Child Abuse Policies
ISSOS CHILD ABUSE POLICIES
ISSOS exists to create a safe place for students to learn and grow and we will endeavour to do that in all areas of the summer school from both a physical and emotional standpoint.
We ask that all staff assist us in doing what is reasonably within our power to see that all of our students and staff find ISSOS a safe place where they can be open and trusting, where they can learn and grow.
In order to reasonably protect the safety and well-being of our students, we have put the following procedures and policies in place. This goes hand in hand with our staff job descriptions, staff handbooks that detail all staff rules and regulations and the affidavit that all staff sign before the start of their contract.
If you have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or life-threatening neglect, you should talk with the appropriate person to see what steps could and should be taken to protect the student and help the family.
CHILD ABUSE POLICIES
No form of child abuse, whether physical, emotional or sexual, will be permitted or tolerated at ISSOS. Child abuse is morally and legally wrong. It can come in many forms.
Physical abuse can be considered non-accidental injury or pain that is intentionally inflicted upon a child or youth.
Emotional abuse can be considered mental or emotional injury to a child or youth that results in an observable and material impairment in the child or youth’s growth, development or psychological or emotional functioning. Anything done to inflict pain while disciplining a student can be considered child abuse. The physical size and strength of staff members necessitates that you use discretion and restraint in all physical contact activities with students.
We cannot be too careful in the area of sexual abuse. Even the appearance of wrong or false allegations can cause irreparable damage to the reputation of the accused staff member and/or ISSOS. Stating which behaviours are appropriate and inappropriate allows staff to comfortably show positive affection and yet identify individuals who are not maintaining safe boundaries with children or youth.
Child sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, any contact or interaction between a child and an adult when the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the adult or third person.
Sexual behaviour between a child and an adult should be considered forced, whether or not the child has consented. The behaviour may or may not involve touching. Sexual abuse perpetrated by another child or youth is any contact or activity of a sexual nature that occurs between a child or youth and another child or youth when there is no consent, when consent is not possible, or when one child or youth has power over the other child or youth. This includes any activity that is meant to arouse or gratify the sexual desires of any of the students.
The following Guidelines for Appropriate Affection are based, in large part, on avoiding behaviours known to be used by child abusers to groom children or youth and their parents for future abuse. The following guidelines are to be carefully followed by all ISSOS staff, regardless of gender, working around or with our students.
APPROPRIATE FORMS OF AFFECTION
- Brief hugs
- Pats on the shoulder or back
- High-fives and hand slapping
- Verbal praise
- Touching hands, faces, shoulders and arms of children
- Arms around shoulders
INAPPROPRIATE FORMS OF AFFECTION
- Inappropriate or lengthy embraces
- Touching bottoms, chests, or genital areas
- Showing affection in isolated areas like bedrooms, staff-only areas or other private rooms
- Any form of unwanted contact or affection
- Tickling or full-body wrestling
- Comments or compliments (spoken, written or electronic) that relate to physique or body development
- Snapping bras, giving wedgies or similar touch of underwear whether or not it is covered by other clothing
- Private meals with individual children
CHILD ABUSE REPORTING
Though we have no intention to call our staff to suspicion and mistrust, we do recognise the need to call our staff beyond the naiveté of unquestioning confidence and into the care and discipline that must characterise our choices where children are concerned.
Reporting abuse can precipitate severe consequences to a family, so it should never be done casually or thoughtlessly, and certainly not for malicious purposes. At the same time, failing to report abuse can have severe consequences to a child at risk. Therefore, if you have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or life-threatening neglect, you should talk with an appropriate person to see what steps could and should be taken to protect the child.
Reasonable cause includes behaviours that are inconsistent with the ISSOS policies, guidelines for appropriate affection, or code of conduct or other inappropriate behaviours.
PROCEDURES FOR CHILD ABUSE COMPLAINTS
Any actions you observe that are not acceptable behaviour according to the policies, guidelines, code of conduct, or any other inappropriate or suspicious behaviour should be reported as soon as possible to the Head Counselor and Programme Director. An Incident Report should be filled, marked Important and Head Office contacted immediately.
The Programme Director will take appropriate internal and external action.
The Managing Director or their appointee will be the official spokesperson for ISSOS in any of these matters. All staff members must be sensitive to the need for confidentiality in the handling of this information, and therefore, no other staff members shall speak to the media, to each other, or to any third party, but only to the Programme Director regarding issues related to matters of abuse.
In the event that there is an accusation of child abuse, ISSOS will take prompt and immediate action as follows:
All allegations will be taken seriously and ISSOS staff will take appropriate action in accordance with UK law, insurance requirements, and based upon the advice of the company lawyer. This includes full cooperation by all staff with an investigation with the understanding that failure to do so may be grounds for termination.
At the first report of probable cause to believe that a child-abuse incident or life-threatening neglect has occurred, the staff member on receiving the report will notify a Head Counselor or Programme Director. The Programme Director will assist the staff member in filling out an incident report.
The Programme Director will make a report in accordance with relevant UK, or the student’s country of origin’s, local child abuse reporting requirements and will cooperate with any legal authority involved to the fullest extent appropriate.
In the event the reported incident(s) involves a staff member the Programme Director will take appropriate remedial action, which can include, but is not limited to, immediate suspension and/or termination. If practical, the parents or legal guardian of the students involved in the alleged incident, as well as staff, will be notified in accordance with directions of the relevant state or local agency.
All ISSOS employees must sign an affidavit and agree to all staff rules and regulations contained in their contract and additional documents. All staff must go through 3 days of training that includes going over and clarifying all procedures.