Child Protection Policy
This policy statement affirms NABU’s commitment to the welfare of children and their protection from abuse and exploitation. Child abuse and exploitation is unacceptable to NABU and the organization is committed to abiding, upholding and promoting appropriate risk-based Child Protection standards at all times.
NABU will provide training and guidance for staff to meet these standards. Any instances of alleged abuse or exploitation will be immediately and thoroughly addressed.
Consistent with NABU’s vision, mission and core values of respect, integrity and accountability, we seek to create and maintain an organizational environment that is free of harassment and exploitation, and to ensure the same in all of our work with the communities that we work with. Each member of the community with whom NABU works or provides assistance must have NABU’s utmost assurance that they will not be subject to any form of harassment or exploitation.
The children in the communities that we work with are a particularly vulnerable group. There is a growing awareness that sex offenders are targeting and infiltrating organizations in order to access children. International non-government organizations (INGOs), in particular those working closely with children and/or based in developing countries, are particularly susceptible. This policy aims to deter, minimize and remove opportunities for child abuse to occur in our country programs.
NABU is a child-safe organization and is committed to having child-safe programs in-country. We expect that every organization, company or individual we partner or work with to comply with this policy.
PART 1: APPLICATION & DEFINITIONS
For the purpose of this policy, a child will be considered to be a person under the age of 18 years.
The policy applies to:
• All staff
• All contractors and consultants
• All volunteers and interns
• All Board Members
• Any person that visits NABU projects e.g. donors, family members and friends of NABU staff, Board members
• All country partners, including but not limited to school partners, non profit partners, corporate partners and government partners.
1.1. Child Exploitation and Abuse (involves one or more of the following):
◦ Committing or coercing another person to commit an act or acts of abuse to a child
◦ Possessing, controlling, producing, distributing, obtaining or transmitting child exploitation material
◦ Committing or coercing another person to commit an act of grooming or online grooming
1.2. Physical Abuse
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, shaving or grabbing. The injury may take the form of bruises, cuts, burns or fractures
1.3. Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is a parent or caregiver’s inappropriate verbal or symbolic acts towards a child or a pattern of failure over time to provide a child with adequate non physical nurture and emotional availability. Such acts have a high probability of damaging a child’s self esteem or social competence.
Neglect is the failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child (where they are in a position to do so) with the conditions that are culturally accepted as being essential for their physical and emotional development and well being.
1.5. Child Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is when a child or young person is used by an older or bigger child, adolescent or adult for his or her own sexual stimulation or gratification, or economic gain. Sexual abuse involves contact and non contact activities which encompasses all forms of sexual activity involving children, including exposing children to pornographic images, or taking pornographic photographs of children.
Grooming generally refers to behavior that makes it easier for an offender to procure a child for sexual activity. It often involves the act of building the trust of children and/or their caregivers to gain access to children in order to sexually abuse them. For example, by encouraging romantic feelings or exposing the child to sexual concepts.
1.7. Online Grooming
Online grooming is the act of sending an electronic message with indecent content to a recipient who the sender believes to be under 18 years of age, with the intention of procuring the recipient to engage in or submit to sexual activity with another person, including but not necessarily the sender.
PART 2: AWARENESS
NABU will ensure that all staff are aware of the problem of child abuse and the risks to children.
2.1 Training and Development
All staff will receive information relating to NABU’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct during the induction process. Introduction to Child Protection issues will be provided as part of the NABU orientation program provided for all new staff.
Further training will be conducted at a departmental or Country Office level, tailored to the needs of the department or Country Office, on specific areas of responsibility as appropriate on an annual basis.
PART 3: PREVENTION
NABU will ensure that through awareness and personal and professional conduct, that staff and others minimize the risk to children.
3.1 Vigilance in Recruitment and Selection
The Human Resources team and Country Offices adheres by strict guidelines in the recruiting process of new staff, consultants, volunteers and interns. The recruitment guidelines will be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that they accurately reflect child safe recruiting and screening standards. The recruitment guidelines will include:
• A clear and bold statement that confirms NABU’s commitment to child protection in advertising
• Adopting best practice recruitment and selection techniques
• Interviews will include behavior questions for positions which involve working with children
• Conducting verbal reference checks is mandatory when the position involves working with children
• Conducting police checks where required and feasible
3.2 Criminal Records Checks
All staff who regularly work with children will be asked to sign an authority for a criminal record check.
In cases where international criminal record checks cannot be completed in time or where a country does not provide criminal record checks with adequate reliability, rigorous referee checks and employee declarations will be used in their place.
3.3 Code of Conduct
All staff, and others (as applicable) will be expected to sign and adhere to a Code of Conduct for the Protection of the Child.
3.4 Use of Child Photos and Information
Pictures, images or other likenesses of children and/or information related to children than could compromise their care and protection will not be made available through any form of communication media without proper protection and understanding of their use. Any images of children should not be accompanied by detailed information relating to their place of residence. Images with corresponding text which may identify a child should be removed.
PART 4: REPORTING
NABU will ensure that staff and others are clear what steps to take where concerns arise regarding the safety of children.
4.1 Incident Reporting
It is mandatory for any allegation, belief or suspicion of sexual or physical abuse (past or present) by a NABU employee, contractor, donor, board member or other partner to be reported immediately to the Country Director or the Executive Director. The Country Director must notify the Executive Director immediately, who will determine the appropriate reporting requirements – including to the donor and/or legal authorities, and record the report.
If a child reports an incident, the child/young person must be taken seriously and listened to carefully. Once an allegation is made there should be an immediate response that protects the child from further potential abuse or victimization. Where appropriate, the family of the child victim should be informed of the allegation and action proposed and they should be consulted where possible as to the process to be followed.1 This process will be steered and guided by a Director.
4.2 Document the Incident
The incident should be documented immediately (within a period of 24 hours of the disclosure), the staff member receiving the disclosure needs to have fully documented the allegation, including the time, place, witnesses. This report will possibly be used in court if charges are forthcoming.
All reports should be submitted to the Executive Director or the Country Director in Country Offices. Country Offices will also inform the Executive Director in writing immediately if any staff member is alleged to have committed or been arrested for, or convicted of, criminal offences relating to child abuse or child pornography.
If the incident occurs in the USA, the Executive Director will consult with legal counsel and appropriate bodies to ascertain due process and steer participants accordingly, subject to the incident reported.
4.3 Report Follow Up
Where any person has made a report and believes insufficient action has been taken, that person is encouraged to have initial follow-up with a NABU Director in the first instance. Should the person continue to believe that insufficient action has been taken, further follow up may also be directed to the Executive Director.
PART 5: RESPONDING
NABU will ensure that action is taken to support and protect children where concerns arise regarding possible abuse.
5.1 Distance the alleged perpetrator
The best interests of the child/young person may warrant the standing down of a staff member or volunteer/intern while an investigation commences. Staff members stood down receive full pay and are entitled to a just process that does not pre-suppose guilt or innocence. The allegations should not be discussed or communicated to other people until such have been considered and a decision made by management. The decision made should be documented and filed.
Confidentiality is crucial to a fair and effective reporting procedure. It is unacceptable and potentially defamatory for concerns of child abuse (and abusers) to be spread throughout the organization rather than being directed through a formal complaints process. All participants must understand the importance of following the set reporting lines when concerns arise. Confidentiality protects the child, the notifier, the respondent and the organization, and ensures a fair and proper process.
NABU will not tolerate any form of coercion, intimidation, reprisal or retaliation against any employee who reports any form of abuse or exploitation, provides any information or other assistance in an investigation.
5.4 Counselling support
Professional counselling support will be made available to all parties involved.
5.5 Investigation of complaints
Physical and/or sexual abuse of a child is a crime. Organizations will be required to notify authorities when there are reasonable grounds for reporting abuse, particularly if the allegations are made in the US or involve US Citizens.
Allegations made overseas will need to consider national legislation or internal procedures to investigate and address the allegations. Internal investigations will consider a confidential, thorough, impartial and prompt process. The investigation may consist of interviews with witnesses and others as appropriate, collection of information about the alleged conduct, gathering of documentation, or other procedures as appropriate.
The individual alleged to have violated this NABU policy would have the opportunity to present his or her view of the events in question. NABU will hold its determination until the investigation is completed.
PART 6: REVIEW OF POLICY
NABU will review this policy every five years or earlier if warranted.