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Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults

Policy Statement

Children and vulnerable adults require protection and this protection stems from sound procedures, co-operation and collaboration between agencies and a workforce that is sensitive and able to recognise and effectively respond to situations in which children and vulnerable adults are subject to abuse.

Good practice and values are the foundation of any educational establishment and this policy sets out the principles upon which Veritas University College (hereafter referred to as “VUC”) aims to provide a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults to achieve and attain great heights in their educational journey.

Definitions:

Abuse: injustice occasioned to an individual’s human and civil rights by another.

Types of Abuse: physical Abuse; Neglect; Sexual Abuse; Emotional and Psychological Abuse.

Significant risk of harm: signifies the extent of harm that requires immediate intervention to safeguard the child or vulnerable adult.

Company: Veritas University College (VUC)

Vulnerable Adults: Persons over the age of 18 who do not possess or lack the ability to recognize and evaluate harm and significant risks and who requires the protection to safeguard against risks.

An overview of first steps VUC should take to safeguard children and vulnerable adults

Abuse of children and vulnerable adults is something that sadly happens across the globe regardless of the communities and gender and economic or social backgrounds. Here at VUC we aim to eradicate all forms of abuse and work to doing so by;

  • Educating the staff working at VUC on identifying abuse by providing trainings to front line staff and lecturers;
  • By developing a process to adhere to, upon learning of a suspected situation of abuse.
  • By sending student services staff for external conferences and trainings on dealing with situations of abuse.
  • By creating a system of record keeping that should include all cases of abuse and suspected abuse, measures taken and outcome of investigations.

VUC Staff

VUC staff shoulder a moral and ethical duty to ensure that all children and vulnerable adults are safe and free from all types of abuse by adhering to the following guidelines:

  • VUC has to provide a safe and secure campus for children and vulnerable adults;
  • Noticing these young vulnerable adults at VUC who maybe silently suffering and those who maybe most at risk of abuse;
  • Once a situation of abuse is suspected to exist, staff should take appropriate action to ensure that these young adults are kept safe;
  • VUC staff are personally responsible to ensure their understanding of this policy and guidelines set out herein relating to the steps to be taken once abuse is suspected to exist.

Human Resources Department’s responsibility

  • The Human Resource Department (hereafter referred to as HRD) is the department responsible to ensure that policies and procedures are in compliance to local laws, and are in place with regards to the recruitment of staff.
  • The HRD has the responsibility to run background checks on persons applying to join the VUC work force.
  • HRD has to have a central data retention system in which it maintains all records of staff and on how the vetting of job applicants process was conducted and it’s results.
  • HRD has to assess documentation provided by contractors and agencies proposing to work with VUC.

This policy shall be reviewed from time to time to ensure that child safety and safety of vulnerable adult are recognised and promoted and appropriate action taken by the company.

Signs of Child Abuse and abuse of Vulnerable Adults

The following are types of abuse that children and vulnerable adults are most susceptible to:

Neglect – this is a situation in which there is indifference shown to a child or vulnerable adult and that indifference is continuous so as to effect the individuals health.

Neglect may take the form of depriving the individual of food or of clothing. Depriving the child or vulnerable adult of medical care and being indifferent to his or her existence.

The obvious signs may be one of the following:

  • Hunger
  • Where the individual appears untidy or un kept
  • A sense that the child or vulnerable adult would rather not go home
  • A situation where the individual steals food
  • Reluctance or indifferent to attaining good grades

Physical Abuse – Physical harm is occasioned to body of a child or vulnerable adult such as hitting, beating, squeezing, or biting or burn.

Signs of physical abuse:

  • Bruising on body
  • scalds or scalds
  • Grave reluctance to parents being reached
  • Afraid to visit a clinic or hospital
  • Violent behaviour

Sexual abuse – it is a violation of an individual’s body by another for his or her sexual gratification.

Signs of sexual abuse:

  • Unacceptable and inappropriate exposure to pornography
  • Indepth knowledge of sexual activities that ordinarily a child or vulnerable adult would not know of
  • Sexual behaviour that is inappropriate to the age of the child
  • Soreness or scratching of the private part
  • Frequent masturbation
  • Touching others inappropriately.

Protection of child and vulnerable adults

Should for any reason however insignificant it would seem at the moment, a staff has reason to suspect that a child or vulnerable adult has been a victim of abuse whether within VUC or outside the company, it is our responsibility to comply with the following course of action:

  1. VUC staff who has identified or suspects a situation of abuse should report this immediately to the Human Resource Department or Student Services department under the purview of the Registrar of VUC or directly to the Registrar of VUC
  2. The HRD or Registrar should then contact the Child Protection Services (CPS) and the Police. If the abuse is suspected or known to be occurring or occurred outside the home, the child’s or vulnerable adult’s parents should be immediately notified of this situation. Should however the abuse be suspected to be occurring or occurred within the family, the HRD is not to contact the parents but instead Child Protection Services and the police should be informed.
  3. Should it be apparent that the child or vulnerable adult requires urgent medical attention, the individual should be taken to the nearest Hospital for evaluation, treatment and a report should be attained. In this scenario the parents (if abuse is not from within the home) should then be contacted and details provided. However should it be suspected that the abuse is from within the home, then the Child Protection Services and Police should be immediately called in.

*Note – the Vice Chancellor of VUC must always be informed.

Records

Documentation of the abuse, the investigation file and outcome, and steps taken such as taking the victim to the hospital and a copy of the victims medical report and if a report has been made to the police then a copy of the police report, should all be kept confidentially by the company’s Human Resource Department.

Recruitment of staff

The recruitment process is integral to a safe and secure environment wherein children and vulnerable adults well- being is promoted and maintained. Following thru, it is the responsibility of VUC’s HRD to have in place a process for evaluating and conducting back ground checks on prospective job applicants. Further checks on academicians maybe made to the ministry of higher education that processes teaching permits.

Recruitment Checks

When a person applies for a job at VUC, it is the responsibility of HRD to carry out pre- employment checks on the applicant that involves the following:

  1. Identification check
  2. Full medical report
  3. Criminal record check
  4. A check on his/ her qualifications and work experience
  5. Contacting previous employers or referees’ to obtain credibility verification.

Whistle blower

It is the ethical and moral responsibility of all staff to bring matters that raise concerns on abuse to the attention of senior management and/or relevant agencies. The importance of doing this is to prevent the abuse from continuing and from worsening and to remove the child or vulnerable adult from the situation where the abuse is occurring or suspected to have occurred.

Staff should not fear of being a whistle blower as VUC respects and values a staff who comes forward with information that would safeguard and protect a member of the VUC community especially the child and vulnerable adult.

The whistle blower should raise his or her concerns to HRD or to student services department or to the Registrar directly and they shall take the appropriate actions by investigating in a subtle manner that protects the identity of the whistle blower at all costs.

Further information:
Social Service Department (Head Office) for child protection

Children’s Department
Aras 12
No. 55 Persiaran Perdana
Presint 4, 62100 Putrajaya
Person to contact: Ms. Nor Asikin
Contact No.   03-83232277
Email:   nor_asikin@jkm.gov.my

Royal Malaysia Police

If you suspect that a child or vulnerable adult is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may protect the child or vulnerable adult and obtain help for the family. Please call 15999

Prepared by:
Ophelia Ann Fredericks
Legal Adviser.