We at St Mary’s Youth Club have a duty of care for the welfare, safety and protection of young people using our services. We will carry out this duty through our pastoral care policy, which aims to provide a caring, supportive and safe environment which value individuals for their unique talents and abilities, and ensures that all our young people can learn and develop to their full potential.
One way in which we seek to protect our young people is by helping them learn about the risks of possible abuse, helping them to recognise unwelcome behaviour in others and to acquire the confidence and skills they need to keep themselves safe.
All our Centre staff, including secretarial, ancillary and Youth Workers, paid and voluntary, have been subject to appropriate criminal background checks. All staff have adopted the Youth Service’s “Code of Practice for Adults Working with Children” which dictates proper behaviour towards our young people. A copy of this code and the Pastoral Care Policy can be accessed at the Youth Club.
The purpose of our Child Protection Procedures is to protect our young people by ensuring that everyone who works in our Youth Club – Youth Workers and non-Youth Work staff – has clear guidance on the action to be taken where abuse or neglect of a child / young person has been disclosed or is suspected. The overriding concern of all caring adults must be the care, welfare and safety of the child. The problem of child abuse will not be ignored by anyone who works in our Youth Club.
The Designated Youth Worker for Child Protection will inform Social Services and/or the PSNI of any disclosure, concern or suspicion of child abuse in order to protect the child from further harm. The parent(s) or guardian(s) of the child will be informed immediately of any referral concerning his/her child unless it is suspected that he/she may be responsible for the abuse.
Similar prompt action will ensue in the event of a complaint, disclosure, concern or suspicion against a member of our staff.
Any complaint of bullying made by a parent will be fully investigated by the Designated Youth Worker for Child Protection, and a personal response to the complaint will be made within one week. Action to protect the victim will be taken immediately, including contacting the parents of the bully, and, depending on the seriousness of the attack, suspending him/her from attending the Youth Centre’s activities.