Child Protection Policy
Wikimedia UK is committed to practice which protects children from harm. Staff and volunteers within this organisation accept and recognise our responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues which cause children harm.
The organisation is also committed to reviewing our Child Protection Policy and Procedures at regular intervals.
This policy and associated documents are designed for the guidance of all staff and volunteers of the chapter, as well as all children and their families, schools and other educational institutions who are utilising our services. The policy and procedures will be made available to all of the above mentioned individuals and groups.
Breaches of this policy will be taken seriously, which may involve expulsion from membership.
Working with children
Whenever volunteers from Wikimedia UK work with children they will be required to sign a declaration regarding their previous convictions and to give permission for checks to be carried out. Only members of Wikimedia UK are permitted to volunteer to work with children as a Wikimedia UK volunteer.
Although certain projects may work with children, the work is not "frequent" or "intensive" as defined in the regulations. That is to say, it will not involve going into the same school more than once per month. Therefore statutory child protection checks are not required by law either for the volunteers themselves or for the Board.
The Project Leader has personal responsibility for ensuring that the activity they are leading does not require child protection checks or referring the matter to the Board before the activity starts if they suspect that it may require it.
Where we are allowed by law to perform checks, but we are not required, we will perform the checks unless they are clearly disproportionate to the risks involved. This may include if, for instance, an individual is only attending one school at one time, they are not the event leader and the school has agreed to the presense of unchecked volunteers.
Event leaders and the Project Leader shall ensure that volunteers at no time have unsupervised access to children.
Definition of a child
- A child is defined as any individual under the age of 18 years.
- The policy and procedures may also be relevant for use in the case of any vulnerable young person over the age of 18 years who is utilising the services of the charity.
- The charity’s Child Protection policy and procedures apply to all children and young people regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or religion.
Definitions of abuse
Child abuse occurs when the behaviour of someone in a position of greater power than a child causes harm. Harm cannot always be easily categorised as children can be abused in a number of ways, but four broad definitions of abuse can be identified:
- Physical – where children are hurt by ill-treatment, or deliberate or neglectful failure to prevent injury or harm.
- Emotional – where children are persistently or severely emotionally neglected or rejected, for example, by not being given enough love or attention, made to feel worthless, or being intimidated by threats or taunts.
- Sexual – where children are encouraged or forced to observe or participate in any form of sexual activity.
- Neglect – where children’s physical and/or psychological needs are persistently or severely neglected, or the failure to protect a child from exposure to any kind of danger.
Whom to contact
All concerns about child protection matters or complaints should immediately be reported to the designated event leader, unless the concern relates to them.
If you are unable to speak to the event leader or they do not resolve the matter to your satisfaction you should report the matter to the Schools Project Leader. You may use the child concern form for this purpose.
The event leader, Project Leader and Chair are collectively referred to as the "child protection representatives" and must follow the Child protection representative guidelines. In the absence of any of the above named Representatives, you should contact your local Social Services office or the police.
The appropriate external contacts are:
Social Services Office – Child Care Help Desk
Contact your local Social Services Office or Police Station
You may also call the NSPCC's National Helpline on 0800 800500 (24 hr)
Legislation and Guidance
These documents are based on the following detailed legislation and guidance, which can be found online:
- Department of Health/Home Office/DfEE:
‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ 1999
- Volunteer Development Agency
‘Our Duty To Care’
It has also been based on the following example documents we have received from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations:
- Example child protection policy
- Example policy on disclosure of criminal convictions
- Example HR policies (extract)