The Thai Children's Trust Child Protection Policy
The Trust is a UK charity and therefore does not work directly with children in Thailand but supports local partners. We do not seek to impose our policy verbatim on agencies we support, but we expect them to have in place and actively to implement a child protection policy consistent with our own and with the law of Thailand and surrounding countries. This is a condition of our support.
Who does the policy apply to?
The Policy applies to all staff as part of their contractual obligations to the Thai Children's Trust. It also applies to all volunteers who work for the Trust or in our name.
Why does the Thai Children's Trust need a Child Protection Policy?
Thai Children's Trust has become aware of the need to make explicit and visible its determination that its work and activities must promote the safety and security of children and young people. Thai Children's Trust supports Catholic and other partners in Thailand and works with Catholic and other schools in the UK. We are aware of the particular need for the Church and all its partners to demonstrate good practice in this area. As a reassurance to our present and future service delivery partners, Thai Children's Trust needs to have a Child Protection Policy and ensure that it is implemented.
The Thai Children's Trust’s Child Protection Policy: Core Statements
Thai Children's Trust recognises the personal dignity and rights of children towards whom it has a special responsibility and a duty of care and respect. Thai Children's Trust, and all its staff and volunteers, undertake to do all in its power to create a safe environment for children and young people and to prevent their physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Thai Children's Trust is committed to acting at all times in the best interests of children, seeing these interests as paramount. We will do this by:
For the purposes of this policy, Thai Children's Trust regards children and young people as those who are under the age of 18. Thai Children's Trust’s policy applies to all children with whom Thai Children's Trust has contact regardless of gender, religion or ethnicity.
Thai Children's Trust recognises that vulnerable adults may also be in need of particular protection, and recognises that the needs and concerns of this group may be different from those of children. Thai Children's Trust intends that its child protection procedures will ensure a safe and protected environment for vulnerable adults in regard to Thai Children's Trust’s work and activities.
Thai Children's Trust intends that its commitment to the safety and protection of children in its international work should reflect the same values and principles that underpin its organisational policy and commitments.
Thai Children's Trust has in place or in progress other employment and organisational policies that complement the Child Protection Policy and help ensure the safety of children. These include the Equal Opportunities Policy, the Health and Safety Policy and the Equality and Diversity Policy.
The Thai Children's Trust’s context and work: principles of child protection
Thai Children's Trust has an administrative office based in London. We work through schools and churches to organise events and activities for fundraising and/or campaign purposes, in which children are frequently involved alongside Trust staff and volunteers.
Thai Children's Trust believes that all staff and volunteers need to be aware of its policy and commitments in relation to child protection even though the majority of its staff and many volunteers may never have any unaccompanied contact with children or young people through their work.
General Thai Children's Trust activities
Every person representing the Trust in a paid or a voluntary capacity in a role which may involve working with children or vulnerable adults, in the UK or in Thailand, will be required to apply for DBS clearance according to a written policy which forms an annex to this statement and is available on request from Thai Children’s Trust office.
The Schools Programme
Thai Children's Trust has a schools programme which directly involves contact with children and young people.
Young people working as volunteers
Young people under 18 may also become involved in the Trust’s work as volunteers, either assisting in administration or in events or activities. The Trust has additional procedures that must be followed when young people are working directly with staff or volunteers, either as a personal initiative or in groups, or accompanied by youth leaders or other responsible adults. These procedures include a Parental and Medical Consent Form, and a disclosure form to be completed by any adult volunteers or staff members working with young people in these situations.
Definition of Abuse
Abuse occurs when adults or other children hurt children or young people under the age of 18, either physically or in some other way. In the majority of cases, the abuser is someone the child or young person knows well, such as a parent, friend or relative. There are 4 main kinds of abuse:
Abuse may be current or recent, or in some cases, historical, i.e. an adult may disclose sexual abuse that took place when he/she was a child. Abuse may be carried out by adult men or women; or by siblings or other young people.
There are some groups of children and young people who are particularly vulnerable; children with disabilities are among these, and children from ethnic minority communities who may be particularly vulnerable if their communities suffer from discrimination. Children who are refugees or asylum seeking, and children living in residential care are also among these groups. Abuse may also take place in families in which there is alcohol or drug abuse, domestic violence or mental health problems.
Although the statutory protection defines children and young people as those under the age of 18, care should also be taken of adults who are vulnerable through disability or other factors.
The Thai Children's Trust’s Child Protection Procedures
1. Recruitment of Staff and Volunteers
2. Ensuring Awareness and Prevention
3. Dealing with Disclosures and Suspicion
Thai Children's Trust recognises that disclosures (i.e. when a specific allegation of abuse is made against a named individual) and suspicion (i.e. when concern is expressed about abuse that may have taken place or be in prospect) should always be investigated and acted upon swiftly, making the welfare of children the paramount consideration. Any information offered in confidence should be received on the basis that it will be shared with relevant people in authority: this might include a senior manager; Church Child Protection officers and/or, if appropriate, child protection personnel in statutory agencies. Parents or carers will also be informed if appropriate. Apart from this, careful confidentiality will be observed.
If a child or young person tells you they are being, or have been, abused:
If any member of staff or volunteer suspects abuse, or if a child or young person makes a disclosure, or if a person external to The Thai Children's Trust reports a suspicion or allegation relating to Trust staff, volunteers or activities, the following steps should be taken:
No staff member or volunteer will prejudice their own standing or position within The Thai Children's Trust by responsibly reporting potential or suspected child abuse.
4.The Trust’s management responsibilities and how it will act
If a member of staff is the subject of an allegation of child abuse, that staff member will be asked to take leave from their duties on full pay until an investigation has been completed. If a Trust volunteer is the subject of an allegation of child abuse, that volunteer will be asked to withdraw from their work until an investigation has been completed. In both cases, it should be made clear that suspension does not imply guilt but rather protects all parties while an investigation is undertaken.
If a disclosure of abuse takes place in which the alleged abuser is a member of staff or a volunteer, or the incident has taken place on Trust premises or in connection with Trust activities, Thai Children's Trust will inform the statutory authorities. If a suspicion is expressed, the Trust will undertake a risk assessment and then take appropriate action, which may involve contacting statutory authorities.
If an allegation of child abuse is made involving a member of Trust staff, this allegation, together with a record of the investigation undertaken and the outcome, will be recorded in their personal files. Confidentiality regarding these records will be scrupulously maintained and information will only be released to the line management of the staff member concerned or to those in positions of authority externally who have reason to need it for the protection of children. Records will be kept for 50 years.
If an incident of child abuse takes place in connection with Thai Children's Trust as an organisation or any Trust activities, the Trust undertakes to provide support for the alleged victims and the alleged abuser while an investigation is carried out. Thai Children's Trust will also seek to ensure that any continuing support needed after a situation has been resolved is made available.
If a member of Trust staff or anyone closely associated with the Trust’s work in some recognisable capacity is found to have committed acts in relation to children which are criminal or which contravene in a serious way the principles and standards set out in this policy, Thai Children's Trust will take disciplinary action and/or any other action which may be appropriate to the circumstances. If volunteers are found to have committed such acts, the volunteering relationship will be ended.
5. Reviewing this policy and reporting to The Thai Children's Trust’s Trustees
Thai Children's Trust will ensure that this policy is reviewed every two years and that an annual report on any incidents relating to child protection is made to Trustees.