Child Protection Policy

CAMBODIAN CHILDREN’S HOUSE OF PEACE (CCHP)


Purpose of the CCHP Child Protection Policy:

CCHP aims to provide a safe, friendly environment where children can develop and grow in a healthy way.  We foster an open and aware culture where all participants feel responsible for the protection of the children. CCHP will apply their “child safe” practices when recruiting new staff and volunteers, ensure that staff understand and are committed to child protection principles, and advise CCHP supporters and partners of its child protection policy. The following guidelines are designed to protect the child from abuse and the adult from inappropriate behavior or false accusation .

Guiding Principles of the CCHP Child Protection Policy

Awareness

1. Child-friendly information will be provided to ensure children understand about their safety and protection, and feel comfortable about speaking out if they have any concerns.

2. Children will be made aware of an independent adult to whom they can refer any concerns.

Communications & Information

1. We will ensure that information or images about children are never used in a way which compromises the children’s dignity, safety or places them at risk.

2. We will respect the confidentiality of information regarding children’s health, family background and personal history; this private information will only accessed by authorized staff on a “need to know” basis.

Equity

1. We believe in working together to safeguard the equity of all Cambodian children and their fundamental rights.

2. We pledge to maintain and uphold a deep understanding of Cambodian culture as well as its societal customs and beliefs. We pledge to work within this cultural knowledge in our efforts to protect children from all forms of abuse and exploitation.

Accountability

1. We believe in operating with transparency and integrity at all levels of our work.

2.  We stress the importance of professionalism, trust and responsibility in all our efforts, partnerships and activities.

Solidarity

We aim to give a voice and be advocates for those who are unable to have their voices heard. We aim to defend those who cannot protect themselves by working for the children of Cambodia against abuse and exploitation.

Collaboration

Policies and behavioral standards are reviewed during new staff orientation, including procedures for reporting suspected abuse and any disciplinary/legal actions that could be taken as a result of an investigation. All new personnel shall acknowledge in writing their receipt and understanding of the policy, with signed copies of their acknowledgement kept in their personnel files.

Implementation Process of Child Protection Policy

Responsibility for Implementation

The CCHP Director is accountable for ensuring that this policy and any investigation of suspected abuse remains in accordance with national laws, including reporting to and cooperating with relevant law enforcement authorities when abuse may result in criminal charges against the accused. In case the Director is involved in the abuse, the Deputy Director of Education has the right to establish the committee to investigate the case.

Recruitment, Screening and Orientation

1. Advertisements for job vacancies must make clear that CCHP is committed to child protection and that prospective employee’s commitment to child protection must be a condition of employment.

2. All prospective CCHP staff and volunteer associates are to be informed of CCHP’s Child Protection Policy at the start of any recruiting process.

3. The Child Protection Policy is reviewed during new staff orientation. The Director shall ensure all new personnel acknowledge in writing their receipt and understanding of the policy, with signed copies of their acknowledgement kept in their personnel files.

Reporting and Investigating Abuse or Suspected Abuse

1. Child abuse in all its forms, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse that occurs within an organization, is a serious offense that threatens the well being and reputation of the child, the accused staff and of the organization itself.

2. Any person who has knowledge of a possible child abuse involving CCHP personnel should immediately contact (in this order) the Director or Deputy Director of Education or an On-Site Residential Staff. The report should be made within 24 hours, if possible, to allow for a timely investigation and/or early intervention as needed. Failure to report suspected child abuse or misconduct may result in disciplinary action.

3. If the complaint appears to involve evidence of a crime, the police should be contacted immediately.  However, an internal investigation is also to be conducted.

4. The investigation must be conducted with confidentiality for the complainant, accused and any witnesses involved with the investigation, particularly as a child may fear retribution and punishment, while a staff member accused of child abuse will be concerned for his or her privacy and legal rights.

5. Generally, an associate accused of abuse or misconduct with a child should be temporarily suspended, on full pay, during the course of the investigation. The associate should be informed that charges have been made against him or her and given an opportunity to respond. They should also be informed that CCHP has an obligation to initiate an internal investigation. The associate is encouraged to participate in the investigation by providing information and the names of witnesses to be interviewed. Efforts will be made to provide assistance to an associate accused of misconduct with children, including counseling or other appropriate forms of support.

6. All parties must be advised that any retaliation against the complainant or witnesses participating in the investigation may constitute a separate offense and also be subject to a separate investigation and legal action.

Response to Internal Investigation Findings

1. At the conclusion of the investigation, the CCHP staff or volunteer, the child and/or his or her family, as appropriate, should be informed of concerns and the results of the investigation and what corrective action, if any, will be taken.

2. If abuse is proven by the investigation, every effort will be made to assist the child in coping with any physical or emotional trauma he or she may be experiencing.  This may include medical treatment, psychological counseling or any other form of assistance deemed necessary and appropriate.

3. If the investigation concludes that child abuse has occurred which is not subject to criminal prosecution, staff and all associates will be subject to disciplinary action within CCHP up to and including dismissal.

4. However, if the investigation concludes that abuse has occurred which is subject to criminal prosecution according to national laws, all findings will be reported to the relevant national police authorities and full cooperation afforded them during an external investigation. If the accused is an expatriate, the relevant law enforcement authorities will also be informed with due regard given to the potential for extraterritorial proceedings by the expatriate’s country of origin.

5. In the event an associate is discharged from CCHP for proven child abuse, CCHP will disclose such information as requested by police, a prospective employer, etc. Such disclosures will be made in accordance with applicable law and/or customs.

CCHP 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.

Minimizing Risk situations

NEVER

1. Condone or participate in behavior that is illegal or unsafe

DO NOT:

2. Be alone with a single child, including in the following situations: in a car, overnight, in your home, or the home of a child

3. Show favoritism or spend excessive amounts of time with one child

DO:

4. Avoid placing yourself in a compromising or vulnerable position

5. Be accompanied by a second adult whenever possible

6. Meet with a child in a central, public location whenever possible

7. Avoid doing something that could be misinterpreted by a third party

Sexual Behavior

NEVER:

1. Develop physical/sexual relationships with a child

2. Behave physically in a manner that is inappropriate or sexually provocative

3. Engage in or allow sexually provocative games with children to take place

4. Do things of a personal nature that a child could do for him/herself, including       dressing, bathing, and grooming.

5. Viewing pornographic images, regardless of age of victim, from websites, physical images, soft images, DVD, VCD is prohibited in the workplace. Violation would result in suspension or termination of contract, or sub-contracts.

Physical Behavior

NEVER:

1. Hit or otherwise physically assault or physically abuse a child.

DO:

2. Wait for appropriate physical contact such as holding hands, to be initiated by the child

3. Ask permission from children before taking photographs of a child/children except under exceptional circumstances, based on the child/children’s best interest, where this might not be possible or desirable.

Psychosocial Behaviour

DO:

1. Be aware of the power balance between an adult and child, and avoid taking any advantage this may provide.

DO NOT:

2. Use language that will mentally or emotionally harm a child

3. Suggest inappropriate behavior or relations of any kind

4. Act in any way that intends to embarrass, shame, humiliate or degrade a child

5. Encourage any inappropriate attention seeking behavior, such as tantrums by a child

6. Show discrimination of race, culture, age, gender, disability, religion, or sexual orientation.

Peer Abuse

DO:

1. Be aware of the potential for peer abuse

2. Avoid placing children in high-risk peer situations

DO NOT:

3. Allow children to engage in sexually provocative games with each other.

INTERNET AND EMAIL POLICY

CCHP children now have access to the Internet and email correspondence, with computer classes and email accounts.

According to the advice of the NGO Consortium, which reported abuse by some sponsors once a child turned 18, and the adult-rated spam that has found its way into their accounts, the following security and Child Protection Policies will apply:

1. Children’s use of computers and the Internet will always require adult supervision.

2. All computer accounts used by the children will use Firefox web browser, and have the Parental Controls in place for screening out inappropriate websites.

3. All email correspondence between children and sponsors, volunteers, friends and any other persons will be required to use the email address info@santepheap.org for both outgoing and incoming mail.  The name of the child or sponsor, etc. will be placed in the subject line.  The email will be reviewed by staff and forwarded to the intended receiver, deleting the email address of the child and sponsor, etc.

4. No volunteer or sponsor or other correspondent is to give their email address to a child.

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE

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.

1. Exchange friendly email conversations, appropriate for the child’s age and psychological and emotional maturity.  The best guide is a conversation you might have with them in person, in the presence of another adult. Enquire about their school, their favorite subjects, games, food, etc. - this will help with their English, as well.

2. Avoid personal questions regarding a child’s relationships that would be invasive, such as, girlfriends or boyfriends, or who they find attractive, etc.

3. Avoid language that creates inappropriate emotional ties, or that could be seen as manipulative, such as expressions of affection more appropriate to a parent/child relationship, or even an intimate relationship, etc.

4. Never suggest to a child you would like to or will take them somewhere or to your home someday.

5. Never promise a child gifts or money or other benefits.  All gifts or money provided for a child must be made to and through CCHP and not directly to a child.

These rules will apply even after the child turns 18, as long as they continue as a member of the CCHP project, including post-majority programs for the continuation of their support and education.

Any violations of this policy will result in the termination of the sponsorship or volunteer relationship with CCHP.  If the violation rises to the level of criminal conduct, it will be reported to the police and other appropriate authorities, in keeping with the Child Safe Program in Cambodia.

 

 





  

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