In England the law states that people who work with children have to keep them safe. This safeguarding legislation is set out in The Children Act (1989) and (2004). It is also mentioned in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and sets out the rights of children to be free from abuse. The Government also provides guidance in their document Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.
Roles in a madrassah that involve supervising or being left alone in charge of children require an enhanced DBS check (previously called CRB check).
It is against the law for madrassahs to employ someone or allow them to volunteer for this kind of work if they know they’re on one of the barred lists.
- Staff must be committed to protecting pupils from all forms of abuse.
- Staff must undergo DBS checks before starting work.
- The Madrassah should have an up to date Child Protection Policy as well as an e-safety policy.
- All staff should be familiar with the Policies, how to safeguard children and how to report abuse.
- All staff should undergo training in Level 1 Child Safeguarding
<p Safeguarding Children / Ofsted – Ofsted . Safeguardingchildren.org.uk. Retrieved on 2015-12-08.
Types of Abuse
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Allah will question each person in a position of responsibility about what he or she was responsible for.” (Tirmidhi)
Physical abuse is deliberately causing physical harm to a child or young person, such as hitting, shaking, beating or throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding. It is not accidental.
This can sometimes be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child or young person.
Forcing children to sit in stress positions is prohibited. Physical abuse of any kind is unacceptable, regardless of the reason. It should never be used as any form of punishment and teachers should adopt a patient and gentle method of teaching and discipline, in line with the teachings of the Prophet and his conduct with children.
It is everyone’s duty to prevent harm. There is no excuse for physically abusing a child. It causes serious, and often long-lasting, harm.
- Be alert to changes in a pupil’s behaviour and character.
- Know and be alert to other signs including bruising, bite marks or fractures.
- Report any suspicions to the designated person.
- Don’t investigate. Report your concerns to the designated Child Protection Officer.
- Never use physical punishment of any kind to discipline a pupil
“It was by the mercy of Allah that you were gentle with them (O, Muhammad) for if you had been harsh and hard of heart they would have dispersed from around you. So pardon them and pray forgiveness for them and consult with them in the affair” (Quran- Al Imran 3:159).
Emotional Abuse is ‘the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child or young person, such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on their emotional development.’ A Madrassah pupil could be emotionally abused by parents, teachers as well as anyone in a position of authority. Bullying (including cyberbullying) is also considered a type of emotional abuse and every Madrassah should have policies in place to prevent and deal appropriately with this type of abuse. Some level of emotional abuse in involved in all types of ill treatment of children and children who are emotionally abused usually undergo another type of abuse or neglect at the same time.
Emotional abuse can include:
- Blaming or humiliating the child or young person in public or talking about them negatively.
- Always assuming the child or young person is at fault or having unrealistic expectations of them.
- Admitting to disliking, or hating, or threatening the child or young person.
- Using corporal or emotionally severe punishment.
- Withdrawing comfort as a means of discipline or being emotionally cold.
Source: //www.teach-through-love.com/emotional-abuse signs.html#sthash.pwPgs41H.dpuf
- Always treat pupils kindly, respectfully and fairly, in line with the Sunnah.
- Never humiliate or threaten a pupil.
- Create a safe environment for all pupils, which gives them the ability to talk to you with any concerns if they need to.
- Deal with any bullying allegations according to Madrassah policy.
- Report any suspected abuse to the designated person.
“Those who are kind and considerate to Allah’s creatures, Allah bestows His kindness and affection on them. Show kindness to the creatures on the earth so that Allah may be kind to you.”
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s or young person’s basic physical and/or psychological needs and is often the most common form of abuse. It is likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may occur as early as pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.
It can involve a parent or carer failing to:
- Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter.
- Protect a child or young person from physical and emotional harm or danger.
- Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers)
- Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
- Respond to a child’s or young person’s basic emotional needs.
There is a difference between poverty and neglect and each must be investigated appropriately and dealt with accordingly. If it is poverty, the Madrassah can work with other organisations to help support the family in need, or if appropriate, set up a funding program to assist the family out of poverty. In Neglect, the family are failing to support the child or the young person even though it is within their means.
Types of Neglect
|Failing to provide food, shelter or clothing. Failing to supervise a child or provide for their safety.
||Failing to ensure a child receives a good education.
||Failing to meet a child’s needs for nurture and stimulation. This is done by ignoring, humiliating, intimidating or isolating them. It’s often the most difficult to prove.
||Failing to provide appropriate health care, including dental care and ignoring medical recommendations.
- Be aware of the signs. Pupils may come to the Madrassah in dirty clothes, may try stealing food or may remain unwell for long periods.
- Never ignore a pupil or make them feel unwanted.
- Do not investigate. Report any concerns to the designated child protection officer.
A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This does not have to be physical contact and it can happen on line. Sometimes the child will not understand what’s happening to them is abuse. They may not even understand that it’s wrong.
The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by:
- Physical contact by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex)
- Non-penetrative acts such as masturbation.
- Kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing.
- Getting children to look at, or produce sexual images
- Encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways
- Grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).
Note: Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. (Source NSPCC)
- If a pupil exhibits signs such as sudden major changes in behaviour, or sexualised behaviour, or you have reasonable suspicion that a pupil is being abused, report it to the designated child protection officer and request an investigation.
- Pupils can be taught the difference between ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ and ‘good secrets’ and ‘bad secrets’ in a lesson delivered by a trusted Madrassah teacher.
How can we protect our Children?
“The action taken to protect children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes in contact with the child has a role to play.”
Madrassahs need to be aware of their legal obligations with regard to the most up to date child protection legislation.
- All staff members must undergo Level 1 Child Safeguarding Training.
- A staff member or several staff members must be trained in Level 2 Child Safeguarding and appoint them as the ‘designated child protection officer’ for safeguarding.
- Make sure the Madrassah has policies and procedures for safeguarding and child protection including an e-safety policy which:
- Protect children from harm and abuse.
- Bans all forms of physical punishment including hitting.
- Enables staff and volunteers to know what to do if they are worried about abuse.
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