Policy

Youth Development and Voice Initiative (YOVI)


CHILD SAFEGUARDING POLICY

 

Protecting children Preventing abuse

Promoting child safe organisations

 

12.09.16

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SECTION I:       INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION                                 3

YOVI mission statement                                                                                                       3

The remits of YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy                                                                    3

YOVI’s Child safeguarding definitions                                                                                   3

What is a Child Safeguarding Policy?                                                                                    4

Why do we need a Child Safeguarding Policy?                                                                    5

SECTION II: YOVI’s CHILD SAFEGUARDING POLICY                                                             6

Guiding principles for YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy                                                      6

Who is bound by the policy?                                                                                                7

Definitions of those involved in YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy                                       7

SECTION III: YOVI’s SPECIFIC CHILD SAFEGUARDING REQUIREMENTS: AREAS ONE TO THREE 8

Area one: YOVI Ghana                                                                                                          8

  • Board of Trustees 8
  • Staff 8
  • Interns and Volunteers 9
  • Consultants 9

Area two: YOVI partners                                                                                                       10

  • YOVI’s Ghana partners with existing Child Protection Policies 10
  • YOVI’s Ghana partners without existing Child Protection Policies 10
  • YOVI’s Partners with existing Child Protection Policies 10
  • YOVI’s Partners without existing Child Protection Policies 10

SECTION IV: YOVI CHILD SAFEGUARDING: DEVELOPING GOOD POLICY AND PRACTICE 12

YOVI Personnel recruitment procedure                                                                               12

YOVI Management structure                                                                                                13

YOVI Education and training                                                                                                 14

YOVI’s Behaviour protocols                                                                                                  15

YOVI Code of Conduct                                                                                                          15

YOVI communication guidelines                                                                                           16

YOVI’s reporting and reaction protocol                                                                               17

Allegations from a child                                                                                                        17

Management flowchart for responding to suspected abuse                                               20

Ramifications of misconduct                                                                                                20

SECTION V: STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT                                                                       22

SECTION I: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Youth Development and Voice Initiative will be referred to as YOVI throughout this document

YOVI’s Mission Statement

YOVI’s work together with Stakeholders, development partners, and poor communities to advocate for the respect of the rights of children, Youth and Women to derive change on their own terms whilst contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of young people through SRHR education and services. As a rights-based organisation we believe in enhancing the development of children and Youth and empowering them to realise their full potentials.

The remits of YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy

A Child Safeguarding Policy approved by YOVI is a requirement for YOVI operations and its partners locally and Internationally. Organisations partnering with YOVI will need to meet this requirement.

This policy is about organisational child safeguarding – i.e. building ‘child-safe organisations.’ It aims to cover key areas of organisational child safeguarding and is:

  1. An outline of good practice YOVI follows and would encourage all child focused organisations to follow
  2. A model to be adapted by each partner to help develop their own Child Safeguarding Policy and practice.

 

YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Definitions

Child

For the purposes of this policy, a child is defined as anyone under the age of 18, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Child abuse

  • There arefour main categories of child abuse:
    • Physical abuse: including hurting or injuring a child, such as hitting, shaking, scalding, or suffocating. It also includes giving a child harmful substances, such as drugs, alcohol or poison.
    • Sexual abuse: including direct or indirect sexual exploitation or corruption of children by involving them (or threatening to involve them) in inappropriate sexual activities.
    • Emotional abuse: repeatedly rejecting children, humiliating them or denying their worth and rights as human beings. Witnessing domestic violence is regarded as a form of emotional abuse.
    • Neglect: the persistent lack of appropriate care of children, including love, stimulation, safety, nourishment, warmth, education, and/or medical attention.
  • A child who is being abused may experience more than one type of abuse
  • Discrimination, harassment, and bullying are also abusive and can harm a child, both physically and emotionally.

Child safeguarding

A broad term to describe philosophies, policies, principles, standards, guidelines and procedures to protect children from both intentional and unintentional abuse. In the current context, it applies particularly to the duty of organisations – and individuals associated with those organisations – towards children in their care.

Direct contact with children

Being in the physical presence of children whether contact is occasional or regular, short or long term. This could involve delivering talks such as to schools, churches, or youth groups; project/site visits, or attending conferences at which children are also present. [N.B. this list of examples is not exhaustive].

Indirect contact with children

  1. Having access to information on children, such as children’s names, locations (addresses of individuals or projects), photographs or case studies
  2. Providing funding for organisations that work ‘directly’ with children. Albeit indirectly, this nonetheless has an impact on children, and therefore confers upon the donor organisation responsibility for child protection issues [N.B. this list of examples is not exhaustive].

What is a Child Safeguarding Policy?  

A Child Safeguarding Policy provides a framework of principles, standards, guidelines and procedures on which to base individual and organisational practice. YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy focuses on creating ‘child safe’ and ‘child friendly’ organisations (in relation to environmental safety as well as protection against emotional, physical and sexual abuse and neglect). A Child Safeguarding Policy should include:

  • Introduction to the organisation and relevant background information
  • The remits of the Child Safeguarding Policy
  • Relevant definitions
  • Guiding principles
  • Who is bound by the policy
  • Specific organisational child safeguarding requirements
  • Personnel recruitment procedure
  • Management structure
  • Education and training
  • Behaviour protocols
  • Code of Conduct
  • Communication guidelines
  • Reporting and reaction protocol
  • Allegations from a child   Ramifications of misconduct.

YOVI undertakes to review and update its Child Safeguarding Policy a minimum of once every four years or whenever there is a major change in the organisation or in relevant legislation, to guarantee the best available policies and practice for child safeguarding.

YOVI expects its partner organisations to review their Child Safeguarding Policies similarly and undertake to update YOVI on any legislative changes.

Why do we need a Child Safeguarding Policy?

  • Children are especially vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and ill-treatment at the hands of carers, other project workers, and those with access to their personal information. Many have already experienced ruptured relationships of trust or abuse of an adult-child relationship in the form of physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect.
  • Organisations working with children have been, are and will continue to be vulnerable to harbouring abuse until clear Child Safeguarding Policies and practices are in place and the issues are brought into the open.
  • Organisations without safeguarding policies and practices are more vulnerable to false or malicious accusations of abuse
  • Without proper policies and practices in place, allegations of abuse, whether founded or unfounded, can destroy an organisation’s reputation. This will have serious implications for the organisation as well as risking damaging the reputation of the child focussed NGO sector as a whole.
  • Because the potential for child abuse exists throughout the world, YOVI, as a local NGO, is ideally placed to promote awareness and standards of child safeguarding and to engage in capacity building on child safeguarding.

SECTION II: YOVI’S CHILD SAFEGUARDING POLICY

Guiding principles for YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy

• The legal basis – the UNCRC: YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy is firmly based on the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

• In Ghana and inline with the Children’s Act 560, 1998, it is the responsibility of any adult who has reasonable concerns/knowledge of child abuse to report it to Social Services/the police. YOVI expects all individuals and organisations to report suspected/known child abuse to the appropriate authorities in an appropriate and timely manner. In the majority of cases, child abuse should be reported as soon as an individual/organisation becomes aware of abuse.

• The moral basis – a non-negotiable duty: YOVI believes that NGOs working for children’s rights have an absolute duty to protect children from abuse. This duty is imperative and non-negotiable. Without adequate standards and mechanisms of protection in place, an organisation is not only failing in its primary duty of care, but may also be negligently or recklessly fostering an environment of abuse. Any organisation that claims to be working for the benefit of children must make sure that it is not putting children at risk through lack of attention to Child Safeguarding Policies and practice.

• An end to silence: Silence breeds abuse of children. Those seeking to cause harm to children may seek out organisations with weak communication structures. Furthermore, without proper policies and explicit procedures in place, NGOs are extremely vulnerable to allegations of child abuse. YOVI therefore believes in:

o Creating an environment within and between organisations where issues of child safeguarding are discussed openly, understood between children and adults and awareness, policy and practice developed.

o Creating a framework to deal transparently, consistently and fairly with allegations concerning abuse.

• Children’s participation – a space and a voice: The best way to protect children is to empower them to protect themselves. Creating a space where children feel able and willing to speak out about abuse empowers them to become actors in their own protection. Children will only benefit from this policy if they are aware of their rights and are given the proper environment in which to exercise them

• Taking it further: Child Safeguarding is not just about reading and signing a piece of paper: the policy sets out guidelines and standards that must be put into practice.

• Capacity building: YOVI understands the need for capacity building on issues of child safeguarding and appreciates the constraints and conditions under which organisations operate; however, YOVI strongly advocates the importance of an assigned Child Safeguarding Officer receiving regular child safeguarding training and keeping staff members informed of changes in legislation. YOVI is committed to undertaking such capacity building in partnership with others

• Challenging complacency: Resistance to addressing child safeguarding issues may come from lack of understanding of the nature of child abuse, lack of commitment to the organisation/programme, and a sense that child abuse happens elsewhere. Organisations should ask themselves: “If safety and well-being of children are not at the centre of the organisation’s programme/activities, then why not?” It is unacceptable that it sometimes takes an incident of abuse to shock some organisations into action. YOVI will challenge complacency as a matter of course.

• These principles underlie all of the standards set out in this document.

Who is bound by the policy?

YOVI is involved in many areas, and in working for the rights of children. Each partner organisation associated with YOVI in any way is:
o Held accountable for good practice
o Informed of the Child Safeguarding Policy and any relevant updates to it o Asked to sign a Statement of Commitment (Section V) to the principles contained herein as a prerequisite for working with/alongside YOVI.

This policy applies to the following five areas:

Area One: YOVI Ghana
Area Two: YOVI’s Ghana Organisational Partners
Area Three: YOVI’s International Organisational Partners

Definitions of those involved in YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy

YOVI Ghana

Board of Trustees, staff, consultants, interns and volunteers involved with YOVI, whether paid or unpaid.

Organisational Partners

Organisations associated with YOVI and YOVI which are working with children (Ghana or internationally, whether funding is occasional or regular, short or long term, for a specific project or towards core costs and regardless of the amount of money involved.

SECTION III: YOVI’S SPECIFIC CHILD SAFEGUARDING REQUIREMENTS: AREAS ONE TO THREE

The detailed requirements for YOVI set out below may be helpful as a guide for partners developing/ reviewing their own Child Protection Policies.

AREA ONE: YOVI Ghana

This section sets out YOVI’s own detailed requirements for its practice. The requirements and guidance for partner organisations.  

Board of Trustees:  

  • YOVI Board of Trustees are bound to the principles and practice of the Child Safeguarding Policy. There must be one or more trustees, with relevant expertise, nominated by the trustee board, taking responsibility for child protection.
  • Each Trustee will be:
  • Expected to sign YOVI’s Statement of Commitment and adhere to YOVI’s

Child Safeguarding Policy  o Expected to provide two contacts for referees who will be written to and can be verified by telephone

    • Relevant board of trustees are expected to attend child safeguarding training and keep abreast of updates on changes in child protection legislation.
    • The Child Safeguarding Officer at YOVI is responsible for informing trustees about child safeguarding principles and practice as well as any relevant updates on changes in child safeguarding legislation.
  • A copy of YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy is included in YOVI’s Board of Trustee Induction Pack which is presented to every trustee.

Staff:

  • YOVI staff, full and part-time, are bound to the principles and practice of the Child Safeguarding Policy
  • Direct lines of communication amongst the staff must be implemented and a Child Safeguarding Officer assigned to be responsible for child safeguarding issues
  • Each staff member with direct or indirect contact with children will be:

 

    • Expected to sign YOVI’s Statement of Commitment and adhere to YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy
    • Expected to provide two contacts for referees who will be written to and can be verified by telephone
    • The Child Safeguarding Officer and relevant staff members are expected to attend child safeguarding training and keep abreast of updates on changes in child protection legislation
    • The Child Safeguarding Officer is responsible for informing board of trustees, staff, interns and volunteers about child protection principles and practice as well as any relevant updates on changes in child safeguarding legislation.
  • A copy of YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy is included in YOVI’s Staff Induction Pack which is presented to every new member of staff.

Interns and Volunteers:

  • YOVI interns and volunteers are bound to the principles and practice of the Child Safeguarding Policy
  • As interns and volunteers are often employed temporarily, the Child Safeguarding Officer must stress the importance of the Child Safeguarding Policy and practice during initial induction training, and ensure that interns and volunteers have understood them and follow them correctly.
  • Each intern and volunteer with direct or indirect contact with children will be:
    • Expected to sign YOVI’s Statement of Commitment and adhere to YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy
    • Expected to provide two contacts for referees who will be written to and can be verified by telephone
  • The Child Safeguarding Officer is responsible for informing interns and volunteers about child safeguarding principles and practice as well as any relevant updates on changes in child safeguarding legislation.
  • A copy of YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy is included in YOVI’s Intern Induction Pack which is presented to every intern and volunteer.

Consultants:

  • Each individual or organisation whose services are used by YOVI, and which include direct or indirect contact with children, such as consultants, will be made aware of YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy by being issued a copy of the Policy
  • If the type of work carried out involves direct or indirect contact with children, the following standards shall apply:
  • Each consultant will be:
    • Expected to sign YOVI’s Statement of Commitment and adhere to YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy
    • Expected to provide two contacts for referees who will be written to and can be verified by telephone
    • Relevant consultants are expected to attend child safeguarding training and keep abreast of updates on changes in child protection legislation
    • The Child Safeguarding Officer is responsible for informing consultants about child safeguarding principles and practice as well as any relevant updates on changes in child protection legislation.
  • If the type of work carried out involves no contact with children (direct or indirect), and no access to information regarding children, (e.g. accountant, auditor), then no formal procedure is necessary.

 

 

AREA 2: YOVI GHANA ORGANISATIONAL PARTNERS

Every YOVI partner is bound to the principles contained in this policy. All those in the organisation with either direct or indirect contact with children are required to adhered to the policy.

 

YOVI Ghana organisational Partners with existing Child Safeguarding Policies of their own will be:

  • Expected to provide YOVI with the name of a Child Safeguarding Officer within the organisation with responsibility for and communication on child safeguarding issues as well as signing the Statement of Commitment.

YOVI’s Ghana organisational Partners without an existing Child Safeguarding Policy of their own will be:

  • Expected to develop their own Child Safeguarding Policy (assistance with this process will be available from YOVI) or
  • Expected to adapt YOVI’s own Child Safeguarding Policy for their own use (assistance with this process will be available from YOVI)
  • Expected to provide YOVI with the name of a Child Safeguarding Officer within the organisation who will be held responsible for reading YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy and signing the Statement of Commitment on behalf of the organisation, as well as being the named contact for communication on child safeguarding issues.

 

AREA 3: YOVI INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONAL PARTNERS

 

Every YOVI organisational Partner, whether working directly or indirectly with children is bound to the principles contained in this policy. All those in the organisation with either direct or indirect contact with children are required to adhere to this policy.

YOVI recognises that many international organisations are experienced in the field of child safeguarding but may be new to YOVI’s requirements. YOVI’s child safeguarding principles as outlined in this policy are universally and cross-culturally applicable.  However, whilst maintaining a strong commitment to these principles, and in the belief that such fundamental principles are not culturally negotiable, YOVI nonetheless recognises:

  • The difficulties faced by some agencies in developing Child Safeguarding Policies internationally, in situations of scarcity of resources and lack of knowledge, supportive systems and legislative frameworks
  • That where Child Safeguarding Policies are not in place, time will be needed to develop, write and institute them
  • That YOVI, in collaboration with its Partners, has an important capacity-building role to play in this process.

SECTION IV: YOVI CHILD SAFEGUARDING:

DEVELOPING GOOD POLICY & PRACTICE

The following is a guideline on what should be considered for inclusion in an organisation’s Child Safeguarding Policy and for those reviewing their policies:

  • Introduction to the organisation and relevant background information
  • The remits of the Child Safeguarding Policy
  • Relevant definitions
  • Guiding principles
  • Who is bound by the policy?
  • Specific organisational child safeguarding requirements
  • Personnel recruitment procedure
  • Management structure
  • Education and training
  • Behaviour protocols
  • Code of Conduct
  • Communication guidelines
  • Reporting and reaction protocol
  • Allegations from a child
  • Ramifications of misconduct.

 

YOVI Personnel Recruitment Procedure

There will be a thorough and standardised process within the organisation that applies to the recruitment of all Board of Trustees, employees, consultants, interns and volunteers whether paid or unpaid, full time or part time, temporary or long-term, having direct or indirect contact with children. The process shall include:

  • A candidate specification that accompanies each job description, against which applicants are judged, to ensure that the best candidate for the job is selected, above and beyond child safeguarding considerations.
  • The requirement for each potential trustee, employee, consultant, intern and volunteer to read, understand and accept compliance with the organisation’s Child Safeguarding Policy and practice as part of the terms and conditions of recruitment, including signing the Statement of Commitment.
  • The required minimum of two character references (excluding family members and those who have known the applicant personally for less than two years) who will be written to and can be verified by telephone.
  • A standardized interview process which includes:
    • One member of the recruitment panel to be the Child Safeguarding Officer or to liaise with the designated Child Safeguarding Officer. o Specific questions at an interview on child safeguarding and the candidate’s commitment to, and respect for, Child Safeguarding Policies and procedures as well as the candidate’s motivation for working with children (as appropriate to the role).
    • Attentiveness to anything suspicious in employment history (including gaps), and the use of references via telephone to clarify any areas of concern.

 

YOVI Management Structure

The management structure reflects the organisation’s core principles, upholding a professional approach toward child safeguarding issues and demonstrating awareness of matters of abuse. The structure adopted in order to facilitate implementation of the Child Safeguarding Policy and procedures includes:

  • A designated Trustee responsible for the implementation of the Child Safeguarding Policy. The Trustee should have sufficient knowledge, training and support to carry out the role. If there is no designated Trustee, the Chair of Trustees takes responsibility.
  • A designated Child Safegusrding Officer responsible for the implementation of the Child Safeguarding Policy. The Officer should have sufficient knowledge, training and support to carry out the role. At each appropriate level or setting in the organisation there should be a named person/s to whom people can talk about child safeguarding matters.
  • Ongoing supervision, monitoring and support of individuals working directly with children, or with access to information on children, integrated into the regular schedule of the supervisor/line manager, with support as required from the Child Safeguarding Officer.
  • Regular, formal staff evaluations including an opportunity to discuss child safeguarding issues.
  • Regular internal and external project inspections to ensure objectivity and transparency. External monitoring and feedback is not only beneficial as a child protection measure, but also as a way to constantly revaluate the structures and efficiency of an organisation’s programmes and projects as a whole.
  • Open lines of communication within the organisation where understanding abuse and listening and responding to concerns are the main priority. This creates an atmosphere of support and encouragement for reporting concerns, as child safeguarding can be a difficult issue to confront.
  • Limiting the disclosure of personal information about children, including legal cases, to those employees, contractors, board of trustees, officers, interns and volunteers who need to know.
  • Board of Trustees taking responsibility to assure themselves that the organisation’s Child Safeguarding Policy is being implemented and that policy and practice is reviewed at least every four years.
  • The responsibilities of the designated Child Safeguarding Officer in an organisation to include:
    • Promoting an open, responsive and supportive attitude to child safeguarding within the organisation.
    • Promoting awareness and implementation of both policy and practice throughout the organisation.
    • Monitoring implementation of the policy and reporting regularly to the organisation’s board of trustees and management.
    • Maintaining knowledge of best practice, child safeguarding updates and statutory requirements.
    • Developing child safeguarding training and resources as required
    • Leading on the organisation’s response to child safeguarding concerns and allegations alongside relevant staff and trustees.

 

YOVI Education and Training

YOVI aims to encourage opportunities to question and learn about child safeguarding issues. There are opportunities within the organisation, led by the Child Safeguarding Officer, to develop and maintain the necessary skills and understanding to safeguard children. These opportunities – for all board of trustees, employees, consultants, interns and volunteers – include:

  • An induction process which includes: familiarisation with the Child Safeguarding Policy and practice; opportunities to learn about child safeguarding; and information and support on who to contact in the event of any concerns about child safeguarding issues.
  • Child safeguarding training as soon as possible (and at least within three months) of taking up their position if they are assigned the role of Child Safeguarding Officer OR inhouse training and updates from the assigned Child Safeguarding Officer (unless the individual has had child safeguarding training within the last twelve months).
  • Those who will have direct contact with children (e.g. through school or youth group contact; project visits) must be fully trained on the organisation’s behaviour protocols and guidelines and must be clear on who to contact in the event of any concerns.
  • Those who have access to information about children such as personal contact information, including their address, specific cases or incidents, or any other details of a child’s personal life, must be trained to fully understand what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable sharing of information regarding children.
  • Where possible, limitations should be recognised and arrangements made to deliver the training in as accessible way as possible.
  • It is recognised that child safeguarding training and the topic of child abuse are of a sensitive nature and may raise personal issues for staff. YOVI will endeavour to offer affected staff individual support, peer support from other members of staff, or referral to agencies with experience supporting survivors of child abuse.
  • A regular re-evaluation of training and policy procedures will be conducted, assuring a constant, up-to-date awareness of child safeguarding issues within the organisation.

 

Behaviour Protocols

  • The YOVI Code of Conduct supports the protection of children from abuse. It includes guidance on appropriate/expected standards of behaviour of adults towards children, and also of children towards other children.
  • The Code of Conduct should be prominently displayed/easily accessible for all organisation representatives.
  • Representatives of YOVI should disseminate and promote copies of the Code of Conduct in all situations where the organisation is responsible for bringing children into contact with adults.

 

YOVI Code of Conduct

  • The Code of Conduct should be interpreted in a spirit of transparency and common sense, with the best interests of the child as the primary consideration.
  • YOVI staff must make an attempt to understand the local norms around physical contact between children and adults.
  • Minimising risk situations:
    • Try to: avoid placing yourself in a compromising or vulnerable position; be accompanied by a second adult whenever possible; meet with a child in a central, public location whenever possible; immediately note, in a designated organisational Child Safeguarding Log Book or incident report sheet, the circumstances of any situation which occurs which may be subject to misinterpretation; keep in mind that actions, no matter how well intended, are always subject to misinterpretation by a third party.
    • Try not to: be alone with a child, including in the following situations: in a car (no matter how short the journey); overnight (no matter where the accommodation); in your home or the home of a child. Do not show favouritism or spend excessive amounts of time with one child. Do not give or accept gifts to/from any child or their parent/guardian.
  • Sexual behaviour:
    • Do not: engage in or allow sexually provocative games with children to take place; kiss, hug, fondle, rub, or touch a child in an inappropriate or culturally insensitive way; sleep in the same bed as a child; do things of a personal nature that a child could do for him/herself, including dressing, bathing, and grooming; encourage any crushes by a child.
  • Physical behaviour:
    • Do: wait for appropriate physical contact, to be initiated by the child.
  • Psychosocial behaviour:
    • Do: Be aware of the vulnerability inherent in adult-child relationships and avoid taking any advantage this may provide.
    • Do not: use language that may mentally or emotionally harm any child; suggest inappropriate behavior or relations or any kind; act in any way that intends to embarrass, shame, humiliate, or degrade a child; encourage any inappropriate attention-seeking behavior, such as tantrums, by a child; show discrimination of race, culture, age, gender, disability, religion, sexuality, or political persuasion.
  • Peer abuse:
    • Do: Be aware of the potential for peer abuse; develop special measures/supervision to protect younger and especially vulnerable children; avoid placing children in highrisk peer situations (e.g. unsupervised mixing of older and younger children)
    • Do not: allow children to engage in (sexually) provocative games with each other.
  • Physical environment:
    • Do: develop clear rules to address specific physical safety issues relative to the local physical environment of a project (e.g. for projects based near water, heavy road traffic, railway lines).

 

YOVI Communication Guidelines

  • Avoid:
    • Language and images that could degrade, victimize, or shame children
    • Making generalizations that do not accurately reflect the nature of the situation.
    • Discrimination of any kind.
    • Taking pictures out of context (e.g. pictures should be accompanied by an explanatory caption where possible).
  • Access to printed and electronic personal information about children should be restricted to the minimum number of people who need to know within the organization. Information that could be used to identify the identity and/or location of a child and cause them to be put at risk should not be used on the organization’s website or in any other form of communication for general or public purposes. Any web forum established should be monitored closely to ensure that children do not place identifying information about themselves on it. Any such information will be removed by YOVI staff as soon as they are aware of it.
  • Every child has a right to be accurately represented through both words and images. The organization’s portrayal of each child should not be manipulated or sensationalized in any way. Text and images included in any print, broadcast, or electronic materials such as brochures, publications, reports, videos or websites should depict an accurate and balanced depiction of children and their circumstances. Sufficient information should be provided where possible as to their social, cultural, and economic environment. Where children are indeed ‘victims’, the preservation of the child’s dignity must nevertheless be preserved at all times.
  • As far as possible, children should be able to give their own accounts rather than have people speak on their behalf, and children’s ability to take responsibility and action for themselves should be highlighted.
  • In images, children should be appropriately clothed and not depicted in any poses that could be interpreted as sexually provocative.
  • Always ask permission from the children themselves before taking photographs or moving images except under exceptional circumstances, based on the children’s best interests, where this might not be possible or desirable.
  • To the greatest extent possible, the organisation should acquire informed consent / the permission of the child/child’s parent/guardian/NGO responsible for the child in order to use the image for publicity, fundraising, awareness-raising or other purpose (which should be made clear to the consent-giver).
  • Individuals or organisations requesting the use of YOVI’s resources such as photographs are required to sign an agreement with YOVI as to the proper use of such materials. Failure to adhere to the agreed use of the material will result in the termination of the organisation’s permission to use the subject materials and/or require immediate return of all materials (including any copies made) provided by the organisation and could be subject to legal action.

Reporting and reaction protocol

The process for reporting and reacting to witnessed, suspected or alleged child abuse and/or violation of the Child Safeguarding Policy must be made available to, and understood by, all trustees, employees, consultants, interns, and volunteers. For organizations working directly with children, children themselves should be made aware of the reporting process using age-appropriate language so that they clearly understand. The process includes:

  • Guidance on the procedures for reporting incidents, concerns, and referrals which clarifies that the safeguarding of the child as the most important consideration
  • Guidance on recording and storing information: records should be signed, dated, and kept securely in a locked place to which access is restricted. The transfer of information – verbally, through the mail, electronically, etc. – should be done in such a way that confidentiality is maintained. Managers and Child Safeguarding Officers have a particular responsibility in maintaining the confidentiality of these records and must ensure that the records, or any information they contain, are made available only to relevant parties.
  • Guidance on dealing with allegations from a child that ensure that the child is treated with respect:

Allegations from a child

  • When a child informs you that s/he is uncomfortable or concerned with a specific person’s (adult’s or child’s) behavior towards them or another child, the following steps must be taken:
    • Reassure the child that s/he right to report the behavior
    • Listen carefully and calmly to him/her and if absolutely necessary, ask open and nonleading questions to clarify the allegation so that you will be able to later report the incident correctly. Avoid questioning where possible – rather, make a referral to an appropriately qualified person. (One of the key failings in
      dealing with disclosures of abuse is to contaminate the disclosure by inappropriate questioning and a failure to report to the appropriate body immediately)
    • If it is necessary to ask questions, try not to repeat the same questions to the child, as this gives him/her the impression that s/he did not give correct information the first time and are not fully believed
    • Do not promise secrecy to the child. Inform him/her that you must report the incident or inappropriate behavior as it is in his/her best interest
    • Take proper steps to ensure the physical safety and psychological well-being of the child. This may include referring him/her for medical treatment or to a psychologist
    • Make certain you distinguish between what the child has actually said and the inferences you may have made. Accuracy is paramount in this stage of the procedure
    • Do not permit personal doubt to prevent you from reporting the allegation
    • Let the child know what you are going to do next and that you will let them know what happens
    • Make an immediate, verbatim note of the conversation and store this somewhere safe where the contents will remain confidential
    • REFERRAL TO A LINE MANAGER MUST TAKE PLACE IMMEDIATELY. THE LINE MANAGER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR IMMEDIATE REFERRAL TO THE APPROPRIATE CHILD SAFEGUARDING AGENCY. Where any significant child protection disclosures are made, usually, a referral to Social Services and/or the Police should be considered.  It is therefore vital that every organization has a designated Child Safeguarding Officer who has the appropriate experience and expertise to advise on and make, if necessary, any appropriate referrals
    • Please note that where the child makes allegations of physical or sexual abuse of any description a medical examination and consideration of evidence gathering is highly likely to be required as a matter of urgency. Under no circumstances should any examination take place other than in consultation with the appropriate
      referral agencies, such as Social Services and/or the police and other than by an appropriately qualified medical officer.
  • The organization must take appropriate steps within its power to protect the child in question from further harm. If any information about the maltreatment of a child is known or child abuse suspected (however uncertain), it is the responsibility of each individual to report his/her concerns without delay, to the Child Safeguarding Officer/line manager in accordance with the organization’s reporting procedure as inaction may place the child in further danger(see Management Flowchart for Responding to Suspected Abuse)
  • The Child Safeguarding Officer/line manager may, in turn, seek guidance on further action from Social Services, the police or local equivalents.
  • If urgent action is required in order to protect a child and the Child Safeguarding Officer/line manager is unavailable, then an individual should report any child abuse/suspicion of child abuse directly to the police/Social Services (or local equivalent)
  • Relevant contact details for child safeguarding services, Social Services (or local equivalent), police, emergency medical help and helplines should be readily available and easily accessible to the organisation representatives.
  • Arrangements will be made for providing supervision and support to the board of trustees, employees, contractors, interns and volunteers during and following an incident or allegation.

The guiding principle that the best interests of the child, the need to ensure the immediate physical and psychological safety of the child, and the desire to secure the best outcomes for the child should always govern decisions regarding what action should be taken in response to concerns. 

Management Flowchart for Responding to Suspected Abuse

Ramifications of Misconduct

  • If an allegation of a violation of the Child Safeguarding Policy, principles or practice of child safeguarding is made concerning a named individual from a verifiable source against trustees, employees, contractors, interns or volunteers, they may be suspended from all activity/association with YOVI pending the outcome of an independent investigation. Staff will continue to receive full pay during this time.
  • Depending on the outcome of the independent investigation: if it comes to light that anyone associated with YOVI commits acts in relation to children – whether within or outside the context of YOVI’s work – which are criminal, grossly infringe children’s rights,
    or contravene the principles and standards contained in this document, the organisation will take immediate disciplinary action and any other action which may be appropriate to the circumstances. This may mean, for example, for:

    • Employees, consultants, volunteers and interns – disciplinary action/dismissal
    • Board of Trustees – ending the relationship with the organisation
    • Partners – withdrawal of funding/support
  • Depending on the nature, circumstances and location of the case, YOVI will also consider involving authorities such as the police to ensure the protection of children and criminal prosecution where appropriate.
  • When investigating and determining Child Safeguarding concerns or complaints, the process should always be fair and any adverse determination should be open to challenge through an appeals process.

SECTION V: STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT

To Youth Development and Voice Initiative; regarding YOVI’s Child Safeguarding Policy

FOR INDIVIDUALS:

“I, ________________ [name of individual], have read and understood the standards and guidelines outlined in this Child Safeguarding Policy. I agree with the principles contained therein and accept the importance of implementing Child Safeguarding Policies and practice while working with the Youth Development and Voice Initiative. I accept that I am subject to policies and procedures outlined in the policy document and shall be bound by them.

FOR ORGANISATIONS:

“I, ______________________ [name of individual], on behalf of _____________________ [name of organisation], have read and understood the standards and guidelines outlined in this Child Safeguarding Policy. _____________________ [name of organisation], agrees with the principles contained therein and accepts the importance of implementing Child Safeguarding Policies and practice in its work I accept that I/we are subject to policies and procedures outlined in the policy document and shall be bound by them. I/we also accept that YOVI may take immediate action in order to protect children by suspending members of staff and referring them to the appropriate authorities if it deems it necessary. This may include the emergency removal of children or putting in place a caretaker management by YOVI until such issues are resolved (see flowchart for responding to abuse).

On the understanding that YOVI will offer support for this implementation, _____________________ [name of organisation], commits to: (* delete as applicable)
* submitting its existing Child Safeguarding Policy to YOVI for assessment (or)
* developing its own Child Safeguarding Policy for implementation.

_____________________ [name of organisation], is open to working with YOVI to explore the implications of this policy for its partners, and to work together to build mutual capacity to develop and implement Child Safeguarding Policies and practice.
The designated contact person within ________________________ [name of organisation], responsible for communication with YOVI on child safeguarding issues is ___________________ [name of individual].

_____________________________
(Print name)

 _______________________________
(Job title / role)

____________________________
(Signature)

 __________________________________
(Date)