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INTRODUCTION

Challenges Abroad and The FutureSense Foundation are committed to safeguarding the welfare of children and young people and believe that all children have a right to protection, and that the welfare of the child is paramount. Good child protection practice protects not only children but also the staff and volunteers who come into contact with them.

This policy applies to all staff, volunteers, students, interns or anyone working on behalf of Challenges Abroad and the FutureSense Foundation in relation to the protection of children and young people with whom their work brings them into contact. In the context of child protection, children and young person refers to anyone less than 18 years of age.

The purpose of this policy is:

  • To ensure all children and young people who receive FutureSense services are protected at all times.

  • To provide staff, volunteers and interns with the key principles that guide our approach to safeguarding. 

Volunteers, students, and interns will be identified as “participant” for the remainder of this policy. 

 

POLICY STATEMENT

Acting on behalf of children's best interests, and in agreement with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Challenges Abroad and FutureSense strives to design and implement programs that protect children from abuse, neglect and exploitation, including sexual exploitation.

We recognise that all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse. 

 

POLICY OBJECTIVES

Recruitment and training for support of child safe and child friendly programs:

  • Ensuring all FutureSense and Challenges Abroad programs adhere to the policy and follow appropriate staff and participant recruitment and selection processes.

  • Ensuring all incoming participants and new local staff pass a Working with Children Check (or equivalent).

  • Conducting new staff training about the implementation of the Policy and Code of Conduct as well as with participants at their arrival orientation.

  • Regularly monitoring child protection related issues in the field and making staff and participants aware of changes and updates on the relevant policy.

  • Ensuring all children who are capable of forming his or her views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child.

  • Ensuring that in child-focused projects, indicators and data are disaggregated by age and gender and any data collected on a child is safely and confidentially stored and collated.

 

To maintain professional standards of conduct when working with children:

  • By treating all children with respect regardless of age, gender, sexuality, religion, race or disability.

  • By not acting or using language in a way that is inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative or demeaning.

  • By not engaging in any acts that could be deemed sexual or promiscuous.

  • By ensuring whenever possible, that another adult is present when working with children.

  • By not inviting children into their home unaccompanied unless they are at immediate risk.

  • By never using physical punishment for disciplinary measures.

  • By establishing and maintaining clear professional boundaries that provide for the safety of everyone.

  • By providing adequate education and training, access to staff support and supervision, and processes to deal with allegations of a breach of standards and policy.

  • By taking any and all complaints of abuse seriously and engaging in due process to ensure the incident is reported accurately and no further harm is done to the child.

 

To ensure that the capture and use of children’s images follows appropriate and cultural procedures:

  • Children must be asked for their permission before photos are taken of them except in exceptional circumstances.

  • Permission of child/parent/caregivers/responsible NGO will be obtained before any photographs of a child are used for publicity/fundraising/awareness-raising/social media. When asking for consent to use the image, details should be given as to how and where this image will be used.

  • Children must be adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive.

  • Photos or videos should not present children in a vulnerable or submissive manner.

  • There should be no identifying information of the child used in the publication of images or their location. Identifying information includes name, age, school name, and village name.

  • When sending images electronically there should be no revealing identifying information in file labels.

  • Screening all photographs for their suitability and ensuring all images that breach minimum standards are destroyed.

  • Participants, local staff, and partners read and understand our Social Media Policy as it relates to Child Protection to ensure that social media platforms are adhering to the policy.

 

Implementation and Commitment:

  • Each local partner will be provided this Child Protection Policy as well as our Social Media Policy and Code of Conduct, and will be asked to read and understand the regulations and restrictions. As part of their Letter of Understanding with FutureSense, they understand they act as liaison between FutureSense and the community and will act on our behalf in matters of communication with parents/primary caretakers.

  • At the beginning of each project or programme, during induction of new staff and participants and on a continuous basis, all staff and participants will consider and be informed of their responsibilities to individuals and communities in ensuring Human Rights and Child Rights are actively upheld.

  • Ensuring FutureSense and Challenges Abroad programs are delivered by staff and participants who have undergone a Working with Children Check (or equivalent).

  • A commitment that the organisation will not permit a person to work with children if they pose an unacceptable risk to children’s safety and wellbeing.

  • A provision in all employment or participant contracts that the organisation has the right to dismiss the employee if they breach the child protection code of conducts, or fail to disclose a prior conviction or dismissal on child protection–related matter.

  • A commitment to take seriously all reports of misconduct and follow procedures to investigate and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of the child.

  • Provision of policy review annually which will take into account implementation experience, as well as good practice standards and policies that are available at the time of the review and will be presented to the management committee for consideration and approval.

 

REPORTING PROCESS

Who Reports?

Children, adults, family members, staff, volunteers or interns are all capable and responsible to report any misconduct in relation to the Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct.

What to Report?

Any suspicious activity or concerns of abuse or general safety of the children should be reported. This includes observations and suspected abuse of the policy and code of conduct.

When to Report?

All concerns should be reported immediately (within 24 hours), or as soon as practically possible.

Who to Report to?

Any concerning observation or suspicion of abuse should be reported to a member of FutureSense management staff, in particular to Country Operations Manager or Program Manager.

What Happens After Reported?

Once reported, FutureSense staff will assess the situation immediately and write up a formal report to document the findings, progress, and ultimate solution of the issue, which ensures the child’s safety. If misconduct or breach of the policy or code of conduct is found, action will be taken to ensure that the responsible party is removed from the situation. This could lead to removal of a volunteer from their program, the termination of a staff member, and the possibility of a criminal prosecution.

 

WE ARE COMMITTED TO REVIEWING THIS POLICY AND GOOD PRACTICE ANNUALLY.