Child Protection

This Policy is developed to ensure the highest standards of professional behaviour and personal practice to ensure no harm occurs in any situation to children during their involvement in any Sustainable Communication activities or projects.

Code of Conduct
S-Com is committed to protecting children from abuse and exploitation. It will take all necessary actions to prevent and/or respond to children in such situations. S-Com will respond to all reports of actual or alleged abuses based on its Child Protection Policy, irrespective of the nature of the referral, who the allegations are about or who the referrer is or where she/he is from.
This Code of Conduct includes guidance on ethical and proper standards of behaviour of adults towards children, and also of children towards other children. It has been developed with the best interests of the child as the primary consideration and should be interpreted in a spirit of transparency and common sense. S-Com aims for everyone, children and adults, to participate in a safe and happy way in S-Com’s work and activities.

  • Be aware what constitutes child abuse and exploitation (included in the Child Protection Policy) and understand its provisions.
  • Know signs of abuse and report any suspicious observations immediately to the Child Protection Focal Person.
  • Ensure that you know who the Child Protection Focal Person at S-Com is.
  • Respect lines of authority and reporting procedures.
  • Respect the basic rights of others by facing fairly, honestly, and tactfully, and by treating people with dignity and respect.
  • Treat all children equally: be inclusive and involve all children without discrimination.
  • Work actively to ensure the highest levels of respect towards each other.
  • Maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct both personally and in others.
  • Protect the health, safety and well-being of yourself and others.
  • Be aware of high-risk peer situations (e.g. unsupervised mixing of older and younger children and possibilities of discrimination against minors)
  • Be aware of potential for peer abuse (e.g. bullying of children)
  • Be concerned about the way in which your language, actions, and relationships with children could be perceived.
  • Develop special measures/supervision to protect younger and especially vulnerable children from peer and adult abuse.
  • Provide an enabling environment for children’s personal, physical, social, emotional, moral and intellectual development.
  • Encourage and respect children’s voices and views.
  • Limit access to and/or not expose children to any inappropriate electronic material.
  • At all times respect the confidentiality of children’s personal information.
  • Obtain written consent from the child and parent/carer when photographing, filming or requesting personal information for activities.
  • Ensure that there is a minimum of two staff members present in meetings with children (to allow one to go out to deal with any immediate needs of children).
  • Ensure that when children with disabilities participate that all buildings are fully accessible for them.
  • Precise information on specific equipment used by the disabled child needs to be obtained prior to the event to ensure its accessibility to all buildings and meeting spaces.
  • Accompanying adults should not be younger than 21 years old, unless in exceptional circumstances and agreed in advance.
  • When participants are invited to stay overnight, room sharing arrangements are agreed in advance and with consent of the parents/guardians and children.
    DO NOT:
  • Engage in any form of sexual activity with children.
  • Avoid any action or behaviour that could be construed as poor practice or potentially abusive. For example, never behave in an inappropriate or sexually provocative manner.
  • Never have a child stay overnight in the adult’s room or sleep in the same bed (unless prior consent is provided by both the child and his/her parent/guardian).
  • Do not perform activities for children that they can do themselves, including dressing, bathing and grooming.
  • Do not discriminate, shame, humiliate, belittle, or degrade children. This includes anything that may be considered emotional abuse (e.g. use language that will mentally or emotionally abuse a child or tell a story/show pictures that will mentally or emotionally abuse a child).
  • Do not hit or otherwise physically assault participants.
  • Do not act in any way that may be abusive or place others at risk of abuse.
  • Do not condone violations of this code by others – staff, interns, consultants, etc.
  • Do not be alone with a child in any circumstances that might be questioned by others
  • Do not allow children to engage in sexually provocative games with each other.
  • Do not kiss, hug, fondle, rub, or touch a child in an inappropriate or culturally insensitive way (e.g. do not initiate physical contact, such as holding hands, unless initiated by the child)
  • Do not suggest inappropriate behaviour or relations of any kind or encourage any crushes by a child.
  • Do not take photos, film or request personal information if not required for S-Com activities.
  • Do not use inappropriately contact details (including social media accounts) from children out of S-Com programmes.
  • Report any suspicious observations or alleged abuse as well as any circumstances or situations, which may be subject to misinterpretation to the Child Protection Focal Person.
    Consequences for breaching the code of conduct or the child protection policy.
    Implementation strategy: Reporting Procedures
    All staff, volunteers and interns should be alert to signs that may suggest a child is in need of help. Deciding whether to report can be a very difficult responsibility. The reporting procedure is made widely available to ensure that everyone is clear what steps to take regarding the safety of children and other witnesses.
    All witnessed, suspected or alleged violations of S-Com Child Protection Policy will be immediately reported to the Child Protection Focal Person (CPF) – using the safeguarding reporting form. The guiding principle here is that the safety of the child is always the most important consideration. These records will be stored securely with access limited to the CPF or the Secretary-General.
    At meetings and activities where children are directly involved, children will be informed about S-Com safeguarding policy, code of conduct, the existence of the child protection focal person and complaints mechanism in a child-friendly manner.
    The first stage is to decide whether the concerns are internal to the organisation or relate to an external situation. When a child protection/safeguarding concern is brought to your attention – Act on your concerns. If in doubt, speak out.
    Child-centred. The protection of children is the most important consideration.
    Time counts. Ensure timely, effective, confidential and appropriate responses to child safeguarding issues.
    If the concern is internal – regarding the behaviour of staff, volunteers, interns, MB member or members, you have to consider whether you need to report to the local/national authorities. If not, the internal safeguarding procedure needs to be applied. If yes, you have to report to the designated authorities and follow-up on action taken by the authorities and decide on further response, record case and action taken.
    If the concern is external – meaning that there is concern regarding abuse outside the organisation, you have to consider whether the concern is due to the way the organisation is delivering business and then decide whether this needs reporting to local or national authorities. After this the same procedure as for internal concerns is applied.
    The CPF will act on the concerns or allegations in a confidential manner in accordance with the standardised process developed by S-Com in the best interests of the child, irrespective of the nature of the referral, who the allegations are about or who the
    referrer is or where she/he is from. The CPF will take appropriate action to protect the child/children in question from further harm and during and following an incident or allegation. An assessment of the specific kind of support and assistance that is needed by the child(ren) affected by the incident will immediately be offered.
    This may also involve arranging a medical assessment. The relevant contact details for child protection services, local services department, policy, emergency medical help and help lines will also be readily available and easily accessible.
    The CPF will be responsible to contact the child’s family (or guardian) and inform them of the incident and assistance provided. A safeguarding report must be compiled to document details of the incident. The “best interests of the child” must be considered throughout the process. An assessment of the specific kind of support and assistance that is needed by the children affected by the incident will be offered.
    S-Com will immediately suspend any employee, volunteer, intern, board member, consultant, adviser who is alleged to have violated the Child Protection Policy, pending the outcome of the investigation. S-Com reserves the right to take any disciplinary action against any of the above who have been proven guilty in an investigation, which may include reporting the incident to the police.