Safe Guarding Policy
REACH THE CHILDREN UK
Children and Adults at Risk
Who we are
Reach the Children UK (RTC) is a Registered Charity No. 1108058 and is subject to the Laws of England and Wales.
What we do
RTC works in Africa through its associate organisations with impoverished children in the rural environment. The work comprises engaging with organisations and community groups to improve the wellbeing of children, and funding projects promoted and sponsored by RTC’s in-country staff. From time to time groups of volunteers visit RTC projects and interact directly with children, some of whom are individuals with special needs and occasionally with adults at risk.
RTC believes that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind. RTC promotes the welfare of all children and young people to keep them safe. RTC is committed to operate in a way that protects them.
RTC and its associates understand they have a duty to protect children and adults at risk from abuse. Abuse can be defined as any behaviour which knowingly or unwittingly causes harm, endangers life or violates rights. Abuse may be physical, sexual, psychological, financial, or material or neglect.
RTC is committed to ensuring that all children and young people have the same protection regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity. RTC is fully committed to anti-discriminatory practice recognising the barriers and communication challenges that are additional to the needs of disabled children as well as children from minority ethnic groups.
Our policy scope
Reach the Children recognises that in working in various countries ethnicity and cultural differences impact on local behavioural norms that may vary from those accepted throughout Western European societies. This recognition in no way diminishes RTC’s commitment to ensure children and adults at risk are kept safe on all of its projects wherever carried out. RTC will ensure that all stakeholders on any of its projects adhere to its Safe Guarding Children and Adults at Risk Policy. RTC reserves the sanction of withholding funding where partners and associate organisations are incapable of taking appropriate action where harm or abuse has occurred.
This policy applies to all staff, trustees, paid staff, volunteers, or anyone working on behalf of RTC. All persons engaged on projects funded, managed or participating jointly with other groups or organisations in Africa will be advised of RTC’s Safe Guarding Policy and required to sign a memorandum of understanding, obliging individuals, groups and organisations to abide by the principles and code of conduct contained within this policy.
All projects require to be risk assessed and a written method statement prepared for project implementation.
All suspicions and allegations of abuse or harm must be notified to the in country representative (ICR) of RTC. The ICR will investigate the matter and write up the findings, reporting to the designated Board member of RTC UK or RTC Inc (USA).
Where allegations are made against a UK citizen specifically, of abuse or harm towards a child, children, young person or an adult at risk, RTC UK is legally obliged to notify Law enforcement agencies who will investigate the allegation and decide if further action is warranted. Citizens of other countries may be subject to similar procedures and where so appropriate notification will be advised to their country authorities.
Adherence to common sense guidelines ensures personal conduct is beyond reproach. However malicious allegations towards members of RTC its associates or partners is always a possibility. RTC aims to manage suspicions and allegations to strike a balance between the need to protect children and adults at risk from abuse and the need to protect staff, volunteers, etc, from false or unfounded accusations.
Code of Conduct
- Consider the wellbeing and safety of all participants in RTC projects in advance through proper planning and development of safe methods of working/activities.
- Wherever possible, work in an open environment with children where they can be seen by others.
- Avoid unnecessary physical contact.
- Avoid taking a child or vulnerable adult alone in a car on journeys, however short.
- Avoid taking a child or vulnerable adult to the toilet, unless another responsible adult is aware.
- In a situation where you are alone with a child or vulnerable adult, make sure that others can clearly observe you.
- Set expectations of the standards of behaviour required from participants in an activity/event and encourage them to accept responsibility for their own performance and behaviour.
- Ask participants in an activity/event to take reasonable steps to ensure their own safety and that of others, and to report any inappropriate behaviour they experience/witness or any concerns that they may have.
- Avoid showing favouritism towards particular participants.
- Report incidents of alleged abuse to the ICR and ensure any allegations are recorded.
- Report any concerns about poor practice to the ICR.
- Report all accidents to the ICR for recording and investigation where required.
- Avoid personal relationships with a child or vulnerable adult. It is not appropriate to have a physical or emotionally intimate relationship with a young person under the age of 18. It is a criminal offence to abuse your “position of trust”.
- Remember inappropriate behaviour can also occur over the telephone, email, social media or internet.
Types of Abuse
The categories of abuse below are produced from external guidelines*. A person may abuse or neglect a child/vulnerable adult, or any other form of harm, by failing to act to prevent harm. There are four main forms of abuse, although there are variations within these:
- Physical Abuse
- Deliberate physical harm to children and adults at risk or any other form of harm which causes illness in a child or vulnerable person.
- Sexual Abuse
- Forcing or manipulating a child or adult at risk to take part in sexual activities.
- This involves the persistent failure to meet a child or vulnerable adult’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’ or vulnerable adult’s health or development.
- Emotional Abuse
- This involves the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child or adult at risk such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional wellbeing and/or development.
* HM Government “What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused” (2015)