Child Protection Policy
CIRS – Centro Internazionale Di Ricerca Sistemica
CIRS supports the rights of children and their safety and well-being. Child protection means safeguarding children from harm. For this reason, CIRS staff members share a common duty and commitment to the awareness, prevention and reporting of child abuse, focusing on neglection, exploitation and violence in the course of our work.
In this document we are sharing our common values, principles, and beliefs and we want to describe the steps that will be taken to take care of children protection and safeguard.
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.
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.
Principles and values
The following principles and values reflect our stance on child protection:
● Running safe events and activities for children: Most activities and events aim to provide children with fun and/or educational experience. However, when planning activities, various considerations need to be taken. These include ensuring that particular attention is taken to safeguard children if activities or events are to take place in unfamiliar places, touching unfamiliar themes and/or take place outside family care.
● Encouraging and enabling child participation in all activities concerning children and their communities: We are committed to ensure that children of different ages and abilities are given space and time to meaningfully participate. We develop appropriate ways of child participation, share power with children in decision making, and keep the focus on how children’s participation can expose children to harm.
● Protecting emotional and psychological safety of the children: We know that every activity proposed must be focused on protecting the child well-being. For this reason, we intend to always make a child-friendly version of our activities for the children we work with, in cooperation with any other involved stakeholder.
● Ensuring good practice when using media: We are committed to minimize the risk of inappropriate use of information, stories and visual images (photographs, video or social media) of children, while using images of and stories about children, families and their communities to promote our events and activities.
● Zero tolerance of child abuse: We do not tolerate any form of child abuse, nor tolerate possession or access to any material that is abusive towards children. We will not knowingly engage anyone who poses a direct risk to children.
● Recognition of children’s interests: In all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child will be our primary consideration. This principle should guide the design, monitoring, and adjustment of all our activities. Besides that, we recognize that some children are at greater risk of abuse. Children with disabilities, children in conflict situations as well as migrant children or children without parents could be more vulnerable: we look at those children, particularly focusing on their inclusion in every activity.
This policy applies to all part-time, full-time and casual CIRS employees, freelance and other experts, interns and volunteers, as well as associate firms and sub-contractors or partners working with us on the implementation of any project.
CIRS staff, associates and representatives, and all partner organizations’ staff, associates and
representatives are bound to the respect of Child Protection Policy.
CIRS Managers must:
● Ensure that all new employees, collaborators and volunteers receive a copy of the Child Safeguarding Policy.
● Ensure that all the staff in direct contact with children receives child safeguarding policy training as part of their induction program, and all staff receive child safeguarding training which is relevant and appropriate to their engagement with the organization.
● Ensure that children and families with whom the organization works are aware of the Child Safeguarding Policy and applicable local procedures, so that they know what activities or behavior they can expect from staff and whom to report any concerns.
● Ensure that protective measures which guide the implementation of the Child Safeguarding Policy are fully embedded within their areas of responsibility as it applies to them.
In order to create a child safe environment, we want to implement child safeguarding procedures that are applied across the organization.
● Promote a culture of honesty and directness where issues and concerns can be raised, discussed among staffs, with children, communities and relevant stakeholders (schools, teachers, etc.)
● Ensure that all communications regarding children guarantee the protection, confidentiality, privacy, dignity and best interests of the child.
● Establish clear roles and responsibilities regarding the control of the respect and the implementation of Child Protection Policy.
● Guarantee high professional standards to be applied during the selection of activities carried on by staff, associates and partner organizations.
● Promote a safe, free and open environment where children are stimulated to discuss their concerns and rights and to express their point of view.
● Challenge poor practices, and report potential risks which might origin harm to children.
● Put in place a system of partnership with stakeholders, schools, families and communities that are appropriate to support the Child Protection Policy.
● Never expose children to, or place them at risk of, harm. This while carrying out activities directly with children as well as when taking images/pictures or generating stories of children.
When handling child abuse complaints, we will take into account the relevant legislation in both Italy and any other possible country involved.
Every staff and every other partner cooperating in a project will be informed on the Child Protection Policy, to reduce risks and create child safe environments. We will promote child safe practices which keep children safe in the organization, during the activities (through appropriate workshops and trainings) and in their own community and provide information about child care and rights. This information will include reporting child abuse if they have concerns about our staff or our projects.
We intend to ensure that complaint mechanisms for reporting child protection concerns are developed and integrated within complaint and feedback structures existing at the base and country level, in order to be accessible and effective.
● Complaint mechanisms for reporting child protection concerns should be developed and regularly reviewed with the involvement of caregivers and communities.
● We provide to all staff, associates and representatives clear procedures for reporting any child abuse and child protection concerns.
● We want to ensure child-friendly reporting mechanisms, so that children can report in confidence and safety about experienced maltreatment, abuse and violence
● We guarantee that any child abuse/child protection concern is treated and investigated keeping the highest degree of confidence
● We guarantee that the denouncer, potential offender and victim, all are kept safe and are provided with needed psycho-social support
● We guarantee to properly investigate every report, accordingly to the current legislation.
● Foresee all needed measures for ensuring child protection and security in case of proven child abuse and neglect and report to concerned Authorities.