Child Protection Policy
Ensuring the Health and well-being of children
The Board is responsible under the vulnerable children Act 2014 to protect and improve the well-being of children at New Lynn School. This policy and following procedures provides for the emotional, physical, sexual and neglect abuse situations that children may be subjected too.
- The Board will make child safety security and welfare a priority.
- The Board will provide a safe physical and emotional environment at New Lynn School for all students, community workers, employees and volunteers.
- All staff are responsible for the safety and well-being of children at New Lynn School.
- Any issues of suspected child abuse will be taken seriously and addressed as per New Lynn School Child Protection Policy.
- The Designated people for child protection are the Principal Associate, Principal and Deputy Principal.
- Staff will receive regular child Protection training.
- The Board is responsible for ensuring all employees, contractors and volunteers are safe and competent to work with and around children and has designated this responsibility to the Principal and Deputy Principal (All people working within the school will be police vetted).
- Contractors or any organisation engaging employees who may work or have any level of contact with students (for a minimum of a day a week) will be required to provide a child protection policy to the management of New Lynn School prior to commencing any works or engagement.
- All staff must act within legal requirements of the Privacy Act, Children, Young Persons and their Families Act. Health Information Act and other statutes there are provisions within each of these acts for sharing information needed to protect children and enable other people to carry out their legitimate functions. Any sharing of information must be done in the child’s best interest and not be in breach of the privacy act.
- Staff may be asked to provide information to Oranga Tamariki, the police, court or lawyers and Psychologists. The Board will provide any support to staff in this situation.
- The Principal/Deputy Principal will refer all suspected situations of child abuse to Oranga Tamariki.
- If a staff member (or volunteer) is suspected of abuse, they will be prevented from having further unsupervised access to children during any investigation and will be informed fully of their rights.
- Staff will declare to a senior person any situation where there could be a conflict of interest, and provision made on a case by case basis about who will handle the process.
- The Board will ensure support is available to any staff member on request when they have been involved in a stressful situation involving child protection.
- If the police decide to take a criminal investigation then the member of staff may be suspended, without prejudice as a precautionary measure. At this stage no internal investigation will be undertaken and no evidence gathered that might prejudice the criminal investigation.
- If New Lynn School is aware that a staff member of staff it has placed on precautionary suspension also works with children for another organisation, either as an employer a volunteer, it will ensure the other organisations informed of the suspension and the subsequent outcome. Consultation with Oranga Tamariki or the police will determine how this information is conveyed.
- If there is insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal prosecution, the board reserves the rights to conduct an internal investigation if there is ‘reasonable cause to suspect’ that abuse may have occurred. The allegation may represent appropriate behaviour of poor practice by a member of staff which will then be considered under internal disciplinary procedures.
- All new staff will undertake an induction programme that requires them to read and understand this policy, all related child protection procedures and any information about child abuse provided to them by senior leadership team.
- All staff must read and agree to read the code of Professional Responsibility. Failure to adhere to this code may result in disciplinary action.
- All school employees and volunteers will be police vetted (and updated every three years).
- The Board of Trustees will not employ any children’s worker that has a Vulnerable Children’s Act Schedule 2 offence e.g. Ill treatment, neglect, aggravated wounding or injury, murder, manslaughter, indecencies, sexual violation, abduction.
Before making any employment decisions the New Lynn School Board of trustees will assess all criminal histories bearing in mind the following:
The Vulnerable Children Act workforce restriction makes it unlawful to employ people with convictions for specified offences in core children’s workforce roles, unless the work has an exemption.
Even when the workforce restriction doesn’t apply (or a person has an exemption) the Board will collect enough information to understand the following factors and make an assessment of risk.
The relevance of the conviction to child related work and safeguarding children. An offence against children or other vulnerable people has an obvious relationship. Patterns of fraudulent offending can also be a concern. Given the importance of trust in the children’s workforce. The context of the role being screened for. A conviction for drink driving maybe more prejudicial for a school bus driver than another role but may still give concern for working with children. How long ago the conviction was. Convictions followed by a long period without re-offending may indicate successful rehabilitation but doesn’t guarantee it.
The age of the children’s worker at the time of the offending. Convictions occurring when the children’s worker was young, followed by a sustained period of non-offending may indicated the children worker has successfully rehabilitated.
The New Lynn Board of trustees upholds the belief that no single agency alone can protect vulnerable children and thus we will work with families /whanau, communities and organisations to protect children from harm.
Supporting Documents /Evidence
- Vulnerable Children Act (VCA) 2014
- Schedule 2 of the VCA
- Education Act 1989-All employees must be police vetted
- State sector Act 1988 Good employer provisions.
- National administration guideline 5 Provision of safe and emotional environment /comply in full with any legislation to ensure the safety of students and employees.
- NAG5 Policy –Well Being and emotional safety of students.
- Children Young Persons and their Families Act 1989
- Human Rights Act –Protect from discrimination of employment.
- Privacy Act –Privacy Principles
- Employment Relations Act 2000
AWARENESS ABOUT CHILD ABUSE
1. Signs of possible physical child abuse:
- Cluster of bruises in different stages of healing
- Child’s story about bruises does not fit
- Bruises appear regularly after absence, weekend, etc
- Unusually shaped bruises sometimes showing object used, e.g. iron
- Unlikely position of bruise, e.g. inside of elbow, on cheek, black eye
- Stocking burns – from immersion in scalding water
- Unexplained fractures/dislocations
- Fractures in various stages of healing
- Unexplained lacerations or abrasions
2. There are many behaviours that could indicate that the child is suffering from physical abuse. They include:
- Constant eye contact with parent’s face
- Inappropriate “mothering” (of parent) by child
- Fear of parents or of going home
- Poor parent-child bonding and inappropriate acceptance of strangers
- Wariness of adults: watchful, vacant or frozen look on face
- Generally inappropriate (i.e.immature/precocious/superficial) social responses
- Apprehensive when other children cry
- Always wanting to please parent
3. Possible indications of sexual abuse:
- Child reports sexual abuse
- Genital irritation or pain
- Sleep disturbances, bedwetting, fear of sleeping alone, etc
- Psychosomatic complaints, e.g. stomach pains, headaches
- Needing more reassurance than usual, clinging, behaving as a younger child
- Poor concentration, deterioration in school work, other changes in behaviour
- Irritability, short-tempered, or depressed behaviour
- Aggressive behaviour, especially of younger children
- Running away from home, skipping school, being rebellious
- Sexually precocious or provocative behaviour
- Suicide attempts
- Striving to over-achieve, immersion in study: overly concerned to please and excel.
4. If a child shares with you that he/she has been sexually abused remember:
- Children find it extremely difficult to tell anyone that they are being sexually abused.
- Shock, disbelief, blame or visible discomfort in the adult will silence the child immediately.
- Children are usually not violently attacked or hurt physically during a sexual assault.
- Young children do not usually have the adult language to describe what has happened to them and will use what words they are familiar with. This does not mean that child is unreliable or inaccurate.
- The child is not to blame and needs to have this made absolutely clear to him / her.
- Give the child reassurance and support that he / she is OK, safe and right to have told you.
- Do not try to handle the situation on your own: there are many trained experienced professionals to call on.
5. Possible indications that a child is suffering from emotional abuse:
A child who is physically or sexually abused is almost always being emotionally abused too. However, emotional abuse does not necessarily imply physical or sexual abuse. It can be passive neglect or involve active rejection and verbal abuse.
A child experiencing emotional abuse can show any or a number of the following physical or behavioural indications.
- Speech disorders
- Hyperactive / disruptive behaviour
- Habits such as sucking, rocking, etc
- Antisocial / destructive behaviour
- Sleep disturbances
- Phobias, obsessions, excessive concern with health, etc
- Inappropriately adult behaviour
- Extreme swings in behaviour and mood
- Delays in physical, social or emotional development
- Unusual fearfulness.
All suspicions must be reported; believe children when they tell you anything that leads you to suspect they have been or are being abused.
There are detailed resources held in the office.
ACTION TO TAKE
- Report all suspicions to the Principal.
- At all stages confidentiality must be maintained.