CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
In recognition of accountabilities as one among the child rights duty bearers, Unyphil – Women commit to respect, promote, facilitate to fulfill and protect the rights of ALL children participating in and reached by project work.
The purpose of these policy is to ensure the safety and well-being of all the young people and children in our areas and to safeguard them against any potential abuse.
The organization is completely supports the holistic concept of well-being and development of the children we served. Unyphil – Women, therefore, commits to establishing and implementing policies which protect the safety, privacy, and dignity of children who participate in our programs.
Section 1. Definition of Terms
Child – Every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.
Child Protection – The responsibilities and activities undertaken to prevent or stop children from being abused or harmed. All children have the right to protection from abuse irrespective of race, social background, age, gender, skin color, disability, religion, caste or beliefs.
Child Abuse – Refers to situations where the child may experience harm, usually as a result of maltreatment (whether habitual or not) or failure to ensure a reasonable standard of care and protection. It may include both actions and omissions on the part of the parent or caregiver and is normally categorized into four main forms: physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect. It is often the case that a child discovered to be suffering one form of abuse will also be experiencing others.
Physical Abuse – The actual or likely physical injury to a child, or failure to prevent physical injury, or suffering, to a child, including but not limited to deliberate or non-accidental hitting, beating, shaking, throwing, burning, drowning, suffocating or poisoning, drugging, and including any form of corporal punishment.
Emotional abuse. The actual or likely adverse effect on the emotional and behavioral development of a child caused by persistent or severe emotional ill-treatment or rejection. It may also include any deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being, including emotional punishment.
Sexual abuse. Includes rape, incest, and all forms of sexual activity involving children before the age of sexual consent, including pornography. It also includes the actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child. Sexual exploitation is the exchange of money or other economic favors in return for sex.
Section 2. The Code of Conduct
This section sets out the principles and the positive approaches that will be employed in the work with the children.
In all aspects of the work, everyone must promote children’s rights to:
- Have their health, safety and well-being, and their best interests considered paramount.
- Have their welfare and development promoted and safeguarded so that they can achieve their full potential.
- Be valued, respected and understood within the context of their own culture, religion and ethnicity, and to have their needs identified and met within this context and within the context of their family wherever possible.
- Be listened to and to have their views given careful consideration, and to be encouraged and helped to participate in decisions which affect them.
In order that these rights are respected, when staff and others are in contact with the children, they should at all times:
- Treat children with respect and recognize them as individuals in their own right.
- Regard them positively and value them as individuals who have specific needs and rights and a particular contribution to make.
- Work with them in a spirit of cooperation and partnership based on mutual trust and respect.
- Value their views and take them seriously.
- Work with them in ways that enhance their inherent capacities and capabilities, and develop their potential.
- Strive to understand them within the context in which they live.
It is important for all staff and others in contact with the children to:
- Be aware of situations, which may present risks and manage these risks.
- Plan and organize the work and the workplace so as to minimize risks.
- As far as possible, be visible in working with the children.
- Ensure that a culture of openness exists between and among staff and children to enable any issues or concerns to be raised and discussed.
- Ensure that a sense of accountability exists between staff so that poor practice or potentially abusive behavior does not go unchallenged.
- Talk to children about their contact with staff or others and encourage them to raise any concerns.
- Empower children by discussing with them their rights, what is acceptable and unacceptable, and what they can do if there is a problem.
- Staff should ensure that activities should not against the ISLAMIC TEACHING.
- Staff also ensure that there is a separate prayer space for men and women/ girl and boys.
In general, it is inappropriate for staff and others to:
- Spend excessive time alone with children away from others. No one must ever be alone with children who are not their own offspring in a private place that cannot be readily seen by other responsible adults.
- Where possible and practical, the ‘two-adult’ rule, wherein two or more adults supervise all children’s activities, should be followed. If this is not possible, staff members are encouraged to look for alternatives such as being accompanied by community members on such activities.
- Take children to their home or office, especially where they will be alone with the children.
- Give special personal favors or gifts to a child/children. Everyone must be aware that children who have been abused, may use or manipulate a relationship to obtain special attention. Adults are always considered accountable not to exploit children’s vulnerabilities.
- Ask for personal favors from a child/ren.
- Treat one child or a group of children better or worse than others. Everyone should be equally treated.
- Refuse to believe what a child says or suggest that she is not telling the truth.
- Try to make children say or do things which they do not want to say or do.
- Force or persuade any child to do things that s/he should not do, including activities that are illegal (e.g. sell drugs), unsafe or harmful for anyone else (e.g. hitting or teasing).
- Ignore what a child says, including questions and requests.
- Insult a child or make her feel stupid or embarrassed.
Staff and others must never:
- Intentionally or deliberately hit or otherwise physically assault or physically abuse children.
- Inflict any form of emotional and physical punishment on children under their care.
- Develop physical or sexual relationships with children.
- Develop special relationships with children, which could in any way be deemed exploitative or abusive or could exclude others.
- Act in ways that may be abusive or may place a child at risk of abuse.
Staff and others must avoid actions or behavior that could be construed as poor practice or potentially abusive. For example, they should never:
- Use language, make suggestions or offer advice, which is inappropriate, offensive or abusive.
- Behave physically in a manner, which is inappropriate or sexually provocative.
- Dress inappropriately and in a culturally-insensitive manner in working with children and their families and communities.
- Have a child or children with whom they are working with to stay at their home or offices unsupervised and having children to stay temporarily in offices, which do not have facilities for residential care.
- Sleep in the same room alone with a child with whom they are working with.
- Do things for children of a personal nature that they can do for themselves.
- Condone, or participate in, behavior of children, which is illegal, unsafe or abusive.
- Act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children, or otherwise perpetrate any form of emotional abuse.
- Discriminate against, show differential treatment, or favor particular children to the exclusion of others.
Section 6. Children and Child Participation
It is recognized that children have a significant role in advocating for their own issues and concerns. However, ensuring that they are protected in the whole process of their involvement in advocacy is still the partner organization’s primary accountability. In general, organizations must adhere to the following:
- Any photograph of or stories about children that is used by the organization in its advocacy work, including fund-raising campaigns, shall never portray or show children in vulnerable or pitiful situations and as helpless victims. Photographs must treat children with decency and respect, e.g. children should be adequately dressed. Poses that could be interpreted as sexually suggestive or endangers their privacy or safety should be avoided. Language that implies a relationship of power should likewise be avoided.
- Whenever photographs of children are used, special care shall be taken to protect children’s identities and the specific geographic location and identifying information, as necessary.
- Disclosure of information about past or present abuse of children and any of the persons involved should be avoided and sharing of information shall be limited only to the people who need to know.
- Individuals or organizations requesting the use of resources such as videos or photographs should be required to sign an agreement of commitment to only use these in a child-sensitive manner. The agreement should include a statement that any use of such materials for purposes other than what is agreed upon could subject the borrowing individual or organization to legal action. Furthermore, failure to adhere to the agreed upon use of the material will result in the immediate termination of consent to use the materials. As such, these materials including any copies, shall be immediately returned to the organization.
- Private correspondence with individual children by any person who acquired access to a child/ren is strongly discouraged. When reasonable ground exists and with due respect to a child’s privacy, all correspondence shall be reviewed for inappropriate or suggestive comments, requests or obscenities. In the event of inappropriate correspondence being discovered, appropriate action shall be taken as provided in Section 5.B.
A. Children and the media
In the course of children’s contact with the media and or other visitors, the following shall be taken:
- Ensure that the children understand that what they say and photographs taken may be published for wider circulation.
- Discuss implications of their participation, their apprehensions, fears, anxieties, especially regarding handling of sensitive information such as disclosure of abuse.
- Discuss the activities that will take place, when, where, how long it will take.
- Inform the children of their right not to disclose or discuss anything they do not wish to discuss. They can refuse to answer any question if they wish to do so. They could also request for their identities to be concealed if they wish.
- Get a written agreement with the media, whenever possible, that the use of any of the articles or photographs must always be with the consent of the organization who will in turn get the consent of the concerned children. This is to ensure that this would not have any negative consequences for them or their families.
- It is only when the children and their parents are fully informed of the objectives, implications and activities involved can you ask them to decide if they want to join the activities.
- Take time to have a debriefing session with the children. Discuss with them what went well, what did not go well and what they have learned from this experience. Take the time also to share with the parents what happened during the focus group discussions. Remind them what will happen next (write-up of articles and case studies, photographs), including updates on the publication of materials that include the interviews and photographs with them. After the project, all articles (including case studies) will be checked by the organization, who will determine whether there is a need consult the children and other participants.
- Make sure to provide the children with updates about the activity with the media. Share with them the articles and the photographs.
- It is recognized that the world-wide web is increasingly being used by those seeking to abuse children, and that photographs can be doctored to abuse of children. In line with this, only pictures of groups (not at individuals) of children, will be posted on the organization’s website.