Within this framework, the Child Safeguarding Commission had been invited to present the TA Safeguarding Policy (TASP) and to work with the participants on issues related to drawing up an ethical code for all those employed in the Network of TA Centres.
The Commission members shared with this group the tools described in the TASP to prevent, protect and act against possible situations of mistreatment or sexual abuse of minors, in the school environment. For their part, the teams could state their concerns, doubts and experiences on the subject.
A culture of prevention
Knowing and sharing on this topic has been essential to become aware, once again, of situations to avoid and to generate a better culture of prevention and protection of children and professionals in educational centres. Words like: "Balance, care, responsibility, protection, knowing how to look, how to listen, to open one’s eyes and ears, seeking the greater good, commitment, hope, safeguarding, open hands, safe environments, collaboration, not to be afraid, happy students ... ” were words expressed in the hall at the end of the day.
As work programme, after the TAPP presentation, we had a first workshop around two questions:
- What concerns have emerged for us?
- What would we like to highlight?
About awareness of this type of abuse, and the possibility that it might happen in one of our centres without our realising it.
→ How to detect these situations of abuse or mistreatment? What signs do we see in the person who is undergoing abuse? What internal communication strategies do we have?
Another concern is the fear of getting it wrong, through not having clear criteria.
→ We worry about putting a suspicion in writing. What to do if I suspect a colleague? Fear of false denunciations.
→ To know how to proceed objectively, transparently, in confidentiality, and promptly so as to always protect a minor or vulnerable person.
→ Can there be a person who lets the social services know directly without going through the centre?
Doubts and questions on procedures, protocols, and the scope of the Teresian Association Safeguarding Policy (TASP).
→ regarding prevention measures:
- The culture of our centres is good and student-centred.
- To observe situations lived by students.
- To greatly emphasise prevention, giving it time and effort.
- The safeguarding approach offers a way to act.
- It is good to deal with this issue based on the very identity of the Teresian Association.
- Great care must be taken when hiring staff. The importance of selecting personnel.
- The Commission for Safeguarding and the International Advisory Commission as help, support and offering of advice.
→ in relation to safeguarding measures:
- Abuse cases are not only of a sexual nature. They can also be between different individuals (teacher-student, teacher-teacher, family-student).
- It is very important to be vigilant and to unite when a member of staff is under suspicion.
- To protect the most vulnerable persons, that is where our action springs from. Be brave. To follow the safeguarding guidelines.
- All staff must be informed about the TASP: teachers, ancillary staff, those running extracurricular activities, complementary activities, canteen staff, students in practical sessions.
→ on measures to be taken:
- To take into account the regulations of each Local Authority on this topic.
- To complete the circle of action, not only with prevention, but also with monitoring and intervention.
Regarding the steps to drawing up an ethical code to unify all the people who work in the Network of TA educational centres in Spain, the starting point is already in place, since in all of them there are regulations or codes of conduct, policies of coexistence, equality, tutorial activity etc. Now it's about moving forward.
The workshop provided elements that should not be missing, commitments on the part of professionals, what the TA is committed to and also a clear description of those practices which are acceptable or others that are not acceptable, in relationships between teachers and students; teachers among each other with the centre and families.
Information: Safeguarding executive commission.
Translation: TA Translation team.