Safeguarding Policy

Below is an outline of the Medic Mentor Safeguarding Policy that all Mentors and Support Staff within Medic Mentor adhere to in order to ensure that we protect our young people within the organisation.  If you are a parent, student, teacher, scholar or Mentor, please ensure that you have familiarised yourselves with our Safeguarding Policy.

Introduction

Medic Mentor is a social education enterprise, fully committed to supporting young students into university to study Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinarian subjects. As a medical and educational organisation, safeguarding students and prospective students is paramount to us, along with the welfare of all children and young adults undertaking activities through Medic Mentor.  The following policy is the commitment to Safeguarding from Medic Mentor.

Medic Mentor Activities Included in Safeguarding Policy

  • Get Into Medicine (Dentistry and Veterinarian) Conferences
  • Medical Leadership Teaching Days
  • Scholar Training Days (For scholars deemed as vulnerable adults)
  • Summer School
  • Virtual Medical Society
  • Campaigning and Fundraising initiatives

Named persons for safeguarding

Name of Safeguarding Lead – Dr. Iain Kennedy

Name of Deputy Safeguarding Lead – Dr.  Beckizulu Bayana

Name of Designated Safeguarding Officer – Miss. Elizabeth Bailey

Telephone Number – 01530 417 299

Mobile Number – 07454 704 204

Emergency Contact Number – 07454 704 204

Telephone Number of Children’s Social Work Service – Central Social Services (Nationwide coverage) 0808 196 2274

Emergency Duty Team Contact Out of Office Hours – 0808 196 2274 – Social Services National Coverage can also be contacted via email, enquiries@socialworkengland.org.uk

Recognising signs of abuse

Child abuse is quite rare however, it is important that all staff and volunteers understand the different forms of abuse that some children may experience and the signs and symptoms of such abuse. It is recommended that all staff that work with children and young people access training to help them not only identify but also act upon any form of abuse that they may identify.

There are four types of abuse which can cause long term damage to a child or young person. These are defined below.

PHYSICAL ABUSE:  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/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 persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.  It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or “making fun” of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.  These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction.  It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another.  It may involve serious bullying, (including cyber- 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, though it may occur alone.

SEXUAL ABUSE:  Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non- penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing  They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or 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.  Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Possible signs of abuse include:

  • Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries or the explanation of the cause of the injury is does not seem right.
  • The child discloses abuse, or describes what appears to be an abusive act.
  • Someone else (child or adult) expresses concern about the welfare of another child.
  • Unexplained change in behaviour such as withdrawal or sudden outbursts of temper.
  • Inappropriate sexual awareness or sexually explicit behaviour.
  • Distrust of adults, particularly those with whom a close relationship would normally be expected.
  • Difficulty in making friends.
  • Eating disorders, depression, self-harm or suicide attempts.

Becoming aware of a safeguarding issue

There are many ways in which awareness of a safeguarding issue can come to light, the below list is not exhaustive, but can be used as a guidance.  If you are suspicious of a safeguarding concern that is not in this list, please consult with your Designated Safeguarding Officer if you are unsure;

Examples include:

  • a third party or anonymous allegation is received.
  • a child or young person’s appearance, behaviour, play, drawing or statements cause suspicion of abuse and/or neglect.
  • a child or young person reports an incident(s) of alleged abuse which occurred some time ago

a written report is made regarding the serious misconduct of a worker towards a child or young person.

What to do if you are concerned about a child

It is important that any allegations received are taken extremely seriously. Never think that someone else may be dealing with it. If you receive information that a child or young person may be at risk of, or experiencing harm make sure you follow the reporting safeguarding concerns procedure.

Stage 1

  • Initially talk to a child/young person about what you are observing. It is okay to ask questions, for example: “I’ve noticed that you don’t appear yourself today, is everything okay? But never use leading questions
  • Listen carefully to what the young person has to say and take it seriously. Act at all times towards the child as if you believe what they are saying.
  • It is not the responsibility of groups to investigate incidences of suspected child abuse but to gather information and refer only.
  • Always explain to children and young people that any information they have given will have to be shared with others, if this indicates they and or other children are at risk of harm;
  • Notify the organisation’s Named Person for safeguarding (Designated Safeguarding Officer)
  • Record what was said as soon as possible after any disclosure; the person who receives the allegation or has the concern, should complete a pro-forma and ensure it is signed and dated. The contents of the pro-forma should include:
  • Date and time of notification
  • Young person’s name
  • What was said
  • Actions to be taken (both internal and external actions – based on the issues raised in the allegation. Eg; Notify Manager/ Duty and Advice/ LADO)
  • Respect confidentiality and file documents securely;

 Stage 2

  • The Named person(s) should take immediate action if there is a suspicion that a child has been abused or likely to be abused. In this situation the Named Person should contact the police and/or the Duty and Advice Team. If a referral is made direct to the Duty and Advice team this should be followed up in writing within 24 hrs.

NB Parents / carers will need to be informed about any referral to Children & Young people’s Social Care unless to do so would place the child at an increased risk of harm.

Management and supervision of staff and volunteers

It is important that all staff and volunteers have an opportunity to discuss with their line manager any safeguarding matter giving them concern and this is best done by providing regular supervision. The procedures indicate the supervision arrangements in place for your staff.  

Allegations against staff

Any allegations made against a member of staff should be discussed with the safeguarding team, the Safeguarding lead, deputy lead and designated safeguarding officer.

If the allegation is about a lead person in Medic Mentor, then the matter should be discussed with the President of Medic Mentor.

The safeguarding team, or President must ensure that that the child/young person is safe and away from the person against whom the allegation is made.

Regardless of whether a police and/or Children Social Work Service investigation follows, an internal investigation should take place and consideration is given to the operation of disciplinary procedures. This may involve an immediate suspension and/or ultimate dismissal dependant on the nature of the incident and outcome of investigation.

The contact details of the Safeguarding team can be found on the first page of this Safeguarding policy.

Recording and managing confidential information

A form for recording concerns/allegations of abuse, harm and neglect is available on the Medic Mentor online document portal. This is a very simple form outlining name of child/young person, date of birth, date and details of incident. The person who receives the allegation or has the concern should complete and sign this form. 

 For GDPR and Safeguarding, any report raised regardless of outcome, needs to be kept securely at the Medic Mentor head office until the young person reaches their 25th birthday, following this birthday, the record will be securely destroyed, unless requested otherwise either by parent/guardian or social services. All records are stored securely in a lockable cupboard and in line with GDPR guidance.

 

Students can request a copy of any safeguarding report raised on them, in writing under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  Parents/guardians may request a copy of any reports but on the receipt of written consent by the young person in question.  Medic Mentor retain the right to deny permission of requests if it is felt the young person can be put at further harm releasing the information, even in the event of written permission of young person.

Distributing and reviewing policies and procedures

Medic Mentor will review the safeguarding policy annually, to be signed off by the Safeguarding and Management team.  This will be completed every April.

A copy of the safeguarding policy can be requested by anyone with affiliations to Medic Mentor, this can include (but is not exhaustive) schools, colleges, universities, social services, parents and students.

There is a printed copy available for staff to review, new employees will be required to read and sign a disclaimer that they have read and understood the safeguarding policy, and their signature indicates full compliance and understanding of the safeguarding procedure.  Breaches against the policy can result in termination of employment.

Responsibilities of managing committees

Medic Mentor’s safeguarding procedure has been approved by the management committee, who understand that they are ultimately accountable for all that happens within the Medic Mentor community, which includes the full implementation of the safeguarding policy. This accountability does not include social media contact groups (detailed further below)

Further responsibility includes:

·       Provide written guidance to all staff and committee members – providing the safeguarding policy

·       Ensure everyone understands their legal duties and responsibilities

Management committee have also:

·       Developed a clear framework for behaviour management towards any children or young people

·       Provide information about procedures to follow if an allegation is made

·       Ensure all workers have training to recognise the signs and symptoms of abuse

·       Ensure that all lead staff have enhanced DBS checks.

·       Have correct policies in place covering activities such as health and safety

·       Understand what is good safeguarding practice and take responsibility for ensuring this is undertaken by all staff within your organisation

·       Ensure all employees and volunteers understand that physical punishment or threat of physical punishment must never be used

Ensure that workers understand that verbal humiliation of children is unacceptable

Social Media Contact

Medic Mentor recognises the significant amount of young people utilising social media to keep in touch with other Medic Mentor students and the reaching power of being able to connect with students via social media.  In order to comply with safeguarding and ensuring the safety of students connecting via social media, the policy extends as below;

  • Medic Mentor can react to student requests for official WhatsApp groups and will be responsible for setting up group chat functions, with at least one safeguarding officer or Chief Mentor (also trained in safeguarding) represented on social media chats to ensure the chat remains professional and in context with the design of the group chat
  • Medic Mentor will be responsible for the removal from group chat functions of any individual that is conversing in a non-professional manner with other group members
  • Medic Mentor will seek permission of users prior to adding to group chats, students will be directed to the social media consent form on medicmentor.co.uk and in the event a student is under 16 years old, additional parental consent must be gained prior to adding students to the group.

On submitting a request to join and completing consent forms, students and/or parents are also signing to state that they understand other group members can contact individuals privately away from the group chat.  Medic Mentor is unable to accept accountability for any messages sent privately away from the group chat.  However, if a student raises a complaint to Medic Mentor regarding unsolicited or uncomfortable contact from a member of a group, Medic Mentor will request evidence as part of an investigation which can result in the removal of an individual from group chats and all Medic Mentor programmes that the individual is enrolled onto (without a refund).