CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

1. General Statement

TSACMI believes that the rights and interests of every child are paramount in all things that affect him/her. Every child has the right to protection from abuse and is entitled to participate in all programs and activities of TSACMI in a pleasant and safe environment. The organization holds itself morally and legally obligated to provide all children and young people under its care with the reasonable standard of care in consonance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and existing Philippine laws.

TSACMI, being a child-focused community-based NGO, is committed to the protection of children within its partner schools, barangays, projects and programs. It advocates children’s rights, as stated in the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and is actively engaged in promoting the child protection laws of the Philippine Republic.  It recognizes its responsibility to implement measures to protect children from all forms of abuse and take action by reporting violations of this policy to the appropriate channels (The organization’s Management Committee, Local Social Welfare and Development Officer, and The Women and Children’s Protection Desk at the Local PNP Office) and supporting the enforcement of the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) guidelines for disciplinary action.  

 

2. Scope of the Policy

The Child Protection Policy of the Share A Child Movement, Inc. is applicable to all members in the management and staff (regular, project-based, and volunteers/interns) and all other stakeholders who come in contact with children within the organization.

3. Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct shall be displayed prominently at the office of the Share A Child and in all its project sites and shall be easily accessible for all the organization’s representatives and children. TSACMI shall likewise obligate its staff and other representatives to distribute copies of the Code in all situations where it is responsible for bringing children into contact with adults.

Do's and Don'ts

Do's

  • Always work in an open environment and avoid private or unobserved situations;
  • Encourage open communications;
  • Listen and value the views and opinions of the children and take them seriously;
  • Make all TSACMI experiences fun and enjoyable; promote fairness, confront and deal with bullying;
  • Affirm and acknowledge the skills and talents of children;
  • Treat all young people equally and with respect and dignity;
  • Work with children in a spirit of cooperation and partnership based on mutual trust and respect;
  • Maintain a safe and appropriate distance with children;
  • Respect the child’s privacy and observe boundaries;
  • Avoid unnecessary physical contact with young people. Physical contact can be appropriate as long as it is neither intrusive nor disturbing and the young person’s consent has been given;
  • Obtain written parental consent if staff members are required to transport young people outside of their places of residence;
  • Gain written parental consent for any travel arrangements that that may or may not require overnight stays;
  • Ensure that if mixed groups are required to travel, they should always be accompanied by a male and female member of staff;
  • Be an excellent role model and do not smoke or drink alcohol or take prohibited drugs in the company of young people;
  • Always give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism;
  • Secure written parental consent for the organization to act in loco parentis, to give permission for the administration of emergency first aid or other medical treatment if the need arises;
  • Keep a written record of any serious injury that occurs, along with details of any treatment given;
  • Always observe confidentiality when receiving disclosure of private and sensitive information involving a child;
  • If and when correction is needed, avoid actions/words that would attack the child’s self-esteem and focus on the behavior to be corrected. Opportunity for correction should be done in a proper place and time to minimize embarrassment to the child;
  • 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.

Don'ts

  • Leave the children unsupervised during activities;
  • Show favoritism and make comparisons between the children;
  • Act in ways with the intention of shaming, humiliating, belittling or degrading a child;
  • Use inappropriate words/language in the presence of children;
  • Spend unnecessary excessive amounts of time alone with young people away from others;
  • Do things of a personal nature that the young person can do for themselves;
  • Take young people alone in journeys, however short;
  • Take young people to your home where they will be alone with you;
  • Share a room with a young person;
  • Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay;
  • Allow young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged;
  • Make sexually suggestive comments to a young person, even in fun;
  • Reduce a young person to tears as a form of control;
  • Allow allegations made by a young person to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted.

4. General Guidelines

In addition to the above Code of Conduct, which is applicable to the management, staff and volunteers/interns  and all other stakeholders, persons from partner organizations visiting the projects, person participating in activities with children and sponsors visiting their beneficiaries shall likewise adhere to the following guidelines.

  • Visits to projects of TSACMI shall be made only with prior written approval by the management and in the company of a designated Staff;
  • An orientation shall be made to all visitors prior to the visit to ensure that interactions with children shall be cultural sensitive;
  • Questions from the visitor as to boundaries of appropriate or inappropriate behavior shall be directed to accompanying TSACMI Staff;
  • Visitors shall avoid all manner of inappropriate physical conduct with children such as unwanted touching, hugging, kissing, any other culturally unacceptable behavior that can be considered potentially abusive;
  • Visitors shall not administer any physical punishment such as hitting, spanking or any kind of physical assault;
  • Visitors shall avoid any occasion that will leave them to stay alone with any child or minor, whether in the child’s house or any secluded place;
  • Visitors shall not share personal contact details (home, work or hotel address) with any child or his/her family;
  • Visitors shall not take photos or videos or collect stories of children without the prior permission or consent of TSACMI staff and approval from the children and parents concerned;
  • Visitors shall take only photos of children shown in a decent manner and when they are appropriately dressed;
  • Visitors shall not engage in pornography, sexual advances, unwanted invitations or use of power and authority to incite a child to commit sexual acts;
  • Visitors shall not use derogatory language or act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children or otherwise perpetrate any form of emotional abuse;
  • Visitors shall listen to and respect the views of the children;
  • Visitors shall not discriminate against, show preferential treatment, or favor particular child/children to the exclusion of others.

5. Communication Guidelines

The objectives of the communications guidelines are to:

  • Clarify what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate use of communications (images, stories, case studies, personal information) in relation to children;
  • Ensure that everyone understands and abides by these guidelines in and contribute to the creation of a child safe environment that respects children’s physical and mental integrity, privacy and dignity and in order to protect children from those who may use information about them to cause them harm;
  • Uphold behavior that respect children and recognize their roles in their own development and that of their community while at the same time acknowledging their vulnerability.

In all cases where communication in relation to children are necessary or required by TSACMI or requested by persons other than the management, staff or volunteers/interns, and such request are coursed through the organization, the following guidelines shall apply to wit:

  • Informed consent of the child and his/her parent/guardian as much as possible as well as the written permission obtained from the child’s parent or guardian or, in the case of third parties, written permission from the Share A Child Movement to use the images for publicity / fundraising / awareness; 
  • As much as possible, personal accounts shall be obtained from persons themselves of their experiences rather than let others to speak on their behalf in order to highlight their ability to take responsibility and action for themselves;
  • Children must be portrayed as accurately and as balanced as possible with emphasis on their dignity and within the context of their social, cultural, and economic environment. In no case shall there be any manipulation or sensationalizing of the text and images or attempts to degrade children through the use of victimizing or shaming languages and images made. Inaccurate generalizations should be avoided. Any and all pictures of children shall always be taken within the context of their particular situation in their family and community and each photograph shall be provided with informative captions. Children should at all times be appropriately clothed in images and should never be asked to do sexually provocative poses;
  • Balanced portrayal most particularly in depicting cases of ‘victimhood’. In relations thereto, it is recommended that such portrayal be done with the use of ‘before’ and ‘after’ images and/or stories;
  • In no case shall the organization’s visual materials be used by individuals or groups outside TSACMI without the written consent of the management. All requests for such use must be made in writing and addressed to the Executive Director, stating the materials included in the request and the purpose for which these materials will be used. The request shall then be evaluated by the Management Committee who shall forward its recommendation to the Executive Director. Final decision shall be made by the Executive Director and shall be communicated to the requesting individual or group.