To ensure that all children or vulnerable adults who visit Siddha Yoga Meditation Centres, Chanting and Meditation Groups (CMGs), Retreat Sites, or attend Siddha Yoga teaching and learning events, are able to participate in activities, play, and offer seva (volunteer) in a safe and secure environment, protected against abuse or harassment by adults or other children.
(Please note that “children” in this context refers to anyone under the age of 18)
A ‘vulnerable adult’ is a person who is or may be for any reason unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.
Supervision by Parents/Legal Guardians
It is required that parents/legal guardians supervise their children at all times.
- Children age 13 or under should have a parent, or legal guardian with them at all times.
- Children ages 14 – 15 may be on their own for short periods of time as long as a parent or legal guardian (who is present) knows where they are at all times and checks in on them regularly.
- Children ages 16 – 17 may be on their own as long as a parent or legal guardian (who is present) knows where they are at all times and checks in on them regularly.
Definitions of Abuse
1. Physical abuse is defined as that which occurs when an adult, caretaker, or child inflicts physical injury on a child who is under 18 years of age or a vulnerable adult through maltreatment that includes, but is not limited to, beating, hitting, or slapping.
2. Verbal abuse is defined to include, but not be limited to, undue verbal harshness or harsh verbal discipline, swearing, verbal humiliation.
3. Emotional abuse is defined to include, but not be limited to, humiliation, isolation, taunting, bullying, and the continual derogatory depiction of a child or vulnerable adult to others.
4. Sexual abuse is defined as sexual molestation or exploitation of a child less than 18 years of age or a vulnerable adult by an adult, caretaker, or another child and includes, but is not limited to, behaviours such as touching of sexual areas, and other inappropriate or unwelcome touching; possession or distribution of pornography; making sexual advances; and other visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
SYDUK does not tolerate abuse or molestation of children or vulnerable adult in any form—physical, verbal, emotional or sexual, perpetrated by either adults or children—and is committed to maintaining an atmosphere for children and vulnerable adults that is free of abuse or harassment.
- SYDUK requires that key sevites supporting family satsangs are screened before they offer seva with children. Sevites who are approved to offer seva with children are required to have been practising the Siddha Yoga teachings for a minimum of one year and have attended a Siddha Yoga Ashram, meditation centre, chanting and meditation group regularly for at least six months, have offered seva on a regular basis over a minimum of six months.
- This policy applies to any seva-related, or accommodations-related situation in any Siddha Yoga premises or during any Siddha Yoga activities or events.
- Any actual, suspected, or potential incident(s) shall be immediately reported to a Centre Steering Committee Member, CMG host, retreat manager or SYDUK leadership. This includes reporting of any such abusive incidents involving a child/vulnerable adult that an individual learns about while at SYDUK premises, events or activities, which may have occurred outside SYDUK premises, events or activities. Any actual or suspected allegations will be documented on the form Report of Alleged Abuse to a Child or Vulnerable Adult including: dates and time of any alleged abuse along with a description of the incident, the people involved and any witnesses.
- An impartial, internal investigation will be conducted promptly. When required by law, alleged abuse will be reported to the appropriate external agencies. Internal investigations into alleged incidents of child or vulnerable adult abuse will be kept as confidential as possible. Information will be shared only on a need-to-know basis.
- Unlawful retaliation (defined as behaviour that threatens or penalizes an individual) against any person or child who has lodged a complaint regarding child or vulnerable adult abuse or molestation or who has taken part in an investigation is not tolerated.
- Internal disciplinary action for violation of this policy may include, but is not limited to, training in appropriate conduct, and/or disciplinary action up to and including termination of sevite status and/or being prohibited from visiting Siddha Yoga premises, and/or attending Siddha Yoga events.
- These guidelines are intended to guarantee the safety of children and vulnerable adults attending Siddha Yoga Meditation Centres, CMGs, Siddha Yoga retreats or events by increasing visitors’ and sevites’ awareness to help promote a safe environment for children.
- All SYD UK sevites/volunteers working with children must be willing to get a DBS check via SYD UK.
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