PASG Child Safeguarding Policy
The following Child Safeguarding policy sets out our commitment to strive to ensure that all children who attend PASG have the right to be safe and secure and free from threat, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs. PASG Code of Conduct to Students and Parents, will ensure that students will receive professional tuition from a qualified teacher with appropriate facilities following safe practice. PASG Child Safeguarding Policy will provide assistance, awareness and education to help any child who appears to be at risk or appears to be the victim of abuse. We will provide help and support if any child tells us they are affected by these issues. PASG will act with integrity, treating children with respect, listening to their concerns and acting upon them to promote a safe and caring environment. PASG follows the guidelines set out in the Children First Document. These guidelines promote the protection of children from abuse and neglect. It states what organisations like ours need to do to keep children safe, and what different bodies, and the general public should do if they are concerned about a child’s safety and welfare.
Particular to an organization like ours, we follow the following guidelines: Every member of staff must be alert to the possibility that children with whom they are in contact may be suffering from abuse or neglect. This responsibility is particularly relevant for professionals such as teachers, child care workers, health professionals and those working with adults with serious parenting difficulties. It is also an important responsibility for staff and people involved in sports clubs, community activities, youth clubs, religious/faith sector and other organizations catering for children. Garda vetting is part of our recruitment practice. While Garda vetting is currently not statutory, it is intended to place it on a statutory basis. The GCVU does not decide on the suitability of any person to work with children and vulnerable adults. Rather, in response to a written request for vetting, the GCVU releases criminal history information on the person to be vetted to the prospective recruiting organisation. Decisions on suitability for recruitment rest at all times with the recruiting organisation and the results of vetting should form only one component of the recruitment decision.
The following child safeguarding policy was drafted using the Children first National Guidelines for the protection and welfare of Children 2011, Our Duty to Care, and Code of Ethics & Good Practice for Children’s Sport. The national Children’s First Guidelines point out that it is the duty of the government and society to protect children and kept them safe from harm and that ‘this begins by ensuring that children are safe and protected in all aspects of their life, where they live, learn, pray and play’ Department of Children and Youth Affairs (2011:ix) Introduction and policy statement: • PASG sees itself as a place where young people have fun, learn new skills, where their individuality is promoted and where their confidence grows. Our ethos is to provide a safe environment that values children’s safety in line with ‘Duty of Care’. We aim to ensure that our activities are centred on participation, enjoyment and comfort for all children who attend . In line with the Children First Guidelines (2012) PASG will take all reasonable steps in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. • The protection of children is important to PASG The aim of the Poliy on Safeguarding Children is to ensure that children who attend are well protected and that there is a system in place to protect their welfare. • PASG believes that the welfare of the child is paramount, that all children regardless of age, disability, gender, race, sexual orientation or identity, or religious belief have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse. The purpose of this policy and procedures are: • To facilitate protection for children under the age of 18. • To provide staff with procedures to follow in the event that they suspect a child may be experiencing abuse; or be at risk of abuse or harm or where there is concern about the behaviour of an adult that might harm a child. • Promote good practice by adopting child protection procedures that understands the principles of sharing formation about child protection. • PASG will seek to safeguard children by valuing them, listening to and respecting them. Staff at PASG all hold valid Garda Vetting Cert. The Policy is designed to assist all individuals in PASG to meet their duty of care to safeguard all children who take part in the activities provided by PASG. All policies will be reviewed annually or sooner if there are changes in legislation, guidance or in the event of an incident. • In line with ‘Children’s First’ appoint a ‘Designate Lesion Person’ (Child Protection Officer). The roles and responsibilities of the DLO: to act as the liaison person with outside agencies. To be a recourse to all staff and volunteers of PASG To ensure that standard reporting procedures are followed. Will have knowledge of child protection and keep up to date with new development in the field. Background and Guidance for staff • There are four recognised categories of child abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse, in addition PASG are aware of other areas such as selfharm and bullying that affect children and young people. Further information on the categories’ can be accessed in the Children First document at www.childrenfirst.ie
These procedures aim to strike a balance between the need to protect children from abuse and the need to protect PASG employees, students, trainees, students, visitors and PASG members from false allegations • It is not the responsibility of anyone working at PASG in a paid or voluntary capacity to decide whether a child is being abused or might be abused, but there is a responsibility to act on their concerns in order that appropriate agencies can then make enquiries and take any necessary action to protect them. • It is the remit of the appropriate authority and not anyone connected with PASG to investigate the incident. • If an incident, allegation or suspicion of abuse (hereinafter referred to as incident) is seen, heard or suspected, the person receiving the information, whether an PASG employee, student/trainee, student, a member of another organisation with which the PASG is working or a visitor to PASG, should follow the procedure below: • Stop other activity and focus on what they are being told or seeing. Responding to the incident being reported should take immediate priority • Where an incident is being reported, react in calm and considered way but show concern. Listen compassionately and take what the child is saying seriously • It is very difficult for a child to tell, understand that the child has chosen to tell and has taken a risk in doing so. Offer reassurance to the child. Tell the child that it is right for them to have shared this information. • Don’t make judgment statement about the person who the child has identified. • Keep questions to an absolute minimum necessary to ascertain a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said but do not interrogate the child. • Listen to the child, and do not interrupt if they are recounting significant events. • Do not give assurances of confidentiality but explain you will need to pass on this information to those that need to know. Be aware that this may cause upset to the child and can be distressing for you also. • Do pass on the information to the DLO, who will review the information and if there is reasonable grounds for believing that a child is at rick or has being abused will make contact with Tusla Child and Family Agency tasked with the responsibility to investigate that matter further. • The family should be informed that where contact has being made to Tusla Child and Family Agency. Support will be provided by the management and the DLO to do this. Remember that the information is confidential and should only be discussed further on a need to know basis with will be decided by the DLO and the management. Recording and Reporting. • Do remember that the DLO will assist you to complete the report if needed. • Make a comprehensive record of what is said or seen and actions taken at the earliest possible opportunity. Where possible this should always be reported using the Incident Report Form (see Children First for copy) and within the timescales stated. Keep all original notes as they may be needed as evidence. The comprehensive and confidential record should include the following: • a) A detailed record of the incident in the child’s owns words or the words of the third party reporting it. You should note this record may be used later in a criminal trial and therefore needs to be as full and accurate as possible. • b) Details of the nature of the incident. • c) A description of any injury. Please note that you must not remove the clothing of a child to inspect any injuries. • d) Dates, times or places and any other information that may be useful. • e) Written records including emails and letters. • The incident should be reported in writing immediately to management or the DLO for appropriate action to be taken. • Additionally incidents from should be completed in conjunction with other policies and procedures. These will be identified by the management. Important note • Remember, safeguarding is everyone’s business and if anyone tells you, or if you see mistreatment or abuse or have concerns about a child, being harmed or at risk, it is your role to respond sensitively and alert others who have a designated role • Anyone with concerns and unsure what to do, should contact the DLO who will link with GARDA, or Tusla Child and Family Agency (list of contact available in appendix of Children First). • All children and should be treated with respect by employees, students/trainees, students and visitors. • Respect should be given to a child’s rights to personal privacy. Physical Contact • Physical contact during activities should always be intended to meet the child needs not the adults. Appropriate contact is to assist with the development of a skill or activity or for safety reason in order to prevent or treat an injury or treat. Physical contact should be determined by the age of the child, and the developmental stage. • In all activities, employees, students/trainees, students, and visitors to should be aware that physical contact with a child or young person may be misinterpreted and should be avoided. Where any physical touching is required, it should be provided openly in front of other students. Parents, guardians and students will be warned in advance that physical touching may be required for teaching and correctional purposes only. • In activities, feedback should always be constructive rather than negative and be mindful of the language that you use so as not to be threatening or upsetting. • Private or unobserved contact with a young person should be avoided wherever possible unless discussed by a parent or guardian and recorded, e.g. for a private lesson. • Do not undertake personal activities (such as washing or dressing) for a child which they can do for themselves. If a child has a disability, such tasks should only be performed with the full understanding and consent of and, where appropriate, assistance from the parents or carers. Safeguarding Guidelines: • Written parental or guardian consent should always be obtained for the use of any photographs, film or videos involving children. • In all activities, employees, students/trainees, students, and visitors where appropriate, are required to challenge unacceptable behaviour in accordance with the provisions of this code of conduct and good practice. • Any incidents, allegations or suspicions of abuse should be reported immediately to a DLO, as per the reporting guidelines. • In all dealings with children , employees, students/trainees, students, and visitors where appropriate, should never: • Leave children who are in their care unsupervised on PASG premises. • Play rough physical or sexually provocative games, involving or observed by children whether based on talking or touching. • Allow children to use inappropriate language e.g. language of a derogatory nature or sexually explicit without challenging. • Allow allegations made by a child to go unrecorded or not acted upon in accordance with these or other procedures. • Any incidents which cause concern in respect of a child are required to be reported immediately to the management or appointed DLO. Below are examples of incidents which are to be reported. When • A child has been left unsupervised in PASG. • A child is hurt accidentally. • You think a child has misunderstood or misinterprets something you have done. • You see any suspicious marks on a child or vulnerable adult. • Any visitors, such as external hirers or contractors must adhere to Code of behaviour and good practice as part of their contractual arrangement. A quick guide to reporting procedures • If you see, hear of or suspect abuse, are aware of serious poor practice or have concerns about a breach of code of behaviour in relation to child abuse. • If concerned about a child or – report your concern to the management or DLO within 24 hours. If this is not possible and if there is an immediate risk, report it to the appropriate authority, e.g. Gardai or Tusla Child and Family Agency. • Record the details of the abuse/allegation/suspicion. • Record accurately what the child/young person has said or what has been seen or reported. • Include information about how the child appeared (angry/upset). • recording any visible signs on the child e.g. burn on the hand. Do not ask the person to remove clothing. Do not ask leading questions or investigate. • The management or DLO will make a decision regarding the concern/incident within 24 hours of receiving the information.