Child Protection and Safeguarding Children Policy

Intention of the policy

The intention of the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy is to ensure that all of those who work for, train with and deliver services on behalf of the Institute of Family Therapy agree to keep the safety of children as the highest priority. This policy sets out descriptions of child abuse and safeguarding and should be read in conjunction with the UKCP Safeguarding Protocol and Guidelines and UKCP and IFT’s Code of Ethics.

This policy covers all of those children who access IFT services and premises and who have contact with IFT staff and students and those using IFT premises for other activities including private therapy, counselling and supervision.

  1. Safeguarding

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children means:

  • Protecting children from mistreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health and development
  • Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • Undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully

All professionals working with children have a responsibility to become familiar with the local procedures for safeguarding children.

The Children Act 1989 provides the legislative framework for child protection in England. This is augmented by the Children Act 2004, which directs partnerships between agencies. 

It is also important to be aware of the Government publications:

Department for Education (DfE) (2018) Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (PDF). London: HM Government.

Department for Education (DfE) (2015) What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused: advice for practitioners (PDF). London: HM Government.

  1. Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

Every child has the right to be kept safe from all forms of abuse that hurt them physically or emotionally.

Concerns may be because of one of the following areas:

  1. Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child or young person’s basic physical and or psychological needs over a period of time which is likely to result in serious effects on their health or development. This could include failure to provide adequate food, clothing or shelter, not providing a safe physical environment or failing to ensure a child is properly supervised or provided with access to medical treatment when it is required. It can also include failure to provide a responsive environment to a child or young person’s emotional needs.

  1. Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child which may cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. This could result when a child is not given sufficient love or affection or is constantly humiliated or threatened where there is the use of degrading punishments such as sarcasm, ignoring or other that might undermine the child or young person’s confidence. 

Emotional abuse can involve the seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another for example domestic abuse. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of mistreatment of a child or young person, though it may occur alone.

  1. Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child or young person. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child or young person.

  1. Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child or young person is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative and non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities such as looking at, involving in the production of sexual images, watching pornographic materials or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

  1. Grooming

Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, human/ drug trafficking or other criminal/ gang activity. 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. 

  1. Policy implementation
    1. All IFT members must be currently practising in the field of family therapy or systemic practice, and therefore are required by their employers to undertake mandatory safeguarding training and receive specialist safeguarding supervision.  
    2. All IFT staff must be trained in Safeguarding level 1,2 or 3 depending on their role. This is online certified training by external training providers.  
    3. All IFT Systemic Family Therapy Trainees will be taught about safeguarding adults, young people and children as part of their training, as described in the Learning Outcomes outlined in the student Handbook.
    4. IFT members, staff, students and those using IFT premises will recognise that a child’s welfare is paramount. IFT will ensure that all professionals associated with the institution have a copy of the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and understand their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding children and young people.
    5. All IFT staff and trainees will have knowledge about how to respond, by making appropriate referrals to Children’s Social Care and / or the police, when there are concerns that a child is or may be being abused. (see procedures for details)
    6. All IFT staff and trainees will be aware be aware of their ethical responsibility to ensure that the relationships between professionals and children or young people are in accordance with the ethical guidelines of IFT and the appropriate professional body (for example, UKCP safeguarding policy, IFT and UKCP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and so on).
    7. All IFT staff and trainees will know how to ensure that a written factual record is made of any child protection concern and brought to the attention of one of the Directors of the Institute through the line management structure. 
    8. All IFT staff and professionals using IFT premises for clinical work, must accept responsibility for informing one of the Directors of IFT should they have any child protection concerns.
  1. Procedures
    1. The child protection and safeguarding policy will be made available to all of those people who deliver, train with, access services with IFT or use the premises.
    2. If a child protection issues emerges, IFT may inform Children’s Social Care and or the police. This is preferable with the person’s consent but in some circumstances this may be done without a person’s consent.
    3. When a concern has been identified, this must be reported to a supervisor, line manager or the Director.
    4. A factual record of the disclosure or concern should be made at the earliest opportunity.
    5. A record of the result of any discussions and decisions must be made.
    6. The supervisor, line manager or Director has the responsibility to monitor the progress of any referral on to the statutory agencies.
  1. Safer Recruitment
    1. IFT requires all students, staff and professionals using its premises who come into contact with children or young people to provide evidence of a current DBS check.
    2. Managers or services, supervisors, line managers and all others in senior positions will ensure that the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy is available.
    3. All members of IFT will be provided with the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy.
  1. Dealing with allegations made against IFT members of staff

or students

  1. Any concern must be reported to the line manager, supervisor or the Director.
  2. Any concern must be recorded in writing.
  3. The Director will inform the Chair of Council.
  4. Following discussion with Chair of Council, the Director will take legal advice from a solicitor and advise the Chair of Council about any suggested action.
  5. The Director will ensure referral to Children’s Social Care and or the Police is made by a person designated to do so which could be Director’s of Centres, supervisors, line managers and the Director. 
  6. All actions must be recorded in writing.
  1. Useful resources

Department for Education (DfE) (2018) Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (PDF). London: HM Government.

Department for Education (DfE) (2015) What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused: advice for practitioners (PDF). London: HM Government.

Safe from Harm (Home Office 1993)The Code of Practice for Safeguarding the Welfare of Children in Voluntary Organisations in England and Wales 


The Children Act 1989 (England and Wales)

The Children Act 2004 (England and Wales)