Duty of Care
Elmwood OSCAR staff accept responsibility for children booked into the programme, from the time a child arrives at the programme until the child's parent, caregiver, or nominated person on the child’s enrolment form signs the child out of the programme for the day.
Prevention and Early Intervention
Elmwood OSCAR recognises that the safety of the child is paramount when any decision or action is taken regarding the care of a child. During planning of the programme, staff will:
Ensure that children will not be left alone, unobserved, or in a 1:1 situation with a staff member/leader.
Ensure that volunteers and other adults visiting or working at the programme are well supervised and visible to staff when interacting with the children
Record any incidents related to the safety of a child
Record any suspicions or unusual observations related to the safety of a child
Allegations of Abuse / Safety of a Child or associated Community Member.
Elmwood OSCAR is committed to the recognition and prevention of abuse of children and young people. Our process for dealing with allegations of abuse or situations that raise concern about the safety of a child refers to section 15 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 Children’s and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989
Section 15: reporting of ill-treatment or neglect of a child. Any person who believes that any child has been, or is likely to be harmed (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treated, abused, neglected, or deprived may report the matter to a chief executive (social worker) or member of Police, (chief executive is defined in the CYP act in; Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children).
Child abuse refers to the harming (whether physically, emotionally or sexually), ill treatment, abuse, neglect, or serious deprivation of any child/tamariki, young person/rangatahi.
Physical abuse - any acts that may result in physical harm of a child or young person.
Sexual abuse - any acts that involve forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not they are aware of what is happening.
Emotional abuse - any act or omission that results in adverse or impaired psychological, social, intellectual and emotional functioning or development.
Neglect - the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical or psychological needs, leading to adverse or impaired physical or emotional functioning or development.
Family violence may be witnessed/experienced by children and involve physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Identifying child abuse and neglect
All staff will be made aware of the signs of potential abuse of neglect (see below) and will always consider all available information before taking any action e.g. behavioural concerns may be the result of life events, such as divorce, accidental injury, the arrival of a new sibling etc.
Staff members are not expected to reach any conclusions about whether abuse or neglect is occurring, or what form it may be taking. They are expected to recognise and consult when something is wrong, if a pattern is noticed or several signs together cause concern.
Some signs of potential abuse / neglect:
Physical signs of abuse: unexplained injuries, burns, fractures, unusual or excessive itching, genital injuries, sexually transmitted diseases.
Neglect: looking rough and uncared for, dirty, without appropriate clothing, underweight
Medical neglect: e.g. persistent skin disorders or other untreated medical issues)
Developmental delays: e.g. small for their age, cognitive delays, falling behind in school, poor speech and social skills
Emotional abuse/neglect: e.g. sleep problems, low self-esteem, obsessive behaviour, inability to cope in social situations, sadness/loneliness and evidence of self-harm
Behavioural concerns: e.g. age-inappropriate sexual interest or play, fear of a certain person or place, eating disorders/substance abuse, disengagement/neediness, aggression
The child talking about things that indicate abuse
Suspected Abuse and Disclosures
Where incidents of abuse are observed or suspected or disclosed by a child, staff will follow these steps:
If the child is in immediate danger then contact the Police by Dialing 105 or 111 as appropriate.
Reassure the child that they did the right thing.
Ask permission to involve another member of staff who can witness and offer support.
Advise the child that what they tell staff cannot be kept a secret but that the OSCAR will help to ensure they are kept safe.
Listen to the child, but do not ‘interview’ them and ask lots of questions.
Information disclosed by a child or young person will be accurately recorded.
Any concerns, observations, or suspicions about the safety of a child or young person should also be documented.
Staff will consult with the Chairperson of the managing committee before making a decision.
Elmwood OSCAR management will consult Oranga Tamariki or Police for further advice.
Management will arrange professional support for staff.
Note: See Section 3.5 of the Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults policy and procedure document for further detail of this process.
Reporting Suspicions & Allegations Against a Staff Member
Staff will be supported and treated in a manner that allows them to feel safe to raise concerns about a staff member. Where it is suspected that child abuse has been perpetrated by a staff member or other person assisting with the programme, The following steps will be taken:
The Chairperson of the Managing Committee will be notified immediately.
The staff member will be stood down until either cleared of the allegation or further action is taken.
The staff member will be advised of their rights to seek independent legal advice.
Privacy rights and confidentiality for staff and participants will be maintained.
If the concern regards the chairperson, the staff member should contact an official agency directly.
Note: See Section 3.7 of the Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults policy and procedure document for further detail of this process.
Elmwood OSCAR will ensure that the safety of the child or young person is paramount and no form of physical, sexual or verbal harassment or violence from peers will be accepted or tolerated. While the situation is being evaluated, the children/young people concerned will be kept separate.
In some cases, where the abuse has occurred at the programme, immediate suspension of a child may be appropriate, as outlined in the behaviour guidance policy.
Elmwood OSCAR will keep personal information as private as possible. Parents will also be asked to keep all information confidential to allow proper investigation and resolution.
All parents/caregivers will be kept informed about how the programme is responding to concerns, including meeting with staff to discuss these concerns. Elmwood OSCAR discourages interaction between the different parents involved and between parents and other children in the programme, while a concern is being investigated.
Child and Staff Safety – Supervision and Conduct Guidelines
These specific guidelines are concerned with minimising the risk of allegations of inappropriate conduct by a staff member.
Open door policy
All staff should be aware of situations where they could be alone with children. These situations will be avoided as much as possible. An open door policy for all spaces should be used as much as possible (i.e. not for toilets). Staff will avoid being alone with a child or young person, unless an emergency requires it.
Staff will be aware of where all children are at all times and check to ensure what they are doing is appropriate. Staff will watch for situations where children are out of sight together (play huts, storage areas, toilets, etc.) and intervene to reduce the risk of inappropriate behaviour.
Visitors to the centre will be monitored at all times by programme staff. All volunteers and outside instructors will be monitored by the paid programme staff.
Unless requested by children or parents there is usually no need to assist school aged children with toileting. If the situation arises, staff will ensure that another staff member knows who is assisting the child.
In some situations a child or young person may require more regular physical and or personal care assistance. Advice and assistance will be requested from parents/caregivers and specialist personnel. Staff will consult with all involved regarding appropriate procedures for giving this assistance.
Physical contact with children
All contact with children should be positive and affirming. To achieve this, our staff will come into physical contact with children at times. This is acceptable when carried out in a professional and responsible manner that is age appropriate.
Examples of professionally appropriate contact:
Emotional support, including hugging or placing a supportive arm across a child’s shoulders, when and where needed. This is especially important with young children when reassurance is required
Patting a child on the back or shoulder in a congratulatory manner when praise is due
Where custom and practice within cultural observances dictates appropriate physical contact
During the delivery of an activity which necessitates demonstration using appropriate contact
Helping with toileting as appropriate
Personal assistance with special requirements including lifting, transferring, or administering medication
Accident or medical emergency situations.
There will be times when, due to extraordinary circumstances, more physical contact and intervention is required. In these situations teachers and support staff may be required to act quickly and decisively to restrain children or remove them from danger. Building a positive and caring learning environment will involve some physical contact with children.
Any intentional contact that would constitute child physical and/or sexual abuse, or be potentially harmful to the wellbeing of the individual is inappropriate
This organisation is committed to maintaining and increasing staff awareness of how to prevent, recognise and respond to abuse through appropriate training. Staff are expected to act at all times within their level of experience and training, and to consult with the chairperson of the committee about any concerns.
As part of their induction, new staff are explained:
The programme policy and commitment to child protection
Procedures for supervising children and minimising the risk of an allegation of inappropriate behaviour
What to do if abusive behaviour is observed
The process for reporting any concerns
How to respond to a disclosure of abuse
There will be an annual in-house review of child protection procedures and appropriate external training will be accessed where possible.