PURPOSE OF A CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Child abuse happens in all societies throughout the world. The child abusers can be anyone, including those who work/care for children.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that:
- – All children have equal rights to protection from abuse and exploitation.
- – Everybody has a responsibility to support the care and protection of children.
- – The duty bearers are accountable to eradicate child abuse.
Based on the above guiding context and principles, Feeding Dreams Cambodia is obliged and committed to ensuring that children involved with its programs are protected from any form of abuse.
A child means every human being below the age of eighteen years.
Child abuse includes sexual exploitation, physical or mental harm deliberately caused to a child.
Child Protection Policy is a statement of intent that demonstrates a commitment to safeguard children from harm and makes clear to all what is required in relation to the protection of children. It helps to create a safe and positive environment for children and to show that the organisation is taking its duty of care seriously.
Statement of Commitment
Feeding Dreams Cambodia’s first priority is the safety and well being of the children under its care. Feeding Dreams is committed to a strict child protection policy to ensure the children are not exposed to abuse, exploitation, violence or neglect.
This policy conforms to the general principles of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child as follows:
Best Interests of the Child: The best interests of the child will be Feeding Dream’s primary consideration. All decisions and actions concerning a child will serve the best interests of the child. When weighing up alternatives Feeding Dreams will seek to ensure that the final decision or action arrived at will be that in which the child receives the maximum benefit possible. Feeding Dreams will at all times consider the impact a decision or action will have on the child and ensure the positive impacts outweigh any negative impacts.
Non-Discrimination: Feeding Dreams will enforce a policy of non-discrimination at all times and all children will be treated with respect and love equally.
Participation and Self-Determination: Feeding Dreams abides by the principle that a child has theright to have his or her views taken into account in accordance with their age development in major decisions affecting their life. They will be given the opportunity to express their ideas and views and be heard on matters affecting them.
Feeding Dreams aims to provide safe and friendly environments where children can develop and grow in a healthy way.
The guidelines in this Child Protection Policy protect both the child from abuse and adult from false accusation.
Feeding Dreams Cambodia will
- – Respect the rights and dignity of the children, families and communities with whom we work, and always act according to the best interest of children.
- – Demonstrate commitment to actively preventing child abuse.
- – Take positive action to prevent child abusers becoming involved with Feeding Dreams in any way and take stringent measures against any Feeding Dreams associate who commits child abuse
To ensure the above commitment, Feeding Dreams Cambodia is committed to upholding
- – the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child
- – Cambodian constitution, especially articles 41 and 42 (Please see appendix I)
- – The Cambodian current and future laws and tools on child rights.
- – Positive traditional practice
1. WHO THIS POLICY APPLIES TO AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR IMPLEMENTATION
This policy applies to all associates of Feeding Dreams Cambodia: interns, volunteers, employees, prospective employees, counterparts, consultants, contractors, partner organisation members and visitors.
Feeding Dreams will ensure the Child Protection Policy remains relevant and effective. Feeding Dreams will consistently monitor all risks pertaining to the Children and when needed, make any necessary changes to the Child Protection Policy.
Feeding Dreams will advise and assist all Feeding Dreams associates in the implementation of the policy.
2. VISITORS TO THE CENTRE
No visitor is allowed in without informing the Feeding Dreams director, manager or senior staff member, unless prior authority has been granted.
All visitors are escorted by Feeding Dreams Security staff from the security gate to the relevant office or appointment.
All visitors are closely monitored by Feeding Dreams staff, No visitor is left alone. Photography is only permitted if Feeding Dreams management give approval.
3. PERSONNEL RECRUITMENT, VOLUNTEERING, SCREENING AND ORIENTATION
Advertisements for job vacancies will make clear that Feeding Dreams Cambodia is committed to child protection and that prospective employees’ commitment to child protection must be a condition of employment.
All prospective Feeding Dreams associates will be informed of Feeding Dreams Child Protection Policy at the start of any recruiting process.
Screening of applicants may include a written application, personal interviews (where possible), copy of passport/ID card, any Child Safe children’s cards eg: Australian ‘Blue Card’, reference/police checks and reference checks. During the interview process, applicants are asked about previous work with children.
Where possible and permissible by local law, applicants for staff positions are requested to give permission for a criminal record or police check for any conviction related to child abuse or other relevant offences. Expatriates are subject to the same background checks as possible and permissible by law in their home countries.
Feeding Dreams reserves the right to terminate a contract if reference checks (and background check in the future) reveal that the person is not suitable to work with children or for any reason that may put children at risk.
The Child Protection Policy is reviewed during new staff and volunteer orientation. All new personnel and volunteers acknowledge in writing their receipt and understanding of the policy, with signed copies of their acknowledgement kept in personal files.
4. CODE OF CONDUCT FOR FEEDING DREAMS PERSONNEL
A code of conduct gives guidelines deemed to be appropriate and proper behaviour for Feeding Dreams Cambodia associates when interacting with Children in the care of Feeding Dreams. They are primarily designed to protect children but are also intended to protect personnel from false accusations of inappropriate behaviour or abuse.
No child is to be taken on a motorbike, tuk-tuk or car without making priorarrangements with the directors or Manager.
No child is to be taken to any Feeding Dreams associates home, guesthouse, hotel or accommodation.
No Feeding Dreams associate is permitted to socialise with the children outside the Feeding Dreams premises apart from a friendly hello.
No Feeding Dreams associate or sponsor is permitted to visit homes of the children/family without the presence of a Feeding Dreams staff member.
No Feeding Dreams associate is permitted to take any child to a café, restaurant or buy them food, unless permission has expressly been given by the Feeding Dreams Director or Manager. If the children are obviously hungry, then the Directors or Manager are to be informed immediately.
No presents of any kind are to be given to the children without prior arrangement with Director or Manager.
Feeding Dreams associates should not act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children or perpetrate any form of emotional abuse.
Feeding Dreams associates must display appropriate language, actions and relationships with children at all times. Extra care should be given to protecting the reputation of both female children and Feeding Dreams staff by ensuring that language and behaviour at all times reflect appropriate male-female relationships, which are respectful of and in line with Cambodian culture and customs.
Feeding Dreams personnel should not hire any of the Feeding Dreams children to do domestic work or to perform other work without prior permission from the Feeding Dreams director or Managers.
Feeding Dreams staff must take extreme care when interacting physically with the Children. Feeding Dreams staff must not fondle, hold, kiss, hug or touch minors in an inappropriate or culturally insensitive way. Under no circumstance should any physical contact be or have the appearance of being sexual in any way.
Feeding Dreams personnel must not exert inappropriate physical force when dealing with the Children. This includes, but is not limited to, pushing, shoving, hitting, or any other action that could cause fear, intimidation or distress.
Feeding Dreams personnel are responsible for their actions and reactions to Children at all times. They should be aware that they might work with children who may, because of the circumstances and abuses they have experienced, use a relationship with an adult to obtain ‘special attention’. The adult is always considered responsible for his or her actions regardless of how a child behaves towards them. Staff should be alert to such behaviour and avoid being placed in a compromising or vulnerable position.
Inappropriate conduct toward children, including failure to follow the behaviour standards stated above is grounds for discipline, up to and including dismissal from employment or placement and/or police notification and legal action.
No email access is permitted with a child without the permission of the Director or Project Manager and the supervision of an authorized staff member.
5. AWARENESS RAISING AND EDUCATION
Feeding Dreams is obliged to make all Feeding Dreams associates aware of the issue of child protection and Child Protection Policy.
All Feeding Dreams associates and local communities are provided with opportunities to learn about how to safeguard children, to recognise and respond to concerns about child abuse.
Students are educated in self-protection from physical and sexual abuse. Children are taught that they have a right to do something if an adult or another young person behaves or talks to them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable or in danger, and to trust and act on their instincts.
The Director of Feeding Dreams Cambodia initiates an open culture, encouraging opportunities for staff to raise concerns, to question, to discuss, to feedback, and learn about child protection issues. This is done during staff meetings and through supervised training. Staff is trained to identify and to report suspicious behaviour to the Director.
6. COMMUNICATIONS ABOUT CHILDREN
All communications regarding Feeding Dreams students ensure that the protection, privacy, dignity and best interests of the child are paramount.
The consent of Feeding Dreams Management should always be obtained before recording or photographing children at Feeding Dreams. The intended use(s) must also be explained to Feeding Dreams Management.
Children should be adequately clothed in photographs or images taken of them and not in poses that could be interpreted as sexually suggestive.
I have read the complete Feeding Dreams Cambodia Internal Child Protection Policy. I fully understand and agree to follow all procedures contained within.
If at any time I fail to follow the guidelines set forth by the Feeding Dreams Cambodia Child Protection Policy I understand that my employment / association may be terminated by the Director and appropriate action will be taken.