Keeping young people safe from harm
In recent years we have been hearing increasing numbers of news stories where people and institutions have failed to protect young people and prevent them from harm.
ORT educators are passionate about unleashing the potential of young people so they can lead fulfilling lives and have a positive impact on the world around them. As an organization, ORT works to place the future in the hands of the next generation.
We are all disturbed by any child suffering, and motivated to do more to raise the standards of child protection for young people who are entrusted into our care.
It would be a mistake to believe that young people of any specific community are not at risk.
The first step in this process is to recognise that we all have a role to play. We may need to significantly change the ways that we work to create an environment that minimises the risks of harm to vulnerable people.
These can include increasing the level of scrutiny when recruiting staff that will work with young people, developing policies and procedures that regulate our interactions (face-to-face and online) and becoming better role models for the types of behaviour that we would like colleagues and young people to emulate.
Some of the key lessons learned from failings in systems all over the world, are that we all need to be more vigilant and informed about some of the common early indicators that should raise concerns of abuse or neglect.
We need to react to the young people who need our help in appropriate ways. Unfortunately, this is a very delicate area where relying on a ‘common sense’ approach can lead people with the best intentions to make mistakes that can make the situation worse.
We have been working on some new policies and procedures for World ORT’s programs for young people, such as our summer schools. All staff involved will receive training in how to apply higher standards of safeguarding at these events. We would be delighted to share our knowledge and experience with any educators who would like to know more.
Working together, will have far more impact than trying to tackle these challenges individually.