Child Safeguarding Policy
A child is defined as anyone under the age of 18, with respect to the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child.
Child Abuse consists of anything which individuals, institutions or processes do or fail to do which directly or indirectly harms children or damages their prospect of safe and healthy development into adulthood. The main categories of abuse are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Neglect and Negligent Treatment, Sexual Abuse, and Exploitation.
Physical abuse: actual or potential physical harm perpetrated by another person, adult or child. It may involve hitting, shaking, poisoning, drowning and burning. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or caregiver fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.
Sexual abuse: forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities that he or she does not fully understand and has little choice in consenting to. This may include, but is not limited to, rape, oral sex, penetration, or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching. It may also include involving children in looking at, or producing sexual images, watching sexual activities and encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Neglect and negligent treatment: allowing for context, resources and circumstances, neglect and negligent treatment refers to a persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, which is likely to result in serious impairment of a child’s healthy physical, spiritual, moral and mental development. It includes the failure to properly supervise and protect children from harm and provide for nutrition, shelter and safe living/working conditions. It may also involve maternal neglect during pregnancy as a result of drug or alcohol misuse and the neglect and ill treatment of a disabled child.
Emotional abuse: persistent emotional maltreatment that impacts on a child’s emotional development. Emotionally abusive acts include restriction of movement, degrading, humiliating, bullying (including cyber bullying), and threatening, scaring, discriminating, ridiculing or other non-physical forms of hostile or rejecting treatment.
Child exploitation includes child domestic work, child soldiers, the recruitment and involvement of children in armed conflict, sexual exploitation and pornography, the use of children for criminal activities including the sale and distribution of narcotics and the involvement of children in harmful or hazardous work.
The Best Interests of any children come first. When dealing with a safeguarding concern, the best interest of the child will be our priority and we will strive to ensure their safety, health and well- being including meeting their emotional, psychological and physical needs.
Staff, partners and other representatives must never:
Hit or otherwise physically assault or physically abuse children
Engage in sexual activity or have a sexual relationship with anyone under the age of 18 years regardless of the age of majority/consent or custom locally. Mistaken belief in the age of a child is not a defence
Develop relationships with children which could in any way be deemed exploitative or abusive
Act in ways that may be abusive in any way or may place a child at risk of abuse
Use language, make suggestions or offer advice which is inappropriate, offensive or abusive
Behave physically in a manner which is inappropriate or sexually provocative
Have a child/children with whom they are working to stay overnight at their home unsupervised unless exceptional circumstances apply and previous permission has been obtained from their line manager
Sleep in the same bed as a child with whom they are working
Sleep in the same room as a child with whom they are working unless exceptional circumstances apply and previous permission has been obtained from their line manager
Do things for children of a personal nature that they can do themselves
Condone, or participate in, behaviour of children which is illegal, unsafe or abusive
Act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children, or otherwise perpetrate any form of emotional abuse
Discriminate against, show unfair differential treatment or favour to particular children to the exclusion of others
Spend excessive time alone with children away from others in a manner which could be interpreted as inappropriate
Expose a child to inappropriate images, films and websites including pornography and extreme violence
Place themselves in a position where they are made vulnerable to allegations of misconduct
This is not an exhaustive or exclusive list.
Staff, partners and other representatives should at all times avoid actions or behaviour which may be misrepresented, constitute poor practice or potentially abuse. Breaches of this can lead to disciplinary action, termination of relations including contractual & partnership agreements. Where relevant, we will refer to the appropriate legal frameworks as per national law.