Procedure for Enabling Children and Young People to take on Lead Activist Roles

PURPOSE

Purpose and aim of this procedure

Amnesty International UK aims to empower young people as Human Rights activists and to enable them to take part in all areas of Amnesty International UK’s activism. In order to be able to do this we need to ensure that they are fully able to participate in a comfortable, empowering and safe environment and that the adults they are working with are able to provide this.

This procedure provides clear direction to staff and volunteers at Amnesty International UK when working with young people as lead activists, to understand what steps need to be taken to ensure their participation is meaningful.

SCOPE 

This procedure applies to circumstances of a child or young person taking on any of the following roles:-

  • A Network Committee member
  • A Country Coordinator or Shadow Country Coordinator Role
  • A Regional Representative or Shadow Regional Representative
  • A Regional Media Support Officer or Shadow Regional Media Support Officer
  • Youth representative to Activism Sub-Committee of the Board
  • Other similar roles

This Procedure does not apply to Local, Student or Youth groups.

DEFINITIONS

A Child or young person is anyone who is under the age of 18.

A Lead activist is anyone undertaking a role to lead and support other activists in either an elected or appointed role.

SPECIFIC PROCEDURE

Nomination/Recruitment Process

  1. Ensure nomination forms/application forms identify anyone under 18 and their date of birth where under 18.
  2. Provide information to children and young people that explain we take our responsibilities seriously and so they are elected on the proviso of parental/guardian consent due to the need to travel for meetings and to meet with and enter online communication with a number of adults (including staff and volunteer activists).
  3. We will not seek to obtain consent for someone to apply or be nominated for a role but all communication following that must make clear that we will need consent to take on a role. 

Post-election/Recruitment Process

  1.  Ask the child/young person for their parent/guardian’s email and phone numbers
  2. Undertake specific risk assessment for committee and young person/people joined (based on the individual child or young person’s ages, number of children/young people and adults and locations of meetings e.g need to travel)
  3. Create specific Health and Consent form for role (to be approved by Designated Safeguarding Lead for Children and Young People or Deputy). See Procedure for Creating, Using and Retaining Health and Consent forms for Children and Young People.
  4. Contact the parent/guardian with the information letter and consent and health form.
  5. Log Health and Consent forms in a secure location accessible to all those who may need it and only those people (see Procedure for Health and Consent Forms).
  6. Ensure all necessary  committee members/staff have a DBS check; this will be required where the young person is under 16 or an overnight activity is required (between hours of 02:00 and 06:00) 
  7. Ensure all committee members briefed/trained on youth engagements and appropriate ways of working with young people.
  8. Ensure all committee members are aware of risk assessment and of the implementation and management of any identified risk/s.

Before each meeting

  1. Review Risk assessment and update as necessary for specific meeting (e.g location/timings)
  2. Assign a safeguarding lead for the meeting
  3. Discuss with young person travel arrangements/chaperone for the event and if not covered in the original consent form discuss with parent

Residential meetings

Where a meeting requires overnight accommodation (either due to travel requirements or timings of meeting)

  1. Discuss with young person and parents/guardians their preferences for attending this meeting including options of dialling/skyping in, covering the cost of a chaperone or having a staff member stay in the hotel (separate room) with young person.
  2. Agree travel arrangements and consent in writing and where appropriate (i.e staff staying overnight in hotel) obtain a Health and Consent form.

Before child/young person takes on additional responsibilities

  1. Risk assess these responsibilities, specifically on factors of 
  • Communication with people outside of staff and Network Committee
  • Risk of receiving distressing material (e.g materials on executions or torture)
  • Risk of receiving stressful or upsetting communications (e.g complaints or requests for updates/speakers from members or groups)
  • Physical risk – e.g travelling/events

Where there is an increased risk ensure additional consent is obtained from parent/guardian.

At events/meetings

  1. Ensure young person not alone with any lone adult (ie in a closed room with no other person inside that room i.e being in a public space is not alone).
  2. Check in with them before and after meetings
  3. Ensure necessary adults hold a satisfactory DBS where deemed necessary.
  4. Remind everyone to be aware of tone/language/content/behaviour
  5. Ensure that meeting safeguarding lead has Health and Consent form readily accessible
  6. Ensure that any social activities are accessible to everyone including those under 18 (e.g not going to the pub)

Useful contact details
Designated safeguarding lead for children and young people and deputies: 

AIUK Designated Safeguarding Lead
Kerry Moscogiuri, Director of Supporter Campaigning and Communications 

Email:  Kerry.Moscogiuri@amnesty.org.uk
Phone:  0207 033 1605

AIUK Deputy Safeguarding Leads
Jeni Dixon, Community Organising Manager

Email: Jeni.Dixon@amnesty.org.uk
Phone 0207 033 1716

Alice Sims, Education Officer (Youth and Schools)
Email@  Alice.Sims@amnesty.org.uk
Phone:  0207 033 1597

RELATED POLICIES, PROCEDURES, PROCESSES, FORMS GUIDELINES AND OTHER RESOURCES 

This procedure is driven by the following policies and supported by the following processes, in order to enable our staff to carry out this procedure: 

Policy Statements
Safeguarding Children and Young People
Procedures
Health And Consent Form Procedure
Procedure for Residential Activities with Children and Young People
Forms 
AIUK Safeguarding Incident Reporting Form
AIUK lead Activist Health and Consent Form

Guidelines 
Engaging Safely with Children and Young People for Amnesty – do’s and don’ts

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS PROCEDURE? 

Author/procedure contact:  Jeni Dixon, Designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead
Sign off:   AIUK Safeguarding Team
Approved by/approval level:  AIUK Safeguarding Team
Date effective: November 2018 – November 2019
Last reviewed or updated: November 2018
Frequency of review: Annually
Supersedes:   New procedure