Safeguarding

Safeguarding our Vulnerable Communities

Over the past decades, OMF has continued to develop awareness, support, and training to better care for our most vulnerable communities. Through God’s grace and equipping, OMF’s Safeguarding team seeks to foster a culture that promotes and prioritizes safeguarding through preventing harm and responding to all reports of concern.

How to report a concern

A large part of safeguarding is working collaboratively to jointly watch and report matters of concern. Should you observe something that is concerning, in the first instance, download, complete, and submit this Form to safeguarding@omfmail.com.  In no way does submitting this form mean that an extensive response process will immediately commence; however, we respond to all reports of concern, and will treat each concern seriously.

Sometimes people hesitate in reporting something of concern, as they’re worried that they might get somebody into trouble or have misunderstood what they saw. Research has shown that instances of harm are often not reported due to this exact concern. Therefore, it is better to bring up matters of concern so that our team can evaluate each situation and act only when relevant.

We take each and every report seriously, and appreciate your help in advocating for high safety standards across our entire organization.

OMF is committed to regularly reviewing, updating, and developing in this area. If you have questions or concerns regarding the above, please feel free to connect with a member of our Safeguarding Team or write to the email address listed above.

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is “a term used to denote measures to protect the health, well-being and human rights of individuals, which allow people — especially children and vulnerable adults — to live free from abuse. It is about people and organizations working together to prevent and reduce the risks, occurrences, and impact of harm.”

We believe that all people have intrinsic value as image-bearers of God, and therefore, our Safeguarding program has been designed to protect children and vulnerable adults including those within our fellowship as well as in our communities and ministries. We therefore seek to fulfil our Biblical, ethical, and legal responsibility for the safety and well-being of those in our care.

Safeguarding is made up of two primary components: prevention and response. We prevent harm by identifying risks, training workers to cultivate higher levels of awareness, and increasing accountability in order to collectively cultivate safety for all of our members as well as those with whom we interact. Secondly, we respond to all reports of concern; each case is reviewed by no less than 2 people to ensure that no report is inadvertently unaddressed or dismissed prematurely.

Safeguarding within OMF

OMF have been developing a robust safeguarding program since 1997, as we remain committed to safeguarding our most vulnerable groups of people including children and vulnerable adults.

A comprehensive Safeguarding Policy is a key part of the Members’ Handbook, which all existing and new OMF members agree to abide by, signing a ‘Terms of Agreement’ or ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ document to formalize their commitment. Moreover, each Center has developed a Code of Conduct which contextualizes how to best safeguard vulnerable people within their local context.

OMF Screening

All (members, short-term workers, and volunteers) who will work with children are required to undergo additional screening beyond the normal application process, with references  specifically related to the applicant’s work with children, and criminal records check when available.

OMF Training

A large part of our safeguarding program is about preventing harm from happening, and training is a core part of this process. A foundational level safety training, ‘Everyone’s Responsibility,’ is mandatory for all workers engaged within OMF (be it as a full or associate member, short-term worker, or volunteer), regardless of the nature of their ministry; moreover, we encourage workers to regularly review the Code of Conduct to ensure they are continually applying the core tenants of this training.

Additional training is offered by our Safeguarding Team to families during field conferences, and center-wide trainings are an ongoing focus as we want to ensure members consider how to apply safeguarding practices in their ministries, homes, and when they work in the community. Our approach includes identifying and mitigating potential risks in order to lower occurrences of harm. In order to do that, we aim to empower parents with resources and tools to better equip them for educating and protecting their children.

International Safeguarding Officer

The ISO takes responsibility for coordinating and managing our Safeguarding Programme world-wide. They are responsibility for maintaining current and up-to-date policies and procedures, as well as coordinating both our prevention and response programmes.  In practical terms, this means they ensure that any reports of potential abuse, or similar concerns, are handled quickly, sensitively, and appropriately following our established response procedures. The ISO has a dedicated email address to which confidential matters can be addressed. OMF will follow up on any such report.

The ISO is supported by a Depute ISO, Safeguarding Committee, an International Safeguarding Response Team, and local Safeguarding Advocates in each OMF Center. Collectively, they work to deliver training, provide support to families, give advice regarding ministry needs related to children and vulnerable adults, and champion strong safeguarding practices.

For any child safety concerns, please contact our International Safeguarding Officer, Dee Anne Freeman, on safeguarding@omfmail.com. The Depute ISO is Jason Tam.

Interagency Collaboration

OMF International is a member of the Child Safety and Protection Network (CSPN), UK’s Thirtyone:eight, and other country-specific organizations to access specialist training, up to date resources, and policy development in international best practices.

OMF International is a member of the Child Safety and Protection Network (CSPN)

OMF UK is a member ThirtyOne:Eight

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