SILVER BOLT GUIDELINES FOR WORKING WITH CHILDREN. 

Introduction  

Silver Bolt is committed to providing an enriching experience and safe environment for all children participating in Silver Bolt activities and programs. Silver Bolt staff may interact with children through a multitude of diverse programs, including, but not limited to, the following: educational STEM programs and clubs, training events, mentoring programs and workshops. All Silver Bolt staff that come into contact with children in their work activities have a duty of care and must safeguard and promote the safety and welfare of children. Although the vast majority of adults who work with children tend to act professionally, misunderstandings may occur. It is therefore essential that Silver Bolt staff and volunteers do everything they can to ensure the safety of children, as well as adults with whom they interact.  

 

Purpose of the Guidelines  

Silver Bolt recognizes that all staff have a professional, ethical and legal duty to keep children safe and to protect them from possible sexual, physical and/or emotional harm. The Guidelines aim to promote a culture of continuous learning and improvement across Silver Bolt, which not only promotes the welfare of adults and children, but also continuously identifies opportunities for improvement. These Guidelines provide instructions for everyone who may come in contact with children regardless of their role, responsibilities or status within the Silver Bolt community. While every attempt has been made to cover a wide range of situations, it is recognized that these Guidelines may not cover all circumstances. Silver Bolt staff may face situations that are not covered by the Guidelines or that directly contravene them. It is expected that in these circumstances the Silver Bolt staff will always advise their senior colleagues and parents/guardians of the children of any actions already taken or proposed to be taken that are not covered by or contradict the Guidelines.  

Silver Bolt staff should continually monitor and review their behaviour to ensure they follow the instructions contained in the Guidelines and alert appropriate individuals if they believe any changes need to be made. The Guidelines provide advice on appropriate and safe behaviours for all Silver Bolt staff working with children, in all settings and in all contexts. The same professional standards should always be applied regardless of culture, socioeconomic status, disability, gender, sexual identity, language, racial origin, religious and/or spiritual beliefs  

A child/minor is defined as a person who does not have the legal rights or responsibilities of an adult. Under the law in the Republic of Uganda, a person becomes an adult when he or she turns 18. Until a child/minor reaches adulthood, he or she may not be responsible for his/her own actions to the same extent as an adult. For the purposes of these guidelines, Silver Bolt defines a “child” or a “minor” as a person that is below the age of 18.  

The Guidelines aim to  

  • Clarify which behaviours constitute safe practice and which behaviours should be avoided. 

  • Support participants in setting clear expectations of behaviour and/or codes of conduct. 

  • Minimize the risk of misplaced or unfounded allegations. 

  • Reduce the frequency of accidents. In addition to the Guidelines, it is important to note that all Silver Bolt staff that work with children are responsible for their own actions and behaviour and should avoid any conduct that would lead any reasonable person to question their motivation or intentions.  

 

Safe Working Practices  

The public, local authorities and parents/guardians have legitimate expectations that children will be protected while interacting with the Silver Bolt staff. Trusted adults are expected to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety and well-being of children while they are on Silver Bolt’s premises or attending events organized, overseen or sponsored by Silver Bolt.  

Failure to do so may result in legal and professional penalties, including  

  • termination of staff employment, and/or  

  • criminal prosecution and penalties.  

 

These Guidelines cannot provide a complete checklist of what is or is not appropriate behaviour for adults in all circumstances. Adults should always consider whether their actions are warranted, proportionate and safe. There may be circumstances that require adults to make decisions or take actions that are deemed to be in the best interest of the child that nevertheless contravene these Guidelines or where no guidance exists. Such judgments should always be; 

  • recorded in writing,  

  • shared with a direct supervisor at Silver Bolt.

  • shared with the parent or guardian of the child.  

 

When Silver Bolt staff accept roles that involve working with children, they need to understand and acknowledge the responsibilities and trust inherent in those roles.  

 

All staff working with children should:  

  • undertake regular training provided by Silver Bolt. 

  • confirm in writing that they have and will continue to comply with these Guidelines and other standards and policies set by Silver Bolt.  

 

Silver Bolt staff that participate in activities involving children may be requested in certain circumstances to undergo a background check and comply with additional requirements imposed by the venue or the institution. 

As part of their regular duties, Silver Bolt staff may take photographs or videos of children that are participating in Silver Bolt events. Any such work should take place with due regard for the law and the need to safeguard the privacy, dignity, safety and well-being of children. Informed written consent from parents/guardians and verbal agreement, where appropriate and possible, from the child should always be sought before an image is taken for any purpose. It is never appropriate for adults at any Silver Bolt event to take photograph of children for their personal use. Appendix A contains the Release Form that should be used at all Silver Bolt events involving children.  

Careful consideration should be given as to how activities involving the taking of images are organized and undertaken by the Silver Bolt staff. Care should be taken to ensure that all parties involved understand the implications of the image being taken, especially if it is to be used for any publicity purposes or published in the media or on the Internet.  

Adults need to remain sensitive to any children who appear uncomfortable, for whatever reason, and should recognize that such situations may raise concerns or lead to misunderstandings.  

 

It is recommended that when the Silver Bolt staff use a photograph, the following rules should be followed:  

  • if the photograph is used, avoid naming the child, 

  • if the child is named, avoid using their photograph, and  

  • images should be securely stored and used only by those authorized to do so.  

 

Additional procedures to accompany the Release Form are included in Appendix B hereto. There are no circumstances that will justify Silver Bolt staff possessing indecent images of children. The Silver Bolt staff who access and/or possess links to such images will be viewed as a significant and potential threat to children. Accessing, making or storing indecent images of children is always illegal, will not be tolerated by Silver Bolt and will be reported by Silver Bolt to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Silver Bolt staff engaged in such activities will be subject to termination.  

 

Confidentiality  
In some circumstances, Silver Bolt staff may be given highly sensitive or private information about children they come in contact with as part of their activities. Such information must never be used to intimidate, humiliate, or embarrass the child or his/her parent(s) or guardians. Confidential information about a child should never be used casually in private conversations or shared with any other person within or outside Silver Bolt other than on a need-to know basis. There are some circumstances in which the Silver Bolt staff may be expected to share confidential information about a child with third parties, for example when abuse is alleged or suspected. In such cases, individuals have a duty to pass information on without delay. If there is any doubt about whether to share such information or keep it confidential, the individual should seek guidance from a senior member of the Silver Bolt Management.  

 

Whistle Blowing  

All Silver Bolt staff are individually responsible to bring matters of concern to the attention of a senior member of Silver Bolt Management and relevant external agencies. This is particularly important if the welfare of a child is at risk or there may be eminent danger to any child or adult.  

The Silver Bolt staff need to remain alert to any inappropriate interactions with children and bring their concerns to their direct supervisor and a senior member of the Silver Bolt Management as soon as possible. Silver Bolt encourages its staff to trust their instincts and always report their concerns.  

 

Silver Bolt prohibits retaliation against any individual for  

  • making a good faith report of a possible violation of Silver Bolt Policies or the Silver Bolt Code of Conduct. 

  • assisting or cooperating in an investigation of a possible violation of Silver Bolt Policies or the Silver Bolt Code of Conduct.  

 

Professional Boundaries  

A relationship between an adult and a child is not a relationship between equals. Adults have a responsibility to ensure that this unequal balance of power is not used for their personal advantage. It is important to maintain appropriate professional boundaries and avoid behaviour which might be misinterpreted by the child or other individuals. Silver Bolt staff should act professionally at all times and maintain the highest standard of professional behaviour.  

 

While working with children, adults should never engage in  

  • any sexual activity with or near the child. 

  • use drugs or alcohol.  

  • Smoke.  

  • engage in acts of violence. 

  • swear or use obscene language.  

 

Technology 

Adults working with children must ensure that they establish safe and responsible online behaviours. All communication between children and adults, by whatever method, should take place within clear and explicit professional boundaries and should be transparent and open to scrutiny. This includes the use of technology such as mobile phones, text messaging, e-mails, cameras, videos, web-cams, websites and blogs. Any communications between Silver Bolt staff and children outside of these protocols may lead to disciplinary and/or criminal investigations. Any communications must also be sent to the parent/guardian of the child.  

 

Personal Information 

In general, Silver Bolt staff should never share their personal information with a child they come in contact with at Silver Bolt, even if the information seems harmless. In particular, they should not give their personal contact details to children (including e-mail, home or telephone numbers), unless approved to do so by their direct supervisor at Silver Bolt and the parents/guardians of the child.  

 

Social Contact  

Silver Bolt staff should never establish or seek to establish independent social contact with children for the purpose of securing a friendship. It is never appropriate to have an intimate relationship with a child or agree to keep a secret from the child’s parents/guardians. If a parent/guardian initiates social contact, such as suggestion of mentoring, staff should exercise professional judgment on how to respond to the offer. Any social contact between staff and child/parent(s) should be disclosed to an appropriate Silver Bolt senior staff member and should be openly acknowledged within the Silver Bolt community.  

 

Physical Contact  

A strict 'no touch' approach is impractical in many situations and may, in some circumstances, be harmful to the child. There are occasions when it is entirely appropriate and proper for the Silver Bolt staff to have physical contact with children in their care, but it is crucial that they do so only in appropriate ways. Physical contact with a child should be  

  • done only in response to the child’s needs following disclosure and obtaining the child’s verbal acknowledgement when possible. 

  • of limited duration. 

  • appropriate to the age, development, gender, ethnicity and background of the child. An action that is appropriate with one child in one set of circumstances may be inappropriate in other circumstances or with another child. Silver Bolt staff should use their professional judgment at all times.  

 

Dress Code 

Silver Bolt staff are expected to dress in ways that are appropriate to their role at Silver Bolt. All individuals should ensure that they are suitably dressed for the tasks they undertake, especially when working with children. When in doubt, it is always best to adopt a more conservative style of clothing when working with children. Individuals who dress in a manner that could be considered as inappropriate could render themselves or Silver Bolt vulnerable to criticism or allegations.  

 

Living Space 

Children should never be invited into the homes of the Silver Bolt staff who work with them, unless the reason for this has been firmly established and agreed with parents/guardians and direct supervisor ahead of time. Children should never be asked to assist with chores or other personal tasks while in the homes of the Silver Bolt staff.  

 

Favouritism  

Staff should not show favouritism when selecting children for teams, trips and/or projects. It is important to avoid even the perception of favouritism or injustice. Similar precautions should be exercised when children are excluded from any activity. Methods of selection and exclusion should always be subject to clear and agreed criteria and should be readily available for examination by all interested parties. 

 

Gifts  

All gifts and/or rewards should be reviewed and approved by the direct supervisor and parents/guardians prior to the gifts/rewards being offered to the children. Gifts/rewards should be given openly and not based on favouritism. There may be occasions when children or parents/guardians wish to give small tokens of appreciation to the Silver Bolt staff or volunteers. Such small tokens are acceptable in most circumstances. However, it is unacceptable for staff or volunteers to accept gifts on a regular basis or of any significant value.  

 

Infatuations   

A child may develop an infatuation with a Silver Bolt staff member. In such situations, the adults should take all appropriate actions necessary to ensure that the child’s feelings are properly managed and to avoid any hurt, distress or embarrassment. If any individual becomes aware that a child in their care is developing an infatuation, they should discuss this with their direct supervisor and the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the child.  

 

Behaviour Management   

All children have a right to be treated with respect and dignity even when they display inappropriate behaviour. Silver Bolt staff should never use any form of degrading or violent treatment to punish a child for misbehaving. The use of sarcasm, demeaning or insensitive comments or corporal punishment is not acceptable in any situation and may be unlawful.  

 

Physical Intervention 

The use of physical intervention should, wherever possible, be avoided. However, Silver Bolt staff are permitted to use appropriate physical force to manage a child’s behaviour if it is necessary to prevent injury to the child, other children or an adult. However, physical force should only be used in exceptional circumstances in order to prevent serious damage to a person or property. All incidents where physical force has been used should be immediately recorded in writing and reported to Silver Bolt Management and to the child’s parents/guardians.  

 

Physical Comfort   

There may be occasions when a distressed child needs comfort and reassurance from a Silver Bolt staff member or a volunteer. Young children, in particular, may need immediate physical comfort after a traumatic event, such as a fall. The Silver Bolt staff and volunteers are permitted to engage in appropriate physical contact in such circumstances. However, individuals should use their professional judgment on how to best comfort or reassure a child in an age-appropriate way while still maintaining clear professional boundaries. Reasonable steps should be taken to inform parents/guardians of the event and the steps taken by the Silver Bolt staff and/or volunteers to comfort the child.   

 

Personal Care   

Children are entitled to respect and privacy at all times, but especially when changing clothes or undertaking any form of personal grooming. However, there are occasions where there will be a need for an appropriate level of supervision from the Silver Bolt staff. In particular, the Silver Bolt staff or volunteers may need to supervise young children in order to ensure their safety and/or satisfy health and safety requirements. In particularly sensitive situations, it is always preferable to have a third person present who can provide additional support. Supervision should be appropriate to the needs and age of the child concerned and adults should avoid embarrassing the child. All Silver Bolt staff and volunteers must ensure that they follow pre-agreed guidelines and be mindful of social norms and the needs of the children at all times.  

 

First Aid   

Health and safety regulations require Silver Bolt to ensure that appropriate health and safety polices and equipment are in place when working with children, including ensuring that a qualified person is appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements. If a medical professional is available, he/she should be the one to administer aid to a child, with assistance from Silver Bolt staff as necessary. Wherever possible, Silver Bolt staff should ensure that another adult is present or aware of the actions being taken. Parents/guardians should always be informed when first aid has been administered and given ample opportunities to ask questions and modify any treatment, if possible.  

 

One-on-One Meetings  

In general, activities with children should be conducted in as public an environment as possible so that all behaviour may be readily observed by third parties. However, it is not realistic to state that one-on-one situations should never take place between an adult and a child. Whenever possible, Silver Bolt staff should get approval from their direct supervisor and the parent(s)/guardian(s) before being alone with the child. In one-on-one meetings, every reasonable attempt should be made to ensure the safety and security of the child and the staff/volunteers. Prior to undertaking extensive one-on-one work, participants should undertake an internal risk assessment in order to determine if the specific nature of the one-on-one work is appropriate under the circumstances. All such risk assessments should be properly documented.  

 

Buddy System   

It is helpful for Silver Bolt staff to implement a “buddy system” during large Silver Bolt events where children may get lost or stray from the group. Children should always use the “buddy system” when going to the restroom or on field trips. Silver Bolt staff should continue to supervise the children in their care at all times and, depending on the age of the child, may need to accompany the “buddies”.  

 

Transportation   

In certain situations, Silver Bolt staff may agree to transport children on behalf of Silver Bolt. A designated member of Silver Bolt staff should be appointed to plan and provide oversight of all transporting arrangements and respond to any difficulties that may arise during the trip. Outside of these situations, Silver Bolt staff should not offer to take children home or on any special outings without prior approval from the direct supervisor and parent(s)/guardian(s). If a child requires an emergency transport, Silver Bolt staff are permitted to provide such transport, but must always report the event to the direct manager and parents/guardians of the child prior to the transport. Silver Bolt staff, who use their own vehicles for transporting children should ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy, appropriately insured and that the maximum capacity is not exceeded. It is a legal requirement that all passengers, including those in the back seat, wear seat belts.  

 

Sensitive Topics  

If any program organized, overseen or sponsored by Silver Bolt includes or raises subject matter which is sexually explicit, violent or of an otherwise sensitive nature, care should be taken to ensure that the parents/guardians provide their prior written approval to their children participating in such a program. All such programs should be documented and written approvals from the parents/guardians filed in accordance with Silver Bolt’s policies.  

Appendix A


RELEASE FORM 1.  

I hereby grant to Silver Bolt, the irrevocable, royalty-free, perpetual, unlimited right and permission to use, distribute, publish, exhibit, digitize, broadcast, display, modify, create derivative works of, reproduce or otherwise exploit my name, picture, likeness, comments, and voice, or to refrain from so doing, anywhere in the world, for any lawful purpose in all media whether now known or hereinafter created. I further understand that I shall have no ownership in any of the resulting media incorporating my comments, likeness, or name.  

 

I expressly acknowledge that I am knowingly and voluntarily taking part in the activities for which my image is being captured without financial compensation. I hereby expressly release and forever waive any and all claims, actions, causes of action, demands, rights, damages, costs, attorney’s fees, losses and expenses which I may have against Silver Bolt suffered by me as a result of or arising from my participation.  

 

I agree Silver Bolt have the right to attribute statements I have made to me, which are expressions of my personal experience and belief, which may be contained in any resulting media. I agree that no portion of the resulting media containing my name, biographical information, quotes, photographs, or recorded interviews needs to be submitted for any approval prior to my participation.  

 

I acknowledge that I have carefully read and understand this document and what it means with respect to my participation.

I warrant, represent, and agree that I have the full power and authority to enter into this Release.  

 

Appendix B  

  1. A signed release agreement is always required for children to participate in an event where they will be filmed, photographed, or recorded.

  2. Implied consent is not acceptable for children.  

  3. Release agreements must be signed by parents/guardians prior to children participating in an event.  

  4. The Silver Bolt release form is very broad by design and asks for a wide scope of rights:  

  • The release form can be modified to restrict the rights granted to Silver Bolt. However, before the form is modified, the following questions should be considered:  

    1. Does Silver Bolt intend to use this media in other formats?  

    2. Does Silver Bolt intend to use this media for purposes outside of this specific event?  

    3. Would it be difficult to obtain additional consent if the purpose changes or the intended use goes beyond what has been specified in the original form?  

  • Even in situations where Silver Bolt has obtained a broad grant of rights from the child’s parent/guardian, it is best to keep the usage of the media closely related to the event for which the permission was originally granted.