Peter Hewitt Care for Africa Foundation Inc (CfA) intends to apply for membership of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID). It is an ACFID requirement for CfA to have a child safety policy in place and CfA endorses the requirement. This is in keeping with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) is the universal foundation for child protection.
The CfA Child Safety Policy is available on the CfA website. This Code of Conduct supports the policy and reflects the minimum professional standard expected by CfA staff, volunteers, partners, observers, contractors and associates when dealing with children in the communities within which we work and provides a framework for managing and reducing risks of child abuse or harm in the content of CfA’s clinics held in Tanzania and elsewhere.
When working in a foreign country, all CfA staff volunteers and immediate associates are required to abide by local legislation, including labour laws with regard to child labour.
CfA is committed to the safety, protection and wellbeing of all children to preventing a person from working with children if they pose an unacceptable risk to children. We support the rights of children and will act without hesitation to ensure a child safe environment is maintained. All decisions regarding the welfare and protection of children are made based on the “Best Interests of the Child” Principle. This principle refers to decisions considering that the child receives maximum benefit possible from services provided, and that the positive impacts of any course of action outweigh any negative impacts.
Child abuse is a global problem that affects both boys and girls. It has existed throughout history and is deeply rooted in cultural, economic and social practices. Children are abused physically, sexually, emotionally and through neglect. Children living in poverty are more at risk of child abuse and exploitation.
This Code of Conduct provides a practical guide to prevent child abuse in CfA’s programs. It outlines a range of risk management strategies that will be implemented which will reduce the risk of children being harmed.
When photographing or filming a child for work related purposes, CfA representatives must:
Guidance notes for visual images are provided in Annexure 1 below
All personnel who are working with children must sign a CfA Child Safeguarding – Professional Behaviours (Annexure 2).
CfA takes all concerns and reports of child abuse seriously and acts on these reports immediately. These concerns may relate to a child or an CfA representative, or a concern about a child or person/s outside of CfA’s programs.
All concerns should immediately be reported and all relevant information and details regarding the complaint recorded on a child incident report form (Annexure 3).
All ADF staff, volunteers and representatives should report. People in the community and representatives of in-country partner organisations may also report their concerns.
Reports should be given verbally and by completing CfA’s child safety incident form (Annexure 3).
Overseas: Child abuse reports should be made to the nominated team leader. If this not possible reports can be made directly to the CEO of CfA or the Chair of the Board of Management.
In Australia: Child abuse reports should be made to the CEO of CfA or the Chair of the Board of Management.
Reporting child abuse in Australia is a clearer process compared to responding to incidents that occur overseas. In all Australian States and Territories, sexual and physical abuse of a child is a crime. The age of consent in most Australian States and Territories is 16, including in Tasmania. Additionally, in some jurisdictions it is a criminal offence for persons who are in positions of power and trust (eg teacher, parent, carer) to engage in sexual activity with a child under the age of 18.
Reporting child abuse can either be made to the local State Police or the State child safety authorities. If there is an allegation or suspicion of child abuse by an CfA representative this will be reported to the State Police.
If there are concerns that someone external to the organisation is sexually abusing a child, CfA will contact the State Police and / or child safety authorities. Concerns about the welfare of the child in relation to neglect and / or emotional abuse will be reported to the Child Safety Services (ph 1300 737 639 fax 6230 7821 email email@example.com)
Concerns about people engaging in child sex tourism, child sex trafficking and child pornography will be reported to: Australian Federal Police
The first step is to gather all relevant information. An initial assessment will be made based on the quality and reliability of the information and a decision will be made on what further steps to take.
A report will be dealt with as an internal disciplinary matter if it is a breach of CfA’s code of conduct. If the allegation constitutes a criminal offence in the country the matter may be directly referred to the local police or authorities.
If the incident has occurred outside of CfA’s program the matter will be referred to an eternal body or agency dealing with child safety matters in the country.
The nominated team leader, in consultation with the CEO and / or Chair of the Board of Management, will discuss the allegations and decide upon the next steps. This will involve either:
CfA will treat all concerns seriously, ensure that all parties are treated fairly and the principles of natural justice prevail. All reports will be handled professionally, confidentially and expediently.
All reports made in good faith will be viewed as being made in the best interests of the child regardless of the outcomes of any investigation. CfA will ensure that the interests of anyone reporting child abuse are protected. Any person who intentionally makes false and malicious allegations will face disciplinary action.
The rights and welfare of the child is of prime importance; every effort must be made to protect the rights and safety of the child throughout the investigation.
When a child reports that he / she has been abused, they may be feeling scared, guilty, ashamed, angry and powerless. If a child alleges abuse, whatever the outcome, the child must be taken seriously.
It is important to remain calm and in control and to reassure the child that something will be done to keep him / her safe.
When a child or young person discloses they are being harmed you can show your care and concern for the child/young person by:
You will not be helping the child if you:
Try and obtain some details such as where the abuse is taking place (ie school, home, work, etc), whether it is currently occurring or did occur in the past and the name of the perpetrator if possible.
It is possible that some children will make a disclosure and then ask you not to tell anyone. It is important that you seek guidance from the country team leader to discuss how the child can be supported and the disclosure managed.
Once an allegation is made there should be an immediate response that protects the child from further potential abuse or victimisation. The child may require medical assistance or counselling support. Where possible the child should remain in the place of residence or relevant program. Exceptions may be made where the child is deemed to be at risk of victimisation by peers as a result of the allegation or because the alleged abuse has occurred in home-based care. If the child is in immediate danger you should make arrangements for the child to go to a safe place.
The best interest of the child may warrant the standing down of a volunteer of CfA representative. The person who has identified the abuse should recommend the appropriate action in writing to the CEO and/ or Chair of the Board of Management.
All reports, names of people involved and other details will remain confidential. Only the team leader in the country, CEO and / or Chair of the Board of Management will be informed of the report. Details will be released on a need-to-know basis or when required by relevant local or Australian law or a notification to Police or child safety authorities is made.
All volunteer medical team specialists who are members of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons should already be aware of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Child Safety Policy. Any other medical team members should be aware of the relevant Child Safety Policy published by their college and otherwise, any member of a medical team who is not a member of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons will be made aware of CfA’s policy through verbal communication and / or the issuing of a hard copy of the policy and via a referral to the CfA website which houses copies of the Policy and Code of Conduct. Pamphlets and other information will be provided where available.
Community members and in-country partners with whom CfA works will be provided with information about how to report any child safety or other concerns about CfA volunteers and representatives.
To ensure that no member of CfA will pose a risk, CfA will:
This policy should be read in conjunction with these documents:
Parts of this policy have been adapted from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Child Safety Policy and the policy adopted by the Australian Doctors for Africa. The Department of Health and Human Services Child Safety websites of the Tasmanian Government
In our use of visual images, both photographic stills and video, our overriding principle is to maintain respect and dignity in our portrayal of children, families and communities. Whilst images are an essential means of documenting our work, we strive to maintain the dignity of everyone with whom we work and will not use images that are disrespectful or demeaning.
The following principles serve as guidelines for personnel taking visual images of CfA’s international medical operations:
I,______________________________________________________ engaged by Peter Hewitt Care for Africa Foundation Inc (CfA), agree that while undertaking work with and on behalf of CfA, I will:
Filming and photographing children and use of children’s images for work related purposes
I further agree that, whilst working with CfA or engaged in CfA activities, and when photographing or filming a child or using children’s images for work-related purposes, I must:
By signing this declaration, I confirm and accept that:
Full Name (Please print)
CFA-P19.V1 Child Safety Procedure – Effective Date: 26 April 2020 Document. Approved By: Board of Management.
Controlled Document — Printed Versions are not controlled. CFA