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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Annex A

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Annex A

Guidance for those acting on behalf of the College carrying out activities involving children or adults at risk. This guidance should be read in conjunction with the College’s Safeguarding Policy.

General considerations

If you are acting in a position of trust with children or adults at risk, you are expected to be mindful that you are acting as a role model and therefore should behave accordingly.

Care should be taken to ensure that your conduct is appropriate to each circumstance and environment as well-intentioned actions can be misinterpreted.

All regulated activities should have undergone a risk assessment process, and you should have a copy of the relevant risk assessment which will identify the person to whom any concerns should be addressed promptly.

In your role you may become aware of, or suspect another person of abusing a child or adult at risk or they may disclose an allegation of abuse to you. You should raise any concerns with your Head of Department without delay or, where this is not possible, the Safeguarding Officer should be notified directly.

Allegations of inappropriate behaviour may also be made against you, and such allegations will need to be investigated, and may result in referral to external agencies.

Safeguarding of children and adults at risk

You should:

  • Treat everyone within the College community with respect

  • Provide an example of good conduct you with others to follow;

  • Ensure you have completed any required training and that you know what you should do if a child or adult at risk makes a disclosure to you;

  • Ensure you are familiar with any relevant risk assessment(s) and understand who the key contact is for the activity you are engaged in;

  • Give due regard to cultural difference;

  • Be alert to and tackle inappropriate behaviour in others, including peer-to-peer behaviours. Abusive behaviour such as bullying (including cyber-bullying), ridiculing or aggression should not go unchallenged;

  • If you have to give feedback, take care that it is not unnecessarily negative;

  • Avoid being in a situation where you are alone with a child and make sure that others can clearly observe you;

  • Take care that your language is not open to sexual connotation;

  • Report any suspicions promptly and confidentially to your Head of Department, or in the event that the suspicions/allegations involve that person or they are unavailable, to the Safeguarding Officer;

  • Deal with information sensitively and be aware that special caution may be required in moments when discussing sensitive issues with children and adults at risk.

You should not:

  • Engage in, or allow, any form of unnecessary physical contact. This would include doing personal things for a child or an adult at risk that they can do for themselves. Where the person is disabled, tasks should only be carried out with the full consent of the individual, (or their parent);

  • Use inappropriate language, or allow others to use it without challenging it;

  • Allow yourself to be drawn into inappropriate attention-seeking behaviour;

  • Show favouritism to any individual;

  • Rely on the College’s good name to protect you;

  • Engage in any physical sexual relationship with a person to whom you are in a position of trust, even if they give their consent;

  • Give your personal contact details (such as personal phone number, home address, email, Skype address or other communication routes) to a child or adult at risk, or use any unofficial route to communicate with a child or adult at risk;

  • Interact in a personal capacity with children or adults at risk outside of the regulated activity, including through any form of social media, for example, by becoming ‘friends’ on Facebook;

  • Allow allegations of inappropriate behaviour to go unchallenged, recorded or acted on;

  • Allow personal preconceptions about people to prevent appropriate action being taken;

  • Accept gifts which could in anyway be considered a bribe or inducement to enter into a relationship or give rise to an allegation of improper conduct against you;

  • Take photographs, or make other recordings of at children or adults at risk without specific written consent of the individual, or someone with parental responsibility for that individual.

You should seek advice from your Head of Department if:

  • You suspect a relationship is developing which may be an abuse of trust;

  • You are worried that a child or adult at risk is becoming attracted to you or a colleague;

  • You think a child or adult at risk has misinterpreted something you have done or said;

  • You have had to physically restrain a child or adult at risk to prevent them from harming themselves, another person or causing significant damage to property;

  • A child or adult at risk tells you that they are being abused, or describes experiences that you consider may be abuse;

  • You see suspicious or unexplained marks on a child or adult at risk or witness behaviours which are unusual or inappropriate.

Dealing with disclosures of allegations, or suspicions, of inappropriate behaviour

  • Consider the urgency of the situation: in the event there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child or adult at risk, the emergency services should be contacted via 999. Anybody can make a referral in these circumstances. The relevant Safeguarding Officer should then be notified of the case and will need to determine whether to refer serious cases to the relevant authorities within one working day;

  • Remain calm, avoid expressions of anger or upset and ensure that the person knows you are taking them seriously. Reassure them that they are right to have told someone, but do not touch them (for example by putting an arm round them);

  • DO NOT try to investigate or act on the matter yourself: doing so may seriously compromise an investigation by the relevant authorities. You need only clarify what is being said to you (in order to establish that there is a suspicion of harm), and then refer the matter to the appropriate individual as set out in the policy;

  • Be supportive but DO NOT promise confidentiality. A duty of care obligates the College to act on information where a safeguarding issue has been identified and this takes precedence over the need for confidentiality. Explain that, in order that the allegation can be addressed you will have to talk to other people about it. Explain who you will talk to;

  • Avoid ‘leading’ questions, or expressing a view about what you have been told;

  • Use clear language, appropriate to the person you are dealing with;

  • Do not talk to anyone else about the matter within your Department; if you need to seek support for yourself you should speak to your Head of Department or the Safeguarding Officer;

  • Write down what you have been told as soon as possible. In all events this must be done on the same day but this should not delay prompt action. Write down exactly what was said in the person’s own words as far as possible, include the time, place, and as much detail as you can remember, but ensure that the note is as factual as possible and avoid assumption, speculation or opinion. Sign and date the note. Bear in mind that the note will be disclosable to both internal and external agencies.