The Child Protection Policy is based on the concepts and principles underpinning the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
CASCADE Family Learning Society aims to ensure the protection of all young people who are involved in any way with the Society and to give staff and volunteers a clear structure in which to work toward with the Society. Members of CASCADE Family Learning Society and Volunteers at the Society are responsible for the safety of children under their direction or in their care. CASCADE Family Learning Society works towards ensuring that every child is happy and safe in a community that cherishes children and their learning.
1.1 Definition and Rights of a Child
Definition of a Child
Child Protection Procedures apply to all children and young people under the age of 18.
Rights of a Child
- Every child should be treated as an individual.
- Every child should have the right to affection, love and understanding.
- Every child has the right to express his/her views about any issues or decisions affecting or worrying him/her.
- Every child has the right to be protected from all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
- Every child has the right to enjoy his/her rights regardless of race, colour, religion, age, gender, or disability.
1.2 Recognising and Reporting Suspected Abuse
1.2.1 Definition of Child Abuse
Child abuse and neglect is a generic term encompassing all ill-treatment of children including serious physical and sexual assaults as well as cases where the standard of care does not adequately support the child’s health or development. Children may be abused or neglected through the infliction of harm, or through the failure of CASCADE Family Learning Society to prevent harm. Abuse can occur in a family or an institutional or community setting. The perpetrator may or may not be known to the child.
1.2.2 Categories of Abuse
Physical abuse may take many forms e.g. hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating a child. It may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child. This unusual and potentially dangerous form of abuse is now described as fabricated or induced illness in a child
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent effects on the child’s emotional development and may involve:
- Conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person.
- Imposing developmentally inappropriate expectations.
- Causing children to feel frightened or in danger e.g. witnessing domestic violence.
- Exploitation or corruption of children.
Some level of emotional abuse is involved in most types of ill treatment of children, though emotional abuse may occur alone.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening and includes penetrative (i.e. vaginal or anal rape or buggery) and non-penetrative Act.
It may also include non-contact act, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of pornographic materials, watching sexual acts or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Neglect involves the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health and development. This may involve failure to provide adequate food, shelter or clothing, failure to protect from physical harm or danger or failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of a child’s basic emotional needs.
1.3 Delay in normal growth and development
A staff member or a volunteer may notice evidence of significant failure of child to reach normal growth and development. This category only applies following medical diagnosis.
What Should Raise Suspicion?
- Obvious, non-accidental marks or injuries
- Injuries of different ages.
- Injuries in very young children.
- Features of the general neglect of the child’s physical or emotional needs.
- Delay in parents seeking medical attention for their child.
- Conflicting explanations or inconsistent report of:
- medical treatment received
- reasons for marks/injuries
- reasons for absence from school or medical appointments
- Inappropriate behaviour (including sexualized play or activity) or demeanour of the child or parent.
- Usual illness suggestive of a fabricated or induced origin.
- Child’s name may already be on Child Protection Register.
Concerns about the welfare of children may come to notice in a variety of ways, and not all of the concerns indicate that a child may be at risk. Evidence of a child not having reached normal
growth and development does not necessarily have to be an abuse. It may be due to extreme conditions at home due to which the child might not have received sufficient nutrition from the food taken daily. Care must be taken to ascertain these details before concluding it as abuse. In certain cases, the parents or the adult who takes care of the child may not be aware of such deficiency in nutrition and may require guidance.
1.3.1 What to do upon suspicion or disclosure