Plant A Tree Today Foundation – Safeguarding Policy
FINAL Agreed by trustees February 2018
1. Introduction and Scope
1.1 PATT work indirectly with children and vulnerable adults during fundraising and tree planting events.
1.2 This Safeguarding policy applies to all trustees, volunteers and helpers or anyone working or volunteering on behalf of PATT.
1.3 The aim of a safeguarding policy is to ensure an organisation understands its duty to protect its beneficiaries, staff and volunteers, and operate in a safe and secure environment. Therefore, the purpose of this policy is:
- To protect children and young people who attend PATT events
- To provide volunteers and staff with the overarching principles that guide PATT’s approach to safeguarding and child protection
1.4 The following definitions of “child” and “vulnerable adult” are used throughout this policy:
- A child is under 18 years of age, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
- A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who is or may need community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation. This definition comes from the UK Government document “No secrets”.
1.5 We adhere to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and have as our starting point as a definition of abuse, Article 19 which states:
- “States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.”
- Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
- Also for adults the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with particular reference to Article 5 which states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
2. Our commitment
2.1 As trustees of PATT we accept the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Human Rights, which states that everyone is entitled to “all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”. We also concur with the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that children should be able to develop their full potential, free from hunger and want, neglect and abuse. They have a right to be protected from “all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s), or any other person who has care of the child.”
2.2 As trustees we are committed to build constructive links with statutory and voluntary agencies involved in safeguarding both in the UK and in Thailand.
3. Working with other organisations
3.1 Where PATT gives grants to other organisations, we will ask to see a copy of the safeguarding policy and be satisfied as to the organisation’s commitment to protecting their beneficiaries, staff and volunteers from any abuse.
4. Responding to an allegation of abuse
4.1 We will respond without delay to every complaint made that a child, young person or vulnerable adult, for whom we are responsible, may have been harmed by a trustee, volunteer, helper or anyone connected to PATT.
4.2 The person in receipt of allegations or suspicions of abuse should report concerns as soon as possible to Andrew Steel (hereafter the “Safeguarding Co-ordinator”)
4.3 Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above. A written record of the concerns should be made in accordance with these procedures and kept in a secure place.
4.4 Whilst allegations or suspicions of abuse will normally be reported to the Safeguarding Co-ordinator, the absence of the Safeguarding Co-ordinator should not delay referral to the relevant authorities
4.5 The Trustees will support the Safeguarding Co-ordinator in their role, and accept that any information they may have in their possession will be shared in a strictly limited way on a need to know basis.
4.6 The role of the Safeguarding Co-ordinator is to collate and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion and pass this information on to statutory agencies who have a legal duty to investigate.
4.7 Where the allegation of abuse takes part in the work of one of PATT’s partners then the safeguarding policies and procedures of that organisation will take precedent. However, the trustees of PATT retain the right to obtain information of such abuse and investigations and/or ask for a further independent investigation to take place.
5. Allegations of abuse against a PATT trustee or volunteer
5.1 If an accusation is made against a PATT trustee or volunteer whilst following the procedure outlined above, the Trustees will need to consider whether to suspend the trustee or volunteer whilst investigations take place and notify any relevant authority .
5.2 In addition to this, consideration should be given to whether a referral should be made to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) which manages the list of those people deemed unsuitable for working with children or vulnerable adults.
5.3 As an allegation of abuse against a child or vulnerable adult is rightly classified as a serious incident by the Charity Commission, the Chair of Trustees will have to immediately report any such allegations to the Charity Commission.
5.4 When visiting FoK projects, wherever possible, a trustee or volunteer of FoK should not be left alone with children or vulnerable adults, unless they have DBS clearance and the beneficiary organisation has cleared them to do so.
6. Supporting those affected by abuse
6.1 The Trustees are committed to offering pastoral care, working with statutory agencies as appropriate, and support to all those who have been affected by abuse who have contact with or are part of PATT.