Safeguarding Policy


Our Commitment

As trustees we recognise the need to provide a safe and caring environment for the women and children we work with.  We accept the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Human Rights which states that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein without distinction of any kind.  We also concur with the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that children should be able to develop to their full potential, free from hunger and want, neglect and abuse.  We have adopted these procedures in accordance with statutory guidance.  We are fully committed to building constructive links with statutory and voluntary agencies involved in safeguarding.

The trustees undertake to:

  • Enforce and follow all national and local safeguarding legislation and procedures.
  • Provide on-going safeguarding training for volunteers and review the policy annually.
  • Ensure that the premises (where reasonably possible) meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and all other relevant legislation.
  • Support the Safeguarding lead in any action they may need to take in order to protect the women and children.

Recognising and Responding to any Allegation or Suspicion of Abuse.

To safeguard our beneficiaries, we adhere to The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular Article 5:

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

And to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular Article 19:

  1. Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
  2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedure for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, the judicial involvement.

Definitions of abuse (adult)

The following information relates to the Safeguarding of Adults as defined in the Care Act 2014. Chapter 14 and applies to an adult who:

  • Has need for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs) and
  • Is experiencing or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
  • As a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse and neglect.

The different types of abuse and neglect and the different circumstances in which they take place.  This list is an illustrative guide.

  • Physical abuse: hitting, assault, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint
  • Domestic Violence: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional, honour based violence, Female Genital Mutilation and forced marriage.
  • Sexual abuse: rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography, witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts not consented to
  • Psychological abuse: threats of abandonment or harm, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.
  • Financial abuse: theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in regard to finances, misuse or misappropriation of property.
  • Modern slavery: human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude,
  • Discriminatory abuse: slurs, harassment, because of race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
  • Organisational abuse: neglect and poor care practice in an institution, care home, hospital, or care provided in one’s own home through neglect or poor professional practice.
  • Neglect or acts of omission: ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care, educational support needs.
  • Self-neglect: neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, surroundings, and includes hoarding.

Definitions of Abuse (children)

The four definitions of abuse below operate in England based on the government guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2015)

  • Physical Abuse: 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 or carer fabricates the symptoms or deliberately induces illness in a child.
  • Emotional Abuse: 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 they are worthless or unloved, inadequate.  It may include not giving the child the opportunity to express their views, making fun of what they say and do.  It may include overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning or preventing them from participating in normal social interaction.  It may involve seeing or hearing the mistreatment of another.  It may involve bullying or the exploitation and corruption of children.  This abuse is present in all types of abuse but can occur alone.
  • Sexual Abuse: 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. It may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (e.g., rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing, or in the production of sexual images, watching sexual activities and encouraging children to behave in sexually.
  • Neglect: the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic needs both physical and psychological which leads to a serious impairment in the child’s health or development. It also includes neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.

Further definitions can be found in Appendix 1

Signs and indicators of abuse can be found in the Volunteers Safeguarding training pack

Responding to Allegations of Abuse

Under no circumstances should a volunteer carry out their own investigation into an allegation or suspicion of abuse.  The following process must be adhered to:

  • Any concerns should be reported to Chair of Trustees (hereafter the ‘Safeguarding Lead’) who is nominated by the trustees to act on their behalf including referring on to statutory agencies.
  • In the absence of the Safeguarding Lead or if the suspicions involve the Lead or their spouse then concerns will be passed on to Trustee (RC).
  • When the concern is about a child the Safeguarding Lead should contact Children’s Social Services 01782 235 100, out of hours 01782 234 234. Where the concern is regarding an adult in need of protection either Adult Care or the relevant provider should be contacted 0800 561 0015.
  • The Safeguarding Lead, may need to inform others depending on the need.
  • Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above. A written record should be made in accordance with these procedures as soon as possible and kept in a secure place.
  • The absence of the Safeguarding Lead or Deputy should not delay the process of contacting police etc.
  • The trustees will support the Lead/Deputy in their role and accept that any information will be shared in a limited way on a need to know basis.
  • It is understood that any individual as a citizen has a right to make a direct referral to the safeguarding agencies if there is a disagreement or concern about the way the claim is being handled. We hope by making this statement that the trustees demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding vulnerable individuals.
  • Charity Commission guidance states you should report (organisation) if there has been an incident where beneficiaries have been or are being abused  whilst under the care of your organisation, or by someone connected with the organisation; there has been an incident where someone has been abused or mistreated and this is connected with the activities of the charity; allegations have been made that such an incident may have happened regardless of when the alleged abuse or mistreatment took place; you have grounds to suspect that such an incident may have occurred.

The role of the Lead/Deputy is to collate and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and pass it on to statutory agencies who have a legal duty to investigate.

Safeguarding procedures for an adult

The Safeguarding Lead/Deputy will:

  • Contact Adult Social Care
  • If in immediate danger they will contact Emergency Services
  • Identify support services for the victim
  • Keep detailed records of the concern with a timeline and case notes
  • Provide emotional support as required

Safeguarding procedures for a child

The Safeguarding Lead/Deputy will:

  • Contact Children’s Social Services to report the concern and ask for advice and follow the advice. If sexual abuse is suspected phone Police Child Protection Team direct
  • Not tell the parents/carers unless advised to do so
  • Seek medical help if needed urgently
  • For lesser concerns (poor parenting) encourage parent/carer to seek help as long as this does not place the child at risk
  • Where the parent/carer is unwilling to seek help offer to accompany them. If they fail to act, contact Children’s Services.

Allegations of abuse against a volunteer for Whispers of Hope

If an accusation is made against a volunteer whilst undertaking their role with Whispers of Hope.  They will be suspended from the role whilst investigations take place.  The above procedures will be carried out and a referral will be made to the designated officer in the local authority.


Safer Recruitment

The trustees will ensure all volunteers are trained, supported and supervised in accordance with government guidance on safer recruitment:

  • Written job description
  • Application form completed
  • Self-declaration form completed
  • References provided
  • Safeguarding discussed in the interview
  • A disclosure and barring check have been completed where necessary
  • Qualifications where relevant have been verified
  • Suitable training programme provided
  • A probationary period is undertaken
  • The volunteer has a copy of the safeguarding policy

Please see Appendix 2 for:

Recruitment procedures

Volunteer Code of Conduct

The trustees are committed to supporting all workers and ensuring they receive support and supervision.  All volunteers have been issued with a volunteer agreement.

Pastoral Care

Supporting those affected by abuse.

The trustees are committed to offering support and working with statutory agencies to all those affected by abuse with whom Whispers of Hope have contact.

Each woman referred to Whispers of Hope is allocated a befriender who is their point of contact, should the woman have any safeguarding concerns relating to themselves or their children, befrienders keep case notes of all contact with their befriendee’s where concerns can be documented, and a picture built up.

Each woman is also assessed on referral using the Safelives dash assessment, safety planning is then undertaken and an ISSP (Independent Safety Support Plan) is put in place and regularly reviewed.  Relevant agencies are also contacted at this point.  It is the role of the befriender to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the befriendee with regular weekly contact being attempted.

Working in partnership

The trustees seek to ensure that good communication and working practice is maintained with all statutory and partner agencies in the best interests of the women we are supporting.  Their safety, and that of their children is always our primary concern.