Safeguarding policy

1. Introduction

1.1 Safeguarding is a term used in the UK to denote measures to protect the health and well-being of individuals, which allow people – especially children, young people and vulnerable adults – to live free from abuse, harm and neglect.

Sex Matters takes its safeguarding responsibility seriously. 

1.2 The nature of the work that Sex Matters is involved in means that it doesn’t hold a caseload of clients, or work directly with children or other vulnerable people. 

But it does work with networks of people, including those who work with children, and which may include vulnerable people. It also receives unsolicited requests for help and guidance from individuals. 

And it does make policy and legislative recommendations that could have impacts on safeguarding by other organisations. It is also part of an ecosystem of organisations that do this.

1.3 Sex Matters‘ board will ensure that it: 

  • has appropriate policies and procedures in place, which are followed by all trustees, volunteers and beneficiaries (including: risk assessments; safer recruiting; whistleblowing and complaints procedures)
  • checks that people are suitable to act in their roles
  • knows how to spot and handle concerns in a full and open manner
  • has a clear system of referring or reporting to relevant agencies as soon as concerns are suspected or identified
  • sets out risks and how they will be managed in a risk register which is regularly reviewed
  • follows statutory guidance, good practice guidance and legislation relevant to the organisation
  • is quick to respond to concerns and carry out appropriate investigations
  • does not ignore harm or downplay failures
  • has a balanced  board and ensures that board members work together effectively.
  • makes sure protecting people from harm is central to its culture
  • has enough resources, including trained staff, volunteers and board members, for safeguarding and protecting people
  • conducts periodic reviews of safeguarding policies, procedures and practice.

1.4 Sex Matters’ board members will ensure that the safeguarding policy is applied by:

  • recording the risks faced by Sex Matters and how these are managed
  • speaking to people in the organisation to make sure they understand how to raise concerns and get feedback on past experiences
  • working with statutory agencies and partners where appropriate
  • setting training plans for board members, staff and volunteers on safeguarding and protecting people from harm
  • recording any potential conflicts of interest at any level
  • having a standing agenda item on safeguarding and protecting people from harm at meetings
  • reviewing a sample of past concerns to identify any lessons to be learnt and make sure they were handled appropriately.

2. What to do if you are concerned about an adult or a child

2.1 If through the course of Sex Matters’ work (such as emails or other messages received from members of the public; or attending events or meetings) a board member, member of staff or volunteer becomes concerned for the welfare of a child or adult, they should never feel they have to act alone.

2.2 They should:

  • always discuss matters with a member of the senior leadership team, preferably the safeguarding lead
  • in an emergency, if concerned for the immediate safety of a child or adult, call 999 and report it as they would any other crime
  • always record their actions, make a written note of any conversations as soon as possible and inform the safeguarding lead.

3. What to do if an allegation is made 

3.1 An allegation against a board member, member of staff or volunteer may arise from several sources (e.g. a report from a child or vulnerable adult, a concern raised by another adult in the organisation, or a complaint made by a parent or carer). 

3.2 The procedures outlined below should be applied when there is an allegation or concern that any person who works with (or comes into contact with) children or vulnerable adults, in connection with their employment or voluntary activity, has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed a child or vulnerable adult, or that may have harmed them
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child or vulnerable adult
  • behaved towards a child or vulnerable adult in a way that indicates they are unsuitable to work with that group.

3.3 On suspicion of, or on receiving, an allegation, board members, staff and volunteers:

should not:

  • investigate or ask leading questions if seeking clarification
  • make assumptions or offer alternative explanations
  • promise confidentiality, but instead should give assurance that the information will be shared only on a “need to know” basis.


  • treat the matter seriously and keep an open mind
  • listen carefully and sensitively, stay calm, and offer understanding and reassurance
  • check your understanding of the situation, without being investigative
  • make a written record of the information (where possible in the child’s or adult’s own words), including the time, date and place of incident(s), persons present and what was said, and sign and date this
  • immediately report the matter to the safeguarding lead, or in her absence or where she is the subject of the allegation, to a board member.

3.4 In cases relating to partner agencies, the safeguarding lead should inform the appropriate person in that agency and follow their internal procedures.

When informed of a concern or allegation, the safeguarding lead should not investigate the matter or interview any volunteer, staff member concerned or potential witnesses. She should undertake the following: 

  • obtain written details of the concern or allegation, signed and dated by the person receiving the allegation (not the child or adult making the allegation)
  • approve and date the written details
  • record any additional information about times, dates and location of incidents and names of any potential witnesses
  • record discussions about the child or volunteer, any decisions made, and the reasons for those decisions
  • if the allegation meets the criteria outlined in the examples of harm, abuse, and inappropriate relationships above, report it to the relevant local authority’s safeguarding team within one working day – referral should not be delayed in order to gather information and a failure to report an allegation or concern in accordance with procedures is a potential disciplinary matter
  • if an allegation requires immediate attention, but is received outside normal office hours, consult the local emergency duty team or local police and inform the LADO as soon as possible. 

3.5 If you have a safeguarding concern raise it with the safeguarding lead or board member Julia Casimo. Sex Matters’ safeguarding lead is Emma Moore.