New Futures Organisation Child Protection Policy
New Futures Organisation (NFO) provides our repatriated children from New Futures Children’s Home and other vulnerable and disadvantaged children of rural Takeo Province, Cambodia with education, skills, training and general support to enable them to have a new future and opportunities to achieve their dreams.
NFO strongly believes that education is a human right and should be affordable to all, regardless of economic status or location. It therefore aims to provide education to children who would otherwise not have the chance to go to school.
NFO is committed to implementing a strict child protection policy to ensure that all of the children are protected from all forms of abuse, exploitation, violence or neglect.
This policy outlines the procedures implemented across all NFO projects, to reduce the risk of child abuse.
1. Guiding Principles
NFO’s Child Protection Policy is guided by the following principles derived from the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child:
- All children have equal rights to protection from abuse and exploitation; NFO has zero tolerance to any form of child abuse or exploitation
- All children should be encouraged to fulfil their potential and inequalities should be challenged. All children will be respected and cared for equally
- The children’s physical and emotional security, along with their development of abilities and character are NFO’s primary concern and NFO will act in the best interest of the children at all times
- All staff, volunteers, sponsors, advisors/consultants, contractors, Board Members/Trustees and other partners have a responsibility to support the care and protection of children
NFO is seeking to promote a child-safe environment through active adoption of this policy at all levels, demonstrating through a clear understanding of the purpose and principles behind the development of a child protection policy, and through understanding of the responsibility of NFO as an organisation, and as individuals who comprise NFO in recognition that the welfare of the children is paramount.
2. Application of the NFO Child Protection Policy
The NFO Child Protection Policy applies to:
- All staff, volunteers, contractors, visitors, sponsors, advisors/consultants, NFO Board Members and Trustees, and any personnel of any organisation contracted by NFO or associated partners
- A child is any person under the age of eighteen (18)
- The NFO Child Protection Policy applies to all NFO operated facilities where the programs targeted beneficiaries (direct or indirect) include persons under the age of eighteen (18)
This policy will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure the NFO Child Protection policy is in line with local and international policy updates as well as in accordance with the changes that may occur with NFO programs or future projects.
- Child – Defines any person under the age of 18 years as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Child Abuse – Includes physical abuse, emotional/mental abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, bullying, child labour and domestic violence
- Physical Abuse – Occurs when a person purposefully injures or threatens to injure a child or young person. This may take the form of slapping, punching, shaking, kicking, burning, pinching, shoving or grabbing. The injury may take the form of bruises, cuts, burns or fractures
- Emotional Abuse – Can take the form of name calling, threats to harm the child, ridicule, intimidation, put downs and repeated neglect of the child’s needs that effects their emotional and physical development. This can be through verbal or non-verbal means leaving the child frightened
- Neglect – Is the deliberate denial or failure to provide the child with the basic necessities of life including food, water, clothing, shelter, sanitation or supervision of care to the extent that the child’s health and development are placed at risk
- Sexual Abuse – Occurs when an adult, older child or adolescent who is more powerful uses his or her power and/or authority to involve the child in sexual activities for his or her own sexual stimulation, gratification or economic gain. This power can be physical, emotional, verbal and can include non-contact threats including exposure to pornography or other elicit material
- Sexual Exploitation – Means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another
- Grooming – The act of gaining trust to prepare/groom the child for future sexual exploitation or abuse. It can involve developing friendship and trust through communications online and the sending of messages
- Child Protection – A program or initiative designed to protect children from any form of harm
- Child Protection Policy – A set of rules and regulations that demonstrate a commitment to the protection of all children from all forms of abuse and neglect. In order to protect children clear procedures are developed
- Children at Risk – Are any child or children who are vulnerable to be abused. This includes, and is not limited to, mentally or physically impaired children, street children, orphans, poor children and homeless children
- Working With Children – Any person who in employed within a position that involves contact with children on a regular basis either paid on a voluntary level
- Recruitment – The process of hiring new staff – advertising, interviewing, candidate selection, reference checking and training
- Risk Management – The procedures in place to reduce the possible risk of the abuse of children arising within an organisation
4. Risk Management and Child Protection Procedures
The following initiative and procedures are required to be enacted and with ongoing monitoring and follow up by management
4.1 Recruitment of Staff and Volunteers
- All staff and volunteers will need to read, understand and agree with all policies and codes of conduct within NFO’s Child Protection Policy when they attend their orientation before commencing any work at any NFO facility
- All expatriate volunteers, consultants, Board Members and contracted staff will be provided with a Volunteer Agreement form which is to be signed and will be kept on file
- Volunteers will read thoroughly and discuss the policy and codes of conduct during their meet and greet prior to arriving at any NFO facility to ensure there is a clear understanding of their responsibilities and code of conduct expectations
- All returning volunteers, regardless of previous number of visits or length of time, must comply with the Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct as laid out by NFO. Failure to comply with the rules and regulations set out in this Child Protection Policy may result in the escorted removal from any NFO facility
- NFO reserves the right to terminate any staff or volunteer who directly violate any part of this Policy or Code of Conduct. NFO will not be held liable for any costs incurred if dismissal occurs
- NFO will take all precautions to ensure that any known offenders are not employed or engaged by NFO
4.2 Procedures and Systems
The following are the procedures for communicating, reporting and responding are in place in order to minimise risk to the child if an incident occurs and to promptly address these incidents when they arise.
Any person who has knowledge of, suspicions or has been witness to abuse in any form, shall inform management immediately. Any of the following concerns must be reported: sexual or emotional abuse, violence or suspected physical abuse, knowledge of neglect or any other form of abuse of a child.
Incident Reporting – NFO’s personnel are required to report immediately any known incident or suspected concern of a child. This report is to be made to the Director and documented on the Incident Report Form which needs to be submitted within 24hours of the known or suspected incident. Any report made to NFO’s personnel shall be taken seriously and immediate steps shall be taken to ensure the child’s protection. Family/carers should be informed of the issues and of the action proposed and consulted as the incident is dealt with by NFO management.
If the accused or suspected perpetrator is a foreigner, the relevant law enforcement authorities will be contacted and informed of the events.
- Documentation – Within 24 hours, a full written report should be prepared which details all aspects of the alleged incident. This should give full details of person/s involved, time, places, witnesses and what occurred
When a child reports any concerns of another child or that he/she are the subject of the abuse, they will be protected, taken seriously and treated with respect. If necessary the relevant authorities will be contacted and the child will be assisted by NFO to our fullest of capabilities including medical attention if required
Adults are required to report any incidents of inappropriate behaviour by the children. This includes children touching adults or other children in a sexual or inappropriate manner, which includes and is not limited to any form of abuse. The adult involved must advise the staff member they are working alongside of the incident as soon as it occurs and request the child to cease the behaviour. An incident report must be written and submitted within 24 hours of the incident occurring
If the allegations are found untrue but made in good faith, no action will be taken against the maker of the allegation. Malicious and/or false allegations are not acceptable
- Confidentiality – All parties will be granted full confidentiality this includes the victim, the alleged perpetrator and the individual reporting the incident. Only those required to deal with the situation will be privy to the details of the incident in order to best protect the child
- Distance of Parties – if the incident involves a staff member or volunteer they will be automatically suspended pending the investigation. All staff members and volunteers are entitled to due process of investigation with no presupposition of guilt or innocence
- Legal Recourse – Physical or sexual abuse is considered a crime and shall be treated as such. On completion of the investigation by NFO, a decision shall be made by the investigation team to determine whether substantive evidence is given for criminal behaviour requiring informing the relevant authorities. Should expatriates be involved as perpetrators there may also be legal recourse taken in their own country
- Counselling Support – It is recognised that parties to the child abuse will require appropriate counselling. Counsellors shall be indentified to provide this service to the victim, perpetrator and other involved as deemed appropriate
4.3 Use of Child Photos and Information
The use of child photos and information on the child is to be strictly regulated so as to ensure protection of the child from exploitation. Any communications about the children should use pictures that are decent, respectful and culturally appropriate.
In communications, no information regarding the child’s exact location shall be provided.
All information on the children is to be kept strictly confidential by all staff and volunteers. Volunteers are strictly prohibited from asking any personal information about any of the children involved with NFO.
No cameras are to be taken into the village schools or day care centre unless approved by management. The children are not animals in a zoo and should not be treated as such, show them the same respect you would like for yourself if you were in their position.
Always ask permission from any child/children that will be directly in the photograph and read social ques. Some personalities will feel comfortable to say no to photographs and some might be more reserved. Do not assume that a child will always feel able to say no to you, you are an adult they don’t know.
Under no circumstances take any photographs that may be deemed inappropriate. This may include when children are inappropriately clothed or positioned, where children may not want their photograph taken or when the photograph may appear sexualised in any way.
Be aware when posting to media sites, such as Facebook, that images are decent, respectful and culturally appropriate. It is required that you ask permission of the children before taking pictures in their villages at all times.
4.4 Dress Code
Cambodia is developing quickly with influences of Western Culture however it is still a very conservative country in rural areas so all staff and volunteers are asked to dress appropriately both for classes and around town.
Dress code for Females:
As a rule of thumb skin tight, revealing or overtly sexy clothing is not acceptable and inappropriate.
Shorts and Skirts – all shorts and skirts must be below mid thigh when teaching children and must cover the knees when teaching the monks and police. Shorts or skirts that just cover the buttocks are inappropriate and unacceptable.
Tops – all tops must cover bras/bras straps. Low cut tops showing cleavage, tank tops, shoe string/spaghetti straps, strapless and see through tops are inappropriate and unacceptable.
Dress code for Males:
Shorts or Pants – all shorts must be mid thigh
Tops – A t-shirt or shirt must be worn at all times around town and with the children. It is considered extremely offensive for men to not wear tops and can cause issues with local authorities.
When visiting or teaching the monks and police shoulders and knees must be covered for both males and females.
5. Code of Conduct
All staff, volunteers, advisors, consultants, contractors or any other personnel associated with NFO are required to behave in the appropriate manner with the children that fully respects their rights, as laid out in the Child Protection Policy, to minimise any possible situation of risk.
Staff and Volunteers must:
- Never hit or physically assault or abuse children. This includes, and not limited to, kicking, punching, pushing, shoving, slapping, pinching, biting and/or threats of violence.
- If a child is behaving in an inappropriate manner, including, and not limited to, kicking, punching, pushing, shoving, slapping, pinching, biting and/or treats of violence, including inappropriate physical contact towards adult or children, they are required to report to the teacher and management staff as soon as this behaviour arises and to complete an incident report.
- Never develop or become involved in a physical or sexual relationship with a child
- Never develop a relationship that could possibly been deemed as abusive or exploitative
- Not swear or use offensive language around the children
- Never participate in or condone the behaviour of children which is illegal, unsafe or abusive
- Never humiliate, belittle, or degrade a child. Any form of emotional abuse is not acceptable
- Never provide any child alcohol, cigarettes or drugs of any kind. These are never allowed on any of the premises where there are children under 18 and under the management of NFO
- Take drugs of any kind at any time. If confirmed then you will be asked to leave and any costs incurred will not be refunded by NFO
- Not communicate or become friends with the children through social media such as Facebook and or personal emails
- No cameras are allowed at the village schools
- Not give gifts to individual children It is inappropriate and unfair to all other children. If the children require any supplies or stationary etc please advise management
- Not provide individual financial support or promise that they will receive individual support or sponsorship. Sponsorship is to be arranged through NFO management and not directly with any child or family member
- Not use the threat of violence, abuse or assault or to cause injury to any staff member, volunteer or associated NFO contractor or employee
- Not spend time alone with a child, out of plain sight. There must always be two (2) adults with a child if they need to go into town for medical treatment etc. If there is an emergency contact NFO management as soon as possible
- Not drive any vehicle registered under NFO unless given permission by NFO management and hold valid licences required to operate these vehicles. Especially if these vehicles are being used to transport children
- Always respect the right of the child for protection against abuse and exploitation
- Always act appropriately and in a culturally sensitive manner, with children, understanding the importance of my behaviour with children and the potential perceptions that may follow from my actions or words
- Be fully aware of NFO’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct and agree to follow the policy whilst fully aware of any disciplinary action that may be taken against you
- Not take cameras into any NFO facility without prior consent
- Understand the protocols in place for addressing potential concerns of child abuse and agree to immediately report any incidences or concerns to management that I may be aware of
- To abide by the 11pm noise curfew in Takeo. This is a town wide curfew and the police may be called if/when this is broken. Noise must be kept to a minimum to avoid complaints and act as a positive role model for the children