Safeguarding policy Statement (2021)

The purpose and scope of this policy statement

Democratic Society (Demsoc) takes its responsibility to keep children, young people and adults at risk safe from harm seriously. The Demsoc team must at all times show respect and understanding for the rights of children, young people and adults, their safety and welfare, and conduct themselves in a way that reflects this. Demsoc will always support anyone (children, young people, adults and Demsoc team members) who raise any concerns regarding the welfare or protection of children, young people or vulnerable adults. All concerns raised will be taken seriously.

The purpose of this policy statement is:

· To protect and keep children, young people and adults who participate in Demsoc’s initiatives and/or activities safe from harm.

· To provide the Demsoc team, as well as children, young people and adults who participate in our work with the key principles that guide our approach to safeguarding and child protection.

Who this policy is for:

This policy applies to anyone working on behalf of Demsoc, including senior managers, paid staff (full and part-time), voluntary staff, contractual (freelance and associate) staff, students, interns and our board of governors – herein referred to under the umbrella term “Demsoc team”. Demsoc staff refers to paid Demsoc employees only.

The legal framework

This policy is designed to ensure that we protect all children from abuse of all kinds in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, everywhere we work.

In some instances, this policy may go above the minimum standard set by legislation in the countries we operate. However, it is important that we follow the guidance contained within this document as it is recognised as best practice.

Supporting procedure policy document

The Demsoc team must read this policy statement alongside our organisational safeguarding procedure policy which includes further guidance on:

· Definition of children

· Definition of adults at risk

· Role of Demsoc team in safeguarding

· Role of the Designated Safeguarding Officer

· Dealing with disclosures and concerns about a child, young person or adult including confidentiality and disclosure

· Procedure for escalation and reporting concerns

· Managing allegations against staff, volunteers or associates

· Managing complaints

· Data retention and storage

· Code of conduct for Demsoc team

· Codes of conduct for children, young people and adults that participate in Demsoc’s events and initiatives

· Photography and sharing images guidance

· Safe practice when working with children or young people at events or residential trips

· Online safety

· Adult to child supervision ratios

· Lone working guide

· Communicating with children and young people

· Safer recruitment

· Induction, training and support

· Health, mental health, wellbeing and safety

· Risk assessment process

· Appendix 1: Recognising abuse

· Appendix 2: Anti-bullying

· Appendix 3: Social media risks

· Appendix 4: FGM & forced marriages

· Appendix 5: Whistleblowing

· Appendix 6: Transport

You can also request a copy of our safeguarding procedure policy from the Designated Safeguarding Officer, contact details below.

We believe that:

Safeguarding and protecting the welfare of all the people we work with is the responsibility of everyone at Demsoc.

  • We have a duty of care to protect people from abuse and harm and we all have the responsibility for the protection of children, young people and adults who come into contact with the organisation. Through our work we adhere to a zero-tolerance approach towards harm, including abuse, exploitation and neglect of any children and adults at risk.
  • Everyone at Democratic Society is responsible for putting this policy into practice at all times. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children, young people and adults, to keep them safe and to carry out our work in a way that protects them.

We recognise that:

  • The welfare of children, young people and adults is paramount in all the work we do and in all the decisions we take. All people, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse.
  • Some people are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues.
  • Working in partnership with children, young people, adults, parents and carers, partner agencies and services is essential in promoting welfare of everyone who participates in Democ’s events or initiatives.

We will seek to keep the children, young people and adults at risk we work with safe by:

· Valuing, listening to and respecting them, taking into account their interests, needs and wellbeing in our work and activities.

· Respecting the rights, wishes and feelings of the children, young people and vulnerable adults with whom we work.

· Appointing a designated safeguarding officer and a deputy safeguarding officer for children, young people and adults at risk.

· Adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies, procedures and code of conduct for Demsoc Team.

· Developing and implementing effective online safety guidance and related procedures.

· Assessing all risk carefully and taking all necessary steps to minimise and manage risks. Our risks are regularly reviewed and reported on through the Programme Board management structure and our strategic risk register.

· Letting any children, young people, vulnerable adults, or those who care for them know how to voice concerns or complaints about our practice – ensuring that we are transparent in our decision making and act with respect, honesty and fairness at all time.

· Ensuring that the Demsoc team are fairly selected, trained and supervised through our recruitment, induction, probation and on-going line management processes and ongoing support, training and quality assurance measures are put in place so that all of the Demsoc team know about and follow our policies, procedures and behaviour codes confidently and competently.

· Recruiting and selecting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made.

· Recording, storing and using information professionally and securely, in line with GDPR data protection legislation and guidance.

· Using our procedures to manage any allegations against the Demsoc Team appropriately.

· Creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment and ensuring that we have a procedure to help us deal effectively with any bullying that does arise.

· Ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place.

· Ensuring that we provide a safe physical and online environment for our children, young people, adults and staff by applying health and safety measures in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance.

· Building a safeguarding culture where staff, children, young people and adults who participate in our events and initiatives treat each other with respect and feel comfortable about sharing concerns.

Code of conduct for Demsoc team

Demsoc team must always:

· Treat everyone with respect and dignity.

· Respect and be sensitive to individual beliefs, faiths and religions.

· Act as a good role model.

· Respect everyone’s human right to privacy.

· Undertake a risk assessment of all situations, activities, buildings and trips to ensure that all potential dangers have been identified and the risk minimised as far as possible.

· Plan to have more than one adult person present when planning activities and trips which involve people at risk – especially children and young people.

· Take any allegations, suspicions or concerns about abuse that anyone makes seriously (including those made against other members of our Demsoc team) and report them, following appropriate procedures.

· Provide an opportunity and environment for everyone to talk to others about any concerns they may have.

· Provide an environment that encourages everyone to feel comfortable and confident in challenging any attitudes or behaviours that may be discriminatory in any way (e.g. racial, sexual, bullying, homophobic, on grounds of disability, refugee or asylum status etc.).

· Remember that others may misinterpret their behaviour and actions, regardless of how well-intentioned they may be.

· Show understanding and sensitivity when dealing with emotional issues.

· Be thoughtful and curious – trust your gut instinct and check-in with each other.

Demsoc team online behaviour and codes of conduct:

· Keeping personal information secure online.

· Consider the long-term implications of content posted online.

· Use accounts that have been authorised by your organisation to communicate with children and young people under 18 (never use personal accounts).

· Turn on privacy settings on accounts that are used to interact with children and young people.

· Using personal devices such as laptops and mobile phones is permittable to communicate with children and young people for project work; however, the phone must be a known number e.g., in email signature. Signed consent forms from a carer/parent/guardian must be collected and stored securely and all communication logs and channels must be accessible to carers/parents/guardians, line managers, senior managers and the Designated Safeguarding Officer if and as required.

· Ensure all communications are relevant to the work of the project and organisation.

· Use age-appropriate language.

Definition of children

A child defined by the UNCRC (1989) is someone up to the age of 18 years and this is the definition that is used by Demsoc. Due to the nature of Demsoc being an international organisation working across Europe and the UK with various legislations for safeguarding, all children and young people under the age of 18 will be defined as children for the purposes of this policy and procedure and to ensure the Demsoc team are clear on the meaning of this term.

This means any child or young person under the age of 18 will be required to provide us with appropriately signed carer/guardian/parental consent forms and/or online safety forms to participate in Demsoc initiatives or activities. Children under 12 may participate in our work with the company of a parent, carer or guardian and at the minimum with an appropriately signed carer/guardian/parental consent form and/or online safety forms.

Definition of adults at risk

An adult at risk or vulnerable adult is someone over the age of 18, who may be at increased risk of abuse, neglect or harm. It is important to remember that we do not stigmatise people in our practice - not all those with a physical or other disability should be defined as ‘at risk’. Anyone can experience periods where we may be at risk – e.g. when enduring poor physical or mental health.

Broadly, adults at risk are those who may lack capacity on a temporary or permanent basis or whose decision-making ability could be compromised – e.g. they would find it difficult without support to understand risk or they are unable to safely escape a situation which may imminently bring them harm.

Reporting safeguarding or child protection concerns

If you have any safeguarding concerns or disclosures you can report and record the incident or concern in the relevant incident and disclosure form here. You can also contact the Designated Safeguarding Officer directly if you have any concerns or uncertainty, but it is vital that you act immediately so further action can be taken.

Contact details:

Designated Safeguarding Officer or DSO (first line of call)

Name: Annie Cook

Phone/email: +447597226593/

Nominated Bureau Leadership Person (second line of call when either DSO’s are unavailable, this person will work with the DSO to ensure safeguarding recommendations are carried out for Demsoc)

Name: Mel Stevens

Phone/email: +447502438738/

We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually, due to its nature, importance and the rapidly changing policy landscape which affects the content of this policy. Reviews will be carried out by the Designated Safeguarding Officer in partnership with the Leadership Team (the Bureau).

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