Safeguarding Policy

Incorporating Child Protection and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults

This policy applies to all Members, trustees, volunteers and anyone working on behalf of or in connection with Wessex 4×4 Response (Registered Charity Number 1159765) (‘the Organisation’). 

For clarity the policy will refer to all those listed above as ‘Members’ of the Organisation.


  1. Purpose of the policy
  2. Safeguarding
  3. Child Protection procedures and guidelines
  4. Protection of Vulnerable Adults
  5. Member Training and Induction
  6. Code of Conduct
  7. Managing allegations against staff and volunteers
  8. What constitutes child abuse and neglect?
  9. Responding to disclosures
  10. Reporting concerns
  11. Photography, images & mobile phones


This policy should be read alongside all policies of the Organisation inclusive of volunteer handbooks. Should a conflict occur then the Safeguarding Policy shall take precedence unless specifically declared by the Trustees of the Organisation. Contact or Control on 07418 310004


1. Purpose of the policy

  • To raise the awareness of all Members of the importance of safeguarding vulnerable individuals and of their responsibilities for identifying and reporting actual or suspected abuse.
  • To protect children, young people and vulnerable adults who receive Wessex 4×4 Response’s services. This includes the children and partners of those who use our services.
  • To provide Members and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to
  • To recognise that the welfare and interests of children, young people and vulnerable individuals are paramount in all circumstances.


Wessex Members are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen’ as far as safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of an individual, Members should always act in the best interest of that individual so far as possible.

Safeguarding is the responsibility of all adults and Members.

2. Safeguarding

The purpose of Safeguarding is protect those from harm or damage with an appropriate measure who may be unable to protect themselves, unaware of potential abuse or unwilling to take action through no fault of their own.

The Six Key Principles are:

  • Empowerment
  • Prevention
  • Proportionality
  • Protection
  • Partnership
  • Accountability


The Organisation recognises that the Children and Vulnerable Adults using our services are vulnerable to abuse. In order to minimise risk we will ensure:

  • That all Members should be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of abuse and take appropriate action.
  • That all Members have a clear policy and procedure to refer to
  • We recognise that our Members are vulnerable to false and or malicious allegations of abuse against them due to the type of work they are We will ensure that we are minimising the risk to Members of such allegations and that support is immediately available.

3. Child Protection procedures and guidelines

What is Child Protection?

Child Protection is one very important aspect of safeguarding. It refers to the activity which is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or at risk of suffering, significant harm. Safeguarding, in addition to child protection, encompasses issues such as a child’s health and safety, bullying/cyber- bullying and appropriate medical provision.

What is Significant Harm?

The Children’s Act 1989 introduced the concept of significant harm as the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention by statutory agencies in family life in the best interests of children. There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes significant harm. Sometimes it might be a single traumatic event but more often it is a compilation of significant events which damage the child’s physical and psychological development. Decisions about significant harm are complex and require discussion with the statutory agencies.


The responsibility for child safeguarding falls on everybody who is involved with the organisation. All Wessex 4×4 Response Members are expected to support the Safeguarding Policy and have a statutory obligation to report to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) if there is suspicion of abuse/neglect of a child or if a child discloses abuse or allegations of abuse.

We will follow the child protection procedures set out by the local authorities in the regions we operate and will have regard to relevant statutory guidance.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead is the designated person to take lead responsibility for:

  • Managing all child protection issues
  • Writing and managing records and reports
  • Reviewing and revising safeguarding policy and procedures
  • Providing advice, information and support to other Members on safeguarding issues
  • Liaising with the relevant local authority and local safeguarding board (when required)
  • Ensure a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and


  • The welfare of the child is paramount, as enshrined in the Children Act 1989
  • All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
  • Some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
  • Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare

The applicable legal framework is:

  • The Children Act 1989 – specifically 47
  • The Protection of Children Act 1999
  • Data Protection Act 2018
  • The European General Data Protection Regulation
  • The Children Act 2004 (Every Child Matters)
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015
  • United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
  • Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2015
  • Equalities Act 2010
  • Special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice: 0 to 25 years – Statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities; HM Government 2014
  • Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers; HM Government 2015
  • Working together to safeguarding children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; HM Government 2018
  • Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

4. Protection of Vulnerable Adults

The broad definition of a vulnerable adult is:

‘A person who is 18 years of age or over, and who may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of themselves , or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or serious exploitation.’


An Adult considered to be particularly ‘At Risk’ is someone who is:

  • Is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect
  • Has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs); and
  • As a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or risk of ”

5. Types of Abuse

General “Abuse” means physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse (and includes abuse taking place in any setting, whether in a private dwelling, an institution or any other place).

“Financial abuse” includes:

  • having money or other property stolen
  • being defrauded
  • being put under pressure in relation to money or other property
  • having money or other property misused


“Neglect” means a failure to meet a person’s basic physical, emotional, social or psychological needs, which is likely to result in an impairment of the person’s well-being whether by a deliberate act or by omission.

When assessing a situation regard should be had to the:

  • Frailty or vulnerability of the individual at
  • Extent of abuse or
  • Length of time and frequency of the
  • Impact on the
  • Risk of repeated or escalating acts involving this or others at


The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples for each of the categories of abuse and neglect:

  • Physical abuse – hitting, slapping, over or misuse of medication, undue restraint, or inappropriate sanctions.
  • Sexual abuse – rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the individual has not or could not consent and/or was pressured into consenting.
  • Psychological abuse – threats of harm or abandonment, coercive control, humiliation, verbal or racial abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks (coercive control is an act or pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation, intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten the victim).
  • Neglect – failure to access medical care or services, negligence in the face of risk- taking, failure to give prescribed medication, failure to assist in personal hygiene or the provision of food, shelter, clothing; emotional neglect.
  • Financial abuse in relation to people who may have needs for care and
  • Chemical abuse through excessive, illegal or non-prescribed drugs and or
  • Discriminatory Abuse against the individual or behaviour of a bullying


All adults who work or volunteer with children should also be able to identify concerns about specific child abuse. The four types of child abuse, described in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 are:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Neglect

The Organisation also recognises other safeguarding issues including:

  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Bullying (including cyber-bullying)
  • Domestic violence
  • Drugs
  • Fabricated or induced illnesses
  • Faith abuse
  • Forced marriage
  • Gangs and youth violence
  • Gender-based violence/violence against women and girls
  • Mental health
  • Radicalisation
  • Sexting
  • Teenage relationship abuse


The Organisation will endeavour to identify and act upon any forms of abuse according to our procedures.

In the event of any concerns all Members must reference Section 9 of this policy on responding to any disclosure and Section 10 with regards to reporting concerns.

All concerns must be immediately raised with the Designated Safeguarding Lead or, if unavailable, a Deputy.

Due regard must be had to The Care Act (England) 2014, The Health and Social Care Act 2012 and the Equality Act 2010.

6. Member Training and Induction

All Members will receive outline training regarding how to recognise and deal with Safeguarding concerns as part of the induction process

7. Code of Conduct

Due regard to the Organisation’s current Code of Conduct must be had at all times. The Code of Conduct is intrinsic to the Safeguarding Objectives of the Organisation.

8. Managing Allegations Against Members

Any report of concern about the behaviour of a Member, or allegation of abuse against a Member must immediately be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Any concern or allegation against the DSL will be reported the Chair of the Board of Trustees or their

deputy. Alternatively refer to the Organisation’s internal complaints procedure.

Any allegation of abuse will be dealt with in a fair and consistent way that provides effective protection for the child or vulnerable adult and at the same time supports the person who is the subject of the allegation and will be done so with upmost confidentiality and anonymity as required.

The Organisation will make every effort to maintain confidentiality and guard against unwanted publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered.

Malicious allegations against Members will be investigated and dealt with in the first instance by the DSL & their deputy who will subsequently report to the Trustees.

9. Responding to disclosures

Where an individual makes comments to a Member that give cause for concern (a disclosure), or a Member observes signs or signals that give cause for concern, such as significant changes in behaviour, deterioration in general well-being (such as unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect) that Member will offer reassurance and give assurance that she or he will take action but makes sure not to question the individual or suspected abuser.

If an individual wishes to confide in you the following guidelines should be adhered to:

Create a safe environment

  • Stay calm
  • Reassure the individual and stress that he/she is not to blame
  • Tell the individual that you know how difficult it must have been to confide in you
  • Listen to the individual and tell them that you believe them and are taking what is being said seriously
  • Tell the individual what you are going to do next after the disclosure emphasising at all times that they have done the right thing, they will not get into trouble at all (as this is the common fear hiding the underlying problem) and that everything will be in strict confidence (in child friendly terms appropriate to the age of the individual).

Be honest

  • Do not make promises that you cannot keep
  • Explain that you are likely to have to tell someone in order to stop what is happening and that they are doing the right thing and should be proud.

Record exactly what the individual has said to you as soon as possible and include as much of the following as possible:

  • Name, address, date of birth
  • Date and time of any incident
  • What the individual said and what you said
  • Your observations g. behaviour and emotional state. This must be noted objectively.

Be clear about what the individual says and what you say

  • Do not interview the individual, asking only questions that are necessary and keep questions to a minimum.
  • Encourage the individual to use his/her own words and do not try to lead them into giving particular answers

Maintain confidentiality

  • Only tell those people that it is necessary to inform
  • Do not use public / social media platforms
  • Only correspond in writing or by private email to the If you are unable to do so call the Designated Safeguarding Lead directly.

Do not take sole responsibility

  • Immediately consult your Designated Safeguarding Lead so that any appropriate action can be taken to protect the individual if necessary
  • The Designated Safeguarding Lead will consider the information and decide on the next steps.

10. Reporting concerns

Due to the nature of the organisation, referrals will need to be made to the appropriate County Council in which the individual lives. However, advice can be sought anywhere in the UK on child protection issues from the NSPCC: 0808 800500

 Where any member has concerns about a child they must, in the first instance, Report their concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, or in their absence, the deputy. In exceptional circumstances, Members can speak directly to Children’s Social Care.

Children’s Social Care referrals:

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH):


0300 456 0108

South Gloucestershire

01454 866000


0300 1232224


01202 228866

If you believe any individual is at immediate risk of significant harm or injury, then you must call the Police on 999.

Recording concerns

When a concern about an individual is raised by a Member, that person is responsible for making a written record of the disclosure as soon as possible after reporting it urgently to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, or their deputy.

11. Photographs, images and mobile phones

We take steps to ensure that there are effective procedures in place to protect children, young people, and vulnerable adults from the unacceptable use of mobile phones and cameras.

Members should not, under any circumstances, photograph children in our care or involved in an operation without express permission of the child’s parent or carer and only when there is reasonable need to do so.

Policy Review

The DSL and the Deputies will undertake reviews of this Safeguarding Policy as required to remedy any deficiencies and weakness found together with reporting any issues with the policy to the Trustees as and when necessary.