The establishment promotes the welfare of children, particularly those most at risk, and protects them from all kinds of harm and neglect.

4. Children are provided with a safe and secure environment which protects them from harm and neglect. They receive services that are designed to ensure safe and effective care and support.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met, but do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Children feel safe and are protected from harm.
  • Children have a member of staff they can turn to if they have a problem. Staff have the time to build positive relationships with children and to effectively respond to children’s concerns.
  • Multidisciplinary planning provides effective care and support for children. This is done in consultation with the child, to identify and implement strategies for reducing risk.
  • The arrangements for external scrutiny of safeguarding performance at custodial establishments are published by the local safeguarding partnership.
  • There is a mechanism for notifying the safeguarding partnership of significant events, including: children arriving at the establishment without documentation; the outcome of all disciplinary investigations into allegations of staff misconduct; operation of the complaints system; inadequate or incomplete resettlement arrangements; injuries to children in custody, including incidents of self-harm; safeguarding/child protection referrals and concerns; use of force.
  • Outcomes of child protection referrals are clearly recorded, including the support given to children who are the subject of any referrals or enquiries.
  • Staff are subject to recruitment and vetting procedures that comply with necessary legislation.
  • Children are consulted regularly and safety is given a high profile at consultation forums to strengthen the whole establishment approach. There is evidence of action and outcomes where children have raised concerns about safety.
  • Staff share and have access to up-to-date information about the children in their care.
  • Staff model caring, respectful and non-violent behaviour.
  • Staff take appropriate action to protect children from harm.
  • Injuries and incidents of violence, including restraint, bullying and self-harm, are closely monitored. There is good data collection and analysis at regular intervals to help identify patterns and trends and to implement preventive measures.
  • Children are protected and helped to keep themselves safe from abuse, including bullying, radicalisation and discrimination. Any discriminatory behaviours are challenged and children are helped and supported to treat others with respect.
  • Children’s families, carers, friends, legal representatives and external agencies can easily provide information to the establishment about children who are vulnerable and may need support.
  • Potential victims of trafficking are referred under the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). Any referral to the NRM is made with informed consent whenever possible.

Cross reference with: behaviour management; early days in custody; children, families and contact with the outside world.

5. Child protection concerns are identified and investigated, and action is taken to prevent further harm.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met, but do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Staff understand and follow procedures for responding to concerns about the safety of a child. Any child protection concerns are shared with the local authority without delay, and a record of that referral and outcome is retained. Staff immediately take appropriate action to protect children from harm.
  • Children who allege abuse or mistreatment are offered the assistance of an independent advocate.
  • Staff follow up the outcome of referrals quickly. If staff are dissatisfied with the response from local authority children’s services they escalate their concerns appropriately and without delay, including by writing to the director of children’s services.
  • Investigations into allegations or suspicions of harm are shared with the appropriate agencies and are handled fairly, quickly and in accordance with statutory guidance. Children are supported and protected, including through specialist mental health and medical care. Support is given to the person making the allegation.
  • Children or parents who allege harm are given a written response which sets out the action that has been, or will be, taken. Children are consistently reminded of their right to assistance from an independent advocate.
  • The establishment has effective links with local authorities, designated officers and other safeguarding agencies.
  • Visitors and families know how to raise concerns directly to the local authority if they think a child is being, or has been, maltreated while in custody.
  • Children can raise concerns in confidence with a range of people
    and services outside the establishment.
  • Alleged criminal acts are investigated in the same way that they would be outside of detention.

Cross reference with: relationships between staff and children; children, families and contact with the outside world; education, skills and work activities; daily life – residential services, application and redress; early days in custody.

Human rights standards

In relation to expectations 4 and 5: Human rights standards require children who are detained be held safely. Any child who is detained must be protected from exploitation and abuse and be provided with care and protection to ensure their well-being. Staff must receive sufficient training on how to safeguard children. See CRC 3, 19, 33–37(a), 39; ERJO 52, 127, 129; HR 82, 85–87; CPT 121; SMR 1, 76; EPR 52.2, 81. In addition, human rights standards require prompt and impartial investigation where there are reasonable grounds to believe an act of torture or ill-treatment has occurred in detention, or when an allegation of torture or ill-treatment is made by a detained individual. See HR 84, 85, 87; SMR 1, 34, 57, 71, 76; EPR 1, 8, 42, 55, 81; BOP 6, 33; CAT 2, 10, 12, 13, 16; ECHR 3; ICCPR 7, 10.1. See also standards in relation to security, behaviour management, bullying and violence reduction, and relationships between staff and children.