The Chamber of Commerce has a duty of care to safeguard all children and vulnerable adults, involved in any of its activities, from harm and recognises that all children and vulnerable adults have a right to protection and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).
Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce does not currently come into direct contact with children or vulnerable adults on a regular basis, but as and when we do, the following will apply to all members.
The aim of Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:
Providing children, young people and vulnerable adults with appropriate safety and protection whilst in its care.
Allowing all staff/volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific protection issues.
Good practice guidelines
All personnel, voluntary or paid, will be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations.
Good practice means:
– Always working in an open environment, avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.
Treating all young people/disabled adults equally with respect and dignity.
Always putting the welfare of each young or vulnerable person first.
Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with children or vulnerable adults.
Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children and vulnerable adults to share in decision-making.
Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
Requesting written parental or guardian consent if officials are required to transport young people or vulnerable adults in their cars.
Practices to be avoided:
Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children or vulnerable adults away from others.
Taking or dropping off a child or vulnerable adult to an event.
Practices never to be sanctioned:
Engaging in rough physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
Allowing or engaging in any form of inappropriate touching.
Allowing children or vulnerable adults to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
Making sexually suggestive comments to a child or vulnerable adult, even in fun.
Reducing a child or vulnerable adult to tears as a form of control.
Allowing allegations made by a child or vulnerable adult to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
Doing things of a personal nature for children or disabled adults that they can do for themselves.
Inviting or allowing children or vulnerable adults to stay with officials at their home unsupervised.
Use of photographic/filming equipment
Officials should request parents’, children’s or vulnerable adults’ authorisation before taking any photos or videos.
Responding to allegations or suspicions
It is not the responsibility of anyone working in Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce, in a paid or unpaid capacity, to decide whether or not abuse has taken place. However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities. Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone who, in good faith, reports his/her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child or vulnerable adult.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need-to-know basis only.
Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (eg., that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).
The welfare of the child or vulnerable adult should remain of paramount importance throughout.
Action if bullying is suspected: If bullying is suspected, the same procedure should be followed.
Information for social services or the police about suspected abuse:
To ensure that this information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern, which should include the following:
The name, age and date of birth of the child or vulnerable adult.
The home address and telephone number.
The nature of the allegation. Include dates, times, any special factors and other relevant information.
Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes.
Details of witnesses to the incidents.
The child’s or vulnerable adult’s account of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred.
Have the parents / carers been contacted? If so, what has been said?
Has anyone else been consulted? If so, record details.
If the child / vulnerable adult was not the person who reported the incident, has the child / vulnerable adult been spoken to? If so, what was said?
Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details.
Where possible, referral to the police or social services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours and the name of the contact who took the referral should be recorded.
Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce, January 2014 (updated)