Child Protection Policy

Policy summary

All pharmacy providers funded by District Health Boards (DHBs) fall under the Children’s Act and must have child protection policies. Obligations for pharmacy providers to comply with the requirements of the Children’s Act are outlined in section B.9 of the Integrated Community Pharmacy Service Agreement (ICPSA). Child protection policies help build a strong culture of child protection across a workplace by encouraging early identification and referral of vulnerable children. This pharmacy is committed to supporting the statutory agencies (Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children and the New Zealand Police) to investigate abuse and will report suspected cases and concerns to these agencies as per the process in the abuse and neglect standard operating procedure. Our pharmacy is committed to ensuring employees are familiar with this policy and abide by it.


Designated person for child protection

The pharmacy manager will be responsible for the maintenance and review of this policy, in addition to carrying out the responsibilities outlined in this policy.


Purpose statement

The purpose of this policy outlines our commitment to child protection, ensuring the wellbeing and safety of children. This policy provides guidance to employees on how to identify and respond to concerns about the wellbeing of children, including possible abuse and neglect. This policy is to protect the safety and promote the wellbeing of children and young persons under 17 years who are receiving services from any employee of the pharmacy or are associated with adults who are receiving services from any employees of the pharmacy.


Scope

This policy applies to all employees, including locum employees and should be used wherever abuse or neglect is suspected or identified, regardless whether the child is a patient of the pharmacy.


Child safe practice guidelines

To avoid situations where employees may be alone with children, all employees should examine the opportunities or possible situations where employees may be alone with children.

  • Wherever possible an open-door policy for all spaces should be used (excluding toilets).
  • Employees should be aware of where all children are at all times.
  • Visitors should be monitored at all times by employees.
  • If activities require physical contact, parents and caregivers should be advised in advance (eg, vaccinations).
  • Where a child or young person requires assistance, eg, if they are intellectually or physically disabled, if possible, involve the parents/caregivers and outside agencies to assist. If this assistance is not available, ensure that the employees are aware of the appropriate procedures when giving assistance.


Definitions

Abuse – the harming (whether physically, emotionally or sexually), ill-treatment, neglect or deprivation of any child.

Physical abuse – any acts that may result in physical harm of a child or young person. It can be, but is not limited to, bruising, cutting, hitting, beating, biting, burning, causing abrasions, strangulation, suffocation, drowning, poisoning and fabricated or induced illness.

Sexual abuse – any acts that involve forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not they are aware of what is happening.

Emotional abuse – any act or omission that results in adverse or impaired psychological, social, intellectual and emotional functioning or development.


Neglect – the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical or psychological needs, leading to adverse or impaired physical or emotional functioning or development. Neglect is the most common form of abuse and although the effects may not be as obvious as physical abuse, it is just as serious.
Neglect can be:

  • Physical (not providing the necessities of life like a warm place, food and clothing).
  • Emotional (not providing comfort, attention and love).
  • Neglectful supervision (leaving children without someone safe looking after them).
  • Medical neglect (not taking care of health needs).
  • Educational neglect (allowing chronic truancy, failure to enrol in education or inattention to education needs).

 

Child – any child or young person aged under 17 years and who is not married or in a civil union.

Child protection – activities carried out to ensure that children are safe in cases where there is suspected abuse or neglect or are at risk of abuse or neglect.

Children’s services – any organisation that provides services to children or to adults where contact with children may be part of the service.

Children’s workers – people who work with children, or who have regular contact with children, as part of their roles.

Core worker – means a children’s worker whose work providing a regulated service requires or allows that, when the person is present with a child or children in the course of that work, the person:
a) is the only children’s worker present; or
b) is the children’s worker who has primary responsibility for, or authority over, the child or children present.

Designated person for child protection – the person responsible for providing advice and support to employees where they have a concern about an individual child or who want advice about child protection policy.

Disclosure – information given to an employee by a child, parent or caregiver or a third party in relation to abuse or neglect.

New Zealand Police – the agency responsible for responding to situations where a child is in immediate danger and for working with Oranga Tamariki in child protection work and investigating cases of abuse or neglect where an offence may have occurred.

Non-core worker – means a children’s worker who is not a core worker.

Oranga Tamariki – the agency responsible for investigating and responding to suspected abuse and neglect and for providing care and protection to children found to be in need.

Safety checking – the process of safer recruitment that is mandatory for organisations covered by the Children Act 2014.

Identifying possible abuse or neglect
We understand that every situation is different and it’s important to consider all available information about the child and their environment before reaching conclusions.

Importance should be placed on the overall wellbeing and the risk of harm to the child. It is not so important to be able to define and categorise the type of abuse or neglect.

We understand when we are concerned a child is showing signs of potential abuse or neglect, we should talk to either a colleague, manager or the designated person for child protection. No employees should act without the advice and support of others.

This pharmacy will always act on the recommendations of statutory agencies, including Oranga Tamariki and the Police. We will only inform families/whānau about suspected or actual abuse after we have discussed this with these agencies.


Employees involved in cases of suspected child abuse are entitled to have support. We will maintain knowledge of such individuals, agencies and organisations in the community that provide support.

See the Abuse and Neglect SOP for identifying potential abuse and neglect.

Responding to suspected abuse or neglect

  • Responding to suspected abuse and neglect process:
  • Listen to the child.
  • Reassure the child.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • If the child is visibly distressed, provide appropriate reassurance and engage the child in appropriate activities under supervision until they are able to participate in ordinary activities.
  • If the child is not in immediate danger, get the child involved in ordinary activities and explain what you are going to do next.
  • If the child is in immediate danger, contact the designated person for children protection, then contact the Police.
  • As soon as possible, record down any disclosure and other information on an incident reporting form.
  • When completing the incident reporting form, formally record:
    • Anything said by the child.
    • The date, time, location and names that might be relevant.
    • The factual concerns or observations that have led to the suspicion of abuse and neglect.
    • Any actions taken by employees.
    • Any other information that may be relevant.
  • The employees should discuss any concern with the pharmacy manager or the designated person for child protection.
  • Notify Oranga Tamariki if there is any reason to believe that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected.
  • Contact the Oranga Tamariki national contact centre to determine the appropriate course of action.
    • Nation Contact Centre contact details:
      • Phone: 0508 326 459 Email: enquiry@ot.govt.nz.


See the Abuse and Neglect SOP for responding to suspected abuse and neglect.


Allegations or concerns about an employee
All matters that involve allegations against an employee must be reported to the designated person for child protection (unless there is a conflict of interest) immediately. When an employee is suspected of abuse or neglect towards a child, the same processes
as described in the Abuse and Neglect SOP applies.

To ensure the child safety, the designated person for child protection or the pharmacy manager may decide to take steps to remove the employee from the role or the work environment. This is subject to any relevant provisions in an employment agreement.

Where required, the employer will report all matters of serious professional nature to the Pharmacy Council.

This pharmacy commits to not entering into any agreement with an affected employee which may contradict the culture of child protection and prevent reporting of abuse and neglect to the relevant authorities.

Confidentiality and information sharing
We will seek advice from Oranga Tamariki and/or the Police before identifying information about an allegation is shared with anyone, other than the designated person for child protection.

The Privacy Act 1993, and the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 allows for information to be shared with Oranga Tamariki or the Police to keep children safe when abuse or suspected abuse is reported or investigated. Provided the report is made in good faith, no civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings may be brought against you.

When collecting, storing or disclosing personal information about an individual, it is important to be aware of the requirements of the privacy principles set out in the Privacy Act 1993.

Employees may, however, disclose information under the Privacy Act/Health Information Privacy Code where there is good reason to do so – such as where there is a serious risk to individual health and safety. Disclosure about abuse or neglect of a child/young person may also be made to the Police or Oranga Tamariki.

Recruitment and employment (safety checking)
Under the Children’s Act we must ensure that all employees who meet the definition of a children’s worker are safety checked. We conduct safety worker checks as outlined in our Children’s Worker Safety Checks SOP. These safety checks are documented to ensure compliance and proof that a safety check has been completed.

Safety checks are carried out by the pharmacy manager

As part of the employment process, all new employees must provide consent before carrying out a safety check as required by the Children’s Act. Information about previous criminal convictions is obtained through the Police Vetting Service. After the checks are
complete, the pharmacy manager must make the decision whether or not the employee can be hired as a children’s worker.
The pharmacy manager will ensure that all children’s workers are checked on a three- yearly interval. We must obtain consent from each employee before conducting subsequent safety checks on employees.

If an employee has been convicted of an offence or may not be safe to work with children, contact the Guild’s HR Advice Line for personalised advice.

Safety check for new employee:
The requirements of a safety check for new workers are:
1. Identity verification
2. Information about previous criminal convictions
3. Employment verification check
4. Information from relevant professional bodies
5. Interview, in person or otherwise, to inform the assessment of risk
6. A risk assessment of the applicant with respect to the safety of children

Safety check on an existing employee:
The requirements of a safety check for existing workers are:
1. Identity verification
2. Information about previous criminal convictions
3. Information from relevant professional bodies
4. A risk assessment of the applicant with respect to the safety of children

See the Children’s Worker Safety Checks SOP for further information on the process for conducting safety checks.

Core worker exemption
Under the Children’s Act, workers with certain serious criminal convictions cannot be employed as a core worker unless an exemption is sought. The pharmacy manager is responsible for obtaining an exemption for all required workers. New core workers must obtain the exemption before engagement of employment. Existing core workers must make an immediate application for an exemption if needed.

Training, supervision and support
We are committed to maintaining and increasing employee awareness of how to prevent, recognise and respond to abuse and neglect. As part of the training, employees are made aware of the Child Protection Policy, the Pharmacy Guild’s Children’s Act Guide and Abuse and Neglect SOP.
 

Related documentation

  • Care of Children Act 2004
  • Children’s Act 2014
  • Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act, 1989
  • Domestic Violence Act 1995
  • Privacy Act 1993
  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC)
  • Victims’ Rights Act 2002


Review of policy
This policy will be reviewed at least every three years.

Policy reviewed by: Anne Marie Reidy
Policy checked by: Anne Marie Reidy

Last review date: 3/12/19
Next review date: 3/12/22