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3rd January 2024

The child protection lead is Alison Metcalfe (

These procedures are written for those working with 0- to 18-year-olds. But the responsibility to safeguard and protect does not stop when a young person reaches 18.

1. Responding to concerns that a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect


1.1 Recognising abuse or neglect.

Anyone working with children or young people needs to be able to recognise the signs of abuse or neglect. These include a child:

  • being afraid of places or making excuses to avoid particular people.

  • knowing about or being involved in ‘adult issues’ which are inappropriate for their age or stage of development, for example alcohol, drugs and/or sexual behaviour.

  • having angry outbursts or behaving aggressively towards others.

  • becoming withdrawn or appearing anxious, clingy or depressed.

  • self-harming or having thoughts about suicide.

  • showing changes in eating habits or developing eating disorders.

  • regularly experiencing nightmares or sleep problems.

  • regularly wetting the bed or soiling their clothes.

  • running away or regularly going missing from home or care.

  • not receiving adequate medical attention after injuries.

These signs do not necessarily mean that a child is being abused. There may well be other reasons for changes in a child’s behaviour such as a bereavement or relationship problems between parents or carers. If you have any concerns, you must follow this procedure. Further information on spotting signs of abuse is available from NSPCC here.


1.2 Who to speak to

If this is an emergency incident where there is a life-threatening situation or imminent danger to a child or young person, you should:

  • Immediately contact the emergency services if they haven’t been called already.

  • Assess any action you could safely take to make the current situation safer.

  • Establish how others are coping – do they need any immediate support?

  • Contact the child protection lead.

If the child or young person is at current risk of, or has experienced, abuse or harm you should:

  • Contact the child protection lead.

  • Call the relevant local authority safeguarding team within 24 hours and make a telephone referral.

  • Be guided by the safeguarding team or police on any further actions required of you. Always follow up your call with a written referral.

  • Further information on making a safeguarding referral is available from NCVO here.

1.3 Recording concerns, decisions, and actions

The child protection lead will record all the relevant available information, any decisions made, actions taken, and what (if any) information was shared with emergency services or local authorities.

Further information on making a safeguarding referral is available from NCVO here.


2. Anti-bullying procedure

Kidscape describes bullying as any behaviour that is intended to hurt, is repeated and where there is an imbalance of power. We take bullying extremely seriously, and understand that bullying can be a form of peer-to-peer abuse.

Bullying can take the form of discrimination or harassment on grounds of disability, race, religious belief, gender, pregnancy, or sexuality, and we will work to eliminate any such behaviour.

Bullying is not in line with LOHA's values which include:

  • We listen and make sure we actually hear.

  • We create spaces where differences are actively sought, welcomed, and accepted.

We will not tolerate bullying language or behaviour.

Use our codes of behaviour for children, young people and adults to make sure everyone understands what is expected of them, and can be held to account for their behaviour.

If you are a bystander of a bullying situation:

  • Lead the person experiencing the bullying to a safe place and show we are not in support of the bullying behaviour.

  • Create a safe, confidential space for individuals to share their experiences and concerns with a focus on the impact the behaviour is having and the help they need from you to make the bullying stop.

  • Share your concerns with the child protection lead.

  • Follow up with all children and young people involved, explore what has taken place and what action is needed to stop it from happening again.

3. Reporting accidents

  • An accident is an unfortunate event or occurrence that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in an injury.

  • Any accidents that occur during children and young people’s activity with LOHA should be reported to the child protection lead and a record made of who was affected, when it happened, what happened, who witnessed it and what care was given. Keeping these records allows analysis for accident avoidance and reduction.

  • Such accidents should be reported to the parent/carer of those aged 16 and under.

  • Serious accidents or incidents that are work-related (i.e. where the work activity itself contributed to the accident; an accident is work-related if the way the work was carried out, equipment used for work, or condition of the premises played a significant role) may need to be reported to HSE under RIDDOR regulations. This includes damage to internal organs, loss of consciousness due to head injury, and any injury likely to lead to permanent reduction in sight.


4. Managing concerns or allegations against a member of staff or volunteer

Any concerns raised about a staff or volunteer should be reported to the nominated child protection lead, who will support to gather the facts of the case, keep written records, and follow company behaviour policy. If there is a concern about the nominated person, the concern should be reported to another senior manager.

If an allegation is made that a staff member or volunteer has:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child.

  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, a child.

  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.

  • Behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children.

This will be reported to the relevant agencies (for example the NSPCC helpline, local child protection services, or the police in the case of a suspected criminal offence).

5. Managing concerns or allegations that a child or young person is harming another child or young person.

Concerns that a child or young person is harming another child or young person could arise through:

  • A child or adult making a direct allegation of abuse by a child or young person.

  • A child or adult telling you they're uncomfortable with a child or young person’s behaviour. They may not realise the behaviour is abusive.

  • A member of staff or volunteer reporting behaviour that gives cause for concern.

  • A child or young person telling you they have harmed someone else or are at risk of doing so.

  • The organisation being informed that a child or young person is the subject of an investigation.

When responding to an allegation of abuse made against a child, it's important to consider the needs of everyone involved.

If a child tells you directly that they have behaved abusively towards someone else:

  • Reassure the child that they've done the right thing by telling you about it

  • Listen carefully to the child and let them tell their whole story. Don't try to investigate or quiz the child, but make sure you understand what they're saying

  • Use non-judgmental language.

  • Remember that a child who is telling you they've abused someone else is a child in need of support.

  • Tell them that you now have to do what you can to keep them and the other children involved safe.

  • Explain what you are going to do next and that you will need to speak to other people who can help.

  • Reassure the child that they can get help to change their behaviour and move forward with their life.

  • You may want to suggest the child contacts Childline for support.

Never promise to keep what a child tells you a secret. Explain that you need to talk to other people who can help keep them and the other children involved safe.

If allegations have been made against a child you should speak to the nominated child protection lead, who can advise you on the best way to proceed. If you confront the child about the allegations before taking advice, it may make the situation worse.

Sometimes you may have noticed a child behaving inappropriately and you may need to talk to them about this immediately, to manage the behaviour. Remember that they may not realise their behaviour is unacceptable. Talk to them calmly and explain why their behaviour is unsuitable and what they can do to improve it. It may be helpful to refer to expectations or a code of behaviour.

When a child or young person behaves inappropriately towards another child, a decision needs to be made about whether there may be a child protection concern, with support from the child protection lead.


6. Whistleblowing and complaints procedure

If any individual has a complaint about the conduct of LOHA’s staff or volunteers we will work to ensure that the complaint is handled seriously, fairly, and confidentially. Please contact the child protection lead, any member of staff, or or Business Lead:

Staff and volunteers should challenge inappropriate behaviour of others and voice concerns. Any allegation of abuse made by an individual regarding a volunteer or anyone working on behalf of LOHA will be investigated and reported in line with LOHA's policy and procedures. Staff or volunteers with a concern should talk with their manager or the child protection lead. If they feel unable to report an incident within the organisation, they can contact NSPCC’s Whistleblowing Advice Line: 0800 028 0285 /