Child abuse of any kind is a crime. Awareness of the form and types of abuse a child can be subjected to is essential for the protection of our children. Abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological /emotional and involves wilful neglect as well. Brainworks-Total group of schools takes its responsibility of child protection very seriously and with that intent has drafted a Child Protection Policy.
Child Protection Policy is a set of pre-established protocol/s that will be followed by the school to protect the rights of a child from any harm or from any risk of it.
- To ensure that the child in question is given a patient and an understanding ear.
- The Child Protection Policy aims to ensure an appropriate, efficient and a measured response to any form of abuse of any degree that compromises or seeks to compromise the wellbeing of a child.
- To assist the designated staff members with clear directions/instructions to ensure the issue at hand is dealt with professionally and is supportive of the child’s needs.
This involves any form of physical force intentionally applied as a threat or as a disciplinary measure. Corporal punishment involves hitting (‘smacking’, ‘slapping’, ‘spanking’) children, with the hand or with an implement – whip, stick, belt, shoe, wooden spoon, etc. It can also involve kicking, shaking or throwing children, scratching, pinching, biting, pulling hair or boxing ears, forcing children to stay in uncomfortable positions, burning, scalding or forced ingestion. Physical abuse is relative to all forms of bullying and intimidation as well.
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation. Sexual abuse refers to the participation of a child in a sexual act aimed toward the physical gratification or the financial profit of the person committing the act. It includes asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual acts, inappropriate touching/exposure, displaying pornography etc.
Psychological/ Emotional Abuse/Neglect
Psychological/Emotional Child abuse is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. It includes name calling, insulting, threatening violence (even without carrying out threats), and discriminatory behavior, withholding love and support and wilful neglect among others.
If a child makes a disclosure of abuse or possible immediate harm to any teacher or staff member:
- The concerned teacher/staff will lend a patient and understanding ear to the child and gather facts of the incident.
- The School’s Counselor Level officer/s will then be asked to speak to the child and verify the incident.
- The teacher or staff along with the counselling team will then directly report to a superior or a Departmental Head. An accurate and objective account of the conversation will be written and submitted as well.
- The school will then immediately convene a meeting with the parent/guardian of the child in order to inform them of the matter. However, if the school believes that notifying parents could increase the risk to the child or exacerbate the problem, then the matter will be reported to the local services or the police.
- Irrespective of who the allegations are made against, the matter will follow the same protocol and will be under the jurisdiction of the local police. In the event, that a member of the school is named as the perpetrator, the school will suspend the said individual until the criminal proceedings are completed and if proven to be guilty, will surely face dismissal.
In case of any suspicion of abuse arising from the evident deviation of a child’s normal behavior, speech, underachievement in academic work, withdrawal from social interactions, sudden rebellious outbursts against authority figures etc. the concerned teacher or staff member will:
- Upon failing to gather any credible information, seek the help of the School Counselling team who will then speak to the child. Irrespective of any disclosure made or not, if the school is of the opinion that the wellbeing of a child is under threat, the school will consult with the said child’s parents and hand over the investigative proceedings to the local services/the police.
In case of any harm to a student resulting from bullying or any other infraction of the school’s policies, the Child Protection Policy will work in conjunction with the affected policies.
In the context of child protection, the only purpose of confidentiality is to benefit the child. A member of staff will never guarantee confidentiality to a pupil. Staff will be informed of relevant information in respect of individual cases regarding child protection on a “need to know basis” only. Any information shared with a member of staff in this way must be held confidentially to themselves.