Child protection support to help people and organisations safeguard children
Why do we need child-safe organisations?
Child abuse has a significant impact on children’s health and wellbeing now and in the future. It can impact every aspect of their lives, including their mental health, happiness, employment, educational achievement, relationships, and parenting.
We all have a duty of care to do the best we can to safeguard children and young people from harm and abuse. All organisations working with children and young people must take steps to prevent abuse and recognise and respond swiftly to intervene early to minimise harm.
Safeguarding relates to the processes and culture embedded into an organisation providing services for children and young people to keep them safe from all forms of abuse as a result of their involvement with the organisation.
Why is it relevant to your organisation?
Organisations cannot assume that child abuse does not, and will not, happen within their organisation. Most organisations underestimate the relevance of safeguarding to their reputational risk. The threat to reputational risk as a result of a failure to make safeguarding and child protection a priority can result in media attention, funding withdrawal, loss of revenue, workforce trauma and intense public backlash. These risks are significant and cannot be ignored.
What does a child-safe organisation do?
- Promotes the safety of children.
- Listens to and values the opinions of children and young people to keep them safe.
- Establishes effective systems to prevent child abuse.
- Ensures the organisation has effective processes in place to recognise, respond to and report all allegations of child abuse.
- Offers regular child protection training for all staff and volunteers at every level.
- Drives changes in organisational culture – embedding child safety in everyday thinking and practice.
- Provides a minimum standard of child safety across the organisation.
- Highlights that we all have a role in keeping children and young people safe from abuse.
A Child Safe Organisation places children and young people at the heart of what they do. A commitment to protecting children is embedded into the organisation’s culture and is understood, accepted and acted upon by everyone. We call this creating a Safeguarding Culture.
What makes a Child Safe Organisation?
Elements of a child safe organistion
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Seek the views and voices of children
|We know that one of the crucial elements of a child safe organisation is listening to and valuing the opinions of children and young people. If we ask children and young people what they think about the places they spend in and take on board those views, it sends a message to them that we care about what they have to say. They can tell us things they are unhappy about and we will listen and take that seriously. This act means children and young people are more likely to share their concerns with us and facilitates disclosures of abuse or neglect, thus making your organisation a safer place for children and young people.||Use our Children’s Voice activity with associated adult guidance, to complete an activity of asking children and young people for feedback about your organisation.|
Child Protection Policy and Procedures
|A child protection policy sets out an organisation’s commitment to keep children and young people safe and promote their welfare. It should assist the organisation in responding appropriately and with confidence to child wellbeing and safety situations which may occur inside and outside their work environment. Having a Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy in place demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to protecting children and young people in their care, provides staff with best practice and encourages positive, healthy relationships. Procedures give clear guidance of how to make it work in practice when responding to concerns.||
To assist you in creating or auditing your child protection policy we have a Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy Development and Audit tool available for purchase. This will give the framework for what is required for robust policies and procedures.
Attend an interactive Child Protection Policy webinar to further assist you in creating this document.
Code of Conduct
People may pass a police vet but still be totally inappropriate to work with children because of their behaviour and attitudes towards them.
A Code of Conduct is vital as it provides guidance on appropriate and expected standards of behaviour of those working or volunteering in an organisation towards children and young people. Having a Code of Conduct quickly identifies inappropriate or unsafe behaviour.
Create a Code of Conduct. You can purchase our Guide to Creating a Safeguarding Code of Conduct to assist you with this.
Attend an interactive Code of Conduct webinar to further assist you in creating this document.
Children must be safe in the places that they go. People who want to harm children will seek roles working with them, including volunteering. Safe recruitment is one way of reducing the risk to children.
The Children’s Act 2014 requires a safety check to be completed for every employee who joins an organisation as a core or non-core worker. We recommend these safety checks are extended to include volunteers to prevent those who may harm children from gaining a voluntary role within your organisation.
Police vetting and safety checking for everyone including volunteers.
Your HR department or equivalent should have a policy and procedures in place detailing the recruitment process for recruiting children’s workers. These documents should clearly outline expectations to be met regarding safety checks relevant to the vacant position.
More information can be found in our Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy Development and Audit tool resource.
Ensure you know the legislation and how it applies to your organisation.
|Creating a safeguarding culture is a journey that all organisations need to start on and continually work on developing. Policies and Codes of Conduct are important elements to have in place to enable safeguarding. However, if the culture is one that doesn’t place importance on these documents or the reasons for them, the organisation is at risk of their culture over riding their safeguarding intentions and children are at risk in their contact with that organisation. “Culture eats policy everyday”.||A safeguarding culture is created by actioning all of these elements listed in these dropdown boxes.|
Whistle Blowing Policy
|By having a policy that tells staff and volunteers what to do when they are worried about another staff member or volunteer provides one of the elements of safety for people to “whistleblow” on poor, dangerous and abusive practice. What we know from situations where abuse has taken place in organisations is that it will not be reported by those working there unless they feel safe enough and supported to do so. This failure to respond leads to further abuses and risk for all children in touch with that organisation.||Write a whistle blowing policy or ensure there is specific reference to the steps people need to take to whistle blow within your child protection policy.
More information on what is needed in your policy can be found in our Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy Development and Audit tool resource.
Advertise your commitment to child protection and wellbeing
|By promoting your commitment to keeping children safe you are advising parents that your organisation takes child safety seriously. It also deters people wishing to harm children from targeting your organisation as “safeguards” are in place.||
“Our organisation is committed to keeping children healthy and safe. We may share information with appropriate agencies (such as health and education providers or other agencies involved with your child’s life) if sharing that information will protect or improve the safety, health or well-being of a child.
Our agency by law can always share information with Oranga Tamariki and the Police. Further information can be found in our Child Protection Policy on our website: www.ouragency.org.nz“ .
|Records of child wellbeing and safety concerns must be documented to a high standard and managed in a way that allows for effective reviews of those records to analyse for patterns or clusters of concerns regarding a particular child, family or staff/volunteer.||
Use your organisation’s record management system ensuring child wellbeing and safety concerns are recorded and are chronologically available.
Keep your eye out for future developments of training and resources to enhance your record keeping.
Appoint a Child Protection Lead/Designated Person
|Having dedicated people to deal with child protection concerns is essential to provide the best outcomes for children. This means that all other staff and volunteers are supported in handling concerns effectively. This role will also ensure that your safeguarding culture is promoted throughout the organisation.||
This role should be appointed based on interest, suitability and being able to handle difficult conversations. There should be dedicated time allowed for your employee to be spent on this role.
Child Protection Leads training on your role and responsibilities is available here.
Child Protection Training
|Training is a crucial element of a child-safe organisation. All staff and volunteers should know the fundamentals of child protection so they can recognise and respond to concerns and understand the reasons for safeguards. Training should be updated regularly to keep current with any legislation changes and best practice.||Please see training table below.|
Children need tools to keep themselves safe.
Safeguarding Children partner with Empowerment Trust who deliver direct training to children and young people via their Kidpower and Teenpower programmes.
The Kidpower approach increases protective factors and reduces risk factors for potential victims of all types of abuse. Empowerment Trust provide strategies, awareness and skills to prevent potentially violent situations from escalating and getting out of control, building healthy relationships and navigating conflict without aggression.
|Enquire with Empowerment Trust to see what trainings would be suitable for the children and young people in your organisation.|
|Serious case reviews where children have been seriously harmed tell us that a common theme in these cases is that many people knew and many people had concerns, but there was a lack of information sharing of those concerns between those services who were involved with the child/family. We know from international research and evidence of best practice that working together in addressing child wellbeing and safety concerns is essential. “Together we can make a difference”||
Understand the law around what information you can share and with whom by accessing training on this – complete our Information Sharing Training webinar.
Reading the resources supplied by Oranga Tamariki on Information Sharing.
Download our list of services that are covered by the Oranga Tamariki Act for Information Sharing from our Resources web page.
Put a Child Protection Lead in place and encourage them to link up with other Child Protection Leads to share ideas, resource and for support.
For an overview of child-safe organisations watch our free 30 minute webinar.
This webinar will introduce you to the core elements of a child-safe organisation, and the steps organisations can take to make their place, safer for children. The webinar will point you to the development work your organisation needs to move forward on this journey.
Why work with Safeguarding Children?
We are New Zealand’s leading provider of child protection and safeguarding expertise. Our team members include experts who have specialised in creating child-safe organisations for independent schools overseas. We have trained over 33,000 people who work with children and young people how to create child-safe organisations to prevent abuse and how recognise and respond if abuse is suspected. This includes consultancy to create policies and procedures, and training on topics as listed above in the training table.
If you provide services to children and young people, you hold responsibilities under the Children’s Act 2014 (formerly the Vulnerable Children Act). If not under the Children’s Act 2014, you should hold these responsibilities under best practice.
Understanding what must be done to protect children is a challenge. For many organisations knowing where to start and implementing the level of change needed is overwhelming. We are recognised experts in this field, and we are here to help.
Safeguarding Children have some of New Zealand’s and overseas subject matter experts in our team, but what makes us unique is our dedicated in-house team who develop our own and bespoke online courses, both eLearning and webinars. This collective pool of talent has resulted in contracts with MoE, Oranga Tamariki and other Crown entities.
Philanthropic funding sometimes allows us to work free of charge or at a reduced fee on a one to one basis with front-line community organisations undertaking important work with New Zealand’s most vulnerable who are unable, or would struggle, to pay. If you feel you fall into this category, please contact us for a discussion. Note: Support is offered to not for profit Community Organisations and/or Charitable Organisations only.