What is safeguarding?
Unicef states that ‘all children have the right to be protected from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. The consequences of violence range from the immediate impact on their development, such as physical injury, learning ability and school performance to long-term harm that they carry into adult life.’
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children defines safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children as:
protecting children from maltreatment;
preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
taking action to enable all children to achieve the best outcomes.
Abuse can take the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect. It may be in person or online. It can be adult to adult, adult to child or peer on peer abuse. It is essential for schools to know all students and families really well and notice any physical or behavioural indicators such as unusual behaviour and changes in behaviour, and act immediately and sensibly upon these or any comments that a child may say. The aim is ideally to prevent any form of abuse facing a child from becoming a child protection issue where a child’s wellbeing is of real concern and outside agencies need to become involved. In order to do this, we ensure that the children at King’s get an education that teaches them what is right and wrong through our PSHE lessons and lessons on internet safety.
Who is at risk?
Unicef identifies some concerning statistics and state that ‘In Thailand, there are an average of 52 children being sexually, physically or psychologically abused, neglected, or exploited each day or more than 2 children in every hour. 4.2 children in every 100 children are subjected to severe physical punishment and more than 10,000 children are treated in hospitals each year due to violence, mostly sexual abuse.
Children with learning or physical disabilities are at higher risk of being abused but any child is at risk. It is not only children from less affluent families who are subject to abuse. This is why it is so important to have rigorous safeguarding policies and procedures in a school and ensure that safeguarding is central to a school’s culture.
Our approach to safeguarding
At King’s Bangkok it is everyone's responsibility to protect and promote the children’s welfare as children who feel safe are happier, more emotionally secure and are more likely to achieve their potential. We have the philosophy and culture of reporting any concern about a child straight away. Doing nothing is not acceptable. A child’s wellbeing is paramount. It is better to be wrong than to have done nothing.
We monitor, track and act on any concerns and our school counsellor and staff support any children in need.
We ensure that our school is safe. No one is allowed on the school premises alone who has not been through our safeguarding training and police and safer recruitment checks are carried out on all of our staff whether they are employed by the school or are an external provider.
We also try to educate our community as, according to UNICEF, nearly half of parents and carers in Thailand believe that physical punishment is necessary to raise or educate a child.
At King’s Bangkok, our culture of kindness is not just surface deep, we live and breathe it and our children have a right to be safe. We do everything in our power to ensure that this is the case.