STATEMENT ON KEEPING CHILDREN, YOUNG PEOPLE, STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS SAFE
Adopted as at 19th May 2008
The Religious School and Kehillat Kernow have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that, when given responsibility for children and young people; staff, leaders and volunteers provide them with the highest possible standard of care.
Through our implementation of code of practice we seek to maintain the professionalism and safeguards of good practice which are associated with youth work.
- We acknowledge that the welfare of the young person is paramount
- We recognise our responsibility to safeguard and promote the interests and well being of children and young people with whom we are working;
- We emphasis the value of working closely with parents, youth workers and volunteers to protect children and young people from harm and discrimination;
- We acknowledge that abuse does occur and that we need to raise awareness and understanding of the main forms of abuse and establish communication and reporting of abuse where suspected to safeguard children and young people whom we are working with.
Our policies refer to children and young people under the age of 18 years old. When a young person reaches their 18th birthday they are considered an adult. Within Kehillat Kernow leaders aged 17 years old are given roles and some responsibilities of adults, and must therefore be aware of following the guidelines in order to protect the welfare of children and young people.
It is the responsibility of the Religious School and Kehillat Kernow to ensure that all children and young people can enjoy a safe and enjoyable environment. We under take this responsibility by:
- Ensuring all adults who work with children and young people are aware of their role and responsibilities and that training and or literature is made available to them.
- Ensuring all those working with children and young people respect the rights and reasonable wishes and feelings of children and young people.
- Ensure that in recruiting for positions our stance on child protection is clear.
- Ensure that all new staff and volunteers are recruited with due concern for their previous work and experience with children and young people, and that they are appropriate.
- Ensure CRB checks are done by us or have been done by others on all those in regular supervisory contact with children and young people.
- Ensure clear induction process is undertaken to inform about our framework of child protection and safeguarding children and young people.
- Ensure all policy and codes of conduct regarding safeguarding children and young people have been given to new staff and volunteers.
- Ensure staff, leaders and volunteers understand good working practice in order to ensure that they are not placed in situations where allegations could be made against them.
- Ensure that all new staff, leaders and volunteers are made aware of child protection issues, and at regular intervals there after get up to date.
- Ensure reasonable steps are taken and those who are in charge are aware of the Child Protection Policy and how to handle a disclosure should it be made.
- Ensure staff, leaders and volunteers understand that it is the responsibility of the child protection coordinator to determine whether abuse has taken place, but it is everyone’s responsibility to refer concerns and disclosures.
- Ensure that all suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to appropriately.
Definition of Child Abuse
A child protection issue arises when it is believed the child/young person is at risk of suffering harm, be that physical, emotional, neglect or sexual harm.
The legal definition of abuse is set down by the Children Act, 1989. The Primary justification for the State to take action is ‘actual or likely harm to the child, where harm includes both ill-treatment (which includes sexual abuse and non-physical ill-treatment such as emotional abuse) and the impairment of health and development, health meaning physical or mental health, and development meaning physical, intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development.’ (Taken from: Child Protection – Messages from Research, 1995, HMSO.)
Physical abuse: may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, burning, scalding and suffocating as well as other physical abuse. It can result when a parent or carer deliberately causes ill health of a child. Symptoms that indicate physical abuse include: bruising , scars of different ages and lengths from untreated wounds, fractures, and marks that repeat.
Emotional Abuse: happens when a child’s need for love, security, praise and recognition are not met. It usually co-exists with other forms of abuse but can occur alone. Emotional abusive behaviour occurs if a parent, carer, or authority figure is constantly hostile, rejecting, threatening or undermining. It can result if developmentally inappropriate expectations are placed on a child or if a child is over protected to the extent of being denied contact and opportunities to engage with others. Children who witness and experience domestic abuse are subject to emotional abuse. Symptoms include: excessive clingy or attention seeking behaviour; low self esteem; fearfulness; despondency; constantly seeking to please; lack of appropriate boundaries; anxiety; eating disorders/various mental health problems.
Neglect: is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and or psychological needs, causing damage to their health and development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, warmth, shelter, clothing or stimulation. It includes failure to protect a child from harm. Symptoms may include inadequate supervision, being left alone for long periods; lack of stimulation, social contact or education; inadequate nutrition; a child who is constantly hungry, stealing or gorging food; failure to provide adequate standards of hygiene, clothing, and comfort in the home; failure to seek or follow medical advice so that a child’s life or development is endangered.
Sexual abuse: involves forging or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activity, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. This may include physical contact from inappropriate touching to full penetration, and also non-contact activity such as looking at pornography. Any sexual act with a child under the age of 13 is a criminal act. Symptoms of sexual abuse include allegations or disclosure; genital soreness or discomfort; STD’s; sexualised play or behaviour; a child who is sexually provocative; nightmares; eating disorders; going missing from school and home; self harm; drug and or alcohol abuse; depression and other forms of mental health problems.
Reasons why disclosure of any kind might be made in our environments are:
- Away from home · Secure environment
- Close friends around them · Emotions are running high
- Difficult to hide things · Feel insecure
- Tiredness · Stress of being on event/camp
- There are people there to listen and care
- Claustrophobic environment/ lack of personal space
- Staff/Volunteers are not parents or school teachers yet still a trusted authority figure
Staff and volunteers need to protect their selves as well as protecting the young person, to prevent their selves from being accused of violating child protection law and in order that we follow best practice.
Some basic rules to ensure the protection of staff and volunteers include:
- Staff and volunteers should not have physical contact with children and young people.
- If staff and volunteers need to talk one to one, find a quiet corner, in a public place if possible.
- Staff and volunteers should not be alone with a young person if it can be avoided; if staff and volunteers are alone with a young person they should let someone know where they are and leave the door open.