Complaints Policy and Procedure
- TSW Equality and Diversity Policy and Procedure
- TSW Health and Safety Policy and Procedure
- TSW Safer Recruitment Policy and Procedure
- TSW Teaching and Learning Policy and Procedure
- TSW Visitors and Events Policy and Procedure
- TSW Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure
3. Impact on the Learner:
3.1 The implementation of this policy will ensure that the safety and welfare of learners is put at the forefront of all TSW undertakings. It will ensure that TSW is effectively able to support learners where safeguarding concerns arise including those within the Prevent Duties.
4. Legal and Regulatory Framework:
4.1 TSW will comply fully with all related legislation which will include, but not be limited to:
- Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014
- Wales Safeguarding Procedures 2019
- All Wales Practice Guides
- Keeping Learners Safe (272/2021)
- The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
- Equality Act 2010
- Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1990
- Data Protection Act 2018
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
- Counter Terrorism and Security Act (2015)
- Prevent Duty Guidance (2018)
- Rights, Reports, Equality: Statutory Guidance for Governing Bodies of Maintained Schools (2019)
5. Duty to Report Children at Risk:
5.1 TSW has a duty to report any concerns about a child at risk in line with Keeping Learners Safe (270/2021).
5.2 The definition of a child (including young person) is any person who is under the age of eighteen years. This is the definition used within the Children Act (1989).
5.3 The Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014 defines a ‘child at risk as a child who:
- Is experiencing or is at risk of abuse, neglect or other kinds of harm; and
- Has needs for care and support.
6. Duty to Report Adults at Risk:
6.1 TSW also has a duty to report adults at risk.
6.2 The Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014 defines an ‘adult at risk’ as an adult who:
- Is experiencing or is at risk of abuse and neglect
- Has needs for care and support
- As a result of those needs is unable to protect themselves against the abuse or the risk of it
7.1 Sometimes a learner may only feel confident in confiding in a member of staff that they have been harmed if they feel that the information will not be shared with anyone else. However, staff have a professional duty to share relevant information about any alleged abuse or neglect of those at risk, including at risk of being drawn into extremism, with the designated statutory agencies.
7.2 All learners are advised that should they be deemed to be at risk, the member of staff has a duty of care to act on disclosures or observations made. Consent from the learner will be sought where possible, but the safety of the learner takes priority and information may be provided to external agencies if needed. All staff are sensitive that it may well have taken significant courage on the learner’s part to disclose abuse or neglect and that they may also be experiencing conflicting emotions, involving feelings of guilt, embarrassment and disloyalty if they are being harmed by someone close to them.
7.3 Consent will be sought from a parent or guardian where appropriate and the learner is under the age of 18. Consent will be sought from an appropriate advocate should the learner be a vulnerable adult.
7.4 TSW has clear protocols for maintaining confidentiality of the safeguarding status of all learners in line with our duty of care. Access to safeguarding records is limited to the Designated Senior Person and Deputy including restricted access to electronically completed and stored cause for concern forms and safeguarding tracker. Safeguarding records are stored and tracked by learner reference number in order to support confidentiality and provide a narrative record of concerns and support interventions. The Maytas system used to record learner safeguarding status is password protected and only authorised staff, have access to this system.
7.4 TSW takes the issue of safeguarding and confidentiality very seriously. Data protection and confidentiality of information about or disclosed by learners has been considered in all TSW’s safeguarding procedures.
7.5 The safeguarding monitoring system used in enrolment and review documentation is not identified as relating to safeguarding issues, so that employers and other third parties are not alerted to concerns.
7.6 Where appropriate, safeguarding concerns are raised with the DSP within the lead provider organisation in line with their overarching policy and procedures.
8.1 Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and adults at risk and protect them from harm. Safeguarding means: protecting children and adults at risk from abuse and maltreatment; preventing harm to the health or development of children or adults at risk; Ensuring children and adults at risk grow up and thrive with the provision of safe and effective care.
8.2 In compliance with the Wales Safeguarding Procedures (2019), the following categories of abuse are recognised for the purposes of safeguarding:
8.2.1 Domestic Abuse and Violence: Is abusive behaviour taking place in a relationship as a way for one person in that relationship to gain or maintain control over another. It includes physical, sexual emotional, psychological and financial abuse.
8.2.2 Neglect: The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 has defined neglect as “a failure to meet a person’s basic physical, emotional, social or psychological needs, which is likely to result in an impairment of the person’s wellbeing (for example, an impairment of the person’s health or, in the case of a child, an impairment of the child’s development)”.
8.2.3 Physical Abuse of a Child: Means deliberately hurting a child or young person. It includes physical restraint; such as being tied to a bed, locked in a room, inflicting burns, cutting, slapping, punching, kicking, biting or choking, stabbing or shooting, withholding food or medical attention, drugging, denying sleep, inflicting pain, hitting, shaking or hitting babies, fabricating or inducing illness.
8.2.4 Physical Abuse of an Adult at Risk: This includes hitting, slapping, over or misuse of medication, undue restraint or inappropriate sanctions.
8.2.5 Sexual Abuse of an Adult at Risk: This includes rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not or could not consent and/or was pressured into consenting.
8.2.6 Sexual Abuse of a Child: 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, including:
- Physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts
- Non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of
pornographic material or watching sexual activities
- Encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways
8.2.7 Emotional Abuse: Is the ongoing emotional maltreatment of a child. It’s sometimes called psychological abuse and can seriously damage a child’s emotional health and development. Emotional abuse can involve deliberately trying to scare or humiliate a child or isolating or ignoring them. Children who are emotionally abused are often suffering another type of abuse or neglect at the same time.
8.2.8 Financial Abuse: Includes theft, fraud, pressure about money, misuse of money.
8.3 Prevent is about safeguarding people and communities from the threat of terrorism. Prevent is 1 of the 4 elements of CONTEST, the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy. It aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
8.3.1 The Prevent Strategy has 3 specific strategic objectives:
- Respond to the ideological challenges of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it
- Prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support
- Work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation which we need to address
8.3.2 In compliance with the Prevent Duties, the following definitions have been adopted:
8.3.3 Terrorism: An action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people; causes serious damage to property; or seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system. The use of threat must be designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
8.3.4 Radicalisation: The process by which people come to support terrorism and extremism and, in some cases, to then participate in terrorist groups.
8.3.5 Extremism: The vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.
8.3.6 Fundamental British Values: underpin what it is to be a citizen in a modern and diverse Great Britain valuing our community and celebrating diversity of the UK. Fundamental British Values are not exclusive to being British and are shared by other democratic countries as a way of creating an orderly society, where individual members can feel safe, valued, and can contribute for the good of themselves and others. These Fundamental British Values are:
- Democracy – Considering the views of others and allowing others to contribute to decision- making. Ensuring participation in the democratic process
- The rule of law – Ensuring that you follow laws in day to day work – driving, parking, data protection etc. Following company systems and procedures (not breaking the rules)
- Individual liberty – Supporting freedom of choice in the workplace
- Mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs – Supporting others in following their religious beliefs and recognising religious events/festivals. Avoiding/challenging stereotypes. Finding out about other cultures.
9.1.1 TSW recognises that high self-esteem, confidence, supportive friends and good lines of communication with a person of trust helps to safeguard learners. In order to maintain person-centred practice, TSW will:
- Establish and maintain an ethos where learners feel secure and are encouraged to talk and are heard
- Ensure learners know who they can contact should they need safeguarding or wellbeing support
- Include elements of safeguarding, wellbeing, online safety, and resilience-building within teaching, learning and assessment activities
9.2.1 TSW adheres to the Wales Safeguarding Procedures 2019 that have been endorsed by Welsh Government and relevant Regional Safeguarding Boards and their sub-groups. TSW also acknowledges the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
- Has a Designated Senior Person (DSP) for safeguarding who has undertaken relevant training. This person is Sarah Elston.
- Recognises the role of the DSP who has undertaken appropriate safeguarding training as outlined in the Welsh Government document Keeping Learners Safe (265/2020)
- Ensures that all staff members:
- Know the name and role of the DSP for safeguarding
- Know that they have an individual responsibility for referring safeguarding concerns following local processes and protocols
- Know how to refer concerns where the DSP is unavailable
- Are aware of and alert to signs of abuse and know how to respond to a learner who makes an allegation
- Know to phone 999 in the event of an emergency
- Is aware of how to respond to an allegation from a learner
- Ensures that learners and employers have an understanding of TSW’s safeguarding responsibility, as outlined in the learner and employer handbooks
- Ensures all staff undertake safeguarding training as part of their induction
- Ensures all staff undertake safeguarding training within the first 8 weeks of employment, updated every two years
- Provides regular staff briefings on:
- Responsibilities for safeguarding
- Reporting procedures
- Safeguarding and wellbeing topics e.g. county lines, coercive control and substance misuse
- Identifying abuse and neglect
- How to support a learner who alleges abuse
- Will notify local social services if:
- A learner subject to a care, support and protection plan/pathway plan is excluded either for a fixed term or permanently
- There is an absence of more than two days duration (or one day following a weekend) if the learner is subject to a care, support and protection plan/pathway plan
- If there is an unexplained absence of a learner with a child in need care and support plan
- Co-operates with relevant agencies regarding safeguarding enquiries as required, including reporting and attendance at strategy meetings, initial/review child protection conferences and core group meetings
- Keeps written records of concerns about learners (noting date, event and action taken), even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately
- Ensures all records are kept securely locked or password protected
- Ensures that recruitment and selection procedures are made in accordance with any local authority protocols and Welsh Government guidance as per Keeping Learners Safe (265/2020)
9.2.3 Making an External Safeguarding Referral
220.127.116.11 All staff have a responsibility to ensure any safeguarding concerns are appropriately reported. TSW aims to ensure that this process is as simple as possible to ensure prompt actions are taken where needed.
- Should a staff member have a safeguarding concern which potentially meets the threshold for an external referral, the DSP will be informed immediately who will seek advice from the B-wbl DSP without delay, using the B-wbl referral form.
- If an injury has occurred and whether or not there is reason to believe that it has been caused by abuse, the following action will be taken:
- If the injury is serious and warrants urgent medical attention, an ambulance will be called, and learner taken to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department.
- If there is an allegation or reasonable cause to believe that a learner under the age of 18 has been intentionally injured or abused by a third party, the Police will be contacted immediately.
- If there is an allegation or reasonable cause to believe that a learner over the age of 18 has been intentionally injured or abused by a third party, the learner will be supported to contact the Police or appropriate support organisation.
9.2.4 Reporting Safeguarding Concerns Procedure
18.104.22.168 In order to ensure that all safeguarding concerns are effectively monitored, reported and referred as appropriate, TSW has confidential monitoring and reporting systems in place.
22.214.171.124 When a Cause for Concern form is submitted, the organisation’s DSP will:
- Review the Cause for Concern Form and ensure that it is stored securely within central records separate to other learner documentation
- Provide the Cause for Concern with a learner reference number
- Update the Safeguarding Tracker spreadsheet
- Ensure Cause for Concern Forms provide a narrative record of concerns and support interventions
126.96.36.199 The DSP will advise, monitor and review all reported safeguarding issues to ensure that such concerns are addressed appropriately to ensure a positive learner outcome.
9.2.5 Safeguarding Contact Details:
Designated Senior Person: Sarah Elston [email protected] 07720 740029
Deputy: Rachel Cox [email protected] 07557 280562
Safeguarding Team: [email protected]
Senior Person: Maxine Thomas [email protected]
9.2.6 Safeguarding Learners in Specific Circumstances
188.8.131.52 TSW acknowledges that some learners can be more vulnerable to abuse, neglect, radicalisation, and we have specific safeguarding duties and responsibilities in relation to these and adhere to the following All Wales Practice Guides in relation to:
- Safeguarding learners from criminal exploitation
- Safeguarding learners from abuse related to cultural and religious beliefs
- Safeguarding learners who may be trafficked
- Safeguarding learners affected by domestic abuse
- Safeguarding learners from neglect
- Safeguarding learners from online abuse
- Safeguarding learners who go missing from home or care
- Safeguarding learners from Child Sexual Exploitation
184.108.40.206 We also have specific safeguarding duties in relation to (but not exclusively):
- Learners at risk of radicalisation
- Challenging bullying and harassment
- Learners with disabilities
- Looked after children
- Learners living with parental substance misuse or mental ill health
- Children and young people in the youth justice system
- Learners at risk of forced marriage/Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
- Learners who misuse substances
- Learners with medical conditions
220.127.116.11 The wider ranges of specific safeguarding circumstances are outlined in more detail in Chapter 5 of the Welsh Government ‘Keeping Learners Safe’ Guidance (256/2020). It is imperative that staff are fully aware of wider safeguarding circumstances.
18.104.22.168 Staff are actively encouraged to download and make use of the Wales Safeguarding Procedures app.
9.2.7 Managing Allegations/Concerns about Practitioners and Those in Positions of Trust
22.214.171.124 In the event of an allegation being made against a member of staff by a learner, the person in receipt of the allegation, will immediately contact the WBL Director or the Head of Quality in their absence. The lead provider will be informed.
126.96.36.199 On receipt of such an allegation, reference will be made to part 5 of the Wales Safeguarding Procedures for guidance and where appropriate, the Police will be contacted. In order to avoid the risk of jeopardising any police investigation, TSW will not undertake any investigation and the staff member concerned will be subject to TSW’s disciplinary procedures. Any action will be documented accordingly and held on file.
188.8.131.52 Where such an allegation is proved, the matter will be referred to the Education Workforce Council.
9.2.8 Abuse of Position of Trust
184.108.40.206 Welsh Government Guidance indicates that all education staff need to know that inappropriate behaviour with, or towards children is unacceptable. In particular, under the Sexual Offences Act, 2003, it is an offence for a person over 18 (for example teacher, youth worker) to have a sexual relationship with a child under 18 where that person is in a position of trust in respect of that child, even if the relationship is consensual. This applies where the child or young person is in full-time education and the person works in the same establishment, even if he/she does not teach the child or young person.
9.3 Prevent Duties
9.3.1 In order to fulfil its responsibilities, TSW will:
- Risk assess all non-core delivery activities to determine the level of risk of learners being exposed to extremist ideologies, radicalisation and participation in terrorist activities
- Implement an action plan to address any areas of concern identified through the risk assessment
- Celebrate diversity and promotion of critical thinking and open debates
- Ensure that all staff undertake training as appropriate, including but not limited to:
- Identifying risk factors which may make learners particularly vulnerable
- Safeguarding learners
- Prevent Duties
- Channel General Awareness
- British Values
- Knowledge and confidence to challenge and debate about extremist views with learners
- Ensure staff are aware how to report any concerns through the safeguarding cause for concern process
- Ensure teaching, learning and assessment provide learners with fair, balanced discussion which challenges extremist views and promotes fundamental British Values
- Effectively embed British Values within teaching and learning
- Communicate TSW’s commitment to raising awareness of Prevent to learners and employers at induction
- Raise employer and learner awareness of Prevent and British Values including how to contact TSW should any concerns be identified
- Signpost employers and learners with details of additional training available to improve skills and knowledge
- Promote internet safety and protecting learners
- Consult with learners on the nature of Prevent-related education and support
- Conduct an annual impact assessment of Prevent activities
9.3.2 When staff are working with learners whether in groups or 1-2-1, it is important that they can challenge any extremist views that may be expressed. To avoid or minimise confrontation, staff will use reflection as a tool by asking learners to consider how others may understand their views and the impact they may have. Staff will focus on the comments made rather than the person. Staff will seek to present an alternative view for learners to consider and speak to colleagues to share experiences and ideas on how extremist views can be challenged without damaging the relationship with learners.
9.4.1 TSW recognises the potentially damaging impact abuse, neglect, and radicalisation may have on learners and the staff who support them. With learners who have experienced or witnessed abuse, the impact may affect their ability to fully engage with learning and their general wellbeing.
9.4.2 TSW aims to support learners by taking all allegations seriously and:
- Ensuring the DSP keeps all parties informed and will be the central point of contact. Where a member of staff is the subject of an allegation made a learner, a separate link person will be nominated to avoid any conflict of interest.
- Responding sympathetically to any request from learners or staff for time to deal with distress or anxiety.
- Maintaining confidentiality and sharing information on a need-to-know basis only with relevant individuals and agencies including the lead provider.
- Keeping and storing records securely and notifying authorities as appropriate.
- Offering details of helplines, counselling or other avenues of external support.
- Co-operating fully with relevant statutory agencies.
9.4.3 Support for learners will be led by them, building on the high levels of rapport developed through their learning programme. Consideration will be given to adapting teaching, learning and assessment approaches or indeed to suspend programme activities if needed.
10.1 TSW will ensure that safeguarding information and training is communicated at all appropriate opportunities and the relevant records maintained for reference and audit. This includes:
- Induction training
- CPD activities
- Monthly staff newsletters
- Awareness events
10.2 Staff will ensure that effective communication is achieved with learners, stakeholders and the wider community through:
- Learner Handbooks
- Employer Handbooks
- Learner induction videos and activities
- Employer engagement visits and resources
11. Monitoring and Review Processes:
11.1 The Designated Senior Person will undertake an annual evaluation of the effectiveness of safeguarding provision. Areas for development will be incorporated within the Quality Development Plan.
11.2 The Designated Senior Person will undertake annual reviews of safeguarding and Prevent provision through the use of Creating Safe Learning Communities: A Self-Assessment Toolkit for Work Based Learning Providers in Wales (2017) and the Keeping Learners Safe (265/2020) Safeguarding Audit Tool.
11.3 The policy and procedures will be reviewed on an annual basis and/or in line with changes to legislation.
12.1 All complaints will be taken seriously and dealt with in a timely and sensitive manner, in accordance with the TSW Complaints Policy and Procedure.
13.1 Board of Directors:
- Ensuring effective policies and procedures are in place to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of learners and monitoring compliance
- Ensuring that the implementation of the safeguarding policy and its associated procedures is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that it remains effective
- Operating safe recruitment procedures that take account of the need to safeguard learners including arrangements to ensure that all appropriate checks are carried out of staff and associates working with learners such as DBS checks and EWC registration
- Ensuring staff undertake the appropriate training in line with the policy
- Ensuring that any deficiencies or weaknesses regarding safeguarding arrangements are addressed without delay
13.2 Senior Managers:
- Ensuring that the safeguarding policy and procedures are fully embedded within the activities of the organisation
- Ensuring that the safeguarding policy and procedures are effectively communicated to staff, employers and learners
- Providing both strategic and operational support to all managers and staff
- Ensuring staff awareness of the DSP and Deputy, along with their roles and responsibilities
- Monitoring the number and type of safeguarding referrals and identifying and responding to any themes arising from these referrals
- Monitoring the implementation of all safeguarding related procedures and practices
- Ensuring consistent behaviours and standards across all staff
- Ensuring compliance with legislation relating to vulnerable groups and maintaining the required levels of governance
13.4 Designated Senior Person and Deputies:
- Leading the management of safeguarding procedures
- Ensuring learners and employers are aware of TSW’s safeguarding policy and procedures
- Providing support and guidance to staff on safeguarding issues
- Ensuring all staff know where to access the Wales Safeguarding Procedures 2019
- Ensuring all staff know what actions to take should a potential issue be identified
- Referring safeguarding issues to the appropriate authorities in a timely manner
- Informing the lead provider of safeguarding concerns in a timely manner
- To act as a source of support, advice and expertise within the organisation when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies
- Ensuring that all safeguarding issues are correctly documented and stored securely
- Evaluating the effectiveness of safeguarding procedures
- Reviewing the safeguarding policy and procedures at least annually
- Ensuring that they are aware of this policy and know how to follow the correct monitoring and reporting procedures
- Ensuring that any safeguarding concerns are raised promptly and in line with safeguarding procedures
- Ensuring attendance of appropriate training around safeguarding and associated topics
- Downloading and accessing the Wales Safeguarding Procedures App
- Reading Keeping Learners Safe (265/2020)
- Raising any safeguarding concerns with their Assessor, Tutor or Safeguarding Officer
- Ensuring that any safeguarding concerns are raised with TSW at the earliest opportunity
- Utilising safeguarding and Prevent information provided by TSW to support the safety and wellbeing of learners
Appendix 1 – Principles of Information-Sharing
Appendix 2 – Responding to an Allegation or Disclosure
In line with our approach to person-centred practice that are key considerations when responding to an allegation or disclosure.
Listen carefully to what is being said. Ensure that you don’t display shock or disbelief through your body language, tone of voice or what you may say. Do not attempt to investigate the allegation. Your duty will be to listen to what is being said and to pass on that information.
Provide reassurance and be honest with the learner. It’s important that you do not make any promises you can’t keep including around maintaining confidentiality. It is important that the learner is aware of your duty to seek support when appropriate and for their benefit.
You can ask questions, but information gathering should not be more than necessary to clarify the allegation and should normally only involve speaking to the learner directly involved. It is preferable if the learner can give a free narrative account without interruption to ask questions. You can encourage the learner to tell you what happened in their own words by the use of non-specific prompts and open ended questions such as “explain to me what happened”, “describe to me what happened”, “is there anything else you want to tell me?”
The most common open-ended questions are: What happened? When did it happen? Where did it happen? Who was there? Never ask Why as this can infer blame. Be sure to avoid the use of directive questioning approaches. The learner should not be led.
Do not gather “witness” statements and don’t ask the learner to repeat their allegation to someone else as they may feel that they are not being believed and their recollection of what happened may change. Do not criticise the perpetrator as the learner may still have a positive emotional attachment to this person.
Keep an accurate record of what the learner has said in their own words and of any questions you have asked. Note the date/year and time on your written record, who took the record, and keep your notes. Do not be offended by any offensive language or words used to describe the abuse. If you have seen any visible bruising, it is helpful to note the position of it but do not ask the learner to remove any clothing for this purpose. Record statements and observable aspects rather than your interpretations or assumptions.
Advice must then be sought from the DSP, who can refer to appropriate agencies or seek advice.
Appendix 3 – Abuse of Trust
Welsh Government Guidance indicates that all staff need to know that inappropriate behaviour with, or towards, children is unacceptable. In particular, under the Sexual Offences Act, 2003, it is an offence for a person over 18 (for example teacher, youth worker) to have a sexual relationship with a learner under 18 where that person is in a position of trust in respect of that learner, even if the relationship is consensual. This applies where the learner is in education and the person works in the same establishment as the learner, even if he/she does not teach them.
All relationships between staff and learners are founded on trust. Broadly speaking, a relationship of trust can be described as one in which one party is in a position of trust or influence over the other, by virtue of their work or the nature of their activity. The individual in the position of trust may have the power to confer advancement or failure. The relationship may be distorted by fear or favour. It is vital for all those in such positions of trust to understand the power it gives them over those they care for and the responsibility they must exercise as a consequence. While such a relationship of trust exists, allowing a relationship to develop in a way that might lead to a sexual relationship is wrong. A sexual relationship itself will be intrinsically unequal in a relationship of trust and is therefore unacceptable. It is also inappropriate since the ‘professional’ relationship of trust would be altered.
The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 2000, sets out a series of occupations to which the Abuse of Position of Trust laws apply. This includes anyone working in an educational institution. The primary purpose of the Abuse of Trust provisions is to provide protection for young people aged 16 and 17, who are considered particularly vulnerable to exploitation by those who hold a position of trust or authority in their lives.
Subject to a number of limited definitions, it is a criminal offence for a person, in a position of trust, to engage in any sexual activity with a person aged under 18 with whom they have a relationship of trust, irrespective of the age of consent even if the basis of their relationship is consensual. A relationship exists where a member of staff or volunteer is in a position of power or influence over young people aged 16 or 17 by virtue of the work or nature of the activity being undertaken.
The principles apply irrespective of sexual orientation: neither homosexual nor heterosexual relationships are acceptable within a position of trust. They apply equally to all, without regard to gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability. This is an area where it is very important to avoid any sexual or other stereotyping. In addition, it is important to recognise that women as well as men may abuse a position of trust.
All staff should ensure that their relationships with young people are appropriate to their age and gender and take care that their language and conduct does not give rise to comment or speculation. Attitudes, demeanour and language all require care and thought, particularly when members of staff are dealing with adolescent learners.
Appendix 4 – Safeguarding Wales
Appendix 5 – Radicalisation
Signs of Vulnerability
There is not one sign, or one behaviour, that indicates an individual is becoming radicalised. Since everyone reacts differently to difficult situations, there are many different types of behaviours that are potential indicators. Some warning signs to look out for include:
- Struggling with a sense of identity
- Becoming distanced from their cultural or religious background
- Questioning their place in society
- Family issues
- Becoming more socially isolated
- Low self esteem
- Experiencing a traumatic event
- Experiencing racism or discrimination
- Suddenly becoming much more political or religious
- Dressing differently or changing their appearance in a specific way
- Surrounding themselves with a new group of friends and ignoring old ones
- Suddenly approving of the use of violence to support a cause
- Visiting extremist websites
- Displaying intolerant and discriminatory behaviour towards people of other races, ethnicities, etc.
Just because an individual could exhibit one or more of these behaviours does not necessarily mean that they are becoming radicalised and will participate in extremist behaviour.
Signs of Extremism
Signs of extremism can be very difficult to pinpoint and will very much depend on the individual. When working with learners over time, staff build a close working relationship that will enable the identification of any concerns.
There are often no obvious signs of extremism and staff should use their professional judgement to determine whether any changes in behaviour give sufficient worry to raise a concern.
There are concerns which must always be passed on such as:
- Evidence of sharing of extremism websites
- Evidence of homophobic; religion based or racist bullying
Staff should note that if a learner starts to take their religion more seriously this is not necessarily a sign of extremism.