The Stuttering Treatment and Research Trust (START) is committed to the safety of children and young people. START provides a safe environment, free from physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse and supports families to protect their children. It also has an obligation to ensure the well-being of children and young people it encounters in its work.

When a speech language therapist or social worker considers that a child’s safety or well-being is in question, they are required to consult with the Executive Director/Clinical Leader, or if the Executive Director/Clinical Leader is not available, a senior peer, concerning what action should be taken. The Executive Director/Clinical Leader will also have the option of consulting with appropriate people with experience in the area. Options will include taking no action or seeking advice from an external social worker experienced with child protection issues and practice. Such social workers may be in community agencies or may be staff of Oranga Tamariki.

Such advice may include whether a formal notification should be made or what other action should be taken. If concerns are serious and/or urgent they will consult with Oranga Tamariki as a specialist statutory agency working in the area of child protection with statutory powers. In extreme situations, where the situation dictates, a notification will be made directly to the New Zealand Police. If the Executive Director/Clinical Leader themselves has concerns about any child or young person the Executive Director/Clinical Leader will consult with appropriate experienced social workers as noted above.

All team members are required to be familiar with this policy and to follow this policy. The safety and well-being of the child or young person is START’s first priority. START also recognises the critical importance of family and whānau to participate in the decision-making about their children wherever possible without compromising the safety of the child.

START has a commitment to ensure that all team members are able to identify the signs and symptoms of potential abuse and neglect and are able to take appropriate action in response.