Child Protection Policy

1.0 INTRODUCTION

The Birmingham Buddhist Centre is seeking to put into practice the key Buddhist ethical principles of kindness, generosity, contentment, truthfulness and awareness.

Some of our activities involve children and young people, either by arrangement (e.g. school visits and family activities) or as casual visitors. We recognise our responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children involved with the Buddhist Centre and are committed to their protection.

This policy aims to protect children (under 18) whether involved in our activities or children of users of the Buddhist Centre, and those who may have contact with them. Therefore it sets out practices and procedures which contribute which contribute to the prevention of abuse of children and a course of action to be followed if abuse is suspected.

This policy applies to Order members, Mitras and Friends who may be employees of the Buddhist Centre, or teachers, or class leaders, or volunteers, or parents, as well as others renting space at the Buddhist Centre to run their own activities.

2.0 OUR VALUES

 We recognise that:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount.
  • All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from harm.
  • Partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

This policy applies to all staff, including the Centre team and trustees, paid staff, volunteers, parents and anyone else working on behalf of The Birmingham Buddhist Centre, whether as a Friend, Mitra or Order member.

We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:

  • Valuing them, listening to and respecting them.
  • Adopting child protection guidelines and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers.
  • Recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring checks are made where necessary.
  • Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers.
  • Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately.
  • Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.

3.0 DEFINITIONS

Who is a child? A child is a person aged under 18 years.

What is child abuse? The World Health Organisation defines child abuse as ‘all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.’

4.0 TYPES OF ABUSE

Physical abuse

Including hurting or injuring a child, inflicting pain, poisoning, drowning, or smothering.

Sexual abuse

 Including direct or indirect sexual exploitation or corruption of children by involving them (or threatening to involve them) in inappropriate sexual activities.

Emotional abuse

Repeatedly rejecting children, humiliating them or denying their worth and rights as human beings.

Abuse through neglect

The persistent lack of appropriate care of children, including love, stimulation, safety, nourishment, warmth, education, and medical attention.

A child who is being abused may experience more than one type of cruelty. Discrimination, harassment, and bullying are also abusive and can harm a child, both physically and emotionally.

5.0 SIGNS OF ABUSE

 These are many and varied. Some have perfectly acceptable explanations. It is useful to bear in mind:

  • Any injuries that cannot be explained.
  • Injuries not consistent with falls or rough games.
  • Malnourishment.
  • Any allegations made by children concerning abuse.
  • Sexual activity through words, play or drawing.
  • Self-harm.
  • Eating disorders.

6.0 REPORTS OF ABUSE

All reports or suspicions about abuse must be treated seriously. They may include:

  • Something you see.
  • Something you are told by someone else.
  • Rumours about a person’s previous behaviour.
  • Behaviour you observe in a child.
  • Disclosure from a child directly.

What to do if a child reports abuse:

 Keep calm and reassure the child that he/she is doing the right thing and is not to blame, even if he/she may have broken some rules.

  • Accept what the child says without judgement.
  • Look directly at the child.
  • Be Do not promise confidentiality; let the child know you will have to tell someone else.
  • Be aware the child may have been threatened and may be veryafraid.
  • Never push for information or question the Let hin/her tell you as much as he/she is ready to tell you.
  • Never suggest that the child may be wrong or mistaken.

Recording what you are told:

  • Make an accurate written record of what the child has told Write exactly what happened, not your opinion.
  • Write down what was said, using the exact words and phrases spoken wherever possible or write down what you Include dates and times.
  • Describe the circumstances in which the disclosure was made or you saw concerning actions or behaviour.
  • Say where it happened and who else was there at the time.
  • Date and sign the report and print your name under your signature.

7.0 WHAT TO DO NEXT

  • Ensure the safety of the This may involve phoning social services or police straight away. If you make a referral by telephone, confirm it in writing within 24 hours.
  • Do not be tempted to investigate yourself.
  • Inform one of the Buddhist Centre’s Safeguarding Officers.
  • Do not discuss the matter with anyone This could prejudice a court case and put the child in danger.

8.0 HOW TO PROTECT CHILDREN AND YOURSELF

  • If working with a school or other body working with children (e.g. Scouts) advise their staff that their teachers/leaders must be present at all times during the visit or other joint activities.
  • Do not be alone with a child where other adults or children cannot see you.
  • Treat all children and young people with respect and dignity.
  • Do not invade the privacy of children when they are showering, changing or using the toilet.
  • Do not engage in intrusive touching.
  • Do not tease or joke in away that might be misunderstood by the child and cause hurt.
  • Do not share sleeping accommodation with children.
  • Do not invite a child to your home on his/her Invite a group or ensure someone else is in the house. Make sure the parents know where the child is.
  • Do not give lifts to children on their own, other than for very short If the child is alone, ask him/her to sit in the back of the car.
  • Do not allow someone who is likely to pose a risk to children to have contact with children (e.g. a known sex offender, or someone who has disclosed a sexual interest in children). Such a person should be asked to negotiate a behaviour contract setting out the terms of their continued participation in Buddhist Centre activities within agreed (See available guidelines on managing sex offenders.)
  • Familiarise yourself with the Buddhist Centre’s Child Protection Code of Behaviour.

9.0 PUBLICATION OF THIS POLICY

 This policy will be communicated to all employees, class leaders, event organisers and volunteer supporters and made available at the Buddhist Centre.

10.0 TRAINING FOR EMPLOYEES AND VOLUNTEERS

 We will ensure that paid staff and volunteers are fully aware of the Buddhist Centre’s policy and procedures governing the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and what they should do and to whom they can refer if they have any concerns.

 

Last reviewed: March 2017

 

Child Protection Code of Behaviour

As a Friend, Mitra or Order member and as an employee, volunteer, leader, teacher or parent involved with aged children under 18 visiting, or taking part in activities at, the Birmingham Buddhist Centre

I will

  • treat all children and young people with respect and kindness.
  • be an example of the good conduct I wish to see in young people and others.
  • respect a young person’s right to personal privacy.
  • encourage young people and adults to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like.
  • remember that someone else might misinterpret my actions, no matter how well-intentioned
  • be aware that physical contact with a child or young person may be misinterpreted.
  • co-operate within the Birmingham Buddhist Centre Child protection policy.
  • give guidance and support to less experienced helpers, colleagues and volunteers.
  • challenge unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations/suspicions of abuse to the Birmingham Buddhist Centre’s Safeguarding Officer.
  • ensure that, whenever possible, there is more than one adult present during activities with children or at least that we are within sight or hearing of others. (This is for my own protection as well as for the protection of children and young people in our care.)

I will not

  • allow someone who is likely to pose a risk to children to have contact with children (i.e. aknown sex offender or someone who has disclosed sexual interest in children).
  • have inappropriate physical or verbal contact with children or young people.
  • allow myself to be drawn into inappropriate, attention-seeking behaviour.
  • make suggestive or derogatory remarks or gestures in front of children or young people.
  • jump to conclusions without checking facts.
  • exaggerate or trivialise child-abuse issues.
  • show favouritism to any child.
  • rely on my good name or that of the Birmingham Buddhist Centre/enterprise to protect me.
  • believe “it could never happen to me.”
  • take a chance, when common sense or policy suggests a more prudent approach.

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