We take the Safeguarding of all our patients very seriously. This is especially important when working with children and vulnerable people.
On a recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) visit our safeguarding policies and procedures were said to be ‘outstanding’ and our management of safeguarding concerns were ‘excellent’.
All young people accessing our sexual health services will be assessed for their competency using Fraser Guidelines and via our in-house assessment proforma. This is to ensure that they are safe, that they are able to understand the information given and to ensure that their relationships are healthy. If there is any question or doubt about any of these areas, we work closely with our safeguarding leads and utilise the Devon Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) referral system when necessary.
Furthermore, the Board of Northern Devon Healthcare Trust is assured that the following requirements are in place in line with the recommendations of the Care Quality Commission to ensure that systems and processes are in place to safeguard children and young people:
- NDHT meets all statutory requirements in relation to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks;
- NDHT has a child safeguarding policy in place that meets with the requirements of Working Together to Safeguard Children;
- NDHT has a process in place that meets with the standards agreed by the South West Strategic Health Authority to ensure all children who miss an outpatient appointment for whom there are safeguarding concerns are flagged with the safeguarding team;
- 85% of all eligible staff within NDHT have undertaken level 1 child safeguarding training; all clinical staff working with patients in the sexual health service are trained to Level 3 in Child Safeguarding.
- NDHT has undertaken an audit of safeguarding training needs and outcome and all recommendations are being delivered;
- NDHT has lead safeguarding professionals in place to full fill the requirements as detailed in Working Together to Safeguard Children (Dr. Rebecca Rub – Named Doctor, Anna Brimacombe – Named Nurse and Theresa Chapman – Named Midwife).
- The Board level Executive Lead with the responsibility for safeguarding in NDHT is Darryn Allcorn, Director of Nursing.
- The Board of NDHT has reviewed these 2009 recommendations and received assurance that NDHT is compliant. All recommendations from this review are monitored by the Trust’s Joint Safeguarding Children’s Board which is monitored via the Trust Clinical Governance Committee.
Child sexual Exploitation
It would be difficult not to be aware from all the news coverage that child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a huge problem, however most people are less aware of the scale of the problem in Devon. All of the Serious Case Reviews (SCR) have highlighted the essential role of healthcare professionals and frontline workers in spotting signs and taking action.
Revised statutory definition of child sexual exploitation
Child Sexual Exploitation is everybody’s business
CSE 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. CSE does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
Like all forms of child sexual abuse, CSE can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18, including 16 and 17-year-olds who can legally consent to have sex.
Child sexual exploitation is NEVER the victim’s fault, even if there is some form of exchange: all children and young people under the age of 18 have a right to be safe and should be protected from harm. It can still be abuse even if the sexual activity appears consensual.
There is some fantastic work going on in Devon to identify and disrupt CSE and as healthcare professionals and frontline workers you can play a key part in this.
The new working together advice on CSE and the new definition can be found here:
A progress report detailing the Government’s work in this area along with forward commitment can be found here:
Advice for professionals
If you are a professional working with children and young people who you believe are to be at risk of or experiencing CSE, you need to act straight away. If you see something, don’t turn away and not report it or report it later on. Report it as soon as you see something!
Visit the National Working Group (NWG) who’s principal objective is to offer support and advice to those working with children and young people under eighteen who are affected by abuse through sexual exploitation – https://www.nwgnetwork.org/
THE NWG ALSO HAVE A CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION RESPONSE UNIT, FOR ALL PROFESSIONALS TO CALL FOR SUPPORT AND ADVICE
Professionals can call the response unit on 0300 303 3032
See more on the Response Unit here: