1. Introduction

Stemettes makes a positive contribution to a strong and safe community and recognises the right of every individual to stay safe.
The Stemettes project was set up to inspire the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) fields and comes into contact with children and/or vulnerable adults through various activities including panel events, hackathons, exhibitions and workshops. The types of contact with children and vulnerable adults will be controlled.
This policy seeks to ensure that Stemettes undertakes its responsibilities with regard to the protection of children and vulnerable adults and will respond to concerns appropriately. The policy establishes a framework to support paid and unpaid staff in their practices and clarifies the organisation’s expectations.

2. Definitions

Safeguarding is about embedding practices throughout the organisation to ensure the protection of children and vulnerable adults wherever possible. In contrast, child and adult protection is about responding to circumstances that arise.

Abuse is a selfish act of oppression and injustice, exploitation and manipulation of power by those in a position of authority. This can be caused by those inflicting harm or those who fail to act to prevent harm. Abuse is not restricted to any socio-economic group, gender or culture. It can take a number of forms, including the following:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Bullying
  • Neglect
  • Financial (or material) abuse

Definition of a child: A child is under the age of 18 (as defined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child).

Definition of Vulnerable Adults:
A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited. This may include a person who:

  • Is elderly and frail
  • Has a mental illness including dementia
  • Has a physical or sensory disability
  • Has a learning disability
  • Has a severe physical illness
  • Is a substance misuser
  • Is homeless

3. Responsibilities

All staff have a responsibility to follow the guidance laid out in this policy and related policies, and to pass on any welfare concerns using the required procedures.
We expect all staff to promote good practice by being an excellent role model, contribute to discussions about safeguarding and to positively involve people in developing safe practices.

4. Implementation

The scope of this Safeguarding Policy is broad ranging and in practice, it will be implemented via a range of policies and procedures within the organisation.
Stemettes ensures safe recruitment and commits resources to providing Criminal Bureau Records or Disclosure and Barring Service checks on staff whose roles involve one-on-one contact with children and vulnerable adults.
Interviews are conducted according to equal opportunity principles and interview questions are based on the relevant job description and person specification.

These checks will be conducted for specific roles for all staff (paid or unpaid) working with children and vulnerable adults. Portable/ carry over checks from another employer will not be deemed to be sufficient. It is a criminal offence for individuals barred to work or apply to work with children or vulnerable adults in a wide range of posts.

No formal job offers are made until after checks for suitability are completed (including DBS).
For volunteer roles, Stemettes will ensure the volunteer is supervised in their duties by an existing team member who will have completed a prior check.

5. Communications, Training and Support for Staff & Volunteers

Stemettes commits resources for induction, training of staff, effective communications and support mechanisms in relation to Safeguarding. All staff who, through their role, are in contact with children and /or vulnerable adults will have access to safeguarding training at an appropriate level. We recognise that involvement in situations where there is risk or actual harm can be stressful for staff concerned. Stemettes will ensure all staff are sufficiently supported should these events occur.

Stemettes commits resources for training, effective communications and support mechanisms in relation to Safeguarding for volunteers. All volunteers who, through their role, are in contact with children and vulnerable adults will have access to safeguarding training at an appropriate level. We recognise that involvement in situations where there is risk or actual harm can be stressful for volunteers concerned. Stemettes will ensure all volunteers are sufficiently supported should these events occur.

6. Professional Boundaries

Professional boundaries are what define the limits of a relationship between a support worker and a client. They are a set of standards we agree to uphold that allows this necessary and often close relationship to exist while ensuring the correct detachment is kept in place.

Stemettes expects staff to protect the professional integrity of themselves and the organisation. We expect the same of volunteers. Examples of behaviours which should be considered include:

  • Use of abusive language
  • Response to inappropriate behaviour / language
  • Use of punishment or chastisement
  • Passing on service users’ personal contact details
  • Degree of accessibility to service users (e.g. not providing personal contact details)
  • Taking family members to a client’s home
  • Selling to or buying items from a service user
  • Accepting responsibility for any valuables on behalf of a client
  • Accepting money as a gift/ Borrowing money from or lending money to service users
  • Personal relationships with a third party related to or known to service users
  • Accepting gifts/ rewards or hospitality from organisation as an inducement for either doing/ not doing something in their official capacity
  • Cautious or avoidance of personal contact with clients
  • If the professional boundaries and/or policies are breached this could result in disciplinary procedures or enactment of the allegation management procedures.

    7. Monitoring and Evaluation

    Stemettes will systematically monitor and evaluate its Safeguarding Policy on a regular basis. Last updated 18 March.