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UK Sikhs launch campaign to promote safeguarding and tackle child grooming

December 8, 2015 | By

London: The Sikh Council UK on Monday 7th December 2015 is to launch a national campaign to promote effective safeguarding practices and support for vulnerable children and adults including protecting children from sexual abuse, grooming and violence, for the first time.

The Sikh Council UK has developed the Safer Sikh Partnership by bringing together individuals with professional knowledge and expertise in these areas to provide safeguarding tools, educational materials and support for Gurdwaras, Sikh organisations and Sikh communities across the country. National agencies including NSPCC and Barnardos are supporting this work with it being viewed as innovative best practice. NSPCC Multi Faith Hub has agreed to support the project through the provision of a bespoke training programme.

Guidelines including resources to make reporting easier will be issued to Gurdwaras to help spot Sikh victims of abuse and ensure a consistent and timely response by all adults. Support will be available from trained dedicated advocates to work with local Police services to improve reporting and responses.

Bal Sandhu from Sikh Council UK said: “Grooming and other forms of abuse affects all communities and we want to help in protecting all children. Sexual exploitation is a taboo and a hugely stigmatised issue in Asian communities and often families may be afraid of speaking out about it, out of fear of being ‘dishonoured’ in the community. This project will raise awareness of the issue and ensure those in positions of authority have the resources and support to better protect children from grooming and abuse.”

She added: “Young parents and carers are well versed to receiving high levels of safeguarding practice in schools, colleges, hospitals etc. and rightly expect the same from our places of worship and community organisations. Safer Sikhs Partnership will provide high quality safeguarding tools, educational materials and support for Gurdwaras, Sikh organisations and Sikh communities across the country to enable them to comply with statutory requirements whilst providing the highest standards of provision.”

Sherry Malik, Director of Children’s Services Development and Delivery, NSPCC says: ‘We all have a responsibility to keep children and young people safe. This includes faith communities, who work with many thousands of children and young people every year. I am delighted to be associated with the launch of the Safer Sikhs Partnership, and I applaud the step that the Sikh Council UK has taken to protect children and to promote their welfare in Sikh communities across the country. The NSPCC has been pleased to support the Partnership and I wish it every success.’

Further concerns across Gurdwaras and Sikh community organisations that will be addressed by Safer Sikhs Partnership is to improve the understanding of safeguarding and help ensure proper policies and procedures are in place for recruitment, vetting for suitability to work with children and vulnerable adults, dealing with allegations, working with those with special needs etc.

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