This policy applies to any member, supporter or participant at events organised by the Socialist Party who is under 18 years of age. This policy flows from the relevant legislation North and South. Parents or carers who attend events with children remain responsible for arrangements such as informal childcare during these events.
The Socialist Party recognises the important role young people play in society, social movements and in revolutionary politics in particular. We see young people as essential to building a new society that is free from the oppression and divisions of capitalism. However, we recognise that in today’s society young people can at times be particularly vulnerable to abuse.
We recognise issues with the current legal framework that can result in the criminalisation of young people, however, young people have a legal right to protection from all forms of abuse. The Socialist Party has a duty of care to ensure that this remains the case throughout young peoples’ contact with us. This policy places an obligation on all members of the Socialist Party to ensure their actions are conducive to providing a welcoming and safe environment for young people. We recognise that those elected to leadership bodies at local, regional, national and international level have a particular duty to lead by example in this regard.
We believe that it is always unacceptable for anyone to experience abuse of any kind, in any circumstances, including through social media and other online activity. All young people, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, community background, faith, sexual orientation or identity, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
It is the responsibility of all members of the Socialist Party to raise any safeguarding concerns. It is not their responsibility to determine whether abuse has taken place. The term safeguarding should be interpreted in its widest sense, encompassing the full range of promotion, prevention and protection activity.
The Socialist Party recognises:
- Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility;
- When dealing with safeguarding concerns a person-centred approach focused on understanding the best interests of the young person should be adopted;
- The young person’s welfare must be the paramount consideration.
We will seek to keep young people safe by:
- valuing, listening to and respecting them;
- ensuring our safeguarding policy and procedure for safeguarding children are disseminated and embedded throughout the Party;
- ensuring there is a structure for reporting safeguarding concerns with assigned roles and responsibilities. This will include the election of four Designated Safeguarding and Complaints Officers by the National Conference from a slate of candidates approved by National Committee to ensure those elected are authoritative members. These must also be balanced in terms of gender and age and involve at least 1 person from each region.
- when there are concerns about the behaviour of a member of the Party that might harm a young person or put them at risk of harm, the Designated Safeguarding and Complaints Officers and the NEC may establish an investigation panel made up of the Designated Safeguarding and Complaints Officers or others if necessary;
- working with others including young people and their parents to address any concerns;
- referring child protection concerns to statutory agencies when appropriate;
- ensuring this policy and associated codes and procedures are reviewed by the NC at least every two years.
Breaches of this policy will be taken seriously by the Socialist Party. They may result in internal investigations and disciplinary procedures and/or a referral to statutory agencies.
Policy updated by National Committee May 2020