E-portal Safeguarding Procedures

1. Introduction

1.1 The personal safety and wellbeing of each student, teacher, parent and journalist using the Shout Out UK (SOUK) E-portal is paramount. These procedures aim to ensure a prompt response to any incident and to minimise any further harm to a student or other person.

1.2 The Safeguarding Policy and these procedures will be actively enforced by SOUK and SOUK reserves the right to take any other such action that it deems necessary to safeguard the users of the site.

1.3 Our site was developed with the aim of ensuring that lessons take place in a safe environment. This is reflected in a number of key built-in features and a defined set of policies and procedures for the students, parents/responsible adults and teachers who use this service.

1.4 The following sections set out the procedures that should be followed if an incident occurs.

1.5 There are differing severities of behaviour which could be witnessed during a lesson session. Some behaviour would warrant only a report to SOUK; other behaviour may be of a more serious nature where a direct report to the police may be necessary.

1.6 Each section below sets out the recommended procedure which should be followed. It is always the responsibility of the person alerted to the incident to take action to protect the student or other person. SOUK will not be responsible for any non-compliance with the recommended procedure.

1.7 The procedures are not an exhaustive list; therefore if an incident occurs that is not covered in this document you are advised to contact SOUK, or the police if you believe that is the most appropriate response.

2. Teachers/Facilitators/Journalists

This section deals with the appropriate action to be taken by a teacher/facilitator/journalist if they see or experience any of the below in the context of a lesson session.

2.1 Inappropriate language

2.1.1 The teacher/facilitator/journalist will request, in a polite manner, that the students or other persons using inappropriate language refrain from doing so during the lesson session.

2.1.2 If the language continues the teacher/facilitator/journalist will have the ability to remove the user using inappropriate language. The teacher can then follow the behaviour protocols of the school.

2.1.3 When a facilitator/journalist is running a session, a teacher/responsible adult needs to be present and should ensure that the students maintain their school’s behavioural code.

2.2 Inappropriate behaviour

2.2.1 The teacher/facilitator/journalist will request, in a polite manner, that the students or other persons involved in the inappropriate behaviour refrain from the behaviour during the lesson session.

2.2.2 If the behaviour continues the teacher/facilitator/journalist will have the ability to remove the user displaying inappropriate behaviour. The teacher can then follow the behaviour protocols of the school.

2.2.3 When a facilitator/journalist is running a session, a teacher/responsible adult needs to be present and should ensure that the students maintain their school’s behavioural code.

2.3 Inappropriate or abusive images

2.3.1 Any display of adult pornographic images whilst in the presence of a student may constitute an offence under UK law. Any teacher/facilitator/journalist witnessing the display of adult pornographic images by or towards a student should explain that the images should not be displayed during a lesson, terminate the session and report the matter immediately to SOUK.

2.3.2 Any display of child abuse images or indecent images of a child (for these purposes, a ‘child’ is defined as anyone under the age of 18 years) is an offence under UK law. Any teacher/facilitator/journalist witnessing a display of indecent images of a child by or in the presence of a student should explain that due to the nature of the images they will terminate the session. The teacher/facilitator/journalist should then inform the UK police. The teacher should also inform SOUK of the incident to ensure any recordings are not made available for playback and can be preserved and made available for any police investigation.

2.3.3 The teacher/facilitator/journalist should have no further contact with the student or any other person involved in the incident. Any unsolicited contact from the student or other persons following the termination of the session should be reported to the police and SOUK immediately. This action should be taken so that the correct authorities can be alerted and can deal appropriately with the incident.

2.3.4 The display of any other images perceived to be inappropriate, either due to the age of the student or the content of the image shall be reported to SOUK at the discretion of the parent/responsible adult.

2.4 Disclosure of/witness to abuse towards or in the presence of a student

2.4.1 Any physical or sexual abuse of a child is an offence under UK law. If a teacher/facilitator/journalist receives information about such abuse from a student or other person present they should reassure the person that they can get assistance for them. It is the responsibility of the teacher/facilitator/journalist to contact the UK police and report the information they have received.

2.4.2 If the teacher/facilitator/journalist witnesses any such abuse first-hand they should immediately contact the police and report the incident. The teacher/facilitator/journalist should also inform SOUK of the incident to ensure any recordings are not made available for playback and can be preserved and made available for any police investigation.

2.4.3 The teacher/facilitator/journalist should have no further contact with the student or other person involved in the incident. Any unsolicited contact from the student or other persons following the termination of the session should be reported to the police and SOUK immediately.

2.5 Disclosure of inappropriate/sensitive information

During a session sensitive information may be offered by a student or other person present. If the information relates to any kind of abuse the teacher should refer to ‘Disclosure of/witness to abuse towards or in the presence of a student’ above. The student or other person present should be discouraged from disclosing sensitive information by the teacher/facilitator/journalist. If the information continues to be shared the teacher/facilitator will determine the impact of the information and decide whether to continue or terminate the session and report the incident to SOUK.

Any information disclosed regarding the safety of a child should always be reported immediately to the UK police.

3. Students

This section deals with the appropriate action to be taken by a student if they see or experience any of the below in the context of a lesson session.

3.1 Inappropriate language

3.1.1. The student will inform a parent/responsible adult of the teacher/facilitator/journalist using inappropriate language. The parent/responsible adult should ask the teacher/facilitator/journalist to refrain from using inappropriate language during the lesson session.

3.1.2 If the language continues, the parent/responsible adult should explain that they will terminate the session and will report the matter to SOUK, who will decide on any further use of the service by the teacher/facilitator/journalist.

3.1.3 If a parent/responsible adult is not present or readily available, the student should report the language as soon as possible to a parent/responsible adult who will take the decision to report the incident.

3.2 Inappropriate behaviour

3.2.1 The student will inform a parent/responsible adult of the teacher using inappropriate behaviour. The parent/responsible adult should ask the teacher/facilitator/journalist to refrain from using inappropriate behaviour during the lesson session.

3.2.2 If the behaviour continues, the parent/responsible adult will explain that they will terminate the session due to the behaviour and will report the matter to SOUK who will decide on any further use of the service by the teacher. The student and any parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the teacher unless by mutual agreement with SOUK. Any unsolicited contact from the teacher after termination of the session should be reported to SOUK.

3.2.3 If a parent/responsible adult is not present or readily available, the student should report the behaviour as soon as possible to a parent/responsible adult who will take a decision to report the incident to SOUK and/or the UK police.

3.2.4 If the behaviour is of a sexual nature towards a student by a teacher/facilitator/journalist, the student should immediately inform a parent/responsible adult and terminate the session. The parent/responsible adult should inform the UK police and SOUK immediately.

3.3 Inappropriate or Abusive images

3.3.1 Any display of adult pornographic images whilst in the presence of a student may constitute an offence under UK law. Any student witnessing the display of adult pornographic images by a teacher/facilitator/journalist should immediately terminate the session and report this to a parent/responsible adult who should inform the UK police.

3.3.2 Any display of child abuse images or indecent images of a child (for these purposes, a ‘child’ is defined as anyone under the age of 18 years) is an offence under UK law. Any student witnessing a display of indecent images of a child should immediately terminate the session and report this to a parent/responsible adult, who should inform the UK police.

3.3.3 The parent/responsible adult should also inform SOUK of the incident to ensure that any recordings can be preserved and made available for any police investigation. The student and any parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the teacher/facilitator/journalist involved in the incident. Any unsolicited contact from the teacher following the discontinuation of the session should be reported to the police and SOUK immediately.

3.3.4 This action should be taken so that the correct authorities can be alerted and can deal appropriately with the incident.

3.3.5 The display of any other images perceived to be inappropriate either due to age of the student or content of the image shall be reported to SOUK at the discretion of the parent/responsible adult.

3.4 Disclosure of/witness to abuse

3.4.1 Any physical or sexual abuse of a person is an offence under UK law, as are a range of other abusive and exploitative behaviours. If a student receives information about such abuse from the teacher/facilitator/journalist or other person present, they should immediately inform a parent/responsible adult. It is the responsibility of the parent/responsible adult to contact the UK police and report what was witnessed.

3.4.2 If the student witnesses any such abuse first-hand they should immediately contact a parent/responsible adult who should immediately inform the UK police. The parent/responsible adult should also inform SOUK of the incident to ensure that any recordings can be preserved and made available for any police investigation. The student, parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the teacher/facilitator/journalist involved in the incident. Any unsolicited contact from the teacher/facilitator/journalist following the termination of the session should be reported to the parent/responsible adult immediately.

3.4.3 This action should be taken so the correct authorities can be alerted and can deal appropriately with the incident.

3.5 Disclosure of inappropriate/sensitive information

3.5.1 A teacher/facilitator/journalist should not disclose sensitive information during a lesson session.

3.5.2 If any sensitive information (for example, information relating to abuse or other criminal activity) is disclosed, the parent/responsible adult will determine the impact of the information and decide whether to continue or terminate the session and report the incident to SOUK.

3.5.3 Any information disclosed regarding the safety of a child should always be immediately reported to the UK police.

3.5.4 Any teacher/facilitator/journalist reported by a parent/responsible adult will be suspended from the site until the incident has been investigated by the appropriate authority. The parent/responsible adult may be informed of the resolution if appropriate.

4. Parents/Responsible Adults

4.1 As per the Safeguarding Policy, the parent/responsible adult has primary responsibility for the welfare and safety of the student during a lesson session and should be present or available to deal with any concerns or incidents reported by the student.

4.2 It is also the duty of the parent/responsible adult to ensure the wellbeing of the child if they have been affected by anything said or done by the teacher/facilitator/journalist.

4.3 If a parent/responsible adult is alerted by the student to any inappropriate behaviour/language or information by the student or they witness any inappropriate behaviour/language or information by the teacher/facilitator/journalist, they should immediately speak to the teacher/facilitator/journalist, state their concern and inform them they are terminating the session. The incident should then be reported to SOUK to take appropriate action. As there is a recording of the session available, the parent/responsible adult may review the session before taking further action.

4.4 The parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the teacher/facilitator/journalist involved in the incident. Any unsolicited communication from the teacher/facilitator/journalist should be reported to the police and SOUK as soon as possible.

4.5 If a parent/responsible adult is alerted by the student to any inappropriate or abusive images or they witness any inappropriate or abusive images displayed by the teacher/facilitator/journalist, they should immediately speak to the teacher/facilitator/journalist, state their concern and inform them they are terminating the session. The parent/responsible adult should inform the UK police (if appropriate) and (in all cases) SOUK of the incident to ensure that any recordings can be preserved and made available to any police investigation.

4.6 The parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the teacher/facilitator/journalist involved in the incident. Any unsolicited communication from the teacher/facilitator/journalist should be reported to the police and SOUK as soon as possible. As there is a recording of the session available, the parent/responsible adult may review the session before taking further action.

4.7 Any teacher/facilitator/journalist reported by a parent/responsible adult will be suspended from the site until the incident has been investigated by the appropriate authority. The parent/responsible adult will be informed of the resolution if appropriate.

5. Schools, teachers and school representative

5.1 The teacher or school representative shall follow the procedures outlined for ‘Parent/Responsible adult’ in Section 4.

5.2 Additionally the teacher or school representative should inform the parent of the student about the incident and, if appropriate, the school’s Child Protection Officer.

5.3 For the purpose of this policy document a ‘responsible adult’ includes teachers and school representatives.

6. Director/Management SOUK Services

6.1 The Safeguarding Policy and procedures of the SOUK website and services are the responsibility of the Director and management.

6.2 Any report of a contravention of the Safeguarding Policy will be reviewed by SOUK, who may engage independent Child Protection consultants to ensure that an appropriate course of action is taken.

6.3 Any incident reported to SOUK shall be reviewed as soon as possible to ensure a timely resolution.

6.4 If a report concerns a minor breach of the safeguarding policy, SOUK can make a decision as to appropriate action which may include barring the reported person from using the SOUK services.

6.5 If a report is received by SOUK which concerns the immediate safety of a student or any illegal activity during a lesson session, they will be required to contact UK police and report the incident.

7. Review

The Safeguarding Policy and procedures will be reviewed by SOUK on a regular basis to ensure they are adequate and relevant to safeguarding standards.

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