Child Protection Policy
Guidelines for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults.
INTRODUCTION - 3
Purpose of Policy
Roles and definitions
PRINCIPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE - 5
Recognising, responding and reporting abuse
RESOURCE PAPERS AND APPENDICES:
I DEFINITIONS AND INDICATORS CHILD ABUSE
II GUIDELINES FOR CONTACT WITH YOUNG PEPOLE AND CHILDREN
III SUMMARY OF REFERRAL PROCEDURE
IV STAFF APPLICCATION FORM
V STAFF DECLARATION AND CODE OF CONDUCT
Summer Madness Child Protection Policy Statement.
“It is the policy of the Summer Madness Company to safeguard the well being of young people at all times; ensuring their protection from physical, sexual and emotional harm and promoting the best practice amongst leaders to provide a safe environment for all.”
Purpose of the Policy
Summer Madness has adopted this Code of Practice to clarify our values and procedures and define our expectations of all staff and volunteers. This will serve to protect children and safeguard leaders working in positions of trust.
ROLES AND DEFINITIONS
‘Staff member’ refers to any person paid or volunteer who is involved in leadership of any way or on any of the SM organising teams.
Project Director’ refers to the principal staff manager and co-ordinator
Child Abuse is defined in the appendix I of this document.
The Code is the Summer Madness Child Protection Code
Worker will refer to any Summer Madness staff person or volunteer or those responsible for supervising or managing them.
A disclosure is when a child tells a staff member/ volunteer that they have or are being harmed or abused in some way. This may be physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect or bullying.
The Child Protection Panel comprises a group of people who oversee the implementation of the CP policy and deal directly with any issues arising at the Festival or other events. The group is chaired by the ‘Designated Person’ who steers the work of the group and leads the liaison with the Social Services and other agencies as appropriate.
Designated Person Wendy Gilbert
Deputy Designated Person John Kee
Panel Members: Helen Livingston, Ciara Jordan, Laura Maguire.
Summary of role of Panel
Board of Directors: those who oversee the direction and operation of Summer Madness as a Limited Company (with Charitable status) They are ultimately responsible for all of the legal and financial liabilities.
Summary of role of Directors:
PRINCIPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE
Summary of general principles:
All staff and volunteers working with children and youth should...
Summer Madness is committed to taking all reasonable steps to prevent any abuse of children involved in our programmes. This involves:
Due to the numbers of children, young people and adults with learning difficulties at Summer Madness events all staff posts are designated as regulated and therefore all staff will be checked under ACESS NI regulations prior to appointment.
Anyone wishing to volunteer as staff at Summer Madness events whether in a temporary or permanent role, in a paid or voluntary capacity must:
All staff of Summer Madness are expected to adhere to our Code of Conduct and in particular will:
Staff Code of Conduct
Staff and volunteers who come into contact with children and young people have a legal duty to help protect them from abuse or the risk of abuse. All staff are directed to ensure that their conduct is beyond question and as such should never:
A broader outline defining issues of ‘contact’ with young people can be found in appendix II
Staff and volunteers have a responsibility to follow the Child Protection Guidelines as stated and where they do not do so, Summer Madness reserves the right to institute disciplinary action in regard to these not being followed.
Staff and Volunteers who are suspected or accused of abusive behaviours will in line with policy and procedure be suspended from work until the situation has been investigated and concluded satisfactorily. Payment of salary during this period will be subject to the requirements of employment law.
Staff or volunteers who are found to have breached child protection procedures and have been subject to disciplinary procedures will have their names forwarded to the Access NI Team at the DHSSPS in regard to having their name placed on the Disqualified from Working with Children List.
All staff are required to undergo basic Child Protection Training in advance of their involvement in activities at Summer Madness events. Usually three training evenings are provided throughout the year and are facilitated by members of the Child Protection Panel. Attendance at these events is recorded on the Staff files for effective monitoring of standards and updating individuals on new developments in this field.
The training covers all aspects of the Summer Madness Code and it’s implementation at events.
RECOGNISING, RESPONDING AND REPORTING ABUSE.
Those working with children should be aware of the range of abuse – sexual, emotional, physical and neglect – to which some children may be subject. Most abuse is committed by close relatives and friends. It often takes place in the home of the child or young person concerned. Workers should be assisted to recognise how such abuse may show itself in the actions and reactions of children. These are spelled out in more detail in the appendix I
Responding to incidents of alleged or suspected child abuse must be based on clearly defined procedures. Knowing what to do, whom to contact, and who needs to know will ensure that all concerned are treated with respect and concern.
The workers should know what steps to take in response to a situation where they have reason to suspect that abuse may be occurring or where a child alleges that abuse is occurring. All such allegations must be treated seriously and dealt with according to the principles outlined in the Code.
DO’S AND DON’TS
If you suspect that someone is being abused or have had a disclosure of such from an individual then the primary duty of the Summer Madness staff or volunteer is to inform the Child Protection Panel. They will then manage the issue from there and be responsible for informing the relevant authorities, etc. The sooner this is done, the more likely it is that the abuse will stop and the child will recover from his or her experiences.
If a child makes a ‘disclosure’ to a Summer Madness staff or volunteer, (or is about to) the worker must make it clear that a member of the Panel will need to be told and they in turn may have to inform the appropriate agencies in order to help them further.
The worker must document the disclosure ‘allegations’ as soon afterwards as possible to maintain accuracy. Report immediately to the member of the Child Protection Panel.
RECOGNISING, RESPONDING AND REPORTING ABUSE.
It is only members of the Panel that will report incidents or disclosures to the statutory authorities and standardised forms are illustrated in appendix III
It is advisable in any case to remember to have the following available:
Abuse of children often goes undetected because people who have pieces of information are reluctant to share them. This is why contact with social services is beneficial.
CONFIDENTIALITY TOWARDS FAMILIES
When handling any matter of disclosure it is vital that we only pass on information where “the welfare of the child requires it and then only to those with a legitimate need to know”. This is how it will be treated within statutory agencies and it rests with them to deal with the relationship with the family of anyone involved in an abuse or alleged abuse case.
DEFINITION OF CHILD ABUSE AND POSSIBLE INDICATORS
The term child abuse includes physical injury, neglect (including emotional neglect), continued ill treatment and sexual abuse.
The following outline demonstrates the range of matters that may be covered under the term ‘abuse’ the possible indicators that may give rise to concerns.
NEGLECT: persistent or severe neglect of a child (for example, by exposure to any kind of danger, including cold and starvation) which results in serious impairment of the child’s health or development including, non-organic failure to thrive.
Exposed to danger, lack of supervision
Lack of peer relationships
PHYSICAL ABUSE: physical injury to a child, including, poisoning, where there is definite knowledge, or a reasonable suspicion, that the injury was deliberately inflicted or knowingly not prevented.
Bruises in places difficult to mark eg. behind ears, groin.
Self mutilation tendencies
Aggressive or withdrawn
Fear of returning home
Undue fear of adults
SEXUAL ABUSE: the involvement of children and adolescents in sexual activities they do not truly comprehend, to which they are not properly consensual.
Soreness, bleeding in genital or anal areas
Stained or bloody underwear
Stomach pains or headaches
Pain on urination
Difficulty in walking or sitting
Bruises on inner thighs or buttocks
Afraid of the dark
Low self esteem
Making sexual advances to adults or other children
Inappropriate language, sexual knowledge for age group
EMOTIONAL ABUSE: the severe adverse effect on the behaviour and emotional development of a child caused by persistent or severe emotional ill treatment or rejection. All abuse involves some emotional ill treatment.
Sudden speech disorders
Wetting and soiling
Signs of mutilation
Attention seeking behaviour
Rocking and thumb sucking
Fear of change
Poor peer relationships
GRAVE CONCERN: Where a worker may be troubled about the condition of a child whose situation does not currently fit any of the four categories above but nevertheless feels that they could be at significant risk. These could include situations where another child in the household has been harmed or the household contains a known abuser.
Even for ‘experts’ it is often hard to decide if a child has been abused; it is simply our role to support and report.
CONTACT WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
PRIVATE MEETINGS WITH MEMBERS
a. Parish workers should be aware of the dangers which may arise from private interviews with individual members. It is recognised that there will be occasions when confidential interviews must take place, but such interviews should be conducted in a room with visual access, or with the door open, or in a room or area which is likely to be frequented by other people.
b. Where such conditions cannot apply parish workers are advised to ensure that another adult knows that the interview is taking place. The use of ‘engaged’ signs or lights is not advisable.
c. Where possible another member or another adult should be present or nearby during the interview.
PHYSICAL CONTACT WITH MEMBERS
a. As a general principle workers are advised not to make unnecessary physical contact with children and young people. This is particularly the case with children of secondary school age and maturing children of primary school age.
b. Physical contact which may be misconstrued by the young people or other casual observers should be avoided. Such contact can include well intentioned informal gestures such as putting a hand on the shoulder or arm, which if repeated with a particular young person, could be misconstrued, as well as more obvious and more intimate contact which should never occur.
c. There may be occasions when a distressed child needs comfort and reassurance which may include physical comforting such as a caring parent would give, workers should use their discretion in such cases to ensure that what is, and what is seen by others present to be, normal and natural does not become unnecessary and unjustified contact, particularly with the same child over a period of time and never when alone with a child.
d. Some workers are likely to come into physical contact with children from time to time in the course of their activities, for example when showing someone how to use a piece of apparatus or equipment while demonstrating a move or exercise during activities or sports. Workers should be aware of the limits within which such contact should properly take place and of the possibility of such contact being misinterpreted by the young person.
e. Workers who have to administer first-aid should ensure wherever possible that other children or another adult are present if they are in any doubt as to whether necessary physical contact in the circumstances should be misconstrued.
f. Following any incident where a worker feels that his/her actions have been or maybe, misconstrued a written report of the incident should be submitted immediately to the person to whom he/she is accountable/reports. This would apply especially in a case where a worker had been obliged to restrain a child physically to prevent him/her from inflicting injury to others or self injury.
g. Workers should be particularly careful when supervising others in a residential setting, outdoor camp or extended visit away from home, where more informal relationships tend to be usual and where they may be in proximity to members in circumstances very different from their usual environment.
RELATIONSHIPS AND ATTITUDES
a. Workers should ensure that their relationships with young people are appropriate to the gender of the members, taking care that their conduct does not give rise to talk or speculation. Attitudes, demeanor and language - all require care and particularly when parish workers of either sex are dealing with adolescent boys and girls.
b. When young people seek advice on an individual basis the primary role of a Summer Madness worker is to listen to the member and refer him/her to qualified and competent sources of advice/counseling.
c. Many young people help out at Summer Madness activities who are aged 16 – 26 yrs and in the context of intense, all be it short term team activities we strongly advise everyone involved of the hazards of forming ‘exclusive relationships’ while at camp or during Summer Madness programmes. As with most youth work, this age range crosses the divisions of a variety of legal categories of sexual activity and accountability in law. We therefore expect all Summer Madness volunteers and staff not to initiate relationships amongst each other during their time at the Festival.
a. Avoid transporting a child/young person on your own. Try to ensure another worker is present with you in the vehicle or other children/young people are with you. If a situation occurs when you have to transport a child alone, ensure other leaders/ helpers know this is happening, and that the child is in the rear seat.
b. Do not overcrowd the car. This will invalidate the insurance. Private cars cannot be used for hire or carrying passengers for reward. Special conditions apply to minibuses.
SUMMARY OF THE REFERRAL PROCEDURE
1. Allegation/suspicion/concern noted.
2. Report immediately to a Panel member concerned with child protection. The Names of Parish Panel are: ______________________________________________________________
3. The Panel Member reports to:-
Telephone Number ______________________________________________
Social Services offices are normally open 9.00 am – 5.00 pm Monday to Friday
There is an emergency out of hours service which can be contacted at
Telephone Number _______________________ or via the Contractor’s Bureau.
Police C.A.R.E. (child Abuse Rape Enquiry) Unit
Telephone Number _______________________________________________
Telephone Number _______________________________________________
4. The Incumbent/Panel Member will follow the advice given by the appropriate agency above.
Remember, the important task of deciding whether or not abuse has occurred rests with the professional agencies. The existence of this method of referral adopted by Summer Madness does not preclude the individual worker making direct contact with the agencies about it he/she so chooses.
SUMMER MADNESS - STAFF CODE OF CONDUCT UNDERTAKING
As an organisation, Summer Madness is committed to the welfare and protection of Children and Young People and as such has put in place systems to ensure that Children, Young People and all working with them at Summer Madness are protected from any from of abuse or unwarranted accusation.
You are asked to confirm your assent to the following:-
3. General code of conduct … team rules
4. Health and Safety
As a member of staff at Summer Madness, I am happy to adhere to the above guidance.
(Signed copy to be retained by Admin Team)