CHILD SAFEGUARD POLICY
1. POLICY PURPOSE
This policy aims to protect and safeguard members under the age of 18 from harm, and procedures it will take.
2. VALUES AND PRINCIPLES
Arts and Mental Health (ARTSMH) does not allow any partner, collaborators, committee members, members, or any individuals within the ARTSMH community to engage in any form of child abuse, maltreatment, or poor safeguarding practice. Members under the age of 18 will be considered a child. All children have an equal right to protection regardless of any personal characteristic, including their age, gender, ability, culture, racial origin, religious belief and sexual identity.
This policy applies to all individuals working for us or on our behalf in any capacity, including committee members, group leaders, content developers, volunteers, members, collaborators, third-party representatives, or any other individuals. It applies during or outside of working hours, every day of the year.
3. RISKS & CONCERNS
ARTSMH has zero-tolerance for child abuse. The following section is written with reference to the child safeguard policy from Save the Children.
Child abuse consists of anything, which individuals, institutions or processes do or fail to do which directly or indirectly harms children or damages their prospect of a safe and healthy development into adulthood. This policy covers all forms of child abuse. The policy also covers any poor safeguarding practice, which results in or creates a risk of child abuse or harm.
Definitions of Child Abuse:
Emotional abuse involves doing harm to a child’s emotional, intellectual, mental or psychological development. This may occur as an isolated event or on an ongoing basis. Emotional abuse includes but is not limited to any humiliating or degrading treatment (e.g. bad name calling, threats, yelling/screaming/cursing, teasing, constant criticism, belittling, persistent shaming etc.), failure to meet a child’s emotional needs, and rejecting, ignoring, terrorizing, isolating or confining a child.
We have a culture of zero tolerance for all forms of abuse and mistreatment, including Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying. This means that every single concern is fully responded to and where necessary prompt action (including conducting an investigation and taking disciplinary action, if applicable) is taken. It means that we will hold our people to account against the same standards and subject them to the same processes, as everyone else regardless of their position or reputation within the organisation.
Child abuse and exploitation is a violation of fundamental child and human rights. It may also be a criminal act. Arts for Mental Health has a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to taking action to protect children from all forms of exploitation and abuse. We are committed to acting ethically and with integrity in all our collaborations and relationships and to implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls to ensure child exploitation and abuse is not taking place anywhere in our organisation. ARTSMH is also committed to ensuring transparency in our activities and in our approach to prevent and respond to any child safeguarding violations.
4. RESPONSE TO CONCERNS
ARTSMH is committed to preventing child abuse and exploitation through the following means:
Awareness: Ensuring that all members and collaborators with ARTSMH are aware of the high standards of behaviour and conduct expected of them to protect children from any form of abuse and exploitation in their private and working lives.
Prevention: Ensuring, through awareness and good practice, that committee members and those who work with ARTSMH will not conduct any form of child abuse and exploitation, including but by no means limited to conducting background checks.
Reporting: Ensuring that members, group leaders, committee members, and all individuals who work with ARTSMH are clear on what steps to take where suspicions or concerns arise regarding allegations of child abuse or exploitation
Responding: Ensuring that immediate action is taken to identify and address reports of child abuse and exploitation, and to ensure the safety and well-being of the child/ren involved.
DBS checks: Relevant group leaders and committee members will get a Disclosure or Barring Service (DBS) check. There will be at least ONE member or leader with an approved DBS check participating in our activities when children are involved.
To help you identify incidents of child abuse, exploitation and poor safeguarding practice the following are examples of prohibited behaviour and practice, which are not tolerated by ARTSMH:
a. Physically, sexually, or emotionally harming or threatening to harm a child.
b. Sending private messages to children you have met through ARTSMH, for example private messaging on social media or by mobile phone. A group with relevant members, leaders or committee members could be used as a medium for contact.
c. Engage anyone under the age of 18 in exploitative and harmful labour.
d. Members engaging in commercial exploitation of children.
e. Failing to follow the law or required procedures and regulations which result in harm of a child.
5. COMMITMENT WE EXPECT FROM MEMBERS
ARTSMH expects the same high standards from all members, group leaders, content developers, committee members, volunteers, and any individuals who work with or for the organisation. We expect every individual to take measures to prohibit any member from engaging in any child exploitation in their working and personal lives.
a) You must have a zero-tolerance policy on Child abuse and exploitation and take all measures available to you to prevent and respond to actual, attempted or threatened forms of child abuse and exploitation involving ARTSMH members that arises during performance of the terms of this Agreement.
b) You must immediately report any suspicion of child abuse or exploitation occurring in activities of ARTSMH, that arises during the performance of the terms of this agreement with ARTSMH. Failure to report will be treated seriously and may result in termination of membership with ARTSMH.
c) When working for ARTSMH, if you are aware of a child safeguarding concern in relation to work for ARTSMH, you are obliged to:
i. act quickly and immediately report suspicions or knowledge of a safeguarding concern or incident to a relevant contact at ARTSMH, i.e. our Child Protection Officer or email
ii. keep any information confidential between you and the person you report this to.
e) You will cooperate with ARTSMH in any investigations of concerns reported under this Agreement, and keep ARTSMH promptly updated on any concerns reported under this Agreement, including but not limited to actions taken by you in response.