Solomon Islands Education Project Child Protection Policy Policy Date: 31/05/16 Review Date 31/05/19
Child abuse is a global problem that affects both boys and girls. It has existed since the beginning of time 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.
The objective of this policy is to help the Solomon Islands Education Project (SIEP) to take all possible steps to ensure the protection of children against all forms of child abuse.
SIEP aims to create a 'child safe' environment where children are respected, protected, empowered and active in their own protection.
SIEP considers child abuse unacceptable in all circumstances and takes its duty of care seriously and will aim at all times to provide the safest possible programs and environments for children.
SIEP has the responsibility to protect children "...from all forms of physical and mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse".
SIEP recognises that by the nature of its work it is at risk of being targeted by those wanting to exploit or harm children and that there are a number of potential risks to children in the delivery of our programs. We understand that the effects of abuse on children are both devastating and long term. SIEP will not knowingly accept sponsors or permit a person to work with children if they pose an unacceptable risk to children’s safety or wellbeing.
Increase Awareness of Child Protection
A key step in reducing risks to children when delivering aid activities is to increase awareness of risks and how they should be managed. SIEP will provide regular training for students and teachers at St Joseph’s High School. When possible, this will be done with the help of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and Australian Federal Police / New Zealand Police whilst RAMSI movement is in the Solomon Islands. In addition, materials will be prepared and distributed for students to take home to their families who live remotely for the purpose of raising community awareness.
Reporting Child Abuse, Exploitation or any Child Protection Concerns
All reports or expressions of concern will be taken seriously and reported to Royal Solomon Islands Police and / or to the Australian Federal Police and / or New Zealand Police. Reporting procedures for sponsored children will be discussed with children and teachers during the Child Protection training at the school. Children will be encouraged to report to trusted teachers, the Principal, the Deputy Principal, their parents or directly to the police. Female students may also report to the Catholic Nun at the school.
Use of Children’s Images
SIEP will only use images of children for the purpose of media publicity or as information to a child’s sponsor when the parent and child have given approval. Such permission will be obtained before the commencement of the scholarship. In circumstances where parents are unable to give written permission due to distance, the Principal of the school may give written permission. Note: Some children in the SIEP program may have parents who live remotely and up to one week’s boat ride away from the school and hence would be difficult to give written permission.
Communication with Children
Communication with children must always be done appropriately and never to exploit or harass. Written mail addressed to the school (St. Josephs High School, Tenaru, PO Box 11, Honiara, Solomon Islands) will be screened by a member of staff to check the nature of the contents. As the internet will be made available at the school in the near future, contact via email will be possible. The school will take responsibility to supervise and ensure that emails received and sent by students never contain any sort of harassment, exploitation or pornography. In addition, communication with students via Facebook, text messaging and phone calls will be monitored to ensure their protection and well-being.
This policy will be updated every three years or as required.
SIEP: Solomon Islands Education Project.
A Child: A child means every human being below the age of eighteen years. National law and guidance or local customs may be based on different definitions/notions of age of childhood/adulthood, but the standard for SIEP is that children should receive equal protection as far as possible, regardless of local age limits.
Child Protection: Child Protection within the scope of this policy is defined as the responsibilities, measures and activities that SIEP undertakes to safeguard children from both intentional and unintentional harm.
Child Abuse: Child Abuse is defined as all forms of physical abuse, emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse and exploitation, neglect or negligent treatment, commercial or other exploitation of a child and includes any actions that results in actual or potential harm to a child.
Child abuse may be a deliberate act or it may be failing to act to prevent harm. Child abuse consists of anything which individuals, institutions or processes do or fail to do, intentionally or unintentionally which harms a child or damages their prospect of safe and healthy development into adulthood.
APPENDIX 1. CHILD PROTECTION CODE OF CONDUCT
We, Solomon Island Education Project & St Joseph’s High School, whilst implementing emergency relief and/or aid and development in partnership with World Relief Australia commit to zero tolerance of child abuse. We will therefore:
Treat all children everywhere with respect regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, social status or political persuasion
Refrain from using language or behaviour towards children that is demeaning, harassing, culturally inappropriate or sexually provocative
Never engage children in any form of sexual activity or acts
Interact with children in such a way so as to facilitate transparency and
accountability to other adults
Appoint teams rather than individuals to work with unaccompanied children
Refrain from physical punishment or discipline of children in the course of rendering
Not hire children for domestic tasks or other labour inappropriate for their
developmental stage, which places them at risk of injury or prevents them from
Comply with all relevant Australian and local legislation, including labour laws in
relation to child labour
Immediately report and investigate any concerns/allegations of child abuse with
Appropriately use technology around children, including computers, mobile phones,
video and cameras, and never engage in exploitative, harassing or pornographic
Comply with local traditions and cultural expectations when photographing/filming
Obtain consent from the child or guardian prior to photographing/filming
Ensure all images present children in a dignified and respectful manner, adequately
clothed and not in sexually suggestive poses
Not use images in such a way as to reveal identifying information about the child
Ensure all images are honest representations of the context and facts
SIEP CPP 5