Legal Framework

The Children’s Act 1992.

Human Rights Monitor No.26 Children’s Rights in Zimbabwe.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children.

The African Charter on the Rights of the Child.

 

Aims and Guiding Principles

The aims ensure that:

  • Staff is protected from possible false allegation or from operating within an unclear framework.

  • Excellent child safeguarding practice is promoted at CFB

  • Children who engage with CFB are treated with dignity and respect.

  • Staff is fully cognisant of child protection issues.

  • Child Safeguarding incidents are dealt with consistently, responded to swiftly and appropriately recorded.

Principles

  • The welfare of the child is paramount.

  • Ensure that robust steps will be taken to protect children from abuse and respect their rights, wishes and feelings when they engage with CFB.

  • Suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously, and appropriate action taken to address these swiftly and fully.

  • Anyone bounded by this policy has the right to report concerns or suspicions about another individual in confidence and free from harassment.

  • Staff share the responsibility to protect children, remain vigilant in identifying and following child safeguarding practices.

  • Prevent infiltration of the organisation by child abusers.

 

Scope

This policy outlines procedures to prevent and respond to potential incidents of exploitation and abuse to children and fulfils the organisation’s commitment to a ‘do no harm’ approach.  Do no harm is a principle which refers to the organisation’s responsibility to minimise the harm it may cause inadvertently because of its programmes and activities.

 

This policy applies to:

  • All Council for the Blind employees.

  • Representatives working with or on behalf of Council for the Blind.

  • Any other official visitor to Council for the Blind programmes eg. partners, journalists and volunteers.

 

Code of Conduct

Council for the Blind believes that children have the right to protection from all forms of violence and abuse.   The organisation considers all forms of abuse towards children to be unacceptable and recognises that it has a duty to safeguard children.  It is a requirement that managers, staff, volunteers and seconders agree to abide by the Child Safeguarding Policy and work in accordance with this Code of Conduct which sets out responsibilities for safeguarding children and expected behaviour of staff.  This is a mandatory requirement.  Any form of unacceptable behaviour which breaches this Code of Conduct must be reported.  In case of situations which are not covered by the Code of Conduct, the Child Safeguarding Focal Person will take a decision whilst focusing on the “child’s best interests”.

 

By signing the Code of Conduct staff commits to:

  • Work actively to promote the best interest of the child.

  • Act in line with CFB’s Child Safeguarding Policy and relevant guides.

  • Encourage children to feel comfortable enough to point out attitudes and behaviour they do not like and make a complaint where necessary.

 

Acceptable Behaviour and Conduct

 Council for the Blind managers, staff and seconders should:

  • Be committed to creating a culture of openness and mutual accountability at workplaces.    This culture will enable all child protection concerns to be raised, discussed and abusive behaviour can and must be challenged.

  • Respond to all concerns, allegations and disclosures according to the reporting protocol.

  • Always work in an open environment and avoid being alone with one child.  Ensure that any private conversation with a child is in plain view of others “Two Adult Rule”.

  • Comply with an investigation (including interviews) and make available any information necessary for completion of the investigation.

  • Ensure the use of the ‘Two Adult Rule’”. This means, when interacting with children, ensure that another adult is present or within reach.

  • Ensure physical contact is always appropriate and not an invasion of the child’s privacy.

  • Use positive, non-violent methods to manage children’s behaviour.

  • Contribute to an environment where children are listened to and respected as individuals and which is safe, positive and encouraging to them.

  • Where possible, obtain written parental, or guardian consent if the organisation is transporting children.   Ensure that children’s rights are protected and that the child safeguarding photographs guidelines are followed when photos or videos of children are being taken.

  • Protect staff from the necessity to take unnecessary risks that may leave them open to accusations of abuse or neglect.

  • Fully respect confidentiality requirements in dealing with child matters.

 

 

Unacceptable behaviour

Within their work, Council for the Blind staff and other representatives must not specifically:

  • Hold, fondle, kiss, cuddle or touch children in an inappropriate and/or culturally insensitive way.

  • Engage in activities involving close body contact with children beyond the professional requirements.

  • Act in ways that may be abusive or may place a child at risk of abuse.

  • Make sexual activity or have a sexual relationship with a child, regardless of consent or local custom.  Mistaking the age of a child is not a defence.

  • Act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children or otherwise perpetrate any form of emotional abuse.

  • Take a child alone in a vehicle unless it’s necessary and with parental and managerial consent.

  • Spend time alone with a child, away from others, behind closed doors or secluded area (see Two Adult Rule).

  • Take a child to their home or visit a child at their home where they may be alone, or sleep in the same room, without another adult present.

  • Expose a child to inappropriate images, films including pornography and extreme violence.

  • Place themselves in a position where they are made vulnerable to allegations of misconduct.

  • Do not believe “it could never happen to me.”

1Child Safeguarding Policy Document