SVS-Living Safe is committed to the prevention and early detection of abuse and/or neglect of children and young people. In all interaction with children and their family/whanau we will be guided by the principle that the welfare and interests of the child is the first and paramount consideration.
SVS- Living Safe is committed to dealing with abuse/suspected abuse or disclosure of abuse in a timely manner and is guided by the principle that the family/whanau have the primary role in caring for and protecting children. Unless this poses a risk to the child or to the safety of staff, family/whanau will be involved and informed in all decision-making.
SVS-Living Safe is committed to complying with all relevant legislation.
Aims and Responsibilities
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for staff with which to identify and respond appropriately to concerns of abuse and neglect and to understand their role in keeping children safe. This policy aims to guide staff in safe working practices and ensures that the safety and rights of a child are protected.
This policy also sets out procedures for managing allegations against staff and ensures that complaints are taken seriously and managed effectively.
In all matters relating to a child, the safety of a child is SVS-Living Safe’s prime consideration.
This policy and associated guidelines and procedures apply to
This Policy and all its sub-policies and related policies, will be reviewed at least every three years, and updated regularly in light of clinical experience and in line with any changes in legislation.
This Policy has the following related documents:
· 5.1 Complaints
· 7.1 Health and Safety
· 6.03 Workforce Development
· 6.19 Privacy, Confidentiality and Storage of Information
· 6. 02 Code of Ethics
· 6.01 Code of Conduct
· 6.18 Communications
· 6.11 Vehicle and Travel
· 6.08 Staff Training and Development
· 6.06 Induction
· 6.05 Police Vetting
· Human Rights Act (1993)
· Privacy Act (1993)
· Vulnerable Children Act (2014)
· Vulnerable Children (Requirements for Safety Checks of Children’s Workers) Regulations 2015
· Children Young Persons and their Families Act 1989
· Crimes Act 1961
· Domestic Violence Act 1995
· Care of Children Act 2004
“Children” for the purposes of this policy is defined as someone under the age of 18
“Staff” is defined as anyone working for this organisation, whether paid, voluntary, contracted or on placement.
“DPCP” refers to the Designated Person for Child Protection
Responsibilities for Child Protection Policy and procedures
Overall responsibility for this Policy rests with the General Manager. This includes ensuring that all staff are aware of the policy and its contents.
SVS-Living Safe will ensure that:
Definitions of Child Abuse
The Children, Young Persons and their Families Act, 1989, defines child abuse as "…the harming (whether physically, emotionally, sexually), ill-treatment, abuse, neglect, or deprivation of any child or young person”.
The following definitions are provided for guidance but should not be seen as an exhaustive list.
Physical abuse is a non-accidental act on a child that results in physical harm. This includes, but is not limited to, beating, hitting, shaking, burning, drowning, suffocating, biting, poisoning or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical abuse also involves the fabrication or inducing of illness.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effect on the child's emotional development. This can include a pattern of rejecting, degrading, ignoring, isolating, corrupting, exploiting or terrorising a child. It may also include age or developmentally inappropriate or unrealistic expectations being imposed on children. It also includes the seeing or hearing the ill treatment of others.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities (penetrative and non-penetrative, for example, rape, kissing, touching, masturbation) as well as non-contact acts such as involving children in the looking at or production of sexual images, sexual activities and sexual behaviours.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or psychological needs, causing long term serious harm to the child's heath or development. It may also include neglect of a child's basic or emotional needs. Neglect is a lack: of action, emotion or basic needs.
Intimate Partner Violence or Family Violence is physical, emotional, sexual and other abuse by someone of a person with whom they have or have had some form of intimate relationship, such as marriage or cohabitation, in order to maintain power and control over a person. Such abuse places a child at risk of abuse and likely has subjected the child to emotional abuse
Cumulative Harm refers to the effects of patterns of circumstances and events in a child’s life, which diminish a child’s sense of safety, stability and wellbeing. Cumulative harm is the existence of compounded experiences of multiple episodes of abuse or ‘layers’ of neglect. The unremitting daily impact on the child can be profound and exponential, covering multiple dimensions of the child’s life.
For further information, staff can refer to the “How can I Tell?” booklet published by Child Matters, a copy of which is held at each SVS-Living Safe offices.
Child Protection Procedures
This section describes the procedure to be followed by all staff who have concerns about a child suffering or at risk of suffering from abuse or neglect. This section also outlines the procedure for managing a disclosure of abuse or neglect in relation to a child.
Staff roles and responsibilities
Designated Person for Child Protection (DPCP)
The Designated Person for Child Protection as appointed by the General Manager, will:
· Be available to staff in a timely manner by way of face to face meeting or telephone contact, for consultation, advice and supervision where concerns in relation to a child have been raised.
· Advise on Best Practice in relation to child abuse disclosure, suspicions or concerns, recording and reporting.
· Ensure relationships and contact details for MVCOT and Police are maintained and made available to staff.
· Ensure the safety and wellbeing of children come first and is paramount in any decision making
· Meet with all staff and services to review and monitor entries made in the Register of Concerns where there are concerns about a child.
· Review risk assessment and coding together with safety plans for all clients of SVS-Living Safe where children are involved
· Receive any information from staff relating to the vulnerability, risk of harm or abuse/ neglect of a child.
· Make decisions in consultation with the General Manager as to whether or not the matter warrants a Report of Concern to MVCOT or notification to Police and work in partnership with the relevant staff member to ensure this is done in accordance with best practice
· DPCP or delegate to the Clinician follow up any MVCOT Report of Concern within 3 days of it being made if no response is received and seek email confirmation that the notification has been received.
· Forward email notification to Clinician to record on the client’s file
· Ensure together with the General Manager that any Report of Concern to Child Youth and Family or Police which has not been dealt with satisfactorily or where there are still concerns held by SVS-LS in relation to a child, is advocated at senior levels both within MVCOT and Police.
· Ensure procedures within this policy are followed in situations where a further Report of Concern is required to MVCOT in relation to a child.
Confidentiality and Information Sharing
SVS-Living Safe encourages the sharing of information provided all appropriate steps have been taken.
Information received about a child will be treated in a discreet and confidential manner.
SVS-Living Safe recognises that all staff must act within the legal requirements of the Privacy Act, Children Young Persons and their Families Act and other statues.
All staff will follow the process as outlined Responding to Information Requests as contained in Appendix F. Information concerning a child and requested by others not listed on Appendix F will only be given out after consultation with the General Manager. Staff will not share any information that will endanger a child.
In situations where consent needs to be obtained, staff must ensure the person who has given consent understands
All information requests, together with information shared must be recorded on the relevant client file.
Relationships with External Agencies
SVS- Living Safe places importance on good working relationships with other agencies that support SVS-Living Safe in child protection matters.
SVS-Living Safe will ensure that staff undertake an active programme for maintaining the relationships between agencies- both NGO’s and government agencies, including a good working relationship with MVCOT , and Police.
Contact details for all agencies, MVCOT and Police will be kept and updated by the Designated Person for Child Protection and coordinated.
Managing Allegations Against Staff
This section outlines the procedure to be followed if an allegation of child abuse or neglect is made against a member of staff.
SVS-Living Safe is committed to ensuring that all staff are appropriately safety checked in accordance with current safety checking legislation and requirements.
Safe Working Practices
All staff who work with children or who come into contact with children during the course of their work have a duty to keep children safe and protect them from harm. Children have a right to be safe, and to be treated with respect and dignity.
This section gives guidance as to the expectation placed on staff in relation to staff behaviour and conduct with children. SVS-Living Safe expect staff to have a high standard of behaviour based on strong professional boundaries and ethics, in order to protect children from abuse and risk, and to protect staff from unwarranted suspicion.
The following practices are not an exhaustive list and staff are expected to make good judgements about their interaction with children based on integrity and professionalism, ensuring that the welfare of children will always be the paramount consideration.
All staff will have a clear understanding of SVS-Living Safe’s Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics and ensure that these Codes are followed at all times.
Staff will be guided by the following;
SVS-Living Safe recognises there may be times when social interaction outside of working hours may occur between a child or family and member of staff working with them. If this does occur, details of this must be given to the General Manager who will assess whether a conflict of interest exists. A record of this decision will be held by the General Manager.
There are occasions when it is appropriate to have physical contact with a child. If this is seen as necessary, staff must ensure this is done in ways appropriate to their professional roles.
When physical contact is made with a child this should be in response to their needs at the time, of limited duration and appropriate to their age, stage of development, gender, ethnicity and background.
Technology including social media
Supervision of children
Positive Role Modelling
Refer to SVS-Living Safe’s Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.
Giving and Receiving of gifts.
SVS- Living Safe acknowledges that in the course of engaging with a child, children may give gifts to staff members as a token of appreciation or for supporting positive behaviour. Staff may also give gifts to children to recognise particular achievements.
In order that children and staff are kept safe and that gifts are not misinterpreted, staff must give gifts openly to the child and ensure they are not based on favouritism. Any gift received from a child to a staff member may be accepted having regard to professional boundaries.
Transporting of children
Staff who are required to transport children as part of their role and engagement with children should ensure they follow the Vehicle and Transport policy.
Staff will report to the General Manager and/or Designated Person for Child Protection and record any situation which may place a child at risk or which may compromise SVS-Living Safe or their own professional standing
SVS- Living safe is committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Prevention is achieved through: