This child protection policy is our statement of intent which demonstrates our commitment to safeguarding children from harm and makes clear to all in the organisation, and those who come into contact with us, what is required in relation to the protection of children and that child abuse in any form is unacceptable to The Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund (The HvSMF).
The HvSMF takes seriously its responsibility to promote child safe practices and protect children from harm, abuse, neglect, poverty and exploitation in any form. In addition, it will take positive action to prevent child abusers from becoming involved with The HvSMF in any way and take stringent measures against any trustee, employee or volunteer who abuses a child. To ensure effective management of this and related policies and its implementation, we have a Trustee who is responsible for safeguarding, and safeguarding is also discussed at every Trustee meeting. This policy will be reviewed annually. The Charity recognises the expertise staff build by undertaking safeguarding training. Staff contribute to, and shape safeguarding arrangements and the child protection policy. This policy applies to everyone working for or associated with The HvSMF.
3. Trustees, Staff and Volunteers
Trustees, employees and volunteers are required to undergo the following:
- Satisfactory DBS check or equivalent police check where the person is not in the UK.
- Declare any criminal convictions, including spent convictions. Anyone with spent convictions can still be employed/volunteer using The HvSMF trustees’ discretion.
- Provide references when requested. The trustees may vary these requirements at their own discretion if they have good reason.
The designated child protection officer is Claire van Straubenzee.
5. Reporting Incidents
On appointment, and as part of the regular training to update staff on child welfare and safeguarding issues, all staff must learn how to report suspicions of abuse or concerns about a child’s welfare to the appropriate safeguarding representative. All witnessed, suspected or alleged violations of the policy will be immediately reported to the designated safeguarding officer who will record and act on them in a confidential manner. The charity will take appropriate action to protect the child in question from further harm and others in the organisation during and after an incident or allegation.
6. Ramifications of Misconduct
Pending the outcome, the trustees will immediately suspend the trustee, employee or volunteer who is alleged to have violated our child protection policy. We reserve the right to take disciplinary action against any of the above, who have been proved guilty of an investigation; this may include reporting the incident to the police.
Vigilance: to have adults notice when things are troubling them; Understanding and action: to understand what is happening; to be heard and understood; and to have that understanding acted upon; We have procedures for contacting local authorities on safeguarding and child protection issues to ensure that it is easy in any emergency, for the Charity and agencies, to work well together. If a report is to be made to the authorities, we will seek professional advice on the next steps, including consulting with staff and/ or parents etc.
8. All trustees, staff and volunteers of the charity must give assent to and abide by this code of conduct
Trustees, staff and volunteers must avoid actions or behaviour which constitute poor practice or potentially abusive behaviour, and they assent to the principles and practice of the Child Protection Policy
As volunteers are often employed temporarily, the Child Protection Officer must stress the importance of the Child Protection Policy and practice during initial induction training, and ensure that volunteers have understood them and follow them correctly.
Staff obligations: All staff in our Charity are required to give notification immediately if there are any reasons why they should not be working with children. This includes any staff who are disqualified from childcare or registration including ‘by association’ i.e. they live in the same household (or someone is employed in their household) as someone who has unspent cautions or convictions for a relevant offence The Charity will adhere to the statutory guidance on dealing with allegations of abuse in force at the time. We will consider and thoroughly investigate any allegation expeditiously, fairly and consistently, avoiding all unnecessary delays. The aim will always be to ensure a quick resolution to the benefit of all concerned; the nature, seriousness and complexity of the allegation will have a bearing on timescales.
Where a child makes a disclosure to a member of staff, that member of staff:
- Offers reassurance to the child;
- Listens to the child;
- Gives reassurance that she or he will take action;
- The member of staff does not question the child;
- The member of staff must not promise confidentiality;
- The member of staff must always refer the matter to the Safeguarding Trustee and complete a written safeguarding report.
All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know.
13. The child’s wishes
Where there is a safeguarding concern, we ensure the child’s wishes and feelings are considered when determining what action to take and what services to provide. When interviewing children, we will do so confidentially and enable the child to express their views and give feedback, and ultimately our systems and processes will operate with the best interests of the child at their heart.
14. Organisations in the UK and overseas working in partnership with The HvSMF
Every organisation working with The HvSMF either in the UK or overseas must have an equivalent safeguarding policy. Organisations working overseas are expected to receive a specific briefing in relation to their attachment from the local Child Protection Officer in Uganda. This briefing should include details of HvSMF’s Child Protection Policy with emphasis on the code of conduct, communication and child protection principles and practice.
15. Building Contractors
The Child Protection officer must brief their workforce about child protection policy with an emphasis on the code of conduct. The Projects Director Uganda will explain to contractors of the need to brief their workforce on the importance of adhering to the principles and practice of the Child Protection Policy which must be adhered to especially when the builders and craftsmen are working on site at schools.
16. Visitors to HvSMF Projects in Uganda
Visitors and guests are bound by the principles and practice of the Child Protection Policy The Child Protection Officer must stress the importance of the Child Protection Policy and practice before the visit takes place and ensure that all visitors have understood them and follow them correctly. They are expected to receive a specific briefing in relation to the exact circumstances of the visit from the local Child Protection Officer in Uganda. This briefing must include details of HvSMF’s Child Protection Policy with emphasis on the code of conduct, communication and child protection principles and practice.
Only trustees and senior staff with The HvSMF have equipment that grants them access to the internet. No children are allowed to access our systems. All information held on our systems are securely protected with passwords and anti-virus software for example. In addition, we will not tolerate any abuse of IT systems. Whether offline or online, communications by staff should be courteous and respectful at all times. Any reported incident of bullying or harassment or other unacceptable conduct such as accessing inappropriate images will be treated seriously. Where conduct is found to be unacceptable, the charity will deal with the matter internally. Where conduct is considered illegal, the charity will report the matter to the police.
This policy will be amended every two years:
Latest policy amendment 10 Feb 2023
Next policy amendment Feb 2025