6.1 Introduction (Safeguarding Disabled Children)
Last updated 12/11/2018
This procedure should be read in conjunction with Section 5 'Contextual Safeguarding'
Research on protection of disabled children indicates that they are more at risk being abused than non – disabled children. In fact, it is estimated that disabled children are over 3 times more likely to be abused or neglected than non-disabled children.
This guidance should be read together with the Sefton Local Safeguarding Children Board Level of Need Guidance See https://www.seftonlscb.org.uk/lscb/news/level-of-need-guidance
The term “disabled children and young people” in this context is intended as a broad and inclusive term which may include any child or young person who has a physical, sensory or learning impairment or a significant health condition.
This guidance is for all staff in partner agencies that work with any such children, and is intended to be complementary to the procedures and other guidance referred to above, not to replace them. Inevitably, not all areas of the guidance will apply to each child or young person and their particular circumstances.
6.1 Purpose of Guidance
6.1.1 The purpose of this guidance is to ensure that all agencies are assisted in their responsibilities to:
- safeguard children and young people with disabilities
- apply the SSCB Safeguarding Children Procedures equally to disabled children as to non- disabled children
- understand particular issues which influence the safety and well-being of disabled children and young people
- communicate directly with disabled children and young people whose safety and well-being is under investigation
6.1.2 Disability is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. It is unlawful for service providers to treat disabled people less favourably than non-disabled people for a reason related to their disability.
This is the legal basis for all agencies having to ensure that their practice offers the same level of safeguarding to disabled as to non-disabled children and young people.
6.1.3 Discrimination of all kinds is an everyday reality in many disabled children’s and young people’s lives and the prejudice damage them both physically and emotionally. It is therefore important that stereotyped assumptions should be avoided. In addition, black and minority ethnic children and young people, particularly Asian children and young people, are overrepresented in the numbers of disabled children and young people, and frequently are even more isolated.
6.1.4 All children and young people should have the opportunity to achieve optimal development according to their circumstances and age. Disabled children and young people have a right to services that support and safeguard them and maximise their independence.
6.1.5 The physical, mental health and emotional well being of children and young people with Special Educational Needs or disabilities is promoted under Part 3 of the children and Families Act 2014.