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Introduction - dlr Leisure Services

By Diana Rivera,2014-03-23 19:55
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Introduction - dlr Leisure Services

    Seirbhísí Fóillíochta

    dlr

    dlr Leisure Services

    Child Protection Policy

    APRIL 2009

    TABLE OR CONTENTS

    Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 3

    Who Does this Child Protection Policy Apply to? ................................................................... 3 Policy Statement ..................................................................................................................... 3

    Policy Aims ............................................................................................................................ 4

    Policy Objectives .................................................................................................................... 4

    Employment Issues ................................................................................................................. 4

    Recruitment and Selection of Staff/Volunteers........................................................................ 4 Induction and Training ........................................................................................................... 5

    Supervision ............................................................................................................................ 5

    Information to be provided to employees ................................................................................ 6 Recognition of Abuse ............................................................................................................. 6

    Defining and Identifying Child Abuse .................................................................................... 7

     1. Neglect ............................................................................................................................... 7

    2. Emotional Abuse ................................................................................................................ 7

    3. Physical Abuse ................................................................................................................... 7

     4. Sexual Abuse ...................................................................................................................... 8

    Effects of Abuse ..................................................................................................................... 8

    Aggressive Behaviour............................................................................................................. 8

    Responsibility to Report Suspected or Actual Abuse............................................................... 9 Reporting Procedures ........................................................................................................... 10

    How to Respond ................................................................................................................... 10

    Reporting Procedures ........................................................................................................... 10

    What happens if there are Reasonable Grounds for Concern? ............................................... 11 Designated Person ................................................................................................................ 12

    Code of Behaviour for Staff, Volunteers and Participants ..................................................... 13 Dealing with Allegations against Staff/Volunteers ................................................................ 13 Confidentiality...................................................................................................................... 14

    Off duty Contact between Staff/Volunteers and Children ...................................................... 15 Appendix 1 Reporting Child Protection Concerns .............................................................. 16

Introduction

    Child abuse is a difficult subject, and it is understandable that people may be reluctant to acknowledge that it exists. Members of the public or professionals may be afraid of being thought of as insensitive, breaking confidences or appearing disloyal if they report suspected child abuse. However, early intervention may reduce the risk of serious harm occurring to a child at that time. DLR Leisure Services has a legal and moral responsibility to create and maintain the safest possible environment for children to enjoy sports and other recreational, social and leisure pursuits provided directly by us. DLR Leisure Services accepts that in all matters concerning child protection, the welfare and protection of the young person is paramount.

    This policy document is to safeguard children placed in our care and to facilitate the best possible professional practice from DLR Leisure Services, its staff and volunteers.

    Who Does this Child Protection Policy Apply to?

    This child protection policy applies to all staff, and volunteers. Everyone to whom the policy applies to, is required to familiarise themselves with the policy before becoming involved with children Policy Statement

    DLR Leisure Services is committed to a child-centred approach to our work with children in all services and activities operated by the Centres. We undertake to provide a safe environment where the welfare of the child is paramount. We will adhere to the Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children by implementing procedures covering:-

    ; Appropriate recruitment and selection of employees and volunteers;

    ; Implementing the Garda Vetting Procedures for all relevant employees and volunteers;

    ; Appropriate management, supervision ad training of employees;

    ; Providing clear procedures for parents and children to voice their concerns or lodge

    complaints if they feel unsure or unhappy about any issue;

    ; The reporting, investigation and recording of incidents and accidents; complaints made

    against DLR Leisure Services, its employees/volunteers

    ; The reporting of suspected or disclosed abuse confidentially

    ; Allegations of misconduct or abuse by employees

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Policy Aims

    This Child Protection Policy is provided as part of an induction programme to all those employed, whether being paid or unpaid, who will have direct contact with children. The aims are as follows:-

    ; To create a healthy and safe environment at all activities sport programmes and sessions.

    ; To ensure that children are listened to and kept safe from harm.

    ; To support and encourage parents to voice their opinions regarding the welfare of their

    children.

    ; To ensure that staff and volunteers who administer leisure facility sessions are well informed,

    supported and enabled to provide the best possible practice.

    Policy Objectives

    The Child Protection Policy objectives are as follows:-

    ; To raise staff and volunteers level of awareness about child abuse and its various forms.

    ; To raise the level of awareness about what children are entitled to be protected from for staff

    and volunteers.

    ; To ensure that all staff are able to recognise the signs of child abuse.

    ; To promote general health, welfare and full development of children during all leisure facility

    sessions.

    ; To develop effective procedures in recording and responding to accidents and complaints

    regarding alleged or suspected incidents of abuse.

    Employment Issues

    Recruitment and Selection of Staff/Volunteers

    All applicants who will provide recreational opportunities for children will complete a disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau to ensure that there are no irregularities in their background, which may give cause for concern. All new employees whether being paid or unpaid will be provided with the Child Protection Policy and asked to sign to confirm that they will abide by it. Application forms are designed to ascertain as much information as possible, such as but not limited to:-

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    ; Past career, relevant interests, any gaps in employment and reasons for leaving, educational,

    National Governing Body and First Aid qualifications.

    ; Consent for a Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure

    ; At least two references are taken up and where relevant followed up by letter or telephone.

    References taken up will ascertain the person‟s suitability to work with children.

    ; It is made clear that all information remains confidential.

    ; Personal identification will be confirmed by reference to a passport, driving licence, birth or

    marriage certificate, National Insurance Number and utility bill.

    ; That coaches hold adequate professional indemnity and/or personal liability insurance to

    cover their coaching role.

    Induction and Training

    The recruitment and selection process is followed up by the relevant training.

    ; Staff are made aware that child abuse can and does occur and that it could be perpetrated by

    colleagues, who are members of staff or volunteers within DLR Leisure Services.

    ; It is made clear that most abusers are not the monsters most people picture them to be, but

    ordinary men and women, more commonly men and at the extreme they are clever,

    manipulative and powerful.

    ; Staff are made aware that children can find it difficult to tell or talk about abuse. They need to

    be listened to, taken seriously and have their concerns acted upon.

    ; Staff are made aware of that they need to do in response to concerns reaching their eyes and

    ears.

    Supervision

    In general, staff work most effectively where there is a supervisory structure that ensures that they are supported, managed and developed. DLR Leisure Services will ensure that the Designated member of staffs are sensitive to any concerns about abuse, act on them immediately and offer support to those who report abuse.

    It is the responsibility of the Designated member of staff to monitor good practice, this can be done in a number of ways, for example:-

    ; Observation of coaching practice

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    ; Annual appraisals of teachers/coaches

    ; Provide feedback on performance against work programme

    ; Feedback from participants who attend activities at the leisure centres.

    Information to be provided to employees

    Recognition of Abuse

    It is not always easy to recognise a situation where abuse may occur or has already taken place even for those experienced in working with child abuse. DLR Leisure Services acknowledges its staff, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity are not experts at such recognition. It is important therefore to recognise that it is not their responsibility to decide whether or not child abuse is taking place, but to report where they have concerns or suspicions where an allegation has been made. The concern that the child may have been abused could relate to something which has happened whilst the child is engaged in an activity provided by DLR Leisure Services, or it may be a disclosure made by the child to a staff member or volunteer or a concern about something the child has experienced outside of the activity provided by DLR Leisure Services. Either would require a proactive response.

    There are many ways in which child abuse may manifest itself, for example:-

    ; Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a

    part of the body not normally prone to such injuries;

    ; An injury for which the explanation seems inconsistent;

    ; The child describes what appears to be an abusive act involving him/her;

    ; Someone else, a child or adult, expresses concern about the welfare of another child;

    ; Unexplained changes in behaviour over time, e.g. becoming very quiet, withdrawn or

    displaying sudden outbursts of temper;

    ; Inappropriate sexual awareness;

    ; Engages in sexually explicit behaviour in games;

    ; Is distrustful of adults, particularly those with whom a close relationship will normally be

    expected;

    ; Has difficulty in making friends;

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    ; Is prevented from socialising with other children;

    ; Displays variations in eating patterns including overeating or loss of appetite;

    ; Loses weight for no apparent reason;

    ; Becomes increasingly dirty or unkempt.

    This list is NOT exhaustive and the presence of one or more of the above is NOT proof that abuse is

    actually taking place.

    Defining and Identifying Child Abuse

    In this Policy “child” is defined as an unmarried person under the age of 18 years. Child abuse generally falls into four categories:-

    1. Neglect

    Neglect can be defined in terms of an omission, where the child suffers significant harm or

    impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual

    stimulation, supervision and safety, medical care or attachment to and affection from adults.

    The threshold of significant harm is reached when the child‟s needs are neglected to the

    extent that their well-being and/or development are severely affected. Neglect could occur

    during organised activities if young people are exposed to the risk of injury or there is a

    failure to ensure their safety. (Children First, National Guidelines for the Protection and

    Welfare of Children 1999, p. 31.)

    2. Emotional Abuse

    Emotional abuse may be caused by a persistent lack of love and affection, where a child may

    be constantly shouted at, threatened or taunted. It may also occur when there is constant

    overprotection (which prevents children from socialising), or there is neglect, physical or

    sexual abuse. Emotional abuse might occur if children are subjected to excessive criticism,

    inappropriate personal or sexual remarks, bullying, being exposed to undue or inappropriate

    pressure or exposed to danger. (Children First, National Guidelines for the Protection and

    Welfare of Children 1999, p. 31-32.)

    3. Physical Abuse

    Physical abuse is where adults physically hurt or injure children by hitting, shaking, squeezing,

    burning and biting or by giving children alcohol, inappropriate drugs or poison. In a sporting

    situation physical abuse can occur when the type of training exceeds the capacity of

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    the child’s physical capability. (Children First, National Guidelines for the Protection and

    Welfare of Children 1999, p. 32.)

    4. Sexual Abuse

    Sexual abuse occurs when a child is used by another person for their gratification or sexual

    arousal, or for that of others. Examples of sexual abuse include: exposing sexual organs or

    intentionally performing any sexual act in the presence of a child; intentional touching or

    molesting the body of a child; sexually exploiting a child, or; any sexual activity between staff

    and volunteers. In relation to child sexual abuse, it should be noted that, for the purposes of

    criminal law, the age of consent to sexual intercourse is 17 years. Physical contact with

    children could potentially create situations where sexual abuse may go unnoticed. The role

    of a coach in a sporting situation could provide the means of an abusive situation

    occurring. (Children First, National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children

    1999, p. 33.)

    Effects of Abuse

    Abuse in all its forms can affect a child at any age. The effects can be so damaging that, if untreated, they may follow an individual into adulthood. For example, an adult who has been abused as a child may find it difficult or impossible to maintain a stable, trusting relationship, become involved with drugs or prostitution, attempt suicide or even abuse a child in the future.

    There have been a number of studies that suggest children with disabilities are at increased risk of abuse through various factors such as stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, isolation and a powerlessness to protect themselves, or adequately communicate that abuse has occurred. Children from ethnic minorities‟ who could also be experiencing racial discrimination may feel doubly powerless.

    Aggressive Behaviour

    While bullying is not a category in itself, it is important to be aware of it in relation to child abuse. Bullying can be defined as repeated verbal, psychological or physical aggression that is conducted by an individual or group against others. Bullying behaviour may take place in any setting: in schools, in the home or in a DLR Leisure Services setting.

    The competitive environment provided by the sports situation makes an excellent environment for the bully to ply his/her trade. In sports the bully can be: -

    ; A parent who pushes the child too hard

    ; A coach with a win at all costs attitude

    ; A player who intimidates

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    ; An official placing unfair pressure on a person

    Bullying can take many forms

    ; Physical: pushing, hitting etc

    ; Verbal: name calling, teasing, sarcasm

    ; Emotional: tormenting, ridiculing, humiliating

    ; Racist: taunts, graffiti, gestures

    ; Sexual: unwanted physical contact or abusive comments

    There are various ways in which bullying shows itself.

    ; Behavioural changes such as reduced concentration, clingy, depressed, tearful, reluctant to

    attend training or club activities

    ; A reduction in the standard of play

    ; Physical signs such as headaches, stomach aches, difficulty in sleeping, damaged clothes

    ; A shortage of money or frequent loss of clothing

    In the first instance, it is the responsibility of the employee/volunteer to deal with bullying that may take place within the leisure centres. The more extreme forms of bullying behaviour would be regarded as physical or emotional abuse, and are reportable to the statutory authorities. DLR Leisure Services has a clear policy on bullying behaviour. Incidents should not be tolerated under any circumstances and should be dealt with immediately.

    Responsibility to Report Suspected or Actual Abuse

    Any person who suspects that a child is being abused, or is at risk of abuse, has a responsibility and a duty of care to report their concerns to the Child Protection Liaison Office for each DLR Leisure Centre. The Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998 provides immunity from civil liability to people who report child abuse „reasonably and in good faith‟ to the Child Protection Liaison Office or the Gardaí (Children First, National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children 1999 p.37).

    Reporting Procedures

    DLR Leisure Services provides an environment that encourages security, confidence and trust, so enabling young people to share their concerns. A young person will carefully select a person to confide in. That chosen person will be someone they trust and have confidence in. It is important that a young person who discloses child abuse feels supported and facilitated in what may be a frightening

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    and traumatic process for them. A young person may feel perplexed, afraid, angry, despondent and guilty. It is important that any negative feelings they may have are not made worse by the kind of response they receive.

    A young person who divulges child abuse to a staff member of volunteer of DLR Leisure Services has engaged in an act of trust and their disclosure must be treated with respect, sensitivity, urgency and care.

    How to Respond

    It is of the utmost importance that disclosures are treated in a sensitive and discreet manner. Anyone responding to a young person making such a disclosure should take the following steps.

    ; Take what the young person says seriously.

    ; React calmly, as over-reaction may intimidate the young person and increase any feelings of

    guilt that they may have.

    ; Reassure the young person that they were correct to tell somebody what happened.

    ; Listen carefully and attentively.

    ; Never ask leading questions.

    Reporting Procedures

    ; Use open-ended questions to clarify what is being said and try to avoid having them repeat

    what they have told you.

    ; Do not promise to keep secrets.

    ; Advise that you will offer support but that you must pass on the information.

    ; Do not express any opinions about the alleged abuser to the person reporting to you.

    ; Explain and make sure that the young person understands what will happen next.

    ; Do not confront the alleged abuser.

    ; Write down immediately after the conversation what was said, including all the names of those

    involved, what happened, where, when, if there were any witnesses and any other significant

    factors and note any visible marks on the individual making the report or any signs you

    observed. The person recording the event must sign and date all reports and indicate the time

    the notes were made.

    ; Ensure that the information is restricted to those who need to know it.

    ; Pass any allegations to the designated member of staff immediately.

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