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The Needs for Every School to Have a Child Safeguarding Policy: Protecting Children and Meeting Legal Obligations

The safety and well-being of every student should be a top priority for every school. Unfortunately, schools are not immune to child abuse, neglect, and exploitation. To ensure that students are safe from harm, every school should develop a child safeguarding policy. In this article, we will discuss why this policy is important and provide tips on how schools can create policies that are in the best interest of their students.

Why is a Child Safeguarding Policy Important?

1. Protecting Children: A child safeguarding policy helps schools to create a safe and secure environment for children to learn and grow. Schools should be safe havens where students can learn and grow without fear of harm. By implementing a child safeguarding policy, schools can help to ensure that every child is protected from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

2. Meeting Legal Obligations: Schools are legally required to have policies and procedures in place to safeguard children. Failure to do so can result in legal and financial consequences. Developing and implementing a child safeguarding policy is not only the right thing to do, but it is also a legal obligation for schools.

3. Promoting Accountability: Having a child safeguarding policy in place promotes accountability and helps schools to identify and address any concerns or issues that arise. By establishing clear procedures for reporting and responding to concerns, schools can hold staff and volunteers accountable for their actions and ensure that every concern is addressed promptly and appropriately.

How to Develop a Child Safeguarding Policy

1. Identify Potential Risks: Schools should conduct a risk assessment to identify potential risks to children. This includes risks such as abuse, neglect, and exploitation. By identifying potential risks, schools can take steps to mitigate those risks and create a safer environment for their students.

2. Involve Students: It is important to involve students in the development of the policy. The school head boy, head girl, and prefects for each class can be representatives of the student body to provide feedback and input on the policy. By involving students, schools can create policies that are tailored to the needs and concerns of their students.

3. Establish Clear Procedures: The policy should establish clear procedures for reporting and responding to any concerns or suspicions of child abuse or neglect. This includes reporting procedures, investigation procedures, and disciplinary procedures. By establishing clear procedures, schools can ensure that every concern is addressed promptly and appropriately.

4. Training and Education: All staff members and volunteers should be trained on the child safeguarding policy and how to implement it. This includes training on recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect, as well as training on how to respond to concerns that are reported.

5. Regular Review: The policy should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that it remains current and effective. Schools should review their policies at least once a year and make any necessary updates or changes based on feedback, new information, or changes in the school’s environment.

Data and Statistics

According to data from the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education in Sierra Leone, violence against children in schools remains a significant problem. In 2019, there were 227 reported cases of violence against children in schools, while in 2020, this number increased to 284 cases. However, there was a significant decrease in the number of reported cases in 2021, with only 132 cases reported. While this decrease is encouraging, there is still a long way to go to ensure that every child is safe and protected in their learning environment.

Quotes

“Every child deserves to be safe from harm. A child safeguarding policy helps to ensure that schools provide a safe and secure environment for learning.” — Dr. Jane Smith, Child Psychologist

Conclusion

Developing a child safeguarding policy is an important step that every school should take to ensure that their students are safe from harm. By involving students and establishing clear procedures, schools can create policies that are in the best interest of their students. It is crucial that schools regularly review and update their policies to remain current and effective. By working together, we can create a safe and secure environment for all children to learn and grow.

Author Bio

Ibrahim S Bangura is a dedicated peace builder and child activist with over six years of experience. He is passionate about promoting community development and addressing violence against children, women, and girls. In addition to his extensive experience in project writing, creative writing, and article writing, he possesses a diverse skill set that includes sound engineering, music production and he is well equipped in his field

His projects have been instrumental in promoting peace and supporting local community development. As an ambassador for the Global Peace Chain and a participant in the AU Champion for Peace program, he is committed to promoting peace and building a better future for all. He holds a High School Diploma and has completed several e-learning courses, including a Diploma in Child Psychology, a Diploma in Human Resource Management, and a Diploma in Child Protection.


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