Child Protection Policy
Global Alms Incorporated takes a strong stance on child protection and incorporates safe guards throughout the organisation in an effect to keep children safe. The Global Alms Incorporated Child Protection Policy outlines the organisation’s commitment to the protection of all children within its reach from abuse. It outlines definitions of abuse, appropriate/inappropriate behavior, how to report suspected abuse and how to keep children safe by reducing risk.
Global Alms Incorporated is committed to a practice, which protects children from harm. The staff, volunteers and visitors in this organisation must accept and recognise their responsibilities to develop awareness of issues, which cause children and young people harm.
This policy is designed: To protect children – Children should be assured of good and equal standards of care and protection from all Global Alms Incorporated representatives;
To protect Global Alms Incorporated staff, volunteer and representatives – By following the guidelines and procedures in the policy, all Global Alms Incorporated representatives should be able to avoid, inappropriate, misguided or wrong behaviour and know what to do should they be concerned about a child’s welfare; and
To protect Global Alms Incorporated – This policy forms part of Global Alms Incorporated commitment to best practice in all areas of the organisation.
Child Abuse is significant harm caused to any child by physical injury, sexual abuse, neglect, or emotional damage.
Defining child abuse is never easy and many children living throughout the world can easily be described as being ‘abused’ in a very general sense because they are denied their basic human rights and live in circumstances that are extremely difficult. However definitions of abuse need to be carefully thought through as no child protection policy can address all abuse of children.
The Global Alms Incorporated Child Protection Policy is concerned only with specific incidents of maltreatment against a child or children under the age of 18 who come into contact with Global Alms Inc representatives.
Categories of Violence/Abuse
Physical is actual or threatened pain or injury and /or fear that can be a single incident or a series of incidents that are located on a continuum of behaviours.
Examples include: Direct assault on the body (strangulation or choking, shaking, eye injuries, slapping, punching, spitting, punching, or kicking), use of weapons, smashing things, sleep and food deprivation, denying medical support or medications.
Possible Indicators include: Unexplained or hidden injuries, injuries inconsistent with the explanation given, bruises, burns, bites, fractures, cuts, and injuries occurring on areas of the body not normally subject to falls or rough games. A child looking ill-cared for and unhappy, being withdrawn or aggressive, having lingering injuries or health problems, untreated illnesses, undernourishment, failure to grow, constant hunger, stealing food, inadequate care.
Sexual is actual or threatened, including sexual assault and the sexual abuse of children; that can be a single incident or a series of incidents that are located on a continuum of behaviours from sexual harassment to life-threatening rape. This involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not they are aware of what is happening. It includes, rape, incest and all forms of sexual activity involving children, including pornography and prostitution.
Examples include: Rape, unwanted sex or sexual acts, made to watch pornography. Sexual abuse is often linked with physical abuse; they may occur together, or the sexual abuse may occur after a bout of physical abuse.
Possible Indicators may include: Preoccupation with sexual matters, knowledge beyond that expected at the child’s age, secretive relationships with adults or children, repeated urinary tract infections, unexplained stomach pains, inappropriate relationships with peers or adults (i.e. a child being sexually provocative), nightmares, persistent tiredness, disturbed sleep and inappropriate bed wetting, or bed sharing (i.e. bed sharing with caregivers).
Emotional/Psychological is involving manipulative behaviour to coerce, control or harm, Mental, psychological, or emotional abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. All abuse involves some sort of emotional ill-treatment, this category is used separately where it is the main or sole form of abuse. It includes persistent emotional ill treatment, which is likely to cause serious harm to the child’s emotional, cognitive, or behavioral development by subjecting a child to threats, taunts, or responsibilities beyond their years. This may involve conveying to children that they are worthless, unloved and inadequate causing children to feel frightened, in danger, be exploited or corrupted.
Examples include: Denying a person’s reality, manipulation, humiliation, undermining the victim’s self-esteem through comparisons with others. For individuals in same-sex relationships, abusive partners can rely on homophobia or heterosexism as a tool to control their partner. This type of abuse can involve ‘outing’ or threatening to ‘out’ their partner to friends, family, police, church or employer.
Possible Indicators may include: Reverting to younger behaviour, withdrawal, anxiety, clinging to people, phobias or obsessions, under achievement or lack of concentration, attention seeking behavior, lying, nervousness or frozen watchfulness.
Cultural/Spiritual occurs when an individual is harmed as a result of practices that are part of her or his, culture, religion or tradition.
Examples include: Not letting the person to follow own beliefs, forcing them to participate in spiritual or religious practice that they do not want to be involved with, forcing the children to be reared in a faith that the partner has not agreed to, misusing religious or spiritual traditions to justify physical violence/abuse.
Financial/Economic occurs when someone controls an individual’s financial resources without the person’s consent or misuses those resources.
Examples include: Controlling money and decisions around its use, taking or limiting money, preventing the victim from seeking or holding employment.
Verbal involves actual or threatened, in private or in public (including through electronic means) designed to humiliate, degrade, demean, intimidate or subjugate and may include threats of physical violence.
Examples include: Threats, put-downs, insults, shouting.
Social involves actual or threatened, through forced isolation from family or friends.
Examples include: Systemic isolation from family and friends, monitoring where they are, reading messages on phone, and smashing phones.
Stalking involves harassment of or threatening another person, especially in a way that haunts the person physically or emotionally in a repetitive and devious manner. Stalking of an intimate partner can take place during the relationship, with intense monitoring of the partner’s activities. Or stalking can take place after a partner or spouse has left the relationship.
Examples include: Driving past, watching from parked cars, unwanted gifts, and cyber stalking.
Technology Facilitated involves the use of digital technology to threaten, harass, monitor and control another person remotely.
Examples include: Tracking via phone apps, monitoring through access of online bank accounts, threats to the partner via social media. Technology facilitated abuse if often linked to stalking as they may occur together.
Both adults and other children may abuse children. Abuse can take place with a family, community, organizational, religious, or institutional setting or more rarely by a stranger. Most of all we need an awareness that the abuse of children can and does happen and can be instigated even by people we know and trust.
Understanding why someone could hurt a child is difficult for many of us to understand. Most parents or caregivers aim to provide a loving home and to give protection from harm or danger. Caring for a child is not an easy job and at times, all of us need advice and guidance from relatives, friends, religious leaders or professionals. Extra stress caused by things like alcohol and drug dependency, HIV infection, unemployment to large-scale environmental disaster, war and poverty can all contribute to the care of a child becoming abusive. There are times when it is vital that those who work with young people are on alert to the signs and indicators that a child is being abused.
Child Protection Is Everybody’s Business
Whether being with children is a big or small part of your actual role, everybody has a responsibility to help create a safe place for children. One of the most effective ways in which we can do this is by becoming more aware of child protection issues so that we are well informed.
It is important to remember that it is not Global Alms Incorporated’s responsibility to decide whether a child has been abused, but it is the responsibility of all who represent Global Alms Incorporated in whatever capacity to refer concerns on appropriately.
Abuse Thrives on Secrecy
It is important to develop a culture where we can be open about concerns. The better informed we are, the more confident we will be about what we notice and feel. This Child Protection Policy gives clear guidelines about how to express our concerns. However, we also need to be aware of Child Protection issues when we are planning and carrying out our work generally.
Make sure there is sufficient supervision for the number and age of the children. Global Alms Incorporated work to the ratio of 1:2 for children under 6 years and a ratio of 1:10 for children over 6 years. There is to be a parent or representative from the visiting organisation or group present during every class. For all outings with children, a parent or caregiver is to be present for all children under 15 years of age. For all young people 16+ – 18 years where possible a parent or caregiver needs to be present with the Global Alms Incorporated representative.
For Camps, trips and overnight stays the following guidelines apply:
Make sure that you know exactly who you have with you;
Children and youth under 18 years of age must obtain a signed parental or guardian letter of consent in which the purpose, duration and destination of the visit is clearly stated;
Since many cannot swim, extra care i.e. time, rules, regulations, need to be taken with supervision when the outing is at the beach;
Do not invite a young person to your home/room alone. Invite a group, or ensure that someone else is in the house. Make sure Global Alms Incorporated knows and has approved the arrangement; and
Do not share sleeping accommodation with individual children or young people, regardless of gender. Where dormitory or group accommodation is unavailable there should always be at least 3 people (of the same gender) in the one room.
If a child or young person informs you that he/she is concerned about someone’s behaviour towards them or makes a direct allegation, you should initially:
DO react calmly;
DO look at the child directly;
DO reassure them that they were right to tell you;
DO take what they say seriously, even if it involves someone you feel sure would not harm them. We must listen to what we are told, even if it is difficult to believe;
DO avoid leading questions. Ask enough to ensure you have a clear understanding of what is being said to pass information on;
DO let the child know what you are going to do next, who you are going to tell, and roughly what will happen. If you do not know however, do not make it up;
DO try to finish on a positive note;
DO ensure the safety of the child or young person. If they need urgent medical attention, make sure doctors or hospital staff know that this is a child protection issue;
DO make a written record of conversation as soon as possible. See Form GAI0001 – Record of Conversation;
DO inform the person designated by Global Alms Incorporated as your Child Protection Officer, or the Chief Executive Officer as soon as possible, providing them with a copy of the written record of conversation. If you are in any doubt with regards to who to contact, contact the Global Alms Incorporated Child Protection Officer and they will provide you with the correct course of action;
DO NOT tell the child that you will keep their disclosure a secret if they ask this of you. Instead let them know that you will respond in consideration of their best interests, and that only people who need to know will be told;
DO NOT make the child repeat the story unnecessarily;
DO NOT make the child say anything that might make them feel responsible for the abuse (such as “why haven’t you told anyone before?”);
DO NOT panic. Action taken hastily can be counterproductive. Speak to the designated Global Alms Incorporated Child Protection Officer before taking action;
DO NOT sit on information, but tell the designated Global Alms Incorporated Child Protection Officer immediately; and
DO NOT tell anyone other than the Global Alms Incorporated Chief Executive Officer or the designated Child Protection Officer, unless you have their express agreement. They will decide the correct course of action. It is not information to be gossiped about, shared for prayer, etc. It should only be discussed on a strict ‘need to know’ basis. If you need to ‘de-brief’ with someone concerning the situation, please inform the Global Alms Incorporated Chief Executive Officer and they will assign a person with whom you can have confidential discussion.
Responding to concerns regarding the conduct of a Global Alms Incorporated representative
First discuss your concern with the Global Alms Incorporated Child Protection Officer or Chief Executive Officer. If there is evidence of abuse in any of the ways listed in Para 6-27 of this policy, the Chief Executive Officer will contact the Global Alms Incorporated Board members and together they will discuss appropriate course of action.
If any staff, volunteer or visitor is concerned that the issues are not being dealt with correctly they should make a complaint in writing and discuss this with the Chief Executive Officer or take it to the Global Alms Incorporated board members. The Chief Executive Officer should ensure that the victim of the abuse has access to appropriate counselling.
DO NOT conduct your own investigation or keep the problem to yourself;
DO recognise your responsibility; do not assume that somebody else will raise the concern or deal with it; and
DO communicate any concerns regarding child protection to the Global Alms Incorporated Child Protection Officer or the Chief Executive Officer.
If this policy is breached in any way, the Chief Executive Officer will be formally notified and disciplinary action will be taken.