Veterans Hike Designated Safeguarding Officers:

Mark Standish

Graham Brown


1.1 The purpose of this Safeguarding Policy is to ensure that appropriate action is taken when a young person is suspected of either being abused or at risk of abuse.

1.2 The Veterans Hike Safeguarding Policy recognises that the safety and protection of young people is paramount and has priority over all other interests. The purpose of this policy is to protect any young people who receive our services.

1.3 This policy refers to all young people regardless of nationality, culture, or religion. If the young person has learning disabilities or is a care leaver, their needs may extend to their 21st birthday (Section 9 Young people Act 2004).

1.4 To support Veterans Hike in meeting its statutory safeguarding obligations.

1.5 To meet the legal requirements of the activities that we provide, Veterans Hike adhere to the following legislation:

  • Counter- Terrorism and Security Act 2015
  • The Young Carers’ (Need Assessment) Regulations 2015
  • Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (CSDPA) 1970
  • Children and Social Work Act 2017
  • Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003
  • Children and Young Persons Act 1933
  • Serious Crime Act 2015
  • Borders, Citizenship, and Immigration Act 2009
  • Adoption and Young people’s Act 2002
  • Digital Economy Act 2017
  • Modern Slavery Act 2015
  • United Nations Convention Rights of the Young person 1989
  • The Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • The Police Act 1997
  • The Care Act 2014
  • Children Act 1989
  • Children Act 2004
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • General Data Protection Regulation 2016
  • Data Protection Act 2018

2. Scope

2.1 The following roles may be affected by this policy:

  • All staff
  • All volunteers
  • Anyone working on behalf of our organisation
  • Management and Directors
  • Students, Trainees, Apprentices, Work Experience
  • Contractors

2.2 The following people may be affected by this policy:

  • Young people that we support

2.3 The following stakeholders may be affected by this policy:

  • Family
  • Health professionals
  • Local Authorities
  • Other agencies

3. Objectives

3.1 The objective of Veterans Hike is to have a coordinated approach to safeguarding and to ensure that Veterans Hike procedures dovetail with policies and procedures published by the Local Safeguarding Partners of Veterans Hike whose contact details we have appended to this policy.

3.2 To ensure that the voice of the young person is heard and that a person-centred approach is always taken.

4. Policy

4.1 Statement of Intent:

Veterans Hike recognises the vulnerability of young people and believes it is always unacceptable for a young person to experience abuse of any kind. It wholly supports the principle that the welfare of the young person is paramount and accepts the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Veterans Hike understands that young people can be under threat, and/or abused by parents/family, other children and young people, staff, volunteers, and others, and that everyone who works with young people has a responsibility for keeping them safe. Veterans Hike will ensure that it works in partnership with other agencies, young people, and their families so that they receive the right help, at the right time and with everyone who comes into contact with them, understanding that they all have a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information, and taking prompt action. Additionally, Veterans Hike believes that all young people, regardless of ethnicity, gender, culture, sexual orientation, disability, faith, or religious belief, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.

4.2 Young people with additional complex needs:

Veterans Hike recognises that disabled young people and those with additional complex needs are at increased risk of abuse. Furthermore, it understands that some young people have increased vulnerability because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, their communication needs, or other issues and that threats can take a variety of different forms including sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, neglect, exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups, trafficking, online abuse, sexual exploitation, and the influences of extremism leading to radicalisation. All necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the rights of all young people are respected and that opportunities for abuse to occur are minimised.

4.3 Veterans Hike will seek to keep young people safe by:

  • Empowering young people, and listening, respecting, and responding in a compassionate but effective way.
  • Ensuring a person-centred approach to service planning and delivery and keeping the young person in focus when making decisions about their lives.
  • Ensuring that all staff and volunteers read and understand this policy.
  • Adopting robust safer recruitment, selection, and vetting procedures.
  • Sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with staff, volunteers, parents, carers, and relevant agencies.
  • Requiring all staff and volunteers to follow the reporting and recording procedures in every case of suspected or disclosed abuse.
  • Ensuring that all staff and volunteers with a duty of care for young people, will be provided with appropriate guidance and support to enable them to fully implement this policy.
  • Providing effective management and support systems so that all staff and volunteers know who to contact within Veterans Hike in the event of safeguarding concerns arising.
  • Working within the relevant Children’s Safeguarding Partnership guidance and procedures.
  • Ensuring policy and practice remains current and up to date and dovetails with local Children’s Safeguarding Partnership procedures.

4.4 Information Sharing and Confidentiality

Good communication is essential for any organisation. In Veterans Hike, every effort will be made to assure individuals that, should they have concerns, they will be listened to and taken seriously. It is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Officers to ensure that information is available to, and is exchanged between, all those involved in this organisation and its activities.

Young people have a right to information, especially any information that could make life safer for them. Veterans Hike will act to ensure that they have information about how, and with whom, they can share their concerns, complaints, and anxieties. When sharing information, staff and volunteers will be sensitive to the level of understanding and maturity, as well as to the level of responsibility of the people with whom they are sharing.

We understand that some information is confidential and should only be shared on a strictly need-to-know basis.

Veterans Hike will ensure that staff and volunteers understand that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Data Protection Act 2018 and human rights law are not barriers to justified information sharing but provide a framework to ensure that personal information about living individuals is shared appropriately.

4.5 Safer Recruitment

Veterans Hike will adopt a consistent and thorough process of safe recruitment to ensure that those recruited are suitable. This includes ensuring that safer recruitment and selection procedures are adopted which deter, reject, or identify people who might abuse young people or are otherwise unsuitable to work with them. Veterans Hike will not sub-contract to any organisation which has not been part of a safer recruitment process.

4.6 Best Practice

Veterans Hike will adhere to HM Government’s ‘ Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2018) and will follow, within the scope of its role and responsibilities, NICE guidance NG76 and CG89 in addition to other best practice documents cited in this policy and procedure.

4.7 Accountabilities and Responsibilities

Individual staff and volunteers have a responsibility to report and record any concerns, and not to make decisions themselves as to whether abuse has or has not occurred. Doing nothing is never an option. If we know or suspect that a young person is being abused, we will do something about it and ensure that our work is properly recorded.

The Directors at Veterans Hike will:

  • Be responsible for the effectiveness of this policy and related procedures and for ensuring that sufficient resources are available to support its implementation.
  • Delegate responsibility for ensuring that this policy is integrated into the governance structure of Veterans Hike and reviewed as and when necessary, but at least annually.
  • Appoint two Designated Safeguarding Officers to undertake a lead role for safeguarding young people, including being involved in Serious Case Reviews with local Safeguarding Children’s Partnerships, and agreeing action plans for shortfalls or improvements in process.
  • The Designated Safeguarding Officers will review concerns identified, standardise process and learning, and report to the persons responsible for reviewing safeguarding incidents, ensuring that the appropriate people are informed both internally and externally.

Staff and volunteers at Veterans Hike will:

  • Immediately notify one of the Veterans Hike Designated Safeguarding Officers of any safeguarding concerns.
  • Notify the one or both the Veterans Hike Designated Safeguarding Officers of the outcome of any safeguarding meetings not attended by the Officer.
  • Ensure they remain up to date on Safeguarding Children’s Partnership processes within their own locality.

The Designated Safeguarding Officers at Veterans Hike will:

  • Ensure that all staff and volunteers are aware of their responsibilities in accordance with this policy and all other associated documents.
  • Monitor compliance with this policy within their area of responsibility.
  • Provide support to staff and volunteers involved in any safeguarding incidents.
  • Ensure that staff fully complete their mandatory safeguarding training.
  • Ensure that the services provided are compliant with Veterans Hike safeguarding procedures as well as the local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership processes.

5. Procedures

5.1 Recognising Young people who May Need Early Help:

Veterans Hike should ensure that staff and volunteers understand the requirement to be alert to the potential need for early help as stated in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2018) for a young person who:

  • Is disabled and/or has specific additional needs.
  • Has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education, Health and Support Plan).
  • Is showing signs of being drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups.
  • Is frequently missing/goes missing.
  • Is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking, or exploitation.
  • Is at risk of being radicalised or exploited.
  • Is in a family circumstance presenting challenges, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse.
  • Is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves.

Additionally, staff and volunteers should be aware of any new or emerging threats which include online abuse, grooming, sexual exploitation, and radicalisation as well as having the ability to identify symptoms and triggers of abuse or neglect.

5.2 Local Procedures

All staff, including volunteers working with young people, will familiarise themselves with the safeguarding policies, procedures and guidelines and work within them. Veterans Hike will ensure that all staff and volunteers within the organisation are aware and understand the safeguarding policies and reporting procedures.

5.3 Responding When a Young Person Discloses Abuse

Keep the following considerations in mind when talking to a young person who is disclosing abuse:

  • Help the young person to feel as comfortable as possible.
  • Reassure the young person that it is not their fault. Let them know that they have not done anything wrong.
  • Do not react with shock, anger, disgust. Be calm.
  • Do not force a young person to talk. Give the young person time. Let him/her talk to you at their own pace.
  • Do not force a young person to show you any injuries.
  • Use terms and language that the young person can understand.
  • Do not ‘interview’ the young person.
  • Ask appropriate questions.
  • Do not ask leading questions.
  • Do not teach the young person new terms or words. This is important in relation to any potential subsequent legal action that may follow.
  • Be honest with the young person.
  • Confirm the young person’s feelings – be supportive.
  • Remember that the safety of the young person is most important. Keep in mind that a young person might be further abused if they report that they have spoken to someone about the abuse. If you feel that the young person is in danger, you must act immediately.

5.4 Reporting Concerns

  • If the young person requires immediate medical attention call 999 and request an ambulance. Inform the call handler that the incident involves a child protection concern.
  • Call 999 if in immediate danger.
  • Report incidents and concerns to a Designated Safeguarding Officer and a Director of Veterans Hike who will support you to complete the appropriate documentation.
  • Report to the young person’s social work team.

5.5 Management of Allegations Against People in Positions of Trust

Veterans Hike will deal with allegations against those who work or volunteer with young people in a systematic, robust, and comprehensive manner. Veterans Hike will make a clear distinction between an allegation, a concern about the quality of support, or a complaint. An allegation may relate to a person who works with young people who has:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, a young person.
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a young person.
  • Behaved towards a young people in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to young people.
  • Behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with young people.

If an allegation arises it should:

  • Be reported immediately to a Designated Safeguarding Officer and a Director of Veterans Hike.
  • Be addressed as quickly as possible with a consistent and thorough investigation. Where it appears that a criminal offence may have been committed, the Police should be contacted immediately by the appropriate Designated Safeguarding Officer.
  • The Veterans Hike Designated Safeguarding Officer will immediately, or as soon as practicable, seek advice from the appropriate authorities.
  • The young person’s family must be informed immediately, or as soon as practicably possible, of any allegations that come to the attention of Veterans Hike or that are made to the Police regarding an employee or someone in a position of trust working with, on behalf of, or who is known to, Veterans Hike who may have caused harm to a young person. It is the responsibility of the appropriate Designated Safeguarding Officer to ensure that the young person’s family are notified without delay.

5.6 Referral to DBS:

If Veterans Hike removes an individual (paid worker or unpaid volunteer) from work activity with young people (or would have, had the person not resigned first) because the person poses a risk of harm to young people, it must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service to consider whether to add the individual to the barred list. Where an individual is a registered practitioner such as a Registered Nurse, they should also be referred to their Registered Body, such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council, irrespective of whether they were working as a registered practitioner for Veterans Hike.

5.7 Safeguarding young people with additional needs:

Research suggests that disabled young people are at increased risk of abuse, and that the presence of multiple disabilities appears to increase the risk of both abuse and neglect. A young person could be considered disabled if he or she has significant problems with communication, comprehension, vision, hearing, or physical functioning. A failure to recognise disabled young people’s rights can lead to abusive situations and practices.

Organisational culture, custom, and practice can contribute to institutional abuse or harm.

  • Veterans Hike should not underestimate how poor practice can become pervasive in influencing staff and volunteers to behave inappropriately.
  • Staff and volunteers should be given the opportunity to reflect on their practice and promote a positive risk-taking culture to enhance the quality of life for young people.
  • Veterans Hike will ensure that its services will readily seek the views of young people, and other professionals in reviewing their practice.
  • Particular attention should be paid to promoting a high level of awareness of the risks of harm, to high standards of practice, and to strengthening the ability of young people to help themselves.
  • Make it common practice to enable disabled young people to make their wishes and feelings known in respect of their support and treatment.
  • Ensure that disabled young people receive appropriate personal, health and social education (including sex education).
  • Make sure that all disabled young people know how to raise concerns and give them access to a range of adults with whom they can communicate. This could mean using interpreters and facilitators who are skilled in using the young person’s preferred method of communication.
  • Recognise and utilise key sources of support, including staff in schools such as support workers, friends, and family members where appropriate.
  • Ensure that there is an explicit commitment to and an understanding of disabled young people’s safety and welfare among all providers of services used by disabled young people.
  • Develop the safe support services that families want, and a culture of openness and joint working with parents and carers on the part of services.
  • Provide guidelines for staff and volunteers on good practice in managing behaviour that challenges families and services; issues around consent to treatment; anti-bullying and inclusion strategies; sexuality and safe sexual behaviour among young people; monitoring and challenging placement arrangements for young people living away from home.
  • Where a young person is unable to tell someone of the abuse, they may convey anxiety or distress in some other way, e.g., behaviour or symptoms, and staff must be alert to this.

5.8 Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

As a result of recent nationwide cases Child Sexual Abuse has become a national priority for health and social care. Staff and volunteers have a significant contribution to make in identifying young people at risk of sexual exploitation. Where there are concerns about the welfare of a young person, Veterans Hike should:

  • Remember the young person’s welfare is of paramount importance.
  • Make sure staff and volunteers are alert to the signs of sexual exploitation.
  • Staff and volunteer should seek immediate advice from their DSL and Veterans Hike should refer to the young person’s family and/or the Police if there is a suspicion that a young person is at risk of harm or is in immediate danger.
  • Veterans Hike should ensure that staff and volunteers know and understand the organisations safeguarding arrangements and processes.
  • Information should be shared on a need-to-know basis.

5.9 Domestic Violence and Abuse

There is a strong link between domestic abuse and all types of significant harm to young people. Witnessing domestic violence is a form of emotional abuse to a young person which may result in long- lasting implications for their future wellbeing.

Staff and volunteers should follow local safeguarding reporting procedures if they are concerned that a young person is witnessing domestic violence, is at risk of being harmed or is being harmed because of domestic violence or abuse.

5.10 Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse/Violence

Young people can be subjected to domestic abuses perpetrated to force them into marriage or to ‘punish’ them for ‘bringing dishonour on the family’. Duress cannot be justified on religious or cultural grounds, and forced marriage is an abuse of human rights. Whilst honour-based violence can culminate in the death of the victim, this is not always the case. The young person may be subjected, over a long period, to a variety of different abusive and controlling behaviours ranging in severity. The abuse is often carried out by several members of a family including mothers, and female relatives/community members and may, therefore, increase the young person’s sense of powerlessness and be harder for professionals to identify and respond to. Forced marriages of young people must be regarded as a safeguarding issue. Veterans Hike should not contact the parents in this situation and should make a referral direct to their Designated Safeguarding Officer and follow local safeguarding reporting procedures.

Further advice can be obtained from the Forced Marriage Unit here:

If staff and volunteers know someone is at risk, they should contact the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) if staff and volunteers know someone who has been taken abroad to be forced into marriage. Give as many details as possible, for example:

  • Where the young person has gone.
  • When the young person was due back.
  • When you last heard from the young person.

The FMU will contact the relevant Embassy. If the person is a British National, the Embassy will try to contact the person and help them get back to the UK, if that is what they want.

5.11 Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

FGM is an illegal practice which affects a girl’s genital area, and which can impact on their emotional or physical wellbeing. FGM is a criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment. If staff or volunteers are aware of any female young people who have had FGM or of any female young people who are at risk of FGM, they must discuss this with their Designated Safeguarding Officer and the young person’s social work team.

5.12 Contextual Safeguarding

Veterans Hike should ensure that staff and volunteers have an awareness of Contextual Safeguarding. Veterans Hike will ensure that staff and volunteers understand that, as well as threats to the welfare of young people from within their families, young people may be vulnerable to abuse or exploitation from outside their families. These extra-familial threats might arise at school and other educational establishments, from within peer groups, or more widely from within the wider community and/or online. These threats can take a variety of different forms and young people can be vulnerable to multiple threats including, but not limited to, exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups such as county lines; trafficking; online abuse; sexual exploitation and the influences of extremism which can lead to radicalisation.

Training should highlight that extremist groups make use of the internet to radicalise and recruit and to promote extremist materials. Any potential harmful effects to individuals identified as vulnerable to extremist ideologies or being drawn into terrorism should also be considered and Veterans Hike should ensure that staff and volunteers know how to refer any concerns to local safeguarding partners and that they understand the correct referral processes.

5.13 Confidentiality

Veterans Hike should ensure that staff and volunteers working with young people have read and understand the ‘Information sharing – Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (2018)’ and understand that GDPR should not be a barrier to sharing information. Veterans Hike should ensure that staff follow the rules for information sharing as outlined in the document.

5.14 Whistleblowing

Safeguarding young people is complex and can frequently be under review. It is important to remember that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, and a culture should be promoted where staff and volunteers are able to raise concerns and whistle-blow without fear.

5.15 Consent

Where Veterans Hike needs to share special category personal data, Veterans Hike should be aware that the Data Protection Act 2018 includes ‘safeguarding of children and individuals at risk’ as a condition that allows practitioners to share information without consent. Information can be shared legally without consent if Veterans Hike is unable to or cannot be reasonably expected to gain consent from the individual, or if to gain consent could place a young person at risk.

6. Definitions

6.1 Domestic Violence and Abuse

The UK’s cross-government definition of domestic abuse is:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This abuse can encompass but is not limited to:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

Controlling behaviour is: A range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is: An act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

6.2 Safeguarding

Safeguarding is a term which is broader than ‘child protection’ and relates to the action taken to promote the welfare of young people and protect them from harm. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Statutory guidance says that safeguarding means:

  • Protecting young people from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of young people’s health or development
  • Ensuring that young people are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
  • Taking action to enable all young people to have the best outcomes.

6.3 Child or Young Person

Under the Children’s Acts 1989 and 2004 respectively, a child (or young person) is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. The fact that a young person has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital, in prison or in a Young Offenders Institution does not change his or her status or entitlement to services or protection under the Children’s Act 1989

6.4 Staff

Employment context: A person working under the control or direction of another, under a contract of employment in return for a wage or salary.

6.5 Volunteer

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) defines a ‘volunteer’ as: “A person who is engaged in any activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travelling and other approved out of pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to close relatives.

6.6 Child Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur using technology.

6.7 Safeguarding Children Partners

Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) have now been replaced by “Safeguarding Children Partnerships.” Under the new legislation, three safeguarding partners (Local Authorities, Chief Officers of Police, and Clinical Commissioning Groups) must decide to work together with relevant agencies (as they consider appropriate) to safeguard and protect the welfare of children and young people in the area. The geographical footprint for the new arrangements is based on local authority areas. Every Local Authority, Clinical Commissioning Group and Police Force must be covered by a local safeguarding arrangement.

6.8 Contextual Safeguarding

Contextual Safeguarding is an approach to understanding, and responding to, young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. It recognises that the different relationships that young people form in their neighbourhoods, schools and online can feature violence and abuse. Parents and carers have little influence over these contexts, and young people’s experiences of extra-familial abuse can undermine parent-child relationships.

6.9 GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information of individuals within the European Union (EU).

The GDPR forms part of the data protection regime in the UK, together with the new Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018). The main provisions of this applied like the GDPR, from 25 May 2018.

6.10 Special Category Personal Data:

Under GDPR, special categories of personal data mean data revealing health, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, etc.

6.11 Raising concerns:

If at any point a staff member of volunteer has any concerns about the safety and or wellbeing of a young person, they should raise these with the Designated Safeguarding Officer to ensure that a risk assessment can be discussed, and any mitigation pulled together to ensure young people are kept safe.

Key Facts – Professionals

Professionals providing this service should be aware of the following:

  • The welfare of the young person is paramount, with safeguarding being everyone’s business.
  • Veterans Hike should promote a culture where staff and volunteers can raise concerns.

Key Facts – Young people Affected by The Service

People affected by this service should be aware of the following:

  • You have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
  • Veterans Hike will seek your consent to share information about you. However, if we think you are at risk we will respond in your best interests.
  • We will only share information on a need-to-know basis.

Further Reading

As well as the information in the ‘Underpinning Knowledge’ section of the review sheet we recommend that you add to your understanding in this policy area by considering the following materials:

NSPCC Briefing on key changes: Working together to safeguard children 2018:

Honour Based Violence:

Child maltreatment: when to suspect maltreatment in under 18s.Clinical guideline [cg89] NICE 2009:

NSPCC: How safe are our children? The most comprehensive overview of child protection in the UK 2017:

Child sexual exploitation Definition and a guide for practitioners, local leaders and decision makers working to protect children from child sexual exploitation: