The Community for Khmer Villages (CKV) provides life-changing education, skill-building and economic opportunities to Khmer children and their families living in rural villages throughout Cambodia.  These villages involve chronic poverty, significantly reduced health services, critical shortages in qualified teachers, little or no educational technologies and few economic opportunities.

This Child Protection Policy arises from the Community for Khmer Village’s commitment to protect the children under its purview and to make public its zero tolerance approach to child abuse and child pornography.  CKV is determined to take all necessary steps to manage and eliminate any potential risk of child abuse for the children and young people bestowed to CKV’s care and to protect them from harm.

CKV takes its duty of care responsibilities seriously and is committed to ensuring that it maintains a safe, nurturing and joyful environment for the students in its care.  It recognizes that any person working closely with children is in a particular position with regard to their power and influence over a child, and works diligently to prevent any abuse from every position. 

CKV’s employees, volunteers, benefactors, partners and affiliates accept the paramount duty to safeguard the welfare of all children in its care, without exception.  This policy outlines the organization’s commitment to providing the children who study at CKV facilities or participate in CKV activities with the safest possible environment.  This requires action to prevent intentional and unintentional abuse and harm of all kinds.

The Policy is fully approved and supported by CKV’s Governing Bodies and Executive Management Team.  CKV’s child protection policy is guided by 4 key principles:

  • Zero tolerance of child abuse
  • Primacy of the interests of the child
  • Individual and collective responsibility for child protection
  • Active management approach to risk

The Policy’s overall goal:

The effective protection of all children in the care of the Community for Khmer Villages from abuse of all kinds and from all sources.

Guiding Principles

The policy applies to:  

  • All CKV Staff, including staff located inside and outside of Cambodia
  • All contractors and NGOs working with or funded by CKV including:
    • any organization
    • employee (paid or unpaid)
    • volunteer
    • contractor
    • consultant
    • visitor
    • donor
    • supporter
    • partner agency

CKV expects any organization, employee (paid and unpaid), contractors, consultants, volunteer and any partner agency or implementing partner to act in accordance with the principals detailed in this policy.  For the purpose of this policy, “children” shall mean anyone under the age of 18 years and under the care of CKV.  CKV’s Child Protection Policy is compliant with international primary child protection legislation expressed in the:

  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Cambodia acceded 1992) 
  • Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, 1974 (USA)
  • Children and Young People Act 2008 (Australia)
  • The Children Act 1989 (UK)

While it is not possible to eliminate all risk of child abuse, sound and active management can minimize the likelihood or incidence of child abuse.

Scope

This Child Protection Policy is to provide a practical guide to prevent child abuse in CKV’s facilities and programs.  It outlines a range of risk management strategies that are implemented and which reduce the risk of children being harmed.

  • This policy demonstrates CKV’s commitment to protect children and other populations which are at-risk from harm and abuse.
  • This policy ensures appropriate education, awareness raising and self-reporting responsibilities by staff and others about child abuse.
  • This policy promote a child safe and a child friendly culture where everyone is committed to keeping children safe.
  • This policy ensure bullying is eliminated between Khmer individuals.
  • This policy creates an open and aware environment where concerns for the safety and well being of a child can be raised and managed in a fair and just manner, protecting the rights of all.
  • This policy provides guidance on how to respond to concerns and allegations of child abuse, abuse of women, and abuse of at-risk populations.
  • This policy provides guidance to staff and others on how to work respectfully and effectively with children and Khmer who are at-risk. 
  • This policy provides all stakeholders, including staff and others with a safe working environment.

CKV is obliged to adhere to local and international child protection criminal laws, which prohibit the abuse and exploitation of children.  These include local laws where CKV programs exist, and international laws and conventions in relation to all forms of child abuse and child exploitation, including:  child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, child labor and child pornography.

Purpose of the Policy Guiding Principles

The Child Protection Policy is guided by these principles:

  • Zero tolerance of child abuse.  Child abuse is not tolerated by CKV.  CKV takes an active approach to risk management and ensures that its staff are selected, trained and obligated accordingly.  CKV will not knowingly employ or use the services of anyone known or likely to pose an unacceptable risk to children.
  • Primacy of the interests of the child.  CKV places the interests of the children in its care as its highest priority.  Their physical and emotional security and welfare along with the development of their abilities and characters are CKV’s major concerns and their protection will always be its highest value.
  • Individual and collective responsibility for child protection.  CKV recognizes its legal and moral accountability and the accountability of all individuals concerned for child protection. It regards child protection as the responsibility of all CKV staff at all levels and requires the active support and cooperation of all involved with the organization, including employees, any organization, employee (paid or unpaid), contractor, consultant, volunteer, visitor, donor, supporter and any partnering agency.

Definitions

  • Duty of care.  This is a common law concept that refers to the responsibility of the organization to provide children with an adequate level of protection against harm.  It is the duty of the organization to protect children from all reasonably foreseeable risk of injury.
  • Child and young person.  A child or young person is regarded to be any person under the age of 18 years, unless a nation’s laws recognize adulthood earlier.  For the purposes of this policy, CKC recognizes a child to be a person under 18 years of age.
  • Child protection.  This 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 labor and domestic violence.
  • Physical abuse.  This 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.  This 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 care giver, to the extent that it affects the child’s physical and emotional growth.
  • Neglect.  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.
  • Duty of Care - sexual abuse.  This 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, including threats and exposure to pornography.  Child-Sex Tourism, End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children (ECPAT) International defines child sex tourism as:  “...the commercial sexual exploitation of children by men or women who travel from one place to another, usually from a richer country to one that is less developed, and there engage in sexual acts with children, defined as anyone aged under 18 years of age” (ECPAT International, 2006).
  •  Bullying.  Bullying is the inappropriate use of power by an individual or group, with intent to injure either physically or emotionally.  It is usually deliberate and repetitive. The bullying may be physical or psychological (verbal and non- verbal).  
    • Physically, bullying includes pushing, hitting, punching, kicking or any other action causing hurt or injury.
    • Verbal bullying includes insults, taunts, threats and ridicule.
    • Psychological bullying includes physical intimidation and ostracism.
  •  Exposure to Domestic Violence.  Domestic violence occurs when children and young people witness or experience the chronic domination, coercion, intimidation and victimization of one person by another by physical, sexual or emotional means within intimate relationships. Child abuse takes place not only within the family environment, but also outside the family, including: institutions, at work, on the streets, in war zones and emergencies.  
  • Exposure to Domestic Violence.  Domestic violence occurs when children and young people witness or experience the chronic domination, coercion, intimidation and victimization of one person by another by physical, sexual or emotional means within intimate relationships. Child abuse takes place not only within the family environment, but also outside the family, including: institutions, at work, on the streets, in war zones and emergencies.  

CKV recognizes that there a number of potential risks to children in the delivery of its programs to the vulnerable and disadvantaged.  In recognizing these risks, CKV proactively assesses and manages these risks to children in our programs (and in the communities in which we work) 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 CKV works, CKV is always mindful of potential risks.  

Risk management is an ongoing part of every activity, and CKV conducts a child protection risk assessment on every new and emerging program and project, included in the project management program.  Staff and others should continually be aware of risks, and be actively minimizing opportunities and situations where children can be harmed.

A child abuse incident reporting sheet has been developed and staff is aware of its existence.
All representatives are individually and collectively responsible for child protection and are made aware of this policy and any related guidelines, codes or protocols.  Designated staff are responsible for monitoring child protection issues and will facilitate policy implementation, staff training and awareness, and incident reporting.

Child friendly information is available to ensure children understand about their safety and protection, and feel comfortable about speaking to someone if they have any concerns.  Children are made aware of an independent adult to whom they can refer any concerns.  Children are encouraged to say at any time what they find acceptable and unacceptable in the way they are approached by adults or other young people.

Procedures for staff recruitment contain appropriate child protection measures, including, wherever possible, the provision of background information and references.  CKC rejects any persons who might be considered a risk to child safety.  To assist in the recruitment and screening processes CKV requires national police checks (or equivalent standard) to be conducted on all staff, both expatriate and Cambodian alike.  References are needed and referees are contacted for verbal conformation of the applicant’s character.  Behavioral-based interviews are conducted with all applicants applying for positions that involve working with children.  All staff, contractors and associates are required to immediately disclose all charges, convictions and any other outcomes of an offence which occurred before or occurs during their association with CKC that relate to child exploitation and abuse or is considered a designated offense.  All successful candidates and existing representatives are clearly informed of their contractual requirement to comply with this policy and sign and comply with this policy prior to commencing work.  CKV personnel are subject to regular training on child protection and are required to keep their knowledge up to date.  Nominated CKC contact officers undergo regular training course to ensure that they are capable and competent to conduct the initial complaint handling and comply with the reporting processes.

All representatives are required to behave with children in a manner that fully respects their dignity and rights, and minimizes any possible situation of risk, consistent with CKV’s Child Protection Code of Conduct (reference Appendix A).  All representatives will:

  • Treat all children with respect regardless of distinguishing factors such as age, race, religion, sexuality, disability or other status.
  • Not behave towards them in any manner, physical or verbal, which is or can be construed as inappropriate, harassing, abusive, provocative or demeaning.
  • Not engage children in any form of sexual activity or acts, including paying for sexual services or acts, where under relevant legislation the child is below the age of consent or the act(s) constitute an offense. 
  • Wherever possible, ensure that another adult is present when working in the proximity of children.
  • Not invite unaccompanied children into their home, unless they are at immediate risk.
  • Will take seriously any complaint of child abuse, from whatever source, and will report any known breach of this code or of the Child Protection Policy, or any concerns relating to the safety of the children to CKV executives.
  • Use any communications or recording technology or social media appropriately, and never to exploit, harass or put children at risk, or to access child pornography via any medium or from any source.
  • Not employ physical punishment as a disciplinary tool.
  • Not employ children for domestic or other work inappropriate to their age or developmental stage or which interferes with access to education or recreation or which places them at risk of injury. 
  • Comply with all relevant laws.
  • Report concerns or allegations of child abuse as swiftly as possible and as set down in relevant procedures.

Raising Awareness Responsibilities

CKV must:

  • Ensure that adults or personnel who are not permanent approved staff have regular CKV staff present when in contact with children and populations of at-risk Khmer
  • Ensure that adults cannot take children out of CKV facilities or make independent contact with children’s families
  • Ensure that information or images about children are never used in a way that places children at risk, or compromises their safety or dignity
  • Ensure that regulations governing the use of photography and videos are in place as part of the child protection regime
  • Ensure that children are portrayed in a respectful, appropriate and consensual way, in a dignified and respectful manner and not in a vulnerable or submissive manner
  • Ensure that children are adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive
  • Ensure a child and his or her family always be asked for consent when using their images When asking for consent to use the image, details should be given as to how and where this image will be used
  • Ensure no identifying information of the child used in the publication of images or their location which can be used by sexual predator
  • Ensure children are portrayed as part of their community
  • Ensure local cultural traditions are assessed regarding restrictions for reproducing personal images.  Images should be an honest representation of the context and the facts.  
  • Ensure when sending images electronically, file labels should not reveal identifying information

CKV maintains strong communication links with the parents or those otherwise legally responsible for the children in its care and ensures that they are appropriately informed about all issues regarding the children and their welfare.

CKV respects the confidentiality of information regarding children’s health, family backgrounds and personal histories.  This private information is accessed only by authorized staff on a ‘need to know’ basis.

Guidelines, rules and implementation procedures relating to child protection are available to all CKV personnel.  Only authorized personnel with approval from the Senior Management Team can make changes to the policy or decisions regarding child protection.  The Child Protection policy and all associated policies, such as the Child Protection Code of Conduct and Child Protection Reporting Process are reviewed annually and amended as required.  

CKV recognizes the need to implement specific guidelines to manage the child protection risks within its programs.  CKV provides a detailed guide to sponsors on its website, the document includes Child Protection and Risk Management, 

Communication and Use of Child Images, Reporting and Response.  CKV’s guidelines in relation to sponsors and children include:

  • All communications between sponsors and children are monitored by qualified CKV staff and communications which contain inappropriate content, including cultural, political or religious material which may cause offense are strictly prohibited.
  • All visits by sponsors must be arranged well in advance through the CKV.
  • All sponsors are interviewed before each visit and are required to read the Child Protection Policy and sign the Child Protection Code of Conduct.
  • Supervised outings from CKV facilities for a morning or afternoon to a market or mall may be permitted for children of a suitable age.
  • Qualified CKV staff will be present at all times during a sponsor visit and during authorized outings.
  • Sponsors and sponsored children and their families must not exchange contact details during visits.
  • Children must not be invited to leave or be taken away from their communities. In the event of any incidents, comments, suspicions or concerns, the case must be immediately reported to senior management and an investigation commenced.  All cases of abuse will be investigated thoroughly in line with established procedures.  When responding to concerns or allegations of harm or abuse, the ultimate guiding principle will be the best interests and well-being of the child or children involved.

A child reporting concerns or claiming to be the subject of abuse will be protected, taken seriously and treated with respect.  He or she will be reassured that they are not to blame – he or she will never be treated with disbelief or in a manner that might cause shame or embarrassment.  CKV will immediately remove a child from an abusive environment, seek medical treatment for any injuries and make any necessary further referrals.  In the event of an allegation made in good faith which is shown to be unfounded or untrue, no action will be taken against the maker of the allegation.  False and malicious allegations are unacceptable and perpetrators will be subject to appropriate action. Failure of a CKV representative to report suspected child abuse will render the perpetrator liable to criminal sanction and/or termination of employment.  

All CKV staff are made aware of the Child Reporting Process.  CKV is responsible for the dissemination and investigation of all initial complaints and will conduct a thorough assessment on the allegation and take appropriate action which can range from no-action, behavioral management, counseling, referring the complaint to local law enforcement and dismissal.

Appendix A:  Child Protection Code of Conduct 

I, _________________________ (insert name) agree that in the course of my association with the Community for Khmer Village (CKV),

I will:

  • Treat all children and young people with respect regardless of race, color, sex, language, disability, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, birth or other status
  • Provide a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for all children, young people, parents, family, guardians, employees and volunteers
  • Encourage children, young people, parents, family, guardians, employees and volunteers to speak up about issues that affect them
  • Refrain from using corporal punishment on children
  • Immediately report concerns or allegations of child abuse in accordance with CKV reporting process
  • Comply with local, national and international child protection laws 
  • Ensure that, whenever possible, another adult is present when I am working with children, or in the proximity of children 
  • Advise my supervisor/manager of my involvement in any situation where my actions have been or could be misinterpreted
  • Advise my supervisor/manager if I am involved in any situation which would be likely to bring the organization into disrepute, and
  • Advise my supervisor/manager if I am investigated for any crime or charged with any criminal offense

I will not:

  • Use inappropriate language – whether of an offensive, discriminatory, demeaning, abusive or sexual nature – when speaking with or whilst in the staff, contractors, consultants, volunteers, or presence of a child or young person
  • Engage in behavior to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade a child or young person, or otherwise emotionally abuse a child or young person
  • Marry a person under the age of 18
  • Act in a sexually provocative manner or engage children in any form of sexual activity, including paying for sexual services
  • Hold, kiss, cuddle or touch a child in an inappropriate, unnecessary or culturally insensitive way
  • Condone or participate in, behavior with children which is illegal, unsafe or abusive
  • Discriminate against or in favor of particular children to the exclusion of others
  • Spend time outside work requirements with any child or young person connected with CKC programs
  • Invite unaccompanied children into their home, unless they are at immediate risk
  • Hire children for domestic or any other labor which is inappropriate for their age or development, interferes with their education or play, or places them at risk of injury
  • Do things for children of a personal nature that they can do for themselves such as toileting them or changing their clothes
  • Sleep in close proximity to any children unless it is absolutely necessary, in which case I will keep my supervisor/manager informed and ensure another adult is present, where possible (noting that this does not apply to my own children)
  • Access or create sexually abusive images of children 
  • Use computers, mobile phones, video or digital cameras or any other technology for the purpose of exploiting or harassing children

The protection of the child is the most important consideration for CKV.  CKV deals with many people and many projects across a range of programs and facilities and with people of all ages and in many different circumstances.  In all situations, information is vital and this information, as much as the children in CKV’s care, has to be protected.  Because of its international spread, CKV’s information protection measures have to be, and are compliant with a range of relevant international legislation, including the following:

  • Online Privacy Protection Act 2003:  California, USA
  • Privacy Act 1988: Australia
  • Data Protection Act 1998: United Kingdom
  • European Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC).

All CKV staff, volunteers, visitors and those involved in the conduct of CKV’s activities in any capacity are required to share CKV’s information protection burden.  CKV’s ability to share information and allow the use of photography, video or similar methods is dependent on agreement with the conditions set out below.

I undertake that:I recognize CKV’s need to retain and maintain significant amounts of data and information, personal and organizational, relating to itself and other parties and I also recognize its obligation to maintain the confidentiality of such information.  

  • During and after my involvement with CKV, I may become privy to information relating, for example, to CKV’s finance, personnel, projects, plans or problems.  I undertake to keep CKV’s information, disclosed to me or discovered by me, in strictest confidence and will not disclose or use it, beyond what is normal and necessary in the conduct of my relationship with CKV, without CKV’s agreement.
  • In the event that I become aware of Third Party information, relating to the involvement or engagement of other organizations or individuals with CKV, I undertake to maintain the confidentiality of that information and will not make, or seek to make, any use of such material without specific permission from CKV.
  • If I wish to write about CKV for publication, lecture about its activities or impact or engage in similar such activities, I will seek specific agreement from CKV, which will normally be provided in writing by an authorized member of CKV staff.  Disclosure required by law remains unrestricted.
  • Before photographing or filming a child for work related purposes, I will assess and comply with local traditions or restrictions on reproducing personal images.
  • I will not take photos without prior agreement of authorized CKV staff.
  • The agreement of those whom I propose to photograph or record will be sought before I do so and I will make clear how the resulting material will be used.
  • I will respect the dignity of persons photographed in my own behavior and in my photographs or recordings.
  • I will respect the dignity of persons photographed in my own behavior and in my photographs or recordings.
  • My photography or video will ensure that children are adequately dressed.  
  • I will not take or attempt to take photos which can be deemed intrusive or insensitive, such as photos in dwellings, sleeping areas, people bathing, or in distress.
  • I will at no time make recordings or images which are or can be construed as sexually suggestive.  
  • I will not use images for public (including blog) or commercial purposes without CKC’s expressed permission.
  • I will ensure that my images honestly represent the facts and context.
  • In using CKV related information on social media, I will be alive to the need to protect the privacy of CKV-related individuals.  
  • I will not publicize CKV addresses and will not use the real names of children under CKV care and purview.
  • I will ensure file labels do not reveal identifying information about a child when sending images electronically.

Statement to be signed by all CKV staff, contractors, consultants and volunteers.  

I have read, understood and undertake to comply with the above requirements. I confirm that I have read and understood the CKV Child Protection Policy and Child Protection Code of Conduct
I agree to comply with the Policy and Code of Conduct.  I understand that a breach of the Policy or Code may provide grounds for my employment/engagement with the CKV to be terminated.  I also understand that a breach of the Policy or Code could result in criminal prosecution.  I understand that it is my responsibility, as a person engaged by the CKC, to use common sense and avoid actions
or behaviors that are abusive or exploitative of children or young people, or could be construed as such.  I authorize the CKV to undertake any necessary inquiries, including criminal record checks and reference checks, as part of my appointment or recruitment process.  I confirm my willingness to participate CKV training sessions on child protection.

Name:        ______________________________

Position:    ______________________________

Signed:        ______________________________    

Date:        ______________________________

Attachment to Signature Authorization Child Protection Code of Conduct

I, _________________________ (insert name) agree that in the course of my association with the

CKV will:

  • Treat all children and young people with respect regardless of race, color, sex, language, disability, religion, political or other opinion, sexual or social orientation, national, ethnic or social origin, birth or other status
  • Assist in providing a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for all children, young people, parents, family, guardians, employees and volunteers
  • Encourage children, young people, parents, family, guardians, employees and volunteers to speak up about issues that affect them
  • Refrain from using corporal punishment on children
  • Immediately report concerns or allegations of child abuse in accordance with CKC reporting process
  • Comply with local, national and international child protection laws

I will not:

  • Use inappropriate language – whether of an offensive, discriminatory, demeaning, abusive or sexual nature – when speaking with or whilst in the presence of a child or young person
  • Engage in behavior to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade a child or young person, or otherwise emotionally abuse a child or young person
  • Act in a sexually provocative manner or engage children in any form of sexual activity, including paying for sexual services
  • Hold, kiss, cuddle or touch a child in an inappropriate, unnecessary or culturally insensitive way
  • Condone or participate in behavior with children which is illegal, unsafe or abusive
  • Discriminate against or in favor of particular children to the exclusion of others
  • Spend time outside authorized visits with any child or young person connected with CKC programs
  • Hire children for domestic or any other labor which is inappropriate for their age or development, interferes with their education or play, or places them at risk of injury
  • Do things for children of a personal nature that they can do for themselves such as toileting them or changing their clothes
  • Access or create sexually abusive images of children
  • Use computers, mobile phones, video or digital cameras or any other technology for the purpose of exploiting or harassing children

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