SIL Child Safeguarding Training Guideline

Table of Contents

Introduction

Principles

Minimal Requirement Statements

Oversight, Monitoring and Recording Training

Additional Training 

Youth in SIL Schools and Youth Programs

Introduction

As an organisation, SIL has a duty of care to ensure the families of staff who work for SIL and the children who access SIL services can do so with minimal risk. In addition, as a Christian organisation, SIL has a Biblical mandate to care for the least in society and stand up for truth and justice.

These elements are all clearly at play when we consider the safety and wellbeing of children associated with SIL. This guideline outlines the approach SIL uses to ensure we meet the required standards and policies related to Staff Wellbeing and Duty of Care as well as Staff Behaviour and Misconduct Response.

Principles

The Strategic Vision for Child Safeguarding within SIL identifies specific goals, covering the child and their immediate environment.

  • The Child is safe, nurtured and growing in order to reach his/her optimal growth and development
  • The Family feels adequately prepared and supported when parenting; is able to access good quality resources across a wide range of topics; and feels comfortable with recognising, responding to and reporting concerns
  • The Community is mindful of their interactions with children; seeks to create positive experiences and supportive social networks for children; and feels comfortable with recognising, responding to, and reporting concerns.
  • The Organisation values children, integrating their development and well-being into everyday operations and decisions; proactively identifies and minimises potentially harmful situations, and manages concerns in a consistent, comprehensive, and compassionate manner.

Inherent in these goals is an acknowledgement that there are many departments within SIL and other external organisations, e.g. international schools, directly involved in the care and nurture of SIL-associated children. We recognise that children are holistic beings and are impacted both positively and negatively by not only their families, but also the communities around them, the organisations they interact with, and the societies they live in.

The safety and wellbeing of children is predominantly the responsibility of parents. However, since many children in SIL face higher risks of harm due to their locations, frequent transitions and living in high trust environments, the organisation also has a significant role in supporting parents.  In addition, we know from the evidence of what keeps children safe, that the more aware and involved the communities around a child are, then the less harm our children are likely to experience. This is especially true in relation to promoting safe environments, minimising risk factors, promoting protective factors, and recognising/responding appropriately to situations of concern.

SIL aims to incorporate prevention and care in our approach to children associated with SIL as well as recognise and respond to concerns about their welfare. The approach to child safeguarding covers 5 R’s:

  • Realise the reality that abuse occurs among Christians in mission as much as among non-Christians and that factors in our lifestyle sometimes increase the risk for our children.
  • Reduce the likelihood of abuse occurring with a stronger focus on prevention and building protective factors in people and environments.
  • Recognise when there are indicators that suggest a possible problem which may need more information to find out if a child is healthy, happy and safe.
  • Raise concerns that we may have about the health and wellbeing of children associated with SIL so that further information gathering can take place.
  • Respond appropriately if a child or adult talks about possible harm they are or have experienced.

Minimum Requirements 

Initial Training: SIL requires ALL STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS (regardless of their length of service or geographical location) to take child safeguarding training BEFORE they take up their first SIL position. This includes a common core course that can be taken online or face-to-face (called Creating Healthy Communities and Families). In addition, upon starting their assignment, SIL staff are required, as part of their orientation to the unit in which they work, to undertake local contextualised training. 

Ongoing Training: All Staff and volunteers are required to UPDATE child safeguarding training. For staff who do not routinely work with or near children, this should be done every four years. For staff working directly with children or youth, or in close proximity such that they have the opportunity to interact with children on a frequent basis (e.g. school maintenance staff) are required to update their training every year. Staff must be compliant (up-to-date) in safeguarding training before taking up a new assignment (including returning to a field assignment following “furlough/partnership development”).

Director Training: Those working in SIL roles with an organisational responsibility for Local Units are also required to take training outlining their positional responsibilities with regards to child safeguarding. This highlights their role in creating an environment that fosters prevention and early intervention, as well as understanding their role when a concern is raised and how the inquiry process is managed (both when an external inquiry team is required and when it is not). This training is normally delivered via VOIP (e.g. Skype, Zoom, VSee) and it is often helpful for the Unit Director if their HR Director/Manager also joins them in this training.

Local Unit Coordinators and/or HR managers should ensure all safeguarding training taken is recorded in the appropriate place in the organisation’s HR Information Systems, regardless of whether they keep their own local records.

Oversight, Monitoring and Recording Training

Local Units are responsible for ensuring their staff are adequately trained in child safeguarding, both before taking up an assignment and with local contextualised training once in assignment. As part of this process, they should also ensure their staff have signed the SIL Behavioural Code of Conduct (which has included in it, sections directly related to interactions with children).

It is common for some staff to have received training by providers other than SIL. This is normally done as part of their initial preparations by their sending organisation before taking up an assignment, some of which have adapted the SIL curriculum and others have developed their own, often introductory courses. The particular sending organisation is normally able to clarify whether their course is considered an equivalent or not to the SIL core training, if not then the local Unit Safeguarding Coordinator should liaise with the SIL Safeguarding Training Manager to clarify whether this can count as the SIL core training or whether the person must also do the SIL core training.

In addition some staff, particularly those working in schools, are often required to undergo safeguarding training provided through the assignment organisation.  In these circumstances, the Child Safeguarding Manager is able to determine whether these courses can be considered an equivalency for the SIL course or not, based on the material covered and learning outcomes for the course undertaken.  A list of equivalent courses can be found on the Safeguarding Wiki and the local Unit Safeguarding Coordinator should liaise with the SIL Safeguarding Training Manager for any other courses not mentioned there.

Additional Training

Alongside the initial core training, local contextualised training and training updates, there are a number of additional learning units available (or will be becoming available) for any SIL staff. At present these are entirely voluntary, written for parents and staff who work directly with children or youth, or in close proximity such that they have the opportunity to interact with children on a frequent basis, and are aimed at building protective factors among the children and in the environments they frequent. The content areas for these additional learning units are:

  • Internet Safety
  • Protective Parenting Factors

In addition, there are learning units designed specifically for children and youth to take, which again highlight positive protective behaviours and encouragement to talk with a trusted adult whenever they are concerned about anything.

  • Children aged 5-7
  • Children aged 8-10
  • Youth aged 11-13
  • Youth aged 14-17

Youth in SIL Schools and Youth Programs

Administrators of the schools for which SIL is the legally responsible agent (e.g. Rain Forest  International School in Cameroon and Ukarumpa International in PNG) should provide annual child safeguarding programs as part of their regular school curriculum for preschool through high school. These programs shall be taught by grade-level teachers trained to provide these programs in age-appropriate ways.

Staff are free to use their own choice of materials (and evaluate their effectiveness) or they can contact the SIL Safeguarding Training Manager who can provide and/or suggest materials.

Youth programs under the direction of SIL are responsible to provide annual training to youth in regard to aspects of their own safety and awareness of others safety (including basic bystander intervention).

These programmes should contain age appropriate content which covers the development of protective factors, healthy relationships and recognition/response when there are concerns. They should aim to include all types of abuse, including bullying, physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual and neglect and cover the virtual world and social media as well as the non-virtual world.

Again youth staff are free to use their own choice of materials (and evaluate their effectiveness) or to contact the SIL Safeguarding Training Manager who can provide and/or suggest materials.