Wide Open Wings
Child Protection Policy
It will be the unequivocal policy of Wide Open Wings that child abuse, in any form, will not be tolerated. From here on out Wide Open Wings will be referred to as WOW.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that:
• All children have equal rights to protection from abuse and exploitation
• Everybody has a responsibility to support the care and protection of children.
• The duty bearers are accountable to eradicate child abuse.
• A child means every human being below the age of eighteen years.
• Child abuse means sexual abuse or other physical or mental harm deliberately caused to a child.
• Child Protection Policy is a statement of intent that demonstrates a commitment to protect children from harm, and clearly defines what is required to protect the children participating in any functions related to WOW. The policy will be followed by partners, administrators, employees, visitors, students, and any other person who comes in contact with the children assisted in any way by WOW.
Statement of Commitment
While providing a quality education to the students attending programs of WOW partners, the first priority will be protecting the safety of the students. WOW is committed to ensuring that the children are not exposed to abuse, exploitation, violence or neglect.
Best Interests of the Child
All decisions and actions concerning a child will take the best interest of the child as the most important consideration. It is the policy of WOW that decisions or actions regarding any child or group of children will ensure that the positive impact of the decision or action outweigh any negative impact.
It will be the policy of WOW to enforce a policy of non-discrimination at all times. All children will be treated with respect and will be treated with equal consideration.
Participation and Self-Determination
WOW abides by the principle that a child has the right to have his or her views taken into
account in accordance with their age development in major decisions affecting their life. They will be given the opportunity to express their ideas and views and be heard on matters affecting them.
WOW will in all cases give serious consideration to the child’s wishes (and those of their legal guardians where appropriate) throughout the decision-making process.
The guidelines in this Child Protection Policy protect both the child from abuse and adults from false accusation.
It will be the policy of WOW to:
• Respect the rights and dignity of the children, families and communities with whom we work and always act according to the best interests of the children
• Demonstrate commitment to actively preventing child abuse
• Take positive action to prevent child abusers from becoming involved with WOW and to
enforce stringent measures against any associate of WOW who commits child abuse
To ensure the above commitment, WOW is committed to upholding the:
• United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child
• National constitutions
• Current and future country laws and tools on child rights
• Positive traditional practices
This policy applies to all associates of WOW. It will also apply to any visitors to the premises including, but not limited to, tourists, contractors, consultants, friends, parents or visiting officials.
Personnel Recruitment, Screening and Orientation
• All prospective associates and their employees will be informed of WOW’s Child Protection
Code of Conduct for WOW Personnel and Partners
A code of conduct gives guidelines deemed to be appropriate and proper behavior for WOW
employees, associates and partners when interacting with children. They are primarily designed to protect children but are also intended to protect personnel from false accusations of inappropriate behavior or abuse.
• No child is to be taken on a motorbike, tuk-tuk, or car without making prior arrangements with the administrator
• No child is to be taken to any employee’s home, guesthouse, hotel or accommodation
• Teachers and associates are not permitted to take any child to a café, restaurant or buy them food, unless permission has been given by the Administrator or CPO
• No presents are to be bought for the children without prior approval from the Administrator
• Teachers and associates should not act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children or perpetrate any form of emotional abuse
• WOW associates must display appropriate language, actions and relationships with
children at all times. Extra care should be given to protecting the reputation of both female children and WOW staff by ensuring that language and behavior at all times reflect appropriate male-female relationships, which are respectful of Cambodian culture and customs
• The WOW staff, volunteers, associates and partners must take extreme care when interacting physically with the children. No associates of WOW shall fondle or touch minors in an inappropriate or culturally insensitive way. Under no circumstance should any physical contact be or have the appearance of being sexual in any way. Any physical contact should be initiated by the children, not the associates.
• No associates of WOW shall exert inappropriate physical force when dealing with the children. This includes pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping or any other action that could cause fear, intimidation or distress
• WOW associates are responsible for their actions and reactions to children at all times.
The adult is always considered responsible for his or her actions regardless of how a child behaves towards them
• Where possible and practical associates should implement the ‘two-adult’ rule, whereby two or more adults supervise all activities with children. If for any reason an individual conversation or counseling session is warranted with a child, another adult must be within visual contact
• Inappropriate conduct toward children, including failure to follow the behavior standards stated above, is grounds for discipline, up to and including dissolution of partnership with WOW, termination of funding, dismissal from employment and/or police notification and legal action.
Reporting and Investigating Abuse or Suspected Abuse
WOW takes child abuse very seriously. Child abuse in any form including physical, emotional or sexual abuse is a serious offense. Any infringements of this type will be prosecuted to the full extent of law. Child abusers are not likely to remain in an environment where workers are trained to identify and report suspicious behavior. For these reasons, all personnel are responsible for reporting suspected child abuse or exploitation of any kind.
Any person who has knowledge of, suspects, or has witnessed a potential child protection issue involving WOW personnel or partners and their associates should immediately contact Administrators. A report should be made immediately, within 24 hours, to allow for early intervention and a prompt investigation. This verbal report should be followed with a written statement within a further 48 hours. Failure to report suspected child abuse or misconduct may result in disciplinary action.
On receipt of the report, the Administrator will begin an internal investigation and where appropriate file a complaint with the relevant Police, NGO and/or Authorities. Full cooperation will be afforded them during any external investigation.
The internal investigation will be launched within 48 hours of receipt of the complaint and will be carried out by the Administrator and CPO. The directors of the WOW shall also be notified of the investigation.
The rights and welfare of the child is of prime importance to WOW and, therefore, any investigation will aim to respect the privacy and safety of the child and to make the investigation as child friendly as possible.
Response to Internal Investigation Findings
1. At the conclusion of the investigation, the associate, the child and/or his or her family as appropriate should be informed of concerns or allegation, the results of the investigation and what corrective action, if any, will be taken
2. In the event an allegation is proven to be untrue or fabricated, appropriate steps will be taken for follow-up with the person who has been accused, the child, and the person who reported the incident. Efforts
will be made to provide assistance to an associate accused of abuse with children, including counseling or other appropriate forms of support
3. If abuse is proven by the investigation, every effort will be made to assist the child in coping with any physical or emotional trauma he or she may be experiencing. This may include medical treatment, psychological counseling or any other form of assistance deemed necessary and appropriate
4. If the investigation concludes that child abuse has occurred which is not subject to criminal prosecution, staff will be subject to disciplinary action within WOW, up to and including dismissal
5. If the investigation concludes that abuse has occurred which is subject to criminal prosecution according to national laws, all findings will be reported to the relevant national police authorities and full cooperation afforded them during an external investigation
6. In the event an associate is discharged for proven child abuse, WOW will disclose such
information as requested by police, a prospective employer, etc. Such disclosures will be made in accordance with applicable law and/or customs
I have read the complete WOW Internal Child Protection Policy. I fully understand and agree to follow all procedures contained within.
If at any time I fail to follow the guidelines set forth by the WOW Child Protection Policy I understand that my employment / association may be terminated by the School Administrator and appropriate action will be taken.
Staff/Volunteer/Associate Signature Date ____________________ _____/_____/______
WOW Representative Signature Date _______________________ _____/_____/______