WCM Abuse and protection
“I feel safe and supported to discuss when I feel afraid in the relationships
that are important to me.”
The safety, wellbeing and best interests of our clients are priorities. Every client has a right to safety and to live free from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Child abuse, domestic violence and other forms of abuse violate these rights.
Colonisation, historical trauma and abuse have intergenerational impacts that have undermined the wellbeing and functioning of some families, whānau and communities. Our mahi with clients includes helping family, whānau, hapū and iwi to deal with the impacts and provide ongoing safe and loving care to family members.
This policy, with the procedural requirements listed below, covers how we must prevent, identify and respond to abuse, neglect and exploitation. It applies to child abuse, elder abuse, intimate partner abuse and abuse of vulnerable adults within a relationship of trust.
Abuse refers to child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse and any other mistreatment committed within a relationship of trust, which causes or involves sexual, emotional, psychological, material or physical harm or detriment. It includes neglect, where a responsible person fails to keep a child or another person safe.
Abuse may be a 'one off' event or entail a pattern of coercive conduct by one person against another.
The board has a primary and overarching duty of care for health and safety in the organisation. Its responsibilities include:
- monitoring audit results for standards relating to community wellbeing and client safety
- ensuring recommendations from the risk management process are evaluated and implemented as necessary.
- championing an organisational culture that:
- promotes reporting of safety concerns
- is open and willing to address systemic deficits contributing to abuse and/or a failure to detect it.
- support compliance with this policy by ensuring team members are trained to implement it fully (eg trained in signs of abuse, reporting and responding to safety and child protection concerns)
- follow up appropriately on abuse concerns and take all reasonable and practicable steps to correct any systemic deficit that could contribute to abuse or non-detection of abuse
- report and investigate any safety incidents in accord with the Incident management and/or purchasing agency requirements
- lead an organisational culture that:
- models respect for dignity and rights to safety and equality
- promotes zero tolerance for abuse
- promotes early intervention and reporting of abuse concerns by clients, staff and volunteers.
- understand and implement this policy in service delivery
- act professionally at all times and desist from any abusive or harmful action against a client
- communicate this policy and behavioural expectations to clients and their supports
- report abuse concerns or any deficit in knowledge, systems or processes that could contribute to abuse or prevent detection of abuse to management
- cooperate in the investigation of any incident or alleged incidence of abuse.
Our practice principles
We act on the following principles when implementing this policy:
- The safety and wellbeing of those affected by abuse and neglect is the first priority of any response.
- Tamariki have unique vulnerabilities in family and domestic violence situations. Their safety, wellbeing and best interests is our paramount concern.
- Tamariki and adults who are abused, neglected or exploited are not responsible for perpetrators’ behaviour.
- Clients who perpetrate abuse are supported to take responsibility and stop their abuse.
- Clients with disabilities, such as brain injuries and learning and communicative disabilities, can be vulnerable to abuse and particular care should be taken to ensure their safety from abuse.
- Attitudes, stereotypes and social, gender and cultural dynamics within and outside our organisation that support or prevent the early detection of abuse and exploitation should be identified and addressed.
- Prevention and response strategies must be sensitive to developmental stage and age, disability, culture, gender and sexuality preference.
- Concerns about abuse must be taken seriously and recorded on client files whether or not they are substantiated.
Procedural requirements for this policy are set out in:
- Preventing and identifying abuse, exploitation and neglect
- Responding to abuse, exploitation and neglect
- Protective measures for persons with a cognitive disability
- Responding to allegations against staff
- Responding to clients perpetrating abuse
- Reporting concerns about a child, young person
Social Sector Accreditation Standards Level 2, Community wellbeing 1.0-4.0; Client services & programmes 1.0-3.0, Health & Safety, 2.0
Last Reviewed on: 10/06/2019
Next Review due: 06/01/2021