Child protection Policy

Child Protection Policy
PREAMBLE
As a national child-centered community development organization, FXB Uganda is fully committed to promoting the realization of children’s rights, including their right to protection from violence and abuse. That means we have particular responsibilities to children that we come into contact with.
FXB Uganda believes that in a world where children face so many threats of harm, it is our duty to ensure that we, as an organization, do everything we can to keep children safe. We must not contribute in any way to harming or placing children at risk.
Our Child Protection Policy (CPP), ‘Say Yes! to Keeping Children Safe’, provides the framework for the organization’s responsibility to keep children safe, ensuring that no child comes to harm as a result of their engagement with us, whether that be via their interaction with staff and those who represent us, or their participation in our programmes activities and fundraising or advocacy campaigns.
In addition, it details our responsibility to ensure that we minimize risks to children in everything we do and places an obligation on us to report concerns we have over a child’s safety. It commits us to ensuring that our activities and programmes do not impact negatively on children, whether associated with us or not, and that the best interest of a child remains a priority.
Through our Child Protection Policy Implementation Framework, we aim to provide safe environments for children in all aspects of our work, where children are respected, treated without discrimination and supported to realize their potential.
The policy governs the behaviors of FXB Uganda staff, associates and visitors, ensures we minimize risks to children and report any concerns about a child’s welfare appropriately.
FXB Uganda programs address the problem of violence against children in wider society. These programme activities are linked to, but distinct from our efforts to ensure that we as an organization ‘do no harm’ to children.
To reduce the risks for children we have developed measures and mechanisms designed to prevent harm:

1. Policy and guidance: We have in place a strong child protection policy and associated procedures and guidance – including guidelines on the behavior staff and those associated with us should adopt when interacting with children, how to report and deal with breaches of the child protection policy and standards for implementation that are used to measure how well the policy is being put into practice.

2. Awareness and prevention: We work on creating a culture of awareness where:

 Everyone within FXB is aware of and understands the problem of child abuse, what is expected in their behaviour with children, and their responsibilities to prevent harm and protect children

 Those associated with FXB Uganda understand their responsibilities to prevent harm and protect children

 Children and communities we work with are aware of our policy, so that they know what behaviours to expect from us and how to report any concerns.

3. Reporting and responding: We ensure that our staff and associates are clear on what steps to take where concerns arise and that FXB Uganda can respond effectively to these concerns.

4. Staff and partner development: We provide comprehensive in-house training to ensure that our staff and managers are appropriately skilled, confident and supported in meeting their child protection responsibilities. This training is also cascaded down to partner organizations and other associates as appropriate.

5. Child protection in risk management: We include child protection in risk management thus ensuring that child protection risks are identified and controls put in place.

6. Monitoring, reporting and accountability: We monitor the extent to which child protection measures are in place, evaluating their effectiveness through annual checks across the organization and undertake child protection audits in countries.

7. Clear responsibilities and designated staff: The FXB Uganda Board of Directors is ultimately accountable for the child protection policy. The prime responsibility for the implementation of the policy lies with the Executive Director of FXB. Managers have very clear responsibilities for making sure that child protection measures are in place and operating effectively and are held to account via performance management and appraisal.

8. Safe engagement and sanctions: We take action to prevent those who abuse or may be a risk to children from becoming involved with FXB Uganda and take stringent measures against any FXB staff, associates or visitors who abuse a child.

Section 1. Immediate Action to Ensure Safety

Immediate action may be necessary at any stage in involvement with children and families.

IN ALL CASES IT IS VITAL TO TAKE WHATEVER ACTION IS NEEDED TO SAFEGUARD THE CHILDREN i.e.:

 If emergency medical attention is required this can be secured by calling an ambulance (dial 999) or taking a child to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department.

 If a child is in immediate danger the police should be contacted (dial 999) as they alone have the power to remove a child immediately if protection is necessary, via Police Protection Order.

Section 2. Recognition of Abuse or Neglect

Abuse or neglect of a child is caused by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting: by those known to them or more rarely by a stranger.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.  Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or caretaker feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child whom they are looking after.  This situation is commonly described using terms such as, fabricated illness by proxy or Munchausen Syndrome by proxy.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may 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 imposed on children.  It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child though it may occur alone.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. This may include non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material, or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.  It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.  It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Individuals within the organisation need to be alert to the potential abuse of children both within their families and also from other sources including abuse by members of that organisation.

The organisation should know how to recognise and act upon indicators of abuse or potential abuse involving children. There is an expected responsibility for all members of the organisation to respond to any suspected or actual abuse of a child in accordance with these procedures.

It is good practice to be as open and honest as possible with parents/carers about any concerns.

However, you must not discuss your concerns with parents/carers in the following circumstances:

 where sexual abuse is suspected

 where organised or multiple abuse is suspected

 where fictitious illness by proxy (also known as Munchausen Syndrome by proxy) is suspected

 where contacting parents/carers would place a child, yourself or others at immediate risk.

Section 3: What to do if children talk to you about abuse or neglect

It is recognised that a child may seek you out to share information about abuse or neglect, or talk spontaneously individually or in groups when you are present.  In these situations you must:

 Listen carefully to the child.  DO NOT directly question the child.

 Give the child time and attention.

 Allow the child to give a spontaneous account; do not stop a child who is freely recalling significant events.

 Make an accurate record of the information you have been given taking care to record the timing, setting and people present, the child’s presentation as well as what was said. Do not throw this away as it may later be needed as evidence.

 Use the child’s own words where possible.

 Explain that you cannot promise not to speak to others about the information they have shared.

 Reassure the child that:

you are glad they have told you;
they have not done anything wrong;
what you are going to do next.

 Explain that you will need to get help to keep the child safe.

 DO NOT ask the child to repeat his or her account of events to anyone.

Section 4. Consulting about your concern

The purpose of consultation is to discuss your concerns in relation to a child and decide what action is necessary.
You may become concerned about a child who has not spoken to you, because of your observations of, or information about that child.

It is good practice to ask a child why they are upset or how a cut or bruise was caused, or respond to a child wanting to talk to you.  This practice can help clarify vague concerns and result in appropriate action.

If you are concerned about a child you must share your concerns. Initially you should talk to one of the people designated as responsible for child protection within FXB.  If one of those people is implicated in the concerns you should discuss your concerns directly with Social Services.

You should consult externally with your local Social Services Department in the following circumstances:

 when you remain unsure after internal consultation as to whether child protection concerns exist

 when there is disagreement as to whether child protection concerns exist

 when you are unable to consult promptly or at all with your designated internal contact for child protection

 when the concerns relate to any member of the organising committee.

Consultation is not the same as making a referral but should enable a decision to be made as to whether a referral to Social Services or the Police should progress.

Section 5. Making a referral

A referral involves giving Social Services or the Police information about concerns relating to an individual or family in order that enquiries can be undertaken by the appropriate agency followed by any necessary action.

In certain cases the level of concern will lead straight to a referral without external consultation being necessary.

Parents/carers should be informed if a referral is being made except in the circumstances outlined on p 4.

However, inability to inform parents for any reason should not prevent a referral being made. It would then become a joint decision with Social Services about how and when the parents should be approached and by whom.

IF YOUR CONCERN IS ABOUT ABUSE OR RISK OF ABUSE FROM SOMEONE NOT KNOWN TO THE CHILD OR CHILD’S FAMILY, YOU SHOULD MAKE A TELEPHONE REFERRAL DIRECTLY TO THE POLICE AND CONSULT WITH THE PARENTS.

If your concern is about abuse or risk of abuse from a family member or someone known to the children, you should make a telephone referral to your local Social Services Office.

Information required

Be prepared to give as much of the following information as possible (in emergency situations all of this information may not be available). Unavailability of some information should not stop you making a referral.

 Your name, telephone number, position and request the same of the person to whom you are speaking.

 Full name and address, telephone number of family, date of birth of child and siblings.

 Gender, ethnicity, first language, any special needs.

 Names, dates of birth and relationship of household members and any significant others.

 The names of professionals’ known to be involved with the child/family eg: GP, Health Visitor, School.

 The nature of the concern; and foundation for them.

 An opinion on whether the child may need urgent action to make them safe.

 Your view of what appears to be the needs of the child and family.

 Whether the consent of a parent with parental responsibility has been given to the referral being made.

Action to be taken following the referral

 Ensure that you keep an accurate record of your concern(s) made at the time.

 Put your concerns in writing to Social Services following the referral (within 48 hours).

 Accurately record the action agreed or that no further action is to be taken and the reasons for this decision.

Section 6. Confidentiality

The organisation should ensure that any records made in relation to a referral should be kept confidentially and in a secure place.

Information in relation to child protection concerns should be shared on a “need to know” basis.  However, the sharing of information is vital to child protection and, therefore, the issue of confidentiality is secondary to a child’s need for protection.

If in doubt, consult.

STAFF SIGNATURES

INTRODUCTION:
This document is the Child Protection Policy for FXB which will be followed by all members of the organisation and followed and promoted by those in the position of leadership within the organisation.
The organisation does not undertake activities with children in the absence of their parents/carers, but has the opportunity to observe the young persons /children’s welfare within their family setting.  Parents/carers remain responsible for their children’s welfare throughout all the work undertaken by the organisation.

We know that being children makes them vulnerable to abuse by adults.  The purpose of this policy is to make sure that the actions of any adult in the context of the work carried out by the organization are transparent and safeguard and promote the welfare of all young people. Contrary to the above, a strict routine shall be undertaken to ensure that children are safeguarded.

If any parent or young person/child has any concerns about the conduct of any staff of FXB Uganda this should be raised in the first instance with FXB Uganda Executive Director.

This document is written in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Uganda governing children rights.

Principles upon which the Child Protection Policy is based

 The welfare of a child or young person will always be paramount.

 The welfare of families will be promoted.

 The rights, wishes and feelings of children, young people and their families will be respected and listened to.

 Those people in positions of responsibility within the organization will work in accordance with the interests of children and young people and follow this policy. Those people in positions of responsibility within FXB Uganda will ensure that the same opportunities are available to everyone and that all differences between individuals will be treated with respect.

I have read and understood the Child Protection Policy.