Child Protection Policy
All Children deserve a safe childhood
Grameen Manobic Unnayan Sangstha
9 T.N Roy Road, Amlapara, Mymensingh
GRAMAUS involve with at least 30 thousand children directly/indirectly. GRAMAUS has concern about the protection and safety of children. We realize that we have a fundamental duty to take care towards all children’s who are engaged with. States parties shall protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse (UN Convention on the right of the Child-1989, Article 19). GRAMAUS’s 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.
GRAMAUS supports the rights of children and is committed to their safety and well-being. GRAMAUS’s staff members and those working with GRAMAUS share a common responsibility and commitment to the awareness, prevention and reporting of and responding to child abuse in the course of their work.
There is international recognition that adults who have a formal role in working with or supporting children are in positions of trust and authority. The relationship between an adult and child is not a relationship between equals. Children are dependent on adults to care for and protect them.
It is a shared and collective responsibility of all adults to prevent child exploitation and abuse. GRAMAUS has adopted this policy in recognition of its responsibilities and is committed to working with its partners to prevent and respond to child exploitation and abuse.
- The Policy
3.1. Goal and objective
The goal of this policy is:
To protect children from all forms of exploitation and abuse in the course of our work
To create and maintain protective environments for children
This policy applies to all part-time, full-time, and casual employees, freelance and other experts, interns and volunteers as well as associate partners working with GRAMAUS 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.
3.3.2. Child abuse
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.
3.3.3. Principles and values
The following principles and values reflect GRAMAUS’s position on child protection:
Zero tolerance of child abuse: GRAMAUS does not tolerate any form of child abuse, nor does it tolerate possession or access to any material that is abusive towards children. Guidance and training on child protection risk management is provided to GRAMAUS staff. GRAMAUS will not knowingly engage anyone who poses a direct risk to children.
Recognition of children’s interests: GRAMAUS 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.
- GRAMAUS’s commitment
4.1. GRAMAUS’s commitment to child protection will be guided by the following:
4.1.1. Take any raised concern seriously;
4.1.2. Take positive steps to ensure the protection of children who are subjects to any concern;
4.1.3. Support children, staff or other adults who raise concerns or who are the subjects to any concern(s);
4.1.4. Act appropriately and effectively in instigating or cooperating with any subsequent process of investigation;
4.1.5. Be guided by the child protection policy to ensure the best interest of the child;
4.1.6. Seriously listen to the views and wishes of children
4.1.7. Work directly or in partnership with parents or professionals to ensure the protection of children.
4.2. How we will ensure our commitments above are met:
- All staffs of GRAMAUS will sign and abide by the attached code of contact;
- All partners and stakeholders will sign and abide by the code of contact;
- All staffs and volunteers will have access to a copy of the child protection policy;
- Induction will include briefing on child protection issues;
- Every workplace will display contact detail for reporting possible child abuse and every staff will have contact detail for reporting;
- Systems will be established by every member to investigate possible abuse once reported and to deal with it.
- Guidelines for reporting suspected or actual abuse of children
5.1. Reporting Principles
Reporting suspected or actual child abuse is mandatory for all staff, volunteers, consultants and sub-contractors. No GRAMAUS staff or partner will prejudice their own position or standing with GRAMAUS 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.
5.2. Reporting Procedures
All staff should normally discuss their concerns with their immediate supervisor, be it a Project Manager or a Head of Department. Where staffs are unable or unwilling to do this, they must raise their concerns with head of disciplinary committee. Any information provided to the disciplinary committee 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.
5.3. Disciplinary Committee 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 minimise risk; and
- Action/next steps
5.4. 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. Senior managers should feel able to consult and seek support from other colleagues as necessary.
5.5. Specific Reporting Guidelines
Any concerns, allegations or disclosures must be recorded in writing, signed and dated, and communicated as soon as possible to GRAMAUS HR manger. 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.
Any concern, disclosure or allegation is alleged rather than proven at this point. All such records should be treated as extremely confidential. They should be passed only to the persons specified in these specific reporting guidelines. It is the responsibility of each individual in possession of the information to maintain confidentiality. However, confidentiality cannot always be guaranteed. It must be made clear that following the steps in this policy is an obligation. Explanations should be given about the possible outcomes that could result from information being reported.
In certain instances, there will be the obligation for GRAMAUS and its staff to report concerns to the appropriate external bodies. This will usually occur as a consequence of the reporting procedure. However, if urgent action is required in order to protect children then it may be prior to the reporting procedure.
5.6. 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.
When handling child abuse complaints, GRAMAUS will take into account the relevant legislation in both Bangladesh and the country in which the alleged incident took place.
GRAMAUS 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, and provide information about child protection to the children and communities in which we work. This information will include reporting child abuse if they have concerns about a GRAMAUS staff.
6. Recruitment screening processes:
GRAMAUS is committed to prevent people working with children if they pose an unacceptable risk to children. To this end GRAMAUS undertakes the following recruitment and screening processes;
- All new GRAMAUS employees and volunteers are required to provide an appropriate current police check (criminal record check). They must include police checks for overseas countries if they have worked or lived overseas for any period longer than one year in the last ten years.
- At least 2 verbal referee checks will be conducted and documented. Verbal referees cannot include partners, spouse and/or other relatives. Referees will be asked about the applicant’s suitability for the role to work with children and/or to have regular unsupervised contact with children. Referees will be asked whether they hold any concerns about the applicant, or if complaints were made about the applicant, in connection with working or having contact with children.
- We require a written disclosure from new personnel regarding whether they have previously been charged with child exploitation offences.
- For applicants applying for a position that involves working with children, recruitment procedures must include an interview plan that incorporates behavioural-based questions. The behavioural-based questions to be asked will be taken from the list below:
- Have you worked/volunteered with children in a similar position before? What did you like about it? What did you find difficult?
- How have you handled children who did not want to participate in an activity?
- Do you mind being supervised?
- What motivates you/why do you want to work with children in this program?
- Provide me with 3 examples of how to work safely with children.
- What do you think makes a good community leader or role model for children and young people?
- How would you handle children who were not listening to your instructions?
All employee contracts include provisions for GRAMAUS to dismiss or discipline staff that breach the Child Protection Code of Conduct.
7. Review of this policy:
GRAMAUS will review this policy at least every five years or prior should the need arise.
Declaration of Code of Conduct to Sign by every staff, volunteer or visitor of GRAMAUS before come into contact of any child of project and programme:
- I will think about how my decisions and actions will affect children, and I will always base these decisions and actions on what is in the best interest of the child;
- I will treat all children and adults with respect regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, social background, religion, political beliefs, disability, or any other status. I won’t favour, belittle or exclude any child for any reason;
- I understand that I may be working in positions of power and trust in relation to children. I will never abuse this power or do anything that might endanger this trust. I will do my best to empower children, and to cultivate a culture of openness and security where children feel comfortable asking questions and seeking help;
- I will never act in ways that are abusive, exploitative, physically or emotionally harmful, and I will work to protect children from situations where they may be at risk for this from others, including from their peers;
- I won’t behave in a way that is physically inappropriate. I won’t fondle, hold, hug, kiss or touch children in a culturally insensitive way, and I will never behave sexually;
- I will not spend time alone with children away from others; if privacy is needed, I will ensure that a staff member is aware and I will leave a door open or in some way maintain visibility;
- I will obtain consent from each child and his/her parents or caretakers before taking any photographs or videos. I will ensure any images I take are respectful and empowering, and that they do not present children as victims, vulnerable or submissive. I will protect the safety and privacy of children by not publishing identifiable images in the media or on the internet, or use them in a way that reveals their location.
- I have a responsibility to report any incidents of child abuse or mistreatment that I observe, or that are reported to me, to a designated Child Protection Focal Point or the senior person responsible for child protection at GRAMAUS.
I have read GRAMAUS’s Child Protection Policy and I will comply with all aspects of it.