CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

by AnNua on Monday, November 8, 2010 at 10:01pm ·

AnNua  is committed to operating practices that protect children from harm.

Staff and volunteers in this organisation accept and recognise our responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues that cause children harm.

AnNua will endeavour to safeguard children by:

Appointing two Child Protection Officers, one who sits on  AnNua’s committee and one from the ensemble, who will ensure Child Protection measures are implemented and that all members of AnNua are made familiar with these prior to working with children.

AnNua will ensure both Child Protection Officers receive training in the protection of children in line with The Child Care Unit of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS).

Broadly, AnNua will adopt advice provided by  the DHSSPS through the publication “Our Duty to Care” (a good practice guide for voluntary organisations on the principles and practices for the safeguarding and protection of children available at http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/safer_orgs_children.pdf). All committee members, staff and volunteers working with AnNua will read this document. The Child Protection Officers should inform all involved of their responsibilities and periodically repeat these while remaining informed in changes to guide lines.

Each new project will be scrutinised by the Child Protection Officers who will then make recommendations to the committee members and the ensemble regarding appropriate child protect measures.

Adopting child protection guidelines through a code of behaviour for staff and volunteers.
Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers.
Sharing information about concerns with appropriate agencies, and involving parents and children appropriately.

Following carefully the procedures for recruitment and selection of staff and volunteers and doing so in line with recommendations made through the guidelines within Making the Right Choice (A Guide to using the pre-employment consultancy service (PECS) published through DHSSPS and available at: http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/choosingtoprotectmarch2009.pdf

Being aware that the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) is now responsible for the new Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) and keeping informed regarding these and ongoing changes regarding recruitment procedures and screening.

Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.

AnNua is committed to reviewing our policy and good practice at regular intervals.

AnNua also recognises that some adults may be vulnerable to abuse through physical or mental disadvantage. The Child Protection Officers will alert the committee and ensemble if they become aware of contact with any vulnerable adults and ensure precautions are taken to minimise vulnerability.

Guidelines for staff and volunteers.
Staff and volunteers should not spend excessive amounts of time alone with children, away from others.
Meetings with individual children or young people should take place as openly as possible.
If privacy is needed, the door should be left open and other staff or volunteers informed of the meeting.
Staff and volunteers are advised not to make unnecessary physical contact with children and young people.
However, there may be occasions when physical contact is unavoidable, such as providing comfort and reassurance for a distressed child, or physical support, for example, in contact should a child have an accident.
In all cases, physical contact should only take place with the consent of the child or young person.
It is not good practice to take children alone in a car on journeys, however short.  Where this is unavoidable, it should be with the full knowledge and consent of the parents, and one of the Child Protection Officers of the organisation.
Staff and volunteers should not meet with children outside organised activities, unless it is with the knowledge and consent of parents and a Child Protection Officer.

Staff and volunteers should never-
engage in sexually provocative or rough physical  games, including horseplay – apart from structured theatre activities.
allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
make sexually suggestive comments about, or to, a child, even in fun.
let allegations a child makes go without being addressed and recorded by at least one of the two Child Protection Officers.
do things of a personal nature for children that they can do themselves.

AnNua will identify two people at any one time within the organisation who has responsibility for dealing with concerns (designated persons/ Child Protection Officers).

The designated persons/Child Protection Officers will develop clear reporting procedures, which are familiar to all those who work with children / young people, in order to maintain confidentially.

The designated persons/ Child Protection Officers will keep clear records of concerns or incidents, including a note of what was said, or what happened, when and where it occurred, who was present and any action taken as a result.

These records will be kept confidentially, in a secure place, with both Child Protection Officers being responsible for safekeeping and access.

The designated persons/Child Protection Officers shall ensure that information is available to, and exchanged between all those involved in AnNua.  Information which is confidential will only be shared on a need-to-know basis.

The designated persons/Child Protection Officers will inform all children involved with AnNua activities about how, and with whom, they can share their concerns, complaints and anxieties.

AnNua will publicise information about its activities, its child protection policy and the name of the designated persons to contact in the event of concerns or complaints.

Parents will be made aware of the nature of relationships with adults with whom their children form friendships.

AnNua will be provided with information detailing how to deal with emergencies and child protection issues and encouraged to pass on concerns to the designated persons.

When a child discloses abuse, staff and volunteers will -

Listen to the child, rather than question him or her directly.
Offer him/her reassurance without making promises, and take what the child says seriously.
Never stop a child who is freely recalling significant events.
Not overreact.
Explain to the child what he / she has to do and whom he / she has to tell.
Not question or interrogate.
Record the discussion accurately, as soon as possible after the event, even if it is information the designated person does not understand fully, or like writing such details down.
Contact the designated person/ Child Protection Officer on the AnNua Committee and/or Ensemble for advice/guidance.
The designated persons/ may then discuss the concern / suspicion with Social Services, and, if appropriate, make a direct referral.
Make direct contact with Social Services if the designated persons are not available, or it is inappropriate to approach them.
Record any discussions or actions taken within 24 hours.
Staff and volunteers dealing with reported abuse will be supported through the process, as appropriate.

The signatories on this policy are AnNua’s Child Protection Officers. Both have experience working with children and have received training in child protection.

Signed:                                  Laverne O’Donnell (Secretary and administrator)

Veronica Norby (Technician and trainee operator)

Date:                                      14/09/2010