Scope and purpose of this policy :
This document is the Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy for Love Burundi, which will be followed by all volunteers, Board members and beneficiaries of the organisation and followed and promoted by those in the position of leadership within the organisation. This policy relates primarily to Love Burundi’s responsibility for the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults in the UK.
If visits to Burundi are undertaken by Trustees or volunteers, a separate policy and safeguarding risk assessment will be drawn up in preparation for the visit, to be agreed by the Trustees prior to departure.
Love Burundi fully recognises its responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive organisation welcoming and respecting the diversity of its volunteers, Board members and beneficiaries. Love Burundi believes that children, young people and vulnerable adults have a fundamental right to be protected from harm wherever they are, whether in the UK or in Burundi. We also believe that all those working on behalf of the charity have a right to personal support and guidance concerning the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
In all our activities we will establish and maintain an environment and positive ethos where children, young people and vulnerable adults feel secure, supported and are encouraged to talk, are listened to, can participate, develop and feel valued. We will ensure that adults representing Love Burundi (including volunteers) know that they have an individual responsibility for referring child protection concerns.
Emergency Action to ensure Safety:
Immediate action may be necessary at any stage in involvement with children, young people and vulnerable adults and families. IN ALL CASES IT IS VITAL TO TAKE WHATEVER ACTION IS NEEDED TO SAFEGUARD THE CHILD OR CHILDREN AND/OR VULNERABLE ADULTS CONCERNED i.e.:
● If emergency medical attention is required, this can be secured by calling an ambulance (dial 999) or taking a child to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department.
● If a child is in immediate danger the police should be contacted (dial 999) as they alone have the power to remove a child immediately if protection is necessary, via their powers to use Police Protection.
Recognition of abuse:
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child, a young person and/or vulnerable adults. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child, a young person and/or vulnerable adult by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children, young people and vulnerable adults may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.
1. Physical Abuse
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.
2. Emotional Abuse:
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child's emotional development. It may involve conveying to children and vulnerable adults that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child's developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying, causing children and vulnerable adults frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of Emotional Abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child and/or vulnerable adult though it may occur alone.
3. Sexual Abuse:
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child, young person and/or vulnerable adult to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children and vulnerable adults in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children and vulnerable adults to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Neglect is the failure to meet a child's and/or vulnerable adult basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child's health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
● provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
● protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger x ensure adequate supervision(including the use of inadequate care-givers)
● ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child's and/or vulnerable adult basic emotional needs.
Individuals within the organisation need to be alert to the potential abuse of children and vulnerable adults both within their families and also from other sources including abuse by members of that organisation.
Procedure in cases of suspected abuse:
Adults working as trustees or volunteers on behalf of Love Burundi should know how to recognise and act upon indicators of abuse or potential abuse involving children and vulnerable adults and where there are concerns about a child's welfare. There is an expected responsibility for all members of the organisation to respond to any suspected or actual abuse of a child in accordance with these procedures. It is good practice to be as open and honest as possible with parents/carers about any concerns. However, you MUST NOT discuss your concerns with parents/carers in the following circumstances:
● where Sexual Abuse or sexual exploitation is suspected
● where organised or multiple abuse is suspected
● where there are concerns a child may be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation
● where fabricated or induced illness (previously known as Munchausen Syndrome by proxy) is suspected
● where contacting parents/carers would place a child, yourself or others at immediate risk
Decisions should not be taken in isolation. Concerned adults should consult with a member of the UK Board of Trustees by contacting:
Mr John Fairbairn (email@example.com), or
Mrs Christine Muneza (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What to do if Children and Vulnerable Adults talk to you about abuse or neglect:
It is recognised that a child and/or vulnerable adult may seek you out to share information about abuse or neglect, or talk spontaneously individually or in groups when you are present. In these situations, YOU MUST:
● Listen carefully to the child and/or vulnerable adult. DO NOT directly question the child
● Give the child and/or vulnerable adult time and attention.
● Allow the child and/or vulnerable adult to give a spontaneous account; do not stop a child who is freely recalling significant events.
● Make an accurate record of the information you have been given taking care to record the timing, setting and people present, the child's and/or vulnerable adult’s presentation as well as what was said. Do not throw this away as it may later be needed as evidence.
● Use the child's and/or vulnerable adult’s own words where possible.
● Explain that you cannot promise not to speak to others about the information they have shared - do not offer false confidentiality.
● Reassure the child and/or vulnerable adult that: they have done the right thing in telling you; they have not done anything wrong;
● Tell the child and/or vulnerable adult what you are going to do next and explain that you will need to get help to keep him/her safe.
● DO NOT ask the child and/or vulnerable adult to repeat his or her account of events to anyone
If you have a Child and/or vulnerable adult protection concern you should consult about your concern.
Because of your observations of, or information received you may become concerned about a child and/or vulnerable adult who has not spoken to you. It is good practice to ask a child and/or vulnerable adult why they are upset or how a cut or bruise was caused, or respond to a child and/or vulnerable adult wanting to talk to you. This practice can help clarify vague concerns and result in appropriate action.
If you are concerned about a child and/or vulnerable adult you must share your concerns. Initially you should talk to a member of the Board of Trustees. You should consult with your local Social Care Duty & Investigation Team in the area where the child and/or vulnerable adult resides, in the following circumstances:
● when you remain unsure after internal consultation as to whether child and/or vulnerable adult protection concerns exist
● when there is disagreement as to whether child and/or vulnerable adult protection concerns exist
● when you are unable to consult promptly or at all with your designated internal contact for child and/or vulnerable adult protection
Consultation is not the same as making a referral but should enable a decision to be made as to whether a referral to Social Care or the Police should progress.
Make a Referral:
A referral involves giving Social Care or the Police information about concerns relating to an individual or family in order that enquiries can be undertaken by the appropriate agency followed by any necessary action. Parents/carers should be informed if a referral is being made except in the circumstances outlined above.
However, inability to inform parents for any reason should not prevent a referral being made. It would then become a joint decision with Social Care about how and when the parents should be approached and by whom.
● If your concern is about harm or risk of harm from a family member or someone known to the children and/or vulnerable adults, you should make a telephone referral to the Children and Young People's Social Services office in the area where the child and/or vulnerable adult resides
● If your concern is about harm or risk of harm from someone not known to the child and/or vulnerable adult family, you should make a telephone referral directly to the Police.
● If your concern is about harm or risk of harm from an adult in a position of trust see below: Allegations Against Adults Who Work With Children.
● If your concern is that a child and/or vulnerable adult or their family need additional help or support, you should contact the appropriate Locality Team
Information required when making a referral:
Be prepared to give as much of the following information as possible (in emergency situations all of this information may not be available). Unavailability of some information should not stop you making a referral.
● Your name, telephone number, position and request the same of the person to whom you are speaking.
● Full name and address, telephone number of family, date of birth of child and/or vulnerable adult and siblings.
● Gender, ethnicity, first language, any special needs.
● Names, dates of birth and relationship of household members and any significant others.
● The names of professionals known to be involved with the child/family and/or vulnerable adult e.g.: GP, Health Visitor, School.
● The nature of the concern; and foundation for the concern.
● An opinion on whether the child may need urgent action to make them safe.
● Your view of what appears to be the needs of the child and/or vulnerable adult and their family.
● Whether the consent of a parent with Parental Responsibility has been given to the referral being made.
Action to be taken following the referral:
● Ensure that you keep an accurate record of your concern(s) made at the time. Put your concerns in writing to the Children and Young People's Social Services office following the referral (within 48 hours)
● Accurately record the action agreed or that no further action is to be taken and the reasons for this decision.
Allegations against Adults who work with Children and/or vulnerable adults:
If you have information which suggests an adult who works with children and vulnerable adults (in a paid or unpaid capacity) has:
● behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child and/or vulnerable adult.
● possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, a child and/or vulnerable adult.
● behaved towards a child/children and/or vulnerable adult/s in a way that indicated s/he is unsuitable to work with children and/or vulnerable adults.
You should speak immediately with a member of the Board of Trustees. This person will consult with/make a referral to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer)
Love Burundi will ensure that any records made in relation to a referral will be kept confidentially and in a secure place. Information in relation to child protection concerns will be shared on a "need to know" basis. However, the sharing of information is vital to child protection and, therefore, the issue of confidentiality is secondary to the need for protection.
Love Burundi has a responsibility for ensuring that adults involved with the charity are suitable for working with young people, should the situation arise. This applies to both trustees and volunteers.
● Potential trustees, volunteers, or employees will be asked to provide a CV which will be scrutinised for any anomalies or discrepancies in the information provided. It will also be considered with regard to any history of gaps, or repeated changes in employment, or moves to supply work, without clear and verifiable reasons. References will always be taken up.
● Volunteers may never be placed in a situation where they are working with a child, young person or vulnerable adult unless a member of staff or Trustee is also present.
Responsible for the Policy:
Board of Trustees
Date: 5th January 2022