Safeguarding Equality and Diversity Policy

Policy Statement

The River Stour Trust believes in a healthy and safe working environment that is free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued. This especially applies to mental or physical ability, age, race or gender and we are committed to working practices that encourage and protect the safety and welfare of all individuals who come into contact with RST, in particular children, young people and vulnerable adults.

At The River Stour Trust, we:

  • Promote equality and diversity, and recognise that everybody and in particular, children, young people and vulnerable adults have an equal right to be protected from prejudice, harm or abuse.
  • Recognise that the welfare of children and the vulnerable is paramount.
  • Promote an inclusive and respectful environment and have policies and procedures in place to deal with bullying or other inappropriate behaviour.
  • Promote our values and set clear standards of expected behaviour.
  • Take seriously and respond promptly to any reports of prejudice, bullying, harassment or safeguarding concerns.
  • Are committed to the continuous improvement of our safeguarding, equality and diversity practices.
  • Have a full Safeguarding, Equality and Diversity Policy, which follows this position statement, the content and implementation of which is regularly reviewed by The Trustees.

The River Stour Trust has procedures to protect from abuse and other harmful behaviour in all our activities.  Where appropriate, we also encourage other organisations who work with us to demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding, equality and diversity. 

Policy Scope

This policy applies to all volunteers, permanent and temporary employees and all associated persons such as contractors, consultants and others employed under a contract for services.  In addition, this policy will apply to any persons involved with, or acting on behalf of The River Stour Trust (RST) in any setting. 

This document must be read in conjunction with the definitions in Appendix 1, the information leaflet in Appendix 2 and the RST’s Code of Conduct, that are inclusive to this policy.


RST is committed to ensuring a healthy and safe working environment that is free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and any form of unlawful discrimination, promoting equality, dignity and respect for all, protecting the vulnerable and where the individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued.  RST will strive to maintain awareness of safeguarding, equality and diversity issues amongst its staff and volunteers.

RST will provide equality, fairness and respect for all in our employment and voluntary activities and will not unlawfully discriminate because of the Equality Act 2010 and protected characteristics.


The Equality Act 2010 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 means that any behaviour that undermines equality or a protected characteristic as defined by The Act (see appendices) and any bullying or harassment, including sexual harassment, may amount to both an employment rights matter and a criminal offence.

Therefore, RST will not tolerate breaches of this policy by any of its officers, staff or volunteers and will ensure appropriate action is taken against such behaviour and ensure reporting procedures are in place when concerns are raised.  

All staff should understand they, as well as RST can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their employment or volunteering, against fellow employees, other volunteers, customers, suppliers and the public and in some circumstances criminal proceedings could follow.

To achieve a safe and healthy working environment for everybody without oppression or discrimination, RST requests all its staff and volunteers to assist in the implementation of this policy and abide by its contents and to report any non-compliant behaviour or activities, whether it be by RST staff or volunteers, contractors, or the public.  

Safeguarding – General

RST staff and volunteers share an important responsibility to protect and promote the safety and wellbeing of others, and in particular children and vulnerable adults who are at risk of harm.

It is essential that we are all able to recognise safeguarding concerns and know how to respond to these in accordance with the Trust’s procedure.

RST is committed to:

• Establishing a culture that promotes safeguarding.

• Operating fair, safe and transparent recruitment practices.

• Identifying and minimising safeguarding risks across all of our activities through risk assessments and processes.

• Providing a reporting procedure for safeguarding concerns as necessary.

• Providing communication channels to ensure that safeguarding issues within our scope are assessed and where appropriate, reported to the relevant authorities.

• Regularly reviewing our policy as appropriate in accordance with national guidance.

Reporting Concerns

If any RST staff or volunteers are concerned about the behaviour of any person, or child to another, especially by RST staff or volunteer; or any parent or guardian that cares for children or adults; during RST activities or on our premises, they should report the concerns to the RST Officer on Duty (OOD) in the first instance, or the teacher, or organiser of any particular group.  In the event this is not practical or inappropriate, concerns must be reported directly to an RST Trustee or Council Member.  

In all cases a report of the occurrence must be reported to the Trustees.

Any reports of non-compliance to this policy and in particular that relating to any form of abuse, bullying, harassment or discrimination by RST officers, staff or volunteers will be immediately investigated by the Trustees, or a panel selected by the Trustees.  The Trustees have the authority to take any appropriate action deemed necessary to protect individuals and the reputation of RST and this may lead to suspension and/or immediate dismissal from The RST of any proven offender.

Safeguarding Officers

RST is a small charity entirely run by volunteers and as such has not appointed a specific Designated Safeguarding Officer(s).  However, any safeguarding, equality or diversity concerns, the reporting of issues or any enquiries should be directed to the Trustees, or a Council Member.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

With all RST activities it will be unlikely that any RST volunteer or employee will be in direct supervision of a child or vulnerable adult without the presence or of their responsible adult.  As such DBS checks are not required for RST volunteers or employees.  However, each request for events or hire of premises with RST staff will be safeguarding assessed appropriately and DBS checks performed accordingly if required.

APPENDIX 1: Definition and explanation


The following contains definitions that are legally protected and any RST officer, staff or volunteer indulging in abuse, causing harm, bullying, harassing or discriminating against race, gender or other protected characteristic, as defined below, will be deemed to be acting unlawfully and in breach of this policy.

‘Abuse or harm’. In relation to children there are four recognised categories of abuse, these being physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; and neglect.

Relating to adults there are ten categories of abuse that include physical abuse; psychological abuse; financial or material abuse; sexual abuse; neglect and acts of omission; self-neglect; organisational abuse; domestic abuse; modern slavery; and discriminatory abuse.

An adult at risk’, or ‘vulnerable adult’ is any person who is aged 18 years or over and who is at risk of abuse or harm because of their needs for community care and support.  We may come into contact with ‘adults at risk’ or ‘vulnerable adults’ within our boating community, or through our activities and events.  It will not always be obvious that you are interacting with an ‘at risk’ adult and we do not expect you to assess whether someone is ‘at risk’ before reporting any concerns to an RST Trustee or Council Member.


Bullying a person is defined as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power (or assumed power), through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.

Child’ or ‘Young Person – a person who has not attained the age of 18 years.  The Trust has contact with children in a variety of ways, including through youth projects, educational activities, public trips and events, our boating community, work experience and activities organised by our partner groups and other third parties.

Under normal operating circumstances, RST Staff always ensure a third party ‘responsible person’ or second RST Staff member is present when dealing with children or vulnerable adults and are never solely or directly responsible for their care.

Employment and Equality – RST will ensure it applies equal terms of employment and voluntary roles and this includes in…

  • pay and benefits
  • terms and conditions of employment
  • dealing with grievances and discipline
  • dismissal
  • redundancy
  • leave for parents
  • requests for flexible working
  • selection for employment, promotion, training or other development opportunities

Harrassment – Is defined as unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.

Protected Characteristics – The following are protected by law and will provide equality, fairness and respect for all and not unlawfully discriminate because of the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics of…

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin)
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

‘Race and racial discrimination’Under The Equality Act, race is a legally protected characteristic that refers to an individual’s race, colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins. The Equality Act replicates the provisions of previous legislation.

  • Colour includes, for example, being of black, brown or white or another complexion.
  • Nationality includes, for example, being a British, Jamaican or a Pakistani citizen.
  • Ethnic or national origins include, for example, being from a Romany background, or of Chinese heritage.
  • A racial group could be, for example, ‘Black Britons’ which would include people who are both black and British citizens.

It is prohibited by law to discriminate, insult, harass or victimise, or exclude any person because of their race, whether perceived, actual or associated. This includes segregating individuals according to race.

‘Responsible adult’, refers to a child’s, or young person’s, or vulnerable adult’s parent, guardian, teacher or carer. 

‘Safeguarding’ is an umbrella term and means protecting a citizen’s health, wellbeing and their human rights; enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect.

Sex (gender), sexual orientation and gender reassignment.A person’s sex, sexual orientation and gender reassignment are also legally protected characteristics and the latter term refers to someone who is transgendered.  It is prohibited to discriminate, insult, harass or victimise any person because of their gender or sexual orientation whether perceived, actual or associated.  Gender reassignment includes anyone who has proposed, started or completed a process to change his or her sex. The law prohibits discrimination that is direct or indirect and whether it is based on a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation. For example, protection is provided if someone uses homophobic banter (i.e., comments, words or actions/gestures that refer negatively to gay, lesbian or bisexual people) to a colleague who is presumed to be gay but is in fact heterosexual.

APPENDIX 2: Safeguarding Information for RST Volunteers

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is what we do to protect the health, well-being and human rights of individuals.  Safeguarding allows children, young people and adults to live free from abuse, harm and neglect.  All professionals have a duty to safeguard. As a volunteer it is important that you understand how to spot the signs of abuse and neglect and how to report any concerns that you may have.


If you are concerned about the behaviour of a person or child to another, especially an RST staff member, or parent, or guardian that cares for children or adults, you should try and report your concerns to the RST OOD, or the supervisor, or lead person in their group. If not practical, report your concerns to an RST Trustee or Council Member.

If you are worried about a child, young person or adult you may wish to talk to them, listen calmly and reassure them that it’s not their fault and encourage them to tell you what’s happened. If you can’t speak to the person directly that’s ok but it’s important that you tell someone about your concerns.

If you believe a person to be at immediate risk of harm, or in need of emergency medical attention, call the emergency services on 999.

Some examples of abuse explained
Type of abuseWhat is it?Concerns
NeglectThis is the most common type of abuse and means that a parent or carer is failing to meet the basic needs of a person.Poor appearance and hygiene, smelly, dirty, unwashed,not wearing suitable clothes for the weather.Being hungry and not being given food.Having untreated health problems, such as nappy rash,tooth ache, eczema, head lice., untreated injuries.
Physical AbuseIt’s important to remember that physical abuse is intentionally causing physical harm to a person. It also includes making up the symptoms of an illness or causing a child to become unwell.Unexplained injuries or regular visits to A & EBruising, bites, cigarette burns or scalds.
Sexual AbuseThis is when a person is forced, or tricked into sexual activities. They might not understand that what’s happening is abuse or harassment, or that it’s wrong and they might be afraid to tell someone. Sexual abuse and harassment can happen anywhere: it can happen in person or online.Being forced to engage in sexual activities or conversations (including online or smart phone).Making a child or adult at risk of harm; watch, view or share sexual images of themselves or others.Showing a child or adult at risk of harm; pornography.Rape, sexual assault or an indecent assault of an adult or child.
Emotional AbuseEmotional abuse is any type of abuse that involves deliberately trying to scare, bully, humiliate, isolate or ignore a person.Threatening, shouting or calling someone names.Belittling, or undermining a person, especially in front of others.   Exposing someone to upsetting situations, like domestic abuse or drug taking.An air of silence when a particular person is present.
Financial or material abuseThis includes theft, fraud, scamming or pressuring someone to gamble.Unexplained lack of money.Someone in control of another’s bank cards or spends.
Discriminatory AbuseUnequal or biased treatment based on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex or sexual orientation.The person appears withdrawn and isolated.Being harassed or insulted or excluded.