London Mining Network is an alliance of UK-based human rights, development, environmental and solidarity groups. We undertake research and action for human rights and environmental justice in partnership with communities resisting, or affected by, the operations of London-based or London-financed mining companies around the world. We also work with overseas organisations who support communities resisting London-linked mining companies.
In the UK, we host community members and representatives usually twice a year and organise and co-organise events and demonstrations in support of mining-affected communities. We work to raise awareness of mining among members of the public and young people, running workshops in schools, universities, faith and community settings.
LMN workers and volunteers therefore come into direct contact with people outside the organisation on a regular basis. Workers and volunteers are also in regular online contact with members of the public via LMN’s website, social media platforms and email, and with community members and representatives via social media, WhatsApp, Skype and email throughout the year.
LMN workers and volunteers are always accompanied by one or more teaching staff when running workshops in schools or by youth or community workers if outside a school setting, when working with children under 18. Contact with at-risk adults is on an occasional, unplanned basis, occurring only during public events where LMN workers and volunteers would always be working alongside colleagues and/or in the presence of other members of the public.
The purpose of this policy is to protect people working for or coming in contact with LMN, particularly children, at-risk adults and beneficiaries of assistance, from any harm that may be caused due to their coming into contact with LMN. This includes harm arising from:
- The conduct of a worker or personnel associated with LMN
- The design and implementation of LMN’s programmes and activities
The policy lays out the commitments made by LMN, and informs workers and associated personnel1 of their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding.
This policy does not cover:
Sexual harassment in the workplace – this is dealt with under LMN’s Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy.
Safeguarding concerns in the wider community not perpetrated by an LMN worker or associated personnel.
What is safeguarding?
In the UK, safeguarding means protecting people’s health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse, bullying and neglect.
For our organisation, we understand it to mean protecting LMN workers and anyone who comes into contact with LMN, but in particular children and at-risk adults from harm that arises from coming into contact with our workers or programmes.
Further definitions relating to safeguarding are provided in the glossary below.
- All workers contracted by LMN
- Associated personnel while engaged with work or visits related to LMN, including but not limited to the following: volunteers; trustees; youth and adult workshop participants; event participants; programme visitors and those they come into contact with such as journalists, politicians and NGO workers.
LMN believes that everyone we come into contact with, regardless of age, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status or ethnic origin has the right to be protected from all forms of harm, abuse, neglect and exploitation. LMN will not tolerate abuse and exploitation by or of workers or associated personnel.
LMN commits to addressing safeguarding throughout its work, through the three pillars of prevention, reporting and response.
- Ensure all workers, volunteers and trustees have access to, are familiar with, and know their responsibilities within this policy
- Design and undertake all its programmes and activities in a way that protects people from any risk of harm that may arise from their coming into contact with LMN. This includes the way in which information and data about individuals in our programmes is gathered and communicated, on and offline (see our Data Protection policy)
- Implement stringent and relevant safeguarding procedures when recruiting, managing and deploying staff and associated personnel
- Ensure workers receive training on safeguarding at a level commensurate with their role in the organisation
- Follow up on reports of safeguarding concerns promptly and according to due process
- Implement a safeguarding lead and a decision maker
LMN workers and associated personnel must not:
Engage in sexual activity with anyone involved in LMN who is under the age of 18
Sexually abuse or exploit children
Subject a child to physical, emotional or psychological, or financial abuse, or neglect
Engage in any commercially exploitative or coercive activities with children, including child labour or trafficking
LMN workers and associated personnel must not:
Sexually abuse or exploit at-risk adults
Subject an at-risk adult to physical, emotional, psychological or financial abuse, or neglect
Engage in any commercially exploitative or coercive activities with at-risk adults, including trafficking
Protection from sexual exploitation and abuse
LMN workers and associated personnel must not:
Exchange money, employment, goods or services for sexual activity. This includes any exchange of assistance that is due to beneficiaries
Engage in sexual relationships with LMN beneficiaries, since they are based on inherently unequal power dynamics
Ensure adequate support for workers, volunteers and trustees who are exposed to direct or vicarious trauma through their work with mining-affected communities or as a consequence of their work with LMN
Additionally, LMN workers and associated personnel are obliged to:
Contribute to creating and maintaining an environment that prevents safeguarding violations and promotes the implementation of the Safeguarding Policy
Report any concerns or suspicions regarding safeguarding violations by an LMN worker or associated personnel to the named safeguarding lead
LMN will ensure that safe, appropriate, accessible means of reporting safeguarding concerns are made available to workers and the communities we work with.
Any workers reporting concerns or complaints through formal whistleblowing channels (if they request it) will be protected by LMN’s Disclosure of Malpractice in the Workplace (Whistleblowing) Policy.
LMN will also accept complaints from external sources such as members of the public, partners and official bodies.
How to report a safeguarding concern
Workers who have a complaint or concern relating to safeguarding should report it immediately to their line manager. If the worker does not feel comfortable reporting to their line manager (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 worker. For example, this could be a manager, person known to be safeguarding lead, or a trustee.
LMN will follow up 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).
LMN will apply appropriate disciplinary measures to workers or members found in breach of policy.
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.
Glossary of Terms
Sometimes also referred to as vulnerable adult. A person who is or may be in need of care by reason of learning 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.
Someone who directly receives support/solidarity from LMN’s programme. Note that misuse of power can also apply to the wider community that LMN serves and also can include exploitation by giving the perception of being in a position of power.
A person below the age of 18.
Psychological, physical and any other infringement of an individual’s rights.
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 workers 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).
Emotional or psychological abuse, including (but not limited to) humiliating and degrading treatment such as name calling, constant criticism, belittling, persistent shaming, solitary confinement and isolation.
In the UK, safeguarding means protecting people’s health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect.
In our sector, we understand it to mean protecting people, including workers, but in particular children and at-risk adults from harm that arises from coming into contact with our workers or programmes. One 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 programmes, partners 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.”
The term ‘sexual abuse’ means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.
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 includes human trafficking and modern slavery.
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.
Read the UK government’s guidance: Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees
Dealing with Safeguarding Reports
Purpose and scope
The purpose of this document is to provide procedures for dealing with reports of breach of LMN Safeguarding Policy, where the safeguarding violation is:
Against workers or members of the public,
Perpetrated by workers, partners or associated personnel.
1. Report is received
1.1 Reports can reach the organisation through various routes. This may be in a structured format such as a letter, e-mail, text or message on social media. It may also be in the form of informal discussion or rumours. If a worker hears something in an informal discussion or chat that they think is a safeguarding concern, they should report this to the appropriate person.
1.2 If a safeguarding concern is disclosed directly to a worker, the person receiving the report should bear the following in mind:
Empathise with the person
Ask who, when, where, what but not why
Do not ask leading questions
Repeat/check understanding of the situation
Report to the appropriate staff member (see below)
1.3 The person receiving the report should then document the following information, using an Incident Report Form if there is one:
Name of person making report
Name(s) of alleged survivor(s) of safeguarding incident(s) if different from above
Name(s) of alleged perpetrator(s)
Description of incident(s)
Dates(s), times(s) and location(s) of incident
1.4 The person receiving the report should then forward this information to the Safeguarding Focal Point or appropriate staff member within 24 hours.
1.5 Due to the sensitive nature of safeguarding concerns, confidentiality must be maintained during all stages of the reporting process, and information shared on a limited ‘need-to-know’ basis only. This includes management who might otherwise be appraised of a serious incident.
1.6 If the reporting staff member is not satisfied that LMN is appropriately addressing the report, they have a right to escalate the report, either up the management line, to the Board or if not satisfied to an external statutory body. The staff member will be protected against any negative repercussions as a result of this report. See [NGO] Complaints Policy and Disclosure of Malpractice in the Workplace Policy.
2. Assess how to proceed with the report
2.1 The safe guarding lead will appoint a Decision Maker for handling this report. The Decision Maker should be a trustee, not implicated or involved in the case in any way., and may also be the safe guarding lead.
2.2 Determine whether it is possible to take this report forward
Does the reported incident(s) represent a breach of safeguarding policy?
Is there sufficient information to follow up this report?
2.3 If the reported incident does not represent a breach of LMN Safeguarding Policy, but represents a safeguarding risk to others (such as a child safeguarding incident), the report should be referred through the appropriate channels (e.g. local authorities) if it is safe to do so.
2.4 If there is insufficient information to follow up the report, and no way to ascertain this information (for example if the person making the report did not leave contact details), the report should be filed in case it can be of use in the future, and look at any wider lesson learning we can take forward.
2.5 If the report raises any concerns relating to children under the age of 18 associated with LMN, seek expert advice immediately. If at any point in the process of responding to the report (for example during an investigation) it becomes apparent that anyone involved is a child under the age of 18, the Decision Maker should be immediately informed and should seek expert advice before proceeding.
2.6 If the decision is made to take the report forward, ensure that you have the relevant expertise and capacity to manage a safeguarding case. If you do not have this expertise in-house, seek immediate assistance, through external capacity if necessary.
2.7 Clarify what, how and with whom information will be shared relating to this case. Confidentiality should be maintained at all times, and information shared on a need-to-know basis only. Decide which information needs to be shared with which stakeholder – information needs may be different.
2.8 You may have separate policies depending on the type of concern the report relates to. For example, workplace sexual harassment is dealt with through the LMN’s Anti-Bullying and Harassment policy.
If there isn’t a policy for the type of report that has been made, follow these procedures.
2.9 Check your obligations on informing relevant bodies when you receive a safeguarding report. These include (but are not limited to):
Statutory bodies (such as the Charity Commission in the UK)
Some of these may require you to inform them when you receive a report, others may require information on completion of the case, or annual top-line information on cases. When submitting information to any of these bodies, think through the confidentiality implications very carefully.
3. Appoint roles and responsibilities for case management
3.1 If not already done so (see above), appoint a Decision Maker for the case.
3.2 If the report alleges a serious safeguarding violation, you may wish to hold a case conference. This should include:
Person who received the report (such as the focal point, or manager)
Safeguarding adviser (or equivalent) if there is one
The case conference should decide the next steps to take, including any protection concerns and support needs for the survivor and other stakeholders (see below).
4. Provide support to survivor where needed/requested
4.1 Provide appropriate support to survivor(s) of safeguarding incidents. Nb. this should be provided as a duty of care even if the report has not yet been investigated. Support could include (but not limited to):
Psychosocial care or counselling
Protection or security assistance (for example being moved to a safe location)
4.2 All decision making on support should be led by the survivor
5. Assess any protection or security risks to stakeholders
5.1 For reports relating to serious incidents: undertake an immediate risk assessment to determine whether there are any current or potential risks to any stakeholders involved in the case, and develop a mitigation plan if required.
5.2 Continue to update the risk assessment and plan on a regular basis throughout and after the case as required.
6. Decide on next steps
6.1 The Decision Maker decides the next steps. These could be (but are not limited to):
No further action (for example if there is insufficient information to follow up, or the report refers to incidents outside LMN’s remit)
Investigation is required to gather further information
Immediate disciplinary action if no further information needed
Referral to relevant authorities
6.2 If the report concerns associated personnel (for example contractors, consultants or suppliers), the decision-making process will be different. Although associated personnel are not staff members, we have a duty of care to protect anyone who comes into contact with any aspect of our programme from harm. We cannot follow disciplinary processes with individuals outside LMN, however decisions may be made, for example to terminate a contract with a supplier based on the actions of their staff.
6.3 If an investigation is required and LMN does not have internal capacity, identify resources to conduct the investigation. Determine which budget this will be covered by.
7. Manage investigation if required
7.1 Refer to LMN’s procedures for investigating breaches of policy. If these do not cover safeguarding investigations, use external guidelines for investigating safeguarding reports, such as the CHS Alliance Guidelines for Investigations.
8. Make decision on outcome of investigation report
8.1 The Decision Maker makes a decision based on the information provided in the investigation report. Decisions relating to the Subject of Concern should be made in accordance with existing policies and procedures for staff misconduct.
8.2 If at this or any stage in the process criminal activity is suspected, the case should be referred to the relevant authorities unless this may pose a risk to anyone involved in the case. In this case, the Decision Maker together with other senior staff will need to decide to decide how to proceed. This decision should be made bearing in mind a risk assessment of potential protection risks to all concerned, including the survivor and the Subject of Concern.
9. Conclude the case
9.1 Document all decisions made resulting from the case clearly and confidentially.
9.2 Store all information relating to the case confidentially, and in accordance with [NGO] policy and local data protection law.
9.3 Record anonymised data relating to the case to feed into LMN reporting requirements (eg. serious incident reporting to Board, safeguarding reporting to donors), and to feed into learning for dealing with future cases.
We are working on a safeguarding policy that will be available to view online in March. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns in the meantime.