Child Protection Policy

Child, Young Person and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy

Introduction:

This policy is based upon all our responsibilities to make arrangements to ensure that AIS functions are discharged responsibly with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

AIS recognises that:

  • the welfare of children, young people and disadvantaged adults is paramount.
  •  All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage or religious belief, have the right to be safe, happy and receive equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
  •  Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting children’s, young people’s and disadvantaged adults’ welfare.

 

Aims of the Policy:

The aims of the policy are to:

 clarify the roles and responsibilities of all parties working within AIS

 

  1. Support the promotion of a safe working environment and a culture of care in which the rights of all children, young people and adults and vulnerable adults are protected and respected.
     
  2. Promote best practice in how employees and associated workers interact with children, young people and adults and vulnerable adults while providing services.
     
  3. Develop clear guidance and procedures for those employees working with children,  young people and adults and ensure through training and support that they are aware of these and able to implement them.
     
  4. provide a framework for developing partnerships with appropriate external bodies to ensure that the
    policy continues to reflect legal and best practice requirements in respect of the responsibility of care of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Scope of the Policy:

The policy acknowledges respects and defines AIS responsibility towards

Children and young people, legally defined as any person under the age of 18. From this point the terms child or children will be used to refer to this group.

  • Vulnerable adults defined, for the purposes of this policy, as anyone over the age of 18 who because of a disability or illness may be in need of community care services and who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from significant harm or exploitation.
  • Adults within the working environment who are employed or working in the voluntary capacity

 

  • The employees of AIS who have dealings with children, young
    people and vulnerable adults and who are required to act in a position of trust and to act responsibly and within the law.

  • The employees and any volunteers of AIS who, while not require to
    act in a position of trust, will come into contact with members of these groups on a regular basis during the course of their work.
     
  • All the functions and services of AIS, staff and contractors.
  • The policy does not cover health and safety issues related to safeguarding children such as use of play equipment or provision of food at events. Separate guidance on this and appropriate behaviours when dealing with children and vulnerable adults which AIS has developed should be read in conjunction with this policy.

What is Abuse?

 

A person may abuse a child, adult or vulnerable adult by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children adults or vulnerable adults may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting; by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger.

Physical abuse: may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm, including by fabricating the symptoms of, or deliberately causing, ill health.

Emotional abuse : is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child, adult or vulnerable adult such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the victim's emotional development or self-esteem. It may involve conveying to the victim that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person. It may involve age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed, causing the victim frequently to feel frightened, or the exploitation or corruption of children or vulnerable adults. It may involve deprivation of contact, control, coercion, intimidation or harassment.

Bullying : is not always easy to define; it can take many forms and is usually repeated over a period of time. The three types are physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, theft), verbal (e.g. racism or homophobic remarks, threats, name calling) and emotional (e.g. isolating an individual from activities). Bullying will include: 1) deliberate hostility and aggression towards a victim, 2) a victim who is weaker and less powerful then the bully or bullies and 3) an outcome which is always painful and distressing for the victim. Bullying may include: Other forms of violence, sarcasm, spreading rumours, persistent teasing, tormenting, ridiculing, humiliation, racial taunts, graffiti, gestures, etc.

Sexual abuse : involves forcing or enticing a child or vulnerable adult to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the victim is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include involving the victim in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material, or encouraging them to behave in sexually inappropriate ways

Neglect : is the persistent failure to meet a child's or vulnerable adult's basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of their health or development, such as failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, or neglect of, or unresponsiveness to basic emotional needs. In vulnerable adults this may appear to be as a result of self-neglect but still requires action.

Financial abuse : is particularly relevant to vulnerable adults and may include theft, fraud, exploitation and pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions. It may include the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits by someone who has been trusted to handle their finances or who has assumed control of their finances by default.

Who is responsible for protecting children, adults and vulnerable adults?

 

The responsibility for the implementation of this policy lies at all levels of AIS work.
AIS Management is responsible for ensuring that AIS has a policy, which adequately provides protection for children and vulnerable adults in receipt of its services and for the regular review of this policy in the light of changes to legislation.

Who is responsible for protecting children, adults and vulnerable adults?

 

  1. employees, volunteers and other workers dealing with these groups are adequately trained and aware of their responsibilities in this area.
  2. external contractors are aware of and abide by the standards of behaviour expected of all AIS employees.
  3. carers and/or parents of the children and vulnerable adults are aware that, in providing services, AIS employees are not acting in loco parentis.
  4. this policy is made available to carers and/or parents of the children and vulnerable adults to whom AIS is providing services.
  5. any evidence or complaint of abuse or lack of care is reported to the appropriate body e.g. the AIS Management and the Police.
  6. appropriate levels of confidentiality are maintained in the transfer of information relating to dealings with children, young persons, adults and vulnerable adults.

In addition to the above, AIS management is responsible for:

 

  1. Ensuring that no one shall work with children and young people within AIS has been convicted of or has received a formal police caution concerning an offence against children.
  2. Identifying those services and posts that are likely to have an involvement with children, young people and vulnerable adults, and undertake an appropriate risk assessments of those posts and ensures that appropriately qualified and/or trained staff work within these groups.
  3. Ensuring that recruitment procedures are robust and that information pertinent to working with these groups is obtained during the recruitment procedure.
  4. Ensuring that all necessary procedures and practices are in place to provide adequate protection both for the individuals in these groups but also protection for the employees involved with them.
  5. ensuring that proper records are kept of any incidents occurring within their service and that these are held securely and/or passed on to AIS management if the incident involves a member of staff.
  6. Ensuring that all AIS reporting and recording procedures 'fit for purpose', understood by all staff; and met immediately and effectively.
  7. Dealing fairly and decisively with all allegations of abuse or lack of care by staff.

 

In addition to the above, AIS management is responsible for:

 

  1. Ensuring that they are familiar with and understand all policies and procedures relating to their work with or in the vicinity of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
  2. Ensuring that they feel confident in working within this environment and working with their managers to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills to carry out their tasks in this context.
  3. Treating all those children, young people, adults and vulnerable adults with whom they come into contact while carrying out their work equally and with respect.
  4. Reporting to their line manager any concerns they may have about abuse or a lack of care of children, young people and vulnerable adults either from other staff, from carers, parents or those in loco parentis or between members of the group.
  5. Participating in any training or development opportunities offered to them to improve their knowledge of skills in this area.

Volunteers, contractors and other workers are responsible for:

 

  1. Working with employees of AIS, to the same standard, in ensuring the safety and well-being of children, young people and vulnerable adults within their scope.
  2. Participating in any training or development opportunities offered to them to improve their knowledge of skills in this area.

 

'Questions and Answers'

 

 

What do I do if I think a child, young person, adult or vulnerable adult is in danger?

AIS believes that all children, young person, adult and vulnerable adults have the right to be safe, happy and healthy and deserve protection from abuse and will fully support andprotect anyone, who in good faith, reports a concern about abuse.
If you think a child, young person, adult or vulnerable adult is in immediate danger or a crime has been committed then always contact the management and complete the appropriate Concern Form. Report your action to your line manager and a member of AIS management. Otherwise discuss your concerns with your line manager or a member of AIS management who will help you complete the appropriate form.

What do I do if a child, young person, adult or vulnerable adult discloses to me that they are being abused?


Do:

  • Stay calm.
  • Listen carefully
  • Find an appropriate, early opportunity to explain that it is likely that the information will need to be shared, but only with people who need to know and who can help.
  • Allow the victim to continue at their own pace
  • Ask questions for clarification only and at all times avoid asking questions that suggest a particular answer.
  • Reassure the victim that they have done nothing wrong in telling you
  • Tell them what you will do next and with whom the information will be shared
  • After the victim has disclosed, record in writing what was said using the victim's own words as soon as possible. Note the date and time, any names mentioned and to whom the information was given. Ensure the record is signed and dated. Try not to take notes at the timeas this can be intimidating.
  • Relay this information as soon as possible to your line manager or a member of the AIS management.

If the incident involves a member of staff, DO NOT:

  • Dismiss the concern
  • Panic
  • Allow your shock or distaste to show
  • Probe for more information than is offered
  • Make promises you cannot keep: such as agreeing not to tell someone else, keeping secrets
  • Speculate or make assumptions
  • Approach or contact the alleged abuser
  • Make negative comments about the accused person
  • Pass on the information to anyone other than those with a legitimate "need to know" such as your line manager or a member of AIS management if the incident involves a member of staff.
  • Delegate to others as the victim has specifically chosen you to talk to.

Remember that you are not responsible for deciding whether or not abuse has occurred. This is the task of the police and child or adult protection agencies following referral to them.

 

 

 

What do I do if I have suspicions that a colleague may be abusing a child, young person, adult or vulnerable adult, or not following good practice?

 

Any member of staff who suspects that a colleague may be abusing children, young person, adult or vulnerable adults should act on their suspicions. Action should also be taken if it is felt that colleagues are not following the published codes of conduct for dealing children, young people and vulnerable adults.

This action will serve not only to protect children and vulnerable adults, but also colleagues from false accusations. In the event of an incident, you should:

 

Write down the details of the incident

  1. Pass this report to your line manager and a member of AIS management committee at the earliest opportunity.
  2. The manager should then take appropriate action to ensure the safety of the child, young person, adult or vulnerable adult and any other people who may be at risk. 
  3. The matter should then be evaluated by AIS management who will then consider whether the matter is an issue relating to poor practice, or to abuse.
  4. If the matter relates to poor practice, procedures relating to misconduct should be followed. If
  5. The matter relates to abuse the matter should be referred to the appropriate authorities who may involve the Police, and the employee must be suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into the allegations.).

AIS acknowledges that this is an extremely sensitive issue for staff and assures all staff and persons working on its behalf that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith, reports a concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child, young person or vulnerable adult.

Should I tell the parents/carers of the child, young person, adult or vulnerable adult about my concerns?

There is always a commitment to work in partnership with parents/carers where there are concerns about their children or adults in their care and in most circumstances it would be important to talk to parents/carers to clarify any initial concerns. For example if a child, young person, adult or vulnerable adult seemed withdrawn, there may be a reasonable explanation; they may have experienced an upset in the family.

BUT if you are suspicious that the parents or carer may be the abuser or you believe that the parent/carer may not be able to respond appropriately to the situation, speaking to them regarding the matter might place the child or vulnerable adult at greater risk. You should report the suspicion to your line manager or a member of AIS management and advice will be sought from the appropriate authorities with respect to consulting parents/carers. Please note that under Ugandan law we have the rights to seek professional counseling for the concerned parties without parents' consent or knowledge. However this would need to be treated extremely sensitively.