DDAMULIRA & SONS FOUNDATION
CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Ddamulira & Sons Foundation supports the rights of children and is committed to their safety and well-being.
Ddamulira & Sons Foundation members and those working with the organisation share a common responsibility and commitment to the awareness, prevention and reporting of and responding to child abuse in the course of their work.
The Child Protection Policy sets out common values, principles, and beliefs and describes the steps that will be taken to meet our commitment to protect children.
This policy applies to all, freelance and other experts, interns and volunteers (hereinafter) as well as associate firms and partners) working with Ddamulira & Sons Foundation on the implementation of development assistance projects.
For the purpose of this policy, the definition of a child is “every human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”. This is in accordance with Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child.
We define child abuse as all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including commercial exploitation, sexual abuse while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
Principles and values.
The following principles and values reflect Ddamulira & Sons Foundation stance on child protection:
Zero tolerance of child abuse.
Ddamulira & sons foundation does not tolerate any form of child abuse nor tolerate possession or access to any material that is abusive towards children. Guidance and training on child protection risk management is provided, Ddamulira & Sons Foundation will not knowingly engage anyone who poses a direct risk to children.
Recognition of children’s interests.
Ddamulira & Sons Foundation recognises that some children are at greater risk of abuse. Of particular vulnerability are children with disabilities, children in conflict situations as well as children in natural or post natural disaster situations.
Sharing responsibility of child protection.
When bidding for projects in association with firms that do not have a child protection policy, Ddamulira & Sons Foundation will ensure that associate firms agree to adopt our Child Protection Policy and Child Protection Code of Conduct for the duration of the project.
To protect children from all forms of abuse in the course of our work.
The purpose of this Child Protection Policy is to:
Provide a management strategy to prevent child abuse and protect children in the course of our work;
Protect Ddamulira & Sons Foundation staff and partners from unfair practices and processes; and
Provide Ddamulira & Sons Foundation staff and partners with clear guidelines on what to do in the case of suspected child abuse.
Ddamulira & Sons Foundation commitment;
Our commitment to child protection will be guided by the following:
We will ensure that all Ddamulira & Sons Foundation staff and partners as well as stakeholders involved in projects are aware of the problem of child abuse and the risks to children.
We will ensure, through awareness and good practice, that Ddamulira & Sons Foundation staff and partners minimise the risks to children.
We will ensure that Ddamulira & Sons Foundation staff and partners are clear on what steps to take where concerns arise regarding the safety of children.
We will ensure that action is taken to support and protect children where concerns of abuse arise.
Further to the above, we will:
Not permit a person to work with children if it has been identified that they pose an unacceptable risk to children’s safety or well-being.
Take all child abuse concerns raised seriously, take positive steps to ensure the protection of children who are the subject of any concerns.
Support children, our staff or other adults who raise concerns or who are the subject of concerns.
Act appropriately and effectively in instigating or cooperating with any subsequent process of investigation.
Guide through the child protection process by the principle of ‘best interests of the child’.
Listen to and take seriously the views and wishes of children; and
Work in partnership with parents/careers and/or other professionals to ensure the protection of children.
The following general procedures will mainstream Ddamulira & sons foundation Child Protection Policy and Child Protection Code of Conduct;
Both Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct are made an integral part of quality management system and the legally binding instructions it contains.
Contracts for persons newly employed will contain a provision foreseeing their dismissal or transfer to other duties if they breach the Child Protection Code of Conduct.
All subsidiaries will be required to adopt a child protection policy that meets the standards of the policy in this matter.
Any agreement between Ddamulira & Sons Foundation and associate firms which concerns services directly to children will require assurance that appropriate child protection policies and procedures are in place.
All project offices will display contact details for reporting possible child abuse and our staff will have contact details for reporting.
A reporting procedure is put in place to investigate and deal with possible child abuse.
GUIDELINES FOR REPORTING SUSPECTED OR ACTUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN.
Reporting suspected or actual child abuse is mandatory for all staff, volunteers, consultants and sub-contractors.
No staff or partner will prejudice their own position or standing with Ddamulira & Sons Foundation by responsibly reporting someone who they believe is breaking the Child Protection
Code of Conduct.
Responsible reporting also means that any person making a report should bear in mind that all concerns are allegations until they have been investigated. For this reason, it is important for anyone raising a concern to follow the specific reporting guidelines set out below. In particular, confidentiality is expected within the reporting chain.
All staff should normally discuss their concerns with their immediate seniors, be it a Project Manager. Where staffs are unable or unwilling to do this, they must raise their concerns. Any information provided to the Compliance Officers will be handled with strict confidentiality and who will only take action if breaches of the Child Protection Code of Conduct can be proven conclusively.
Discussions held with a top management or with the Compliance Officers should focus on;
Evidence that the Child Protection Code of Conduct has been broken.
The identified risks to the child/children.
Measures to safeguarding children and minimize risk.
And action/next steps.
Discussions should focus on;
An assessment of the reported concerns and support needs.
Whether, and at what stage, the issue should be reported to external bodies.
Appropriate response, e.g. disciplinary process or urgent action if children are judged to be at risk.
SPECIFIC REPORTING GUIDELINES.
Any concerns, allegations or disclosures must be recorded in writing, signed and dated, and communicated as soon as possible.
Records should be detailed and precise, focusing on what was said or observed, who was present and what happened. Speculation and interpretation should be clearly distinguished from reporting.
Responding to concerns.
In order to protect children it may be necessary to take immediate action to ensure that the Child Protection Code of Conduct is not broken again and/or that further abuse cannot take place.
The best interests of the child and the desire to secure the best outcomes for the child should always govern decisions regarding what action should be taken in response to concerns.
Some concerns may be so serious that they would have to be reported to local authorities and police. In these circumstances, based on local guidelines, we’ll assess on a case-by-case basis what steps to take. If the concerns are reported to local authorities.
When handling child abuse complaints, Ddamulira & Sons Foundation will take into account the relevant legislation in the country or region in which the alleged incident took place.
Ddamulira & Sons Foundation is committed to educating staff and others on the Child Protection Policy, how to reduce risks and create child safe environments. We will promote child safe practices which keep children safe in the organisation and in their own community,
As part of its child protection training, Ddamulira & Sons Foundation will;
Provide comprehensive written documents on Child Protection Policy to all new staff/partners.
Incorporate extensive information on the company’s Child Protection Policy in the briefing procedures for new staff.
Provide child protection training for staff assigned in projects where they will work directly with children.
Annex 1 – Code of Conduct.
While implementing development assistance activities, we will:
Treat children with respect regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
Not use language or behaviour towards children that is inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate.
Not engage children in any form of sexual activity or acts, including paying for sexual services or acts where, under the law(s) applicable to the child, the child is below the age of consent or the act(s) are an offence under relevant laws.
Wherever possible, ensure that another adult is present when working in the proximity of children.
Not invite unaccompanied children into my home without the permission of their parent/guardian, unless they are at immediate risk of injury or in physical danger.
Not sleep close to unsupervised children unless absolutely necessary, in which case I must obtain my supervisor’s permission, and ensure that another adult is present if possible.
Use any computers, mobile phones, or video and digital cameras appropriately, and never exploit or harass children or access child pornography through any medium (see also ‘Use of children’s images for work-related purposes’).
Refrain from physical punishment or discipline of children refrain from hiring children 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 comply with all relevant German and local legislation, including labour laws in relation to child labour; and
Immediately report concerns or allegations of child abuse in accordance with appropriate procedures.
Use of children’s images for work-related purposes.
When photographing or filming a child for work-related purposes, the staff must;
Before photographing or filming a child, assess and endeavor to comply with local traditions or restrictions for reproducing personal images.
Before photographing or filming a child, obtain consent from the child or a parent or guardian of the child. As part of this I must explain how the photograph or 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.
Ensure images are honest representations of the context and the facts.
Annex 2 – Forms of Child Abuse.
Child abuse can occur in a variety of forms, be it physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or bullying.
“Physical abuse occurs when a person purposefully injures or threatens to injure a child or young person. This may take the form of slapping, punching, shaking, kicking, burning, shoving or grabbing. The injury may take the form of bruises, cuts, burns, or fractures”.
“Emotional abuse is a persistent attack on a child or young person’s self-esteem. It can take the form of name calling, threatening, ridiculing, intimidating or isolating the child or young person”. A child may also be subject to emotional trauma or abuse if they are forced to, or inadvertently become a witness to domestic violence. Where this occurs deliberately it is a form of abuse.
“Neglect is the failure to provide the child with the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing, shelter and supervision to the extent that the child’s health and development are at risk”.
“Sexual abuse is the actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child. Sexual abuse includes rape, incest and all forms of sexual activity involving children, including exposing children to, or taking, pornographic photographs” or other media/materials.
Annex 3 – Recognising the signs.
Who is most likely to abuse a child?
Someone who is known to the child.
Someone who the child trusts.
Someone who the family trusts, i.e. not a stranger.
Someone who has access to the child.
Someone who has themselves experienced abuse as a child.
How to recognize abuse.
Listed below are a number of indicators of abuse; however, they may vary by cultural and economic context. It should be noted that this list is not exhaustive but is a guideline to help establish whether some form of child abuse or exploitation has taken place.
Emotional signs of abuse:
Sudden under achievement or lack of concentration.
Inappropriate relationships with peers and/or adults.
Changes or regression in mood or behavior, particularly where a child withdraws or becomes clinging.
Depression or extreme anxiety.
Nervousness, frozen watchfulness.
Indicators of possible physical abuse:
Any injury inconsistent with explanation given to them.
An injury to the body in places not normally exposed to falls, rough games etc.
Reluctance to change for, or participate in, games.
Repeated urinary infections or unexplained tummy pains.
Bruises, bites, burns, fracture, etc., which do not have a reasonable explanation.
Infections and/or symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases.
General bruises, scratches or other injuries not consistent with accidental injury.
Indicators of possible sexual abuse:
Any allegations made by a child concerning abuse.
Excessive preoccupation with sexual matters and detailed knowledge of adult sexual behavior, or engaging in age in-appropriate sexual play.
Sexually provocative or seductive with adults.
Sudden changes in mood or behavior.
Open displays of sexuality.
Lack of trust in familiar adults; fear of strangers.
General bruises, scratches or other injuries not consistent with accidental injury.
Acting-out behavior – aggression, lying, stealing, unexplained running away, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide attempts.
Indicators of possible neglect:
Frequent lateness or non-attendance at school.
Why don’t children tell?
Offenders frequently justify their behavior long after the fact by saying that the victim didn’t say no. The assumption that children will resist the abuse, preferably violently, is based both on ignorance about the power relationship between adults and children and an underestimation of the skillfulness of offenders.
A number of barriers to children speaking out and revealing abuse have been identified.
Children do not speak out because they;
Think they are to blame.
Think they are strange in some way.
Do not want the abuser to get into trouble.
It is of note that the UN Convention on Rights of a Child and the African Charter on the Rights of Children have been used as guiding international policies for the development and transformation of law and policy relating to children. Our commitment to these international treatises has been used as a compelling force to analyze the development process and the content of the law against these documents.
However the greatest challenge lies ahead good law and policy is only as effective as its implementation.