The Guardian can receive all reports on behalf of the School, Sports Clubs, Union/Province, District or federation. Those reports can be received via The Guardian anonymous Reporting App or through our reporting option on the website. Once the report is received we will contact the organisation to discuss the way forward through a free 15-30 minute consult. This consultation will be to discuss how to move forward with the matter, and there is no obligation on the organisation to use The Guardian. The purpose of using The Guardian to receive these reports is to allow the organisation to get guidance on what the best solution is for the disclosure.
Organisations such as sporting clubs or tournament through to schools and churches regularly need assistance in navigating their way through the Safeguarding maze. Whether that is assistance is with developing proactive structures like the drafting, creation and implementation of polices, right through to dealing with disclosures of harassment and/ or abuse. To book a consult either email email@example.com or book a free 15 min consult with Marc (Click Here)
Complainants and witnesses in any investigation are arguably your most vital source of evidence. Interviewing witnesses is a skillset that takes years to develop and especially special witnesses and complainants such as children. With over 25 year experience in child centered investigations, it is this speciality that sets us apart. The impact of sexual assault on a victim is like no other crime and when the victim is a child the speciality to address this is like no other. As The Guardian we have been requested by external private investigators to assist with child interviews. Getting the information from the child is only part of the speciality, there are so many other considerations that are learned only through experience and as the most experienced Child Protection Company in South Africa, using us just makes sense.
Did you know that there is a legal responsibility on a person who is aware of child abuse to report that matter to the SAPS. Actually failing to do so is criminal and can get you arrested. That’s correct. You cannot know that a child is at risk and not report it. All too often, factors that influence that decision include, “The cost of reporting seems greater than the cost of silence” or “The police wont do anything so why should I?” mentality. No matter how you justify your reason for not reporting, the reality is that failing to do so means you are running fowl of the law and could be prosecuted.
An Investigation Panel is usually used within the sporting environment when allegations are made. Schools and other organisations could adopt this practice but generally an Investigation Panel is implemented in larger organisations and/or mature Safeguarding organisations.
This panel should be made up two internal members / employees and one external person.
The panel is basically responsible for making 3 decisions on any allegation:-
1. Does the allegation have merit?
a) If yes, determine the severity of the allegation and next steps.
b) If no, request further investigation from the DSO/Investigator or close the case.
2. If the matter must go to a Disciplinary Enquiry then the Investigation Panel would appoint the Judicial Panel or Chairperson to preside over the matter.
3. Who should be on the Judicial Panel?
The investigation of safeguarding matters, especially when children are involved, is always tricky. The Guardian has years of experience in this space and we are often called on to assist with everything from bullying and harassment to Sexual Assault, Pornography and Rape.
Some of the services available include:-
- Collection of Evidence
- Crime Scene Management
- Interviewing of witnesses (including child witnesses)
- Polygraph Testing
- Digital Investigation and collection of evidence (Cell phones, tablets, laptops etc.)
All investigations involving children are child centric.
A Judicial Panel is a small group of people, generally 3, who have been chosen to make a decision or give recommendation on a Disciplinary Matter. The use of a Judicial Panel or a Chairperson will be determined by the organisations Disciplinary code.
Should it be decided by the Investigation Panel that a matter needs to be reviewed by a Judicial Panel or a Chairperson, then the Investigation Panel would, based on the merits of the case appoint The Judicial Panel or Chairperson. It is important that those on the Judicial Panel or the Chairperson have an understanding of Substantive and Procedural fairness. The Guardian have assisted in identifying Judicial Panels and we are often requested to chair and co-chaired Judicial Panels or sit in as the Chairperson.
Should you need any guidance on this element of Safeguarding, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can schedule a consultation.
The person initiating a disciplinary enquiry on behalf of the organisation must ensure certain basic rules are met.
- Has the correct charges been placed on the charge sheet?
- Has the accused been served with their Notice of Enquiry timeously?
- Have the Disciplinary packs been created and sent out timeously?
- Are all witnesses prepared for the enquiry?
- Is all evidence ready to be presented at the disciplinary enquiry?
The initiator in a Disciplinary Enquiry is essentially the same as a prosecutor in a criminal matter. The initiator, on behalf of the organisation presents the organisations case. The initiator must ensure that all necessary preparation is done before the enquiry and that the case is presented in such a way as to ensure the best understanding of the facts by the Judicial Panel or Chairperson.
Depending on the Disciplinary Code of the organisation a Chairperson or Judicial Panel needs to be appointed to chair a Disciplinary Enquiry. It is best practice, where possible, to appoint an external person/s to chair enquiries. This ensures impartiality and suitably qualified and experienced individuals to assist you through this process.
The Guardian has many years of experience in chairing enquiries and can ensure that the matter is handled correctly and fairly.
Generally the Disciplinary Code dictates the “Rules of Engagement” when it comes to appeals. Often organisations will request us to guide on the correct procedure defined in the disciplinary Code when it comes to appeals as they can be tricky to get correct.
Chairing of Appeals is again a different skill set from Chairing an Enquiry. An Appeal Chairperson needs consider different factors from those considered in a Disciplinary Enquiry. Principals like Double Jeopardy and new evidence need to considered when deciding on the merits of an Appeal Application.
The Guardian have helped various organisations through this process.