This policy booklet has been prepared with reference to the Volunteer Now Publication – “Getting It Right”.
Child Protection Policy Statement
Volunteers in the Northern Ireland Piping & Drumming School (hereafter referred to as the NIPDS), are committed to practice, which promotes the welfare of children and protects them from harm.
We wish to ensure that all children participate in an enjoyable and safe environment in which they can have fun and feel valued.
Volunteers in this organisation accept and recognise our responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues, which cause children harm, and to establish and maintain a safe environment for them.
We will endeavour to safeguard children by:
It is the intention of the NIPDS to review the Child Protection Policy every 2 years.
The Northern Ireland Piping and Drumming School
CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
AND CODE OF BEHAVIOUR
Management Committee’s Foreword
The protection of children is something that is rarely far from the news and it is an issue that affects us all. Children may be physically, emotionally or sexually abused regardless of their age, gender, religious belief, racial origin or culture. They are usually abused by people they know.
The NIPDS deal with children directly in classes in various locations throughout the province. This document is to cover the school, its committees and any group that falls under the auspices of the NIPDS. Hereafter referred to as the NIPDS, our Officers, Tutors and Instructors will be referred to as volunteers.
Volunteers may come across a situation where they are concerned about the welfare of a child or indeed are approached with information by a child or parent themselves. It is important that all our volunteers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to respond to child protection issues and know where to seek help. It is also imperative that all children and their parents are made aware of the policy.
This Child Protection Policy has been developed with expert advice. It applies to all volunteers irrespective of their function, remit or role and combined with the Designated Child Protection Person will ensure that the NIPDS embraces best practice in this area.
I commend this policy to all our members and would ask that you take the time to familiarise yourself with the contents.
This Child Protection Policy is intended to cover all functions of the NIPDS where volunteers may work with children directly or have contact with children indirectly through the course of their duties.
The policy applies to all volunteers of the NIPDS. It is designed to provide a basic foundation under which more specific guidance may be developed to meet the needs of particular functions or circumstances.
Children for the purpose of these guidelines are defined as those aged under 18.
Copies of the Child Protection Policy and Procedures will be distributed to all members of the NIPDS. It will be made available to the parents, children and all volunteers.
In 1991 the UK Government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which is an international convention signed by all but two countries in the world. The UN Convention sets the minimum standards for children and young peoples’ civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights under the interrelated categories of ‘participation’, ‘protection’, and ‘provision’. For example:
Article 3 – In all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration.
Article 19 – The State has a responsibility to protect children from violent and harmful treatment.
In 1996 the Children (NI) Order was implemented by the Government and was based to a large degree on the philisophy of the UN Convention. This legislation was the most important piece of children’s legislation in the 20th Century and set out a number of key principles concerning the rights of children, their parents and the role of the State. It applies to all children under the age of 18 and the Order embodies five key principles:
The Children Order sets out the framework for protecting children
including legal powers and responsibilities of agencies like the police,
social services and other bodies. It is complemented by other laws and
guidance, which taken together provides a comprehensive approach to the
protection of children.
These include specifically:
Section 5 creates a duty to report arrestable offences and information in relation to the offence to the police.
The Department of Health & Social Services for Public Safety (DHSSPS) sets out the overall procedural framework for the management of child protection. In addition to setting out the roles and responsibilities of agencies Co-operating to Safeguard Children details the process and steps to be followed on the detection, reporting and management of child abuse.
This document sets out the steps and joint actions to be taken by each agency in investigating suspected or actual child abuse.
The protection of children is something that must be a priority for all members of the NIPDS.
This overarching policy will set out the framework for this and ensure that the NIPDS meets all its legal and moral responsibilities to children and families that it directly or indirectly provides a service to. By having a clear written policy for NIPDS members the NIPDS will ensure that its members are provided with the tools and knowledge to know how to protect children and deal with situations that may cause concern. The ‘arena of safety’ diagram expresses this.
Diagram: the arena of safety
The abuse and neglect of children is something that can occur within many situations including the home, school, communities and all forms of clubs and societies. Children are much more likely to be abused by someone known to them, or more rarely a stranger. There are different types of abuse and a child may be abused in more than one way. Types of abuse and their commonly accepted definitions’ include:
Physical abuse is the deliberate physical injury to a child or the wilful or neglectful failure to prevent physical injury or suffering. This may include hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, confinement to a room or cot, or inappropriately giving drugs to control behaviour.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Smothering a child’s development through over-protection can also be a form of abuse. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child, though it may occur alone. Domestic violence, adult mental health problems and parental substance misuse may expose children to emotional abuse.
Sexual abuse involved forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether of not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at or the production of pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in significant harm. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate foods, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment, lack of stimulation or lack of supervision. It may also include neglect or, unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Key to the NIPDS ability to protect children in its care and enable its volunteers to provide a safe environment the NIPDS has identified a Designated Child Protection Person. This is a very important role since the expertise and experience of child protection is focused on one person who in turn will act as a pivotal point for all child protection matters.
Specifically the role of the Designated Person will include”
It is fundamentally important that if any volunteers have concerns about a child they seek to report these concerns to the Designated Person and follow the steps laid down in this policy and procedure. This will help protect officers and volunteers and the wellbeing of any child concerned.
Investigating child abuse is a very complex and detailed process. Volunteers must remember that they are not responsible for deciding whether or not abuse has taken place, rather they are responsible for reporting their concerns to the relevant person.
The flow chart outlined below sets out a procedure for the reporting of child protection issues. In the event of a Senior Officer and/or the Designated Person not being available the volunteer should proceed to the next stage of the reporting procedure. A Senior Officer and Designated Person should be advised of such actions as soon as practical.
There is some information that should only ever be shared on a need to know basis. For example, if an adult or a child has confided personal and sensitive details about their lives or family situations, they will need to be assured that the information will not be discussed or passed on to others without consent.
Examples of other information that may need to remain confidential would include the contact details of the children and any information provided by parents that you might need, e.g. a child’s medical details. This information should only be passed on with consent and on a need to know basis.
There is other information however, which must be passed on to the Designated Person. This includes information that a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm. The legal principle states that the “welfare of the child is paramount” and this means that considerations of confidentiality can never override the right of a child to be safe from harm.
Listen and hear what the child or adults are saying.
Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling you.
Record in writing what was said as soon as possible and keep this record safe and secure. These may be required by the police or social services.
Report the matter to the Designated
Ask leading questions (questions that influence a person to give a particular answer).
Promise to a child or adult that you can keep a secret.
Ask for details of the abuse. This is not your job and will be undertaken by the Police and Social Services.
It is not your responsibility to investigate whether abuse has taken place. This is a matter for the appropriate authorities. You have a supportive and not investigative role
Require the child to repeat the story unnecessarily.
If in doubt – report it
The one thing you must not do – is Nothing
It is important for all volunteers of the NIPDS to have a clear statement as to what is expected in any dealings with children.
Underlying principles and philosophy
The NIPDS recognises that children should be listened to taken seriously and have a right to the safe use of premises and services. As an organisation the NIPDS members have both a moral and legal responsibility to protect children through following these procedures and adhering to this policy.
Children have a valuable role to play in the NIPDS. As an organisation the NIPDS through its policies, procedures and dealing with children, will involve them as much as possible in decisions that affect them. We respect children by listening to them. The NIPDS will promote a culture in the organisation where children’s participation is both encouraged and promoted.
Some points of guidance
CAUTION!! MEMBERS SHOULD NEVER
Good communication with all – children, parents, volunteers and management committees will improve practice. Everyone will feel appreciated if they are listened to and their opinion valued. Children and young people should be involved and included in decision making whenever possible.
Supervision, support and training
Training formal or informal will be organised or approved for any individual or group. Supervision and support will enable our organisation to identify the strengths and weaknesses of volunteers, address weaknesses through provision of training, identify any problems and deal with them quickly. It also offers an opportunity to recognise skills of volunteers and to acknowledge their work. The School Administrator or Centre Coordinators will assist in an advisory capacity, or provide any training required.
We in the NIPDS do not tolerate bullying in any form, and any incidents of bullying will be dealt with seriously.
We encourage children and young people to talk about bullying and report any concerns they may have.
Our anti-bullying statement applies to everyone involved with the NIPDS; preventing bullying in this group is everyone’s responsibility.
The majority of people who want to work with children are well motivated and without them voluntary organisations could not operate. Good selection procedures benefit everyone; volunteers should have a clearly defined role. This will enhance their self-confidence, which will have a positive impact on children.
Parents will be assured that all possible measures are being taken to ensure only suitable people will be recruited to work with children.
This organisation is committed to recruitment and selection procedures as follows: