Safeguarding Children and Young People

Purpose of National Safeguarding Policy

Plan International Ireland recognises that violence against children and young people is prevalent throughout the world and in all societies. Violence against children includes physical or mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment, and sexual abuse. Furthermore, children and young people may be vulnerable and at risk due to, for example, reasons of gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, disability and age or illness.

Plan International Ireland is fully committed to ending violence against children and acknowledge that we have a duty to promote the gender responsive safeguarding of children and young people and particularly those with whom we work or are in contact.

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that:

· all who work for and engage with us are skilled, confident, competent, and are well supported in meeting their responsibilities to safeguard children and young people from violence and engage positively with them in ways that enhance the achievement of our Purpose;

· we have in place procedures to prevent and deal with the actions/behaviour of our Staff, Associates, Visitors or us as an organisation that result in violence against a child or young person and/or places them at risk of the same; and

· children and young people we work with are aware our responsibilities to prevent and respond to any harm against them arising

Policy Statement

Plan International Ireland recognises the rights of all children within our care to be protected from harm in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Our Child Protection Mission is to:

“Create ‘child safe’ environments – internally and externally – where children are respected, protected, empowered and active in their own protection, and where staff are skilled, confident, competent and well supported in meeting their protection responsibilities through clear policies, procedures and good practise”

We are fully committed to the gender responsive safeguarding of all children and young people from all forms of violence. We take very seriously our responsibility and duty to ensure that we, as an organisation, and anyone who represents us does not in any way harm, abuse or commit any other act of violence against children and young people or place them at risk of the same.

We promote child and youth safe practices, approaches, interventions and environments which respects, recognises and responds to the specific safeguarding needs and addresses the protection risks of the differing gender and other identities. We will challenge and do not tolerate inequality, discrimination or exclusion. We respond to a child or young person who may be in need of protection and or psycho-social support and intend that their welfare and best interests will at all times be paramount consideration. We ensure all who work with and engage with us understand and are supported in their meeting safeguarding roles and responsibilities. We take positive action to prevent anyone who might be a risk to children and young people from becoming involved with us and take stringent measures against any Staff, Associate or Visitor who perpetrates an act of violence against a child. We promote the active involvement of children and young people in their own protection.

Procedures

All staff members and board members are required to have a good understanding of the basic procedures.

Anyone connected with Plan International Ireland and/or travelling overseas to visit a project is obliged to sign and abide by the policy and procedures in place, including but not limited to child sponsors, journalists, donors, etc. Enforcement of this policy will be monitored through an annual Safeguarding Audit, risk assessment and a policy review every two years.

Responsibility

A designated member of Plan International Ireland’s Board is responsible for considering Safeguarding in all board decisions.

The Safeguarding Focal Point (SFP) is the key contact for Safeguarding.  Any concerns however minor should be brought to his/her attention immediately.  In the absence of the SFP the CEO or the Global Safeguarding Manager at Plan International Headquarters should be contacted.

Plan International Ireland adheres to Irish child protection standards, as outlined in ‘Children First Act’ -National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, for all work directly involving children at a local level.

1. All Staff, Associates and Visitors shall:

a. commit and contribute to an environment where children and young people feel respected, supported, safe and protected

b. never act or behave in a manner that results in violence against a child or young person or places a child or young person at risk of violence;

c. be aware of and adhere to the provisions of this Policy.

2. All Staff shall:

a. comply with this Policy, including the Safeguarding Code of Conduct

b. report and respond to safeguarding concerns and breaches of the policy in line with the applicable

procedures of Plan International Ireland or, when travelling with Plan International, the applicable Plan

International Entity.

c. have a responsibility to consider and help minimise child safeguarding risks within their own areas of

responsibility

d. communicate Plan International Ireland’s safeguarding commitments with relevant stakeholders, including but not limited to partners, donors, sponsors and public engagement/communications.

Plan International Ireland staff members, volunteers and associates may occasionally work directly with children in Ireland and overseas. In anticipation of this the following measures are in place:

e. Candidates for this work are subject to enhanced background checks. Staff members, who will conduct programming in Ireland must obtain Garda Vetting.

f. Parental consent will be required for all children involved in a Plan International activity. This consent will be documented and filed.

g. Children will be accompanied by a Plan International Staff member or Plan International volunteer at all times.

h. If accommodation is required, it will be appropriate to the age and gender of the children and separate to the adults.

Data Protection, Child Information and Images

The nature of our work means we hold details of children and their families. We are solely responsible for ensuring that the information is not abused and is used for the intended purpose.

All information and images are held securely, databases are password protected and access to information is given on the basis of role.

Suppliers and agencies working on our behalf are made aware of our safeguarding policy and must ensure that their operations offer the same degree of protection.

Plan International Ireland monitor all internet traffic and web usage for inappropriate content.

Plan International Supporters

Plan International supporters include all donors who make financial contributions individually and/or as a group, company or organisation.  Supporters also include others who donate their time, public standing, expertise and enthusiasm to further our work.  To ensure that we do not put children at risk through contact with supporters, we have the following safeguards in place:

– We retain the right to turn down requests to support Plan International at our discretion.

– We screen all communications from sponsors to sponsored children for any inappropriate, written or visual material and contact details.  This is to protect both sponsor and child from unregulated and possibly inappropriate contact.  To ensure this we use the medium of reference numbers for both parties.

– Zero tolerance on unsupervised direct/indirect contact (such contact may include but is not limited to visits and any form of communication via social media, emails, letters etc) that is intended to establish personal relationships with any child associated with Plan International.

Identifying Risk & taking action

It is everyone’s responsibility to report any potential or actual risk to a child’s wellbeing and safety. An incident report form should be used to record any abuse, attempted abuse or suspected abuse of a young person and passed to the SFP.  The SFP will follow up with the CEO, the local Plan International office and relevant external bodies.