MASK is committed to the following principles and values:
Our principle commitments:
MASK provides public services to children and young people. This policy addresses issues arising from the risk of abuse of children by others and provides guidance to help MASK staff and volunteers to deal safely with situations where:
This policy has been approved and endorsed by the Trustees and is reviewed regularly.
Child: Any person under the age of 18.
Staff: Includes any representative of MASK including members, employed workers, volunteers, consultants, contractors and their sub-consultants, sub-contractors.
1. MASK recognises:
1.1. The paramount importance of the welfare of children and their right to protection from all forms of abuse;
1.2. Its duty of care to children by anyone working on behalf of it.
2. MASK will:
2.1. Ensure that members of staff are carefully selected. Any member of staff employed to work directly with children will be subject to CRB checks;
2.2. Provide training for staff in protection of children;
2.3. Appoint a member of staff or other officer to have responsibility for policy, training and co-ordination of matters relating to protection of children;
2.4. Take all allegations of abusive behaviour/practice in all forms seriously and respond to such allegations quickly;
2.5. Provide a Code of Behaviour (see below) for all staff, identifying some basic dos and don’ts when dealing with children, guidance on management of some typical risk situations and procedures for dealing with events where abuse of children by others is observed or suspected.
Definition of abuse
1 Physical abuse: Actual or likely deliberate physical injury to a child, or wilful neglectful failure to prevent physical injury or suffering to a child.
2 Sexual abuse: Actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child. The involvement of children in sexual activities they do not truly comprehend, and to which they are unable to give informed consent or that violate the social taboos of family roles.
3 Emotional abuse: Actual or likely significant emotional ill treatment, including bullying, and harassment resulting in severe adverse effects on the emotional, physical and/or behavioural development of a child. All abuse involves some emotional ill treatment.
General code of behaviour
1 Trustees, people employed by or otherwise working with MASK should observe the following requirements where children are concerned:
Trustees, staff and volunteers should:
Trustees, staff and volunteers should not:
1. Protecting children from hazards or rash behaviour.
1.1 Staff must seek to prevent children (who may find it difficult to assess risk) from coming to harm through their own rash actions. Where an incident arises, judge carefully how to intervene and where possible guide them into a safe course of action;
1.2 If you have to tell them to stop what they’re doing, try to be clear and definite about it;
1.3. Try to avoid being officious or challenging;
1.4. If, despite your efforts, a child persists in jeopardising their own or other people’s safety, get help if you can;
1.5. If they are in serious danger and you cannot persuade them away from it, you should treat this as an emergency and contact the emergency services;
1.6 If you think it is necessary to restrain a child from doing something, start with non-physical approaches. If you do have to use physical restraint, it should be the minimum necessary for their safety. If they are in imminent danger, you might need to hold them by their clothing. Whatever the circumstances, physical restraint must be appropriate and reasonable.
2. If an accident happens
All accidents are to be reported. With children it may be hard to tell whether they have been injured or whether an injury is serious:
3. First Aid to children
Generally the permission of the child’s parent or guardian must be obtained before administering First Aid to a child. A child cannot give consent. Where it is appropriate to administer First Aid:
4. Comforting children:
If a child asks for comfort because of a minor accident or fright, it may be appropriate to hold their hand or put your arm around them. Just make sure:
5. Contact with unaccompanied children:
1 Try to avoid situations where you are alone with children, especially anywhere you are unlikely to be seen or heard. This is as much to protect yourself from suspicion as to protect the child.
2 If you can’t avoid being alone with a child, you should take prudent precautions:
2.1. Try to move with the child to a place where there are other people;
2.2. Comfort and re-assure them without compromising their dignity or privacy;
2.3. Avoid unnecessary physical contact. If you do have to touch the child, make sure to get their agreement beforehand, and try not to be over-familiar;
2.4. See also General Codes of Behaviour ‘Shoulds’ and ‘Should nots’ at point 4 above;
2.5. If an unaccompanied child needs to be taken to the toilet for any reason, try to make sure that a second adult comes with you and that at no time are you alone with the child.
6. Protecting children:
If you witness or suspect abusive behaviour towards a child, use the following guidelines. If you suspect a child is at risk:
If someone is being violent to a child:
If you receive an allegation of abuse:
If a disclosure or allegation is being made to you:
The decision whether or not to contact the appropriate outside agencies, will be taken by the senior manager:
If you suspect a colleague:
If an allegation of abuse is made against you
Any information about alleged or actual child abuse will only be disclosed where it is in best interests of the child to do so. Furthermore, we have a responsibility to protect the identity of anyone reporting suspected or actual abuse. No such disclosure will be made without careful consultation at senior management level.