Safeguarding: our guidelines

  • Ensure that at least two leaders / helpers are always present. In groups or clubs of more than 20, there should be one additional leader / helper for every 10 (or part of 10) young people, maintaining the balance of gender.

  • With activities away from the normal meeting place, the ratio should be appropriate to the age of the children or young people and the activity or venue.

  • With under-8’s, a ratio of leader / helpers to children of 1:6 is recommended and should be encouraged.

  • Leaders / helpers of the same gender as the children or young people need to be present, especially with older children and young people.

  • All volunteers should have completed the necessary personal details and declaration forms.

  • Leaders / helpers need to think and act carefully to avoid situations that could lead to difficulties of embarrassment, accusations or temptations, for example:

  • One leader / helper and one young person being together “in private”, whether that be in counselling or on a residential weekend, or driving someone home in a car.

  • Ensure leaders / helpers know what to do in the case of suspected or alleged abuse.

  • Ensure there is an adequate insurance cover, especially for activities away from the normal meeting place.

  • For any activities away from the normal meeting place, ensure that parents / guardians have signed a consent form.

  • Keep a register of up-to-date information:
    • name of children;
    • address;
    • telephone number and emergency contact;
    • number;
    • special medications;
    • doctor’s name,
    • address and telephone numbe;
    • any necessary permissions to be able to act “in loco parentis” (unless parents are on the premises).

  • Ensure that any premises are safe and well maintained.

  • Ensure that there is a first aid kit and that it is checked frequently.

  • Be aware of where the nearest telephone is for emergencies. The installation of a telephone, on the premises, is recommended.

  • Know where the fire extinguishers and alarms are and also emergency exits.

  • It is desirable that at least one of the leaders / helpers has had training in Emergency Aid.

  • Treat all children and young people with respect and dignity.

  • Careful planning of activities always pays dividends, for example:

  • Leaders / helpers should clarify and agree objectives

  • Risks and safety factors should be considered

  • Children and young people with special needs should be identified and given further consideration

  • Inexperienced leaders / helpers will benefit from clear guidance and supervision.

  • Have a trial period of three months for all new leaders / helpers at the end of which, both parties review the situation.

  • It is strongly advisable that leaders / helpers should not be alone with a child or young person, where their activity cannot be seen.

  • In a counselling situation, where privacy and confidentiality are important, make sure that another adult knows the interview is taking place.

  • Never invite a child or young person into your home alone. Invite a group or ensure that someone else is in the house. Make sure the parent / guardian knows where the young person is.

  • Do not give lifts children or young people on their own (other than for short journeys). If they are alone, ask them to sit in the rear of the car.

  • Guard against inappropriate or intrusive form of touching.

  • Never ridicule or reject a child or young person.

  • Never make sexually suggestive comments about or to a child or young person, even “in fun”.

  • Do not allow children or young people to involve you in excessive attention-seeking that is overtly sexual or physical in nature.

  • Guard against the use of rough, physical or sexually proactive games.

  • Be careful with your use of language, tone of voice and your body language.

  • Ensure that another adult is present if, for example, a young child has soiled their underclothes and needs to be thoroughly washed.

  • If you see another leader or helper acting in a way that might be misconstrued, be prepared to speak to them or to your supervisor about your concerns. Leaders / helpers should encourage an atmosphere of mutual support and care that allows all leaders / helpers to be comfortable enough to discuss inappropriate attitudes or behaviour