Child Protection Policy
Our Commitment to Child Safety:
Playground Ideas is committed to the protection of all children from abuse and exploitation. We want children to be safe, happy and empowered. We support and respect all children, as well as our staff and volunteers. We are committed to the safety, participation and empowerment of all children and believe that all children have the right to protection from abuse and exploitation, regardless of their gender, race, religious or political beliefs, age, physical or mental health, sexual orientation, family and social background and culture, economic status or criminal background.
We have zero tolerance of child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously and consistently with our robust policies and procedures.
We have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously.
We are committed to the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and to providing a safe and inclusive environment for children with a disability.
Our organisation is committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risks early and removing or reducing these risks.
Purpose of the Policy:
The purpose of this policy is to protect children from all forms of abuse and exploitation, in all of Playground Ideas’ activities and projects.
The policy sets out general principles, guidelines and obligations to assist all Playground Ideas stakeholders to understand and implement their role and responsibilities in protecting children.
Scope of the policy:
The Policy applies to:
- Personnel (paid personnel, volunteers, consultants, contractors) and;
- Associates (Global Play Alliance members, donors, board members, partners, visitors)
Zero tolerance of child exploitation and abuse
Playground Ideas has a zero-tolerance approach to child exploitation and abuse. Child exploitation and abuse will attract criminal, civil and disciplinary sanctions.
Risk management approach
Playground Ideas will proactively work to provide safe and protective programs, activities and environments for the children we and our partners engage with as part of our work. We will do this by identifying, mitigating, managing and reducing any risk to children that may be associated with or impacted by the organisational functions, activities and programs of Playground Ideas.
Sharing responsibility for child protection
Child Protection is a shared responsibility. Playground Ideas expects that all personnel and associates will play a role in keeping children safe in Playground Ideas programs and activities.
Recognition of the best interests of the child
All decisions relating to the protection of children will be made based on the principles of the best interest of the child.
Playground Ideas commits to ensuring that its programs, community consultations and projects with partner organisations, ensures wherever possible that children are included and consulted with, and not discriminated against regardless of gender, race, religious or political beliefs, age, physical or mental health, sexual orientation, family and social background and culture, economic status or criminal background.
Playground Ideas will follow and apply procedural fairness to all concerned when responding to reports or allegations of child abuse.
A child – any person under the age of 18 years
Child Protection – is the term used to describe the responsibilities and activities undertaken to prevent or stop children being abused or maltreated.
Child Abuse – abuse happens to male and female children of all ages, ethnicity and social backgrounds, abilities, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and political persuasion. Child abuse includes physical, sexual, emotional, neglect, bullying, child labour and family violence. Abuse can be inflicted on a child by both men and women, as well as by young people themselves and in some cases; professionals and other adults working with children in a position of trust also abuse children.
Physical abuse – occurs when a person purposefully injures or threatens to injure a child or young person. This may take the form of slapping, punching, shaking, kicking, burning, shoving or grabbing. The injury may take the form of bruises, cuts, burns or fractures.
Emotional abuse – occurs when a child is repeatedly rejected or frightened by threats. This may involve name-calling, being put down or continual coldness from parent or caregiver; to the extent that it affects the child’s physical and emotional growth.
Neglect– is the persistent failure or the deliberate denial to provide the child with clean water, food, shelter, sanitation or supervision or care to the extent that the child’s health and development are placed at risk.
Sexual abuse – Occurs when a child or young person is used by an older or bigger child, adolescent or adult for his or her own sexual stimulation or gratification – regardless of the age of majority or age of consent locally. These can be contact or non-contact acts and includes exposing a child to or involving a child in pornography.
Exploitation – Commercial or other exploitation of a child refers to the use of the child in work or other activities for the benefit of others that are to the detriment of the child’s physical and mental health, education, or moral and social-emotional development. It includes, but is not limited to one or more of the following:
- committing or coercing another person to commit an act or acts of abuse against a child
- possessing, controlling, producing, distributing, obtaining or transmitting child exploitation material
- committing or coercing another person to commit an act or acts of grooming or online grooming
- using a minor for profit, labour, sexual gratification, or some other personal or financial advantage
Child Protection Code of Conduct
Playground Ideas has developed a Child Protection Code of Conduct to provide clear guidance to staff, consultants, contractors, volunteers and partners about ways to minimise risk to children and make clear the standards of behaviour and practice required of them at all times when they are in contact with children. These behaviours are not intended to interfere with normal family interactions.
All Playground Ideas personnel and associates are required to read and sign the Child Protection Code of Conduct.
Signed copies of the Code of Conduct will be kept by Playground Ideas in a personnel file and a copy will be provided to the personnel or associate.
Child Safe Recruitment & Selection:
Our organisation has robust human resources and recruitment practices for all personnel. We use child safe recruitment, selection and screening practices that aim to recruit the safest and most suitable people to work in our programs.
Our child safe practices include:
- Assessing all positions for the level for risk in relation to contact with children;
- Conducting at least two verbal referee checks that involve discussing child protection with referees;
- Undertaking criminal history checks for each country the individual has lived for 12 months or longer over the past 5 years, and for the individual’s country of citizenship. Playground Ideas will review these checks when personnel have a change in circumstances;
- Requiring statutory declarations where criminal history checks are not available;
- Requiring applicants to disclose whether they have been charged with child abuse/exploitation offences;
- Requiring applicants to read and sign onto the Playground Ideas Child Protection Code of Conduct;
- Including questions on child protection during interviews for positions working with children;
Playground Ideas will not permit any person to work or have contact with children if they pose an unacceptable risk to children’s safety or wellbeing.
Playground Ideas employment contracts include a provision for suspension or transfer to other duties of any employee who is under investigation and provisions to dismiss an employee after an investigation
Reporting & Responding to Child Protection Concerns:
It is mandatory for all Playground Ideas personnel and associates to report any witnessed, suspected or alleged incidents of child abuse or any breach of the Child Protection Policy or Child Protection Code of Conduct.
What will happen next?
The Operations and Community Engagement Manager in consultation with the CEO will discuss the allegations and then decide upon the next step. This will involve one or more of the following steps:
- Interviewing the person/persons who made the allegations and/or other witnesses to gather more information with which to make a decision about the allegation;
- Reporting to local police and or child protection authority when it is suspected or becomes clear that a crime has been committed;
- Reporting to local child protection services as necessary;
- Referring the child to local support services if necessary;
- Handling the concern internally if it is not a criminal matter;
- Providing support to all stakeholders (including reporter) as necessary;
- No further action taken.
All reports will be handled professionally, confidentially and expediently.
Playground Ideas will treat all concerns raised seriously and ensure that all parties will be treated fairly and the principles of natural justice will be a prime consideration.
Each report will be investigated on a case by case basis. Responses will reflect the nature of the allegation. Not all responses will involve reporting to authorities or termination.
The rights and welfare of the child is of prime importance. Every effort will be made to protect the rights and safety of the child throughout the investigation.
All reports made in good faith will be viewed as being made in the best interests of the child regardless of the outcomes of any investigation. Playground Ideas will ensure that the interests of anyone reporting child abuse in good faith are protected.
Reports involving any suspected or alleged instances of child abuse, exploitation, harm or child protection policy non-compliance by anyone working on a DFAT funded project will be documented in a DFAT Child Incident Notification Form and reported by Playground Ideas to DFAT’s Conduct and Ethics Unit.
Confidentiality is a key principle of reporting and managing child protection concerns. All information regarding a child protection concern must only be shared with the designated individuals listed above. The names of people involved and the details of the report will remain confidential. Information will only be released on a “need to know” basis or when required by law or when a report to police or child protection support services is made.
A breach of or failure to comply with the Policy or the Child Protection Code of Conduct will result in:
Implementation of disciplinary procedures which may result in disciplinary action up to and including:
- In the case of a paid employee – dismissal of the employee;
- In the case of a volunteer – termination of the services of the volunteer;
- In the case of a Managing Board Member or a Board Committee Member – removal from office;
- In the case of a contractor who is a sole trader – termination of contract;
- In the case of personnel employed by a contractor or a subcontractor – a direction to the contractor requiring termination of the services of the person concerned and/or termination of the contract of the contractor or subcontractor;
- In the case of a visitor – a direction to leave the relevant activity;
- In the case of a partner – up to and including termination of all relations including contractual and partnership agreements with Playground Ideas
Someone under investigation may be transferred to other duties, be suspended, or following an investigation have their employment terminated. In addition, depending on the nature of the allegation, cases may result in legal action; and/or criminal investigation and prosecution.
Disciplinary action will be taken against any person found to:
- Have failed to report a child protection concern
- Have intentionally made a false allegation
Playground Ideas acknowledges that there are a number of potential risks to children in the delivery of our programs. Accordingly, we proactively assess and manage risks to children in order to reduce the risk of harm. This is achieved by examining each activity and program and its potential impact on children. Activities and programs that involve direct work with children are considered a higher risk, and therefore require more stringent child protection procedures.
Playground Ideas conducts a child protection risk assessment on every activity and project involving and affecting children prior to commencement. Mitigation strategies are put in place for any risk identified and these (and any emerging risks) are actively monitored throughout the activity/program cycle.
At times, our programs may include the participation of vulnerable groups of children and youth, including but not limited to, children and youth from disaster affected communities and children and youth living in refugee camps. We commit to designing, implementing and monitoring programs that are informed by a thorough risk assessment of the heightened risks posed to children and youth in these contexts.
Personnel and associates (as relevant) are trained in child protection and risk assessment. They are expected to be continually aware of potential risks to children and youth as well as to be actively minimising opportunities and situations where children and youth can be harmed.
Working with Partners
Playground Ideas determines whether partners are a child safe organisation by including child protection in our partner appraisal process. We commit to strengthening our partner’s ability to protect children and youth in our programs by investing in targeted capacity building, training and awareness raising on child protection.
If a partner does not have their own Child Protection Policy, Code of Conduct or procedures in place that meet the standards set out in the Playground Ideas Child Protection Policy they will be required to sign and abide by the Playground Ideas Child Protection Policy, Code of Conduct and any relevant procedures.
Playground Ideas works with partners to undertake a child protection risk assessment for all programs and activities involving or affecting children and this is monitored throughout the life of the project cycle.
Playground Ideas includes clauses on child protection standards and agreed child protection measures in all partnership agreements and contracts.
Playground Ideas actively monitors the implementation of agreed child protection measures and external compliance obligations with our partners on an ongoing basis via project reports, project visits or annual audits.
Our organisation is committed to regularly training and educating our personnel and associates (as relevant) on child abuse risks. All Playground Ideas personnel will be inducted to this Policy and the Child Protection Code of Conduct. All personnel who have contact with children will undergo an additional child protection briefing and regular refresher training.
All media or others visiting Playground Ideas facilitated programs in the field will be expected to undergo a child protection briefing prior to their visit.
Playground Ideas maintains a register of all persons who have been trained.
Marketing & Communications
Playground Ideas makes every effort to ensure the way we represent children in our marketing materials and media is done in a way that keeps them safe and upholds their rights and personal dignity
Using children’s images and personal information can help us to share their stories. However, we understand that this needs to be done with care so as not to place children at risk of harm. Accordingly, we have developed a set of guidelines to help to ensure that our research, marketing and communications activities do not place children at risk. See Annex C.
This Child Protection Policy will be reviewed every 3 years unless required earlier. The review will be undertaken by the Operations Manager.
 In general, to pass this type of check a criminal history check of the person must not reveal any relevant offences (e.g. serious sexual, violent or drug offences) or adverse professional conduct reports.
This LIABILITY DISCLAIMER and CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE WORDING is offered for support, guidance and advice only and should not be relied upon in place of professional or expert advice. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability with respect to the LIABILITY DISCLAIMER and CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE WORDING. Further, Playground Ideas make no representation that this LIABILITY DISCLAIMER and CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE WORDING adhere to any safety standards in your country and therefore each project/playground built should be assessed on an individual basis in order to ensure compliance with national safety standards in the applicable country.
To the maximum extent permitted by law, in no event will Playground Ideas be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage, loss of profits or loss of opportunity arising out of or in any way connected with the any person acting or refraining from acting in reliance of the LIABILITY DISCLAIMER and CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE WORDING or for failure to comply with the national safety standards in the applicable country, whether based in contract, tort (including negligence), strict liability or otherwise.
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