To create a safe and protected environment for children in contact with Breakthrough
Breakthrough works towards the empowerment of adolescents to enable them to negotiate improved outcomes of gender equality and sexual and reproductive health. Breakthrough works with the adolescents to create a supportive environment in which they will be able to exercise and access their rights and entitlements and achieve their full potential.
Vision: We envision a world in which all people enjoy their human rights and live with dignity, equality, and justice. We can build this world by making violence and discrimination against women and girls unacceptable.
Mission: Our mission is to prevent violence against women and girls by transforming the norms and cultures that enable it.
What do we do: We create innovative, relevant multimedia tools and programs —from short animations to long-term leadership training —that reach individuals and institutions where they are, inspiring and equipping them to act for change in their own spheres and beyond. We carry out our mission by building a critical mass of change agents worldwide. These Social Change Actors whose bold collective action delivers irreversible impact on the issue of our time. We also work directly with adolescent girls and boys, promoting their agency by training them on gender roles, rights, sexual and reproductive health, healthy living through life skills.
Commitment: Breakthrough is highly committed to the safety and protection of all children and adolescents in all its programs and across all levels of the organization, taking into consideration the feelings and needs of the children and adolescents and all contexts of culture, religion, race and language.
Intention: Through this policy Breakthrough strongly states its intention to safeguard the welfare, safety and protection of all children and adolescents in contact with the organization and respond to any concern arising in context of work of Breakthrough. The policy applies to one and all associated with Breakthrough in whatever capacity and across all levels – internally and externally connected with the organization.
Scope of the Policy: The policy provides procedures and tools for the dissemination, implementation and monitoring and review processes towards safeguarding the welfare of children and adolescents across all Breakthrough programs and other work contexts related to the organisation, at all levels, also including communication within and outside the organization, and other. The policy applies to all employees contracted by Breakthrough and others associated with Breakthrough in any capacity and at any level. Others include all those contracted or engaged by Breakthrough for a range of tasks, some of which may involve contact with children; volunteers, interns, partners, donors, consultants, suppliers, visitors, etc.
A Living Document: This policy has been developed through a process of participation and engagement at different levels of the organisation and in view of the different contexts that Breakthrough reaches out to. This policy is a living document that will be reviewed and revised every three years to embed and incorporate the organisation’s emerging contexts and relevance.
II. Key Definitions
A Child is any person who has not attained the age of 18 years, as defined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 of India.
Child maltreatment, sometimes referred to as child abuse and neglect, includes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity. Within this broad definition, five subtypes can be distinguished – physical abuse; sexual abuse; neglect and negligent treatment; emotional abuse; and exploitation*.
* – These sub-categories of child maltreatment and their definitions were devised following an extensive review of different countries’ definitions of child maltreatment and a 1999 WHO consultation on child abuse prevention. These definitions were also used in the UN Study on Violence against Children, 2002
Physical abuse of a child is the actual or potential physical harm from an interaction or lack of interaction, which is reasonably within the control of a parent or person in a position of responsibility, power, or trust. There may be single or repeated incidents (WHO, 1999).
Sexual abuse is the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent, or that violate the laws or social taboos of society. Child sexual abuse is evidenced by an activity between a child and an adult or another child who by age or development is in a relationship of responsibility, trust or power, the activity being intended to gratify or satisfy the needs of the other person. This may include but is not limited to, the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity; the exploitative use of a child in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices; the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances, internet pictures and materials (WHO, 1999).
Emotional abuse includes the failure to provide a developmentally appropriate, supportive environment, including the availability of a primary attachment figure, so that the child can reach their full potential in the context of the society in which the child lives. There may also be acts toward the child that cause, or have a high probability of causing, harm to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. These acts must be reasonably within the control of the parent or person in a relationship of responsibility, trust or power. Acts include restriction of movement, degrading, humiliating, scapegoating, threatening, scaring, discriminating, ridiculing, or other non-physical forms of hostile or rejecting treatment. All forms of maltreatment involve emotional abuse.
Neglect and negligent treatment is the inattention or omission by the caregiver to provide for the development of the child in: health, education, emotional development, nutrition, shelter and safe living conditions, in the context of resources reasonably available to the family or caretakers. In addition which causes, or has a high probability of causing, harm to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. This includes the failure to properly supervise and protect children from harm, as much as is feasible (WHO, 1999).
Sexual and commercial exploitation is the abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes; this includes profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the exploitation of another (for example child prostitution and trafficking of children for sexual abuse and exploitation). Commercial or other exploitation of a child refers to the use of the child in work or other activities for the benefit of others. This includes, but is not limited to, child labour. These activities are to the detriment of the child’s physical or mental health, education, moral or social-emotional development (WHO, 1999).
Commercial or other exploitation of a child refers to use of the child in work or other activities for the benefit of others. This includes, but is not limited to, child labour and child prostitution. These activities are to the detriment of the child’s physical or mental health, education, or spiritual, moral or social-emotional development.
Child safeguarding refers to the responsibility of agencies working with/in contact with / impacting children, to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the risks of harm to children are minimized; and where there are concerns about the welfare of children, to take appropriate actions to address those concerns (i.e. working to agreed policies and procedures, and in accordance with local laws). Safeguarding refers to institutional/internal policies and procedures intended to ensure that children are not exposed to harm and abuse through their contact with the organization, their staff and their participation in projects and programs and that the organization’s operations do no harm to the children in any way.
Child Protection is part of safeguarding and refers to activities undertaken to protect specific groups of children who are being or are at risk of being abused.
III. Guiding Principles
Guided by the UNCRC the Child Safeguarding Policy will be guided by the following core principles:
Rights Based Approach: Children’s right to safety and protection is a fundamental human right and Breakthrough considers it to be the preliminary guiding force. In all its programs and actions the rights of the child is promoted, ensured and demanded.
The Best Interest of the Child: Programs are designed, and interventions agreed, on the basis of the best interest of the child. The child’s best interest in terms of their rights and overall wellbeing is given the ultimate priority in organisation’s functioning, crisis management and program implementation. A child centred development approach is the guiding force to ensure the rights and the best interest of the child within the organisation’s operational framework.
Participation: The views, opinions, thoughts, experiences and ideas of children are always given importance in the process of framing policies, designing programs and in their implementation. The children are consulted at all stages and their understanding is valued at all times.
Transparency and Confidentiality: Breakthrough promotes an environment of openness within the organisation. The layers of management are not allowed to be barriers in communication: all staff and stakeholders are encouraged to share their concerns and learn about organisation’s procedures at all times. This does not compromise the need for confidentiality of the child or a related case of child safety or protection concern.
Non-Discrimination: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, caste, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, medical condition or other status.
IV. Management responsibility
The Vice President/Country Director by mandate from the Breakthrough India Board, has the overall responsibility for the Child Safeguarding Policy of Breakthrough.
Breakthrough’s India Board of Directors is responsible for determining policy and good practice.
The Senior Management Team is responsible for the validation of the policy and its strategic/operational development by monitoring the implementation of the annual work plan. Upon request of the Vice President /Country Director, it creates an ad-hoc committee to manage investigative procedures and transmits information to the external group of experts.
State Heads (with line management responsibility) and one designated person from each center are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Child Safeguarding Procedures in accordance with the policy. The policy sets out clear responsibilities for managers to ensure implementation of the Child Safeguarding Policy across the organisation. State heads have direct responsibility for ensuring all individuals, whatever their status and role, who come into contact with children receive full awareness training in this policy and its accompanying procedures. Records of training should be compiled for subsequent monitoring purposes and used to partly determine the effectiveness of policy implementation during audits. Where concerns of child abuse arise managers have the responsibility to ensure that mandatory internal reporting is affected to protect the child. They must also decide on the correct course of action, based on this policy and its accompanying procedures how best to deal with the case, in all cases the “best interest of the child” shall be considered above anything else.
All Employees and others should be aware, through this policy, of their responsibilities and duty of care to ensure child abuse is prevented. In addition employees and others should also be aware of their predetermined role in ensuring the safety of children and their responsibility for mandatory reporting concerns where witnessing, allegations, disclosures or suspicion of child abuse occur. Breakthrough Code of Conduct sets out the specific behaviour requirements of all employees and others along with what is, and is not, considered acceptable behaviour with children. Where employees and others are considered to engage in high-risk behaviour in their professional and/or private lives, thus breaching the Code of Conduct, the code will be strictly enforced through disciplinary procedures to ensure the highest moral and ethical standards of the organization are upheld. Where concerns of child abuse arise, Breakthrough will consider its legal obligations to report those concerns to relevant, competent authorities and terminate employment.
Partners: Breakthrough by working in partnership with Partners in many states of India embeds the local contexts of work and thereby empowers the local Partners in achieving the collaborative goals. In doing so Breakthrough is challenged on one hand in seeking to develop the autonomy of the Partners while at the same time ensuring its own organizational responsibility and commitment towards children in contact with Breakthrough’s implemented program but outside its immediate control in the project. Therefore the scope of this policy clearly reflects the need to embrace the child particularly when designing and negotiating concept papers, proposals, agreements and financial support. Breakthrough will engage with partners who have an existing child safeguarding policy and will have the willingness to strengthen and implement the policy in line with Breakthrough’s vision of safeguarding children. Where concerns of child abuse arise, Breakthrough will consider its legal obligations to report those concerns to relevant, competent authorities and withdraw funding and support to partners. In case of a child abuse case where the partner does not have a Child Safeguarding or Protection Policy or the existing policy does not clearly outlines the response mechanism, the Child Safeguarding Policy of Breakthrough shall prevail within the agreed partnership.
Volunteers and Interns: The volunteers and interns of Breakthrough provide a wide range of services and contribute to a dynamic element of its work. Managers have a responsibility to identify those areas whereby procedures for employees and others can be applied and/or new procedures adapted to meet the specific, creative, often “one off” roles of the volunteer or interns. Under this policy all volunteers and interns have a responsibility to report, as would employees and others, any concerns of child abuse and likewise they are obliged to adhere to the terms and conditions of Breakthrough’s “Code of Conduct for Visitors/Volunteers/Interns/Vendors”. Where concerns of child abuse arise, Breakthrough will consider its legal obligations to report those concerns to relevant, competent authorities and expel the individual or group.
Visitors: Visits to projects and communities are opportunities to see the development work first-hand. However, this may pose risks towards the children Breakthrough is working with. Thus measures of child safeguarding are needed to be in place to keep the children safe but at the same time facilitate visits to projects, partners and activities for a variety of reasons. It is essential that all visitors are aware of and understand the principles of Breakthrough’s Child Safeguarding Policy and it is the responsibility of managers to ensure they are briefed accordingly. Under this policy all visitors have a responsibility to report, as would employees and others, any concerns of child abuse and likewise they are obliged to adhere to the terms and conditions of Breakthrough’s “Code of Conduct for Visitors/Volunteers/Interns/Vendors”. All visits should be monitored and recorded by management and in no circumstances are visitors to be left unattended in the presence of children or projects. Where concerns of child abuse arise, Breakthrough will consider its legal obligations to report those concerns to relevant, competent authorities and expel the individual.
All activities in Breakthrough that involve children or their participation directly or indirectly through any medium (in person, virtual, audio-visual) shall be preceded by a thorough risk assessment to ensure that any possibilities of risks are minimized that could result due to the said activities. All risk assessments shall be in compliance with the Child Safeguarding Policy of Breakthrough. In case of conducting research activities standard research ethics will be complied with and wherever necessary a localized research ethics guidelines will be developed to accommodate the local context and ensure the safety and welfare of the children involved in such activities. State Heads Managers and one Designated person from each center will be responsible for ensuring necessary steps of risk assessment are well considered in the planning and budgeting of any activities including research activities and that any consultant/s hired for the purpose will also be obliged to comply with the ethical guidelines along with the Child Safeguarding Policy of Breakthrough.
The Seven Stages of Risk Assessment
- Establish the context, scope and setting
- Identify the risks
- Analyse the risks
- Evaluate the risks
- Implement strategies to minimise and prevent risk
- Review and revise risks and preventative measures
- Communicate and consult
A simple risk analysis tool can be used for this purpose in the below mentioned matrix where the risk may be assessed considering the following aspects:The practical details of a program, or activity
– The practical details of a program, or activity
– Things that could go wrong in that activity
– The likelihood/probability of these things going wrong
– The impact of these things going wrong on the children/community/staff/program/organisation
Recruitment and Selection
Rigorous recruitment and selection procedures emphasising the importance of child safeguarding can reduce the risk by acting as a deterrent and by helping to detect those presenting a potential risk to children. Managers recruiting and selecting employees and others for positions are responsible for implementing the procedures. The Human Resource Development Department will be responsible for developing and implementing appropriate recruitment and selection procedures that reflect child safeguarding issues and adhere to the principles set out in the Child Safeguarding Recruitment and Selection Procedures. Managing risk is the key to recruitment and selection. Local procedures should be based on a detailed analysis of each job task and assessment of the level of contact with children.
The process for selecting volunteers and others will be different from those adopted for staff appointments but the same rigour will apply when the role involves contact with children. Centre and State Heads are responsible for undertaking a detailed analysis of job tasks and assessing the level of contact with children (therefore the level of risk) as part of the initial policy implementation process.
Information to all applicants will include:
– Child Safeguarding Policy
– Reporting Concerns Framework
– Code of Conduct
– Declaration form
– Child safeguarding statement in advertisement for a post
– Child safeguarding statement and specific responsibilities included in the job description.
Procedures at interview
– Identification documents
– Reviewing of employment gaps
– Questions on convictions and disciplinary record
– Questions on child safeguarding issues relevant to the role
– Psychometric test to assess if the mental state of mind would pose any risk to children in contact with during the job deliverables in Breakthrough
– Two reference checks including one from the last employer / contracted agency
– Original evidence of qualifications claimed on application form.
– Job history check
Job specifications, volunteer assignments and terms of reference
Centre and State Heads have a responsibility to ensure all existing and new job descriptions, volunteer/intern assignments and terms of reference contain a generic statement about Breakthrough’s commitment to child protection and the expectations it places on all employees and others in adhering to the values and principles of the Child Safeguarding Policy. Additionally, those documents should reflect specific responsibilities for implementing and safeguarding the Breakthrough Child Safeguarding Policy.
VI. Developing Management Systems
Management culture: an open and aware culture is vital in establishing a child safe environment and is demonstrated by:
– Listening and responding to concerns raised by employees and others including children
– Regular opportunities for informal discussions both in country office and in the field
– Observing and responding to signs of anxiety and stress
– Raising concerns on sensitive matters
– Providing support to individuals in difficult circumstances
– Giving and receiving critical feedback
– Clear and open communication
– Making decisions and taking actions when concerns are raised
State Heads have a responsibility to assess the local management culture and ensure an enabling environment exists for the effective implementation of the Child Safeguarding Policy. Employees and others must feel that a positive and supportive environment exists to be confident in raising and reporting any concern, often the most challenging step to take. The management culture will also need to reflect awareness of the issues of child safety concerns including child abuse, by challenging bad practice and adopting a risk management approach. Attention is drawn to procedure on the Code of Conduct and the need to provide support to employees and others in order for them to meet the requirements of the policy.
Systems: Recruitment, induction, supervision, meetings and debriefing are examples of the systems whereby managers have a responsibility to ensure child safeguarding issues are mainstreamed and fully integrated. These responsibilities can be summarized as follows:
– A minimum requirement of awareness raising and information on the Child Safeguarding Policy and specific local procedures should be incorporated into induction training for new employees or for those changing roles internally. Refresher training should also be periodically organized for the existing employees
– For employees with direct contact with children regular supervision and support meetings will be the forum to discuss practical questions of child safeguarding and protection
– Employee appraisal / annual review processes are the opportunity to incorporate individual training and support needs on child safeguarding and protection matters
– Regular opportunities to discuss concerns within teams or with colleagues will help develop an open and aware culture and raise issues at an early stage
– Debriefings offer an opportunity to discuss child safeguarding matters and concerns
– Management systems concerning volunteers, interns and external contractors may vary from those of regular employees but the same minimum requirements apply when supporting, supervising and managing volunteers and others. They should be aware of; the Child Safeguarding Policy and procedures, the requirement to raise and report concerns on child safety and abuse and how to do this, as well as options for, and access to, support.
VII. Developing Local Contexts and Local Procedures
Local context: State Heads should consider the local environment and map the following as an information resource to ensure that the Policy implementation can be adapted to the different work contexts of Breakthrough:
– The general situation of children and the impact of abuse
– The nature of Breakthrough’s work and the different field contexts
– Staffing and management
– Legal, social welfare and medical structures
– Legal and social obligations to report child abuse
– Local child protection / support structures
– Local informal support structures
Local procedures: Once details on the local context have been gathered the local procedures can be developed further and discussions should then focus on the most effective way of ensuring concerns are raised internally and externally where appropriate. Procedures should identify key individuals in the system and their role and responsibility in receiving and reporting concerns as well as steps, which can be taken locally in conjunction with individuals and organisations to ensure the safety and protection of children. There may be no established legal and/or social welfare system for the protection of children in the local context but a network of institutions, clinics, schools, doctors, health workers and lawyers should be developed on child protection. Alternatively, networks aware of the issues may exist where referrals and assistance can be requested. One useful network would be community leaders who are useful in dealing with specific issues of child abuse outside of Breakthrough’s programs and activities and can often resolve issues informally. It may be necessary, depending on the local context, to develop support materials in order to clarify the local procedures and local understanding of child abuse and to take into account factors such as culture, religion, local law, traditional practices, partnership arrangements, etc.
VIII. Implementation, Monitoring and Review
The Self Audit Tool provided in Annex I (Keeping Children Safe toolkit) is designed to assist the implementation process of Breakthrough’s Child Safeguarding Policy and provide the basis for monitoring and reporting progress towards the full implementation of the Policy. Child Safeguarding Audits summarise the main requirements and management responsibilities for implementing and operating the policy.
Where discussions are being held on implementing the policy locally the Child Safeguarding Audits can be used to identify work required and work in progress. Progress on implementation will be monitored across the organisation via progress reports to Managers following the launch of the policy and commencement of the implementation process. The Child Safeguarding Audit can be used to both plan future work and generate progress reports.
Based on the findings of this audit annual child safeguarding plan is to be drawn in for the effective implementation of the Policy. This is to be followed up on a six-monthly basis. An example of an annual action plan is provided below:
The annual progress report should cover the implementation process including activities planned and carried out; summary of issues and challenges in the implementation; support needs identified; feedback and suggestion in further improving the Policy; findings from the self-audit exercise and plans for the following year. Examples of learning in the form of good practices / emerging issues need to be captured to reflect on future course of action for the implementation of the Policy.
IX. Dissemination of the Policy
The policy will be implemented after necessary awareness raising and training within the organisation. It will also be disseminated outside the organisation to the different stakeholders. The internal awareness will be further strengthened through training and orientation programs for staff and management at all levels. The Child Safeguarding Policy will be made available on the organisation website. The Policy will be translated into local languages depending on the field contexts and physical copies will be made available in the country office and field offices. Reporting Concerns Framework including the name of the Child Safeguarding Focal point with contact details and in the format suggested above will be displayed in all Breakthrough locations. Children coming in contact with Breakthrough’s programs will be made aware of the Policy.
X. Raising and Reporting Concerns
Any person working or coming in contact with children, supporting or attending an event organized by Breakthrough, has a responsibility to raise and report concerns on the safety or welfare of children. Employees and others should report concerns directly to the Manager – Child Safeguarding Policy (CSP) according to the Raising Concerns Framework.
State Heads Managers and one designated person from each center have a responsibility to ensure that a clear, detailed reporting mechanism (e.g. Raising Concerns Framework) by which concerns can be raised quickly and effectively is in place, visible in the form a poster in each project location and translated into local languages where necessary. Breakthrough will ensure the interests of anyone reporting such concerns are properly protected and all reports made in good faith will be viewed as evidence of the individual’s concern for the best interest of the child and the organisation. This will remain the case regardless of the outcome of any subsequent investigation.
Raising Concerns Framework
The following situations will demand raising concerns and a Breakthrough Child Safeguarding Policy response:
Reporting Concerns Framework
The following procedures should be followed if you are concerned about the safety and welfare of a child. This framework should be displayed at strategic locations in Breakthrough’s country office and field offices.
1. What are the circumstances of your concern?
Witnessed child abuse Yes / No
Suspect someone of child abuse? Yes / No
Someone alleged abuse of a child? Yes / No
Someone disclosed abuse of a child to you? Yes / No
2. Does the concern fit any of the following categories of abuse?
Do you think a child may have been neglected? Yes / No
Do you think a child may have been physically abused? Yes / No
Do you think a child may have been emotionally abused? Yes / No
Do you think a child may have been sexually abused? Yes / No
Your concern is justified if you answered yes to any of the questions above, your duty is to report your concerns to the following person:
Name of the Focal Point (Manager – CSP):
In case you have concerns about informing the person stated above, then please report to the Director – Human Resource Development.
All concerns and cases need to be reported in the format provided in Annex II
– No retaliation or punitive action will be taken against anyone who, in good faith, raises a child safeguarding concern
– All information in relation to child protection concerns will be kept confidential. Any information shared will be done so on a ‘need to know’ basis and with the knowledge of those concerned
– Any records related to child safeguarding referrals and concerns will be kept in a central location, with access to this strictly limited. If action is taken against an employee then a note of this will be made on their confidential personnel file, and will be disclosed by the Director – Human Resources if a reference is sought.
– Once a concern has been reported it will be the responsibility of the Manager – CSP and the Senior Management Team to determine an appropriate response.
XI. Ramification of Breach
Any child safeguarding concern relating to inappropriate conduct of Breakthrough employees will be dealt with under the Breakthrough HR policies and disciplinary procedures.
Any child safeguarding concerns relating to inappropriate conduct of a Breakthrough volunteer, intern or consultant will result in immediate suspension of the contract whilst an investigation into the claim is undertaken.
XII. Breakthrough Code of Conduct
Bearing in mind the rights of the child will be upheld by Breakthrough, employees and others in contact with children are obliged to:
– Strive to understand children within the local context in which they live
– Work with children in a spirit of co-operation and partnership based on mutual trust and respect
– Work with children in ways which enhance their capacities and capabilities and develop their potential
– Treat children with respect and recognise them as individuals in their own right
– Regard children positively and value them as individuals with specific needs and rights
– Listen to the children, value their views and take them seriously
– Consider children as active agents in their own development with health, safety, well-being and their best interest considered of paramount importance
Employees and others, who come into contact with children, should always:
– Empower children by promoting children’s rights and raising awareness.
– Avoid situations that isolate children and where behaviour cannot be observed such as in cars, offices and homes
– Challenge poor practice and recognise potential pitfalls that might lead to child abuse
– Promote a culture of openness where issues and concerns can be raised and discussed
– Ensure visibility, whenever possible, with children and apply the two adult rule or arrange a suitable alternative
– Organise awareness workshops with children to define acceptable and unacceptable behavior with adults
– Discuss openly with children about their contacts and relationships with employees and others
– Discuss issues of concern with children and explain how to raise concerns
– Identify and avoid compromising and/or vulnerable situations which might lead to accusations
– Ensure when making images of children (photos, video, etc.) that they are respectful, that the children are adequately clothed and that sexually suggestive poses are avoided
– Be aware that physically handling a child, perhaps to offer comfort, can be misconstrued by observers or the child
– On trips / residential trainings and workshops/tours away from home ensure that another adult is always present if a child’s room is visited at any time and the door should always be left open.
Employees and others, who come into contact with children, should never:
– Use any form of physical “punishment” including hitting, physical assault or physical abuse
– Enter any form of sexual relations with children
– Engage in any form of inappropriate physical behaviour such as, kissing, hugging or touching a child
– Act in a manner or organise activities which are abusive or place children at risk from abuse
– Develop abusive or exploitative relations with children
– Use language or act in a physically or sexually provocative and inappropriate manner
– Stay overnight, in the same room, with any child
– Invite a child / children to their place of residence
– Do things for children of a personal nature that they are capable of doing for themselves
– Condone or participate in activities where the child’s behaviour is likely to lead to abusive or illegal acts
– Shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children or engage in emotional abuse
– Discriminate through preferential treatment to a child i.e. gifts, sponsorships, money
– Spend excessive time alone with a child excluding them from others
– Take images of children (photos, video, etc.) which are detrimental or explicit and undermine the child’s dignity
During Program activities and events
– Care will be taken to ensure that activities are designed such that do not cause harm to children
– Program staff are expected to set a good example. They will not consume any addictive or intoxicating substances, nor use any inappropriate or abusive language, in front of the children
– Program staff should never ask children to do their personal tasks
– No child should be called alone for any activity. Any child should be accompanied with friends and/or family. Children should not be called to isolated spaces for any activity
– Two adults should always be present to conduct any activity with children. If it is not possible for two program staff to be present at the same time, school teachers and/or other people from the community should be present. In case, girls are present for the activity, a female adult member should be present.
– Children should not be made to wait, stand in the open, sit on roads etc. for long durations for any activity.
– Special care needs to be taken to ensure the safety of children during outstation activity. Adequate adult supervision, safe transportation and accommodation should be ensured. Written consent should be taken from their parents / legal guardian and/before such events
Code of behaviour for communication on children
It is the stories of the children and their lives that generate sensitivity as well as sensation. In order to protect the children from any intentional and unintentional exposure to the external world where their privacy, confidentiality and self-esteem are affected the following code of conduct should be followed:
– Stories of children must be promoted with a positive attitude and in her/his best interest.
– Importance and care to be given to the right to confidentiality of the child whose story is being highlighted/shared.
– The child must not be made to relive her traumatic past against her wish during any interview.
– The child must be provided with enough briefing to share or recount her experience and express views on issues, and especially those personal.
– The child must not be projected as powerless and without support.
– Pictures of the child are not to be taken without consent of the child and the organisation, and it should not be linked to the identity of the child and especially inappropriately dressed.
– Informed consent format are to be signed by the child and the interviewee before conducting any interview or photographing the child.
– Individual case studies having the original identity of the child must be retained in the organisation with adequate precaution (e.g. using unique identity codes) to prevent unwanted disclosure of information.
– Awareness on the legal provisions, laws and regulations under the constitution that protect children must be promoted.
– The first publication and broadcasting of the story should be prior informed to the organisation.
Personal conduct outside Work
– Breakthrough is committed to ensure that employees and others apply high standards of behaviour towards children within both their professional and their private lives
– Unlawful or other conduct by employees which jeopardizes Breakthrough’s reputation or position whether during or after business hours will not be permitted. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to: any unlawful activity related to sexual abuse; sexual harassment; physically/verbally abusive behaviour; and public disorderly conduct.
– Employees are required to bear in mind the principles of the Child Safeguarding Policy and heighten their awareness of how their behaviour may be perceived both at work and outside work
Images and messages
All employees, volunteers, visitors, photographers, journalists and contractors when working with Breakthrough shall adhere to this code in concurrence with the “Breakthrough Photography and Audio Visual Consent Policy” to ensure choices of images and messages are based on the paramount principles of:
– Respect for the dignity of people concerned
– Never use naked images of children
– Equality of all people
– Promoting fairness, solidarity and justice
In all communications, where practical and reasonable, we reflect reality by striving to:
– Choose images and related messages based on values of respect and equality
– Truthfully represent the particular situation both in its immediate and wider context
– Avoid approaches that potentially stereotype or sensationalise people, situations or places
– Use images, messages and case studies only with the full understanding and permission of the subject themselves (parents / guardians / caregiver where applicable)
– Ensure those whose situation is being represented have the opportunity to communicate their stories themselves
– Establish and record whether the subjects wish to be named or identified and always act accordingly
– Conform to the highest standards of human rights and protection of vulnerable groups
– Conform to the highest standards of children’s rights (UNCRC) as children are the most frequently portrayed subjects
Media and Communications and Program Departments must ensure safeguards are in place for photographers and journalists:
– Photographers and Journalists receive clear “Terms of Reference” prior to any assignment from Media and Communications Department.
– Photographers and Journalists receive Child Safeguarding Policy briefing prior to mission from the Focal Point and /or from the Media and Communications Department
– Photographers and Journalists provide Media and Communication Department with signed Child Safeguarding Policy declaration prior to mission
– All images are vetted by Media and Communications Department prior to placing on any Breakthrough platforms (virtual and physical)
– Questionable images are referred to Focal Point for clearance.
– Media and Communication and Program Department ensure Photographers and Journalists receive briefing on arrival in the field and are supervised by field staff (aware of Breakthrough Safeguarding Policy) during the assignment
XIII. Information Management
XIV. Child Protection Declaration
To view/download Child Protection Declaration form, Click Here
XV. Informed Consent Format
To view/download Informed Consent Format, Click Here
XVI. Networking and Coordination Strategy
Gender justice, empowerment of women and girls; prevention of harmful traditional practices go hand in hand with child protection and no single agency can solve these alone. Even organisations working on diverse issues and context lack the appropriate expertise to intervene on a 360-degree axis. Therefore organisations addressing different contexts of vulnerability require and demand coordination with each other.
Breakthrough in its programs emphasizes the need for coordination among and between different stakeholders including those working on child protection issues to compliment the work Breakthrough does to address the vulnerabilities of children that lead to gender based violence. This coordination is useful to avoid overlapping in the different operations, to ensure the continuity of the support and care to the children and to avoid cultural or legal misunderstanding between the different services involved.
Best practices in different types of contexts and projects will be used in evidence base learning and sharing with multi stakeholders. Credibility is needed to coordinate different stakeholders. This credibility is based on good field practices and expertise.
Coordination could contribute to:
– Developing better referrals between the State services such as the child protection service or police, NGOs and communities
– Creating the evidence base from the community for advocacy and linkages with child protection actors to strengthen local/national child protection services and systems
– Developing and improving collaboration with NGOs
– Harmonising initiatives
– Avoiding duplication of work through pooling resources
Annex I: Self-Audit Tool
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Annex II: Case Reporting Format
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