The centre promotes the welfare of children and protects them from all kinds of harm and neglect.

11. Children are held in a secure environment that protects them from harm and neglect. They are given effective care and support.

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

  • The welfare of the child is paramount in all reviews and decisions relating to ongoing detention.
  • All staff who have contact with children are properly vetted and trained.
  • There is regular monitoring of the number of children detained, their age and the duration of their detention.
  • Staff are alert to children’s distress and appropriate specialist support is provided. Families are involved appropriately and are used as a source of support and protection for their children.
  • There is evidence of ongoing links between the local safeguarding children board or equivalent, and the centre.
  • The centre is fully compliant with the requirements of any independent review, or other such process, initiated by the local safeguarding children board (or equivalent) following instances of significant harm occurring to a child or young person in detention.

12. Children are properly protected in a safe environment. All staff safeguard and promote their welfare.

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

  • A comprehensive child protection policy and guidance are in place, which have been agreed by the local safeguarding children board or equivalent.
  • There is a child protection coordinator who is a senior member of staff and is suitably trained and experienced to carry out this task.
  • Accurate and up-to-date information is provided to the centre in advance, in particular, on any child who is on a child protection register or any adult who is subject to public protection measures.
  • Staff are aware of their duty to raise legitimate concerns about the conduct of colleagues in relation to the treatment and management of children. Staff are encouraged by managers to raise any such concerns, and feel confident and safe to do so.
  • When abuse is alleged or suspected to have occurred, prompt and appropriate action is taken to protect the child and support them.
  • Referral procedures and subsequent arrangements for investigation by the local authority are clearly set out in the policy. Removal is delayed pending the outcome of any such investigation.
  • Referral criteria take account of the specific needs of children in detention.
  • Visitors and families know how to make a referral directly to the local authority if they are concerned that a child is being, or has been, maltreated while in custody.
  • Any allegation of maltreatment of a child by a member of staff is referred to the local authority designated officer whose role is clearly described.
  • The centre provides a range of therapeutic, counselling and advice services, either directly or through external providers, which are available to children who have suffered any form of abuse.
  • Staff receive specific training on how to handle a disclosure of abuse made to them by a child or young person. Staff are offered ongoing supervision and support following their involvement in a disclosure.
  • There is a robust ‘checks and balances’ system that ensures that all allegations of maltreatment are quality assured by more than one senior person who has the expertise and independence to deal with the allegations objectively.
  • The child protection database records all child protection referrals, the outcomes of investigations and the stage that those yet to be completed have reached. It is held securely so that an appropriate level of confidentiality is maintained with access granted to the duty manager as required.
  • Child protection referrals are monitored to identify patterns and trends.

Human rights standards

Safeguarding children
In relation to expectations 11 and 12 above: Human rights standards prohibit the arbitrary detention of children and provide children with the right to challenge the legality of their detention. Children should only be detained as a last resort and for the shortest possible period of time. Unaccompanied children should not be detained and must be provided with special protection and alternative care. The best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children. See CRC 3, 20, 22.1, 37(b), (d); ICCPR 9.1, 9.4; HR 2; UNHCR–DG 9.2; CPT 10.

Any child who is detained or who is visiting a detention centre must be protected from exploitation and abuse and be provided with care and protection to ensure their well-being. Children’s rights to, among other things, education, play and to the highest attainable standard of health must be promoted. See CRC 3.2, 3.3, 24.1, 28.1, 31, 33–37, 39; UNHCR–DG 8, 9.2; HR 82, 85–87; CPT 10. See additionally in relation to women, BR 28.