As a Volunteer Moderator Discord/In-game, you should:
How we will act and support our vulnerable adult and under 16 players:
Rule 1 – Take Children Seriously
Always take what children say seriously.
That does not mean unquestioningly,
but if a child tells you something that worries you,
you should take appropriate action.
This might mean asking them to tell you some more to help you work out what they are meaning.
It might mean seeking advice from a colleague or agency such as children’s social care.
Rule 2 – Act Quickly
On average, children have to disclose abuse nine times before an adult takes action .
Some children will not disclose again if adults do not take action,
putting them at risk of continuing harm.
Rule 3 – Make notes
Always make full notes of both sides of a conversation where a child may have disclosed abuse.
This makes it easier to know later who said what and what the context was.
Rule 4 – Think the unthinkable
Whatever your personal views of the family or alleged perpetrator and however much you find it difficult to believe that anyone could have harmed the child,
if you think a child has been or may be harmed, you must take appropriate action.
Rule 5 – Don’t wait to be certain
Remember that being concerned is not the same as being certain something has happened.
Sometimes there will be another explanation but, if we only report cases where there is certainty, many children will be left suffering harm.
Rule 6 – Share information
Other people may have other information which when put with your information,
makes a much clearer picture. If we don’t share information, we will fail to identify children who are being harmed.
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 as a result of maternal substance abuse during pregnancy. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, failure to ensure adequate supervision including the use of inadequate care-givers, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Abuse of Disabled Children
Disabled children are at increased risk of abuse and those with multiple disabilities are at even more significant risk both of abuse and neglect. Parents of disabled children may experience multiple stresses. This group of children may be particularly vulnerable to abuse for a number of reasons including:
Disability is defined as:
A major physical impairment, severe illness and/or a moderate to severe learning difficulty;
An ongoing high level of dependency on others for personal care and the meeting of other basic needs.
Bullying may be defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. It can take many forms, but the three main types are physical (eg hitting, kicking, theft), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, threats, name calling) and emotional (eg isolating an individual from the activities and social acceptance of their peer group). There is increasing use of new technologies as a tool for bullying and such incidents should be taken seriously.
Children and young people who harm or attempt to harm themselves should be taken seriously. The self-harming behaviour in itself may cause impairment of the child’s health or development and in some circumstances present significant harm or the risk of significant harm.
Self-harming behaviour may also arise alongside eating disorders and/or drug misuse.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Female genital mutilation is a collective term for procedures that include the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. The practice is medically unnecessary, extremely painful and has serious physical and mental health consequences both at the time and in later life. The procedure is typically performed on girls of 4 -13 years but may be performed on new born babies or on young women. FGM can result in death.
FGM is a criminal offence (Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 2003). Under the act it is an offence to arrange, procure, aid or abet female genital mutilation. Parents/carers may be liable under this act.
It is also an offence to allow the procedure to be undertaken in another country.
Where agencies become aware that a girl is at risk of FGM a referral should be made to Children’s Social Care.
Domestic Violence as Abuse
Domestic Violence is defined by the Home Office as: ‘Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so called ‘honour killings’.’
The term domestic violence is used to include any form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse between people in a close relationship. It can take a number of forms such as physical assault, sexual abuse, rape, threats and intimidation. It may be accompanied by other kinds of intimidation such as degradation, mental and verbal abuse, humiliation, deprivation, systematic criticism and belittling.
The term domestic violence includes the term domestic abuse.
A forced marriage is one that is conducted without the full consent of both parties and where duress is a factor. Forced marriage can amount to sexual and emotional abuse and put children or adults at risk of physical abuse. In circumstances where there are concerns that someone is at imminent risk of a forced marriage urgent referrals should be made to Children’s Adults’ Social Care.
In the case of a young person at risk of forced marriage it is likely that an initial discussion with the parent, carer or other community member may significantly increase the level of risk to the young person.
Sexual exploitation (see above) also includes non-contact activities, such as involving children in seeing or receiving or sending sexually suggestive emails or text-messages, or inappropriate behaviour in Internet chat rooms, involving children looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material of watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Children can be trafficked into, within and out of UK for many reasons and all different types of exploitation. Trafficking is a form of child abuse and needs an appropriate safeguarding response. Any child who is recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received for exploitative reasons is considered to be a victim of trafficking, whether or not they have been forced or deceived. This is because it is not considered possible for children in this situation to give informed consent. Even when a child understands what has happened, they may still appear to submit willingly to what they believe to be the will of their parents or accompanying adult. It is important these children are protected too.
Children are trafficked for many reasons, including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, labour, benefit fraud, forced marriage, begging and involvement in criminal activity such as pick pocketing, theft and working on cannabis farms. They are likely to be subjected to other forms of abuse, as a means of coercing and controlling them.
Trafficking is carried out by individual adults and organised crime groups.
Sexual activity with child/young person under the age of 18, or living away from home
Consensual sexual activity involving a young person under 18 years is not abusive, but it may be, and the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Procedure offers guidance where this might be so. A child’s or young person’s ability to consent can be impaired due to lack of freedom, capacity or choice; for example because of an age/power imbalance; because it is leading into sexual exploitation; because one person is in a position of trust with the other (e.g. a teacher); where one person is vulnerable because of disability or capacity; where the child/young person is in the care of another away from home. No child under the age of 13 or under is able to consent to any sexual activity according to the Sexual Offences Act (2003).
Abuse is a violation of a person’s rights or dignity by someone else. It can be done by anyone including relatives and family members, professional staff, paid care workers, volunteers, other users of services, neighbours, friends and associates or strangers. There are many kinds of abuse including:
This could be hitting, slapping, pushing and kicking.
This includes rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult at risk:
This could be:
Financial or material
Neglect or acts of omission