Stansted Mental Health Initiative c.i.c. / Let’s Talk, Stansted! (“the Company”) aims to improve the mental wellbeing and quality of life for anyone living and working in and around Stansted Mountfitchet. We do this through providing a listening and signposting service and through operating a range of local community groups. In the course of providing our services, we come into contact with adults of all ages and backgrounds and may potentially come into contact with adults at risk (also called vulnerable adults). We also work with local schools and therefore come into contact with children.
We are committed to prioritising the well-being of all children and adults at risk, promoting safeguarding at all times, including during all activities and events we run. This Policy and Code of Conduct aims to promote good practice, minimise risk, deliver a positive experience for volunteers and service users alike and respond appropriately to all safeguarding concerns/disclosures.
In this Policy, Child means a person under the age of eighteen years.
In this Policy, Adult at risk means a person aged eighteen years or over who is, or may be, in need of community care services by reason of disability, age or illness; and is, or may be, unable to take care of, or unable to protect him or herself against abuse or neglect.
This Policy and Code of Conduct is applicable to all volunteers, Directors and any other individuals who are involved with supporting the community through the work of the Company.
All Directors, volunteers and other individuals involved with supporting the work of the Company agree to:
- Read, understand and put this Policy and Code into practice at all times.
- Prioritise the well-being of all children and adults at risk at all times.
- Treat all children and adults at risk fairly and with dignity and respect.
- Be a positive role model. Act with integrity, even when no one is looking.
- Help to create a safe and inclusive community.
- Value and celebrate diversity and make all reasonable efforts to meet individual needs.
- Refrain from making physical contact with children or adults at risk unless it is necessary as part of an emergency.
- Avoid being alone with a child or adult at risk unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- Refrain from transporting children or adults at risk.
- Not form a relationship with a child or adult at risk.
- Not engage in inappropriate language or behaviour – physical, verbal, sexual.
- Not abuse, neglect, harm or discriminate against anyone; or act in a way that may be interpreted as such.
- Remember that words and actions may be misinterpreted.
- Respect the right to personal privacy of a child or adult at risk.
- Maintain confidentiality, unless there is a safeguarding concern or disclosure.
- Not give out their personal details including addresses and mobile telephone numbers to children and adults at risk.
- Allow children and adults at risk to talk about any concerns they may have, let them speak without interruptions and accept what they say.
- Be understanding and reassuring, without giving their opinion.
- Take any allegations or concerns of abuse seriously and refer immediately (procedures found in this safeguarding policy).
- Not let allegations, suspicions, or safeguarding concerns go unreported.
Safeguarding children and adults at risk requires everyone to be committed to the highest possible standards of openness, integrity and accountability. We are committed to encouraging and maintaining a culture where people feel able to raise a genuine safeguarding concern and are confident that it will be taken seriously.
Where there is a safeguarding concern/disclosure:
- If someone is in immediate danger call 999 and ask for the Police.
- Otherwise report all other safeguarding concerns as a matter of urgency to one or both of our Safeguarding Officers, who will decide on appropriate further action.
- Our Safeguarding Officers are:
What to do if a disclosure from a child or adult at risk is made to you:
- Listen carefully and calmly to the individual.
- Reassure the individual that they have done the right thing and what they have told you is very important.
- Avoid questioning where possible, and never ask leading questions.
- Do not promise secrecy. If you intend to speak to the police or social care, you should let them know.
- Record details of the disclosure and allegation, then sign and date it. Provide as much information as possible regarding the incident or circumstance which has given rise to the concern, including:
- their name and contact details (unless they wish to remain anonymous);
- names of individuals involved;
- date, time and location of incident/circumstance; and
- whether any witnesses were present.
- Report the concern as detailed above. Do not let doubt/personal bias prevent you from reporting the allegation.
- It is not the responsibility of Stansted Mental Health Initiative / Let’s Talk, Stansted! volunteers to decide whether or not abuse has taken place, nor to follow up.
Breaches of this Policy and/or failure to comply with the outlined Code of Conduct may result in the individual being excluded from future volunteering activities.
This Policy was last reviewed on 14 May 2021.