ASHM’s Child Protection Policy and Procedure reflects the principles and implementation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Child Protection Policy, January 2018 and Child Protection Guidance Note, February 2018.
ASHM’s Child Protection Policy and Procedure is consistent with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Minimum Child Protection Standards (Appendix A DFAT Child Protection Policy, January 2018)
ASHM is committed to promoting and protecting the interest and safety of children. We have zero tolerance for child abuse.
This child protection policy applies to all ASHM personnel which includes:
- staff/volunteers/interns/contractors/visitors to projects/Society representatives
- ASHM partner’s downstream personnel
- Subcontractors engaged by ASHM to perform any part of ASHM project activities
The purpose of this policy is to:
- prevent any child abuse occurring within ASHM and its projects.
- work towards an organisational culture of child safety.
- ensure that all parties are aware of their responsibilities for identifying possible occasions for child abuse and for establishing controls and procedures for preventing such abuse and/or detecting such abuse when it occurs.
- provide guidance to ASHM personnel as to action that should be taken where they suspect any abuse within or outside of the organisation
- provide a clear statement to ASHM personnel forbidding any such abuse.
- provide assurance that any and all suspected abuse will be reported and fully investigated.
The purpose of this policy is to help eliminate the risk of anyone working for and with ASHM being involved in child abuse.
Child. For the purposes of this policy, a child is defined as any person under the age of 18.
Child abuse is defined as “All forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse”.
Child Protection is the term used to describe the responsibilities and activities undertaken to prevent or stop children being abused or maltreated.
Physical abuse is the use of physical force against a child that results in harm to the child. Physically abusive behaviour includes shoving, hitting, slapping, shaking, throwing, punching, kicking, biting, burning, strangling and poisoning
Emotional abuse refers to a parent or caregiver’s inappropriate verbal or symbolic acts toward a child, or a pattern of failure over time to provide a child with adequate non-physical nurture and emotional availability. Such acts have a high probability of damaging a child’s self-esteem or social competence.
Neglect is the failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child (where they are in a position to do so) with the conditions that are culturally accepted as being essential for their physical and emotional development and wellbeing
Sexual abuse occurs when a child or young person is used by an older or bigger child, adolescent or adult for his or her own sexual stimulation or gratification – regardless of the age of majority or age of consent locally. These can be contact or non-contact acts and includes fondling genitals; masturbation; oral sex; vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger or any other object; fondling breasts; voyeurism; exhibitionism; and exposing the child to, or involving the child in, pornography.
Child pornography is defined as “any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes”.
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 that are to the detriment of the child’s physical and mental health, education, or moral and social-emotional development. It includes, but is not limited to:
– child labour
– child trafficking
– child sexual exploitation
– committing or coercing another person to commit an act or acts of abuse against a child
– possessing, controlling, producing, distributing, obtaining or transmitting child exploitation material
– committing or coercing another person to commit an act or acts of grooming or online grooming
– using a minor for profit, labour, sexual gratification, or some other personal or financial advantage
’ASHM personnel’ includes all staff, Board, volunteers, interns, contractors, committee members, visitors to projects, society representatives, ASHM partners’ downstream personnel and subcontractors engaged by ASHM to perform any part of ASHM project activities.
- Zero tolerance: ASHM has zero tolerance for child abuse. Everyone working for ASHM is responsible for the care and protection of the children within our care and reporting information about suspected child abuse.
- Best interests of child: ASHM is committed to upholding the rights of the child and Australia’s obligations under United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
- Natural justice: All investigations concerning suspicions and allegations of child abuse will be conducted according to the rules of natural justice. In line with this principle, ASHM will ensure that personnel must be fully aware of their responsibilities to protect children and how to report concerns or allegations about child exploitation and abuse.
- Procedural fairness: ASHM will apply procedural fairness when making decisions that affect a person’s rights or interests. ASHM’s partners are expected to adhere to this principle when responding to concerns or allegations of child exploitation and abuse.
- Risk assessment approach: Child safety risk assessment is a part of ASHM’s overall risk assessment for all projects and partnerships. This assessment will identify risks, and document steps being taken to reduce or remove those risks.
- Shared responsibility for child protection: ASHM requires the commitment, support and cooperation of partner organisations and individuals who help to deliver programs to effectively manage risks to children in all of our projects and activities.
General policy statements
ASHM is always committed to promoting and protecting the best interests of children involved in its programs.
ASHM is committed to preventing a person from working with children if they pose an unacceptable risk to children.
ASHM is committed to immediate reporting of child exploitation or abuse suspicions or allegations to DFAT where DFAT funds are involved.
All children, regardless of their gender, race, religious beliefs, age, disability, sexual orientation, or family or social background, have equal rights to protection from abuse.
ASHM has zero tolerance for child abuse. Everyone working for ASHM is responsible for the care and protection of the children within our care and reporting information about suspected child abuse.
Child protection is a shared responsibility between the ASHM, all employees, workers, contractors, associates, and members of the ASHM community.
Wherever necessary, ASHM will consider the opinions of children and use their opinions to develop child protection policies.
ASHM supports and respects all children, staff and volunteers. ASHM is committed to the cultural safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and those from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and to providing a safe environment for children living with a disability.
ASHM is committed to the protection of children from harm, abuse and exploitation. Children have a right to survival, development, protection and participation as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Child Protection Code of Conduct
ASHM has developed a Child Protection Code of Conduct to provide clear guidance to personnel and associates about ways to minimise risk to children and make clear the standards of behaviour and practice required of them at all times when they are in contact with children. These behaviours are not intended to interfere with normal family interactions.
All ASHM personnel are required to read and sign the Child Protection Code of Conduct, which is located at the end of this policy.
It is mandatory for all those under the Scope of the ASHM Child Protection Policy to confidentially report any witnessed, suspected or alleged incidents of child abuse or any breach of the Child Protection Policy or Child Protection Code of Conduct using the process outlined in the flowchart over-page.
Children and community members with whom ASHMs works will be provided with information about how to report any child protection concerns about ASHM personnel members and associates.
If it is alleged that a member of staff, contractor, visitor to project or a volunteer may have committed an offence or have breached the organisation’s policies or its Code of Conduct the person concerned may be stood down (with pay, where applicable) while an investigation is conducted.
If the investigation concludes that on the balance of probabilities an offence (or a breach of the organisation’s policies or Code of Conduct) has occurred then disciplinary action may follow, up to and including dismissal or cessation of involvement with the organisation. The findings of the investigation will also be reported to any external body as required.
ASHM Board – Approved May 2022