Safeguarding Policy (Child Protection Against Abuse)
In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Articles 19 and 34) NIS, as a CIS/WASC accredited school and as a member of Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS) acknowledges the duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. We are committed to ensuring safeguarding practice that reflects statutory responsibilities, government guidance, and compliance with best practice and accrediting body requirements.
As a member of JCIS, NIS strongly supports the safeguarding practices required by JCIS and firmly believe that all students at NIS have a right to safety and well-being. This right exists in the home, in their daily lives, while at school and while on any school-related activity. All NIS staff have a contractual obligation and duty to defend and uphold this right. These obligations are set forth in the school's safeguarding policy.
The NIS Safeguarding policy serves to protect students from abuse or neglect and empowers teachers and other adults with a ‘safeguarding code’ that will support them in maintaining healthy and positive student-developmental relationships with students.
In the case that it is deemed that there is a possibility of risk to any child, NIS commit to adhere to this policy. NIS will maintain an open mind and value the relationships we have with our students and parents in striving for a solution. Specifically, the school will work with the parents and family of the child alongside any other bodies (for example the police, doctors and other health professionals and/or child protective services) to bring resolution to the situation, our shared obligation being the emotional and physical safety of the student.
Abuse is defined as a stronger/more powerful individual engaging in a pattern of behavior in order to make personal gain at the expense of a weaker/less powerful person. Abuse may be physical, emotional or sexual. Neglect is also a specific type of abuse.
Emotional Abuse is the routine and harmful shaming, demeaning, belittling, ostracizing or otherwise harming of a child’s sense of self-worth and self esteem.
Physical Abuse is the routine anger-motivated and unpredictable causing of physical harm or injury to students (hitting, scratching, cutting, punching, etc.) with the result of causing the child to be fearful of the abuser.
Sexual Abuse is the exploitation of a student for sexual purposes. It may or may not involve physical contact and can include sexual imagery or language and the exposure of an NIS student to any manner of sexual contexts.
Neglect is a specific type of abuse defined as the failure of responsible adult to provide adequate care to a child. Care can include food, clothing, shelter and supervision, emotional or medical care.
NIS Safeguarding Code
NIS staff, sub-contracted employees and any other adult working with NIS students (including volunteers) are expected to adhere to the NIS Safeguarding Code. The code provides guideposts for adults to support healthy relationships and the development of student independence. All adults working with students at NIS are required to adhere to the safeguarding code as a condition of continued employment (or other relationship) with NIS.
The code is established to protect both adults and children and is built upon four ‘guideposts’ below:
Prevention and Training
NIS shall ensure adequate preventative measures are taken to prevent abuse on campus, and the failure to identify and report on abuse and neglect off campus.
These steps shall include:
• Student education: the curriculum and pastoral program shall support students in developing healthy independence and teach them how to respond when facing behaviors which are (or which may potentially lead to) unhealthy relationships. Students will receive training in the NIS Safeguarding Code to help them understand the role that ‘roles’, ‘boundaries’, ‘power’ and ‘accountability’ have to play in their personal safety, and the safety of their peers.
• Staff education: all new staff shall receive training in the NIS Safeguarding Code. All returning staff shall receive annual refresher courses in the NIS Safeguarding code.
• Safe Recruitment and Screening: The priority NIS places on child protection shall be made explicit throughout the advertising and interview process by stressing the high threshold of child safety in existence at NIS. Candidates shall be questioned on their understanding of safeguarding issues (role, boundary, power, accountability) in interview. Telephone references shall be taken on all new hires and safeguarding questions shall be asked explicitly.
Discovery of Child Abuse or Neglect
All adults at NIS are asked to remain alert for the signs of abuse and neglect. There are many indicators of child abuse and neglect. The presence of a single indicator, or even several indicators, does not prove that abuse or neglect has occurred. However, the repeated occurrence of an indicator, or the occurrence of several indicators together, should alert teachers to the possibility of a legitimate concern in which case the adult (including those in positions of enhanced confidentiality such as a nurse, counselor or administrator) are mandated to report her/his observations to the child safety officer in accordance with the steps indicated under ‘Reporting and Action’, below.
In many cases, abuse or neglect is discovered via child self-reporting. In the case that a child confides in an adult staff member or adult volunteer/visitor that they are the victim of abuse/neglect that adult should:
- Believe the child
- Tell them that you will help them by contact the child safety officer who will make sure that their voice is heard, valued, respected and acted upon
- Contact the child safety officer immediately (as explained below) and stay involved as much as is deemed appropriate and as much as you are comfortable
Under NO circumstances should the adult attempt to resolve the issue him/herself or promise confidentiality.
Reporting and Action
At NIS Internal reporting of suspected abuse is mandatory. The mandatory reporting steps are listed below:
Outcomes for Perpetrators
In the case that an NIS employee is found to have engaged in abuse, he/she shall have his/her contract terminated. In the case that a non-contracted service provider engages in child abuse she/he shall no longer be permitted to provide services to NIS. In the case that an NIS student or Parent engages in abuse, he/she shall no longer be permitted on site at NIS.
Outcomes for Victims
It is the duty of NIS to remain involved in any process, for as long as is feasible and reasonable, in support of the rights of the child, as stated in paragraph 1 of this document.
- Setting Behavioral Expectations Based on 4 Guideposts, David Wolowitz
- Helpguide.org (nonprofit guide to mental health and well-being)