Policy: Counseling for Associates working with Children and Vulnerable Groups

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Future Worlds Center (hereafter “The organization”) has a policy to ensure that counseling is available for those people who work with children and vulnerable groups.


The organization is determined to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect children and young people from harm. This policy establishes the organization’s position, role and responsibilities and clarifies what is expected from everybody involved in the organization. It clearly highlights the importance placed by the organization in the protection of children and young people.


Every child and young person who participates in the organization’s activities should be able to participate in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from harm. This is the responsibility of every adult involved in the organization. The organization recognizes that child abuse can be an emotive subject. It is important to understand the feelings involved and not to allow them to interfere with judgment about any action that needs to be taken.


The organization recognizes its responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect and bullying. The organization shall not be held responsible for any physical or psychological injury caused by negligence of the person during the organizations organized events.


The Children Act 1989 defines a child as anyone who has not reached their 18th birthday. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital, in prison or in a Young Offenders’ Institution does not change his or her status or entitlement to services or protection.


The organization will ensure that:

• The welfare of the child and/or vulnerable adult is paramount. Within the context of this policy ‘child’ and ‘children’ can also be taken to cover vulnerable adult(s).


• All children whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/ or sexual identity have the right to be protected from harm.


• All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.


• All staff (paid/ unpaid) working in the organization have a responsibility to report concerns to (their supervisor/head of their department).


While one would expect that the majority of adults seeking to work with children and youth is out of pure care one needs to be aware and cautious of those adults who seek to find themselves closer to youth and children for their own ulterior motives. All concerns regarding individuals’ practice should be reported to your supervisor or head of you department/organization.

Child abuse is a term used to describe ways in which children are harmed, usually by adults and often by people they know and trust. It refers to the damage done to a child’s physical or mental health. Children can be abused within or outside their family, at school or in a sports or community environment. Vulnerable adults may also be subject to similar abuse.

• The organization values children and their protection

• The organization wants to safeguard children on courses/presentation/workshops that is providing

• The organization wants to fulfill its duty of care and provide a safe assessment environment or safe training or work placement

• The organization wishes to give clear direction to staff in situations that may be distressing

• The organization wishes to address and reduce any harm to which a child is being or may be subjected.

The organization’s staff, associates, and moderators, do not have responsibility or contact with children on a regular basis. However, the organization wishes to have a policy to cover those situations where its members do have contact with children. This contact may be direct, such as a telephone call to the Helpline or indirect, for example through an email report where the child asks for help.


The organization’s staff, associates should never be left on their own with children and will withdraw their services rather than find themselves in this situation. It is the responsibility of the centre to provide an environment where the organization’s staff or representatives can carry out their duties without the likelihood of finding themselves left unsupervised with children. Additionally, staff and associates will have occasional contact with children in schools or on work placements and may be privy to information or situations which give cause for concern.


• Wherever staff/associates are required to have contact with children, the organization will only recruit or appoint staff who is deemed suitable to work with children, based on the best knowledge of their supervisor.

• Staff/associates working with children, will be issued with a copy of this policy. Any member of staff found in breach of the guidance will be subject to immediate removal from their position/contract. The Organization has zero tolerance to child abuse physical or psychological, harassment or bullying. The individual identified carrying or instigating such acts will be expelled from the Organization immediately with no remuneration, any benefits or recommendation for future employment.

• Staff/associates who engage external placements for work experience and training programmes are required to ensure that placement providers are aware of child protection issues and obligations when seen to be violated based on the UN Convention on the rights of the Child (UNCRC).


What you should do if a young person reports abuse: If someone discloses that they are being abused, then upon receiving the information you should • React calmly.

• Reassure the child that they were right to tell and that they are not to blame.

• Take what the child says seriously.

• Be careful not to be deemed as putting words into the child’s mouth, the easiest way of doing this is by asking questions.

• Do not promise confidentiality. However be responsible to communicate the information only on a “need to know basis” avoiding exposing the child or causing further disturbance.

• Inform the child/ young person what you will do next.

• Make a full and written record of what has been said as soon as possible and don’t delay in passing on the information.


The report should include: • The child’s known details including name, date of birth, address and contact numbers where possible.

• Whether or not the person making the report is expressing their own concerns or those of someone else.

• The nature of the allegation, including dates, times, specific factors and any other relevant information.

• Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.

• A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioral changes.

• Details of witnesses to the incidents.

• The child’s account if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or others injuries occurred.

• Accounts from others, including colleagues and parents.


Things to be aware of:

• Associates/staff should not undertake any investigations itself, referring evidence instead to the appropriate authorities, such as Social Services, the Police

• Associates/staff may make preliminary inquiries, where work experience placements are involved, in consultation with the child’s school. The school has principal responsibility for dealing with child protection issues and will involve the appropriate authorities.


Referral

When a person needs to make a referral, the referral should be made to the local Social Welfare Office: Nicosia: 22406709, 22804605. Limassol: 25804535, Larnaca: 24800101, Pafos: 26821600, Ammochostos: 23821551, Morfou/Evrichou: 22870582 - http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/mlsi/sws/sws.nsf/dmlcontactus_gr/dmlcontactus_gr?OpenDocument Have all the information at hand- details of the young person and any written concerns.

Other useful Helplines:

For family violence call: 1440

For youth help call: 1455


Emergency action: In some cases you may need to protect a child immediately- in these situations dial 112or 199. The Police is the only agency with statutory powers for the immediate protection of children.

It is not the organisation’s responsibility to decide whether abuse has taken place or not, however it should pass on information to the appropriate authority immediately.


For further details, please see Counseling Services for Associates Procedure.


References

Darlington Safeguarding Children Board’s Child Protection Procedures.

Edexcel Safeguarding Children Policy

Working Together to Safeguard Children- A Guide to Inter-agency Working to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children (DCSF 2006)

Safer Working Practice for Adults who work with Children and Young People (DCSF 2007)

Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education (DCSF 2007)