A duty of care
As effective development organisations, NGO’s have a duty of care to ensure the safety of children involved in and impacted by their work, both here in Australia and overseas. This can be achieved by building an environment that is safe for children. Being a child safe organisation means proactively implementing child protection measures that safe guard children and building the capacity of all stakeholders so that they understand what child protection is and are committed to their responsibility for keeping children safe.A vital element in building and maintaining a child safe organisation is to develop and implement an active and robust child protection policy and procedures. As well as minimising risks to children, a child protection policy serves to protect organisations and their representatives by providing information on child protection and clear guidelines and professional standards for their work with children. A child protection policy also ensures that allegations of child abuse are investigated and dealt with appropriately.
ACFID Code of Conduct
Throughout the ACFID Code of Conduct there are a number of Principles where child protection applies. Specifically, Principle B.3.4 Protection of Children outlines the following:
Signatory organisations are committed to the safety and best interests of all children accessing their services and programs or involved in campaigns, voluntary support, fundraising, work experience or employment and, in particular, to minimising the risk of abuse.
Obligation 1 of the ACFID Code of Conduct Principle B.3.4 Protection of Children requires that “Appropriate to their circumstances and the extent of their contact with children, signatory organisations will have a documented Child Protection Policy (CPP) and procedures for dealing with children which are regularly reviewed. The Policy will be based on a considered risk assessment and as appropriate to the risk, address:
development programme planning and implementation;
use of images and personal information for fundraising and promotion purposes;
personnel recruitment including staff, volunteers, consultants and suppliers – in both Australia and overseas;
all applicable legal obligations including mandatory police checks where available and appropriate for all personnel who have regular contact with children;
behaviour protocols or codes;
education and training of personnel and communication of the policy to all stakeholders; and.
For those signatories working with children, Principle B.3.4 Protection of Children outlines the following obligations:
Obligation 2: Signatory organisations that work with children will seek ways to incorporate the voices of children in shaping the development programmes that affect them.
Obligation 3: Signatory organisations that work with children will ensure that their complaints handling processes are child friendly