Ixchel Therapies, The Ixchel System & Ixchel Workplace Wellbeing

Safeguarding Policy

Aims
The purpose of this policy is to protect Tutors, Learners and at risk adults from any harm that may be caused when coming into contact with The Ixchel System Training or Therapies.

This includes harm arising from:

  1. The conduct of staff or personnel associated with Ixchel Therapies & The Ixchel System
  2. The design and implementation of programmes and activities

The policy lays out the commitments made by The Ixchel System and informs staff and associated personnel of their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding.

This policy does not cover:

  • Safeguarding concerns in the wider community not perpetrated by The Ixchel System or associated personnel

What is safeguarding?
In the UK, safeguarding means protecting people’s health, well-being, and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse, and neglect.

In our therapy training sector, we understand it to mean protecting Tutors, Learners, and at-risk adults, from harm that arises from coming into contact with hands-on and physical movement training programs where physical touch is required.

Further definitions relating to safeguarding are provided in the glossary below.

Scope
Tutors and Learners at The Ixchel System Associated  personnel/assistants whilst engaged with work or visits related to Ixchel Therapies and The Ixchel System, including but not limited to the following: consultants, volunteers, contractors, and other program visitors

Policy Statement
Ixchel Therapies and The Ixchel System believe that everyone we come into contact with, regardless of age, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnic origin has the right to be protected from all forms of harm, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Ixchel Therapies and The Ixchel System will not tolerate abuse and exploitation to or by staff, learners, or associated personnel.

This policy will address the following areas of safeguarding [as appropriate]: adult safeguarding and protection from sexual exploitation and abuse. These key areas of safeguarding may have different policies and procedures associated with them (see Associated Policies).


The Ixchel System and Ixchel Therapies commit to addressing safeguarding throughout its work, through the three pillars of prevention, reporting, and response.

Prevention
Ixchel Therapies and The Ixchel System – Responsibilities
Ixchel Therapies and The Ixchel System will:

  1. Ensure all staff have access to, are familiar with, and know their responsibilities within this policy
  2. Design and undertake all its programs and activities in a way that protects people from any risk of harm that may arise from their coming into contact with Ixchel Therapies and The Ixchel System. This includes the way in which information about individuals in our programs is gathered and communicated
  3.  Implement stringent safeguarding procedures when recruiting, managing and deploying staff and associated personnel
  4. Ensure staff receive training on safeguarding at a level commensurate with their role in the
    organization
  5. Follow up on reports of safeguarding concerns promptly and according to due process   

Staff Responsibilities

Adult safeguarding

Ixchel Therapies and The Ixchel System staff and associated personnel must not:

  1. Sexually abuse or exploit at-risk adults
  2. Subject an at-risk adult to physical, emotional, or psychological abuse, or neglect

Protection from sexual exploitation and abuse

The Ixchel System staff and associated personnel must not:

  1.  Exchange money, employment, goods, or services for sexual activity. This includes any exchange of assistance that is due to beneficiaries of assistance
  2. Engage in any sexual relationships with beneficiaries of assistance, since they are based on inherently unequal power dynamics

Additionally, The Ixchel System staff and associated personnel are obliged to:

  1.  Contribute to creating and maintaining an environment that prevents safeguarding violations
    and promotes the implementation of the Safeguarding Policy
  2.  Report any concerns or suspicions regarding safeguarding violations by an Ixchel System staff member or associated personnel to the appropriate staff member

Enabling reports
Ixchel Therapies and The Ixchel System staff will ensure that safe, appropriate, and accessible means of reporting safeguarding concerns are made available to staff and the communities we work with.

Any staff reporting concerns or complaints through formal whistleblowing channels (or if they request it) will be protected by The Ixchel System and Ixchel Therapies Disclosure of Malpractice in the Workplace (Whistleblowing) Policy.

The Ixchel System will also accept complaints from external sources such as members of the public, partners and official bodies.

How to report a safeguarding concern
Staff members who have a complaint or concern relating to safeguarding should report it immediately to their Safeguarding Focal Point [as appropriate] or line manager/associate. If the staff member does not feel comfortable reporting to their Safeguarding Focal Point or line manager/associate (for example if they feel that the report will not be taken seriously, or if that person is implicated in the concern) they may report to any other appropriate staff member. For example, this could be a Peer Professional within their associated Professional Association. [Provide contact details]

Response
The Ixchel System and Ixchel Therapies will follow up on safeguarding reports and concerns according to policy and procedure, and legal and statutory obligations (see Procedures for reporting and response to safeguarding concerns in Associated Policies).
The Ixchel System will apply appropriate disciplinary measures to staff found in breach of policy.
The Ixchel System will offer support to survivors of harm caused by staff or associated personnel, regardless of whether a formal internal response is carried out (such as an internal investigation). Decisions regarding support will be led by the survivor.

Confidentiality
It is essential that confidentiality in maintained at  all stages of the process when dealing with safeguarding concerns.

Information relating to the concern and subsequent case management should be shared on a need to know basis only, and should be kept secure at all times.

Associated policies
Code of Conduct/Learner agreement
Anti-Bullying and Harassment policy
Disclosure of Malpractice in the Workplace (Whistleblower) policy
Adult Safeguarding policy
PSEA (Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by staff) policy
Complaints Policy
Procedures for reporting and response to safeguarding concerns
Other policies as appropriate

Glossary of Terms

Beneficiary of Assistance
Someone who directly receives goods or services from OTS’s program. Note that misuse of power can also apply to the wider community that OTS serves, and can also include exploitation by communicating the perception of being in a position of power.
Child
A person below the age of 18
Harm
Psychological, physical and any other infringement of an individual’s rights
Psychological harm
Emotional or psychological abuse, including (but not limited to) humiliating and degrading treatment such as bad name calling, constant criticism, belittling, persistent shaming, solitary confinement and isolation
Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)
The term used by the humanitarian and development community to refer to the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse of affected populations by staff or associated personnel. The term derives from the United Nations Secretary General’s Bulletin on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual
Exploitation and Abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13)
Safeguarding
In the UK, safeguarding means protecting peoples’ health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling
them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect1 In our sector, we understand it to mean protecting people, namely at risk adults, from harm that arises from coming into contact with our staff, learners or programs. One donor definition is as follows:
Safeguarding means taking all reasonable steps to prevent harm, particularly sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment from occurring; to protect people, especially vulnerable adults and children, from that harm; and to respond appropriately when harm does occur.
This definition draws from our values and principles and shapes our culture. It pays specific attention to preventing and responding to harm from any potential, actual or attempted abuse of power, trust, or vulnerability, especially for sexual purposes.
Safeguarding applies consistently and without exception across our programs, associates and staff. It requires proactively identifying, preventing and guarding against all risks of harm, exploitation and abuse and having mature, accountable and transparent systems for response, reporting and learning when risks materialise. Those systems must be survivor-centred and also protect those accused until proven guilty.
Safeguarding puts beneficiaries and affected persons at the centre of all we do.
Sexual abuse
The term ‘sexual abuse’ means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.
Sexual exploitation
The term ‘sexual exploitation’ means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. This definition incudes human trafficking and modern slavery.
Survivor
The person who has been abused or exploited. The term ‘survivor’ is often used in preference to ‘victim’ as it implies strength, resilience and the capacity to survive, however it is the individual’s choice how they wish to identify themselves.
At risk adult
Sometimes also referred to as vulnerable adult. A person who is or may be in need of care by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.
1
NHS ‘What is Safeguarding? Easy Read’ 2011