The Ideas Partnership
Policy for safeguarding people with whom we work
23rd July 2018
Why have a policy?
At The Ideas Partnership we want to protect from abuse all the people with whom our volunteers and employees have contact. We also want to protect our volunteers and employees from unfounded allegations. We want to protect the reputation of our organization.
Members of The Ideas Partnership team come from a range of backgrounds, within Kosovo and beyond. We have colleagues from all five continents of the world and the different cultures we come from mean that we may have different expectations of the way to relate to children and other people at risk. By setting out our expectations we ensure consistency, and we set standards by which volunteers and employees can monitor their own behaviour and the behaviour of others in the organization.
Who is at risk?
We believe that people can be vulnerable because of a lack of knowledge or power, or because of physical disability. Children are vulnerable but so can be others such as adults with special needs.
What is abuse?
Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by another person or persons. Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, financial, verbal or psychological or an act of neglect or omission to act. It may occur when an adult at risk is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which s/he has not consented, or cannot consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it. (This definition is taken from the British Office of the Public Guardian ‘Safeguarding Policy’)
We treat our beneficiaries with respect and dignity. We would therefore not use language which is inappropriate, offensive or abusive.
We act as good role models for the children we work with. This includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in front of the children.
No volunteer or employee with The Ideas Partnership should ever intentionally hurt a child or any other beneficiary of our work. This includes the use of even small amounts of force in the course of chastising a child (e.g. no smacking, twisting a child’s ear).
Likewise, we will never perpetrate emotional abuse by acting in ways intended to shame, humiliate or degrade children or others or intended to make someone cry.
We do not discriminate against any children or families or favour particular children or families to the exclusion of others without criteria (e.g. poverty, other need) which guides us in choosing beneficiaries for our work.
Procedures that support our safeguarding
We provide effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.
We keep a written record of any injury that occurs when children or adults are in our care and note any treatment given.
Any physical contact (e.g. a hug) between a child or adult at risk and one of the TIP team should be only on the instigation of the child or adult at risk, never from the TIP team member. Children and other beneficiaries have the right to choose whether and with whom they make physical contact. E.g. it is not appropriate to say ‘give me a hug’ or to chuck a child’s cheek.
We protect children online. We do not use Ideas Partnership computers for accessing webpages with adult content. For example, we take care that any pages that a child accesses with music will be age-appropriate. We ensure that children cannot be using Ideas Partnership computers for building relationships using the internet with strangers who could put them at risk; we tell children about the ways to protect themselves in what they tell people whom they don’t know.
We take care to work in an open environment with children and other people at risk with whom we work. This would include not having secrets with children or adults at risk and also trying to organize space and time so that our staff and volunteers are not alone with a child. If circumstances lead to a member of staff or volunteer being alone with a child we ensure that conversations or work together takes place in a space where others could easily see or come in. For example, we leave the door to the room where we are working open.
We have an ask-take-show-print policy for photographs and video. Photographs of individuals or very small groups of children should only be taken with permission of those depicted in the photographs. The subjects of the photographs should be shown the photograph after it is taken and given the chance for it to be deleted if they don’t like it. Copies of the photograph should be given to the subjects where possible.
If a volunteer or employee with The Ideas Partnership has a concern about the way that another volunteer or employee is behaving with a child or an adult at risk, they should raise this concern immediately and in confidence with Elizabeth (phone number for telephone and Viber is 044 661797; email address is Elizabeth.gowing@theideaspartnership,org). Doing so in person or by telephone will probably be better than in written form although following a discussion Elizabeth will make a jointly-agreed written note of the concern. Elizabeth will take all such concerns seriously and will address them swiftly and appropriately. If it is not appropriate to inform Elizabeth then one of the other co-founders of the organization can be informed instead. We will support children or adults who raise concerns and also the rights of those who are the subject of any concern.
We may ask for proof that potential volunteers have no criminal record, where it is practical to do so through the justice systems of their home country, and we will ask for proof of no criminal record (from both police and courts) for all employees.
A requirement to follow this policy forms part of the contract with all our employees and if it is concluded that this policy has not been followed, volunteers and staff will not be able to continue working with TIP. Local police will be involved as necessary and support will be arranged for victims of any abuse that has been found to have occurred.
Children in the streets
We recognise that child begging or children working in the streets (e.g. washing windscreens at the traffic lights) is not only against the Kosovan law, but is also an exploitation of children which puts them at risk. We know that the short-term attempt of supporting a child by giving them money in fact only encourages their families in sending them out to work, and makes it less likely that they will go to school.
What happens to this policy?
This policy was discussed in its draft form at a meeting of volunteers and employees of The Ideas Partnership and reviewed with the organisation’s Leadership Team and Little Teacher group. Every volunteer or employee is required to sign a copy of this final form of the policy, and it is shared with other organizations with whom we work closely. All new volunteers or employees are required to sign a copy on joining the organization.
As an organization, we will review this policy at least once a year.