1.1 As an ethical and humanitarian charity, The HALO Trust (‘HALO’, ‘Charity’ or ‘we’) is committed to ensuring that it provides a safe and trusted environment which safeguards and promotes the welfare and wellbeing of anyone who comes into contact with the Charity, including beneficiaries, staff and volunteers.
1.2 The Trustees recognise that they are ultimately responsible for ensuring that those benefiting from, or working with, the Charity, are not harmed in any way through contact with it and are treated in a safe, respectful and appropriate manner. This responsibility relates in particular to young people (i.e. those under 18 years of age) and vulnerable persons (i.e. the elderly or adults who are looked after).
1.3 This policy provides a framework as how to prevent, identify and respond to safeguarding incidents.
2.1 This Policy applies to all individuals working at all levels and grades of HALO, including the Trustees, Directors, senior managers, officers, employees (whether permanent, fixed-term or temporary), consultants, contractors, trainees, seconded staff, homeworkers, casual workers, agency staff, volunteers, interns, agents, sponsors, or any other person associated with HALO or its subsidiary, wherever located.
3.1 This Policy should be read in conjunction with the following relevant HALO policies:
- Code of Conduct
- Whistleblower Policy
- Complaints Policy
- Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment Policy
- Code of Ethical Conduct
- Equality and Diversity Policy
4. SUMMARY OF KEY SAFEGUARDING RESPONSIBILITIES
4.1 HALO acknowledges the importance of the following safeguarding requirements (as set out in the Charity Commission’s regulatory alert dated December 2017):
- Providing a safe and trusted environment which safeguards anyone who comes into contact with it including beneficiaries, staff and volunteers;
- Setting an organisational culture that prioritises safeguarding, so that it is safe for those affected to come forward and report incidents and concerns with the assurance they will be handled sensitively and properly;
- Having adequate safeguarding policies, procedures and measures to protect people; and
- Providing clarity as to how incidents and allegations will be handled should they arise, including reporting to the relevant authorities, such as the Charity Commission.
5. POLICY STATEMENT
5.1 Safeguarding and promoting well-being and welfare means:
- Protecting the rights of persons to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect; and
- Protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of health or development; ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable them to have the best outcomes.
5.2 HALO acknowledges that safeguarding does not encompass only the prevention of physical abuse but also the protection of people from harm generally, including neglect, emotional abuse, exploitation, radicalisation, and the consequences of the misuse of personal data.
5.3 Notwithstanding that activities involving children or vulnerable adults are not central to the Charity’s core purposes and services, we do come into contact with these groups and therefore need to ensure that we act appropriately.
5.4 HALO works in many different countries and territories, ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, and many of which face multiple challenges in the aftermath of war or conflict. In these circumstances the Charity comes into contact with children and vulnerable persons.
6. SAFEGUARDING AND PROMOTION OF WELL-BEING AND WELFARE OF CHILDREN
6.1 HALO’s work brings it into contact with children more frequently than, for example, elderly people or adults in vulnerable circumstances. Accordingly, we set out below our policy to safeguard children and promote their welfare and wellbeing.
6.2 HALO is committed to preserving and protecting the rights of the child in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1992 (UNCRC). HALO ensures compliance by embedding children’s rights policies within the Charity’s philosophies, policies, standards, guidelines, procedures and culture to protect children from both intentional and unintentional harm. We aim to achieve this through compliance with UK Child Protection laws and the relevant laws within each of the countries where we operate, adhering to article 19 of the UNCRC.
6.3 We believe that child protection requires everyone to take responsibility and that every child matters. We recognise that the care, protection and welfare of the child is paramount and that all children have the right to be protected from all types of harm. We recognise that we have a fundamental duty of care towards children where our programmes and operations facilitate contact with children, or have an impact on children. This includes a duty to protect children from harm or risk of harm as a result of:
- Misconduct by our staff or partners
- Poor practice
- The poor design or implementation of our operations
6.4 All children without exception have the right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs.
6.5 There are four main types of child abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect. Children can suffer from one or a combination of these forms of abuse.
6.6 Part of providing a high standard is reacting appropriately when something does happen, or is suspected to have happened, and there is a need to protect the endangered child.
6.7 If you have a child protection concern this should be raised with the most senior member of staff in the Programme who will seek advice on the next steps.
7. SAFE SELECTION AND RECRUITMENT
7.1 All HALO staff are subject to careful selection procedures. Under the HALO recruitment procedure all Expat staff are required to complete the necessary criminal checks with Disclosure Scotland (DS) or the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
7.2 Where it is not possible to obtain a DS or DBS check, “some countries” police forces will supply a “Confidence in Good Conduct” to the applicant. HALO seeks to undertake appropriate due diligence on individuals prior to recruitment. This process can vary substantially from country to country. Where a national person is being considered for a specific role with likely contact with children or vulnerable people, the necessary background checks will be completed and extra care and attention paid. As it may not be possible to obtain the same information in all countries, all Programmes must investigate and see what information can be obtained, and such proposed appointments discussed with senior management. HALO will work with the best information it can obtain according to national laws and procedures.
8. PARTNER ORGANISATIONS
8.1 As part of its due diligence in relation to potential partner organisations with which HALO works, the Charity will seek assurances that organisations have in in place adequate safeguarding arrangements, including appropriate policies and mechanisms to provide assurance on compliance.
8.2 All partners working with HALO are required to comply with this Policy.
9. DEALING WITH SAFEGUARDING INCIDENTS
9.1 We will respond to all suspicions, allegations and incidents of abuse swiftly and appropriately and take professional advice where appropriate. This may include reporting to the appropriate entities, including police forces, any relevant national authorities and the Charity Commission. It is our policy to also inform our sponsors and donors such as, for example, the UK Department for International Development.
9.2 The Trustees acknowledge their duty to make a serious incident report to the Charity Commission in the event:
9.2.1 of an incident where someone has been, or has alleged to have been, abused or mistreated and this is connected with HALO’s activities;
9.2.2 a beneficiary(ies) has been, or is alleged to have been, abused or mistreated while under HALO’s care, or by someone connected with the Charity, for example, a Trustee, staff member or volunteer; and/or
9.2.3 HALO’s procedures or policies relating to safeguarding matters have been breached and this has placed beneficiaries at risk.
10. IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICY
10.1 This Policy will be provided to all Trustees, staff and volunteers as part of their induction and training will be provided on this Policy as appropriate.
10.2 As an international organisation we operate in many different countries with our Headquarters in the UK. It is essential that all international programmes are familiar with the relevant laws that govern how they can operate and develop policies and procedures, guidance and training in line with both local law and this Policy. At the same time, HALO has rules and standards that seek to create a consistent approach and which, in some cases, may be stricter than national or local laws. This Policy must, therefore, be followed in addition to the relevant national and local laws on child protection and wider safeguarding matters. Where local programmes become aware that these national or local laws conflict with this Policy Senior Management should be notified promptly.
10.3 Failure to comply with this Policy will be considered as gross misconduct and potentially grounds for dismissal.
11. MONITORING AND REVIEW
11.1 This Policy will be reviewed at least annually by the Trustees or more frequently should circumstances dictate. Employees are invited to comment on this policy and suggest ways in which it might be improved by contacting the Trustees or the Head of Human Resources.
11.2 This Policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment and HALO may amend it at any time.
12.1 Child: A child is defined as anyone that has not reached their 18th birthday irrespective of the age of majority in the country where a child is, or in their home country (UNCRC).
12.2 Interaction: For the purposes of this policy, an interaction is defined as the direct involvement of a child in formal HALO operations.
12.3 Child Protection: refers to the actions taken in order to prevent or stop all behaviours considered dangerous for the physical and psychological health of children.
12.4 Child Abuse: is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm. It often occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust. Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race or ability. Even in situations where it may be felt that the child accepted or somehow invited the abuse, it is still abuse.
Last reviewed by Trustees on: 27 February 2018