working with vulnerable persons policy

The Victoria Poetry Project Society (VPPS) is dedicated to providing a safe experience for everyone. We ensure that any person from our organization working with a vulnerable adult or youth (aged 12 and up), hereafter collectively referred to as “vulnerable person(s),” is legally allowed to work with them and contribute to a safe environment. We do not tolerate harassment or abuse of any kind (see Anti-Harassment Policy), nor do we tolerate corporal punishment or negligence of any kind.

Incident Prevention and Background Checks

At events designated to be working specifically with vulnerable persons (e.g. the Victorious Voices Festival or Raising Voices workshops), at least 1 (one) person representing the Victoria Poetry Project Society in a room at such an event must have submitted a valid background check to the VPPS Executive Director. Before beginning a shift at such an event or opening a workshop, the Executive Director must approve this background check. Accepted background checks are criminal record checks or police information checks, and they must cover interactions with vulnerable persons.

All persons acting in a facilitator or staff (e.g. Coordinator) position at such an event are required to submit a check which meets the aforementioned requirements. If there is nobody acting in a facilitator or staff position at such an event, a minimum of 1 (one) volunteer present must submit a check which meets the aforementioned requirements.

If an individual needs to obtain a background check for a VPPS purpose, the Executive Director will write a letter meeting requirements for a non-profit background check. Individuals should be able to obtain their background check for free from their local police or RCMP department with this letter, however, if they do have to pay a fee, VPPS will reimburse them.

Background checks provided to and approved by the Executiv Director will be valid for VPPS purposes for 5 (five) years from the date of the check’s completion.

If someone fails to submit a background check to the Executive Director prior to the commencement of their shift, they will not be allowed to work their shift, unless the Executive Director deems it a special circumstance (e.g., there was not enough time to obtain a background check before an event) and waives the background check requirement. All special circumstances will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Incidents of Alleged Abuse or Harassment

All incidents pertaining to harassment are dealt with according to VPPS’ Anti-Harassment Policy. Additionally, in the case of an incident of harassment against a vulnerable person, a formal incident report must be written and sent to the Executive Director and Anti-Harassment Team.

In the case of alleged abuse, the Executive Director, with support of the Anti-Harassment Team if needed, will fulfill all statutory reporting obligations to child protective agencies and/or police.

VPPS prioritizes the safety of vulnerable persons and maintaining confidentiality of the alleged victim(s) and perpetrator(s). This includes but is not limited to: assuring serious, compassionate responses to allegations while asserting VPPS has no liability for such actions of an individual working for us, or choosing to seek legal counsel before making such assurances; refraining from making any kind of public statement without the aid of legal counsel; and immediately suspending the alleged perpetrator from all VPPS events and duties pending outcome of an investigation.

To ensure an accurate and sound incident report to its insurance company, VPPS will consult with legal counsel before making any reports to the company.