SAFEGUARDING POLICY OCTOBER 2020
The members of Gamblers Anonymous ("GA") support each other in Groups. As individuals, GA members should be aware of their duties of care to others and hence follow the law and best practice regarding safeguarding, when acting in GA’s name.
THE BASIC PRINCIPLE
Everyone should recognise that all individuals, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm and abuse.
WHOM THE GUIDANCE PROTECTS
This policy applies to the safeguarding of all GA members, as well as those with whom GA members come into contact when acting in GA’s name. This includes those under the age of 18 (minors) and vulnerable adults (who may be members of GA).
A copy of the latest version of this policy should be given to every new and existing GA member. It is vital that all Groups' Secretaries learn about and understand issues regarding safeguarding and protection in the context of GA, that a safe environment may be maintained for GA members, as well as those with whom GA members come into contact when acting in GA’s name.
Meetings with members who are new to GA should be conducted by two existing GA members and, wherever possible, by a man and a woman.
A Sponsor should:
GA members are not legally required to obtain a DBS Certificate in order to act as a Sponsor. However, Sponsors are encouraged to apply, as individuals, for a basic DBS Check and to provide a copy of their DBS Certificate to their Group's Secretary, as a means of strengthening safeguarding standards in the Fellowship.
DBS CHECKS FOR MEMBERS ATTENDING SCHOOLS AND PRISONS
Schools, educational establishments, and prisons will carry out identification checks, and some may ask all volunteers to provide a DBS Certificate. An enhanced DBS Check must be obtained by any GA member engaging in a regulated activity. This includes any member who, in GA’s name, frequently attends schools, educational establishments, or prisons (e.g. to provide advice and guidance or to teach) or may have unsupervised contact with a minor or vulnerable adult. It is the school’s educational establishment’s or prison's duty, not GA's, to ensure that the requisite DBS Checks are completed. However, as a matter of best practice, any members acting in GA’s name, should be willing to provide a DBS Certificate or sign up to the DBS Update Service for repeat checks, if requested. If any Group's Secretary or GA member is unsure whether a role requires any sort of criminal record check of any sort they should consult the following governmental guidance: gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service. Any GA member who holds a DBS Certificate should be encouraged to notify their Group's Secretary of this fact and of any updated DBS Certificate obtained. Details about who may require a DBS Check in the UK can be found here: onlinedbschecks.co.uk/blog/which-jobs-require-a-dbs-check-in-the-uk/.
REPORTING SAFEGUARDING CONCERNS
If any GA member believes they are being abused or knows/suspects that another GA member is being abused they should consider taking the following actions, as appropriate:
IN AN EMERGENCY
If there is immediate risk of abuse call 999. If there is any doubt about whether a situation amounts to abuse, GA members should consult their Local Authority's Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Smaller GA Groups, and those in rural areas, should consider working with other Groups in their Region to pool their resources and to promote and strengthen their safeguarding practices.
This policy is reviewed annually by Gamblers Anonymous England, Wales and Ulster (and whenever a change in legislation occurs).