The following policy is approved by Isle of Man Social Services.
- Leaders' Behaviour
- Pro-active accountability
- Good practice with colleagues
- Reporting an incident
- Incident forms
This policy is to protect children from abuse and keep them safe whilst engaged in activities associated with Firestarter.
To protect Firestarter staff from false accusations by being pro active in accounting for their actions.
Ensure that all child protection issues are dealt with in a sensitive manner, using Social Services as the lead agency in all child protection matters.
These measures are designed primarily to protect children, but are also in place to protect the leaders and helpers from poor work practice and false accusations.
2. Leaders' Behaviour
Do not engage in any of the following:
Do not invade the privacy of children when they are in the toilet, shower or tent;
Do not engage in rough, or physical or sexually provocative games;
Do not make sexually suggestive comments about or to a young person, even in ‘fun’;
Do not use inappropriate touching of any form;
Do not ridicule or reject any child or young person.
Do not raise your voice or threaten punishment (especially punishment that you are unable or have no intention of carrying out).
Do not let young people involve you in any attention seeking that could be construed as sexual in nature.
Do not invite young people to tent or sleeping area – at all.
Do not give lifts to young people on their own. If they are alone ask them to sit in the rear of the car.
When working with young people, the worker should not drink alcohol on the day in question; also inform Firestarter leaders if you are taking any medication, which may affect your behaviour.
Treat all children and young people with respect and dignity befitting their age; watching your language, tone of voice, and where you put your body.
As far as possible a worker should not be alone with a child where their activity cannot be seen.
In a pastoral situation with a young person, where privacy and confidentiality are important, quite simply don’t do it but talk to another leader. If it is really unavoidable then make sure another same-gender person is present and able to listen to the conversation. Do not attempt to counsel anyone, the chances are you are not qualified and you will leave yourself open to accusation.
Procedure for going into camping areas of the opposite gender
Reasons to go into a camping area of the opposite gender:
- To evict someone from the site
- First aid
- Serious injury or a life-threatening situation
What to do:
- Announce that you are going into the area
- You must notify Security Via radio or mobile phone
- You must be accompanied by a leader of the appropriate gender
- You may go into the opposite gender’s camping area unaccompanied if the situation is life threatening
- Fill in an incident form immediately, explaining the reason why you went into the area. This is to protect you from accusation.
3. Pro-active accountability
It only takes one false accusation to cast doubt on persons’ character. This could have dire consequences in your personal life, work as well as any involvement in youth work in the future.
At Firestarter we ask you to protect yourself from accusation by being pro active in accounting for you actions.
Should you find yourself in a situation where you are alone with a child, or where you feel your position as a leader may be compromised, please fill out an Incident Form immediately afterwards.
This form must be countersigned by another leader and presented to the ‘Firestarter Child Protection officer’ at the earliest possible opportunity.
By reporting ANY potentially compromising situations in advance, you will be better placed to defend yourself from allegations.
If you see another Firestarter leader in a compromising situation, please contact the ‘Firestarter Child protection officer’ immediately.
4. Good practice with colleagues
If you see a volunteer, helper or any other adult acting in ways, which might be misconstrued, be prepared to speak to them or the Site Manager about your concerns. All the leaders and helpers should encourage an atmosphere of support and care which allows all workers to be comfortable enough to discuss inappropriate attitudes or behaviour.
Text any concerns to 166660 immediately. This will give a date and time stamp of the incident and will be held on permanent record.
If a young person tells you something that you are worried about remember these things.
LISTEN TO THEM
DO NOT QUESTION OR JUDGE
KEEP A RECORD OF THE INCIDENT
DO NOT ACT ALONE
DO NOT DELAY
DO NOT PROMISE ANYTHING
DO NOT PROMISE CONFIDENTIALITY
DO NOT START AN INVESTIGATION
6. Reporting an incident
All incidents must be reported to a site manager immediately: TOMMY HARRISON or GRAEME BROOKS
This will be reported to Tommy Harrison – Child Protection Officer for Firestarter
Any serious child protection issues will be reported to Social Services, who are the lead agency in any Child Protection issues.
Out of hour’s social worker: 631212 (Call the Police who get the Out of hours Social worker to call you back)
Duty social worker: 686179
7. Incident forms
Incident forms are available at the Security station.
You must give the following details:
Nature of incident
Name of person making the report
Countersigned by another leader