Child Protection Policy

The Rainbow Centre works to support children living in extreme poverty in South Western Sri Lanka. It recognises that the importance of ensuring that this important work with vulnerable children is carried out under the strict guidance of a child protection policy.┬áThe Rainbow Centre expects that its employees and others who work with the Rainbow Centre have the children’s best interests at heart. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the Rainbow Centre has procedures in place to prevent and deal with child abuse by anyone associated with the Rainbow Centre.

The Rainbow Centre is committed to actively preventing child abuse.

Who Does the Policy Apply to?

The policy applies to all staff, volunteers and visitors to the Centre who need to be aware of our commitment to child protection. It applies to all staff as a contractual obligation. All volunteers will be expected to have read the policy and given a written agreement of compliance. All visitors will be made aware of the policy and be expected to comply to Rainbow Centre rules forbidding unsupervised contact with children.

The Rainbow Centre’s Statement of Purpose and Values sets out our commitment to the rights and dignity of children and young people. As an organisation we are aware of the need to make explicit and visible our determination that the work of the Rainbow Centre must promote the safety and security of children and young people.

The Rainbow Centre’s work is with children and we are committed to their wellbeing and to supporting the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Rainbow Centre does not tolerate child abuse.

The Rainbow Centre recognises the dignity and rights of children towards whom it has a special responsibility and a duty of care and respect. The Rainbow Centre, and all its staff and volunteers, undertake to do everything in its power to create a safe environment for children and young people and to prevent their physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

The Rainbow Centre is committed at all times to act in the best interests of children by setting in place, implementing and regularly monitoring and reviewing procedures to protect children and young people. These procedures cover the Rainbow Centre’s recruitment practice, staff induction, training, rules and regulations and management responsibilities.

The Rainbow Centre will seek to achieve this by:

  • Adopting a code of behaviour for all of its staff, volunteers and visitors.
  • Ensuring that any allegations of abuse are promptly and properly dealt with, victims supported and perpetrators held to account.
  • Aiming to be an example of best practice in the prevention of child abuse and in responding to it.

A child means anyone under the age of eighteen. The Rainbow Centre recognises that vulnerable adults may also be in need of particular protection and recognises that the needs and concerns of this group may be different from those of the children. The Rainbow Centre will extend this policy to include specific commitments relevant to this group as appropriate. The Rainbow Centre’s policy applies to all children with whom the Rainbow Centre has contact regardless of gender, religion or ethnicity.

There are Four Main Kinds of Abuse:

Physical abuse is actual or likely physical injury to a child, including hitting or threatening to hit, kicking or shaking, where there is definite knowledge, or reasonable suspicion, that the injury was inflicted or knowingly not prevented.

Emotional abuse is harm done by persistent or severe emotional ill treatment or rejection, including degrading punishments, threats, not giving care and affection and bullying, resulting in adverse affects on the behaviour and emotional development of a child or young person.

Neglect occurs when basic needs, such as food, warmth and medical care, are not met or when there is failure to prevent a child from exposure to any kind of danger, resulting in serious impairment of a child’s or young person’s health or development.

Sexual abuse occurs if a child or young person is pressurised or forced to take part in any kind of sexual activity, whether or not the child is aware of or consents to what is happening. Sexual abuse includes incest, rape and fondling. It may also include non-contact activities such as showing pornography or Internet based activity. Sexual abuse may involve siblings or other family members, or persons outside the family.

Abuse occurs when adults or other children hurt children or young people under the age of eighteen, either physically or in some other way. In the majority of cases, the abuser is someone the child or young person knows well, such as a parent, friend or relative.

There are some groups of children and young people who are particularly vulnerable, including: children with disabilities; children from ethnic minority communities who may be particularly vulnerable if their communities suffer from discrimination; children who are refugees or asylum seeking; children living in residential care; and, children living in families in which there is alcohol or drug abuse, domestic violence or mental health problems who are particularly vulnerable.

Our Policy

In any Rainbow Centre activity involving children or young people or vulnerable adults, the Rainbow Centre expects all staff and volunteers to follow this code of behaviour.

General Rainbow Centre Activities

  • The Rainbow Centre strongly condemns the abuse of children in all its forms, and particularly strictly prohibits abuse by staff, volunteers or visitors.
  • Rainbow Centre staff must familiarise themselves with situations which may present risks and learn how to deal with those situations.
  • Rainbow Centre staff must contribute to an environment where children are able to recognise unacceptable behaviour and feel able to discuss their rights and concerns.
  • In any Rainbow Centre activity at which children are present either their teachers, parents, carers or relevant responsible adults should be present.
  • The Rainbow Centre will ensure that volunteers involved with Rainbow Centre activities are aware of its policies and procedures in relation to child protection.
  • Rainbow Centre staff must not invite visitors into any projects involving children, young people or vulnerable adults when their personal dignity or personal rights could be compromised.
  • Any Rainbow Centre staff planning events should ensure that child protection issues are considered as part of the risk analysis and/or health and safety arrangements.

Recruitment of Staff and Volunteers

  • Candidates will be asked to describe their previous experience of working with children or young people and to provide a referee who can comment on their work with children or young people.
  • Non-local volunteers will be asked to complete a CRB disclosure form or provide a police reference.
  • Job offers will be subject to satisfactory clearance from checking of statutory records and satisfactory verification of qualifications and the candidate’s CV.

If or When Abuse is Reported or Suspected

  • Listen to and accept what the child or young victim or witness says.
  • Do not investigate and do not inform, question or confront the alleged abuser.
  • Take the alleged abuse seriously.
  • Reassure the child or young victim / witness that they have done the right thing by telling you.
  • Let the child or young victim / witness speak freely but do not press for information.
  • Discuss any information you receive with the Rainbow Centre management and do not act unilaterally.
  • Let the child or young victim / witness know what you are going to do next and that you will let them know what happens.
  • Record carefully what you have heard whilst it is still fresh in your mind. Include the date and time of your conversation and any incident disclosed.

If any member of staff or volunteer suspects abuse, or if a child or young person makes a disclosure, or if a person external to the Rainbow Centre reports a suspicion or allegation relating to Rainbow Centre staff, volunteers or activities, the following steps should be taken:

  • Avoid any delay.
  • Report this to the Rainbow Centre management forthwith.
  • If the suspicion or allegation relates to activities or persons working in a school or Rainbow Centre associated organisation, ensure that the Rainbow Centre management is informed and that the relevant senior person in that school or organisation is informed.
  • The Rainbow Centre management will ensure that an assessment is made and a report is filed. However, if urgent action is required to protect children, then this should be done immediately.

Any allegation of child abuse is a serious issue. In following this policy and local procedures, it is essential that all parties maintain confidentiality. Sharing of information which could identify a child or an alleged perpetrator should be purely on a “need to know” basis. Unless abuse has actually been proven to have occurred, then one must always refer to “alleged abuse”.

No staff member or volunteer will prejudice his or her own standing or position within the Rainbow Centre by responsibly reporting potential or suspected child abuse.

The Rainbow Centre takes positive action to prevent child abusers becoming involved with the Rainbow Centre and will take immediate action against any Rainbow Centre employee or volunteer who commits child abuse.