CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
SVIS is a safe and secure place where children learn free from threat & danger. All staff and volunteers who work alongside children are thoroughly checked to ensure they, present no threat to young people. Where allegations are made against adults or other young people, these are always treated seriously and investigated by the appropriate authority. At SVIS, the Child rights Protection Committee (POCSO Committee) is designated to take lead responsibility for dealing with child protection issues, providing advice and support to other staff.
SVIS ensures that we help children keep safe through the teaching of self-protection skills and encouragement of responsible attitudes to adult life through a life skill, or similar personal, social and health education/citizenship programmes.
The POCSO Committee at SVIS is responsible for ensuring a clear Child Protection policy is in place in school.
- The Principal is responsible for ensuring the Child Protection policy and procedures are implemented and monitored in school.
- School staff is responsible for following the procedures and guidelines of the Child Protection policy and for reporting any allegations made or concerns they may have for child safety, to The Principal or any member of the POCSO Committee or any other senior staff member. They are also trained to convey to the parent and seek adequate support of school and parent community. Students are also empowered to consider safety of all as a priority.
Safe recruitment procedures will be upheld e.g. appropriate checks are carried out on new staff and volunteers who will work with children. Background checks and police verification is taken care of.
All staff members are expected to contribute towards an environment that offers children maximum protection e.g. contributing to creation of a positive atmosphere in which pupils are respected and know that they can find assistance if necessary.
Harm may be caused by others or be self-inflicted. There are various categories of abuse:
Emotional Abuse – Some level of emotional abuse is present in all forms of abuse. Persistent, emotional ill treatment or rejection can cause serious effects on behaviour and emotional development and usually leads to a sense of low self-worth. It may involve inappropriate expectations (e.g. by age or ability), repeated criticisms that convey to a child that he or she is worthless or unloved. It may involve causing children frequently to feel unhappy, frightened or in danger.
Neglect – This refers to persistent or deliberate failure to meet a child’s physical or psychological needs e.g. a failure to provide adequate food, clothing or shelter, failure to protect a child or failure to provide adequate medical care. It may also involve neglect or failure to give adequateresponse to a child’s emotional needs.
Physical Injury – This involves physical harm to a child e.g. hitting, shaking, scalding and may be deliberate or a result of failure to take adequate precautions. It can also include the deliberate withholding of physical needs e.g. food. It can involve the abuse of dangerous substances and alcohol.
Sexual Abuse – This involves the child being forced or coerced into participating in or watching sexual activity. The apparent consent of the child is irrelevant. The acts may involve physical contact. They may involve non-contact activities such as involving children in looking at or in the production of pornographic material, watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Dealing with Disclosure of Abuse and Procedure for Reporting
If a staff member is told about abuse, or a staff member suspects or knows of any abuse of any young person, the named person with responsibility for Child Protection must be informed immediately in person or by telephone. Even if the information is based on rumors of abuse, or there is a suspicion but no firm evidence, this manager should be contacted regarding the concerns. Therefore even if the incident does not seem serious it must be reported as it may be a small part of a much larger picture. This needs to be done with care and sensitivity and the child or young person needs to be reassured that the matter will only be discussed with people who need to know.
- Arrange a place and times where you can talk as soon as possible, preferably with another adult present e.g. nurse, counselor or either Principal.
- Stay calm and reassuring and tell the pupil that she/he is right to tell someone.
- Let the pupil know that she/he is not to blame.
- Allow the pupil to speak and keep questions to a minimum.
- Let him/her know that you understand how difficult it is to talk about such experiences.
- Explain that you will need to involve other people and why,
- Report bruises or physical harm to the nurse so that this can be logged.
- Be supportive and give realistic encouragement.
- Talk to someone about your feelings and seek support for yourself.
- Promise confidentiality. Even if the young person is not at risk there may be other younger children who are and therefore staff cannot promise confidentiality.
- Make promises or reassurances you cannot keep.
- Press for details or ask leading questions as this can affect subsequent investigation.
- Ask the pupil to repeat the details unnecessarily.
- React emotionally.
- Interrupt or stop a pupil during a disclosure.
- Underestimate your role as a trusted adult.
- Forget to make time and seek support for yourself.
Staff should not investigate concerns or allegations themselves, but should report them immediately to the Principal. The report should be made as soon as possible after the disclosure and should include:
- The date and time of the report.
- The name of the person reporting the incident and, where different, the name of the student who has allegedly been abused Where, when and how disclosure took place and the names of anyone present and/or asked to attend.
- The date, time and place where the alleged abuse happened.
- The names of those present when the abuse occurred.
- The account that was given of the allegations with nature of abuse and outcome, if known.
- In the first instance, communication about such incidents should be directed only to the Principal in order to protect all concerned.