Safeguarding and Problem Solving
- Problem Solving within the FPMT Organization
- Safeguarding in FPMT Entities
- Advice on Relating to Teachers in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition
As students in a Tibetan Buddhist organization, we recognize that while we are in samsara, our delusions are going to bring us problems, and that practicing Dharma is the best solution for eradicating delusions and emerging from samsara.
We also recognize that alongside our focus on internal problem solving, it is essential to have in place policies and guidelines governing external behavior.
FPMT policies and guidelines instituted to help individuals in positions of authority to uphold a safe, respectful environment in their local center, project, or service include:
- Abiding within the law of your country
- FPMT Ethical Policy
- Grievance procedure guideline
- Teacher Policy and guidelines, which help ensure that Dharma teachings are provided only by those who are qualified to teach Dharma (FPMT registered teachers)
Those in positions of responsibility in the FPMT organization are required to behave in ways that further the well-being of their local FPMT community. Therefore, International Office staff and those in management, teaching, or other positions of responsibility within the FPMT network of FPMT affiliates and entities pending affiliation adhere to policies such as the FPMT Ethical Policy.
‘Safeguarding’ means protection of children and adults.
If you have information about a situation where a child or adult is in immediate danger or requires immediate medical attention, call your local emergency services. Do not delay.
In order to help you understand the process, and where to start, here is our guidance on the appropriate steps for raising a complaint or concern.
First try to resolve it yourself, using reflection and compassionate communication.
If your complaint or concern affects others in a negative way, or you are unable to resolve it yourself, then explain your concern clearly to the appropriate person at the center, project, or service related to your concern.
The requirement for individual FPMT centers, projects, and services to have a clear complaint/grievance procedure is so that any complaints, including concerns about the behavior of those in a position of authority in the center, can be addressed in a constructive and transparent way. FPMT International Office provides guidelines upon which local grievance policies should be based, but does not provide or enforce one policy for all centers, projects, and services. Each center, project, and service is an independent legal entity, which is financed locally. It is the responsibility of those in management positions in each entity to respond promptly to any problem, including to any allegation of unethical behaviour.
What follows is a general outline of complaint escalation:
- It is the responsibility of the person with the complaint to try to resolve it using reflection and compassionate communication.
- If the matter affects others in a negative way, the next step is to bring the complaint to the relevant line manager or member of staff at the center, project, or service. It is suggested students review the grievance policy of their local center, project, or service, and be aware which members of staff are responsible in such cases.
- Occasionally it may be necessary to bring the concern to the attention of the chair of the center, project, or service board.
- There are also FPMT regional and national coordinators, who may coordinate a local grievance committee, which can assist when appropriate.
FPMT International Office’s role is to provide overarching, generic policy and guidelines for local implementation in FPMT centers, projects, and services. International Office staff do not get involved in resolving complaints related to an individual FPMT center, project, or service, as local resolution of issues is the most appropriate way forward.
If you have a complaint or concern that cannot be resolved yourself through reflection and compassionate communication, and is not a safeguarding situation where a child or adult is in immediate danger or requires immediate medical attention, please contact an appropriate member of staff of the FPMT center, project, or service where the issue occurred.
We provide extensive advice regarding how to relate to the teacher (or guru), under What is guru devotion in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, which is part of our Buddhism FAQs.
International Office is open to suggestions for how FPMT safeguarding and grievance resolution procedures could be improved.
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