Safe Guarding

SAFE GUARDING CHILDREN POLICY Date last reviewed: March 2019

This document applies to all FOMO representatives and Visitors

Abbreviations in this document:

  • FOMO refers to Friends of Mulanje Orphans
  • FOMO Representatives refers to FOMO Trustees, staff and volunteers
  • Child / Children refers to any person registered with FOMO or attending FOMO’s Secondary School (it should be noted that the register includes a small number of young vulnerable adults who are actually over the age of 18 years).
  • Visitor refers to a person that is not a FOMO representative, but is on a day visit to FOMO.
  • FOMO Mulanje is the body responsible for implementing the FOMO UK Trustees care programme in Malawi.
  • FOMO UK Trustees refers to the controlling body of FOMO Mulanje

Policy Statement

At FOMO, we believe all people regardless of age, gender, disability or ethnic origin have a right to be protected from all forms of harm, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

It is the responsibility of all FOMO representatives to raise any concerns they have or any concerns which are reported to you according to this policy. It is not your responsibility to decide whether or not child abuse has occurred.

It is the responsibility of all FOMO representatives to ensure the delivery of this policy and to promote it as relevant in all aspects of their work, to hold themselves and others to account and to help create a safe environment for all.

Content of Policy

  1. Safeguarding Principles
  2. Definitions
  3. Roles and Responsibilities
  4. Support for Survivors and Victims
  5. Policy Guidance
  • FOMO Representatives Must Never
  • FOMO Representatives Must Always
    1. What to do when concerned about a Childs Wellbeing
    2. Confidentiality and Children
    3. Raising a Concern or Complaint
    4. Procedure for Handling a Concern or Complaint
    5. Safe Recruitment
  1. Safeguarding Principles

FOMO will ensure that:

  1. The welfare of the child is paramount.
  2. Concerns or allegations of child abuse are always taken seriously, investigated and acted on as appropriate.
  3. FOMO will seek to safeguard children by valuing, listening to and respecting them.
  4. FOMO representatives have access to, and are familiar with this policy, and know their responsibilities within it.
  5. FOMO representatives have access to information about how to report concerns or allegations of abuse, including children themselves.
  6. Practices are robust enough to ensure that potential FOMO representatives who pose a known risk to children’s safety or wellbeing are not selected.
  1. Definitions
  2. Safeguarding Children and Child Protection

Safeguarding is the process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, ensuring they are living in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes. ‘Child protection’ is an element of Safeguarding and promoting welfare. It refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering or likely to suffer, significant harm.

FOMO works with Malawi Social Services, Police, Education Authorities, Clinical Authorities, and local community leaders. FOMO representatives will not act alone and any reportable incidents covered by this document may involve all or several of the official bodies in Malawi.

  1. Child

A child is defined as anyone under 18 years old.

This definition is recognised internationally as identifying a population who are particularly vulnerable and require additional safeguards to protect their rights.

The definition of a child for the purposes of Safeguarding and child protection should not be confused with the legal definition of a child or age limits set out in other relevant laws.  The fact that a person under the age of 18 may have reached the age of majority, age of sexual consent, voting age or such like does not alter their inherent vulnerability as a child.

  1. Young Volunteer

Anyone who is under the age of 18 years old is classed as a ‘Young Volunteer’ when they are volunteering for FOMO. All young volunteers must be accompanied and supervised by a responsible adult.

  1. Child Abuse

Different forms of harm or mistreatment of children are categorised under the broader term “child abuse”. Abuse can happen anywhere and at any time, but research shows that the perpetrators of abuse are likely to be known and trusted by the child. The most commonly defined types are:

  • Physical: violence towards or deliberate injury of a child.
  • Neglect: persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and psychological needs.
  • Sexual: using a child for sexual stimulation or gratification.
  • Emotional: behaviour which attacks a child’s self-esteem.
  • Child Sexual Exploitation: Children in exploitative situations and relationships receive something such as gifts, money or affection as a result of performing sexual activities or others performing sexual activities on them.
  1. Roles and Responsibilities
    1. Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility and failure to act on concerns relating to children is not an option.
    2. FOMO UK, holds overall accountability for this Policy and its implementation, and for ensuring that it is reviewed on an annual basis.
    3. FOMO representatives are required to adhere to this Policy at all times.
    4. FOMO representatives are obliged to report any suspicions of child abuse. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no obligation placed on any individual to report any incident that has happened to them.
  2. Support for Survivors and Victims
    1. Support will be offered to survivors and victims, regardless of whether a formal internal response is carried out (such as an internal investigation). Survivors and victims can choose if and when they would like to take up the support options available to them.
  3. Policy Guidance – Contact with Children

FOMO Representatives Must Never:

  • Fail to disclose any convictions or child related investigations that they are subject to.
  • Seek to make contact or spend time with any child with whom they come into contact as part of their work with FOMO except as part of the designated activities set out in their role.
  • Abuse their position to withhold professional assistance or give preferential treatment, gifts or payment of any kind to a child, or another person in relation to a child, in order to solicit any form of advantage or sexual favour from a child.
  • Have sexual intercourse or participate in any form of sexual activity, including paying for sex, with any FOMO child.
  • Hit or otherwise physically assault a child irrespective of cultural norms, including as punishment.
  • Behave physically in a manner with a child which is inappropriate or sexually provocative.
  • Use language or behaviour towards children that is inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative or that is intended to shame, humiliate or emotionally abuse.
  • Use computers, mobile phones, video and digital cameras to exploit or harass children or to access child pornography through any medium.
  • Recruit children for any labour which is inappropriate to their age or developmental stage, which interferes with their time available for education and recreational activities, or which places them at risk of injury.
  • Do things of a personal nature for a child with whom they come into contact as part of their work for FOMO that the child can do for themselves (e.g. toileting, bathing, dressing).
  • Share a bedroom with or sleep close to an unsupervised child or children where that child/children are ones with whom they come into contact as part of their work for FOMO.
  • Visit a child’s home alone or invite unaccompanied children into their own accommodation, where that child/children are ones with whom they come into contact as part of their work for FOMO.
  • Put a child at risk of harm through inaction (including failure to report a concern).
  • Condone or participate in any child related activity which is illegal, exploitative, unsafe or abusive; this includes behaviour by other children.
  • Act in any way that may be abusive or put a child at risk of abuse or exploitation.

   FOMO Representatives Must Always:

  • Treat all children with respect regardless of their race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, nationality, ethnicity, social origin, property, disability or other status;
  • Avoid being placed in a position where they are alone with a child or children with whom they come into contact as part of their work with FOMO.
  • Act professionally towards children they interact with in their role, following relevant laws pertaining to working with children, including those in relation to child labour.
  • Consider the risk of harm and whether there is any possibility a child may be abused or exploited when assessing the appropriateness of any physical or verbal contact, including in the design of FOMO programmes.
  • Report any suspicion, allegation or witness of child abuse or other breaches of the Safeguarding Children Policy as per the reporting procedures outlined in this document.
  1. What to do when concerned about a Child’s Wellbeing
  • The first priority is the immediate safety and welfare of the child.
  • Keep calm and act normally; do not say or show that you are shocked.
  • Do not investigate or question the child. If a child reports abuse directly to you, only ask questions to get enough information to understand the complaint (e.g. ‘who, what, where, when’ questions, but not ‘why’ questions).
  • Never agree to keep a secret. If a child is in danger you will have to inform others.
  • Do not directly challenge parents, carers or teachers about your concerns.
  • Record all the details that support your suspicion and report this in line with internal reporting procedures.
  1. Confidentiality and Children
  • FOMO representatives cannot keep confidences which involve concerns about a child. Any information offered in confidence relating to risks or concerns about a child should be received on the basis that it will have to be shared with those in authority.
  1. Raising a Concern or a Complaint
  • FOMO Visitors and FOMO representatives must report their concerns to the centre committee chair, the chair of the chairs, head of school or directly to FOMO UK as appropriate.
  •             Contact Details: Email – fomouk@:hotmail.com
  • If an allegation is made against you, then you must inform FOMO UK immediately. You should create a signed and dated record of the details as you know them and send them a copy.
  1. Procedure for Handling Concerns and Complaints
    • FOMO is committed to responding to all complaints and concerns of abuse.
    • FOMO recognises that disclosures and suspicion should always be acted upon swiftly, and if there is an urgent child protection situation, for example if a child is in imminent danger of abuse, then immediate protective action will be taken.
  1. Safe Recruitment
  • FOMO is committed to recruiting FOMO representatives safely. In particular;
  • All applicants must be asked to disclose all criminal convictions in keeping with the parameters of local employment law (FOMO will not offer volunteering opportunities to anyone with spent or unspent convictions for sexual offences or any form of child abuse);
  • Legitimate registers, (If Possible) must be checked to establish whether applicants are a known risk to children, and all UK FOMO Representatives must undergo DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Checks to the satisfaction of Trustees when planning to visit Malawi as volunteers.