child & vulnerable
people protection policy

1. Rationale

Peter Hewitt Care for Africa Foundation Inc (CfA) is a not-for-profit organisation that is registered as a charity in Australia and operates as a registered international non-government organisation in Tanzania.

CfA staff, volunteers and program participants work in schools and clinics with teachers, children and young people, therefore it is imperative that the organisation has a clearly defined child and vulnerable people protection policy and effective procedures that govern all CfA operations

2. Purpose and Scope

CfA is committed to the protection and safeguarding of all children and vulnerable people from all forms of harm and abuse and this policy sets how, in the context of our work, we will endeavour to reduce the risk of such harm and abuse occurring and deal with specific incidents where they are identified. Given our endeavours to improve the lives of the communities with whom we work, the safety and wellbeing of the children and vulnerable people coming into contact with CfA’s personnel and programs is of paramount concern. 

CfA recognises the definition of safeguarding to encompass protecting children from maltreatment, preventing impairment of children’s health or development, and ensuring children grow up in safe circumstances and these values are the basis for this Policy. Our activities related to child protection, as outlined in this Policy, aim to protect both children and vulnerable people where we identify that they are suffering, or are at risk of suffering, significant harm.

CfA recognises that risk of abuse to children and vulnerable people exists from the staff and believes a key mitigating factor is the recruitment process for all personnel’ The policy covers recruitment and screening of CfA’s Personnel, child and vulnerable people protection education and training, risk management, code of conduct, photography and filming of children and vulnerable people, and policy management. We also support the rights and welfare of CfA’s personnel, encourage their active involvement in ensuring safe and respectful environments whilst engaged in any CfA activities so minimising risks for themselves and other participants.

3. Scope of this Policy

This policy applies to all CfA personnel, defined as: board members, current staff and volunteers and/or external consultants and contractors (paid or voluntary) contracted staff or personnel of contracted organisation and services, project team participants, and any other person working for or on behalf of CfA.

This policy also applies to other individuals and third parties who through their association with CfA may visit our project activities (i.e. donors, Australian Partner organisations, service providers) although the management process for these groups may differ in certain aspects given their involvement.

4. Guiding Principles

The CfA child & Vulnerable Beneficiary Protection Policy has five guiding principles: Zero tolerance of abuse and exploitation: Abuse and anything else that causes harm to children, young people and vulnerable beneficiaries is not tolerated by CfA, nor is possession of or access to child pornography. Recognition of children’s interests: CfA is committed to upholding the rights of children and recognises that some children, such as children with disabilities and children living in areas impacted by disasters (natural or conflict based), are particularly vulnerable’ Shared responsibility for child and vulnerable beneficiary protection: To effectively manage risks to children and vulnerable beneficiaries, CfA requires the active support and cooperation of all its Personnel. CfA Personnel must comply with this policy and will be held accountable for complying with it’ Use of a risk management approach: Careful management can reduce the incidence of child and vulnerable beneficiary abuse associated with aid activities. This policy introduces strategies for minimising a range of recognised risks to children and vulnerable beneficiaries’ Dutv of Care: CfA recognises its Duty of Care responsibilities and takes all reasonable steps to safeguard the children and vulnerable beneficiaries in its programs.

5. Definitions

Child and young Person ln accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child (1989), CfA defines a child or young person as any person below the age of 18 years, regardless of local laws or other definitions.

Abuse

Abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, exploitation or sexual abuse’ Both boys and girls, women and men can be the victims of abuse, and abuse can be inflicted on a child or other vulnerable person by men, women and other children.

Physical abuse occurs when a person purposefully injures, or threatens to injure, a child or vulnerable beneficiary. This may take the form of slapping, hitting, beating, punching, shaking, kicking, burning, shoving or grabbing.

Emotional or psychological abuse occurs when a child or vulnerable person is repeatedly rejected and/or intimidated through verbal and/or non-verbal means. This may involve insults, taunts, threats, isolation and ridicule including using gestures as well as language.

Sexual abuse occurs when an adult, more powerful child, or adolescent, uses his or her power to involve a child or vulnerable person in, or expose them to sexual activity. That coercive power can be physical, verbal or emotional. Sexual activity includes a wide range of behaviour from inappropriate touching or fondling, grooming behaviour, exposing a child to pornography, through to having sex with a child.

Neglect is the continual and deliberate failure to provide a child or vulnerable person with the conditions essential for their physical and emotional development and well-being, or failure to address issues around health and illness.

Ill-treatment is disciplining or correcting a child or vulnerable person in an unreasonable and seriously inappropriate or improper manner; making excessive and/or degrading demands; hostile use of force; and/or a pattern of hostile or unreasonable and seriously inappropriate degrading comments or behaviour.

Protection 

An activity or initiative designed to protect children/vulnerable people from any form of harm, particularly arising from abuse. Child Protection is an activity that contributes to successful safeguarding. 

Duty of care 

Duty of care is a common law concept that refers to the responsibility of the organisation to provide children and vulnerable beneficiaries who are participating in CfA’s programs with an adequate level of protection against harm. lt is the duty of the organisation to ensure that there is no negligence on its part and to protect children and vulnerable beneficiaries from all reasonably foreseeable risks of injury. 

Safeguarding 

Safeguarding is a broader term than Child Protection. lt is the process of protecting children and vulnerable beneficiaries from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables beneficiaries to have optimum life chances’ Note that for the purposes of this policy, “safeguarding” refers to the action taken by CfA to prevent harm or in the worst case to take action where harm has been committed by a member of CfA Personnel. lt does not differ from the principals included in the Child and Vulnerable People Protection Policy other than to the extent that the Child and Vulnerable people Protection Policy extends the requirement to take action beyond the follow up of harm perpetrated by CfA Personnel to a broader public. Therefore, the Child and Vulnerable people Protection Policy incorporates all aspects of Safeguarding as covered in this policy. The following sections are copies of what is also included in the Child and Vulnerable People Protection Policy and are included here for completeness sake so as to provide a focus on “Safeguarding”.

Vulnerable Person 

This can be defined as a person who may be vulnerable to abuse because of their age, health, physical or mental abilities, or economic circumstances and dependencies for their basic needs’ This is not limited to children, but could also apply to adults who participate in CfAs’ programs

6. Personnel Recruitment, Screening and Orientation

Recruitment and screening of Personnel and associates reflects CfA’s commitment to protect children and vulnerable people by ensuring appropriate, relevant checks and procedures are in place to screen out anyone who may be unsuitable to be in contact with children and vulnerable people, and attract the safest people who share CfA’s values and commitment to protect these groups. 

CfA has a robust recruitment and screening process for all personnel (as defined above). CfA’s basic commitments in our recruitment screening processes are: 

Criminal record checks before engagement statutory declarations of local legal equivalence where criminal record checks are unavailable or unreliable

Minimum of two verbal referee checks to include a question on whether any incidents relating to the protection of a child or a vulnerable person had come to their attention.

Behavioural-based interview questions relating to contact with children.

This process is more fully documented in our recruitment and selection procedures which is saved in our internal shared drive. 

No persons under 18 years of age will be employed in any capacity. Should any person be introduced by CfA in areas that could be considered to represent the workplace, for example by being a project team member, she or he will always be accompanied by an adult who will be responsible for her or his behaviour.

7. Education and Ongoing Training

Education and training to promote awareness and understanding about child protection and the treatment of other vulnerable beneficiaries in the context of CfA’s responsibilities is provided to all personnel during their induction and orientation to the organisation and its programs, even where that is in the context of a one off visit by a donor or other visitor. Training incorporates familiarisation with CfA Child and Vulnerable Beneficiary Protection Policy, including the recording and reporting procedures, and Personnel are required to sign a Child and Vulnerable people protection Agreement declaration. Refresher training sessions for employees will be provided annually or whenever changes are made to this CfA’s policy or recording and reporting procedures. 

CHILD & VULNERABLE BENEFICARY PROTECTTON RISK MANAGEMENT

CfA acknowledges that abuse is a risk faced by all organisations that work with children and vulnerable people. The risk of abuse to vulnerable people, is particularly prevalent when organisations operate in rural, remote and poor areas. CfA identifies possible risks at a program and project level through means of a risk assessment. This risk assessment identifies: adverse events or occurrences that could occur (i.e. areas of risk); the probability of that risk occurring; the level of seriousness of the outcome if the particular event does happen; and what preventative and protective measures that are in place. Risk management and assessment procedures are included as an area that is part of the overall project management cycle and addressed on an ongoing reflective basis.

8. Responding to Disclosure by a Child / Young Person

CfA will treat all concerns raised seriously and ensure that all parties will be treated fairly where the principles of natural justice will be a prime consideration. 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 / young person regardless of the outcomes of any investigation. CfA will ensure that the interests of anyone reporting child abuse in good faith are protected as covered in our Whistleblowing policy. The rights and welfare of the child / young person is of prime importance.  Every effort will be made to protect the rights and safety of the child throughout any investigation. 

When a child / young person discloses that he or she has been abused, it is important to keep in mind: 

They may be feeling scared, guilty, ashamed, angry and powerless. You, in turn, may feel a sense of outrage, disgust, sadness, anger and sometimes disbelief

If a child discloses abuse, whatever the outcome, the child must be taken seriously

lt is important for you to remain calm and in control and to reassure the child / young person that something will be done to keep him or 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: 

  • Listening carefully 
  • Telling the child / young person you believe him or her 
  • Telling the child / young person it is not their fault and he / she is not responsible for the abuse 
  • Telling the child / young person you are pleased he / she told you 
  • You will not be helping the child / young person if you: 
  • Make promises you cannot keep, such as promising that you will not tell anyone 
  • Push the child / young person into giving details of the abuse. Your role is to listen to what the child / young person wants to tell you and not to conduct an investigation (beware of asking any leading questions as this may prejudice any subsequent investigation) 
  • Indiscriminately discuss the circumstances of the child / young person with others not directly involved. 

 

lf a report is made to you as a staff member / volunteer, follow the CfA reporting processes, support, response guidance in Appendix B.

9. Photography or Filming involving Children and/or Vulnerable People and use of these Images

This process is fully documented in CfAs’ Ethical decision-making Framework and is referred to below in Appendix A: Code of Conduct for Working with Children and Vulnerable People’

10. Working with Partners

With respect to arrangements with Partners as defined in our Partnership Policy and the Partnership Due Diligence Assessment and also with other definitions of partner that embrace any activity conducted jointly for or on behalf of CfA, the following principles relating to the application of the Child & Vulnerable people protection policy and in particular the principles relating to the protection and safeguarding of children and vulnerable people, apply: 

For clarity, wherever CfA establishes a formal agreement with another individual, contractor, or organisation to work as a partner, including with Partners as governed by our Working With Partners Policy, in implementing its programs or undertaking a project involving children and or vulnerable people, it will ensure that the relevant partner has processes and procedures that will provide at least a similar level of protection of children and vulnerable people 

Where any partner does not have the requisite policy and procedures in place, CfA may choose either to not work with them or to assist them to build their capacity and introduce the necessary protection mechanisms before undertaking any work.

11. Policy Management

This policy takes effect from the date of approval by the Board as noted below. Amendments and or developments will be recommended to the Board from time to time as deemed appropriate by the CfA’s Leadership Team. Formal reviews will take place before the expiry of three years from the anniversary date of approval by the Board. Any changes to the Child protection policy will result in a review of all relevant policies and procedure guidelines. 

Recommendations for change will require Board approval.

APPENDIX A: CODE OF CONDUCT FOR WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE PEOPLE

CfA’s views child and vulnerable people protection as a shared responsibility. To effectively manage risks to children and other vulnerable people, CfA requires the active support and cooperation of all CfA Personnel. CfA also encourages awareness of child protection issues and vulnerability in communities among our partner organisations in Ttanzania, Australia and elsewhere.

It is a requirement that CfA Personnel must immediately disclose all charges, convictions and other outcomes of an offence that relates to child exploitation and abuse, including those under traditional law, which occurred before or occurs during their association with CfA. 

CfA’s endeavours wherever possible to reduce the risk of inappropriate behaviour by CfA personnel. Accordingly, CfA will exercise its right to dismiss or withdraw CfA Personnel when it considers that the person poses an unacceptable risk to the safety or welt-being of children or vulnerable people’ lf deemed appropriate

CfA may suspend Personnel or transfer them to other duties as a temporary measure while an investigation is conducted

Our responsibilities CfA’s partners will:

Treat every individual with dignity and respect regardless of differences of ethnicity, religion, age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, race, colour, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, disability, birth status, and economic circumstances

Conduct themselves in a manner consistent with their position as a positive role model to children and communities, and as a representative of CfA. 

Immediately raise and report any concerns for the safety or wellbeing of a child with the CfA’s appointed Child Protection Officer, Country Manager or CEO, in accordance with the CfA’s Code of Conduct and reporting procedures 

Be visible when working with children and other vulnerable beneficiaries. 

Avoid being alone with children or vulnerable beneficiaries and wherever possible, ensure that other adults are present when working in the proximity of children. 

Comply with all relevant Australian and local legislation, including labour laws in relation to child labour.

CfA Personnel will not:

Engage in any behaviour that is intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade people or groups of people 

Use language, make suggestions, offer advice or engage in any behaviour that is inappropriate, discriminatory, offensive, harassing, sexually provocative, demeaning, culturally inappropriate or abusive 

Supply alcohol and drugs to a child or other vulnerable beneficiary as this is inappropriate behaviour

Show differential treatment or favouritism to a child or other vulnerable beneficiary, including offering gifts to children 

Do things of a personal nature that a child or other vulnerable beneficiary can do for him/herself, such as assistance with toileting or changing clothes 

Take children/vulnerable people to their own accommodation unless they are at immediate risk of injury or in Physical danger. 

Sleep in the same room or bed as a child/vulnerable beneficiary unless absolutely necessary, in which case, the project team leader’s permission must be obtained, and another adult must be present wherever Possible. 

Physically punish or discipline any child or vulnerable beneficiary. .

Engage any child, children, or vulnerable beneficiaries in any form of sexual activity or acts, including paying for sexual activity or acts. 

Act in ways that may be abusive or place a child/vulnerable beneficiary at risk of abuse or harm. 

Behave physically in a manner that is inappropriate or sexually provocative towards a child/vulnerable beneficiary

Condone, or participate in, behaviour towards children/vulnerable beneficiaries that is illegal, unsafe or abusive. 

Act in a way that shows unfair differential treatment, or favour towards particular children/vulnerable beneficiaries to the exclusion of others

Record or publish any child’s or vulnerable person’s name or any address details with photographs. 

Hold, kiss, cuddle or touch a child/vulnerable beneficiary in an inappropriate, unnecessary or culturally insensitive way. Touching should only be in response to the need of the individual; be only with the individual’s permission (except in an emergency situation); avoid the breasts, buttocks and groin; and be open and non-secretive.

Use any computers, mobile phones, or video and digital cameras inappropriately, or access child pornography through any medium. 

Hire children/vulnerable beneficiaries for domestic or other labour, which is inappropriate given their age or developmental stage, which interferes with their time available for education and recreational activities, or which places them at significant risk of injury’

When photographing or filming a child or using children’s images for work-related purposes, CfA will:

Obtain informed and documented consent of the child and his / her parents or guardians before photography / filming and provide an explanation on how the photograph / film will be used

Ensure photographs, films, videos and DVDs present children in a dignified and respectful manner and not in a vulnerable or submissive manner. Children should be adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive. 

lmages are honest representations of the context and facts

Ensure file labels, meta data or text descriptions do not reveal identifying information about a child when sending images electronically or publishing images in any form

Take care to ensure the local traditions or restrictions for reproducing personal images are adhered to before photographing or filming a child.

Responsibilities where inappropriate behaviour is witnessed:

Where CfA Personnel witness another person committing an act that breaches this policy such that it would fall within the definition of Abuse as set out in in Section 5 ‘Definitions’, it is the responsibility of that person to report what they have witnessed in the first instance to the Child Protection Officer, or if not appropriate or possible, to one of:; Country Manager; Country Director; or nominated member of the leadership team WHETHER OR NOT THE PERPETRATOR IS CONNECTED WITH CfA. 

The details of what and how to report are included in APPENDIX C. They may then be required to assist with the ensuing investigation.

APPENDIX B: Volunteer, Donor and Other visit Programs – assurance processes

CfA recognises the need to implement specific guidelines to manage risks relating to the protection of children and vulnerable persons from its volunteer, donors and other visits programs.

These guidelines include

Type of visitor – Volunteer    Description of visit –Volunteer to serve in Tarime

Safeguards and Guidelines

All visits are arranged in advance through our office and volunteer teachers/clinicians (on occasions accompanied by family members) are screened through our processes, including (but not limited to) reference checks, Police or Working with Children checks. Where a family member may not have a Police check, they complete the Child and Vulnerable People Protection Self Declaration form (as appropriate)

All visitors are expected to read and sign the declaration to commit to abiding by CfA policies including those related to the Child and Vulnerable People Protection Policy and the Code of Conduct. 

All volunteers will receive a child protection and safeguarding briefing that includes clear child protection and behavioural guidelines. 

All teacher visits to schools are accompanied by an appropriate number of members of the CfA’s Team. 

The exchange of mailing addresses and contact details (including online forums) is not permitted at any time. 

Type of visitor – Donors    Description of visit – Other

Safeguards and Guidelines

All visits will be arranged in advance through our office. 

Individuals to complete the Child and Vulnerable People Protection Self Declaration form and to read and sign the declaration to undertake to abide by all CfA Policies including the Child and Vulnerable People Protection Policy and the Code of Conduct

The donor will be supervised at all times by a senior member of the CfA Team and will have minimal contact with children. 

The exchange of mailing addresses and contact details (including online forums) is not permitted at any time. 

Other considerations are the same as with teacher/clinician volunteers as set out above.

Type of visitor – Board Members    Description of visit – CfA Board Members

Safeguards and Guidelines

All Board members are to have a current Working with Children or Police check. Their visits are arranged in advance through our office. Any accompanying family members are subject to the same arrangements as Donors. 

Where they haven’t already done so these individuals are expected to read and sign the declaration to undertake to abide by all CfA Policies including the Child and Vulnerable People Protection Policy and the Code of Conduct. 

APPENDIX C: Child Abuse Reporting Processes, Support and Response

CfA takes any concerns and/or reports of abuse against children seriously and will rigorously investigate and act on these. The nominated child Protection & lnclusion officer plays a key role within the associated Processes. 

Who should report?

All CfA personnel, defined as: 

  • board members 
  • current staff and volunteers
  • external consultants and contractors (paid or voluntary) 
  • contracted staff or personnel of contracted organisation and services 
  • project team participants. 
  • Any other person working for or on behalf of CfA 
  • lndividuals and third parties who through their association with CfA may visit our project activities. 

What should be reported?

Any disclosure or allegation about or suspicion of abuse that is made by someone in or involved with CfA, including beneficiaries and third parties

Any behaviour by anyone employed by, volunteering with or visiting CfA that breaches the Child Protection Policy

inappropriate use of the organisation’s photographs and other media

Staff, volunteers and visitors engaging in suspicious behaviour linked to child trafficking, exploitation, abuse, and similar activities

Any suspicion of abuse, neglect or exploitation of a child or vulnerable beneficiary that may be as a result of actions of someone from outside of CfA.

Who to report to ?

ln Tanzania: child abuse reports may be made to CfA’ child Protection & lnclusion Officer, Safeguarding Focal Point, Monitoring and Compliance Manager, Country Manager, country Director or nominated members of the leadership team

In Australia: child abuse reports should be made to the Child Protection & lnclusion Officer, safeguarding Focal Point, Monitoring and compliance Manager, country General Manager or the chief Executive officer. ln practical terms it may be that the report is first made to the General Manager Australia should other appropriate staff members be out of the country at the time. lt will be the General Manager Australia’s responsibility then to liaise with the Monitoring and Compliance Manager to ensure an appropriate investigation is undertaken

Organisational reporting procedures

Reporting of any cause for concern will follow the same procedure regardless of where the report is made. Reports can be made by anyone and can be done in writing or verbally.  Written reports do not have to be made using the reporting forms, an email or hand-written note is sufficient’ however it is good practice that any report is followed up with Cause for Concern reporting forms.  

In the first instance the Child Protection & lnclusion officer will manage the reporting procedures, however if the child protection & inclusion officer is unavailable or it is not appropriate for them to lead the process this will then fail to the safeguarding Focal Point and then the country Manager in conjunction with the Country Director/CEO

Whoever is leading the process will liaise directly with the Monitoring and Compliance Manager who is responsible for working with the CEO to ensure appropriate reports are provided immediately to any donors, regulatory organisations or civil authorities including Police forces as appropriate as discussedfurtherinthesectionbelow.TheMonitoringandComplianceManagerisalsoresponsible for liaising with the leadership team regarding any reports, investigations and actions t be taken as appropriate to the circumstances.

Steps to be taken

The child Protection & lnclusion officer will consult with the Monitoring and compliance Manager and conduct an initial assessment of the concern and decide on immediate action to be taken.

The child Protection & lnclusion officer (or other appropriate person as per the section above on ‘who to report to’) will follow up to ensure the appropriate reporting forms and documentation is completed and filed. They will then become the ‘Lead officer’ for the concern/incident. 

lf required, the lead person will seek support for vulnerable beneficiary.  Relevant referrals can be Appendix D of the Child Protection Policy.  

The Lead officer will co-ordinate the gathering of information to investigate the concern/incident and liaise with the Monitoring and compliance Manager (or other appropriate person). There is no set time for gathering information and evidence as it will depend on the nature of the concern and who is involved.  However, it should be done as speedily as possible and the Lead Officer is responsible for daily recording of action taken by anyone involved.

lnitial information collected within the first 24 hours will be referred to the leadership team for them to decide whether they feel a criminal offence has taken place.  lf there is any doubt, it should be treated as criminal. All criminal offences or suspected offences will be reported to the police in the country the offence took place and in the resident country of the suspected offender. Contact with the Police in the respective countries is to be made by the respective country Manager or CEO only. lf an occurrence of a breach of Policy it is not considered to be criminal, then the organisations disciplinary and grievance/complaints policies and procedures will be followed

The Monitoring and Compliance Manager (or other appropriate person) will be the link between the Lead officer and the Leadership Team and external donors and regulatory bodies. They will ensure that everyone is updated regularly on the information gathered and co-ordinate the Leadership Team’s decision on action to be taken’ o once all the information that is available and relevant is gathered, the Lead officer will provide a written report to the Monitoring and Compliance (or other appropriate person) within 4 hours, using the reporting formats.  The Monitoring and Compliance Manager will then refer this to the Leadership Team (to be discussed with a minimum of 3 members of the leadership team with a gender mix represented), who will meet on the same day as the report is received, unless it is received within 1 hour of the end of business and then they will meet at the beginning of the next working day (this is subject to the nature of the report and if it is deemed urgent, then a meeting will be called immediately).  This representation of the leadership team will decide on the action to be taken as per CfA policies and procedure.

ln all cases the CEO will be kept fully informed and his council sought about appropriate actions where communication and time permit’ Liaison with external parties is naturally a priority and needs to be undertaken by the Leadership Team in conjunction with the Monitoring and Compliance Manager ideally including the CEO or separately with the CEO as communications and availability allow

Only when all action has been taken and the cause for concern/incident has been fully investigated and responded to, can it then be closed and filed

Files will be kept in a secure location in CfA offices (Tanzania, Australia as appropriate) for a minimum of 7 Years

Confidentiality

Any staff member will ensure that any concern raised to them is handled according to the principles of confidentiality, safety, impartiality, thoroughness, timeliness and accuracy.

All complaints and reports, and the names of people involved, will be handled in the strictest of confidence. Details will only be released on a ‘need to know’ basis, or when required by relevant local or Australian law, or when a notification to police or child protection authorities has been made.

APPENDIX D: Contact details for child protection agencies in Tanzania

CFA-P3.V1 Child & Vulnerable People Protection Policy
Effective Date: 7 August 2020

Approved By: Board of Management.

Controlled Document — Printed Versions are not controlled. CFA