This Policy combines Safeguarding Children Policy and Protection from Abuse Policy

Developed in consultation with The Mentoring Lab and The Mentoring Lab Senior Mgt - 2019,2020, 2022,2023
Ratified by The Mentoring Lab Volunteer directors - 19/07/2023
Reviewed - 19/07/2023
Next Review - July 2024


This Policy combines the previously issued Safeguarding Children and Protection from abuse policies; it should be read with reference to the SET Procedures 2019. It will be reviewed by Volunteer Directors and Senior Management annually. The policy has been widely consulted with stakeholders, relevant professionals and staff. It draws on a number of documents and reputable web sources.

The Mentoring Lab is a registered Community Interest Company and provides a range of services for children, young and vulnerable people predominantly from the age of 5 years upwards. These services are conducted from several sites including remotely and outreach.

The Mentoring Lab believes that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to practise which protects them.

All people and organisations working with children have a responsibility to help safeguard children and promote their welfare. The Children’s Act 2004 & 1989.

As an organisation we are committed to the welfare of children and young people and recognise that:

The welfare of the child is paramount
All children and young people whatever their age, culture, gender, language, racial origin religious beliefs and/ or sexual identity have the right without exception to protection from abuse
Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting children’s welfare
All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.

The purpose of the policy:

To provide protection for the children and young people who receive The Mentoring Lab’s services including the children of adult members or users.
To provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm.

This policy applies to all staff, including senior managers and Board of Trustees, paid staff volunteers and sessional workers, agency staff, students and anyone working on behalf of The Mentoring Lab.

We will endeavour to safeguard children and young people by:

-Valuing them, listening to and respecting them
-Adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and codes of conduct for staff and volunteers
-Recruiting staff and volunteers safely ensuring all necessary checks are made.
-Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers
-Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately
-Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.
-Applying Gillick and Fraser competencies as well as considering the Mental Capacity Act when working with Children and families.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this guidance as:
-protecting children from maltreatment
-preventing impairment of children's health or development;
-ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
-taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)

We are also committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually. Safeguarding is a standing agenda item at each supervision and case review. Safeguarding is also a standing agenda item at Team meetings and Board Meetings.

As part of the recruitment process all staff and volunteers must provide a minimum of three independent references which are always followed up.

All staff and volunteers will also be Enhanced DBS checked before undertaking work with clients. Failure to comply with this or unsatisfactory returns will lead to withdrawal of employment or volunteering offer.

The Mentoring Lab staff and volunteers work with young people and children in positions of trust. For their own protection staff and volunteers must not allow themselves to be drawn into behaviour or situations which could be misunderstood. Further details are contained within the The Mentoring Lab Code of Conduct.

All staff and volunteers (including: Counsellors, Advocates, Independent Visitors, Mentors & Coaches, Project Workers, Team Leaders, Managers, Sports Coaches, Supervisors and Administrative staff) will undertake Local Authority Child Protection training as soon as is practical after joining the organisation, at least within the first year of service. Staff in Management and Team Leader positions will undertake higher level Safeguarding Training. All staff and volunteers will receive The Mentoring Lab Child Protection training as part of their induction process. Child protection training will be refreshed at a minimum of every two years with additional specialist training taking place as it becomes available.

All client contact is confidential unless the individual has given permission for their information to be shared. However there may be exceptional circumstances where all staff and volunteers are obliged to report information on. These exceptional circumstances are where staff or volunteers have grounds for believing that:

-the client will cause ‘significant harm’ to self or others, in particular a child
-the client will have ‘significant harm’ caused to him/her

Any child protection issue as described within the City and Hackney Safeguarding Board Child Protection Procedures (2019)

The Mentoring Lab operates within the City and Hackney Safeguarding Partnership, Child Protection Procedures 2019.

If a disclosure is made to a member of staff or volunteer their first duty is to inform the young person that confidentiality cannot be kept and that it will be necessary to discuss the situation with their line manager and possibly with Social Services.

All child protection concerns, this includes suspicion of hidden harm, must be reported to The Mentoring Lab’s Safeguarding Lead for guidance and support who will then report to the Chief Executive Officer regarding action taken. Further guidance section Child Protection Procedures.

Line managers will make the decision in line with the City and Hackney Safeguarding Partnership guidelines and seek advice from Social Services as to the appropriateness of referral. Should referral to Social Services be deemed appropriate this will take place with a written recording of the disclosure as a matter of urgency. The volunteer/ member of staff will produce a written account of the disclosure which will be held securely by The Mentoring Lab whilst any investigation is taking place.

The young person will be kept informed of all action being taken by The Mentoring Lab and offered support through any subsequent action. Gillick & Fraser competencies will be applied. However the details of the disclosed incident will not be discussed until such time as any investigation has been concluded.

Additional supervision will be given to any member of staff or volunteer involved in Child Protection issues.

The Mentoring Lab has in place a Whistleblowing policy to encourage staff, volunteers and others with serious concerns to come forward. Please see the policy for additional guidance. If a member of staff is concerned regarding the behaviour of another member of Staff, Volunteer or Trustee in regards to safeguarding they must make the Safeguarding Lead aware immediately, in the event they are unavailable they should contact the Volunteer Director responsible for Safeguarding (Daniel Max Orumbie of The Mentoring Lab).
Should a safeguarding complaint be made against any member of staff, volunteer or Volunteer Director then they will immediately be suspended whilst this is investigated. All investigations and decisions will be fully documented and reported to the LADO.

When undertaking residential activities that involve overnight stays additional safeguarding procedures and risk assessments will be put in place, including matters of staff ratios, sleeping arrangements the suitability of accommodation and wash room access and health and safety.

This policy is for guidance and should be read in conjunction with the City and Hackney Safeguarding Partnership Child Protection Procedures 2019 and the City and Hackney Safeguarding Partnership Safeguarding Adults Guidelines 2019 copies of which are held in the The Mentoring Lab offices and are accessible online via the following websites.

Reporting allegations or suspicions of abuse

Everyone in the organisation should be aware of the designated person within the organisation who should immediately always be informed of any concerns about a child being abused:

Name: Elaine Thomas
Job/Role/Title: Safeguarding Leads
Address: The Mentoring Lab, Rights and Equalities in Newham, Barking Road, E138QB
Telephone no: 02081588500 or 07412649174

Name: Daniel Max Orumbie
Job/Role/Title: Looked After Children & Safeguarding Lead
Address: The Mentoring Lab, Rights and Equalities in Newham, Barking Road, E138QB
Telephone no: 02081588500 or 07412649174

And of appropriate contacts outside the organisation:

Children’s Services office: Initial Response Team Hackney MASH
Address: Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex
Telephone no: 02083565500
Emergency Duty Team
(after 5.30pm): 02083562710

NSPCC Child Protection Helpline: 0808 800 5000

The Mentoring Lab Staff Safeguarding Concern Form
The Cause for concern form should consist of the following information:

Client Name
Date Of Birth   
(Including Postcode)   
Contact Number
Parent / Carer Name
School Contact
Staff Name
Contact Number
Working on behalf of which The Mentoring Lab Project
Client working with other The Mentoring Lab services?
Has the concern been entered onto the The Mentoring Lab Database?
Any previous safeguarding concerns?
Is the case open to social care?
Is the social worker aware of the concern?
(Please include dates, times and full description of concern)
Have you spoken to the client, if so what are their views?
Have you spoken to anyone else if so whom and what was said?
(E.g. Parent or School Staff)
What actions are you taking?

*Please ensure a copy of the concern form is placed within the client file and referenced to in case notes*

Useful Numbers – Hackney MASH – 02081588500 - Hackney Out of Hours – 02083562710

Responding to a child making an allegation of abuse

-Stay calm.
-Listen carefully to what is said.
-Find an appropriate early opportunity to explain that it is likely that the information will need to be shared with others 
- do not promise to keep secrets.
-Allow the child to continue at her/his own pace.
-Ask questions for clarification only, and at all times avoid asking questions that suggest a particular answer.
-Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling you.
-Tell them what you will do next and with whom the information will be shared.
-Record in writing what was said using the child’s own words within 24 hours 
– note date, time, any names mentioned, to whom the information was given and ensure that the record is signed and dated.
-Contact your designated person.

It is important that everyone in the organisation is aware that the person who first encounters a case of alleged or suspected abuse is not responsible for deciding whether or not abuse has occurred. That is a task for the professional child protection agencies following a referral to them of concern about a child.

Should a member of staff dispute safeguarding procedures being taken then they should express these concerns in writing to The Mentoring Lab’s Safeguarding Lead who will escalate the matter to the Safeguarding Chair and Local Safeguarding Board. SET Procedures will be taken in to account with relevant guidance 4.11 procedures followed.

All Children and Young People involved in the Safeguarding process are entitled to be accompanied/ Chaperoned throughout the process. The Mentoring Lab YPLA is available to provide this support should the Child or Young Person require. See The Mentoring Lab Advocacy/Chaperone Policy.

Protection From Abuse

Staff and Volunteers should:
• be alert to potential indicators of abuse or neglect;
• be alert to the risks which individual abusers, or potential abusers, may pose to children;
• share and help to analyse information so that an assessment can be made of the child's needs and circumstances;
• contribute to whatever actions are needed to safeguard and promote the child's welfare;
• take part in regularly reviewing the outcomes for the child against specific plans;
This includes following up missed appointments.
• work co-operatively with parents, unless this is inconsistent with ensuring the child's safety.

Early Help
Responsible Safeguarding involves identifying emerging problems and potential unmet needs for individual children and families and sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment. The Mentoring Lab staff and volunteers will be supported through training and supervision to understand their role in identifying emerging problems and sharing information with other practitioners to support early identification and assessment. Please see The Mentoring Lab Supervision Policy for full explanation of the process and purpose of supervision.

The Mentoring Lab staff and volunteers should be alert to the potential need for early help for a child who:
• is disabled and has specific additional needs
• has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan) is a young carer
• is showing signs of being drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised criminal groups
• is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home
• is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation
• is at risk of being radicalised or exploited
• is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child such as substance misuse, adult mental health problems or domestic abuse
• is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves
• has returned home to their family from care
• is showing early signs of abuse or neglect.

Case Files alert staff where a young person is:
LAC Looked After Child
CP Child Protection
CIN Child in Need
Considered a Vulnerable Child
Witnesses Domestic Abuse

This information will be considered as part of individual ongoing case supervision and staff will remain alert to any indications of behaviour and disclosures that may indicate Safeguarding concerns. These will immediately, within 24 hours, be reported to The Mentoring Lab’s Safeguarding Lead.

Staff and volunteers have a responsibility to identify the symptoms and triggers of abuse and neglect, to share that information and work together to provide children with the support they need.

The Mentoring Lab has a close working relationship with CAMHS and where concerns exist regarding the emotional wellbeing and mental health of a young person then referral to this service should be made. Further guidance and advice regarding this procedure should be sought from The Mentoring Lab’s Safeguarding Lead.

Definitions of child abuse and neglect

No Secrets” definition of abuse:
“Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or an omission to act, or it may occur when a vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she has not consented, or cannot consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it”.

Physical abuse
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 fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.

Emotional abuse
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent effects on the child's emotional development, and may involve:
• Conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued
only insofar as they meet the needs of another person;
• Imposing age or developmentally inappropriate expectations 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;
• Seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another e.g. where there is domestic violence and abuse;
• Serious bullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger,
including online;
• Exploiting and corrupting children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all
types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Sexual abuse
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 (e.g. rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. Sexual abuse includes non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, including online and with mobile phones, or in the production of pornographic materials, 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 misuse, maternal mental ill health or learning difficulties or a cluster of such issues. Where there is domestic abuse and violence towards a carer, the needs of the child may be neglected. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent failing to:
• Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or
• Protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
• Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers);
• Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child's basic emotional, social, health and educational needs.

Included in the four categories of child abuse and neglect above are several factors relating to the behaviour of the parents and carers which have significant impact on children, such as domestic abuse. Children can be affected by seeing, hearing and living with domestic violence and abuse as well as being caught up in any incidents directly.
SET Procedures 2019

In addition to the above it is worth noting other forms of abuse that children and young people may be affected by:

FGM- Female Genital Mutilation
FGM is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed, but where there's no medical reason for this to be done. It's also known as "female circumcision" or "cutting", and by other terms such as sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan, among others.

FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts. It is illegal in the UK to arrange or facilitate transportation for the purpose of FGM.

Medical/Healthcare Maltreatment:
Inappropriate medication, over/under medication and the inappropriate administration of medication. Provision of health care may be unavailable to an
excessive degree, inadequate or duplicated in some way. Fabricated illness
syndrome- where a parent or carer may fabricate or exaggerate information
regarding the vulnerable person to obtain inappropriate medical attention.
If concerns exist then guidance should be sought from the Safeguarding Lead who will liaise with appropriate health care professionals.

This is defined in the Prevent Duty Guidance as ‘the process by which a person
comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist
groups’. It is recognised that children and vulnerable adults are more likely to be
drawn into radicalisation.

CSE- Child Sexual Exploitation
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 also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, 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."
(HM Government, 2015)

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. Children in exploitative situations and relationships may receive gifts, money or affection in return for performing sexual activities or others performing sexual activities on them.

Children or young people may be tricked into believing they're in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed and exploited online.

Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain
their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking.
Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or
by someone they know - for example a family member, friend or professional.

Groomers may be male or female. They could be any age.

Many children and young people don't understand that they have been groomed or
that what has happened is abuse.

Groomers can use social media sites, instant messaging apps including teen dating apps, or online gaming platforms to connect with a young person or child.
They can spend time learning about a young person’s interests from their online profiles and then use this knowledge to help them build up a relationship.
It’s easy for groomers to hide their identity online - they may pretend to be a child and then chat and become ‘friends’ with children they are targeting.

Groomers may look for:

usernames or comments that are flirtatious or have a sexual meaning
public comments that suggest a child has low self-esteem or is vulnerable.

Groomers do not need to meet children in real life to abuse them. Increasingly,
groomers are sexually exploiting their victims by persuading them to take part in online sexual activity.

Signs of grooming
The signs of grooming aren't always obvious and those grooming will often go to great lengths not to be identified.
If a child is being groomed they may:
be very secretive, including about what they are doing online
have older boyfriends or girlfriends
go to unusual places to meet friends
have new things such as clothes or mobile phones that they can't or won't explain
have access to drugs and alcohol.

In older children, signs of grooming can easily be mistaken for 'normal' teenage behaviour, but you may notice unexplained changes in behaviour or personality, or inappropriate sexual behaviour for their age.

Child trafficking and modern slavery are child abuse. Children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold.
Children are trafficked for:
child sexual exploitation
benefit fraud
forced marriage
domestic servitude such as cleaning, childcare, cooking
forced labour in factories or agriculture
criminal activity such as pick pocketing, begging, transporting drugs, working on cannabis farms, selling pirated DVDs and bag theft.

Many children are trafficked into the UK from abroad, but children can also be trafficked from one part of the UK to another.Children are tricked, forced or persuaded to leave their homes. Traffickers use grooming techniques to gain the trust of a child, family or community.
Traffickers make a profit from the money a child earns through exploitation, forced labour or crime. Often this is explained as a way for a child to pay off a debt they or their family 'owe' to the traffickers. Although these are methods used by traffickers, coercion, violence or threats do not need to be proven in cases of child trafficking - a child cannot legally consent so child trafficking only requires evidence of movement and exploitation.

Forced Marriage
You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all. Forced marriage is when a person faces physical pressure to marry (for example physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure(eg if a person is made to feel like they are bringing shame to their family).

Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales. This includes:
Taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place) marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they are pressured or not).

On Line Abuse
Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the web, whether through social networks, playing online games or using mobile phones. Children and young people may experience cyberbullying, grooming, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or emotional abuse.
Children can be at risk of online abuse from people they know, as well as from strangers. Online abuse may be part of abuse that is taking place in the real world (for example bullying or grooming). Or it may be that the abuse only happens online (for example persuading children to take part in sexual activity online).
Children can feel like there is no escape from online abuse – abusers can contact them at any time of the day or night, the abuse can come into safe places like their bedrooms, and images and videos can be stored and shared with other people.
When sexual exploitation happens online, young people may be persuaded, or forced, to:
send or post sexually explicit images of themselves
take part in sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone
have sexual conversations by text or online.
Abusers may threaten to send images, video or copies of conversations to the young person's friends and family unless they take part in other sexual activity.
Images or videos may continue to be shared long after the sexual abuse has stopped.

Cyberbullying is an increasingly common form of bullying behaviour which happens on social networks, games and mobile phones. Cyberbullying can include spreading rumours about someone, or posting nasty or embarrassing messages, images or videos.
Children may know who's bullying them online – it may be an extension of offline peer bullying - or they may be targeted by someone using a fake or anonymous account. It’s easy to be anonymous online and this may increase the likelihood of engaging in bullying behaviour.
Cyberbullying includes:
sending threatening or abusive text messages
creating and sharing embarrassing images or videos
'trolling' - the sending of menacing or upsetting messages on social networks, chat rooms or online games
excluding children from online games, activities or friendship groups
setting up hate sites or groups about a particular child
encouraging young people to self harm
voting for or against someone in an abusive poll
creating fake accounts, hijacking or stealing online identities to embarrass a young person or cause trouble using their name
sending explicit messages, also known as sexting
pressuring children into sending sexual images or engaging in sexual conversations.

Children and young people involved with, or on the edges of, gangs might be victims of violence or they might be pressured into doing things like stealing or carrying drugs or weapons. They might be abused, exploited or put into dangerous situations.
For lots of young people, being part of a gang makes them feel part of a family so they might not want to leave. Even if they do, leaving or attempting to leave can be a really scary idea. They might be frightened about what will happen to them, their friends or their family if they leave.

There are lots of reasons why young people feel the pressure to join gangs. They might be bored and looking for excitement or feel attracted to the status and power it can give them. They might join due to peer pressure, money or family problems. Gang membership can also make a child feel protected and that they belong.

County Lines
County Lines is a term used for organised illegal drug-dealing networks, usually controlled by a person using a single telephone number or ‘deal line’.
They operate out of major UK cities and they distribute illegal drugs across rural and suburban counties via ‘runners’.
Vulnerable children and adults are recruited as runners to transport drugs and cash all over the country, so that the criminals behind it can remain detached and less likely to be detected.
This crime is often associated with other serious crimes such as sexual exploitation, violence, money laundering and human trafficking.
How to spot possible victims
There are several signs to look out for when someone has been lured into this activity; these include:
Change in behaviour
Signs of assault and/or malnutrition
Access to numerous phones
Use of unusual terms e.g. going country
Associating with gangs
Unexplained bus or train tickets
School truancy or going missing
Unexplained gifts (clothes, trainers) and cash


Child for the purpose of this policy is considered any child or young person up to the age of 18 years. For information regarding those above this age you should consult The Mentoring Lab’s Safeguarding Adults Policy and the SET Safeguarding Adults guidelines 2019.

Significant Harm
The Children Act 1989 introduced the concept of Significant Harm as the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of children. The harm or likelihood of harm is attributable to a lack of adequate parental care or control.

Child In Need
The Children Act defines a Child In Need (CIN) as a child:
-who is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision of services;
-or a child whose health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision of services;
-or a child who is disabled.

Child Protection
This applies to children who are considered to be a risk of/ or are suffering significant harm. Under section 47 Social Care can remove the child from their home and develop a child protection plan.

Looked After Children are cared for by the local authority and can be placed in Foster Care placements, Regulated Family placements, Children’s Homes or other specialist provision. They will be assigned a case worker (Social Worker) who will be responsible for ensuring their needs are met. Not all Looked After Children are subject to Child Protection and may be in Care for a number of different reasons, including bereavement, disability etc.

Private Fostering are carers who are not directly managed by the Local Authority and are often supported through an agency.

Young Carers are children and young people who play a significant role in caring for and supporting a family member, generally a parent. This can include a parent who is suffering a long term health condition, parent who is misusing drugs and/or alcohol. Young Carers often find they take on greater responsibility in caring for their parent than is age appropriate. They often have little time to engage in age appropriate activities and may have reduced life opportunities.

The Mental Capacity Act

The five principles of the Mental Capacity Act
-Presumption of capacity.
-Support to make a decision.
-Ability to make unwise decisions.
-Best interest.
-Least restrictive.

Further guidance on the usage of the 5 principles are found at:

Gillick Competency and Fraser Guidelines

Gillick competency and Fraser guidelines help people who work with children to balance the need to listen to children's wishes with the responsibility to keep them safe.
Gillick competency is often used in a wider context to help assess whether a child has the maturity to make their own decisions and to understand the implications of those decisions.
Gillick competence is concerned with determining a child's capacity to consent.

Fraser guidelines should be used to determine the following:
-the young person cannot be persuaded to inform their parents or carers that they are seeking this advice or treatment (or to allow the practitioner to inform their parents or carers).
-the young person understands the advice being given.
-the young person's physical or mental health or both are likely to suffer unless they receive the advice or treatment.
-it is in the young person's best interests to receive the advice, treatment or both without their parents' or carers' consent.
-the young person is very likely to continue having sex with or without contraceptive treatment.

When using Fraser guidelines for issues relating to sexual health, you should always consider any potential child protection concerns:
-Underage sexual activity is a possible indicator of child sexual exploitation and children who have been groomed may not realise they are being abused.
-Sexual activity with a child under 13 should always result in a child protection referral.
-If a young person presents repeatedly about sexually transmitted infections or the termination of pregnancy this may be an indicator of child sexual abuse or exploitation.

Caldicott Principles
The Caldicott Principles are fundamentals that organisations should follow to protect any information that could identify a patient, such as their name and their records. They also ensure that this information is only used and shared when it is appropriate to do so.
Principle 1: Justify the purpose for using confidential information
Principle 2: Don’t use personal confidential data unless absolutely necessary
Principle 3: Use the minimum necessary personal confidential data
Principle 4: Access to personal confidential data should be on a strict need-to-know basis
Principle 5: Everyone with access to personal confidential data should be aware of their responsibilities
Principle 6: Understand and comply with the law
Principle 7: The duty to share information can be as important as the duty to protect patient confidentiality
Further details:

Equality and Diversity
The Mentoring Lab recognises that many people in our society experience discrimination or lack of opportunity for reasons which are not fair. These include: race, religion, creed, colour, national and ethnic origin, political beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability (including mental illness), HIV status, marital status, responsibility for dependants, appearance, geographical area, social class, income level or criminal record.

The Mentoring Lab will challenge discrimination and lack of opportunity in its own policy and practice and will help other organisations and individuals to do the same.

The Mentoring Lab aims to create a culture that respects and values each others’ differences. The Mentoring Lab sees these differences as an asset to our work as they improve our ability to meet the needs of the organisations and people we serve.

All volunteers, employees, management board members must declare their support for the objectives of this Equality and Diversity policy. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

This policy also relates to:
-City and Hackney Safeguarding Partnership Child Protection Procedures (2019)
-Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)
-The Mentoring Lab Safeguarding Adults Policy
-The Mentoring Lab Code of Conduct
-The Mentoring Lab Whistleblowing Policy
-The Mentoring Lab GDPR Data Protection Policy
-The Mentoring Lab Confidentiality Policy
-The Mentoring Lab Equality & Diversity Policy
-The Mentoring Lab Supervision Policy
-Fraser Guidelines
-Hackney Information Sharing Protocol

As part of The Mentoring Lab’s ongoing commitment to quality as demonstrated by ISO 9001 This document will be subject to annual Internal Audit and revision.
Safeguarding is an agenda point at each staff supervision session where case work is examined together with understanding and implementation of the Safeguarding Policy/Procedure.

An Annual Safeguarding Review will be produced This will involve reporting on monitored safeguarding concerns raised across the organisation. It will further detail age, ethnicity, gender identity, identifying how many CYP where identified with alerts for CP, LAC, Vulnerable Child, Domestic Abuse, as well as identifying the number of concerns raised, number progressed further with Social Care involvement. Number of cases closed number of disputed Safeguarding concerns where the Local Authority downgraded a concern. Any further Action Taken by The Mentoring Lab including any disputed referrals. The Annual Safeguarding Review will also identify any potential weaknesses in the procedure and where any further training may be required across the organisation.

This Policy has been amended to combine the existing Safeguarding Children Policy and Protection from Abuse Policy. It will be reviewed Annually
Equality Impact Assessment
September 2022
Review date
September 2024

Some common signs that there may be something concerning happening in a child’s life include:
unexplained changes in behaviour or personality
becoming withdrawn
seeming anxious
becoming uncharacteristically aggressive
lacks social skills and has few friends, if any
poor bond or relationship with a parent
knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age
running away or going missing
always choosing to wear clothes which cover their body.

These signs don’t necessarily mean that a child is being abused, there could be other things happening in their life which are affecting their behaviour – but can help you to assess the situation.

You may also notice some concerning behaviour from adults who you know have children in their care, which makes you concerned for the child/children’s safety and wellbeing.
Signs that a child or young person is being groomed or sexually exploited include:
Unhealthy or inappropriate sexual behaviour
Persistently going missing for periods of time or returning home late regularly
Frequently staying out late or overnight with no explanation as to where they have been
Being secretive about who they are talking to and where they are going
Using more than one phone
Spending more time online or on their devices
Excessive receipt of texts or phone calls, letters, or emails
Having an older girlfriend or boyfriend, or having relationships with controlling older individuals or groups
Unexplained absences from school, college, training, or work
Suddenly acquiring expensive gifts such as mobile phones, jewellery – even drugs – and not being able to explain how they came by them
Having mood swings and changes in temperament
Having hotel cards or keys to unknown places
Noticeable changes in behaviour – becoming secretive, defensive or aggressive when asked about their personal life.
Wearing inappropriate clothing that is too adult or revealing for their age
Significant changes in emotional well-being
Sudden changes in lifestyle
Increasingly disruptive or violent behaviour
Getting into trouble with the police
Bruises, marks on the body, bleeding in their genital or anal area, sexually-transmitted diseases, pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse or self-harm.
Physical abusive injuries
Abusive injuries tend to involve softer tissue and be in areas that are harder to damage through slips, trips, falls and other accidents. This may include:
upper arm
forearm (defensive injuries)
chest and abdomen
thighs or genitals
facial injuries (cheeks, black eyes, mouth)
ears, side of face or neck and top of shoulders (‘triangle of safety’)
back and side of trunk.

Abusive injuries may be seen on both sides of the body and match other patterns of activity. They may not match the explanation given by the child or parent/carer and there may also be signs that injuries are being untreated, or at least a delay in seeking treatment.
Possible indicators of sexual abuse
Bruising, particularly to the thighs, buttocks and upper arms and marks on the neck
Bleeding, pain or itching in the genital area
Difficulty in walking or sitting
Sudden change in behaviour or school performance
Displays of affection that are sexual or not age-appropriate
Use of sexually explicit language that is not age-appropriate
Alluding to having a secret that cannot be revealed
Bedwetting or incontinence
Reluctance to undress around others (e.g. for PE lessons)
Infections, unexplained genital discharge, or sexually transmitted diseases
Unexplained gifts or money
Poor concentration, withdrawal, sleep disturbance
Reluctance to be alone with a particular person

Possible indicators of emotional abuse
Concerning interactions between parents or carers and the child (e.g. overly critical or lack of affection)
Lack of self-confidence or self-esteem
Sudden speech disorders
Self-harm or eating disorders
Lack of empathy shown to others (including cruelty to animals)
Drug, alcohol or other substance misuse
Change of appetite, weight loss/gain
Signs of distress: tearfulness, anger

Possible indicators of neglect
Excessive hunger
Inadequate or insufficient clothing
Poor personal or dental hygiene
Untreated medical issues
Changes in weight or being excessively under or overweight
Low self-esteem, attachment issues, depression or self-harm
Poor relationships with peers
Self-soothing behaviours that may not be age-appropriate (e.g. rocking, hair-twisting, thumb-sucking)
Changes to school performance or attendance

Signs that a child or young person is being groomed or exploited into criminal activity or county lines include:
Persistently going missing from school or home and/or being found out-of-area
Unexplained acquisition of money, clothes, jewellery, or mobile phones
Excessive receipt of texts or phone calls
Spending more time online or on their devices
Using more than one phone
Suddenly acquiring expensive gifts such as mobile phones, jewellery – even drugs – and not being able to explain how they came by them
Having hotel cards or keys to unknown places
Being secretive about who they are talking to and where they are going
Relationships with controlling older individuals or groups
Leaving home/care without explanation
Unexplained absences from school, college, training, or work
Returning home unusually late or staying out all night
Coming home looking dishevelled
Suspicion of physical assault or unexplained injuries
Carrying weapons
Starting or increasing drug use, or being found to have large amounts of drugs on them
Starting or increasing alcohol use
Loss of interest in school and significant decline in performance
Using sexual, gang, drug-related or violent language you wouldn’t expect them to know
Meeting with unfamiliar people or associating with a gang
Becoming isolated from peers or social networks
Significant changes in emotional well-being
Sudden changes in lifestyle
Increasingly disruptive or violent behaviour
Getting into trouble with the police

The Mentoring Lab operates an Independent Advocacy Service for Children & Young People who are Looked After by the Local Authority (LAC) CYP who are subject to Child Protection (CP) and Children In Need (CIN) 

Advocacy involves supporting children and young people to express their views and concerns. To ensure that Children & Young People are heard and able to play an active role in decision making that affects their lives. The role of the advocate is to ensure the CYP understands actions and decisions which affect the CYP. Advocates can assist CYP making challenges and formal complaints. Advocates only act on the instruction of the CYP and while they may receive referrals from professionals and carers they are only able to support under the instruction of the CYP. Advocates can present on behalf of a CYP, again only on their instruction. Advocacy may also involve accompanying CYP at meetings and providing moral support and ensure their wellbeing.

The Care Act 2014 requires that a local authority must arrange, where appropriate, for an Independent Advocate to represent and support an adult at risk in a safeguarding enquiry or Safeguarding Adult Review (SAR) where the adult has ‘substantial difficulty’ in being involved in the process and where there is no other appropriate individual to help them.

Human Rights
The Human Rights Act 1998 sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK is entitled to. It incorporates the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into domestic British law.