Commitment 1.4:
We advance the safeguarding of children.

Compliance Indicators

Compliance with the Commitments will be assessed against the following Compliance Indicators. All of the applicable Compliance Indicators must be met by every ACFID Member to be considered compliant with the Code. Each of the Compliance Indicators has one or more compliance Verifiers. Verifiers are the description of evidence that is required to substantiate compliance with each Compliance Indicator. Guidance is also provided.

1.4.1 Members demonstrate their organisational commitment to the safeguarding of children.

Policy document applicable to all governing body members, staff, contractors, volunteers and visitors to projects, that includes:  

  • A commitment to effective leadership to enable the safeguarding of children. 
  • Definition of a child as anyone under 18. 
  • The reporting procedure for child exploitation and abuse suspicions or allegations, code of conduct or policy non-compliance, and sanctions that would be applied in the event of breaches. 
  • A commitment to communication of the Child Safeguarding policy and procedures to all governing body members, staff, volunteers, visitors to projects and partners. 
  • A commitment to report to any donors that require reporting under any funding agreements. 
  • A commitment to providing child safeguarding training for personnel at induction and regularly thereafter depending on risk profile.  
  • A commitment to preventing a person from working with children if they pose an unacceptable risk to children. 
  • Approach to assessing risk and monitoring risk and child safeguarding processes of all activities. A commitment to the use of images and personal information for promotion, fundraising and development education which ensures the privacy and safeguarding of children. 
  • The process for regular review of the policy, at least every 5 years. 

 Policy or procedures applicable to all governing body members, staff, contractors, volunteers and visitors to projects, that cover: 

  • Recruitment screening processes for all personnel in contact with children which include: 
    • Criminal record checks before engagement; statutory declarations of local legal equivalent where criminal record checks are unavailable or unreliable. Checks must be conducted for each country in which the individual has lived for 12 months or longer over the last 5 years, and for the individual’s countries of citizenship. 
    • Verbal referee checks. 
    • The following additional screening measure for all personnel working with children: 
    • Behavioural-based interview questions. 

Risk assessments of all activities including identification of risks and an outline of mitigations measures, which are regularly re-assessed. 

Employment contracts which contain: 

  • Provisions for the prevention of a person from working with children if they present an unacceptable risk to children. 
  • Suspension or transfer to other duties for any employee who is under investigation and provision to dismiss any employee after an investigation. 

Child safeguarding training is provided to all personnel, including on reporting procedures. 

Guidance

Refer to ACFID’s guidelines for developing a Child Protection Policy in the Resources Section below.

Members receiving funding from DFAT should also consider the requirements of DFAT’s Child Protection Policy, as provided below.

1.4.2 Members have a code of conduct that advances child safeguarding behaviours

A documented code of conduct that covers the following with regard to child safeguarding: 

  • Appropriate language, communications and behaviour. 
  • Banning of alcohol and drugs. 
  • Gifts to children. 
  • Physical contact with children. 
  • Banning of sexual relations with children. 
  • Child labour. 
  • Photos and images. 
  • Reporting obligations. 

    The Code of Conduct must be signed by relevant governing body members, staff, contractors, volunteers and project visitors.  

    Guidance

    There is an example of a Code of Conduct within ACFID’s guidelines for developing a Child Protection Policy, which can be downloaded in the Resources Section below.

    1.4.3 Members have documented approaches to child safeguarding incident reporting and complaints handling that are child-focused, aligned with principles of privacy and that promote safety and dignity.

    Documented and accessible policies and/or procedures for:  

    • Child safeguarding incident reporting  
    • Child-friendly complaints handling  

     These policies and/or procedures must be known by all personnel and: 

    • Cover: 
      • How to report and respond to child exploitation and abuse suspicions and/or allegations. 
      • The relevant roles and responsibilities of governing body, staff and volunteers. 
      • How concerns or allegations of child exploitation, abuse, or non-compliance with the code of conduct or policy will be managed, including Sanctions that would be applied in the event of breaches. 
      • How reporting obligations will be fulfilled. 
      • Contact information to enable an external person to report. 
      • Appointment of a child protection incident reporting focal person. 
    • Reflect the following principles: 
      • The safety and wellbeing of children and young people are prioritised. 
      • Consistency with relevant legislation, including compliance with mandatory reporting responsibilities, privacy, and employment law. 
      • Protection of all parties involved in the complaint of concern. 
      • Confidentiality (as distinct from secrecy). 
      • Expedient reporting. 
      • Truthfulness. 
      • Fairness. 
      • Professionalism. 

    Guidance

    There is an example procedure for the reporting and management of child abuse concerns within ACFID’s guidelines for developing a Child Protection Policy, which can be downloaded in the Resources Section below.

    Good Practice Indicators

    The following Good Practice Indicators describe a higher standard of practice than that set out in the Compliance Indicators. While Members do not need to meet the Good Practice Indicators to be considered compliant with the Code, they will self-assess against these indicators once every three years. This provides a clear pathway for Members to strengthen and improve practice over time.

      • A child safeguarding focal person is in place who is responsible for child safeguarding systems.
      • Introductory, refresher and role-specific child safeguarding training is provided to governing body, staff, volunteers, project visitors and partners.
      • Implementation of and compliance with Child Safeguarding Policy is periodically reported to the governing body.
      • Child safeguarding policies and practices are adapted to local contexts in collaboration with local stakeholders.
      • Commitment to child safeguarding is promoted to the public and external stakeholders.

      Good Practice Guidance

      Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to further deepen and improve practice over time.

      Organisational

      • Create your own Child Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct and support local implementing partners to do the same.
      • Report to your governing body on your actions to safeguard children
      • Designate a Child Protection Officer (or team) to be responsible for promoting child safeguarding throughout your organisation, coordinating staff training, monitoring your compliance to relevant internal and external policies, and coordinating policy reviews and to serve as the central contact point for both internal and external queries about child protection issues
      • Educate staff and other stakeholders about how to reduce risk and ensure organisational activities safeguard children
      • Develop communication guidelines that address child safeguarding, particularly with respect to the use of children’s images and personal information
      • Establish clear reporting procedures on child protection to report suspected or known instances of abuse to relevant authorities. These should include clear guidance on internal and external reporting requirements for your organisation in Australia and in field offices.
      • Report suspected or known instances of child abuse to relevant authorities.
      • Ensure the ‘best interests of the child’ principle is central to risk assessment, management and responses to child safeguarding concerns.
      • If your organisation receives Australian aid program funding, ensure you are fully aware of and compliant with the DFAT Child Protection Policy 2017 and associated Guidance Notes.

      Recruitment

      • To protect children, organisations must have appropriate recruitment procedures that are effectively applied in order to prevent people who may pose a risk to children from gaining employment, prevent them from targeting organisations that have weak or inconsistently applied procedures, and minimise the risk of child abuse being committed by a member of staff, volunteer or consultant.
      • To ensure your recruitment procedures safeguard children, you can:
        • Promote a commitment to child safety on your website, in promotional materials and in all job advertisements
        • Assess all positions for the level for risk in relation to contact with children. Applicants to positions working directly with children should possess relevant qualifications and experience in working with children, and be subject to the highest level of screening.
        • Confirm the identity and work history of applicants
        • Require a minimum of two verbal reference checks for all preferred candidates. For positions working directly with children, reference checks should include questions about the applicant’s suitability to work with children.
        • Ask specific questions on that explore child safeguarding decision making during the interview
        • Check appropriate professional registers
        • Require all appointees to read and sign your Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct
        • Check criminal and police records for all your preferred candidates. If staff, volunteers or consultants are Australian residents, use the police check from the Australian Federal Police.
      • Where a police check cannot be obtained, undertake all reasonable measures, such as background and reference checks, to ensure the candidate does not pose a risk to children. These candidates should be required to sign an Employment Declaration stating that they have not been convicted of a serious sex offence or child-related personal violence.

      Fundraising and volunteering

      • Your organisation’s representatives may come into contact with children in a variety of contexts, including through fundraising and volunteering activities. Some examples include:
        • Volunteer assignments, such as field visits and work, where volunteers engage directly with individuals, organisations or communities overseas.
        • Volunteer speakers in schools.
        • Community fundraising events that children attend.
        • Children who undertake fundraising activities.
        • Supporter visits, where donors have contact with children in community settings.
      • Child safeguarding should be included within risk assessments as part of the planning process for all activities involving children, including supporter visits to schools and overseas communities
      • Organisations, especially those involved in residential care, should have clear policies around volunteering and donor site visits to ensure organisations are not facilitating orphanage tourism or orphanage volunteering
      • Any person who has contact with a child or information about children should be required to sign a Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct
      • Children’s personal data, in particular contact details, should be held securely and only accessed by authorised staff
      • Fundraising in schools should be undertaken in accordance with appropriate guidance from professional bodies
      • Children undertaking fundraising activities should be advised on how to do so safely, both for their own protection and regarding more general health and safety
      • Parents, guardians and event or activity organisers should be briefed before the activity
      • There should be no unsupervised access to children. A parent, teacher, other member of staff or other adult must also be present.
      • Parents, guardians and event or activity organisers should take responsibility for the child engaging in the activity.

      Partners

      • Recognise that your organisation will most likely work with partners who have direct contact with children in their work.
      • Recognise that the notion of child protection is understood in different ways in different cultures and contexts.
      • Undertake extensive discussion, training and collaboration with partner organisations to support them to develop their own child safeguarding policies and procedures that are appropriate to the context and nature of their work and which meet the requirements of this Code.
      • In settings where child protection and risks are not well understood or socialised, consider investing more substantially in working with partners and other duty bearers to increase awareness and knowledge.
      • Provide partners with your organisation’s child protection policy and code of conduct
      • Ensure reference is made to the risks associated with child protection in all partnership agreements or equivalent documents.

      Programs

      • Undertake risk assessments of perceived and potential risks to children in all programs and initiatives. DFAT’s Child Protection Risk Assessment Guidance is provided in the resources section below.
      • Integrate child safeguarding into your project cycle management guidelines and tools such as progress and monitoring report templates to ensure child safeguarding issues are considered at each stage of the project cycle.
      • Consider how to strengthen protective factors and minimise risk factors for children when designing and implementing activities.
      • Establish review mechanisms that minimise the possibility of program activities exposing children to greater risk.
      • If undertaking humanitarian responses, provide information and training for staff and partners on the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and establish mechanisms to monitor compliance.
      • Provide opportunities for children to share their views, experiences and ideas to inform and set the direction for your initiatives and projects.
      • Provide opportunities for children to provide both positive and negative feedback on the outcomes of projects on their lives.

      ACFID Resources

      ACFID Code of Conduct Guidelines for the Development of a Child Safeguarding Policy

      This resource is a set of guidelines on child protection policy development. This is suitable for all organisations. This is relevant to the Code because signatory organisations are required to develop, implement and review their child protection policies and procedures regularly.

      ADRA Child Safeguarding Policy

      ADRA's Child Safeguarding Policy commits to creating and maintaining child-safe environments in the delivery of ADRA Australia’s local and international program. This example is suitable for all organisations looking to document best-practice in recruitment and risk screening.

      Child Safeguarding | ACFID Code of Conduct Topic Guide

      This ACFID resource outlines all the requirements in the ACFID Code of Conduct related to Child Safeguarding. It is suitable for all organisations to strengthen their compliance with the Code.

      Oxfam Australia’s Child Safeguarding Toolkit

      This is Oxfam Australia's Childsafeguarding Toolkit. This example is suitable for all organisations. This is relevant to the Code as it meets all of ACFID's good-practice indicators.

      Other Resources

      ACCI Relief Child Safeguarding Policy

      Child Safeguarding Policy of ACCI Relief – this policy is a good example of a thorough approach to child safeguarding. It not only complies with the requirements of the ACFID Code at commitment 1.4, it demonstrates good practice and covers other aspects of safeguarding including child involvement, and a detailed consideration of risk including a stance on residential care and volunteering.

      Child Safety Toolkit; how to create a child safe organisation

      Referenced by the ACNC, this Toolkit provides good practice governance advice and recommendations for charities implementing programs involving children, and can extend more generally to the procedures required to safeguard all vulnerable people. This is suitable for all organisations. This is relevant to the Code to ensure compliance with the complex web of legislation in this area.

      DFAT Child Protection Policy

      DFAT's Child Protection Policy. This example is suitable for all organisations. This is relevant to the Code because it meets of all ACFID's requirements for best-practice.

      DFAT Guidance on criminal record checks

      This Guidance Note supports the DFAT Child Protection Policy. This is suitable for all ANCP or ANCP-applicant organisations. This is relevant to the Code because criminal record checks is a requirement for signatory organisations.

      Example Safeguarding Policy (Mary Mackillop Today)

      This policy demonstrates Mary MacKillop Today’s commitment to protecting children, its staff, partners and primary stakeholders (beneficiaries) from harm that may be caused by them coming in contact with their staff and associated personnel, or in their programs. It is a broad safeguarding policy that blends both child safeguarding with protection from sexual exploitation and abuse of vulnerable adults, and addresses all of the requirements in the ACFID Code of Conduct, as per ...

      Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

      This resource is about ensuring the rights and safety of children in alternative care. This is suitable for organisations working in alternative care, orphanages, and / or displaced children. This is relevant to the Code as the guidance enhance the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This resource is also available in Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, French, and Russian.

      The Crimes (Child Sex Tourism) Amendment Act (1994)

      The Federal Government's Crimes (Child Sex Tourism) Amendment Act 1994. This is suitable for all organisations. This is relevant to the Code because Member organisation's child protection policies must adhere to Australian laws.

      Working with Children in Residential Care Implications of the ACNC External Conduct Standards for Australian Charities

      This resource is about safeguarding involving residential care for children. This is suitable for signatory organisations that work in residential care. This guidance note complies with the ACNC’s External Conduct Standards (ECS) and the ACFID Code of Conduct. 
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