ELMA School Cambodia’s (EFCC) Child Protection Policy has been developed in order to provide a clear framework for managing and reducing the risks of child abuse by persons engaged in volunteering or working at EFCC and delivering EFCC’s program activities.
The policy applies to all members of the EFCC management team and staff, our overseas business partners and any sponsor, visitor or volunteer who will come into contact with children through EFCC. All enquiries about this policy should be directed to EMLA
EFCC has four on ground Child Protection Officers (CPOs). Their names and contact details are displayed in the Volunteer Office, EFCC School, EFCC Clinic and the EFCC Community Development Department. These details are written in both Khmer and English.
Purpose of this Child Protection Policy
Child abuse happens in all societies throughout the world. Child abusers can be anyone including those who work with or care for children.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that:
- All children have equal rights to protection from abuse and exploitation
- Everyone has the responsibility to support the care and protection of children
- We are all accountable and have a duty to help eradicate child abuse
This child protection policy articulates EFCC’s zero tolerance approach to child abuse and child pornography. It provides a framework for managing and reducing risks of child abuse by persons engaged in delivering EFCC’s program activities.
The policy’s overall goal is to protect children from abuse of all kinds in the delivery of EFCC’s program activities. The policy outlines practical steps to increase EFCC’s capacity to manage and reduce risks of child abuse. While it is not possible to eliminate risk entirely, much can be done to reduce opportunities for child abuse.
Child means any human being below the age of eighteen years of age.
Child abuse includes sexual exploitation, physical and or mental harm deliberately caused to a child.
Sexual abuse is when someone involves a child in a sexual activity by using their power over them or taking advantage of their trust. Often children are bribed or threatened physically and psychologically to make them participate in the activity.
Physical abuse is a non-accidental injury or pattern of injuries to a child caused by a parent, caregiver or any other person.
Psychological abuse can occur where the behavior of the parent or caregiver damages the confidence and self-esteem of the child, resulting in serious emotional deprivation or trauma.
Child Abuse is Crime
EFCC’s Child Protection Policy is a statement of intent that demonstrates a commitment to safeguard children from harm. It makes clear all requirements in relation to the protection of children. The policy helps to create a safe and positive environment for children and shows that the organization is taking its duty of care seriously.
Recognising Signs of Abuse
Recognizing indications of potential abuse is complex and there is no simple checklist to allow easy recognition. There are potential warning signs that you can be alert to but they should be observed and assessed with care. It should not be automatically assumed that abuse is occurring, and talking to the child may reveal something quite innocent. It is important, however, not to dismiss significant changes in behavior, fears, worries, and physical indicators a child is exhibiting. Do not ignore these signs, but remember it is not your role to become an investigator. Report any concerns to a EFCC Child Protection Officer.
EFCC’s Statement of Commitment
EFCC’s first priority is the safety and well-being of the children under its care. Our strict Child Protection Policy will endeavor to ensure that children are not exposed to abuse, exploitation, violence or neglect. Our guidelines protect both the child from abuse and adults from false accusations.
Zero tolerance of child abuse: Child abuse is not tolerated by EFCC, nor is possession of, or access to, child pornography. EFCC actively manages risks of child abuse associated with delivering its program activities and trains its management, overseas business partners and all sponsors and volunteers who come into contact with children through the EFCC organization on their obligations. EFCC will not knowingly engage with, directly or indirectly, anyone who poses an unacceptable risk to children or associates with any individual or organization that does not meet EFCC’s child protection compliance standards in their operations and activities.
Recognition of the best interests of the child: In reference to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, EFCC is committed to upholding the rights and obligations of the convention. EFCC recognizes that some children, such as children with disabilities and children living in areas impacted by disasters (natural or conflict based), are particularly vulnerable. All decisions and actions concerning a child will always be made in the best interests of the child. EFCC will enforce a policy of non-discrimination at all times and all children will be treated equally with love and respect.
Sharing responsibility for child protection: To effectively manage risks to children, EFCC requires the active support and cooperation of all personnel engaged in implementing EFCC’s program activities. All personnel must meet the terms of this child protection policy and will be held accountable for complying with it.
Participation and Self- Determination: EFCC abides by the principle that a child has the right to have his or her views taken into account in major decisions affecting their life in accordance with their age development They will be given the opportunity to express their ideas and views and be heard on matters which affect them. EFCC aims to provide safe and friendly environments where children can develop and grow in a healthy way.
Implementation of this Policy
Ensure co-ordinated policy implementation
To ensure coordinated implementation of the policy, EFCC has a team of four on ground Child Protection Officers (CPOs).
The team consists of two female and two male personnel. The CPOs’ responsibilities include promoting child protection throughout the organization, coordinating and facilitating training and procedures for the EFCC staff and management team, overseas business partners and all sponsors, visitors and volunteers who come into contact with children through the EFCC organization. The CPOs is also responsible for monitoring internal and external policy compliance and coordinating policy reviews. The CPOs also serves as the central contact points for enquiries (internal and external) about child abuse and child protection.
Increase awareness of child protection issues
Staff and volunteers
A key step in reducing risks to children when delivering program activities is to increase awareness of risks and how to manage them. EFCC’s staff and management team receive training on child protection issues and on their obligations under the policy, including mandatory reporting of concerns or allegations of abuse. Training will also be provided to long term volunteers upon induction and before they travel overseas to conduct work on behalf of EFCC. Training is also provided to all personnel at EFCC and those attached to EFCC’s overseas business partners. EFCC sponsors who request contact with children associated with EFCC are screened, trained, provided with procedures and are escorted during meetings by staff.
All sponsors who request contact with children associated with EFCC must first sign a EFCC Code of Conduct and undergo a National Police Check, or equivalent, with their country of abode.
The best way to protect children is to empower them to protect themselves.
Awareness programs for parents, children and the wider community.
EFCC conducts child protection awareness programs for families and the wider community on the following issues:
- The rights of the child and healthy parenting
- The danger of ‘grooming’ from strangers
- Child sex trafficking
Personnel recruitment, screening and orientation
- Advertisements for job vacancies will make it clear that EFCC is committed to child protection and that prospective employees’ commitment to child protection must be a condition of employment.
- All prospective EFCC associates will be informed of EFCC’s Child Protection Policy at the start of any recruiting process
Enhance internal procedures for handling complaints relating to child abuse
EFCC has internal procedures for handling complaints related to child abuse, including child pornography. The procedures outline obligations and responsibilities for reporting on and managing concerns about inappropriate behavior. It is mandatory for members of the EFCC management team, staff, volunteers, sponsors and EFCC’s overseas business partners to immediately report to the EFCC Child Protection Officers any concerns relating to child abuse and child pornography by anyone covered by the policy. If any of the EFCC Child Protection Officers are the cause for concern then the EFCC Managing Director or the local Police will be informed. (Refer to Procedures Regarding Complaints)
Ensure appropriate use of communication systems
EFCC’s guidelines on appropriate use of its communication systems cover child pornography. Using any system to access child pornography is illegal and will be dealt with promptly, including immediate reporting to relevant law enforcement agencies.
Incorporate child protection strategies into risk management procedures
Under this policy, risks of child abuse are now assessed as part of the initial risk assessment for program activities. Procedures have been developed to ensure these risks are assessed efficiently and that effective risk management strategies are in place. Risks to children identified during initial risk assessments are managed throughout program activity implementation.
Ensure risks to children are managed in disaster situations
EFCC recognizes that children living in areas impacted by disasters (natural or conflict based) are particularly vulnerable. All personnel implementing EFCC’S disaster response activities must comply with the policy’s child protection compliance standards. Risks to children must always be considered when developing disaster response activities.
Responsibilities of EFCC supporters
EFCC is committed to the welfare of children and their protection from abuse and exploitation. Every person who engages in the work of EFCC, including the EFCC staff and management team, sponsors, volunteers and our overseas business partners, share in the responsibility to take every precaution to protect the children and families we serve.
EFCC website, child imagery and child protection
EFCC is committed to protecting the security, privacy, and dignity of the children whose parents, guardians and community leaders have graciously allowed them to be a part of our child and family sponsorship programs. The policies below describe how we protect children in relation to the web sponsorship process.
Security: Children have the right to be completely secure from the fear or reality of any potential abuse (either physical or emotional) resulting from an inappropriate contact by a sponsor or any other person .EFCC will only release limited information about the children. We don’t include last names, community names or locations, or any other information that might identify the location of the child. We intentionally withhold this information until after the identity of the sponsor is verified. Sponsors of children/families must also agree not to attempt to contact a sponsored child, his or her family or community members, in any manner other than that prescribed and permitted by EFCC. Telephone calls, emails or unplanned visits to the child’s residence and community are not allowed by any EFCC sponsor, visitor or volunteer.
Privacy: We take potential misuse of child photographs on the web very seriously. Children and their families must be assured that EFCC is protecting the integrity of the information about them that has been given, including photographs. Privacy also demands that children, their families and communities be shielded from any potential inappropriate contact from sponsors or others. For this reason, EFCC does not allow downloading, copying, or replicating photos or other information relating to children and their communities on our website without our prior written permission. Child/family profiles are presented for the purpose of conveying appropriate information about the sponsorship relationship, and are not to be distributed.
Dignity: The lives of children, their families, and members of their community should be represented with accuracy and dignity. All photographs, films, videos and DVDs must present children in a dignified and respectful manner and not in a vulnerable or submissive manner. Children must be adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive. We consider the children and families we work with as our partners, together helping to bring holistic transformation to communities living in poverty. We seek the full, informed consent of parents, guardians, and/or community leaders for a child’s participation in our child sponsorship program.
Review child protection policy regularly
EFCC’s Child Protection Policy will be reviewed every three years or earlier if warranted, and lessons learned incorporated into subsequent versions.