Child Protection Policy.
This policy outlines our commitment to the protection of all children. It includes our protocols when child abuse is reported to us or suspected by us.
Flash. The Dentists on Dominion Road is committed to the prevention of abuse and the well-being of members, children, young people, vulnerable adults and their families and whãnau. We firmly believe that all children have equal rights to protection from abuse and exploitation regardless of their gender, race, religion, political beliefs, age, physical or mental health, sexual orientation, family and social background, culture, economic status or criminal background.
Flash. The Dentists on Dominion Road will ensure any disclosures about alleged abuse are acknowledged and appropriate action is taken to ensure the safety of the children who make disclosures.
The objective of this policy is to ensure that all of Flash. The Dentists on Dominion Road’s team members operate in ways that ensure that all children are protected from harm. This involves being able to recognise and identify signs of abuse and respond appropriately.
This Child Protection Policy is to be used in conjunction with our existing Policy and Procedures Manual and Safe Recruitment Policy. It has been written with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in mind and in accordance with the following legislation:
- Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994
- Privacy Act 1993
- Human Rights Act 1993
- Education Act 1989/1998
- Domestic Violence Act 1995
- Care of Children Act 2004
- Employment Relations 2000
- Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
- Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers Rights
- Children’s Act 2014
We support the roles of the New Zealand Police (the Police) and Oranga Tamariki in the investigation of suspected abuse and will report suspected/alleged abuse to these agencies. We support families/ whãnau to protect their children.
We provide a safe environment, free from physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse and require all staff to: Confirm their identities, provide references and meet all requirements under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.
This child protection policy applies to all children or young people who are clients of our dental practice, and to those whom personnel come in to contact with. It applies to staff and management of Flash. The Dentists on Dominion Road.
- A child is defined as any person under the age of 18.
- ‘Staff’ or ‘team’ includes, but is not limited to, any person employed directly by Flash. The Dentists on Dominion Road and any person individually contracted to work on behalf of Flash. The Dentists on Dominion Road.
The person(s) that hold responsibility for child protection, and therefore, this policy, within our organisation is the Child Protection Champion. This title is applied so as to make it easier for staff, parents and whãnau to identify the person carrying out this function.
Definition of Child Abuse:
The Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 defines child abuse as ” …the harming (whether physically, emotionally, sexually), ill-treatment, abuse, neglect, or deprivation of any child or young person”
The definitions set out below provide some indicators of abuse and these should not be seen as an exhaustive list or as a check list.
Physical Abuse is a non-accidental act on a child that results in physical harm. This includes, but is not limited to, beating, hitting, shaking, burning, drowning, suffocating, biting, poisoning or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical abuse also involves the fabrication of inducing illness.
Emotional Abuse is any act or omission that results in impaired psychological, social, intellectual and/or emotional functioning and development of a child.
Sexual Abuse is an act or acts that result in the sexual exploitation of a child, whether consensual or not. Sexual abuse can be committed by a relative, a trusted friend, an associate or someone unknown to the child.
Neglect is any act or omission that results in impaired physical functioning, injury and/or development of a child. It may also include neglect of a child’s basic or emotional needs. Neglect is a lack of: action, emotion or basic needs.
These definitions are sourced from How Can I Tell? published by Child Matters.
Child Protection Procedures:
Flash. The Dentists on Dominion Road will respond to allegations of child abuse in a manner which ensures the child’s safety is the first and paramount consideration.
Staff will not act alone about concerns of abuse but will consult with the Child Protection Champion, Practice Manager and Principal Dentist who will be committed to taking action as outlined below.
All concerns and information will be recorded factually and held confidentially. All documentation relating to concerns and information will be held in the Child Protection Register.
Flash. The Dentist on Dominion Road will inform Oranga Tamariki or the Police of their concerns. Records of these Reports of Concern will be kept in the Child Protection Register, held in a secure location: Locked cabinet in Principal Dentists Office.
Responding to Disclosure:
Flash recognises that only a minority of children actively disclose abuse. Children need to know that staff are listening and taking the information seriously. When child abuse is disclosed, staff will respond positively to ensure the child’s future protection. It is important to record what is said at the time, if appropriate, or as soon as possible following the disclosure. It may not be appropriate to enquire in to further details at this stage. Under no circumstances should a staff member attempt to conduct an investigation or deal with concerns of abuse themselves.
Child Protection Overview:
All staff must report concerns or allegations of abuse to the Child Protection Champion at the first possible opportunity to best ensure the safety of the child. If the Child Protection Champion is unavailable, then consultation should occur with the Practice Manager or a senior supervisor. A decision will be made as to whether to notify Oranga Tamariki. If an immediate response is required to ensure the safety of the child, staff should contact both Oranga Tamariki and/or the NZ Police directly.
All concerns or allegations of sexual abuse must be reported to Oranga Tamariki and or/to the NZ Police.
When reporting an incident staff should:
- Inform the Child Protection Champion as soon as possible
- Record in writing all conversations and actions taken and keep these securely in the Child Protection Register.
Effective documentation, including referrals and notifications, must include the following:
- A record of facts, what was said and by whom using the persons words, what actions have been taken.
When abuse is suspected or an allegation is made against another person, the first consideration in all circumstances will be the safety of the child.
The Child Protection Champion will consult with Oranga Tamariki to clarify whether a notification of concern should take place.
At any time, any member of staff who has concerns regarding the safety and protection of a child may ring Oranga Tamariki.
Confidentiality and Information Sharing:
Flash. The Dentists on Dominion Road recognises that all staff must act within the legal requirements of the Privacy Act, Oranga Tamariki Act, Health Information Act and all other relevant legislation. There are provisions within these Acts for sharing information needed to protect children and enable other people to carry our legitimate functions.
Under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, if a member of staff raises a legitimate concern in good faith about suspected child abuse, which proves to be unfounded on investigation, no civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings may be brought against that staff member.
When a staff member is contacted for information, that staff member must first refer to their Practice Manager or Principal Dentist for clearance before providing the information.
Relationships with external agencies:
Flash. The Dentists on Dominion Road will maintain a good working relationship with Oranga Tamariki and with Police and be familiar with the laws that serve to protect children from abuse. We will consult with ORanga Tamariki, the Police and the other agencies that have specialist knowledge to help us protect children from abuse.
Making Allegations against staff:
All staff have a responsibility to understand what constitutes appropriate behaviour in relation to children and to maintain this behaviour.
Allegations, suspicions or complaints of abuse against staff will be taken seriously and reported to the Child Protection Champion, Practice Manager and Principal Dentist who will deal with them immediately, sensitively and expediently within the procedures outlined in this policy.
In the event of an allegation of abuse by a staff member, a report of concern will be made to Police and to Oranga Tamariki.
Roles and responsibilities of staff:
All staff have a full and active part to play in protecting children from harm. It is the primary responsibility of staff to be vigiliant, have knowledge and awareness of the indicators of neglect and abuse, whether actual or potential and to report any concerns, suspicions or allegations.
Flash. The Dentists on Dominion Road ensures that all staff working with children have been appropriately safety checked.
All staff will read and be provided with a copy of the child protection policy.
All staff will be expected to complete basic training covering how to recognise and respond to children affected by abuse and family violence. Staff will undertake a refresher at least every 3 years.
Safe Working Practices:
Staff are required to inform their senior manager of any existing relationships with patients, clients or their families which could constitute a conflict of interest, or place the staff member in a position of compromise.
No members of staff are permitted to enter into any relationship with a child, young person or family, which could mean that any other section of this policy is compromised.
All staff will maintain appropriate professional boundaries and avoid behaviour which might be misinterpreted by others. They should report and record any incident with this potential.
Staff may have access to confidential information about children including their full name, date of birth, address, photos (taken with consent and restricted to only) and NHI number to undertake their everyday responsibilities. This information is treated as highly sensitive and private. Care and consideration will be taken by all staff to keep this information confidential. it is important that if a child is at risk of, or suffering, abuse then that information must be passed to the appropriate person to take action.
Sharing concerns and reporting incidents:
All staff acknowledge their individual responsibilities to bring matters of concern to the attention of senior management and/or relevant external agencies. This is particularly important where the safety and welfare of a child may be at risk.
Communication with children and the use of technology:
All interactions with children and young people will be carefully considered and planned to ensure that these occur in ways that reduce the potential risk to children. All staff will maintain professional boundaries in their communication with children. At times we may need to take photos of children or young people for orthodontic or dental recording. Before staff undertake this consent must be given from the child or young person as well as their parent/legal guardian.
Staff will not:
- Display or distribute any images of children unless they have the express consent to do so from parents or caregivers
- Use images which may cause distress
- Use mobile phones or other similar devices to take photos of children
- Take images ‘in secret’
Physical interaction with children:
As dental providers clinicians will need to make physical contact with children and/or young people during treatment. Before starting all clinicians will give age appropriate explanations of what they will be doing, where and why. All staff working on children must ask for consent before starting from both the parent/guardian and the child or young person.
Staff will not:
- Touch a child in a way which may be considered indecent
- Engage in ‘horseplay’
Staff will always:
- Be prepared to report and explain their actions and accept all physical contact can be open to scrutiny.
- Be aware of cultural or religious views about touch and are always sensitive to issues of gender.
Example record of concern form: