Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy: Summary
This summary is intended for quick reference by staff and those working for Sense International.
Sense International exists to support children and adults with deafblindness to realise their rights – including their right to protection from harm. Exploitation and abuse can take many forms. Sense International has a duty of care to protect everyone that comes into contact with our organisation and to act in the best interests of the people with whom we work. We must uphold this duty of care in all areas of our operations. Sense International has a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, harassment, violence, exploitation and abuse. Our staff and those who work for us must adhere to the Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy at all times.
What you need to do
Everyone has a role to play in keeping people safe. You should review the full Code of Conduct regularly to ensure that you comply with Sense International’s standards. The checklist below highlights some key points to remember:
- Ensure your professional and personal conduct is consistent with Sense International’s values so that you do not bring the organisation into disrepute.
- Respond promptly to safeguarding concerns that you, or others, have.
- Report evidence of misconduct or breaches of policies to a manager.
- Do not engage in abusive or exploitative conduct.
- Do not engage in activity that is illegal under local or international law.
- Ensure the safety, health and welfare of all SI staff and associated personnel.
- Always maintain professional working boundaries.
- Do not use personal phones to contact project participants or transport them in your personal vehicle.
- Do not meet with project participants outside regular office hours or scheduled project activities.
- Do not spend time alone with children or vulnerable adults. A care giver or second adult should always be present.
- Always uphold confidentiality. Do not divulge confidential or sensitive information.
- Gain informed consent for inclusion in photographic and video material.
- Use organisational information, assets and resources responsibly.
- Avoid conflicts of interest.
How to report a concern
You must take action if you have evidence of misconduct or policy breaches, suspect abuse, or if someone raises a concern with you. This is what you must do:
If you have a concern or suspicion:
Make a clear record of what has been said or seen. This can include diagrams if it helps explanation. Write the date and time on the record and sign it.
If someone speaks to you about a concern:
- Listen carefully and take what is being said seriously.
- Do not make assumptions or accusations.
- Do not ask leading questions.
- Find out the basics, but do not investigate the matter.
- Make a clear record of what has been said or seen. Write the date and time on the record and sign it.
- Do not promise to keep the information a secret.
- Only share the information with other people if they need to know about it.
You must report all concerns using the procedure outlined below:
- Consider the immediate safety of those involved. Decide whether you need to take any urgent action, such as contacting the emergency protection services in your country. You should do this if someone is at imminent risk of harm. Relevant contact details are included in the full policy’s Country Reference Sheet.
- Report the concern as soon as possible. You can do this by:
- Speaking to your manager, your Safeguarding Focal Point (Board or staff), or your Sense International UK contact
- Contacting the report mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contacting the Head of Safeguarding (Sense): +44 121 415 6756
- Consider if you need to report to an external authority. This may be required if a crime has been committed. Relevant national or local authorities in your country are noted in the full policy’s Country Reference Sheet.
- Report the concern to Sense International UK within 72 hours. SI UK has a statutory duty to report serious incidents to its regulator, the Charity Commission, and similar contractual duties to donors. Failing to report could put funding at risk and potentially lead to statutory sanctions.
- Document the information you received about the concern. You will find a Safeguarding Incident Reporting Form to complete in Appendix 3 of the policy.
After a report is made, the manager responsible for leading on the response will follow the appropriate case handling procedure. For more information on how to address concerns, the reporting process, and what happens when reports are received, please refer to Section 3 of the full policy. A pictorial representation of the reporting process is available in Appendix 4 of the full policy.
Additional information for managers
If you are a manager, you have additional responsibilities.
- Ensure that the people you manage understand this policy and other key policies in the Safeguarding System.
- Ensure that mandatory safeguarding training is included in the induction process for new staff, and refreshed every three years for all staff.
- Discuss safeguarding practice as part of regular supervision meetings.
- Promote a culture of safety for all, leading by example.
If one of the people you manage speaks to you about a concern, you must make sure that the reporting procedure (outlined above) is followed. You should also:
- Make further safety checks as soon as possible. Ensure that the individual about whom the concern has been raised is in no immediate danger and that medical assistance has been provided, if needed.
- Inform relevant authorities, where appropriate, if not already contacted.
- Ensure that Sense International UK has been informed via the report mailbox. This should take place within 72 hours of the concern being raised.
- Report immediately to the Director of Sense International and the Chair of the Board in the country of operation if allegations have been made against a member of Sense International staff, volunteer, intern or Trustee, or any members of partner staff or related entities working directly within our projects.
- Notify donors where this is a grant requirement. You must discuss this with Sense International in the UK before contacting donors so as to ensure joined-up decision making and information management.
After taking these actions, you might be assigned ‘The Manager’ of the case. If so, you should refer to Section 3.3 of the full policy for details on the steps that you must take. The summary below is designed to provide an overview only:
- Inform the next of kin, carer, family or advocate of the child or vulnerable adult, if appropriate. This should happen immediately, or as soon as possible, and no longer than 48 hours after the report or incident.
- Work with the person who raised the concern to ensure that it is fully documented using the Safeguarding Incident Reporting Form in Appendix 3.
- Save information and documents related to the report in a limited-access, confidential report file and record the report in a limited-access Report Log.
- Provide feedback to the person that raised the concern, sharing information on a ‘need-to-know’ basis, respecting confidentiality.
- Liaise with staff in the Country Office to update risk registers and notify the Safeguarding Focal Point on the Board of Trustees.
- Update the contact at Sense International UK on progress and outcomes. This may involve liaising more closely on case management, and further support can be requested if needed.