Salisbury Sling Library (SSL) Safeguarding Policy
The following procedures apply to all volunteers with Salisbury Sling Library (here on in called the Sling Library) whether or not they are directly responsible for, or coming into contact with children and young people. These procedures apply during all activity of the Sling Library including consultations and sling meets. For the purposes of this policy a child refers to anyone under the age of 18.
We recognise our duty to promote the wellbeing of every child and young person as well as protect them from harm.
What are we protecting children from?
Child abuse is any action by another person – adult or child – that causes or fails to prevent significant harm to a child. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can just as often be about a lack of love, care and attention. Neglect, whatever form it takes, can be just as damaging to a child as physical abuse.
An abused child will often experience more than one type of abuse, as well as other difficulties in their lives. It often happens over a period of time, rather than being a one-off event.
Abuse can take place face to face and online and is increasingly complex in its nature. For up to date information on the different types of abuse see the NSPCC website:
Possible signs of abuse
The signs of abuse aren’t always obvious, and a child or young person might not tell anyone what is happening to them. Children and young people might be scared that the abuser will find out, and worried that the abuse will get worse. Or they might think that there’s no-one they can tell or that they won’t be believed. Sometimes, children and young people don’t realise that what is happening is abuse.
Children develop and mature at different rates. So what is worrying for a younger child, might be normal behaviour for an older child. If a child looks or acts a lot older or younger than their age, this could be a cause for concern. However, if a child develops more slowly than others of a similar age and there is not a cause such as physical or learning disabilities, it could be a sign they are being abused.
Below is a list of indicators which may cause concern. This list is not exhaustive and you should always trust your instincts; if you have a concern about the welfare of a child or young person you should report it.
A child talks of being left home alone or with strangers, is reluctant to go home or to have people visit.
Poor bond or relationships between child and parent/carer.
A child acts out excessive violence with other children, lacks social skills or has few if any friends.
A significantly underweight child but eats well when given food.
A significant change in a child’s behaviour, for example becomes secretive and reluctant to share information, or becomes withdrawn when previously outgoing.
A child reaches developmental milestones late
A child speaks or acts in a way which is inappropriate for their age (i.e. drinking from
an early age or uses inappropriate sexual awareness).
A child is concerned for younger siblings without explaining why.
A child talks of running away or goes missing for periods of time without explanation.
What to do if you suspect a child is being abused
If you have a concern about a child you should immediately speak to the Designated Safeguarding Officer. You should not discuss your concerns with anyone else.
Should you feel uncomfortable talking to the DSO (for instance the concern you have involves them) or you cannot contact them, you can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.
If you are worried a child is in immediate danger you should call 999.
What to do if a child tells you they are being abused
If concerns arise because a child discloses information, be supportive, listen with care but do not ask any unnecessary questions. Take it seriously and advise them that you will have to pass it on. Write down the nature of the concern, so far as possible, using their own words.
Never promise an individual that you will keep their secret. Even if a retraction is then made, the initial concerns should still be recorded and reported.
What happens to information given to the DSO
All cases of suspected or alleged abuse will be treated seriously and the DSO will contact NSPCC helpline for further support and advice. Alternatively they may contact the child’s local social services child protection team. This will be done as soon as possible and within 48 hours of the report being made.
The DSO will keep a written record of any reports made and actions taken. These records will be stored securely.
Where it is alleged a crime has been committed, the investigating social worker and/or police officer may be required to speak to the person with whom the concerns originated. You should co-operate fully with any enquiries.
Privacy and confidentiality should be respected where possible but if doing this leaves a child at risk of harm then the child’s safety has to come first.
Legally, it is fine to share information when the welfare or safety of a child is concerned. However the privacy of the parties involved (the child/their family etc.) is also paramount so only people who need to know should be told.
The Sling Library recognises that being involved in a child protection issue is potentially traumatic and wishes to look after the welfare of its staff and volunteers. Should you require further support to deal with any issues raised by the incident/report, please speak to the DSO or call NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.
It is not child protection issue but I am still concerned
There are many circumstances that may cause harm to a child and require a response but fall short of a concern that a child is being abused. Nevertheless a build-up of concerns over time may become serious enough that the child is considered to be at risk of abuse. In the first instance you should talk to the DSO about these concerns. Together you should address incidents as they arise with parents/carers and record your concerns and actions. The DSO may decide to speak to a statutory agency (i.e. social work services or health visitor).
Recruitment, Induction and Training
The recruitment and selection of volunteers will be done in a timely and professional manner and in compliance with current guidance and legislation. Through due diligence of process we aim to deter, reject or identify people who might abuse others or are otherwise unsuited to working with children and young people.
Whilst we recognise and celebrate the benefits of digital technologies we also acknowledge their potential to cause harm. To this end, no images of children or young people will be used or shared without the consent of the parent/guardian; there will be at least two administrators for each online forum in order to ensure that the forums are regularly monitored and any inappropriate content is deleted as soon as possible; all content on any of the online platforms related to the Sling Library will comply with all of the Sling Library policies and procedures.
Bullying is an anti-social behaviour which affects everyone; it is unacceptable and it will not be tolerated. Everyone in the community has a responsibility to report any incident of bullying that comes to their attention and these reports will always be taken seriously. Any instances of or concerns around bullying should be reported in accordance with the Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.
In the event that a member of staff, volunteer or service user has a complaint about the Sling Library it should in the first instance be reported to the Sling Librarian. The Sling Librarian will investigate and respond within one month of the complaint being made. Should the response not be satisfactory the complaint may be escalated to the relevant regulatory body (depending upon the nature and seriousness of the complaint).