Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity is committed to child protection and promoting the welfare of children. This policy was created in conjunction with the principles of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and the Scottish Government National Guidance for Child Protection Scotland and the policy on Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC), NSPCC and Children in Scotland.
This policy is intended as a guide for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity staff and volunteers and as a reference for potential partners, project beneficiaries and the public in general. Its fundamental purpose is to provide protection from harm, primarily to children, but also to Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity staff and volunteers and to the organisation itself.
We recognise that, because of the day to day contact with children, staff and volunteers are well placed to observe children and spot potential indicators of abuse. How to spot abuse information is here.
Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity believes that it is fundamentally essential that the children that we seek to support are protected from harm and are able to benefit from our funding in a safe, healthy and relaxed environment. We are fully committed to the rights of the child as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and we recognise our responsibility to ensure that those rights are upheld. We also recognise the particular vulnerability of children in the contexts in which we work. We will not tolerate any violation or infringement of those rights and will strive to ensure that the needs, dignity and safety of all children, regardless of gender, ethnicity, faith, ability or culture, are always at the heart of our programmes.
The policy is intended as clear guidance on our belief that all children; as defined in the UNCRC as anyone under the age of 18, even where defined otherwise in national contexts, must be protected from abuse or exploitation. A report on any incidents relating to child protection will be made to the Board of Directors on an annual basis.
Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity also uses Disclosure Scotland's services, designed to enhance public safety by providing potential employers with criminal history information on individuals applying for employment. The PVG Scheme is managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland who receive and consider referrals and takes decisions, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, about those people who may be unsuitable to work with children or protected adults. Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity have an obligation to make a referral to Disclosure Scotland should it believe an employee or volunteer poses a risk towards vulnerable groups. It is an offence for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity to knowingly employ an individual who is barred to do regulated work of the type to which the barring relates.
Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity MUST inform Disclosure Scotland if a person works or volunteers or used to work or volunteer with the organisation becomes known as being a risk to children.
- All children have an equal right to development and their welfare should always be promoted.
- Children should always be protected from any form of sexual, physical, verbal or emotional abuse, both from adults and other children.
- Children should always be protected from exploitation.
- The health and safety of children should always be paramount.
- All children have the right to participate freely in decisions which affect their lives and should be empowered to act upon this, recognising the importance of parents, families and other carers in children’s lives.
- Children should always be treated with respect and valued as individuals and equals with respect to the context of their own culture, religion and ethnicity.
- Children should always feel empowered to raise and discuss any issues or concerns and should always be listened to.
- Any allegations of any form of abuse should always be treated seriously and appropriately and promptly dealt with.
- Investigation of any Child Protection concern should always be conducted with reference to national laws and employment rights and immediately referred to any relevant statutory authorities where appropriate.
- Staff and volunteers should always be recruited, supported and trained with respect to child protection and child health and safety.
- No volunteer or staff member will be permitted to work unsupervised with children or unaccompanied on the RHC campus until the PVG checking is complete.
3. Code of Conduct
Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity (GCHC) staff and volunteers must adhere to the following code of conduct at all times.
You must NEVER:
- hit or physically abuse a child in any way
- deliberately place a child in danger or at risk of abuse
- have sexual contact or use sexualised language with a child
- develop personal relationships with a child which could lead to or constitute abuse
- fondle, hold, kiss, hug or touch a child inappropriately
- have unnecessary physical contact with a child* please see handling/ touching of children below
- restrain a child or protected adult unless there is an imminent risk of inflicting harm to themselves or others. If there is a risk of harm reasonable measures should be used
- intentionally behave in a way that frightens or intimidates a child
- do things of a personal nature for a child that they can do for themselves
- give a child presents or personal items unless it is via GCHC
- invite a child into your home or arrange to see them outwith your remit
- be alone with a child or children unless authorised to do so by GCHC
- take a child in a car alone
- hire a child for any service
- treat a child in any way which could be deemed exploitative
- use internet resources such as social networking sites to make inappropriate contact with children which could lead to or constitute abuse
- use racist, sexist, discriminatory, inappropriate, abusive or offensive language around children
- intentionally humiliate or degrade children
- smoke, use illegal drugs, consume or be under the influence of alcohol in the presence of children
- discuss personal issues about a child or their family with other people, except with a specialist or line manager, when you are concerned about the child’s wellbeing
- dismiss what a child tells you as “lies” or exaggeration
- behave in such a way that will allow people to misinterpret your motives or provide them with an incorrect impression of your actions. Your actions should be clearly explained to the individual at all times. E.g. First Aid check always explain what you are doing.
*Handling/Touching of Children
Under normal circumstances a child should never be touched. However, during some circumstances or emergency situation only, it may be necessary to handle a child to safeguard the Health and Safety of themselves, others and GCHC. In all cases you should attempt to have a witness present and touch only non- sensitive areas. Examples (List not exhaustive)
- When a child is considered lost in the building, they may become distressed or attempt to run off which may in turn cause additional In these cases you should offer to take the child’s hand in order to reunite them with their Guardian.
- If a small child is distressed they may want to be This should be discouraged, however, if there is no choice and a greater risk of harm by not doing so, the child should be lifted in the presence of other staff.
- When a child shoplifter is discovered we have the right to ‘restrain’ or ‘contain’ the individual which should be no more than holding an arm or guiding an individual to a quiet area by putting your hand on their back/elbow.
Some situations may require an instantaneous reaction. The overall aim is to reduce the risk from harm.
You must ALWAYS:
- treat children with respect
- listen carefully to any child who “tells you” (sometimes through drawings and behaviour as well as words) that they are being harmed and report what you have discovered immediately to your line manager
- report immediately any observation or suspicion that a child could be at risk of harm or abuse from an adult or another child
- use sensitive language when discussing serious issues (such as child abuse or sexual violence) with children
- endeavour to be accompanied by another adult when in the presence of children
- be aware of a child’s health and safety and ensure that they are protected from harm when they are in our care
- respect a child’s rights and empower them to be aware of and act upon their rights
- report to the GCHC Designated Child Protection Officers (DCPOs) the mistreatment of children and report any cases of abuse
- ensure that images of children are respectful and obtain permission from a child and/or their parent/guardian before using their image
Any concerns in relation to child protection issues should be reported to GCHC Designated Child Protection Officers (DCPOs) immediately who will investigate thoroughly.
NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT than the safety of the children and young people we come into contact with!
WE ALL have a responsibility to put children’s safety at the front and centre of everything we do. There are difference types of abuse and further details can be found here.
4. The following can be used as guidance if a disclosure is made
- Do not panic – remain calm so as not to frighten the child
- If you are receiving a disclosure of abuse you are likely to be in a position where you have built up a relationship with the child.
- Confidentiality must be maintained but is not guaranteed, and no promises should be made. It must be made clear to the child/complainant that all details will be disclosed to relevant parties, including the Police or Social Services, in order to resolve the issue quickly and efficiently and ensure they are safe in the future.
- If required and if possible take the reportee to a quiet area, away from others, however where possible you should ensure that another staff member is present.
- Reassure the child they are right to disclose this and that they are not to blame.
- Never allow your shock or distaste to show.
- Keep questions to a minimum, never probe for more information than is offered and encourage the child to use their own words.
- Do not make negative comments about the alleged abuser.
- Do not approach or enter into any dialogue about the disclosure with the alleged abuser.
- Inform the Designated Child Protection Officer (DCPO) (Head of Operations) or if unavailable the second DCPO (Chief Executive) or another SMT member as soon as it is possible to do so.
IF AT ROYAL HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN – Contact your supervising member of NHS staff for the area you are in and follow instructions given by NHSGGC. Also inform GCHC staff DCPO as above.
- Record all details of the discussion and action carried out using the advice here which also details data protection compliance.
- Use our Incident Reporting Form to detail your notes from the disclosure.
5. Responsibilities of the Designated Child Protection Officer (DCPO) (Head of Operations)
- When a disclosure is reported to the Designated Child Protection Office they will consider the appropriate action to take, i.e. contact Police/ Social Work/ Disclosure Scotland.
- If appropriate DCPO and SMT will conduct a full internal investigation and the member of staff/ volunteer accused will not be permitted to work with children pending investigation outcomes.
- To promote a culture that puts child safety as paramount & inform/train staff and volunteers on Child Protection.
- To incorporate value-based questions during recruitment that aims to prevent anyone seeking to harm children to be working with the charity.
To Report Suspected Abuse: NSPCC Website here
6. What to do if a child goes missing at a GCHC event
- Respond immediately
- Request the following information:
- Name of child
- School/group name (If appropriate)
- Physical description (height, clothing etc)
- Area where missing person last seen
- Time missing person last seen
- Ask the guardian to stay with you as you will be the main point of contact for the search
- You must continually reassure the guardian everything is being done to find the missing child
- Inform the GCHC Event Manager
- With the guardian search the immediate area the child was last seen
- Alert colleagues and volunteers to assist
- Immediately update all parties involved when child is found
- IF THE CHILD IS NOT LOCATED WITH THE IMMEDIATE SEARCH THE EVENT MANAGER MUST
CONTACT THE POLICE – the Police will now coordinate/ instruct
- Inform a member of the GCHC Senior Management Team
7. What to do if a child has lost their guardian at a GCHC event
- Respond immediately (whether or not the child is a participant to our event)
- If possible put a call out for the name of the guardian to meet at a location
- If not possible, put a call out describing the child
- If call out not possible – alert the Event Manager immediately who will communicate to all team members working at the event via radio contact
- Team will be briefed to lost child contact points
- If a guardian cannot be located the Event Manager will contact the Police
- Inform a member of the GCHC Senior Management Team
8. Sale and Use of Toys/Play Equipment
- All toys sold in the GCHC Fundraising Hub or via the GCHC website/ trade stalls retail outlets or used for experiment/play, are carefully sourced for a variety of ages. All toys or equipment comply with the relevant BS EN Safety Standards. It is the responsibility of the Retail Lead to ensure all goods purchased for retail meet the required standards. Other individuals purchasing items for other areas must ensure compliance.