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Horse Whisperer

Child Protection Policy

This policy applies to all volunteers and the board of directors, work experience students or anyone working on behalf of Small Strides CIC.

The purpose of this policy:

  • To protect children and young people who receive Small Strides services. This includes the
    children or young adults who use our services.

  • To provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to
    child protection - Small Strides CIC believes that a child or young person should never
    experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people and to keep them safe. We are committed to practice in a way that protects them.


We recognize that:

  • The welfare of the child/young person is paramount.

  • All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual
    orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection of harm or abuse

  • Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, careers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people's welfare.


We will seek to keep young people safe by:

  • Valuing them, listening to and respecting them

  • Adopting child protection practices through procedures and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers

  • Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training

  • Recruiting staff and volunteers safely under the Safer Recruitment Training, ensuring all necessary checks are made for all persons working directly with children.  

  • Sharing info about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers

  • Sharing concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children


Types of abuse

There are four main types of abuse. 


Physical abuse

This is when someone hurts a child on purpose and with the intent to cause harm. This can include hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning, or suffocating. If it causes them physical harm, such as cuts, bruises, broken bones or other injuries, it is physical abuse.

Anyone can hurt a child - a relative, friend or stranger. It can also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Signs of physical abuse 

  • Children with frequent injuries

  • Children with unexplained or unusual fractures or broken bones

  • Children with unexplained:

    • bruises or cuts

    • burns or scalds

    • bite marks

Children may be more at risk if their parents have problems with drugs, alcohol and mental health or if they live in a home where domestic abuse happens. Babies and disabled children also have a higher risk of suffering physical abuse.


Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is when a child's feelings and emotions are manipulated or shamed on purpose. This can take different forms, for example:

  • when a child is unfairly blamed for everything

  • told they are stupid, worthless or ugly

  • ignored or never shown any emotion in interactions

Emotional abuse is the severe and persistent ill treatment of a child. It can have long-lasting and devastating effects on a child’s emotional health and development.


Signs of emotional abuse

  • The child is excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong

  • Parents or carers who withdraw their attention from their child, giving the child the ‘cold shoulder’

  • Parents or carers blaming their problems on their child

  • Parents or carers who humiliate their child, for example, by name-calling or making negative comparisons.

Emotional abuse may be the only form of abuse suffered by a child, or it might be part of a wider pattern of abuse.


Sexual abuse and exploitation

Sexual abuse is any sexual activity with a child, or inducing a child to act in sexually inappropriate ways. 

Many children and young people do not recognise themselves as victims. A child may not understand what is happening and may not even understand that it is wrong.

The sexual abuse of children is more than just physical sexual contact. It includes:

  • sexual touching, masturbation, kissing, rubbing - clothed or unclothed

  • all penetrative sex

  • intentionally engaging in sexual activity in front of a child

  • making, showing, or distributing indecent images of children.

  • grooming children for future abuse - in person or online


Signs of sexual abuse

  • displaying knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to their age

  • using sexual language or have sexual knowledge that you wouldn’t expect them to have

  • asking others to behave sexually or play sexual games

  • exhibiting physical sexual health problems, including soreness in the genital and anal areas, sexually transmitted infections or underage pregnancy

Sexual abuse is not only perpetrated by adult males. Women can commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.


Child sexual exploitation

Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse. This is when an individual or group takes advantage of a child (anyone under 18) to coerce, manipulate or deceive them into sexual activity.

This is done:

  • in exchange for something the victim needs or wants

  • for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.

Even if the activity appears consensual, the victim still may have been sexually manipulated. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact, and can also occur online or through social media. 


Signs of child sexual exploitation

  • appearing regularly with unexplained gifts or new possessions

  • associating with other young people involved in exploitation

  • having older boyfriends or girlfriends

  • suffering from sexually transmitted infections or pregnancies

  • changes in emotional well-being

  • misuse of drugs and alcohol

  • going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late

  • regularly missing school or not taking part in education.



Neglect is where a child is not looked after. It is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic and essential needs.

This can include:

  • not providing adequate food, water, clothing, and shelter

  • leaving a child alone in dangerous situations, or to watch after themselves when they are very young

  • failure to provide medical care

  • failure to meet the child's emotional needs


Warning signs of neglect

  • living in a home that is indisputably dirty or unsafe

  • persistent hunger and signs of malnutrition

  • lack of hygiene - dirty clothes and hair that may lead to lice or nits

  • lack of adequate clothing for the time of year - such as not having a winter coat

  • living in dangerous conditions, i.e. around drugs, alcohol or violence

  • often acting angry, aggressive or self-harming

  • failing to receive basic health care

  • parents who fail to seek medical treatment when their children are ill or injured.

If a child does not have a safe and stable home, this is neglect.




  • As an organisation, which offers support and guidance to children and young people, it is imperative that each member of the Small Strides CIC staff are aware of their responsibilities under the Child Protection legislation and has a working knowledge of Small Strides CIC policies and procedures.

  • Staff and volunteers to read and become familiar with the relevant sections of the KCSIE

  •    Each member of staff will receive updated training in Child Protection every three years.




  • A copy of our Child Protection Policy will be made available to any other appropriate body.




All action is taken in line with the following legislation/guidance:

  • SouthWest Safeguarding and Child Protection Shared Procedures,

  • Safeguarding Children in Education September 2013

  • Children Act 1989 / 2004

  • Children and Social Work Act 2017

  • Children and Families Act 2014

  • Information Sharing: practitioners guide

  • Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018

  • What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused 2006.



In any case where an allegation is made, or someone in Small Strides CIC has concerns, a record should be made. Details must include, as far as practical:

  • Name of child or young person

  • Age

  • Home Address (if known)

  • Date of Birth (if known)

  • Name/s and Address of parent/s or person/s with parental responsibility

  • Telephone numbers if available

  • Is the person making the report expressing their own concerns, or passing on those of somebody else? If so, record details.

  • What has prompted the concerns?

  • Include dates and times of any specific incidents

  • Has the child or young person been spoken to?

  • If so, what was said?

  • Has anybody been alleged to be the abuser?

  • If so, record details.

  • Who has this been passed on to, in order that appropriate action is taken? E.g. school, designated officer, children’s social care

  • Has anyone else been consulted?




  • The designated child protection lead is Jenny MacSharry.






Concerns about a Child or Reporting an incident


In the event of an alleged concern regarding one of the children here at Small Strides CIC, Jenny MacSharry will immediately inform Children & Families Duty and Assessment Team by telephone or the MASH Team.


  • The telephone referral to the Children & Families Duty And Assessment Team, will be confirmed in writing using the form marked C2 within a maximum of 48 hours, ideally 24 hours, with a copy to the designated person for child protection Jenny MacSharry.

  • Contact details for the above are: 01225 396312 or 01225396313 or

  • Contact the MASH Team Wiltshire Council, if you think a child or young person is at risk of significant harm, or is injured. Contact the Integrated Front Door (IFD) on 0300 4560108, 8.45am-5pm, Monday-Thursday and 8.45am-4pm Friday; Out of Hours 0300 456 0100. For less urgent enquiries, email

  • Essential information will include client’s name, address, date of birth, family composition, and reason for referral, name of person receiving the referral and any advice given. This written confirmation must be signed and dated by the referrer.

  • Confidentiality must be maintained and information relating to individual children and young people/families shared with staff on a strictly need to know basis.





  • When an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer, then the allegation must be passed to your designated person for child protection Jenny MacSharry , or, if the allegation concerns her, then direct to the Local Authority Designated Officer. (LADO)

  • Your designated person for child protection should contact one of the Local Authority designated officers for consultation.

  • Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) on 01225 396810 or if unavailable

  • Head of Safeguarding on 01225 396974 within 1 working day.

  • The designated officer contacted will record a note of the consultation and will advise on the appropriate action that needs to be taken.



  • The designated person and his/her deputy must receive training every 2 years in Child Protection Training. Training is available from B&NES Local Safeguarding Children Board

  • All staff and volunteers shall have access to appropriate training on a regular basis, at least every 3 years if needed with working with children directly.




  • All records, information and confidential notes will be kept in separate files in a locked drawer or filing cabinet.

  • Only the designated Persons will have access to these files.




  • Never guarantee absolute confidentiality, as Child Protection will always have Precedence over any other issues.

  • Listen to the child, rather than question him or her directly.

  • Offer him / her reassurance without making promises and take what the child says seriously.

  • Allow the child to speak without interruption

  • Accept what is said it is not your role to investigate or question.

  • Do not overreact.

  • Alleviate feelings of guilt and isolation, while passing no judgement

  • Advise that you will try to offer support, but that you must pass the information on.

  • Explain what you have to do and whom you have to tell.

  • Record the discussion accurately, as soon as possible after the event,

  • Use the child’s words or explanations do not translate into your own words, in case you have misconstrued what the child was trying to say.

  • Contact one of (organisations Designated Persons) for advice / guidance.

  • The Designated Person may then discuss the concern / suspicion with the relevant organisation, and, if appropriate, make a direct referral.

  • If Designated Person is not available, or it is inappropriate to approach them, the volunteer /member of staff with the concern should make direct contact with the relevant organisation themselves

  • Record any discussions or actions taken within 24 hours




  • For further information about what to do if you are worried a child is being abused, see the B&NES LSCB website,

  • The South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Shared Procedures can be accessed at:

  • Under Wiltshire Council, you will need to contact the MASH team If you think a child or young person is at risk of significant harm, or is injured, contact the Integrated Front Door (IFD) on 0300 4560108, 8.45am-5pm, Monday-Thursday and 8.45am-4pm Friday; Out of Hours 0300 456 0100. Or if there is immediate danger, phone the police or emergency services on 999. For less urgent enquiries, email


Small Strides CIC are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annuallya

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