Safeguarding Policy for children and vulnerable individuals
Hong Kong Well UK
HONG KONG WELL UK (the CIC) is a CIC run for the following purpose:
Hong Kong Well UK minds the mental health and emotional well being of Hong Kong children and parents who have migrated to the UK under the BNO visa scheme. We walk alongside these families in this significant transition with advisory services, counselling and education. We facilitate their integration into the UK by voicing out their concerns and increasing the public awareness of their challenges.
The address of the CIC is at:
3 Old Post Office Walk
The CIC acknowledges the duty of care for those who seek our services. We adopt the safeguarding policy for children and vulnerable individuals to make sure that their lives are free from neglect and abuse, creating a safe space for them to make decisions about their own lives and care. We expect all adults working or helping at HK Well UK to support our policy and adhere to it. Therefore, persons affected include:
- All staff, paid and unpaid, this includes Trustees and other volunteers
- All service users
- All contractors
Purpose of the Policy
This policy aims at protecting children and vulnerable individuals who receive any service from us, including the parents who may receive advice from us. Under this policy, the term children shall mean any person who is under eighteen years of age, and vulnerable individuals refers to those who are 18 and over.
Hong Kong Well UK believes that no child or young person, nor vulnerable individuals should experience abuse or harm. We are committed to the duty of care and protection for all children and vulnerable individuals. This policy is intended to provide guidance and overarching principles to those who represent us as volunteers or staff, and to guide our approach to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable individuals.
The Risks to Children
A child can be vulnerable to different forms of abuse and harm. It is important to recognise that abuse and harm of children can include a wide range of circumstances and behaviours. For example, a child can be at risk of:
– physical or emotional abuse
– sexual abuse
– female genital mutilation (FGM)
– grooming and exploitation
– trafficking and modern slavery
– exposure to or infliction of domestic abuse
– bullying or cyberbullying
– exposure to other inappropriate content or behaviour, such as violence or criminal behaviour
– physical harm while engaging with activities without adequate supervision
The causal factors of any such harm and/or abuse can also be wide-ranging. For example, children can be placed at risk by family members or by members of the community.
The Risks to vulnerable individuals
An individual can be vulnerable to different forms of abuse and harm. It is important to recognise that abuse and harm of vulnerable adults can include a wide range of circumstances and behaviours. For example, an individual can be at risk of:
– physical or psychological abuse
– sexual abuse
– financial manipulation
– grooming and exploitation
– trafficking and modern slavery
– exposure to or infliction of domestic abuse
– physical harm and self harm
The causal factors of any such harm and/or abuse can also be wide-ranging. For example, an individual can be placed at risk by family members or by members of the community.
Safeguarding children and vulnerable individuals from harm and abuse is an essential responsibility for Hong Kong Well UK. We are committed to ensuring that all children and vulnerable individuals who come into contact with our services will be safeguarded. All volunteers and staff who are bound by this policy must ensure that they play an active role in ensuring, implementing and promoting the duty of care.
Every person who is bound by this policy holds responsibility for:
– remaining alert and aware of possible safeguarding risks to children and vulnerable individuals
– guarding children and vulnerable individuals against harmful environments with appropriate actions (for example, adequate supervision or ensuring safe environments or emergency contacts)
– taking positive steps to maintain the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable individuals when engaging with us
– reporting concerns expeditiously and appropriately, in line with the safeguarding procedures
– understanding the duty to report specific concerns and understanding how this interplays with confidentiality
– challenging any inappropriate or harmful behaviour of any other adult and reporting this accordingly
– acting appropriately in the presence of children
– not taking any inappropriate risks
– not smoking, drinking or taking any form of illicit substances in the presence of children
Any question, report or concern in relation to the safeguarding of children should be shared with our Safeguarding Officer:
Name: LILIAN LAU
Telephone: to be confirmed
Confidentiality and Data Protection
Responding to a Safeguarding Concern
- Where a child or a vulnerable individual is at immediate risk of serious harm, any adult present should call 999. Thereafter, the Safeguarding Officer should be contacted as soon as is reasonably practicable.
- Where there is a safeguarding concern but no immediate risk of serious harm, the adult who has heard or witnessed this concern should consult with the Safeguarding Officer as soon as practicable and by no later than the end of that same day.
Where any child or vulnerable individual makes a disclosure relating to harm or abuse to our staff and volunteers, it is important to:
– listen calmly and carefully, showing that their views are taken seriously
– provide an appropriate and honest level of reassurance
– avoid interrogating them and asking probing, intrusive and/or leading questions
– avoid making false promises regarding secrecy and confidentiality with the child (because any concern of abuse/harm must be shared with the Safeguarding Officer and any subsequent safeguarding referral)
– make a confidential written record of the discussion either during the discussion or immediately afterwards. The record should include the key details of the disclosure together with any relevant times, dates, places and people concerned. Audio and video recordings of children making disclosures should be avoided
– refer all relevant information to the Safeguarding Officer as soon as practicable afterwards, and by no later than the end of the day
Upon receipt of any safeguarding concern, the Safeguarding Officer shall consult with any other relevant persons and will make any appropriate referrals to the relevant authorities, such as the applicable Local Authority Children’s Services department.
Reporting concerns about other adults within HK Well UK
Where any person has a concern regarding the conduct of an adult connected to HK Well UK,, which poses or may pose a safeguarding risk to children such as:
– harming a child or a vulnerable individual either physically or emotionally
– exposing a child or a vulnerable individual to behaviour which may cause physical or emotional harm
– engaging in criminal activity concerning a child and a vulnerable adult
This must be raised in the first instance with the Safeguarding Officer (or where this is not appropriate, a trustee) so that the next appropriate steps may be agreed and actioned.
We recognise that there could be circumstances where a person may need to report a matter that has taken place in a setting outside of the person’s engagement with HK Well UK.
Usually, any appropriate steps following a safeguarding referral in respect of an individual connected to HK Well UK will include either:
- Further initial enquiries
- escalation to the applicable Local Authority Children’s Services department for assessment and/or the police for investigation
- instigation of any appropriate disciplinary, formal investigation processes and suspension of any person concerned within HK Well UK
- a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service, or any other relevant regulatory bodies
Any person within HK Well UK who has allegations made against them shall be informed properly in a formal meeting of the particulars of the allegations and the relevant next steps which shall be taken. Such a meeting should ordinarily be held by the Safeguarding Officer. On certain occasions, such a meeting may not be convened until this has been approved by any authorities involved (such as the police or the relevant Local
Any person from within HK Well UK who has allegations made against them shall be treated fairly. All enquiries, investigations and decisions taken shall be just and fair, with the safety of any child concerned at the heart of the process.
Any person from within HK Well UK who makes an allegation against another person from within HK Well UK shall be listened to and shall be treated fairly and justly throughout the process of enquiries, investigation and decision making.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks and Reporting
DBS checks under the appropriate legislation should be undertaken wherever required. The groups of people we will usually undertake DBS checks in relation to are:
Trustees, case officers, clinical psychologists, therapists, counsellors and volunteers with direct contact with the children and vulnerable individuals.
Wherever we deem it is necessary and appropriate to remove any individual from a position of work in an activity which is regulated under the relevant legislation, we shall also be obliged to make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service.
Safeguarding Children and vulnerable individuals at Events and Activities (in person and online)
Responsibilities and planning
Typically, we may arrange the following types of events and/or activities which could involve children and vulnerable individuals.
Workshops attended by parents together with their children, both online and in person.
The Safeguarding Officer shall hold ultimate responsibility for the safety and appropriateness of the event. They may however appoint a delegate for some responsibilities for the purpose of a specific event.
Although the Safeguarding Officer and any appointed delegates will hold ultimate responsibility for overseeing the safety for events and activities, all adults should provide support and respect to others with dignity. All adults also play an active role in ensuring, implementing and promoting the safety of children and vulnerable individuals at all times.
Appropriate background checking shall be undertaken for any volunteers and staff engaged with HK Well UK in connection with an event or activity involving children, wherever this is required by law (see the relevant section above).
For certain types of events or activities, we may issue an additional code of conduct, policy, or some specific other requirements which are specific to that occasion. Any such additional documentation will be made available to all those concerned (staff members, parents, guardians etc.) in advance. They should be read carefully and adhered to.
The location for any events or activities which are held by us shall be risk assessed properly in reference to the suitability and safety for children. Fire and safety procedures and precautions shall be made clear to all
We have the following first aid procedure within HK Well UK:
On our website (hongkongwell.uk)
Any accident or injury concerning a child or a vulnerable individual should be brought to the attention of the nearest first aider and should thereafter be formally reported to the Safeguarding Officer.
Where we hold any events or activities whereby a child or a vulnerable individual attends alongside their parent or guardian, parents, guardians or carers should ensure that children and vulnerable individuals are properly supervised.
Managing Behaviour of Children and Vulnerable Individuals Generally
Whenever any staff and volunteers working on behalf of HK Well UK is faced with challenging or inappropriate behaviour from a child and/ a vulnerable individual or with conflict between children or vulnerable individuals, they must:
– treat each child or vulnerable individual fairly and equally
– approach the situation with a calm and neutral manner
– only ever use physical restraint/intervention in order to protect the immediate safety of a person, for example to prevent an injury or harm either to the child or others
– wherever it is justified to physically restrain a child/vulnerable individual or to physically intervene, the amount of force used should be kept to the absolute minimum taking into account the risk posed
– make a written record of the incident and ensure this is reported appropriately to the Safeguarding First Aid
Managing Risks Posed by Other Children/Vulnerable Individuals
It is important for all staff and volunteers working on behalf of HK Well UK to recognise that children can face harm from their peers. This can commonly take the form of bullying. Bullying can be defined as any behaviour which is:
– repeated; and
– has the intention of hurting somebody either physically or emotionally.
Bulling can sometimes be motivated by prejudices based on certain groups, for example gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. Bullying can often include:
– physical harm perpetrated against another child
– name calling and threats
– cyberbullying (threats and abusive comments made via technology)
Any instance of bullying or concern relating to possible bullying between children at any event or activities arranged by us will usually be dealt with by us in the first instance as follows:
All children and any relevant staff shall be spoken to individually to ascertain the fact. Where appropriate, children and vulnerable individuals will receive a first warning and relevant support.
Where any behaviour amounting to bullying continues following this, the following steps will be taken:
The child or children or vulnerable individuals who have been found to be responsible for persistent behaviour which amounts to bullying of another child shall be banned from attending the premise and our future events.
All steps in relation to the prevention or management of bullying should be taken in consultation with the safeguarding officers
On some occasions, we may take photographs featuring children. We recognise that taking photos of children carries risks, such as:
– the potential for images to be re-used, shared or adapted in a damaging or inappropriate manner
– the general risk of sharing images and the impact this could have on child’s public image as they grow older
In view of these risks, we will:
– always ask for written permission from a child/vulnerable individual and their parent/guardian/carer before taking and sharing any image of them
– always ensure that a child/vulnerable individual and their parent/guardian/carer are properly informed how an image will be used and shared
– always ensure that a child/vulnerable individual’s identity is protected as far as is possible within any published material
– ask that parents/guardians/carers, children/vulnerable individual and any other person connected to them who may wish to share any of our published images which features other children to refrain from doing so unless they have the permission of the other children/vulnerable individuals and their parent/guardian/carer
– always store photos in accordance with our data protection policy.
We ask that any members of the public attending our events or activities do not take photographs.
Further information is contained in our photography policy which can be found:
On our website hongkongwell.uk/photo-policy; and from a member at the event.
We have referred within this document to the following other important policies which should be read in conjunction with this policy:
– Our data protection policy
– Our first aid policy
– Our photography policy
This Policy is approved and robustly endorsed by Hong Kong Well UK. It will be monitored by the Safeguarding officer on a regular basis for compliance and will be reviewed annually.
Signed : Lilian Lau (Safeguarding Officer)
Date: 1 September 2022