Registered Charity: 1085407

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:

  • Setting in place, implementing and regularly monitoring and reviewing procedures to protect children and young people. These procedures cover Thai Children's Trust’s recruitment practice, staff induction and training, and management responsibilities.
  • Adopting a code of behaviour for all staff and volunteers.
  • Ensuring that any allegations of abuse are promptly and properly dealt with, victims supported and perpetrators held to account.
  • Ensuring that Thai Children's Trust works in close liaison with statutory child protection structures at all levels.
  • Aiming to be an example of best practice in the prevention of child abuse and in responding to it.

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

  • In any Trust activity organised directly by Trust staff at which children are present, their parents, teachers, carers or relevant responsible adults should be present.
  • 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 Trust will also ensure that volunteers organising or participating (involved) in activities involving children at regional and local level are aware of its  policies and procedures in relation to child protection.
  • In any Trust activity involving children or young people, the Trust expects all staff and volunteers to follow the code of behaviour in section 4 of this policy.

The Schools Programme

Thai Children's Trust has a schools programme which directly involves contact with children and young people.

  • In any Trust activity organised directly by Trust staff which involves young people, a member of the schools programme team will normally be present.
  • The Trust’s expectation is that contact with children and young people through these programmes should generally be supervised or accompanied, but we recognise that situations may arise where this is not the case for urgent or practical reasons.
  • The Trust expects staff and volunteers working within these programmes to minimise the likelihood of situations occurring in which they are lone adults working with one or more children. If such situations are unavoidable, they should be anticipated and a related or responsible adult should be informed.
  • The Trust also undertakes to ensure that all staff and volunteers whose work might involve such contact have completed additional recruitment procedures and a Criminal Record check using the Discolusre Barring Service (DBS).
  • The Trust also welcomes overseas partners to work with supporters in the UK. Any such partners or other international visitors to the Trust’s UK based work will be briefed on its  policies and procedures in this area if their programmes while in the UK involve contact with children or 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:

  • Physical abuse is actual or likely physical injury to a child, such as hitting, kicking or shaking, where there is definite knowledge, or reasonable suspicion, that the injury was inflicted or knowingly not prevented.
  • Emotional abuse is harm done by persistent or severe emotional ill-treatment or rejection, such as degrading punishments, threats, not giving care and affection and bullying, resulting in adverse effects on the behaviour and emotional development of a child or young person.
  • Neglect occurs when basic needs such as food, warmth and medical care are not met, or when there is failure to protect a child from exposure to any kind of danger, resulting in serious impairment of a child’s or young person’s health or development.
  • Sexual abuse occurs if a child or young person is pressurised or forced to take part in any kind of sexual activity, whether or not the child is aware of or consents to what is happening. Sexual abuse includes incest, rape and fondling. It may also include non contact activities such as showing pornography or internet based activity. Sexual abuse may involve siblings or other family members, or persons outside the family.

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

  • The Trust’s normal recruitment and employment policies and procedures already provide the framework for good practice set out in ‘Safe from Harm’, the Home Office Code for voluntary organisations. The Trust has reviewed and strengthened its policies in the light of ‘Safe from Harm’ and the 2002 NSPCC Guide ‘First Check’.
  • The Trust will identify posts in which direct or unsupervised contact with children or young people is possible or likely and ensure that extra care is taken in dealing with applications for such posts. This will happen with both internal and external candidates.
  • Candidates will be asked to describe their previous experience of working with children or young people, to provide a referee who can comment on their work with children or young people, and be required to complete a DBS check. ‘Identified posts’ will include those in education and fundraising, and particular posts in other areas where strong involvement in either programme is expected. The Trust will also undertake identity checks on candidates appointed to identified posts.
  • Adverts and job descriptions for identified posts will include a reference to the Trust’s commitment to child protection and its Child Protection Policy.
  • Job offers made in relation to identified posts will be subject to satisfactory clearance from checking of statutory records and satisfactory verification of qualifications and the candidate’s CV.
  • A parallel practice will operate with regard to volunteers. Any volunteers who are recruited or designated for work with schools, with young people or with children, will be asked to complete a disclosure form.
  • The Trust will carry out DBS checks when needed and these will be acquired through CCPAS, a reputable agency disclosure agency.

2. Ensuring Awareness and Prevention

  • The Trust’s commitment to child protection will be stated in appropriate corporate documents and on its  website. The Trust will make its policy and procedures available to anyone who requests them.
  • The Trust will ensure that all staff are aware of the Child Protection Policy and have access to a copy. The induction programme for all staff will include an explanation of the policy, and all staff will be expected to complete a more detailed briefing session on the policy.
  • The Trust expects all staff and volunteers to follow the code of behaviour below. The Thai Children's Trust staff and volunteers should make every effort to avoid situations in which they are lone adults working with one or more children. If urgent or practical circumstances result in such a situation occurring, staff and volunteers should resolve it as soon as possible and note it  to their managers. In any Trust activity involving children, their parents, teachers or relevant responsible adults should be present.
  • All managers have the responsibility for ensuring that the staff they manage are aware of the Policy, and for reminding them of its provisions when the need arises. Managers of identified posts will be expected to take part in child protection training.
  • The training needs of staff in identified posts will be assessed and relevant training provided.
  • Regional staff, and staff in other sections or teams whose work involves frequent face to face contact with supporters or presence at local, regional or national events, should ensure they are familiar with the detail of this policy. They should also have contact details for statutory authorities including Social Services and the Police.
  • Any Trust staff planning events should ensure that child protection issues are considered as part of the risk analysis and/or health and safety arrangements.
  • In planning or co-ordinating multi-agency or coalition or network organised events and activities,  Thai Children's Trust will ensure that child protection considerations have been taken into account if relevant.

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:

  • Listen to and accept what the child or young person says.
  • Do not investigate, and do not inform, question or confront the alleged abuser.
  • Take the alleged abuse seriously.
  • Reassure the child or young person that they have done the right thing by telling you.
  • Let them know you need to tell someone else. Do not promise total confidentiality.
  • Let the child or young person speak freely but do not press for information.
  • Let the child or young person know what you are going to do next and that you will let them know what happens.
  • Record carefully what you have heard whilst it is still fresh in your mind. Include the date and time of your conversation and any incident disclosed.

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:

  • Avoid any delay.
  • Report this to the senior manager designated as the child protection co-ordinator for The Thai Children's Trust.
  • If the suspicion or allegation relates to activities or persons working in a school or parish or diocesan setting, ensure that the relevant Child Protection Officer is also informed.
  • The designated senior manager will ensure an assessment is made and a report given to the appropriate Social Services Department or Police Station if necessary. However, if urgent action is required to protect children this should be done immediately.

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.