WIRE CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
This Child Protection Policy regulates the behaviours, practices and measures of all institutions and persons involved in the WIRE project, coordinated by the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The elaboration of this policy is based on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 and its subsequent modifications; the Save the Children Safeguarding Policy; the Child Participation in Research of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights of 2019; and the Child Safeguarding Standards and how to implement them of the Keeping Children Safe initiative, among other recommendations.
Project Coordinator: Javier Rodrigo (Javier.firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ethical Adviser: Ainhoa Flecha (Ainhoa.email@example.com)
A. Child or Children: Anyone under 18 years of age.
B. Child Abuse: Anything which individuals, institutions or processes do or fail to do which directly or indirectly harms children or damages their prospect of safe and healthy development into adulthood. The main categories of Child Abuse are Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Neglect/Negligent Treatment and Sexual Abuse/Sexual Exploitation.
- Physical Abuse: The use of physical force that causes actual or likely physical injury or suffering (e.g., hitting, shaking, burning, female genital mutilation, torture).
- Emotional abuse: Any humiliating or degrading treatment such as bad name calling, constant criticism, belittling, persistent shaming, solitary confinement, and isolation.
- Neglect/Negligent Treatment: Persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, for example by failing to provide adequate food, clothing and/or shelter; failing to prevent harm; failing to ensure adequate supervision; or failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
- Sexual Abuse/Sexual Exploitation: All forms of sexual violence, including incest, early and forced marriage, rape, involvement in pornography, and sexual slavery. Child sexual abuse also may include indecent touching or exposure, using sexually explicit language towards a child and showing children pornographic material. Sexual Exploitation is any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially, or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The sexual exploitation of a child who is under the age of consent is child sexual abuse and a criminal offense.
Activities developed in the framework of WIRE involving children must follow the No Harm principle, avoiding any activity, action or procedure that might cause any kind of harm to children.
Any person related to WIRE is committed to act in a manner that is safe for the children at all times and to avoid any activity that may result in any kind of Child Abuse.
WIRE compromises to create and proactively maintain an environment that aims to prevent and deter any actions and omissions, whether deliberate or inadvertent, that place children at the risk of any kind of Child Abuse.
Any person involved in WIRE is expected to act in a manner consistent with this commitment and obligation. Any violations of this policy will be treated as a serious issue and will result in disciplinary action being taken, including termination and any other available legal remedy.
In furtherance of this Policy, in case it is needed, WIRE representatives commit to implement the following procedures:
a. Prevention of Child Abuse: Striving, through awareness, good practice, and training, to minimize the risks to children and take positive steps to help protect children who are the subject of any concerns.
b. Reporting of Child Abuse: Ensuring that all Representatives know the steps to take and whom to contact where concerns arise regarding the safeguarding of children.
c. Responding to Child Abuse: Engaging in action that supports and protects children when concerns arise regarding their well-being; supporting those who raise such concerns; investigating or cooperating with any subsequent investigation; and taking appropriate corrective action to prevent the recurrence of such activity.
d. Training to Promote Awareness of Child Safeguarding Obligations: Ensuring that all Representatives are notified of and made aware that they must comply with this policy.
Policy to Comply with Applicable Laws and Regulations
WIRE activities will guarantee compliance with local and/or national country and local child welfare and protection legislation, or international standards, whichever affords greater protection, and with the applicable law. The requirements of this Child Protection Policy are in addition to any other applicable legal requirements.
Policy on Confidentiality in child Safeguarding Matters
Sensitive information related to children will be always handled in a manner that is respectful, professional and that complies with the applicable law. Staff must keep all information about any suspected or reported incidents strictly confidential and must divulge only that information to the Ethical Advisor or the PC (Project Coordinator) of the project, except as may be required by law.
Prevention of Child Safeguarding Incidents
Where possible and practical, the ‘two-adult’ rule, wherein two or more adults supervise all activities where children are involved and are present at all times, should be followed.
Representatives must never:
- hit or otherwise physically assault or physically abuse Children;
- engage in sexual activity or have a sexual relationship with anyone under the age of 18 years regardless of the age of majority/consent or custom locally (mistaken belief in the age of a child is not a defence);
- develop relationships with Children which could in any way be deemed exploitative or abusive;
- act in ways that may be abusive in any way or may place Children at risk of abuse;
- use language, make suggestions or offer advice to Children which is inappropriate, offensive or abusive;
- behave in a manner which is physically inappropriate or sexually provocative;
- condone, or participate in, behaviour of Children which is unsafe or illegal;
- act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade Children, or otherwise perpetrate any form of emotional abuse;
- discriminate against, show unfair differential treatment or favour to particular Child participants to the exclusion of others;
- expose Child participants to inappropriate images, films and websites including pornography and extreme violence;
- place themselves in a position where they are made vulnerable to allegations of misconduct.
This is not an exhaustive or exclusive list. Representatives should at all times avoid actions that may allow behaviour to be misrepresented or constitute poor practice or potentially abusive behaviour.
Reporting of Child Safeguarding Incidents
All Representatives should know the steps to take and whom to contact when concerns arise regarding the safeguarding of children. Failure to report a reasonable suspicion of misconduct in accordance with this Policy will be treated as a serious issue and may result in disciplinary action.
If a child is in danger or in harm’s way, call the local authorities immediately.
Anyone involved in WIRE is required to report child maltreatment. Incident reports must be submitted by email to the Project Coordinator and the Ethical Adviser within 24 hours. The report always should include:
- Date, time, and location of the incident
- Type of incident (physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect/negligent treatment, sexual abuse/sexual exploitations) and nature of what happened
- The relevant actions that are happening at the time of the report
All reports must be made within 24 hours.
Responding to Child Safeguarding Incidents
In the case the Project Coordinator and/or the Ethical Adviser are notified of any incident that might potentially harm children, they will:
- Receive child safeguarding reports in accordance with this Child Safeguarding Policy; and
- Provide overall support to the wider implementation of policies and procedures to safeguard children, namely the Child Protection Policy and other related policies and documents.
- Review research proposals to ensure meeting all principles established in the main reference documents, such as the Declaration of Helsinki (World Medical Association), taking special care of the ethical dimension of research proposals addressing vulnerable groups, where children are included.
Investigating and Follow-up of Child Safeguarding Allegations
WIRE team will take every allegation of a violation of our Child Safeguarding Policy seriously. All credible allegations are logged and tracked. The Project Coordinator and the Ethical Adviser will make sure all allegations are properly investigated and all appropriate corrective action and remedial measures are taken.
Representatives covered by this policy must cooperate fully with any investigation or inquiry and preserve all records relating to any alleged violation of this Child Protection Policy. We will keep reported concerns confidential to the extent possible and report to applicable authorities as soon as possible.
Any person linked to WIRE, either as staff, volunteer, collaborator or in any other form, is required to read this policy carefully and return a signed copy to the Project Manager.