Guidance for Safer Working Practice for the Protection of Children, Vulnerable Adults and Practitioners
(Please note that this statement should be read in conjunction with the EFT International Code of Conduct and Ethics).
Parents and carers looking for an EFT practitioner need to know that whoever they allow or commission to work with their children, or with children in their care, is safe and legal to do so.
In many countries there are processes to ensure that people who are offering or employed to work with children and young people are competent and legally allowed to do so. The term is Safeguarding in the UK but may be different where you are if you live elsewhere.
Currently the training of EFT Practitioners does not screen out people who are not qualified to work with children. So, if you want your child to have the support and help of an EFT practitioner, we advise you to search for somebody who is professionally trained to work with children and young people and/or employed by an organisation to work with them. Doing so means the practitioner is more likely to have completed the necessary checks, that the practitioner is trained in Safeguarding and has a policy and procedure for what they are required to report in their country.
If you are a practitioner or a parent looking for support for your child and you weren’t aware of this, please find out, e.g. from your mentor or colleagues if you are a practitioner or by doing some research for this information if you are a parent or carer.
You may also wish to ask a prospective practitioner for:
- A copy of their DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Certificate, or the equivalent in your country, to show evidence that they are legally able to work with your child and that no concerns are recorded against them, i.e. they are not a registered sex offender and do not have criminal offences which mean they are not a safe person work with children.
- A copy of their Safeguarding Training Certificate, to confirm they are aware of current practice.
- A copy of their Safeguarding Policy and Procedures, which will show their commitment to a process of recording and reporting. Safeguarding covers the welfare, protection and prevention of harm to children,young people and vulnerable adults.
- References from people to support their suitability to work with children and young people.
You can find EFT practitioners with experience of working professionally with children and young people through the www.EFTinternational.org site. Practitioners who have had Safeguarding Training for EFT Practitioners can also be sourced through www.SafeguardingEFT.com.
Safeguarding and EFTi
Guidance for EFT Practitioners
EFTi is aware that many practitioners new to working with children, young people and vulnerable adults have no specific professional knowledge underpinning their work with these client groups, and many may not know about the legislation covering working with them, in both voluntary and paid work.
The following guidance is intended to raise practitioner awareness of this one aspect of working with children and young people - safeguarding.Safeguarding is about how to ensure that people working with them can recognize abuse, maltreatment and neglect and take appropriate action to ensure that they are kept safe.
This guidance is based on Safeguarding history, legislation, training and action in the UK, where this aspect of practice is rigorous and continues to evolve.
Limitations to this safeguarding guidance
- The information here is not legal or binding. It is intended for awareness raising only.
- This guidance does not constitute necessary, required or suggested training for the country where any practitioner, or their client lives.
- This guidance does not negate the need for organisational training in the specific policy and procedures of any organisation employing someone as a practitioner.
- Please research the legislation relating to Safeguarding in your and your client’s country or countries, and be confident you can meet the requirements, before accepting commissions.
- It is recommended that you have Safeguarding training specific to the location of your practice and clients.
- Please note that if you are working therapeutically with specific client group a generic training will not be enough to give you everything you need to support clients and manage cases. It is recommended that you find appropriate training for working with your client group. EFTi is unable to identify this for individual practitioners because the requirements for each country and client group differ.
- It is recommended that you have mentoring with a mentor trained in and knowledgeable about your client group so they can support you effectively.
What is Safeguarding?
Round the world children are recognised as a vulnerable group, with different legal, political, social, economicand cultural status from those of adults. To learn more about this see Rights of The Child.
Children and young people can remain unaware of the harm they are being exposed to. As well, there are many reasons why children and young people fail to report what is happening to them even when they are aware.
In many countries there are legislation and guidance for adults working with these vulnerable groups. This is what is referred to here as Safeguarding. It spells out a recognised approach and defined set actions adults need to take to ensure that people involved in the life of a child are able to recognise abuse, maltreatment and neglect and how to take appropriate action to ensure that the child is kept safe. It is defined in legislation and underpinned by protocol and process.
Safeguarding also includes ensuring a practitioner meets professional standards of care, knows what they are obliged to report, and does not leave themselves vulnerable to accusations of abuse or neglect.
Safeguarding is legislated, conducted and managed in a variety of different ways in different countries. It is important practitioners familiarise themselves with the information that applies to them.
What has Safeguarding got to do with EFT?
As EFT practitioners we tend to be working with the energetic and emotional information, i.e. how trauma may affect a person. Because of the way we work we are often privy to information that we are legally required to record and report. For many EFTers this is new territory. Most EFT practitioner training is training in a technique.
Many practitioners and some trainers have, until recently, been unaware of how we are obliged to respond to concerns and direct disclosures of abuse, maltreatment and neglect. The requirement to act beyond tapping is where many practitioners need support - the recording of concerns, passing on information, keeping records and supporting clients through the processes.
In many countries organisations employing practitioners to work with children and young people have safeguarding training, policy, guidance and procedure in place, to make sure that reporting is done in line with legislation and their organisational policy and procedure.
Practitioners are especially vulnerable when they are self-employed, and/or working with clients living in other countries,
Given the nature of our modality, when we are working with others, disclosures, concerns, queries around neglect and abuse, will undoubtedly arise. Simply working to resolve the emotional response is not enough. Legally, children, young people and other vulnerable groups, have additional legislation to protect them. We need to know about it and to act on it.
As practitioners we need to be aware of the boundaries to our practice. We need to know what to do in situations including how to log and report information about young and vulnerable clients and how best to support them through the processes that apply to them.
EFTi and Safeguarding
At present EFTi recognises that in some areas of our approach to working with children and young people there is a gap between our training as EFT practitioners and that of other professionals with whom we may work with as partners, colleagues, allied professionals.
Through the training and work that we do, EFT practitioners are more often aware than most of the nature and impact of childhood trauma, as well as understanding the positive difference another adult knowing about it and taking action at the time it was happening could have made.
Many of us can reflect on our own childhoods and recall what it was like to be a teenager. But as a professional we need more skills and knowledge that remembering our own individual experience.
It is not enough to rely on what we remember and how we interpret our own personal experience to inform how we work with this client group. The world evolves and new social, cultural and political factors impact on the lives of young people and children today.
EFTi is aware that, unlike many allied professions currently training adults to be practitioners working with children and young people, there is no formal vetting process for suitability for people applying for practitioner training.
EFTi recommends that all practitioners take the steps necessary to have evidence of their suitability to work with children and young people. This may include providing:
- A Disclosure and Barring Service Check certificate(or equivalent in their country)(needs hyperlink insertingto DBS on EFTi website – can’t locate at present?!), to show that they are legally able to work with children and young people and that no concerns are recorded against them; That means they are not a registered sex offender and have not abused, mistreated or neglected children in their care, or have criminal offences which contraindicate them being a safe person work with or to be a role model and support for children. When you have a DBS Check in place, please offer that to parents and colleagues. Make them aware you have one.
- A copy of their Safeguarding Training Certificate, to show they are aware of current practice.
- A copy of their Safeguarding Policy and Procedures, which will identify their commitment to a process of recording and reporting duty.
- References to confirm their suitability to work with children and young people, from people not related to the practitioner.
As Safeguarding is constantly evolving, training is never really completed. It is unrealistic to expect to do a brief online training and have a quick read through the legislation and think that is enough to equip you in your role, just as accredited Practitioners understand it is insufficient to attend a brief course in EFT and believe you can go then apply it safely with everybody they meet.
In reality Safeguarding is always changing because of Serious Case Reviews, because of situations that arise within our communities, and because people want to prevent further risk to children.
As an example, in the UK many professions working directly with vulnerable groups and those with trauma histories expect staff to undertake a one day in-person training every two years to refresh and update knowledge and practice guidance.
If you have no previous experience or training of working with children and young people, it is important to understand that not all Safeguarding training offered is equal. Training is often generic and not suited to the modality a professional engaged in working with children and young people may use or meet their particular needs. As an example, an employed school bus driver will not require the same level of knowledge and understanding of reporting duties as a self-employed EFT therapist, especially one seeking to work with children with autism, physical or mental disabilities.
As with sourcing other training it is often best to speak to different trainers and allied associates for information and guidance. For many therapists, specialist and in-depth training will be required to give you with the knowledge you need for your role or specific client group. Research the training on offer to identify that most suited to your needs.
In-person training is always a good starting point. It will give you the opportunity to have answers to the questions that will inevitably arise for you. You will also be able to discuss information with peers. Shorter or online training is often awareness raising but does not offer the depth of information and understanding you may need..
You can find Safeguarding training offered in many places. In most countries it is best to research legislation first and then look for industry specific information.
Even where you are employed by a commissioning organisation and have their policy and procedure to follow, it is important to satisfy yourself you can fulfil your duties as a therapist. Commissioning organisations such as schools may not fully understand your work and processes.
It is important to recognise that there may always be some clients that you may need to refer on because their needs are beyond your area of expertise and knowledge.
At present Safeguarding EFT (www.SafeguardingEFT.com) offer trainings specifically for practitioners of this modality. They also offer training in developing Safeguarding Policy and Record Keeping for practitioners.