Child Protection Policy
1. THIS CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
1.1. This Child Protection Policy applies to all adults interacting with children over the Online Education Partnership platform and our website www.oepasia.com and sets out what we expect of our staff and tutors with whom we work, as well as the procedures that will be followed if we have any reason to believe that a child interacting with the Online Education Partnership platform or our website is subject to welfare issues.
1.2. Online Education Partnership Limited acknowledges the fundamental duty of care it has to safeguard the welfare of children interacting with its education service and is committed to complying with the relevant statutory responsibilities, government guidance and best practice requirements.
1.3. This policy recognises that the welfare and interests of children are paramount in all circumstances. It aims to ensure that regardless of age, gender, religion or beliefs, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or socio-economic background, all children have a positive and enjoyable experience of the Online Education Partnership education platform and our website.
Online Education Partnership Limited acknowledges that some children, including disabled children and young people or those from ethnic minority communities, can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and we accept the responsibility to take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure their welfare.
3. SAFE RECRUITMENT, SELECTION AND VETTING
3.1. We will conduct any background checks we consider necessary in order to ensure that all prospective staff and tutors are suitable to interact with children over the Online Education Partnership platform and website, to the fullest extent we are able to by law (including, without limitation, reviewing or requesting a Sexual Conviction Record Check in Hong Kong). References and identity checks may be sought for new employees and tutors, and we also recognise the importance of ongoing performance monitoring and risk assessments in safeguarding children.
3.2. We will not allow anyone to work with children where it becomes apparent that it would be inappropriate to allow them to do so.
4. RECORDING OF LESSONS
4.1. Lessons which take place across the Online Education Partnership platform may be recorded and made available for review by the student and parents for a period of 30 days.
4.2. There are circumstances in which Online Education Partnership may deem it reasonably necessary (or be required by law) to disclose the lesson recordings to a legal, regulatory or child protection authority, such as when an allegation of abuse has been made. Online Education Partnership reserves the right to disclose any lesson recordings in compliance with this policy without prior notification to you.
5. APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR OF TUTORS
5.1. Our staff and tutors are prohibited from engaging in any inappropriate behaviour with the children they interact with over the Online Education Partnership platform and our websites. If our staff or tutors are unsure as to what amounts to ‘inappropriate behaviour’ they must raise this with Rebecca Merrett (a member of senior management) who will be able to provide further information and/or training in connection with this.
5.2. Examples of inappropriate behaviour include, but is in no way limited to, acts or omissions which:
5.2.1. are sexually suggestive, or otherwise result in sexually suggestive material being made available to a child;
5.2.2. result in the child becoming aware of any societal or cultural issues which are beyond those which a child of the same age would usually be aware; or
5.2.3. result in a meeting with the child, or any sort of unjustifiable physical contact between another person and the child.
5.3. Any inappropriate behaviour by our staff or tutors in breach of this policy will be treated extremely seriously and in accordance with the terms of the individual’s contract of engagement with us.
6. BECOMING AWARE OF ABUSE
6.1. Our staff and tutors recognise that, over time, they may build a relationship of trust with the child. Consequently, when carrying out the services we offer to children, circumstances may arise in which our staff and tutors become aware that a child is the victim of abuse. If this happens, it is crucial that the staff and tutors enable the child to talk about the incident(s) if they choose to do so, and:
6.1.1. listen carefully to what the child discloses;
6.1.2. reassure the child that he or she is not to blame;
6.1.3. do not show disbelief;
6.1.4. do not offer absolute confidentiality – this may not always be in the child’s own best interests;
6.1.5. ask only ‘open’ questions, such as ‘What happened’. Avoid asking ‘closed’ questions such as ‘Did Joseph do this?’;
6.1.6. make notes of the incident on the same day and keep a confidential record of:
18.104.22.168. the conversation which has taken place with the child;
22.214.171.124. any action you have taken, such as a referral to a member of the senior management; and
126.96.36.199. where no action is taken, the reason for taking no action.
6.2. If at any point a child indicates that he or she is the victim of abuse but is unwilling to discuss this any further, information of confidential child support services should be made available to them with a brief explanation of how they may be able to help.
6.3. In certain circumstances where a child has explained a scenario which a member of staff or tutor reasonably considers amounts to an emergency, they should instruct the child to call the emergency services, explaining to the child why they feel this is appropriate and how to make contact with the relevant emergency service.
6.4 Any staff or tutors who become aware of potential abuse must disclose this to a senior member of Online Education Partnership Limited as soon as possible, and in any event always within 24 hours of becoming aware of the potential abuse. This applies irrespective of whether the child has raised the issue with directly, or whether the tutor or member of staff has a suspicion that the child has been abused as a result of certain behavioural or physical indicators. All allegations of abuse shall be taken seriously by staff and tutors, and responded to appropriately in accordance with this policy. Appropriate responses to allegations and/or indications of abuse may require a referral to children’s social care services or another independent body and, in emergencies, the emergency services.
7. INDICATIONS OF ABUSE
7.1. Our staff and tutors are expected to be aware of the signs that a child is being abused, and appreciate there are circumstances in which they may be able to recognise a child is being abused as a result of behavioural or physical indicators as set out below.
7.2. Signs of possible physical abuse:
7.2.1. unexplained injuries or burns, particularly if they are recurrent;
7.2.2. improbable excuses given to explain injuries;
7.2.3. fear of returning home; and
7.2.4. aggression towards others.
7.3. When considering the possibility of non-accidental injury it is important to remember that the injuries may have occurred for other reasons.
7.4. Among the most important are:
7.4.1. genuine accidental injuries, which are common — the nature and site of the bruising relative to the child’s age is important; and
7.4.2. bleeding and clotting disorders.
7.5. Signs of possible physical neglect include:
7.5.1. poor personal hygiene;
7.5.2. constant tiredness;
7.5.3. poor state of clothing;
7.5.4. low self-esteem; and
7.5.5. poor peer relationships.
7.6 Signs of possible emotional abuse include:
7.6.1. low self esteem;
7.6.2. continual self deprecation;
7.6.3. sudden speech disorder;
7.6.4. significant decline in concentration; and
7.6.5. extremes of passivity or aggression.
7.7 Sexual abuse
7.8. Not all children are able to tell parents that they have been assaulted. Changes in behaviour may be a signal that something has happened.
7.9. These are general indicators that the child may be troubled though not necessarily about a sexual assault. The child may have some of these problems or none at all. It is the combination, frequency and duration of signs that will alert you to a problem. Try to notice all changes in usual behaviour.
7.10. It is important to remember that in sexual assault there may well be no physical or behavioural signs.
7.11. Signs of possible sexual abuse include:
7.11.1. lack of trust in adults or over familiarity with adults;
7.11.2. fear of a particular individual;
7.11.3. social isolation — withdrawal and introversion;
7.11.4. sleep disturbance (nightmares, irrational fears, bed wetting, fear of sleeping alone, needing a night light);
7.11.5. running away from home;
7.11.6. girls taking over the mothering role;
7.11.7. display of sexual knowledge beyond child’s years;
7.11.8. discomfort/difficulty in walking or sitting; and
7.11.9. pregnancy — particularly when reluctant to name father.
8. BREACHES OF THIS POLICY
We take a strict approach to breaches of this policy, which will be dealt with in accordance with our contracts of engagement or employment with you, as applicable. Serious breaches of this policy may amount to gross misconduct for the purposes of any related disciplinary procedure.
9.1. This policy (including our approach to suitability checks) may be reviewed a year after development and then every three years, or in the following circumstances:
9.1.1. changes in legislation and/or government guidance which are likely to have an impact on any of the terms of this policy; and
9.1.2. as a result of any other significant change or event.
This policy was last updated on November 2nd 2017.