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CHILD PROTECTION POLICY 

& GUIDELINE FOR WORKING WITH CHILDREN ONLINE

 

INTRODUCTION

Policy Statement

The Hillsong Africa Foundation (HAF) supports and upholds the rights of children as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC 1989), and the South African Children’s Act 38 of 2005. We take our duty of care seriously and place priority on providing a safe environment where children are protected from harm, abuse and/or exploitation. We believe that protecting the most vulnerable is evidence of our love for God and all of His creation.

Purpose of Policy

This Child Protection Policy (CPP) has been developed to:

    1. Demonstrate HAF’s commitment to protect children from harm and abuse;
    2. Prevent the abuse of children through risk management strategies;
    3. Educate staff, partners, volunteers and others about child abuse;
    4. Provide a clear Child Protection Code of Conduct which must be adhered to by all staff and others;
    5. Provide guidance on how to report and respond to concerns and allegations of child abuse.

This Policy also supports the rights and wellbeing of HAF staff, volunteers and other key groups and safeguards them from allegations that can arise from careless and unwise behaviour. It encourages active participation of the staff and leaders in building and maintaining a secure environment.

Guiding Principles

HAF is committed to preventing child abuse and to be an agent of healing and justice. We will therefore ensure that children are nurtured and protected from any harm or abuse.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the universal foundation for child protection. The fundamental principle of the Convention is that children have their own indivisible rights. Moreover, article 19 states that ‘State Parties shall protect the child from all forms of physical and mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse’.

The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 is the foundation for child protection in South Africa. The fundamental principle of the Act is that children have their own invisible constitutional rights, namely:

    1. the protection from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation;
    2. that the best interests of a child are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child;
    3. to make provision for structures, services and means for promoting and monitoring the sound physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional and social development of children;
    4. to strengthen and develop community structures which can assist in providing care and protection for children;
    5. to protect children from discrimination, exploitation and any other physical, emotional or moral harm or hazards;
    6. to provide care and protection to children who are in need of care and protection;
    7. to recognize the special needs that children with disabilities may have; and
    8. to promote the protection, development and well-being of children.

    Scope of Policy

    This policy applies to all staff, volunteers and other key stakeholder groups.

          • ‘Staff’ refers to: full time, part time, international and national and also those engaged on short term contracts such as: gap year students, learnerships, consultancies, researchers, photographers etc.
          • ‘Volunteers’ refers to: full or part time volunteers.
          • ‘Others’ or ‘Other Key Groups’ refers to: visitors and any other individuals or groups that have contact with the organisation.
          • ‘Stakeholders’ refers to all Staff, Volunteers, and Others.

    Partnership Agencies of Hillsong Africa Foundation must have a child protection policy and processes that are to the same or higher standards as HAF.

    Child Protection Risk Management

    HAF recognizes that there are a number of potential risks to children in the delivery of our programs to the vulnerable and disadvantaged. In recognizing these risks, HAF proactively assesses and manages these risks to children in our programs to reduce the risk of harm. This is achieved by examining each program and its potential impact on children. Programs that involve direct work with children are considered a higher risk, and therefore require more stringent child protection procedures. However, as children are part of every community in which we work, we are always mindful of potential risks.

    INFORMATION

    Definitions

    Duty of Care: is a common law concept that refers to the responsibility of the organisation to provide children with an adequate level of protection against harm. It is the duty of the organisation to protect children from all reasonably foreseeable risk of injury.

    Child Abuse: any form of harm or ill-treatment deliberately inflicted on a child and includes—

      1. assaulting a child or inflicting any other form of deliberate injury to a child;
      2. sexually abusing a child or allowing a child to be sexually abused;
      3. bullying by another child;
      4. a labour practice that exploits a child; or
      5. exposing or subjecting a child to behaviour that may harm the child psychologically or emotionally

    Child Labour: means work by a child which—

      1. is exploitative, hazardous or otherwise inappropriate for a person of that age; and
      2. places at risk the child’s wellbeing, education, physical or mental health, or spiritual, moral, emotional or social development

    Contact: in relation to a child means—

      1. maintaining a personal relationship with the child; and
      2. if the child lives with someone else—communication on a regular basis with the child in person, including— visiting the child; or being visited by the child; or communication on a regular basis with the child in any other manner, including— through the post; or by telephone or any other form of electronic communication

    Exploitation: in relation to a child includes—

      1. all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, including debt bondage or forced marriage;
      2. sexual exploitation;
      3. servitude;
      4. forced labour or services;
      5. child labour prohibited in terms of section 141; and
      6. the removal of body parts

    Neglect: in relation to a child, means a failure in the exercise of parental responsibilities to provide for the child’s basic physical, intellectual, emotional or social needs

    Sexual Abuse: in relation to a child means—

      1. sexually molesting or assaulting a child or allowing a child to be sexually molested or assaulted;
      2. encouraging, inducing or forcing a child to be used for the sexual gratification of another person;
      3. using a child in or deliberately exposing a child to sexual activities or pornography; or
      4. procuring or allowing a child to be procured for commercial sexual exploitation or in any way participating or assisting in the commercial sexual exploitation of a child
    1. Children: any person under the age of 18

      Child ProtectionChild Protection is the term used to describe the responsibilities and activities undertaken to prevent or stop children being abused or maltreated.

      Trafficking: in relation to a child means—

        1. the recruitment, sale, supply, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children, within or across the borders of the Republic—
        2. by any means, including the use of threat, force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or the giving of receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control of a child; or
        3. due to a position of vulnerability, for the purpose of exploitation; and
        4. includes the adoption of a child facilitated or secured through illegal means

      1. Context

        South Africa is ranked 119th on the Human Development Index and faces many obstacles to its development, stemming from:

        1. its low levels of economic development
        2. high unemployment
        3. internal conflict
        4. epidemics such as HIV/AIDS
        5. natural disasters
        6. illiteracy
        7. lack of infrastructure

         

        HAF’s projects are often located in geographical areas without basic services. These communities are highly impoverished by unemployment, substance abuse, malnutrition, crime and/or inadequate housing. The children who participate and interact with HAF’s projects are from diverse backgrounds and circumstances, and thus a variety of risks are associated with implementing such projects. Such risks include working with young children, potential to work with orphaned and abandoned children, activities involving physical contact and rotations of volunteers. Environmental risks include exposures to alcohol, drug abuse, gangsterism, domestic and criminal violence and abuse.

         

        PREVENTION

        Recruitment, Policy Distribution and Management

        HAF is committed to child safe recruitment, selection and screening practices. These practices aim to recruit the safest and most suitable people to work as staff or volunteers in our programs. Our child safe practices include:

        • Promoting our child safe commitment on our website, in other promotional materials and in all job advertisements. Further job descriptions describe key selection criteria and outline tasks and accountabilities.
        • All applicants for staff positions will be required of the following:
          • Submission of a detailed application form and/or resume including details of previous/current employment, education and experience.
          • An interview, ideally face-to-face.
          • x2 Reference checks from approved referees (all applicants must include last employer, no referees can be family members)
          • Police clearance documentation, not older than 3 months.
          • Signed CPP, indicating they have read and understand the policy in full.
        • All staff and volunteer positions will be assessed for the level of risk in relation to contact with children. Positions working directly with children are considered ‘high risk’ and therefore will require the highest level of screening, including:
          • Asking child safety screening questions in interviews.
          • Specific questions to referees about their suitability to work with/be in contact with children.
          • Extra training about child protection and procedures.
        • All staff positions will be subject to a probationary period, which ranges from 3-6 months.
        • HAF reserves the right to refuse employment or volunteer status to or terminate any person’s employment or volunteer status that may pose a risk to children.
        • All signed CPP policies, with their respectful police clearance documentation and interview forms are kept on file.

         

        GUIDELINE FOR WORKING WITH CHILDREN ONLINE

         

        INTRODUCTION

        As we navigate this digital age and work to stay connected through online platforms, it is important to consider best practices to keep people safe online, especially the vulnerable. This includes children, as well as other vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities.

        We are aware that the online spaces can be filled with some dangers, as well as great advantages. Therefore, we must have clear guidelines in place to protect children and other vulnerable people.

        Definitions

        Online Communication: communicating through the internet. This includes, but is not limited to, social media platforms, messaging applications, email and video calling. Examples: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype, Facetime, etc.

        Digital Communication: Communicating through any digital form of technology. Examples: Phone calls, text messaging, online communication, radio, television.

        Online Bullying: Using online communication to bully someone. Examples: Sending intimidating or threatening messages, posting rumours, sharing contact details without permission, hate speech.

        Online Exploitation: Using online communication to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual or criminal activity. Example: An adult may pretend to be a girl to convince a boy to send sexual photos to them. The adult may then use these photos to blackmail the child into sending more pornographic material.

        Online Grooming: Using online communication to build trust and prepare a child for sexual exploitation.

        Note: Throughout these guidelines we will refer to online communication, however these guidelines also apply more broadly to all forms of digital communication, including phone calls.

      2. Our Commitment

        We are committed to: 

        • working together with our partners, staff, and volunteers to ensure that all our online communication with children is safe and appropriate; and
        • helping educate children and families around the dangers of being online and to help them develop the skills to protect themselves online.

         

        Purpose

        These guidelines aim to:

        1.   Demonstrate Hillsong Africa Foundation’s commitment to ensuring safe online communication with children;
        2.   Outline the expectations and responsibilities of any Hillsong Africa Foundation stakeholders; and
        3.   Provide guidance to stakeholders on how to meet good practice standards.

         

        Standards & Guidance

        Hillsong Africa Foundation has an obligation to act within the laws of the countries wherein we operate, as well as to hold duty-bearers within those countries accountable for communicating safely and appropriately with children online.  

         

        Scope

        Stakeholders are not permitted to interact with children online without permission from management. This includes HAF Board Members, contractors, consultants, staff or volunteers who have not been granted permission to communicate with children online. Stakeholders permitted to interact with children online are required to read, sign and adhere to the following guidelines before any interaction with children online. We strongly recommend that interaction with children online be kept at a minimum.

        Focal Person

        Hillsong Africa Foundation’s Operations Director is the designated focal person with the responsibility of helping the organisation to adhere to these standards.

         

        PREVENTATIVE ACTIONS

        This section outlines the proactive measures and strategies needed to ensure HAF’s staff, operations and programs not only protect children and avoid harm online, but also promote the wellbeing and best interests of children.

        COMMUNICATING WITH CHILDREN ONLINE

        HAF is committed to helping stakeholders ensure that appropriate preventative measures are in place to:

        • ensure online communication within programs is child safe and appropriate;
        • prevent child abusers, sex offenders or scammers from seeking to harm the children within our programs using online platforms;  
        • educate children in our programs around cyberbullying, image-based abuse and the distribution of harmful content;
        • specifically consider the needs of children more susceptible to online harms, including those with disability.

        HAF is committed to helping stakeholders meet these expectations through:

        • providing training and capacity building opportunities;
        • information sharing; and
        • ongoing coaching and support.

         

        HAF Policies & Strategies

        The following commitments directly relate to all those who are working directly with children online. HAF stakeholders have a duty of care when working online to take reasonable steps to protect children from any harm that should have reasonably been foreseen.

         

        In order to prevent harm, HAF is committed to:

        • ensuring that all staff read, sign and adhere to the standards outlined in these guidelines;
        • including online risks in ongoing child protection risk management processes;
        • training staff about appropriately communicating with children online;

         

        Permission / Consent

        Before communicating with a child online, approved stakeholders must:

        • receive formal permission from the HAF Operations or Program Director. The manager must be given a written plan about what communication the staff member will be having with children online; and
        • receive written consent from parents/guardians at all times and HAF staff must regularly keep parents/guardians informed about any online communication with their child.

         

        Approved Platforms

        • Zoom (session must be recorded; hosted by a HAF Zoom account only), Email (from official HAF email account only)

         

        Behavioural Guidelines

        When communicating online with children, all stakeholders must:

        • never use online or digital platforms to harass, abuse or exploit any child, including accessing child pornography;
        • maintain a safe and professional environment to the best of their ability;
        • receive permission from manager before communicating with child online and gain necessary permissions from guardians;
        • avoid personal conversation about themselves that go deeper than initial rapport building or ice 

        breakers;

        • not talk or message with children outside of program activities unless in rare emergency situations. In these emergency situations managers should be informed immediately;
        • never provide personal images to a child;
        • only store images of, or information about, students on approved platforms (HAF Gmail account Google Drive only) and not directly on their personal devices;
        • never interact with children on their social media feeds;
        • consider privacy/confidentiality when communicating online (e.g. making sure that no one is overhearing confidential conversations);
        • write detailed case notes each time they communicate with a child, which will be overseen by supervisors;
        • agree to allow supervisors to do spot check on staff’s interaction with children online to ensure boundaries are being kept; and
        • end all future communication and delete child details when they no longer need to communicate with the child as part of their role.

         

        When working in a group call setting, stakeholders must:

        • have two unrelated team members to host and moderate the group;
        • ensure that links to any online meetings be not posted anywhere publicly, but sent only to those invited to the group;
        • educate the children at the beginning of a session around online etiquette and expectations; including how to treat each other during the call and what information is appropriate to share.
        • disable any private chat functions;
        • ensure that all children have left the group call before they leave so that children cannot stay on the call and communicate unsupervised with each other.
        • All video or audio sessions should be recorded for transparency and accountability so that there is evidence if there is any accusation of harm.  However, staff must exercise extreme caution if they do record any communication with children, including gaining parent/guardian permission and ensuring the content is secure.
        • Hillsong Africa Foundation staff and volunteers will not engage groups of children in group messaging as children can continue to message each other unsupervised. The only exceptions would be for participants registered in our pipeline Focus Track Program, in these situations these further risk management procedures are in place: using supervised/regulated group messaging instances, and only if extremely necessary accompanied by parent/guardian consent.

         

        SUPPORTING CHILDREN ONLINE

        It is important to educate children to prevent child abusers, sex offenders or scammers from seeking to harm children online. We can also educate children in our programs around cyberbullying, image-based abuse and the distribution of harmful content. The following guidelines directly relate to how we can best educate children and parents/guardians.

        Online Grooming

        Encourage parents/guardian (or other duty bearers) to:

        • make children’s accounts private and to delete contacts they don’t talk to or don’t trust;
        • stay involved in the child’s digital world;
        • establish safety rules for meeting online ‘friends’;
        • contact local authorities or organisations/helplines legally mandated to receive reports if the child has exposed themselves to any risk.

         

        Encourage children to:

        • report and block/delete requests from strangers;
        • tell their parent/guardian if an adult is messaging them;
        • be alert to signs of inappropriate contact;
        • seek help and support from a trusted adult immediately if a problem arises which could be their parent/guardian, teacher, social worker or a support hotline.

         

        Online Pornography

        Encourage parents/guardian (or other duty bearers) to:

        • stay engaged and talk regularly with their children about what they are doing online;
        • use parental controls on devices and ensure the ‘safe search’ mode is enabled on browsers;
        • have an age-appropriate discussion about the issue with their children;
        • respond calmly if their child has found pornography; listen, assess and be sensitive to the child’s feelings
        • contact local authorities if the child has exposed themselves to any risk; and
        • connect children to counselling and support services if needed.

         

        Encourage children to:

        • Talk to a trusted adult immediately if a problem arises which could be their parent/guardian, teacher, social worker or a support hotline.

         

        Media, Misinformation and Scams

        Encourage parents/guardian (or other duty bearers) to:

        • use safety, security and privacy settings on devices, games and apps at an age-appropriate level;
        • teach children around how to spot and avoid online scams; and
        • ensure that children know where they can turn to for help.

         

        Cyberbullying

        Signs of cyberbullying in a child include:

        • emotional and upset during or after using the internet/phone
        • very secretive or protective of one’s digital life
        • withdrawn from family members, friends, and activities
        • avoiding school or group gatherings
        • not doing well in class and is “acting out” in anger at home
        • shows changes in mood, behaviour, sleep, or appetite
        • wanting to stop using the internet
        • being nervous or jumpy when getting an instant message, text, or email
        • avoiding discussions about online activities

         

        Encourage parents/guardian (or other duty bearers) to:

        • talk to their child about cyberbullying before it happens;
        • listen, think and stay calm if their child is facing cyberbullying;
        • talk to the child gently and help them to understand the situation and what is best to do; and
        • ensure that their child knows where they can turn to for help.

         

        Sending Sexual Photos and Content

        Encourage parents/guardian (or other duty bearers) to:

        • talk to the child about how to stay connected with friends and loved ones in safe and age-appropriate ways;
        • talk about the risks including what can go wrong and the legal issues;
        • promote self-confidence and that it is OK to say ‘no’;
        • teach children about consent and respectful relationships

         

        If a child’s intimate image is shared online:

        • stay calm and open; reassure them that you will work through this together
        • listen, and act fast; work quickly to remove the content online by reporting the image to the site or service it was posted on. There may be a hotline or service in your country to support you to remove images.
        • get help and support (see Reporting Mechanisms section below).

         

        Communications Policy 

         

        HAF will at all times portray children in a respectful, appropriate and consensual way.

         

        • Right to privacy, dignity and respect: A child has the right to have all private and personal information kept confidential, including full names, school names, exact locations, or medical conditions. Images and related media may not disclose the child’s HIV status. This is a criminal offence in South Africa.
          • A child should always be portrayed in a dignified and respectful manner and not in a vulnerable or submissive manner. Children should be adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive.
          • Children should be portrayed as part of their community.
          • Local cultural traditions should be assessed regarding restrictions for reproducing personal images.
          • Images should be an honest representation of the context and the facts.
          • When sending images electronically, file labels should not reveal identifying information.
          • All photographers will be screened for their suitability, including police checks where appropriate.
        • Right to safety: Children have the right to be safe and adults have the responsibility to ensure this safety. Any publication or dissemination of information that might put them at risk is not permitted. Any information that makes them appear or feel different from their peers may make them vulnerable and thus is not permitted.
        • Right to ownership of intellectual property: Children own the materials such as drawings and writings they have made and can decide how they should be used – under adult guidance and with permission from parents or guardians.

        • Consent:
          • When taking photos or recording stories of a child, consent must be gained from a parent or guardian.
          • Written consent must be acquired when:
            • When a child’s story is being told or they are the main focal point of a photo.
            • When photographing children in the context of politically or culturally sensitive issues.
            • Taking images or video of individuals in private or clinical settings.
          • If it is not possible to gain consent then the photo or story will not be used. There should be no identifying information (Full names, school names, exact locations, or medical conditions) of the child used in the publication of images.

         

        REPORTING MECHANISMS

        HAF considers the abuse and exploitation of children to be completely unacceptable. We will take all concerns and reports of child abuse seriously and act on these reports immediately. It is mandatory for all staff, volunteers and others to report concerns or allegations of child abuse. These concerns may relate to a child, volunteer or staff member involved in the organisation or a concern about a child or person/s outside of the organisation’s programs. If you do have a concern, you should immediately follow child abuse reporting procedures.

         

        Who should report?

         

        All staff, volunteers and others including people in the community and partner organisations.

         

        What should be reported?

         

        • Any disclosure or allegation from anyone regarding the safety or wellbeing of a child.
        • Any belief of suspicion that a child is being abused, exploited, groomed, or exposed to image-based abuse, cyberbullying or illegal and harmful content.
        • Any observation or concerning behaviour exhibited by the HAF staff, volunteer or other relevant stakeholder that breaches the code of conduct for working with children.
        • Inappropriate use of the organisation’s photographic equipment or computers including evidence of child pornography.
        • Staff engaging in suspicious behaviour that could be associated with sexual exploitation or trafficking.
        • If anyone in your organisation, or one of your partner organisations, are accused of, charged with, arrested for, or convicted of criminal offences relating to child abuse or exploitation. This includes if they are accused of acting inappropriately with a child online.
        • Non-compliance with these guidelines and/or HAF’s Child Protection Policy, by someone covered under the scope of these policies.
        • Activities or practices, including online, in HAF activities that do not protect the best interests of the child (fail to implement reasonable child safeguards) or do not meet applicable local laws or standards.
        • When there are serious concerns about the wellbeing of a child which may warrant intervention or support from child protection or social service providers. This includes if a child discloses harm during online communication.
        • When a child sends an inappropriate message or makes inappropriate comments during your online communication; This includes sending or saying things that may have a sexual connotation.
        • Evidence that cyberbullying has occurred during a group call or as a result of a group call.
        Remember:

         

        • When a child discloses or implies abuse, let them talk but don’t ask questions. Your questioning the child could cause confusion and contaminate evidence and allow the abuser to be set free.
        • Be supportive to the child while leaving the investigation process to those with authority. Reassure the child that they have done the right thing. Your encouragement and support could be particularly important to the child and provide a stable relationship in a time of intense turmoil and conflict.
        • Explain to the child that you cannot give your word that you will keep the information confidential as you are obliged to inform persons in authority.
        • As soon as practical (not in front of the child), record details of your conversation and contact the HAF Operations Director and/or HAF Managing Director.
        • It is not your role to judge or assess if a child has been abused, but rather to report forward. We have neither authority nor justification to act independently in dealing with abuse. This responsibility belongs to Child Protection Services and the Police. We must at all times cooperate with the authorities that society has appointed to investigate abuse and manage its impacts.
        • Child abuse is often underreported in South Africa dues to lack of capacity and ability of young children to report abuse to authorities, fear of being harmed, and social acceptance of practices like corporal punishment and sexual harassment.

         

        How and who to report to?

         

        Website: https://goo.gl/forms/IR80eirqr0FGGwyX2

        • If you do make a report please inform the HAF Operations Director, who will then launch a response in alignment to our procedure stated below in ‘What happens when I report?’

        Email: stephanie.arendse@hillsongafrica.com 

        Phone: +27 021 801 0001

        Address: 1 Kinetic Way, Century City, Cape Town, 7446

        • If the allegation is against the HAF Operations Director then please inform the HAF Managing Director

        Email: steffan.vdmale@hillsongafrica.com

        Phone: +27 021 801 0001

        Address: 1 Kinetic Way, Century City, Cape Town, 7446

        • If you are not satisfied with HAF’s response, you may submit an external report to the South African Department of Social Development:

        Website: http://www.dsd.gov.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=89

         

        What happens when I report?

        Upon submission of a Confidential Incident Report, the Hillsong Africa Foundation will launch an internal investigation and will determine what action should be taken based on the severity of the allegation and in consultation with relevant parties.

        HAF will take the following steps when a belief or suspicion of child abuse or exploitation is reported:

        • An internal investigation is launched:

        The HAF Operations Director will act immediately by launching an investigation and developing an investigation plan. All reports will be appropriately investigated no matter who the alleged perpetrator is. The OD will lead the investigation with other members of senior management and if deemed appropriate a HAF board member. The OD will ensure relevant laws and legislative procedures are followed (external legal advice will be sought when required). The investigation will be considered top priority until closed.

        • When applicable, the incident is reported to the police, government agencies or other relevant organisation

        • The concern will be immediately reported according to the relevant provincial reporting requirements.
        • HAF must report all child protection allegations of a criminal nature directly to the police. The police will advise whether the internal investigation needs to be suspended whilst the police investigation is underway. In such cases, HAF will ensure risk management strategies are put into place to protect children (e.g. an individual subject to the allegation may be stood down until an investigation is complete).
        • If the child is outside of South Africa, the OD will provide guidance to the in-country Partner or Field Workers in regard to sourcing support through local police and social services.
        • Incident and investigation is documented:

        All steps taken are to be extensively documented and any documentation is to be kept in a secure place (e.g. password protected file). Once the investigation is completed, a report will be made available to the HAF Board.

        • Allegation is kept confidential:

        All child protection incidents and alleged incidents are to be handled with extreme sensitivity and all precautions are taken to ensure confidentiality, with only those directly involved having the appropriate information. HAF understands that in some cases incidents and allegations may need to be reported even if the child or party concerned is reluctant to give their consent. At all times HAF will uphold the best interest of the child.

        • Support is provided to those involved:

        The reporter, victim and person subject to an allegation will be treated with respect from the start of the process until the case is closed. External counselling will be provided if necessary. If the child requires extra support or protection, the OD will coordinate with local social services organizations. If the child is outside of South Africa, the OD will provide guidance to the in-country Partner or Field Workers in regard to sourcing support through local social services.

        • Person subjected to an allegation may be stood down or partnership suspended:

        In some instances a staff member, volunteer or other subject to an allegation, may be stood down during the course of the investigation if it is deemed to be in the best interests of children. This process does not indicate guilt or innocence. If the individual is an employee or Field Worker they will continue to receive full pay and other entitlements.

        In the case of a Strategic Partner, if the allegation is organizational, if it is considered in the best interests of children, or if the organization is non-cooperative, then HAF may suspend the partnership until the investigation has concluded and an acceptable resolution has been achieved.

         

        What happens if the incident is proven or suspicion credible?

        In the event that an incident has been proven or there is credible suspicion, HAF will automatically terminate a staff member, volunteer or any other representative’s association with the organisation. A Partner Organisation, which according to HAF, does not respond adequately to a proven incident or credible suspicion (e.g. this may include terminating staff or appropriately addressing risks) will have its partnership terminated.

         

        Responding to cyber abuse directed at staff

        We are also aware that our staff may also experience cyber abuse during online communication. Less respect may be shown during online communication due to online frustrations and potential misunderstandings. People may also feel more confident to be abusive online then they would otherwise be face to face.

        Managers should:

        • respond promptly and seriously to all allegations of cyber abuse directed at staff;
        • support staff who have faced abuse; This could include providing supervision, counselling and/or strategies for future online communication; if necessary, re-arrange workloads so that staff member does not need to communicate with the child who has been abusive.
        • encourage all staff to maintain their privacy online; This could include having separate accounts so that abuse does not occur on private accounts and so staff can switch off work account outside of work hours.

         

        Involving Children

        HAF is committed to child and youth participation. We will implement this commitment by providing opportunities for children’s views to be heard and incorporate their views into our policies and programs.

         

        Education

        HAF is committed to educating staff and others about child protection. Annual trainings include but are not limited to: Child Protection (including recognizing and responding to child abuse), and Environmental and venue safety training.

         

        Revision of document

        This document will be reviewed every two years. The Operations Director will manage the review and staff will be consulted in this process.

         

        DECLARATION

        I, declare that:

        • I will abide by the principles and follow the procedures and processes as outlined in this document;
        • I have not been convicted of any criminal offences in relation to the physical or sexual abuse of children.

        I agree that the Managing Director and/or Board might make enquiries to confirm police records and they may contact referees (for staffing) to establish suitability for leadership in regards to contact with children. Should I be successful in my application, I pledge to refrain from any conduct detrimental to children in the performance of my services on behalf of the Hillsong Africa Foundation.