Safeguarding & Prevent Policy & Staff Guidelines

York Learning
Author: Alistair Gourlay
Date of Publication: 23 April 2018
Revised: August 2023 Sarah Robson
Date of Next Review August 2024

Background and our Duty

Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse, neglect, exploitation, or radicalisation.  York Learning is committed to providing an environment without those behaviours and takes seriously our responsibilities and statutory duty to safeguard and protect the wellbeing of the children, young people, and vulnerable adults we work with.  To keep them safe York Learning and City of York Council work with other agencies to ensure adequate arrangements are in place to identify, assess and support those children, young people and vulnerable adults who are suffering harm. We will empower learners to create communities that are more resilient to extremism and protect the well-being of particular learners or groups who may be vulnerable, promoting and reinforcing shared British values whilst creating space for open debate.

Policy Aims

  • To ensure we take appropriate action, in a timely manner, to safeguard and promote the welfare of all adults at risk
  • To ensure responsibilities and procedures are fully understood and that everyone can recognise signs and indicators of abuse or neglect and respond to them appropriately.

To ensure that our practice meets local and national guidance, and all statutory requirements are in place.  York Learning is committed to safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk and promoting their welfare and expects all staff, governors, volunteers, and visitors to share this commitment and maintain a vigilant and safe environment. Everyone has a responsibility to act, without delay, to protect those at risk by reporting anything that might suggest any at risk is being abused or neglected. It is our willingness to work safely and challenge inappropriate behaviours that underpins this commitment.  York Learning seeks to work in partnership with families and other agencies to improve the outcomes for those at risk who are vulnerable or in need.

Key Principles

  • The adult/young person/child at risk’s needs and welfare are paramount. All those at risk have a right to be protected from abuse and neglect and have their welfare safeguarded.
  • All staff should maintain an attitude of “it could happen here” where safeguarding is concerned.
  • Adults/young person/child at risk should be listened to and their views and wishes should inform any assessment and provision for them. Staff should always act in the interests of the individual at risk, in order to protect them.
  • York Learning recognises that scrutiny, challenge, and supervision are key to safeguarding those at risk.
  • York Learning is committed to working with other agencies to provide early help for those at risk before they become at risk of harm.
  • All staff should be aware of the importance of identifying emerging problems, liaising with the Designated Safeguarding Lead, sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment.
  • All staff should be aware of the process for making referrals to Adult Services and MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (under 18s)) where those at risk is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm and understand the role they might be expected to play in such assessments that may follow a referral.
  • All staff have responsibility to report their concerns about anyone at risk without delay to York Learning’s Safeguarding Team. Whilst the Safeguarding Team will normally make referrals to MASH or Adult Services, anyone can refer their concerns to relevant agencies directly in emergencies or if they feel they need to do so.
  • Everyone has responsibility to escalate their concerns and ‘press for reconsideration’ if they believe an individual at risk’s needs remain unmet or if those at risk are failing to thrive and in need or if the individual at risk is at risk of harm.
  • York Learning will work in partnership with other agencies to promote the welfare of all learners at risk and protect them from harm, including the need to share information about them in order to safeguard them.
  • York Learning will work with other agencies to ensure any actions that are part of a multi-agency coordinated plan are completed in a timely way.
  • York Learning will follow the Local Safeguarding Adults Board procedures and provide them with information as required.
  • Children, Young People and Adults at risk have a right to learn ways to keep themselves safe from harm and exploitation.
  • All staff will work to the 6 Principles of Safeguarding as defined by The Care Act 2014:
    • Accountability
    • Empowerment
    • Partnership
    • Prevention
    • Proportionality
    • Protection

These duties and responsibilities are defined in a wide range of legislation, including the Children Act (2004), the Mental Capacity Act (2005), Equality Act 2010, The Care Act 2014 the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill with particular relevance to the Prevent Duty, plus other relevant legislation. The publication of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) amended in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, introduced a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for staff and others who have defined levels of contact with children, young people and ‘at risk’ adults.

The Care Act places a duty on local authorities to make enquiries, or cause others to do so, if it believes any that are at risk: –

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting those needs) and
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect and
  • as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or the neglect or the risk of it.

‘Where an adult at risk is suffering significant harm, or is likely to do so, action should be taken to protect that adult at risk.’

Definitions and guidelines are set out below which should be followed if there is reason to expect that any abuse, potential abuse, neglect, exploitation, or radicalisation is taking, or has taken place. In addition to this staff should be aware of the behaviour expected of them and this is set out in the behaviour guidance in Annex 4.


The Children Act 1989 defines a ‘child’

  • as a person under the age of 18

A vulnerable adult is defined by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act as a person who is aged 18 years or over and who is:

  • Living in certain situations
  • Detained in institutions or because of other laws
  • Receiving specific services

Detailed definition taken from the Vetting & Barring Scheme review February 2011

  • is living in residential accommodation, such as a care home or a residential special school
  • is living in sheltered housing
  • is receiving domiciliary care in their own home
  • is receiving any form of healthcare
  • is detained in a prison, remand centre, young offender institution, secure training centre or attendance centre, or under the powers of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • is under the supervision of the probation services
  • is receiving a specified welfare service, namely the provision of support, assistance or advice by any person, the purpose of which is to develop an individual’s capacity to live independently in accommodation or support their capacity to do so
  • is receiving a service or participating in an activity for people who have particular needs because of their age or who have any form of disability
  • is an expectant or nursing mother living in residential care
  • is receiving direct payments from a local authority or health and social care trust in lieu of social care services,
  • requires assistance in the conduct of their own affairs


The process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to radicalisation.


Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs; calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas

What is safeguarding?

Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a duty on all agencies to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

This duty is part of a comprehensive programme of change which began with the publication of Every Child Matters: Change for Children (September 2003) focusing on improving the following outcomes for children and young people:

  • Be healthy
  • Stay safe
  • Enjoy and Achieve
  • Make a positive contribution
  • Achieve economic wellbeing.

Inter-agency arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people are coordinated and monitored through the City of York Safeguarding Children Board.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:

  • Protecting children/young people from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • Ensuring that children/young people are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • Enabling children/young people to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.

(City of York Safeguarding Children Board: )

Safeguarding Adults means ‘all work which enables an adult to retain independence, well-being and choice and to be able to live a life that is free from abuse and neglect’.

It is about preventing abuse and neglect as well as promoting good practice for responding to concerns on a multi-agency basis.

(City of York Council Safeguarding Adults Board:

Inter-agency arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of vulnerable adults are coordinated and monitored through the Safeguarding Adults Board for York.


Working with a range of people who are potentially vulnerable, we have the opportunity and a duty to know what we are looking for, spot the early signs, and share any concerns about anyone we suspect is being radicalised or susceptible to extremism. In addition, our learners might be a key source of information, at an early stage, about concerning behaviour which contravenes ‘British Values’ and which may lead to a threat to themselves or others. It is important to report concerns before the point of crisis.

British Values are defined as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs.

Extremism is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values and calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.

Prevent forms part of our safeguarding / area of concern policy and procedure and reporting system we use to highlight behaviour that causes concern to tutors, other staff, or learners, and where we think there is a threat to the individual or to other students.

A comprehensive risk assessment action plan process will be implemented and regularly reviewed to ensure we are fully compliant with the Prevent Duty. The risk assessment will include sections on: Online Safety; partnership; subcontractors; leadership; staff training and awareness; volunteers; external speakers and events; welfare & pastoral care; prayer & ‘faith facilities; work-based learners; promoting British Values; venue security; national terrorism risk level.

Types of abuse

The Department of Health identifies six categories of abuse:

  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Psychological/emotional
  • Neglect and acts of omission
  • Financial or material
  • Discriminatory

*Only the first four are used in relation to child protection.  See annex 2 for further details of types of abuse and some possible indicators.

How does this apply to me?

Some staff work directly with children and young people, for example:

  • Early years – childcare staff supporting Family Learning programmes.
  • 16-18 – staff delivering Foundation learning, Apprenticeships, and other courses.

Even if you don’t work directly with children, you will be in contact with adults who are the parents of children.  You need to know what to do if, for example, you observe or overhear something that leads you to suspect that a child at home is being abused or neglected.

Increasingly, our services are being used by vulnerable adults and most staff are likely to come into contact at some point with someone who fits one or more of the definitions of ‘vulnerable’, some on a regular basis.  You need to know what to do if, for example, a vulnerable person makes an allegation of abuse against someone who is helping to look after them.


We recognise that all matters relating to safeguarding are confidential.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead will disclose personal information about a child or learner to other members of staff on a need-to-know basis only. However, all staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children and vulnerable learners.  All staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child, young person, or adults to keep secrets which might compromise safety or well-being or that of another.

We will always undertake to share our intention to refer a child or young person to MASH with their parents/carers, unless to do so could put the individual at greater risk of harm or impede a criminal investigation. If in doubt, we will consult with MASH on this point.

Supporting Staff

We recognise that staff working in York Learning who have become involved with a child or learner who has suffered harm or appears to be likely to suffer harm may find the situation stressful and upsetting. We will support such staff by providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties with the Mental Health Lead person and to seek further support from for example, Occupational Health and/or a tutor/trade union representative as appropriate.  We also understand that staff should have access to advice on the boundaries of appropriate behaviour please see Annex 4.


We recognise that children and learners cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so.  All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns about the attitude or actions of colleagues. If necessary, they should speak to their line manager or the Designated Safeguarding Lead, Head of Service.  – See Allegations of Abuse by Staff below.

Physical Intervention / Positive Handling

Our Health & Safety policy on physical intervention/positive handling by staff is set out separately. It complies with DfE guidance on positive handling strategies (2001) and circular 10/98. “The use of force to control or restrain pupils”. This guidance states that staff must only ever use physical intervention as a last resort, e.g., when a child or learner is endangering him/herself or others and that, at all times, it must be the minimal force necessary to prevent injury to another person.  Such events should be recorded and signed by a witness.  Staff who are likely to need to use physical intervention should be appropriately trained.  We understand that physical intervention of a nature which causes injury or distress to a child or young person may be considered under child protection or disciplinary procedures.

Children on Site

York Learning is a 16+ education service and so children should only be on site if attending family learning classes.

 Protocols for Children on Site

  • Children are the responsibility of the accompanying adult at all times
  • If the child is too sick for school, they are too sick for here and must not be brought in
  • Children must not be left alone at any time while in an education class
  • Parents must accompany their children to the toilet

Impromptu and emergency situations

Teaching staff may not take their own children into classrooms when they are teaching. Non-teaching members of staff may bring in their own child in exceptional circumstances provided that approval has been given by their line manager. The child must not be left unaccompanied and the protocols above relating to Children on Site apply. Learners should make other arrangements for their childcare and children can only be brought on site if it is an emergency or pre-planned situation and the tutor has given permission and made appropriate arrangements. Where child attendance has been pre-planned, this should be recorded on the Scheme of Work and lesson plans. In all cases the child should be recorded on the paperwork for the class. In some courses, such as counselling or craft courses, learners will always have to make other arrangements. The tutor has the right to say “no” without having to give a reason.

Allegations of Abuse Against Another Learner (peer-on-peer abuse)

All concerns must be reported and discussed with the Safeguarding Team (or Designated Safeguarding Lead or Duty Manager). This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), gender-based violence/sexual assaults and sexting (sexual imagery). Staff should recognise that adults at risk are capable of abusing their peers. Staff must challenge any form of derogatory and sexualised language or behaviour. Staff should be vigilant to sexualised/aggressive touching/grabbing particularly towards girls. Behaviours by adults at risk or others should never be passed off as ‘banter’.

19+ Adults at risk with special educational needs and disabilities are more vulnerable to sexual violence and harassment and staff should be aware that additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse in these adults at risk. Adults at risk who are LGBT or perceived to be, may also be targeted by their peers, and harassed or assaulted.

Victims of peer-on-peer harm will be supported by the York Learning safeguarding team and referred to specialist agencies including, as examples, MIND, Crisis Team and Samaritans. A risk assessment may need to be in place.

The procedures

Allegations of abuse and reporting suspicion of abuse – what to do

All members of staff need to think of themselves as ‘alerters’ whose role in relation to safeguarding and prevent, for any Safeguarding incidents where there is not an immediate threat to life, but which may involve a crime, contact should be made with the Police by dialling 101It should be made clear that the report is about a Safeguarding issue and an incident number should be requested.

Alerts should also

  • report and record any allegation or concern about potential abuse, neglect, extremism or radicalisation on the same day – please include as much detail as you can about the learner i.e. name, course, age and also what has raised the concern/incident details to–
  • Listen carefully and sensitively. Do not ask leading questions, e.g., suggesting names of who may have perpetrated abuse if the person does not disclose it, as this may prejudice subsequent enquiries.  Simply clarify the bare facts of the incident or grounds for suspicion.
  • If a child/young person or vulnerable adult makes an allegation to you asking that you keep it confidential, you should inform the person that you will respect their right to confidentiality as far as you are able to, but, that you are not able to keep the matter secret.
  • Do not take any actions which might alert the alleged perpetrator.
  • If an emergency use the telephone numbers
Safeguarding Leads and second designated person for all groups:

Angela Padfield (01904 555987 or 07919090047) &

Colette Gray (01904 555849 or 07812 986555)


Designated Person for Vulnerable Adults & Children

Will Harris (01904 552905 or 07887 545795)

Designated Person for Young people

Sarah Robson and Alison Thorne on 01904 551056


  • address any immediate protection issues as soon as they arise

What do we mean by alerting?

It is telling someone about your concerns or suspicions.  Everyone who works with children, young people and vulnerable adults has a duty to share their concerns, even if the person concerned asks them not to.  You should always inform children, young people, and vulnerable adults of this duty.

Allegations of abuse – what you should do

Any allegation by a child, young person, or vulnerable adult that he/she has been abused or coerced in to doing something against their will should be taken very seriously even if they later deny it or claim to have made up their original allegation.  Children, young people, and vulnerable adults who have been abused or are being radicalised have often been threatened about the consequences of reporting it.  They are often frightened and may want to take back what they have said.

When you become aware of abuse, neglect, extremism, or radicalisation, you should make sure that emergency assistance (if required) is summoned and that your concerns are reported to the appropriate York Learning designated person for safeguarding immediately.  The designated person will advise on the course of action to be taken and may decide to refer the incident to the appropriate safeguarding body.

Communicating with Parents and Visitors

York Learning is committed to the principles of safeguarding where a person-centred approach is fundamental and promoting the welfare of every adult\young person or child at risk. An adult\young person\child at risk ‘centred approach’ means keeping them in focus when making decisions about their lives and working in partnership with them and their families.’

York Learning also has a statutory responsibility to share any concerns it might have about a child or adult at risk in need of protection with other agencies and in particular police, health, and social services. We are not able to investigate those at-risk protection concerns but have a legal duty to refer them. In most instances York Learning will be able to inform the parents/carers of its need to make a referral; however, sometimes York Learning can in certain circumstances share information without the consent of the learner/family and may be advised by adult services or the police that the parent/carer cannot be informed whilst they investigate the matter or make enquires. We understand the anxiety parents/carers understandably feel when they are not told about any concerns from the outset. York Learning follows legislation that aims to act in the interests of those at risk.

  • We will always seek to work in partnership with parents and other agencies to ensure the best possible outcomes for the child or adult at risk and family.
  • We ensure all learners receive the following notice at induction or via their learning portal as well as additional safeguarding guidance.
  • York Learning is committed to safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk and promoting their welfare and expects all staff, governors, volunteers and visitors to share this commitment and maintain a vigilant and safe environment. Everyone has a responsibility to act without delay to protect children, young people, and adults at risk by reporting anything that might suggest they are being abused or neglected. We would expect you to also report to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Head of Service any behaviours of any adults working within York Learning that may concern you. By accepting our course offer you are agreeing to follow our safeguarding advice and where appropriate the code of conduct for staff and volunteers.

The names of the Designated Safeguarding Lead, Safeguarding High Needs Officer, Young People Safeguarding Officer and Vulnerable Adult and Child Safeguarding Officers is provided to all tutors and all learners are invited to send in non-urgent referrals via at any time.

Young people and adults at risk with special educational needs and disabilities are more vulnerable to sexual violence and harassment and staff should be aware that additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse in these adults and young people at risk.  Those at risk who are LGBT or perceived to be, may also be targeted by their peers, and harassed or assaulted.

Victims of child on child or peer-on-peer harm will be supported by the safeguarding team and referred to specialist agencies including: – Kyra, Mind, and other such agencies.   A risk assessment may need to be in place. York Learning works hard to create a safe environment to support learners to become more resilient to inappropriate behaviours towards them.

Reporting Suspicion of Abuse – what you should do

  • If you suspect abuse, neglect, or radicalisation such as, for instance, seeing a child, young person, or vulnerable adult with an injury, it may be appropriate to make general enquires. In many situations doubts and suspicions grow gradually, with an accurate picture only developing over a period of time.  It is therefore important to be vigilant when suspicions are aroused (see annex 2).  If you have concerns but are not sure whether a referral should be made, it is important that you discuss your concerns with one of the service’s designated persons (see p.12).  However, if no designated persons are available, do not delay registering your concerns; instead, you should contact Adults or Children’s Social Services or the Anti-Terrorist hotline direct (see p.6 for contact details). Additional Measures to ensure child safety within our settings; an annual Risk Assessment inspection will be conducted in all venues in which children are being cared for by Sessional Childcare Staff.
  • Staff will wear name badges
  • Staff are responsible for ensuring that visitors have legitimate reasons for visiting.
  • Visitors will be asked to sign in and out of children’s groups and will be accompanied by, a member of staff, at all times.

Any person who has not been subject to an Enhanced DBS check and/or other clearance required under the terms of the Children Act (1989) and by OFSTED will never be left alone with the children.

Safe Recruitment of Staff

All roles working unsupervised with children, young people or vulnerable adults will require an application from, role description and person specification.
Application Forms will include the following information

  • Name and previous names
  • Current address
  • Date of Birth
  • Previous addresses in the last 5 years
  • Relevant education / training/qualifications
  • Details of present and previous employers or education/voluntary associations if not previously employed
  • Previous employment details, positions held, dates, reasons for leaving. Explanations will be sought where there are unexplained gaps in an applicant’s employment history, or where an applicant has moved rapidly from one job to another.
  • Experience relating to the person specification
  • Details of 2 referees (not relatives) both of which should be recent and at least one should be a current or recent employer, teacher, or professional colleague etc. References will be sought before an appointment is made.
  • Details of any criminal conviction or caution
  • Details of time not covered by education or work

(See also CYC recruitment policies.)

All staff working directly with children, young people, or vulnerable adults, whether paid or voluntary, will be subject to DBS checks and other clearance required under the terms of the Children Act (1989) and by OFSTED.  Applicants will be advised that positions are exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

No person will be accepted for work, paid or otherwise, if: –

  • they have been convicted of a relevant offence
  • been the subject of an order which disqualifies them from registration under regulations made under schedule 9A of the Children Act 1989
  • been the subject of an order mentioned in Disqualification of Caring for Children Regulations 1991

Staff Training

  • All staff working directly with children, young people, and vulnerable adults, whether paid or voluntary, will have appropriate, recognised qualifications/training and/or experience
  • All staff working with children, young people and vulnerable adults will receive information about safeguarding and Prevent prior to starting work.
  • All staff working with children, young people and vulnerable adults are expected to have completed an appropriate safeguarding basic awareness training course, including awareness of Prevent, prior to commencing employment.  Staff are also expected to complete a refresher / update course at least once every three years.

Allegations of Abuse made against Staff

Allegations may be made against staff working with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults in a paid or voluntary capacity concerning ill treatment or abuse.

Any concerns or information regarding a member of staff should be reported to the designated person without delay.

The designated person will inform, and seek advice from, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

The designated person should make no attempt to undertake enquiries or seek to determine the validity of the allegation at this stage.  S/he may, however, need to take immediate safety measures such as the removal of the member of staff from the premises and any evidence should be secured and preserved e.g., mobile telephone, computer – subject to advice from the police or LADO

Prior to contacting the LADO, the designated person should gather the following information including:

  • names, addresses, dates of birth of the vulnerable person/child and staff member concerned
  • details of any potential witnesses;
  • details of the staff member’s previous employment record including any previous allegations/concerns;
  • account of the person receiving or witnessing the allegation;
  • information regarding any other paid or voluntary work the staff member undertakes with children or vulnerable adults;
  • if the staff member has their own children, any other information which may be of relevance;
  • any action(s) already taken;
  • information about the legal status of the child concerned

A full record of the concern/ allegation must be made which is timed, dated, and signed.

The designated person must consult with the LADO within one working day of an allegation being made.

The procedures outlined in the City of York Safeguarding Children Board: Allegations Against Professionals guidance will then be followed.

Allegations against staff can be very distressing and stressful – the York Learning nominated representative to provide support for staff whilst an allegation is being investigated is Colette Gray.

Online Learning Protocols

Online Learning Sessions

Some of our learners will do the majority of their learning online and our commitment to safeguarding extends to all online learners also.  Therefore, we set out some basic principles of behaviours relating to online learners at Annex 3.

Safeguarding, Prevent, Inclusion and Online Safety:

All participants should feel safe and included in the online learning.  If for any reason there is a concern relating to any of these issues, contact your tutor who will follow the appropriate procedures to deal with these issues.

Mitigating the risk – for teachers and managers

CYC following the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) advice set out below which should help mitigate the risk to individuals and organisations from malicious cyber activity and other themes:

York Learning is committed to providing an environment that does not accept abuse, neglect, exploitation, or radicalisation within our organisation.  We take seriously our responsibilities and statutory duty to safeguard and protect the well being of the children, young people, and vulnerable adults they work with.  To keep them safe we work with other agencies to ensure adequate arrangements are in place to identify, assess and support those children, young people and vulnerable adults who are suffering harm.  When you become aware of abuse, exploitation, neglect, or radicalisation, you should make sure that emergency assistance (if required) is summoned and that your concerns are reported to the designated person for safeguarding & prevent immediately.  The designated person will advise on the course of action to be taken, which may include making a referral to Adult Social Care or Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) or Channel or Anti-Terrorist services.

Safeguarding Lead and second designated person for all groups including SEND:  

Angela Padfield (01904 555987 or 07919090047) &

Colette Gray (01904 555849 or 07812 986555)

Designated Person for Vulnerable Adults & Children

Will Harris (01904 552905 or 07887 545795)

Designated Person for Young people

Sarah Robson and Alison Thorne on 01904 551056

If you have serious concerns that the child, young person or vulnerable adult is at immediate risk of significant harm and our designated person is not available, you should ring one of the following numbers:

Children/young people

Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub:

  • Mon-Fri 8.30 – 4.30: Tel 01904 551900
  • Email:

Emergency duty team (evenings and weekends): 01609 780780

Vulnerable adults

City of York Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB):

  • Telephone: 01904 555111

For emergencies outside these hours call the emergency duty team on 01609 534527


Reporting and preventing radicalisation, terrorist and extremist behaviour. If you are unsure or suspicious about somebody’s activities or behaviour, however insignificant it may seem at the time, please report your concerns to your designated lead.  If you feel this cannot wait please contact the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321. Dial 999 if there is an immediate threat to life.

More detailed safeguarding guidance is available in the ‘Safeguarding & Prevent Policy and Staff Guidelines’ or contact

Safeguarding & Prevent – Process for Alerting

Types of Abuse or Neglect

Abuse can occur for a number of reasons that maybe inter-related and complex. There are various types of abuse, and the following list is not exhaustive.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse/harm is the physical ill treatment of an adult, young person, or child, which may or may not cause physical injury.  This includes any inflicted physical injury, from minor bruising and marks to beatings, which may be life-threatening, including broken limbs and head injuries.  May also include misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate sanctions, the deliberate failure to prevent injury or suffering and a rare condition (Munchausen Syndrome by proxy), where a parent/carer deliberately poisons, suffocates or causes physical symptoms in a child/vulnerable adult to mimic a real illness to gain attention from medical personnel.

such as:

  • Assault and battery
  • Hitting, slapping, or scratching
  • Pinching or shaking
  • Misuse of medication and treatments
  • Pushing
  • Rough handling
  • Unwarranted or inappropriate restraint, forced isolation or confinement
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Honour-based abuse

Some of the recognised signs of physical abuse to look out for are:

  • unexplained burns;
  • scratches;
  • bruising and abrasions;
  • drowsiness from misuse of medication;
  • anxiety in the presence of an abuser.


Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

The involvement of an individual in sexual activity/ies, to which they have not given informed consent, may not fully comprehend or with which they do not wish to continue or that violate the social taboos of family roles such as:

  • Fondling – inappropriate touching or looking
  • Indecent exposure
  • Rape or attempted rape. – (intercourse, buggery, oral sex)
  • Sexual harassment including via new media communication
  • Honour-based abuse
  • mutual masturbation
  • involvement in pornographic activity or prostitution


Sexual abuse usually involves acts performed by the perpetrator on the person who is abused but it might sometimes involve situations where the perpetrator forces or persuades the other person to do things to the perpetrator or others. Any sexual activity with a child is sexual abuse. Child sexual exploitation can take many forms from seemingly ‘consensual’ relationships to serious organised crime by groups or gangs.

While the sharing of nude or semi-nude images and videos of or with anyone under the age of eighteen is unlawful all incidents of this nature will be treated as a safeguarding concern. The Safeguarding Officer will use their professional judgement to assess the risk and decide whether or not to refer to the MASH or police.


Look out for: 

For children – Sexual curiosity in play involving children of the same age is recognised by professionals in childcare as part of the normal process of development. However, where a child’s imaginative play has strong sexual emphasis and reveals knowledge that is inappropriate to the child’s years, then abuse should be suspected.

For vulnerable adults – this includes sexual contact that the vulnerable adult has not consented to or could not consent to or was pressured into consenting to.

Some of the recognised signs of sexual abuse are:

  • changes in behaviour;
  • torn, stained or bloody underclothing;
  • bruising around breasts or genital area;
  • sexually transmitted diseases;
  • difficulties in walking or sitting;
  • sexualised behaviour.

Financial Abuse

Misappropriation of an individual’s funds, benefits, savings etc. or any other action that is against the best interests of the person e.g.

  • Theft of money, possessions, property, or other material goods
  • Misuse of money
  • Fraud or extortion of material assets
  • Internet scamming
  • Persuading an adult at risk to enter into a financial agreement, which is to their detriment such as in connection with property, wills, or inheritance transactions
  • Misappropriate of property, possessions, or benefits


Some of the recognised signs of financial or material abuse are:

  • loss of jewellery and personal property.
  • lack of money to purchase basic items;
  • a bill not being paid when money is entrusted to a third party.
  • inadequate clothing;
  • unexplained withdrawal of cash; and
  • loss of money from a wallet or purse.

Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse results from being repeatedly made to feel unhappy, anxious, afraid, humiliated or devalued by the actions or inactions and /or attitudes of others. This may include:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Humiliation or ridicule
  • Forced marriage
  • Threats of punishment, exclusion, or abandonment
  • Deprivation of contact with others
  • Upskirting
  • Intimidation e.g., name calling, threats, shouting or verbal abuse
  • Bullying including cyber-bullying
  • Hate crime
  • Controlling
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Withdrawal of services or supportive networks


Some of the recognised signs of psychological or emotional abuse are:

  • fear;
  • passivity;
  • confusion;
  • apathy;
  • lack of eye contact;
  • low self-esteem;
  • disturbed sleep patterns;
  • reluctance to talk openly
  • Be aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via child on child or with adult’s peer on peer abuse
  • Understand that some adults at risk, including those with Special Educational Needs, may be more vulnerable to abuse.

Adults at risk with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. This can include:

  • assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to their disability without further exploration;
  • adults at risk with SEN and disabilities can be disproportionally impacted by things like bullying – without outwardly showing any signs; and

Discriminatory Abuse

Discriminatory abuse is psychological abuse and harassment that is racist, sexist, or linked to a person’s age, disability, sexual orientation, cultural background, or religion such as:

  • Racial harassment
  • Harassment based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Insults or harassment based on disability
  • Denial of cultural or religious needs

Some of the recognised signs of discriminatory abuse might be very similar to psychological and emotional abuse.

Child on Child abuse/Peer on Peer (adults)/or Harmful Sexual Behaviour

This abuse is where a child or learner is the perpetrator and abuses another child or learner. It can take many forms including:

  • Sexual violence and sexual harassment
  • Physical abuse
  • Sharing of nude or semi-nude images or videos (previously known as sexting)
  • Bullying including cyber-bullying
  • Initiation/hazing type violence and rituals
  • Upskirting

All staff are required to address any inappropriate behaviour even if it appears to be innocent or playful. Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them. We are clear all child on child, peer on peer abuse or harmful sexual behaviour, whether online or not, including sexual violence or harassment is unacceptable, will not be tolerated and must be addressed.


Organisational Abuse

Abuse in an institutional setting can occur when the individual’s wishes and needs are sacrificed for the smooth running of an organisation. Abuse in an institution includes the practice of a regime or culture that is abusive and destroys the dignity and respect to which every person is entitled. This can include:

  • Treating adults as children
  • Denial or failure to promote people’s rights
  • Provision of an unsafe or unhygienic environment
  • Lack of privacy
  • Lack of provision for dress, diet, or religious observance for adults from ethnic minorities

Abuse within an organisation can occur when there are poor care standards, rigid routines, inadequate staffing, poor training of staff or a poor value base of manager.


Professional Abuse

The misuse of power and of trust by professionals or the failure of professionals to act on suspected abuse/crimes.


Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse can happen between those who are or who have been ‘personally connected’ as defined by the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. It is actual or threatened physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse. It involves the use of power and control by one person over another. It occurs regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, age, religion, mental or physical ability. Domestic abuse can also involve other types of abuse such as Honour-based abuse.

Domestic abuse includes abusive, coercive, and controlling behaviours that do not include violence e.g., ridicule, constant criticism, threats, manipulation, sleep deprivation, social isolation.

A child or young person under the age of eighteen can be a victim of domestic abuse in their own right if they see, hear, or experience the effects of abuse.


Modern Slavery

Modern slavery encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means at their disposal to coerce, deceive, and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude, and inhumane treatment.


County Lines

County Lines is one form of criminal exploitation where drug networks or gangs groom and exploit vulnerable adults, children, and young people to carry drugs and money to a different geographical area. They may also take over the home of a vulnerable adult to use as a drug dealing base; this is known as ‘cuckooing’. Criminal exploitation of a child, young person or adult at risk is a form of abuse and occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance in power to coerce, manipulate or deceive the child, young person, or adult at risk into sexual or criminal activity.


Radicalisation, Extremism and Terrorism

The Prevent Duty for England and Wales 2015 places a duty on York Learning as an education provider to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

Extremism is defined as ‘vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.

Terrorism is an action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people; causes serious damage to property; or seriously interferes with an electronic system. The use or threat must be designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, or ideological cause.

Radicalisation, whether face to face or online, includes exposure of a person over a period of time to extremist viewpoints that may eventually influence the person to engage in an act or acts of violent extremism or terrorism.

York Learning seeks to raise the awareness of all learners to the dangers of radicalisation and to keep staff and learners informed of the extremist issues most relevant in York.

Prevent Duty guidance can be found on can be found on The Home Office website.


Neglect and Acts of Omission

Neglect can take different forms and can be the result of the deliberate withholding or unintentional failure to provide appropriate and adequate care or support.

This involves the neglect of a child or vulnerable adult or the failure to protect them from danger, including cold and starvation. It includes failure to give a child or vulnerable adult the care that is needed for them to grow and develop and sustain good health such as an adequate diet and warm clothing.

In assessing whether a child, young person or vulnerable adult is being neglected we must bear in mind that within our society there are many cultural differences and attitudes towards care. We must be careful to respect individual differences and not to judge everyone by our own standards. However, if a child, young person, or vulnerable adult is suffering harm in any form then abuse is occurring.

Neglect manifests itself in the extent to which a person’s physical and/or mental well-being is seriously impaired such as:

  • Failure to keep the person clean, warm and in good health or deliberately withholding these necessities
  • Failure to provide or deliberately withholding reasonable care
  • Failure to give or deliberately withholding prescribed medication
  • Failure to give or deliberately withholding privacy and dignity
  • Failure to provide or deliberately withholding supervision for behaviour that could be dangerous.
  • Failure to access or deliberately withholding appropriate health, social care or educational services or technical aids
  • Failure to provide or deliberately withholding nourishment

Some of the recognised signs of neglect and acts of omission are:

  • dehydration;
  • lack of cleanliness;
  • infections;

Self- neglect

Self-neglect covers a wide range of behaviour. It is where someone intentionally or non-intentionally is unable to maintain and care for their own personal hygiene, health, or surroundings to culturally accepted standards and there is potential for serious consequences as a result either to themselves or to the community. Examples include hoarding, failing to self-medicate.

Other considerations:

Patterns of Abuse can include:

  • Serial abuse where the perpetrator seeks out and ‘grooms’ adults at risk. Sexual abuse and radicalisation often fall into this pattern as do some forms of financial abuse
  • Long term abuse may be part of on-going family dynamics
  • Opportunist abuse where an opportunity is presented unexpectedly e.g., theft of money that is lying around or someone becoming involved in a group they might not otherwise associate with
  • Situational abuse where there is stress or pressure in a situation

Mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that someone has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. Past traumatic experiences can have a lasting impact into adulthood and impact on a person’s mental health. Only appropriately trained professionals will attempt to make a diagnosis of a mental health problem, but staff are often well placed to have conversations with a learner who might be experiencing a mental health problem or at risk of developing one. Relevant information and links to appropriate support organisations will be made available to the learner. Where staff have a mental health concern about a learner that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action must be taken, following our safeguarding policy reporting procedures.

We all have a responsibility to maintain confidence in our organisation in order to make learning enjoyable and educational. Everyone should be treated with respect and employees should avoid offensive, insensitive and hurtful behaviour, or comments towards others.

We will operate within City of York Council’s Code of Conduct. This is available at

We will:

  • set a good example of appropriate behaviour and conduct at all times and exemplify British Values
  • avoid any type of behaviour that might lead others to question our suitability to work with our learners
  • avoid any type of behaviour that might bring the service or council into disrepute
  • never abuse our position of trust to take advantage of learners
  • be respectful to others
  • not use language and or behave in a way which could appear threatening or intimidating
  • never use threatening behaviour, force, or violence
  • dress in a way that is appropriate to our position and that does not cause offence to others.
  • use appropriate protective clothing in the interests of health and safety
  • refrain from any activity that may reduce our ability to carry out our work, such as the use of alcohol and/or drugs

Gifts and Rewards

At times we may be offered gifts or rewards for our work. An offer of a gift or other reward which might lead others to question our judgement or authority should be refused. We should also refrain from offering gifts to others when it could be interpreted as trying to build an inappropriate relationship or gain favor.

We will:

  • never give gifts when they might be considered offensive and inappropriate
  • never allow ourselves or the organisation to be, or appear to be, compromised in any way when we receive or give a gift
  • always make sure that any gift received is recorded appropriately in line with CYC guidelines on receiving gifts

Acceptable use of Technology

As employees of the City of York Council we are entitled to use IT resources (telephones, mobile telephones, Internet, and email) during the course of our work. These resources should not be misused, and their use must always comply with the law.

We will:

  • not use mobile phones, telephones, and work computers for personal use
  • not share usernames or passwords
  • not use software/hardware that has not been approved for use on work computers
  • not use resources to harass, libel, slander, impersonate or otherwise abuse others
  • not use resources to create, download or store any material that may be offensive, obscene, or indecent, for example pornographic or racist material
  • consider the Data Protection Act when processing personal details

Additional guidance and CYC policies regarding ICT usage can be found on the intranet.

Social networking

We will:

  • keep personal and work accounts separate
  • not use personal accounts for work or for keeping in contact with learners.
  • ensure personal details are secured and privacy settings do not allow others to view our details
  • not compromise our professional status by what is posted on social networking accounts.

One to One Situations

In one-to-one situations we may be vulnerable to unfounded allegations.

We will:

  • avoid any situations where either the employee or learner feels uncomfortable or at risk
  • inform another colleague when you are in a one-to-one situation, both at the beginning and end of the meeting, especially if working off site
  • ensure another colleague is close by if it is felt there may be an element of risk in meeting with an individual
  • avoid meeting in remote and secluded areas
  • ensure safe working practices are carried out, such as leaving the door open when appropriate

 Sharing transport with learners

We should be aware of safeguarding procedures if there are occasions when we need to share transport.

 We will:

  • limit the use and frequency of sharing transport
  • ensure all vehicles used are roadworthy and pass all legal requirements
  • ensure you hold business insurance
  • ensure behaviour does not endanger the safety of passengers, drivers, or other road users
  • always phone for an ambulance to take a seriously injured learner to hospital rather than take them ourselves

 Contact and Relationships

We have a duty of care to all our learners and customers. We are held in a position of trust and should not undertake any action or activity that could be seen as an abuse of that trust.

We will:

  • always act, and be seen to act, in the best interest of your learners and customers
  • avoid situations and conduct that may lead others to question our intentions
  • maintain our professional boundaries with learners, colleagues, and others who we meet
  • not form inappropriate relationships with learners
  • report anything that you feel uncomfortable with regarding learners’ safety, following safeguarding guidelines
  • ensure written permission is obtained for any photographs and/or videos

Setting boundaries when working with vulnerable adults

We should be especially aware of our responsibilities when working with vulnerable adults and make sure that our behaviour is appropriate and professional. Some learners may seek to develop a relationship that is not appropriate, which could lead to their dependency on us. This should be avoided.

We will:

  • ensure our behaviour is consistent with every learner and does not show favoritism
  • not develop friendship with learners and will maintain a professional distance
  • not have contact with learners outside of normal working hours
  • ensure our actions could not be misinterpreted

Additional relevant documents (available at

City of York Council Employee Code of Conduct

City of York Council Electronic Communications Policy

Online Agreement

Some basic agreed principles:

  • Sessions are private for the members of the group and only group members will be allowed to join.
  • Sessions will have clear times and will open and close at those times for members to join.
  • Find a quiet space where you can concentrate and fully engage.
  • Mute your microphone unless you are speaking.
  • Turn off any background noise such as radios or TV.
  • If you have any technical issues or other problems, e-mail your tutor and they will provide you with any missed information.

Agreed values and protocols:

  • Information shared within the group will be confidential to the group, unless it concerns safeguarding in which case it will be shared with the Safeguarding Designated Person.
  • British values of tolerance, mutual respect, individual liberty, and the rule of law will be adhered to.
  • People will speak one at a time and the tutor will establish a system of asking and answering questions or giving opinions.
  • The same behaviour and conduct as in face to face to sessions will be expected, so there should be no smoking, swearing or states of undress.