ACTS Abuse and Reporting Policy

Note: Excerpt from Policy 2.2 of the ACTS Policy and Procedure Guide for Employees and Volunteers.

ACTS is committed to the safety and well-being of its representatives and those we serve.

2.2.1 What is abuse and neglect?

“Abuse” means physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment of a person. Examples include:

  1. Physical abuse means any physical force or action which results in or may potentially result in a non-accidental injury to an individual;
  2. Sexual abuse means any non-consensual sexual act. For a child*, young person** or an at-risk adult***, sexual abuse means any sexual exploitation whether consensual or not. It includes touching of a sexual nature and sexual intercourse, and may include any behaviour of a sexual nature;
  3. Emotional abuse means acts or omissions which are likely to produce long term and serious emotional disorder. It can take the form of name calling, threatening, ridiculing, berating, intimidating, isolating, hazing, habitual scapegoat, or blaming;
  4. Child abuse is defined as a non-accidental physical or mental injury or mistreatment caused by the acts or omissions of the child’s parents, caretakers, or service providers. Along with the above aspects child abuse may also include neglect;
  5. Verbal and psychological abuse is defined as but not limited to humiliating remarks, name calling, swearing at, taunting, teasing, continual put downs, threats, intimidation, manipulation, and insensitivity to race, religion, sexual preference or family dynamics;
  6. Criminal negligence is defined as an action or lack of action showing reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons; and
  7. Financial abuse may include but is not limited to theft, extortion, or fraud.

Note:

*A “child” is defined as being a person under the age of 16. (Nova Scotia Children and Family Services Act:   http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statutes/childfam.htm)

**For the purposes of this policy, a “young person” will be defined as an individual between age 16 and 18.

***An “at-risk adult” will be defined as an individual that would be protected under the Nova Scotia Adult Protection Act in the event of abuse. For example, a person who “is incapable of protecting himself…” or “incapable of caring adequately for himself…” “…by reason of physical disability or mental infirmity…”. (Nova Scotia Adult Protection Act:   http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statutes/adultpro.htm)

Procedure:

To reduce the Risk of Potential Abuse, all ACTS employees and volunteers are required to complete the following application process:

  1. Provide a resume including education and experience;
  2. Be involved in an interview process conducted by the ACTS Manager and/or Chair of the Board;
  3. Complete a Child Abuse Registry check;
  4. Complete a Criminal Record check;
  5. Submit a driver’s abstract (if applying as a driver);
  6. Provide 3 reference contacts; and
  7. Adhere to Confidentiality Policy and sign Confidentiality Agreement (Appendix E)

In order to further reduce the risk of abuse or allegation thereof, the following behavioural practices will be adopted by all employees and volunteers working directly with clients:

  1. Employees and volunteers must refrain from using language or speech that is of a discriminatory, harassment or bullying nature, that is suggestive, off-colour or lewd, or that is otherwise inappropriate;
  2. Any physical touching or activity that might produce an appearance of impropriety must be avoided;
  3. Employee and volunteer workers are not permitted to transport children or youth that are not accompanied by a parent or guardian except in special circumstances, such as Children transported under school board Conveyance contract or Department of Community Services Caseworker approval. As a general practice, ACTS normally seeks consent of a parent, guardian, school, sporting events coordinator or in some circumstances, a government department such as Department of Community Services.
  4. Employee or volunteer workers will report and/or record suspicious or unusual observations (see Section 2.2.2); and
  5. Employees or volunteers that may be required to assist members/clients with mobility issues when entering or exiting vehicles will be trained on proper procedures when doing so.

For further details concerning this policy, including details for reporting abuse and duty to report, see Policy 2.2.2 of the ACTS Policy and Procedure Guide for Employees and Volunteers.