; Child Protection

Document Icon Sample Child Protection Policy and Procedures

A child protection policy is essential for all groups working with children (young people under the age of 18). There are many different ways to set out a child protection policy, but most have a clear statement about the group's commitment to safeguarding children and then a procedure that outlines how this is implemented in practice. Some also make a reference to the relevant legislation, such as the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act, or agreements, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The document should contain:

1) Details of how volunteers are recruited and selected, including checks that are done to verify their suitability to work with children (e.g. written references and PVG Scheme membership).  This could also be a separate policy

2) Details of relevant volunteer support and supervision (e.g. child protection training, regular meetings with volunteers)

3) Guidelines that help volunteers deal with a disclosure of abuse by a young person

4) Guidelines for procedures to follow if an accusation is made against a member of staff/volunteer

5) The designated roles in dealing with any incidents - for 'workers' this should be to record information and pass it on to the 'appropriate person' in the organisation (i.e the Child Protection Officer in the organisation), who should then report it to the relevant agency.  A secondary contact should also be detailed in case an allegation is made against the 'appropriate person'. The confidentiality of the information must be safeguarded at all times.

6) Document Icon How and when information should be recorded - this should be as soon as possible, using a standard form such as the Child Welfare Concern Form, to ensure all necessary information is recorded. Reports should also be made regarding subsequent action taken. All reports should be clearly signed and dated by the individual recording the information and kept in a secure place. These reports can be used as a basis for reporting the incident or concern to the Police or Social Work. If you have a concern that the young person will be harmed if there is any delay in reporting the incident, (e.g. if you allow them to go home to a situation they have told you is abusive) and the relevant person in your organisation is not available, you may need to contact the Police or Social Work yourself.

7) What your organisation recognises as abuse and indicators that might suggest a young person is experiencing abuse

8) Reassurance that workers are protected from legal action if reporting a genuine, child protection concern. Even if the report turns out to be wrong, if it is made in good faith (i.e. it is not malicious) the person providing it is protected.

9) When and how an organisation will make a referral to Disclosure Scotland if a worker has 1) harmed a child and 2) the worker was dismissed because of the incident (see also section Making a Referral)

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