ALL FOR KIDS ORGANIZATION (AFK)
Policy Statement and Introduction:
ALL FOR KIDS ORGANIZATION (“AFK”) believes the welfare of the child isparamount and that all children without exception have the right to protectionfrom harm or abuse. Many of the children involved in AFK programs come frompoor, impoverished communities with inadequate food, sanitation and/or shelter.Their socioeconomic conditions often result in emotional, health and physicalpressures, making the young and thus already vulnerable, exceptionally so. Weplace the highest importance on ensuring the safety, protection and welfare ofthe vulnerable children with whom we work.
AFK is committed to taking all reasonable steps to promote safepractice and to protect children from harm, abuse and exploitation. There are anumber of safe guards which AFK takes, including: rigorous recruitment andselection processes for staff and volunteers who work directly with children,and clear reporting procedures for incidents and suspicions.
AFK firmly upholds a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to any forms of abuse,exploitation or other misconduct which poses potential risk to any children.All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken with the highest degreeof seriousness, investigated to the fullest extent, and responded to swiftlyand appropriately.
This policy applies:
AFK staff and volunteers
AFKs’ visitors, donors, corporate sponsors, journalists and supporters
This policy is based on, and reflects the principles of UK legislation,British Charity Commission guidelines, part on the Child Protection Policy ofWorld Vision-United States., the Policies and Strategies of Cambodian Ministryof Education Youth and Sport and AFK’s Code of Practice.
Code of Conduct:
- Responsibilities of all acting on behalfof AFK
- Work towards promoting and ensuring childprotection in all work activities and contacts.
- Promote a positive, supportive and secureenvironment where all children are treated with dignity and respect.
- Be conscious of how activities, actions andsituations may be perceived and are intended and thus avoid situations whereabuse might be alleged, without impacting work duties.
- Promote and encourage a safe, confidential andaccessible environment where opportunities are created for children tocommunicate openly, taking into account language barriers where appropriate.
- Constantly assess and evaluate situations andactivities involving children for the risk of potential abuse or harm and makethe child’s environment as safe as possible.
- Avoid being alone with a child. Ensure that atleast two adults are present on school grounds when working at the school.
- Meet children in open environments, includingkeeping classroom doors and windows open whilst working at the school.
- Minimize or avoid physical contact with childrenexcept for reasons of health and safety or under supervision.
- Minimize contact with children outside schoolhours & grounds and avoid traveling with children except for reasons ofhealth and safety. Seek approval from a line manager before having any contactwith children outside school hours or before any travel with children.
- Avoid any situation which will put a child atrisk of any form of harm, abuse or exploitation.
- Report any suspected cases of abuse, harm orexploitation as per center procedures.
- Uphold sanctions never to be practised,including sexual, emotional and/or physical harm, abuse, exploitation ormisconduct in any form, as documented and signed by all staff, volunteers andothers acting on behalf of AFK in the Code of Conduct and.
- Thisincludes misconduct relating to the use of the internet and photography.
- Responsibilities of the Manager
- Ensure all AFK team members, consultants andvolunteers understand their responsibilities for being alert to signs of abuseand for referring concerns to the Manager as per the reporting proceduresbelow.
- Ensure any visitors to AFK schools areaccompanied by some AFK team members, and volunteers trained in child protection.
- Ensure parents, leaders and elders in the AFKsupported community have an understanding of the responsibility placed on AFKteam members, consultants and volunteers for Child Protection and its policyand procedures.
- Ensure safe recruitment practices are alwaysfollowed for Cambodia based team.
- Monitor and evaluate activities and staffpractices on a regular basis.
- Follow procedures for reporting and dealing withincidents when any allegation, concern or suspicion is raised
- Undertakeannual reviews of the Child Protection Policy & its procedures.
ALL FOR KIDSORGANIZATION protects the privacy of its programs’ beneficiaries. AFK visitors,volunteers and staff are expected to adhere to the following:
- Photographersmust fully disclose how any photographs of children associated with AFKsupported schools and communities will be used.
- No photographs of children associated with AFKsupported schools or communities shall be taken without their consent.
- Photographers must be supervised by AFK staff orteachers at AFK supported schools.
- Allphotographs of children used to promote AFK must show children fully clothed,must not portray vulnerability, and must not reveal identifying information.
Definitions andSigns of Abuse:
Child abuse can bephysical, emotional and/or sexual and can also include neglect. The table belowsummarizes each form of abuse and the possible signs that a child may show ifhe/she has been abused. Should a child exhibit these indicators, it should notautomatically be assumed that abuse is occurring; however, any concerningbehaviors and/or signs should be reported to the Manager as per AFK reportingprocedures (below).
Physical Abuseoccurs when a person purposely injures
PHYSICAL ABUSE:May involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding,drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physicalharm may also be caused when a parents/career fabricates the symptoms of, ordeliberately induces illness in a child.
Possible signs of physical abuse:
- Bruises,burns, sprains, dislocations, bites, cuts – Improbable excuses given to explaininjuries
- Refusal to discuss injuries
- Withdrawal from physical contact
- Arms and legs kept covered in hot weather
- Fear of returning home or of parents beingcontacted – Showing wariness or distrust of adults
- Self-destructive tendencies
- Aggression towards others
- Being very passive and compliant
- Chronicrunning away
EMOTIONALABUSE: Is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to causesevere and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. Itmay involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved,inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person.It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposedon children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’sdevelopmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation ofexploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normalsocial interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment ofanother. It may involve serious bullying, causing children frequently to feelfrightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Somelevel of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child,though it may occur alone.
Possible signs of emotional abuse:
- Physical,mental and emotional development is delayed – Highly anxious
- Showing delayed speech or sudden speech disorder
- Fear of new situations
- Low self-esteem
- Inappropriate emotional responses to painfulsituation – Extremes of passivity or aggression
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Chronic running away
SEXUAL ABUSE:Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexualactivities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of whatis happening. The activities may involve physical contact, includingpenetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They mayinclude non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or inthe production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, orencouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Possible signsof sexual abuse:
- Bruises,scratches or other injuries to breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or genitalareas – Painful or frequent urination
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Unexplained pain, itching, discharge or bleedinggenital or anal areas
- Behavioral indicators (to be interpreted withregard to the child development stage)
- Over attention to adults of a particular sex
- Open displays of sexuality and unusual interestin the genitals of others – Precious knowledge of sexual matters
- Sudden change in mood or behavior
- Difficult sleeping and nightmare
- Regressed behavior, such as bed wetting,separation anxiety, insecurity – Change in eating patterns
- Lack of trust in familiar adults, fear ofstrangers, and men
- Acting out behavior (aggression, lying, runningaway, suicide attempts) – Withdrawn behavior
- Learning problems at school, loss ofconcentration
NEGLECT: Isthe persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychologicalneeds, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health ordevelopment. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternalsubstance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or careerfailing to:
- Provideadequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home orabandonment)
- Protect a child from physical and emotional harmor danger
- Ensure adequate supervision (including the useof inadequate caregivers)
- Ensureaccess to appropriate medical care or treatment
Possible signs of neglect:
- Poor personal hygiene
- Constant tiredness
- Inappropriate clothing
- Frequent lateness or nonattendance at school –Untreated medical problems
- Low self-esteem
- Poor social relationships
- Compulsive stealing
- Drug or alcohol abuse
In the event of a child disclosing information containing evidence of,or potential for, harm, abuse or exploitation, AFK team members or othersacting on behalf of the center are to:
- Listencarefully and not make judgments or false promises about keeping secrets
- Not reject anything as untrue and reassure thechild that they believe him/her keep questions to an absolute minimum to ensurea clear and accurate understanding of what has been said.
- Tell the child that it is not his/her fault andhe/she is not responsible for the abuse
- Let the child know that a report will be made sothat the authorities can help to stop the abuse. Reassure the child thathis/her safety and needsare of primary
- Tellthe child they are pleased he/she told them
1. ReportingSuspicions, Concerns or Incidents
In the case of suspicion, concern or witness to incidence ofmisconduct, AFK staff members and others acting on behalf of the charity arerequired to follow the following procedures:
- Immediatelyreport the incident to AFK’s Manager. AFK’s Project Coordinator may assist withtranslation.
- The person who received the disclosure mustfully document the allegation, including time and place of the allegedincident, who was present and what allegedly occurred. This written report mustbe submitted to the AFK Executive Director within 24 hours of the disclosure
- The Manager shall report any allegation ofphysical or sexual abuse to local authorities through Cambodia’s NationalPolice Hotline for child abuse and trafficking (+855 (0) 23 997 919) as well asthe Siem Reap Police AHTJP Unit (+855 (0) 12 181 7280). Other allegations willbe reported to the local authorities at the discretion of the Manager inconsultation with the official Authorities. The Manager will document his/heractions
- The Manager shall report the incident to theofficial Authorities and the relevant School Director
- Failure to report a suspicion, concern orwitness to incidence of misconduct will result in disciplinary action.
- Following the report of suspected or witnessedchild abuse, harm or exploitation:
- The Manager, in conjunction with the SchoolDirector, is responsible for informing the child’s family of the allegation andany action proposed and for ensuring that every effort is made to remove orreduce immediate or future danger or risk of harm to the
- In the event of a serious allegation there willbe an emergency meeting of the official Authorities called within 48 hours ofthe report being made. The AFK manager and official Authorities will agree onthe extent of action taken overseas.
- Overseas police forces will be informed accordingto legal requirements and obligations
- For reports relating to AFK appointed fieldstaff members, volunteers, AFK team members or others acting on behalf of thecenter, all contact and activities with children will be or near suspendedwhilst an investigation is conducted.
- For non AFK appointed staff (e.g. teachersappointed by the local government or members of the public), the SchoolDirector and local authorities will be informed and involved in investigationsif necessary.
- Any AFK field staff members, volunteers, orother person acting on behalf of the center found guilty of misconduct will beimmediately terminated from duties and will not be allowed contact with AFKchildren.
- Any non-AFK appointed staff found guilty ofmisconduct will be reported to Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth &Sport, or their respective organization, authority with request fortermination.
- AFK will aim to conduct all investigations bothinternally and in conjunction with relevant external government agencies, withthe highest degree of professionalism, confidentiality, respect, sensitivityand fairness to protect all those involved. Every effort will be made to obtainindependent, confidential interpreters when needed.
- Childrenwho have been abused or are suspected of being abused will be supported andclosely monitored with the highest degree of care and sensitivity whereverpossible. Through supported education it would be AFK’s aim to help restore astable, secure and predictable element in the child’s life.
2. Recruitment andSelection of Staff
The center personnel are recruited and selected to ensure theirsuitability to work with vulnerable children. AFK team members, consultants,and volunteers are representatives of the center and the values it upholds,thus are widely recognized as trusted and safe to children. They work with andare thus given access to contact with vulnerable children, which thereforerequires rigorous screening and checks prior to assignment placing. Thefollowing are some of the measures which AFK takes to ensure safe placement ofsuitable and trustworthy staff:
- Itis made clear to all staff, consultants, volunteers, and AFK applicants thatAFK deems child protection matters of utmost importance, from the initialstages of recruitment onwards, and that it permeates every level and aspect ofworking for AFK.
- Job and volunteer advertisements contain jobdescriptions and key selection criteria to ensure that suitable candidates areattracted to the relevant position.
- All staff, consultants, and volunteers arerequired to read AFK’s Child Protection Policy and procedures. Each staffmember, volunteer, unsupervised visitor and trustee must sign a declarationform indicating that he/she agrees to uphold safe practices and has not, norintends to, commit any form of child abuse.
- All staff, consultant, volunteer and trusteeapplicants are required to provide at least 2 personal and 2 professionalreferences with their applications. From these references at least 3 refereesare contacted by telephone and interviewed about the applicant’s integrity,history, trustworthiness, responsibility and conduct with children. Refereesalso complete a signed written reference in support of this.
- Staff, consultant, volunteer and trusteeapplicants must document their criminal history and consent to a criminalrecords check his/her application. AFK may conduct the criminal recordsscreening or may ask the applicant to complete and submit the criminal recordscheck.
- Every effort is made to interview volunteerapplicants in person prior to acceptance into AFK’s volunteer program. When ameeting in person is not feasible, a telephone interview will be conducted.
- All volunteers are interviewed on arrival inCambodia prior to commencing work. If there are any
- concernsabout the suitability of a volunteer, the Manager is informed and the volunteeris withheld from commencing work until the manager has fully investigated anyareas of concern and completed extra background checks. If there are anyirresolvable, reasonable doubts relating to a volunteer’s history orsuitability to work with vulnerable children, the position will be revokedwithout prior warning or notice.
3. Monitoring andEvaluation
AFK pledges to regularly and routinely monitor all team members conductand activities to ensure the ongoing protection of children is maintained tothe highest level possible. This is achieved through:
- Allteam members/staff being aware that their conduct will be monitored andreviewed regularly according to the Child Protection policy and procedures.This will be conducted as unobtrusively as possible with minimal impact onpersonal integrity and duties
- The Manager meeting regularly with staff/teammembers and volunteers in Cambodia, to monitor and evaluate conduct, duties andbehavior.
- Daily supervision of staff and volunteers byschool teachers and administrators trained in child protection.
- Maintaining open lines of communication betweenschool teachers / administrators and AFK field team member as well as betweenAFK field staff and Overseas based trustees, to encourage timely and effectivereporting of any concerns or incidents or misconduct involving childprotection.
- Annualreview of policies and procedures for child protection led by the AFK manager.In the event of an incident of misconduct, the charity, school and staffoperations will be immediately evaluated and reassessed on all levels in orderfor necessary changes and extra safe guards to be added.
All AFK team members shall ensure personal and identifying materialparticularly that which would place a child at risk of harm, remains privateand confidential. All written reports of a confidential nature shall becirculated to the manager only, unless permission of the person/s involved isobtained, or if for legal purposes documents are required by external agenciesand departments. All records, documents and correspondence involving materialof a confidential matter should be kept securely, away from children or publicaccess. Any breaches of confidentiality will be taken seriously and dealt withaccordingly by AFK.
5. Record Keeping
Every effort will be made to ensure the maintenance of accurate recordsof concerns, risks, incidents and accidents, even when there is no need torefer the matter immediately. These records will aim to be objective andwithout personal bias wherever possible, and include any information fromrelevant witnesses. They shall be dated and signed and kept always in thepossession of the AFK Manager.
6. Training andEducation
AFK is committed to the creation, implementation and ongoing input oftraining and education strategies which will assist in creating a saferenvironment for its vulnerable children. Although still in its early stages ofdevelopment, future plans will aim to include:
- Collaboratingwith school staff and other Cambodian based NGOs to develop culturallyappropriate additions to the school curriculum relating to child protectionissues, safety and human rights.
- Working towards programs which will promote andencourage children to develop the skills they need to recognize and stay safefrom abuse.
- Developing culturally sensitive programsinvolving the community, to raise awareness amongst local staff on childprotection issues, signs and indicators of abuse, and procedures for dealingwith suspected misconduct.
- Providingchildren with access to information and education material on acceptableconduct and self-protection from abuse.