Children, young people and vulnerable adults

Amos Trust’s Safeguarding Policy supports and reinforces “The Children’s Act (1989)”. The policy is designed to encourage the development of good practice to prevent the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults. The policy is also intended to protect those who work with children and young people from unfounded accusations or from behaving in ways that may be well intended but inadvisable.

Policy safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults. 
Introduction and recommendations

Amos Trust works with international partners that work with children, young people and vulnerable adults. Through their activities, these partner projects will have routine contact with people who are at risk of, have or are experiencing abuse.

The Policy consists of:
1. Policy Statement
2. Procedures
3. Guidelines for the Implementation of the Procedures
4. Safeguarding and Communications
5. Resources, Legislation and Publications

1. Policy Statement

Amos Trust is committed to the guiding principles outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989):

Amos Trust believes that:

  • The welfare of the child, young person and vulnerable adult is paramount.

  • All children, young people and vulnerable adults, whatever their age, colour, culture, disability, gender, marital status, language, race, ethnic or national origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.

  • Children, young people and vulnerable adults should be:
    listened to and heard
    valued and treated as individuals
    respected for their identity and uniqueness
    encouraged and praised 
    involved in decision making.

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

  • Staff and volunteers should be clear on how to respond appropriately.

We wish to prevent any physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults who are supposed to benefit from our work and recognise our responsibility to implement, maintain and review the following procedures.

Amos Trust seeks to ensure that our partners follow the highest level of practice and take all possible steps to limit the likelihood of abuse to a child, young person or vulnerable adult who is in their care. We are only too happy to provide any assistance partners may need in ensuring this occurs.

Amos Trust will take the following steps to safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults:

Awareness
Ensure that all staff and others we work with are aware of abuse and the risks facing children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Prevention
Ensure that all staff and others minimise the risks to children, young people and vulnerable adults through awareness and good practice.

Reporting
Ensure that all staff and others are clear about what steps to take if concerns arise regarding the health and safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Responding
Ensure action is taken to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults where concerns are raised about possible abuse.

This Policy applies to all:

  • trustees
  • staff
  • freelance contractors
  • volunteers
  • supporters on overseas trips

A copy of this policy will be available to each of the above at the time of agreements/contracts. Effective monitoring and evaluation systems will be in place to ensure that this policy is implemented. A whole policy review will take place on an annual basis. The designated safeguarding lead at Amos Trust is Karin Joseph.

2. Procedures

  • Assess when staff, volunteers, trustees or supporters on overseas visits will have contact with children, young people and vulnerable adults as part of their involvement in Amos Trust work.

  • Plan the work of Amos Trust so as to minimise situations where the potential abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults may occur.

  • Ask any staff, volunteers, trustees and supporters who may have access to children, young people and vulnerable adults through their involvement in Amos, to complete an application form and DBS (Disclosure & Barring Services) check.

  • Take up references on all staff, volunteers, trustees and supporters for overseas visits and ensure a thorough interview procedure.

  • Any evidence of previous criminal behaviour or suspicious activity will be referred to the Director for a decision as to the suitability of the person for employment at the Amos Trust. The Director or Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), will note the specific activities mentioned, the circumstances of their employment and seek advice.

  • Implement and issue guidelines to all workers with children or young people on how to deal with abuse and to give training on the use of these guidelines. 

These guidelines and training will include:

  • a reminder of the workers’ duty, both to prevent abuse and to report any abuse discovered or suspected
  • guidance on what constitutes abuse and how to recognise it
  • specific instructions on who to inform if abuse is disclosed or discovered
  • some indication of what might happen if the abuse is reported
  • guidance on how to support the abused child or young person.

Amos Trust will:

  • Ensure all staff and volunteers receive clear guidance and have adequate supervision.

  • Ensure that this policy is well-publicised and open so that people will not feel that they are ‘whistle-blowing’ if they have concerns over the conduct of others working with young people as parts of Amos Trust practice or the practice of Amos’ Partners.

  • Discuss with partner projects their safeguarding policies for work with children, young people and vulnerable adults. Provide support to partner projects if they need to tighten up or review their policies or procedures. Any concerns will be thoroughly explored and an action plan developed to address these.

  • When developing a relationship with a new partner involved in work with children, young people or vulnerable adults a comprehensive exploration of the potential partner including take-up of independent references will occur.

3. Guidelines for the Implementation of the Procedures

Plan the work of Amos Trust so as to minimise situations where the abuse of children, young people or vulnerable adults may occur. These guidelines are designed to protect all parties.

  • Arrange that, as far as possible, an adult is not left alone with a child, young person or vulnerable adult when there is little or no opportunity of the activity being observed by others.

  • Signed Codes of Conduct are required for staff, volunteers and visitors to Amos partners where contact with children and young people is possible.

Give all staff and volunteers clear roles:

  • Abuse of children and young people is most easily concealed when there is confusion amongst adults about roles and responsibilities. 

  • Amos Trust staff and volunteers should have clear roles and responsibilities for the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Ensure thorough recruitment systems are in place:

  • All situations that involve convictions with children and young people are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that all convictions, however old, that relate to children and young people or vulnerable adults, must be declared. Information about other criminal convictions must also be given, as these may be relevant to the suitability of the person.

  • DBS checks should always be carried out on all who work with children or young people in the UK. Due to the fact that the police checks take a long time to be processed, while the check is moving through the system, the person will be allowed to work at Amos Trust, but will never be left in an unsupervised situation, i.e. without a co-worker.

  • A determined, convicted abuser may well tell a lie. It is for this reason that a reference should be obtained. If the individual has moved frequently from one (voluntary) job/organisation to another, it would be advisable to find out why. Reference requests should include any information about behaviour in the past which has contravened a Code of Conduct or constituted a safeguarding breach.

  • More time talking with a worker before an appointment will give the opportunity to find out about the candidate’s contacts with children and young people and vulnerable adults.

Ongoing line management:

  • Supervision should be used as a means of protecting children, young people and vulnerable adults. Regular opportunities should be made for workers to receive supervision or meet together to review and plan their work, to share their experiences, to receive training and to talk about their relationships with children and young people.

  • Special attention should be paid to any situation in which a child or young person is being either highly favoured or harshly treated, as these could be signs of abuse.

Personal conduct of staff, volunteers and visitors:
Amos Trust does not dictate the beliefs or behaviours of staff volunteers or visitors in their personal lives; however, any actions taken outside of working hours that are seen to contradict this Safeguarding Policy will be considered a policy violation.

Identifying forms of abuse:

  • Physical
    Where children, young people and vulnerable adults receive physical hurt or injury.

  • Sexual
    Where adults seek sexual gratification by using children, young people and vulnerable adults.

  • Emotional
    Where children, young people and vulnerable adults are harmed by a constant lack of love and affection, or threats, taunting etc.

  • Spiritual
    Where a child, young person or vulnerable adult is subjected to fear or oppression by the use of spiritual authority, or where a child, young people and vulnerable adult’s faith is undermined or manipulated in order to gain control or complicity that would otherwise be unacceptable.

  • Neglect
    Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a person’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of a child’s health or development. It may involve a parent or guardian failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

If you suspect abuse:

  • Do not delay.

  • Notify the person to whom you are responsible and either your Amos Trust trip leader, Amos Trust Designated Safeguarding Lead or that of the relevant partner project.

If a child or young person wants to talk about abuse:

  • Accept what the child, young person or vulnerable adult says, keeping calm and looking at them directly.

  • Let them know that you need to tell someone else — do not promise confidentiality.

  • Even when a child, young person or vulnerable adult has broken a rule, they are not to blame.

  • Be aware that the child, young person or vulnerable adult may have been threatened.

  • Reassure the child, young person or vulnerable adult they were right to tell you and you believe them.

  • Let the child, young person or vulnerable adult know what you are going to do next and that you will let them know what happens.

  • Make notes as soon as possible, writing down exactly what was said and when he/she said it, record dates and times of these events and keep the hand-written record.

4. Safeguarding and Communications

Photography
Images of and interviews with children, young people and vulnerable adults may be needed and used for the following purposes:

  • a visual record of activities
  • monitoring, evaluation and learning
  • research reports or publications
  • marketing and publicity of the project including press releases
  • a creative project that involves photography, video, DVD, film, mobile phones or websites
  • project dissemination including conferences, seminars, project events, published articles and other publications
  • general marketing.

Amos Trust relies on our partner projects to secure permission for us for the use of photographs. We work on the assumption that all Amos publicity materials will in some form be posted online (unless specifically restricted from this use) and will, therefore, in principle, be accessible to the children/young people, their families and others who know them.

It is important to remember that there is more potential for them to have a negative impact on the lives of children/young people featured if the necessary precautions are not taken and the necessary conversations about informed consent obtained.

Amos Trust will explain to our partners what photographs are intended for and ask whether/when it is permissible to take pictures — for example, in a centre drop-in session but not on street outreach). If these are to focus on an individual then we will confirm with the partner project that it is OK to take these pictures and whether they have consent for these pictures to be taken for the purpose outlined.

If the pictures are for an in-depth personal feature or project, Amos Trust will ensure that signed permission has been obtained by the partner organisation from the young person/child and either a parent or those acting in local parentis and that this permission is held by them and a duplicate given to Amos.

Accompanying articles and pieces of writing
We will change the names used for any such article, (unless the person is over 18 and they wish their name to be used), or it is made clear to us that it is in the young person’s interest for their name to be used — for example, if they are winning an international award.

If the article is such that Amos Trust’s Designated Child Safeguarding Officer, Communications Lead or Director feels that the identity of the person featured should be obscured further, we shall ensure that this is the case for any photos accompanying the article. We would at this point also go back to the partner project with our plan of action.

If permission is not possible we will ensure that the story captured is conveyed in such a way that people would not be able to identify the child described.

If Amos is writing a general article about children/young people in a particular situation, we will:


  • Make sure that there is a clear disclaimer over the pictures used.

  • Make sure that if a face is recognisable that the article does not describe a situation in such a way as to convey a negative image of the child/young person.

  • Make sure that faces are not visible unless full permissions have been obtained, and even then, that it will be at the discretion of the Safeguarding Officer and partner project.

If we wish to use a picture for an activity other than that for which permission was obtained, we will contact the partner project to obtain that permission. 

If a complaint is received about use, we will in the first instance contact the partner project to follow this up with the child, young person or their family.

Film
For filming, Amos Trust will follow the procedure identified above for photography. We will obtain permission for filming young people, and individual permission for any young person interviewed.

If a young person has chosen to be filmed and full permission has been received, and if Amos’ Designated Safeguarding Officer, Communications Lead or Director feel that the subject matter is such that this should not be publicly available, we will restrict the use of the resulting film and it will not be posted on any of our public platforms.

Rules for photography and filming during supporter trips will be covered by the relevant Code of Conduct document.

Guidance for staff in relation to contractors visiting projects:

  • Inform the partner of Amos Trust’s Safeguarding Policy and ensure they have an outline copy of these guidelines.

  • Ensure you are clear about what they are recording, and all ways in which the footage and/or interviews will be used. Ensure that you have the participants and projects consent for such recording and publishing.

  • When contracting a professional photographer, video or filmmaker to record a project, make sure you give a clear brief and contract, of which an outline of this Safeguarding Policy should form a part.

  • When contracting photographers or filmmakers, request to see a current DBS check before confirming their travel.

  • Make sure familiar workers introduce the photographer, video or filmmaker/journalist and explain their role to the child or young person.

  • Gain agreement with the partner projects involved for permission to film/interview and for permission and restrictions on the use of any filming or interview material of the children involved. This is not to restrict the way in which a project is presented, but to ensure that local child protection policies are maintained.

Guidance for use of images and interviews:

  • Ensure suitable consent/permission exists and that usage and copyright have been agreed with the photographers, video, filmmakers and journalists.

  • Avoid the use of first name and surname of children (i.e. John Smith) with the use of an image of a child. Names should always be changed unless there is a specific rationale for not doing so.

  • Restrict information accompanying the photo/film and when appropriate, make use of composite information unless there is a specific rationale for doing so.

  • Ensure that the Project with which the child is associated is aware of the way in which the pictures and interviews will be used and that they are asked as to whether any restrictions need to be applied.

Guidance on storing of images:

  • Project activities that involve recording images of children, young people and vulnerable adults should follow these procedures when it is possible to do so and when failure to do so would put a child at risk.

  • Ensure that there has been agreement with the partner projects involved for permission to film and for permission and restrictions on the use of any filming of the children involved.

  • Do not keep any images of participants after a session, if you do not have permission to do so.

  • Images and film of children should be kept securely in a password-protected folder, and not easily available for anyone to access.

  • Copies of consent forms, when appropriate, should be stored safely for as long as images are stored and used.

  • Clearly label and store images, with the date and the specific agreed use noted if you want to use them again for a different purpose to the one outlined in the consent form.

Image consent form guidance:
Amos Trust will work with partner projects to draw together a suitable image consent form in the participant’s own language. The child or young person will have the form explained to them by someone they know, and it should be made clear that they are able to withdraw their consent at any time or not give it at all if they do not wish to.

They should contain the following details:

  • the name of the person making the recording
  • the relationship between the photographer and subject
  • how the images are being, or are intended to be used and the reason(s) for this
  • a signed declaration that the information provided is valid and that the images will only be used for the reasons given
  • the form will then be held by the partner project and a duplicate by Amos Trust.

5. Resources, Legislation and Publications

Legislation

  • The Children Act, 1989 (England and Wales) Children (Scotland) Act, 1995

  • The Children Act, 2004
    This puts into legislation the proposals set out in the Green Paper ‘Every Child Matters’ (2003).

  • The Protection of Children Act, 1999

  • The Data Protection Acts, 1984 and 1998 the Human Rights Act, 1998

  • Sexual Offences Act, 2003

  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, 2006

  • Publications:
    Keeping Children Safe
    Standards for Child Protection
    Save the Children UK, 2006
    Working Together to Safeguard Children (H. M. Government, 2006)

  • Caring for Young People and the Vulnerable?
    Home Office guidance for preventing the abuse of trust.

  • Working Together to Safeguard Children
    Home Office, Department of Health, Department for Education and Skills, 2006). 

Revised June 2019

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