Child protection policy
FMVSO CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Child protection is an issue for every country worldwide. Millions of children around the world are subjected to exploitation, violence and abuse in their own homes, communities and institutions. Many countries through their governing systems have and continue to make considerable advancement in their commitment, development and implementation of Child Protection. Signing and ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) by any country shows commitment in promoting and implementing the rights of children as outlined in UNCRCʼs 54 provisions of the Convention and its Optional Protocols.
As stated by Unite for Children, The UK Committee for UNICEF
“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, and is the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty in history. The Convention enshrines specific child rights in international law, defining universal principles and standards for the status and treatment of children worldwide“.
Since 1990, more than 70 countries have taken on board as part of law reform children’s rights in the form of codes which have been or in the process of being written into national legislation.
The UK signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the 19th April 1990, ratified it on the 16th December 1991, and then brought it into force in the UK on the 15th of January 1992. As party to the UNCRC the UK, as well as all other committed states, is required to submit a comprehensive report every five years on its implementations of Child Protection and The Rights of the Child to a UN Committee. This Committee, a UN treaty monitoring body, assess how well each state is implementing, progressing and working with the Convention. The Committee also reports on progress and makes recommendations.
FMVSO a UK Registered Charity works with and for children. FMVSO are wholly committed to help prevent child abuse and to protect children.
FMVSO are committed to promoting Child Protection as part of a wider national and global initiative and wish to help further develop a more protective environment in which all children can realise their rights and therefore thrive.
This policy sets out FMVSOʼs role in developing and implementing Child Protection and the Rights of the Child within itʼs own charitable organization. All trustee board members are required to have a sound understanding of this policy.
Child Protection our priority
FMVSO is committed to protecting children under the following headings:
• FMVSOʼs child protection policy is in line with both UK and worldwide child protection policy. All Trustee members, sponsors and visitors to our website will have access to a copy of FMVSOʼs child protection policy.
• FMVSO Trustee members are responsible for considering and developing child protection in all Trustee Board decisions.
• FMVSO Trustee members are responsible for liaising directly during field visits with the founder of Manjushree Vidyapith School and Orphanage, Lama Thupten Phuntsok, the school principle and staff members in developing appropriate channels to explore, discuss, develop, and eventually help initiate child protection at the Orphanage and School in Tawang, North East India.
• FMVSO Trustee members and sponsors will bring all concerns or incidences to the attention of FMVSOʼs child protection officer and or board (see details below) upon which further appropriate action will be taken.
• FMVSO will liaise with all other bodies (charitable, educational, medical, political etc.) with child protection playing a strong focus in our work.
• FMVSO retains the right to refuse requests to support/sponsor children at our own discretion.
• FMVSO firmly believes that the lives of all children must be improved upon through the promotion of The Rights of The Child as chartered by the UN Convention. FMVSO key areas lie within the rights to freedom from abuse and exploitation, the rights to life, survival and development, preservation of identity, rights to education, rights of minorities or indigenous populations and the rights of the disabled child. FMVSO takes all 54 Articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child into consideration within its own establishment.
Website and Internet
Article16 Protection of privacy. Children have the right to protection from interference with their privacy, family, home and correspondence, and to protection from libel or slander.
Identification of children
The internet is an un-controlled and un-regulated media. We wish that all users of our website recognise this very fact. We ask that all users, including sponsors, to respect the privacy of the children and carers presented on FMVSOʼs website.
By the very nature of our work, children and their carers have provided and permitted FMVSO to collect information, including photographs, video clips and e-mail correspondence, about their daily private lives. This information is then appropriately shared with sponsors and the public in turn. Sensitive information is not published without the permission of the child/ children or carer in question.
FMVSO will not place any photograph or video clip on our website without it being vetted and deemed appropriate for publishing by any two trustee members or more at any one time.
All names of the children are withheld from photographs and in the case of using a name it is FMVSOʼs policy to only name children by their first name or by a given pseudonym.
FMVSO take potential abuse of child photographs and videos on the web very seriously. Copying or downloading any photographs, videos or any information with regards to children featured on our website is strictly forbidden without prior advanced written permission from FMVSO.
Inappropriate contact or communication from sponsors or others with M.V. children by internet will be dealt with by FMVSO and reported to the relevant authorities.
FMVSO strongly discourages any invitation by sponsors for children to visit the sponsors’ country without having first discussed it with FMVSO or M.V.
FMVSO is committed to portraying the life situation of the children and carers with which we work alongside with dignity and accuracy. If you see a photograph, video or any written material which might depict a child/ children without regard, dignity or respect for privacy please contact our Child Protection officer (see below for contact details).
FMVSO conducts a site visit to Tawang every 6-12 months in order to carry out necessary work and to improve on relations. Trustee members and associates very much look forward to working and living with our M.V. family whereby progress can be monitored and accountability acquired for our sponsors and supporters.
In general, it is not FMVSOʼs policy to encourage or to arrange for a sponsor or any member of the public to visit the site. This is partly due to the very remoteness and the on-going political situation in Indiaʼs most north eastern border region. A special entry permit has to be obtained from the Indian Government in order to enter this Himalayan state. Acquiring such a visa is both time consuming and costly. Travelling from Delhi to Tawang is a long and arduous journey. However, in the event of a sponsor wishing to arrange to travel independently to M.V. FMVSO strongly recommends to obtain prior written permission from Lama Thupten Phuntsok, Director of M.V. Independent travellers are welcome to follow FMVSOʼs guidelines during site visits.
FMVSO Guidelines for site visit
• All proposed visits to M.V. must be arranged in advance with prior permission from M.V.ʼs Director Lama Thupten Phuntsok. 3 months’ notice should be allowed so that all necessary paperwork can be carried out in good time. Suitability as to whether the timing is right for visiting/working at M.V. in relation to its school timetable will also need to be assessed before travelling.
• Anybody connected with FMVSO travelling on a site visit is obliged to read, sign and abide by our Child Protection Policy. Note, if you wish to volunteer at MV, it is necessary that in advance of arriving that you provide proof of current police check for working with vulnerable sectors from your country of residence.
• On arrival at M.V. if staying on site, visitors will be shown to designated living and sleeping accommodation separate from the children and staff.
Whilst staying and working at M.V. all FMVSO visiting parties working or interacting with children MUST NEVER:
• use inappropriate language, make provocative suggestions or offer advice which is inappropriate or abusive
• physically assault or hit children
• develop a sexual or physical relationship with children
• sleep in the same bed or room as a child they are working with
• develop a relationship with a child that could be seen as exploitive or abusive in any way
• show discrimination or favouritism towards one or a small group of children excluding all others
• emotionally abuse, belittle or degrade any child
• spend inappropriate time alone with children away from other staff member
Whilst staying and working at M.V. all FMVSO visiting parties working or interacting with children SHOULD STRIVE TO:
• have a child friendly, well planned and organised work ethic so as to minimise any form of risk to children
• foster and encourage a culture of open communication with children so that children feel safe in discussing or reporting any difficulties they might be experiencing
• empower children to question and develop ways of understanding their rights to be respected and treated fairly as individuals. This can be done through interactive discussion during work, play and learning
• encourage children to treat each other with respect, loving kindness and dignity
• encourage other staff members to improve and obtain the highest care standards and practice in Child Protection by demonstrating best practice at all times
• report any mistreatment of children or abuse of any kind through the appropriate available channels
• strive to protect the privacy, security and dignity of all children during follow up report writing of each field visit
FMVSO Child Protection Developmental Work
FMVSO are dedicated to develop and pursue best practice in Child Protection in its own organization. It is also very dedicated to help further develop best practice in Child Protection in its ongoing field work at M.V.
FMVSO have actively engaged with M.V. (October 2010) by writing a tailor made suggestions strategy plan which would enable M.V. to explore, study and test methods of Child Protection practices best suited to their own unique environment. It is FMVSOs sincere hope that we will be of sound support and added help in the near future to M.V. in developing and eventually implementing this extremely important body of work.
FMVSO realises that Child Protection and ‘The Rights of the Child’ is a very new developmental field for not just M.V. alone but also for the whole of India. It is not FMVSOs role to implement our current Child Protection Policy at M.V. but rather to liaise, discuss, encourage and help M.V. research and develop Manjushree’s own unique model of best practice.
FMVSO CHILD PROTECTION OFFICER CONTACT DETAILS
Ms Gráinne Ní Fhoighil
CODE OF DISCIPLINARY CONDUCT
It is everybody’s responsibility to report risk or potential risk to the welfare of any child by filling out a Child Protection Incident Form and submitted to the child protection officer. The incident will then be taken to the appropriate external authorities of each of the U.K. and/or Indian countries.
FMVSO retains all rights to end a sponsorship or any association it deems harmful or a risk in any way to a child’s welfare. FMVSO will write to the individual involved asking them to break all communications immediately.
In the case of any trustee member or volunteer considered to be a risk in any way to children, this will be a matter for FMVSO Board Director and/ or relevant trustee members.
As above, the incident will then be taken to the relevant external authorities.