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spunout Child Safeguarding Statement

In accordance with the relevant provisions of the Children First Act 2015, the spunout child safeguarding statement (CSS) is circulated to all staff, Action Panel and Board members. The CSS is publicly available to our service users, their parents and guardians, to Tusla and any interested parties on the spunout website. A hard copy of the CCS and its accompanying child protection policies and procedures are available on request.

1. NAME OF SERVICE BEING PROVIDED: spunout

2. NATURE OF SERVICE AND PRINCIPLES TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN FROM HARM

spunout is Ireland’s youth information website created by young people, for young people. We provide information to more than 100,000 active readers each month. Our vision is to help create an Ireland where young people aged between 16 and 25 are empowered with the information they need to live happy and healthy lives. spunout takes its direction about the information needs of our readership from our Action Panel of approximately 130 young people. 

As an organisation dedicated to the wellbeing of young people, spunout is committed to ensuring that all young people, and specifically children under the age of 18 years, are safe from harm while availing of our services.

There are a variety of ways in which children and young people are involved with and/or receive spunout services. These include through:

  • Action Panel activities, such as working sessions and residentials;
  • Youth engagements (talks, outreach, training sessions and workshops);
  • Mentoring programmes;
  • Involvement at launches, fundraisers and events;
  • Work experience placements;
  • Communications via phone, internet and social media.

spunout’s interaction with children and young people adheres to the following guiding principles: 

  • The best interests of children and young people are central to the ethos and work of spunout and we are committed to upholding the rights of every child and young person who avails of our service;
  • The safety and welfare of children and young people are of paramount importance; 
  • Children and young people have the right to be protected from harm, including but not limited to assault, ill-treatment, neglect, or abuse of any kind.
  • Children and young people have a right to be heard, listened to, treated with respect and taken seriously;
  • A proper balance must be struck between protecting children and respecting the rights of parents/guardians/carers to be consulted and involved in matters concerning their family, while understanding that where a conflict arises, the safety of the child comes first; 
  • The measures we have in place to safeguard children and young people reflect national policy and legislation and are underpinned by Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (DCYA, 2017), Child Safeguarding: A Guide for Policy, Practice and Procedure (Tusla, 2018) and the Children First Act 2015
  • Our guiding principles apply to all staff, volunteers, Board members and students on work placement within our organisation;
  • All Board members, staff, volunteers and students must abide by the policies, procedures and guidance encompassed by our child safeguarding statement and accompanying child protection policies and procedures;
  • Child protection is a standing issue on the Board of Directors. 
  • We will review our CSS and accompanying child protection policies and procedures every 2 years or sooner if necessary;
  • The designated liaison person (DLP) and deputy DLP for ensuring that our child protection and safeguarding procedures are followed are:

DLP:

Name: Nicole Forster

Email Address: [email protected] 

 

DEPUTY DLP:

Name: Timmy Hammersley

Email Address: [email protected] 

 

3. RISK ASSESSMENT

s a relevant service under the Children First Act 2015, and in accordance with section 11(1)(a), spunout has undertaken an assessment of any risk/potential for harm to a child 

while availing of our service. 

‘Harm’ is defined under section 2 of the Act as: 

“Harm means in relation to a child – 

  1. Assault, ill treatment or neglect of the child in a manner that seriously affects, or is likely to seriously affect the child’s health, development or welfare, or, 
  2. Sexual abuse of the child

Whether caused by a single act, omission or circumstance or a series or combination of acts, omissions or circumstances or otherwise”

Below is a list of risks identified and a corresponding list of the measures in place to manage and mitigate against them. 

Risk IdentifiedWho is Responsible?Measures in place to manage the risk
Engagement with children
Harm caused to a child while engaged with spunout by: 
a fellow service userstaff, Action Panel or Board member volunteer or internunauthorised persons 
Lead person with responsibility for the relevant work with children. For example, Engagement and Participation Officer and Outreach and Training Officer. 

DLP

Management
Child Protection Policy

Garda Vetting PolicyI

Induction Policy for staff and volunteers

Code of behaviour for staff and volunteersAttendance at child protection trainingGuidance on travel and residentials
Harm caused to a child through engagement in spunout communications whether online, social media, by phone, of in person with:
a fellow service userstaff, Action Panel or Board member volunteer or internunauthorised persons
Engagement and Participation Officer

DLP
Child Protection Policy

Garda Vetting PolicyCode of behaviour for staff and volunteersSocial Media Policy
Harm caused to a child though engagement with a third-party service or opportunity signposted to or partnered with spunout.Lead person with responsibility for the relevant signposting or partnership

DLP
spunout conducts thorough vetting of any youth service or opportunity it signposts children and young people to either online or in any fashion.
Inappropriate recording, including photography and filming of children.Lead person with responsibility for the relevant work with children. For example, Online Content Producer and Multimedia producerDLPChild Protection PolicyInduction Policy for staff and volunteersCode of behaviour for staff and volunteersAttendance at child protection training
Lack of understanding and awareness of CSS and accompanying child protection policies and procedures. DLP

Management
Child Protection PolicyChild Protection and Welfare Reporting ProceduresInduction Policy for staff and volunteersAttendance at child protection training
Inadequate supervision of children.Lead person with responsibility for the relevant work with children. For example, Engagement and Participation Officer and Outreach and Training Officer. 

DLP

Management
Child Protection Policy Code of behaviour for staff and volunteers

Attendance at child protection training
Reporting Procedures
Absence of reporting procedure, including appointment of a DLPand Deputy DLP.DLP

Management
Child Protection Policy

Child Protection and Welfare Reporting Procedures

Code of behaviour for staff and volunteers

Attendance at child protection training
Concerns of reasonable grounds and harm not reported appropriately.Staff with reporting concern

DLP 
Child Protection Policy

Child Protection and Welfare Reporting Procedures

Code of behaviour for staff and volunteers

Attendance at child protection training
Lack of understanding and awareness of reporting procedures. DLP

Management
Child Protection Policy

Child Protection and Welfare Reporting Procedures

Induction Policy for staff and volunteers

Code of behaviour for staff and volunteers

Attendance at child protection training

Recruitment & Selection 
Recruitment of inappropriate staff, Action Panel, Board members, volunteers or interns. Management

Designated staff member for Garda vetting

DLP
Safe recruitment procedures

Interviews

Reference checks

Garda Vetting Probationary period
Lack of understanding and awareness amongst staff of potential risk of harm to children.DLPSupport and supervision 

Child Protection Policy

Child Protection and Welfare Reporting Procedures

Induction Policy for staff and volunteers

Code of behaviour for staff and volunteers

Attendance at child protection training
Lack of, or unclear, understanding of appropriate engagement with children.DLPSupport and supervision 

Child Protection Policy

Induction Policy for staff and volunteers

Code of behaviour for staff and volunteers

Attendance at child protection training
Allegations of abuse or misconduct against workers/volunteers
Lack of procedures for handling allegations.DLPChild Protection Policy

Procedure for managing allegations of abuse or misconduct against workers/volunteers relating to a child availing of our service

 

4. PROCEDURES

Our CSS has been developed in line with requirements under the Children First Act 2015, Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (DCYA, 2017) and Child Safeguarding: A Guide for Policy, Practice and Procedure (Tusla, 2018). In addition to the procedures listed in our risk assessment, the following child protection policies, procedures and measures are in place to support our safeguarding commitment to children who avail of our service:

  • A Relevant Person has been appointed;
  • A Designated Liaison Person and Deputy have been appointed;
  • Child Protection Policy;
  • Child Protection and Welfare Reporting Procedures;
  • Procedure for managing allegations of abuse or misconduct against workers/volunteers relating to a child availing of our service;
  • Confidentiality Policy;
  • Procedure for the safe recruitment and selection of workers and volunteers to work with children;
  • Garda Vetting Policy;
  • All staff have completed the Tusla eLearning module – Introduction to Children First.
  • Staff and Board have attended child protection training;
  • Code of behaviour for staff and volunteers;
  • Induction Policy (which includes procedures to inform new staff and volunteers about the CSS and accompanying child protection policies and procedures);
  • Incidents Procedure;
  • Complaints Policy;
  • Social Media Policy.

All procedures listed are available upon request.

5. IMPLEMENTATION  

We recognise that implementation is an ongoing process. Our service is committed to the implementation of this CSS and the procedures that support our intention to keep children safe from harm while availing of our service. 

The spunout CSS will be reviewed every two years, or sooner if there has been a material change in any of the issues to which it refers. 

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