Safeguarding is a relatively new term which is broader than ‘child protection’ or ‘adult protection’ as it also includes prevention. Safeguarding has been defined as:
- All agencies working with children, young people and their families, or vulnerable adults taking all reasonable measures to ensure that the risks of harm to children’s welfare are minimised; and
- Where there are concerns about children or vulnerable adults welfare, all agencies taking appropriate actions to address those concerns
Gemstone is aware that it has a duty to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse. Abuse can be defined as any behaviour which knowingly or unwittingly causes harm, endangers life or violates rights. Abuse may be physical, sexual, psychological, financial or material, or neglect.
It is possible that Gemstone will become aware of actual or potential abuse when carrying out its work, and this Policy sets out Gemstone’s commitments to protecting these groups from harm.
Gemstone believes that adults and children have rights and that these should be respected and safeguarded. Gemstone is therefore committed to:
- Supporting and working in partnership with agencies tasked with protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse or harm.
- Having an appropriate staff recruitment policy and procedure – ensuring that all staff who may have contact with children or vulnerable adults are DBS checked.
- Making responsibilities regarding these issues clear to staff delivering services where there may be issues affecting these groups
- Ensuring that all groups irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, sexual orientation, nationality or economic status have the right to be protected from abuse
- Responding quickly and effectively to issues when they arise
- Sharing information appropriately and on a need to know basis. A separate Data Protection and Information Sharing Policy and guidelines sets out the procedures for this.
The following key principles apply to this Policy:
- The welfare of children and vulnerable adults is the key concern – and the need to protect them from abuse will override any other principles
- It is the responsibility of everyone within the organisation to report any concerns that they have promptly and to the correct agencies
- Wherever possible, consent will be sought prior to disclosing any information. Whether this is possible will be considered on a case by case basis – and consent may not be required where there are exceptional circumstances due to the urgency or seriousness of the situation.
Who this policy affects
This Policy affects all staff, contractors and clients.
To implement this Policy Gemstone will:
- Brief staff on this Policy and related procedures
- Develop guidelines and procedures which will be available to staff
- Provide training to staff on this Policy and related procedures as required
- Promote the Policy to clients and other stakeholders
- Identify a lead staff member with responsibility for implementing this policy and overseeing the management of individual cases
Monitoring and Review
This Policy will be reviewed annually to ensure that it complies with legislative and regulatory requirements and best practice. It is subject to approval by Gemstone directors and will be put to the directors for approval after each review.
Performance against the Policy will be monitored through:
- Discussions of safeguarding issues as part of the induction, regular one to one and group supervision processes
- Keeping statistical information regarding any issues that are reported – and reporting these to the Board annually