The safeguarding and wellbeing of children has always been a matter of considerable concern for JDIHS. As an institute working within the education sector, we recognize that the protection and wellbeing of children is a core tenet of quality improvements. This is why we assume the responsibility to help children thrive regardless of their gender, faith, culture, disability or any other defining feature. We intend to ensure that we are following effective practices in our program design, delivery and institutional development by defining clear reporting and responding structures in addition to the consistent crisis management plans so that the risk of abuse happening through our institute can be minimized.
Schools across the globe have devised polices to ensure that there are stronger safeguards in place to protect children from violence and exploitation and the role of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is significant in this regard as it was the first historic commitment to the world’s children that promised to protect and fulfil their rights by adopting an international legal framework. In the light of convention, JDIHS reiterates its stance that children are not just objects who belong to their parents and for whom decisions are made. Rather, they are human beings and individuals with their own rights. The childhood, that lasts until 18, is a protected time in which children must be allowed to grow, learn, play, develop and flourish with dignity. JDIHS endeavors to enable children to have their voices heard and participate in every domain that may help transform their lives.
The objective of this policy is to
- promote wellbeing and safety of children by creating an active network of protection
- creating a learning environment where all children are treated with dignity
- ensure that there is an impartial, consistent and robust response to any disclosure, suspicion or allegation of abuse
- ensure that JDIHS continues to fulfil its responsibilities by formulating principles that guide institute’s approach to child protection
- facilitate an appropriate level of investigation and provide with a management strategy to effectively manage the risk posed by an abusive individual
Child maltreatment or abuse constitutes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development, survival or dignity.
- Physical abuse is actual or potential physical harm to a child or a failure to live up to the responsibility to protect a child from physical injury.
- Sexual abuse is any sexually motivated touching of a child, whether actual or threatened, including all forms of sexual activities as well as activities that do not involve physical contact, such as showing the child pornographic material.
- Emotional abuse comprises the failure to provide an environment suitable for fostering the age-appropriate and psycho-social development of the child as well as persistent or serious verbal abuse, humiliation, debasement or rejection that negatively impact the child’s spiritual behavioural development.
- Exploitation consists of the commercial or other use of the child through activities that the child performs for the benefit of a third party. These activities include exploitative child labour and child prostitution as well as any other activity that leads to the economic exploitation of the child, that is to the disadvantage of the child’s physical or mental welfare, that prevents the child from receiving an education or damages the child’s moral and psycho-social development.
- Neglect begins as soon as a child is denied the basic foundations for psycho-social development, including that relating to health, nutrition, clothing, shelter, education, etc.
Though the professional educators have always been under obligation to treat learners with dignity and respect, the recent wave of misconduct has crystalized our thought of reiterating and making explicit the values and standards that have long been part of our tradition. The institute has set up following standards that apply to all registered teachers:
- Maintain an environment that promotes the emotional, intellectual and physical safety of all learners.
- Communicate with learners in a clear, respectful, and culturally sensitive manner.
- Ensure that communication via electronic media, such as teams, e-mail, texting or any other official social networking site is strictly professional.
- Don’t add learners to your private social media accounts such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat.
- Ensure that your appearance and dress is appropriate to the extent that it doesn’t affect your interaction and relationship with learners.
- Don’t accept gifts and private party invitations from learners.
- Don’t engage in physical contact with learners unless there is a clearly defined purpose that benefits them.
- Respect the confidentiality of learners’ personal record obtained in the course of professional practice.
- Maintain appropriate verbal, physical, emotional and social boundaries.
The fundamentals of child protection policy are as follows:
A. Prevention Mechanism
Promoting awareness of abuse is crucial to the wellbeing and safety of children. To prevent child abuse, we need to create and maintain an environment which promotes our core values. We as an institute need the courage to break the silence on this issue and encourage communication.
Following are the basic considerations in this regard:
- Specialized training sessions are arranged for children to make them understand child abuse in all its implications.
- Regular opportunities are provided to children to voice their concerns so that any protection concerns may be heard and addressed promptly.
- Roles and responsibilities regarding child protection are clearly defined and communicated.
- All employees receive training and sign the code of conduct confirming their understanding of and commitment to the child protection.
- All employees are provided with orientation regarding the child protection policy during the first month of their employment.
- All children have access to counselling services when needed.
B. Reporting Mechanism
Any incident related to breach of above-mentioned rules is to be reported to the Child Protection Committee. Following are the basic considerations in this regard:
- Child Protection Committee is prepared to react appropriately in crisis situations and they keep and maintain the records child abuse incidents.
- The incident of abuse may be reported by the victim, family member of the victim or a witness to the incident. In addition, each employee is obliged to immediately provide any information he has regarding a possible case of child abuse to a member of the Child Protection Committee. Any adult who withholds information or covers up any kind of abuse is considered an accomplice.
- The complainant is supposed to provide sufficient details of incident including the identifying data of perpetrator and any evidence that is available and considered useful for preliminary investigation.
- Children, employees or other adults who make reports are supported and protected to the extent they should be.
- A person accused of child abuse is given a fair hearing.
- A report can be made to the Child Protection Committee, that includes separate representatives for boys and girls, in writing via the official email addresses provided below.
C. Investigation Mechanism
A transparent and fair procedure is followed while responding to the reported incidents so that nobody is falsely convicted and the rights of everyone involved are protected. Following are the basic considerations in this regard:
- The prime focus in all cases of suspected or proven child abuse is placed on safeguarding and protecting the child. The affected persons receive the necessary counselling and support.
- In all cases of abuse, the investigation is carried out by a neutral person who is not involved in the issue. This individual presents the findings of the investigation to Child Protection Committee that makes a decision on further necessary action.
- The response to child-to-child abuse focuses on what is best for the development and protection of all children involved in such a case.
- If abuse is committed by an adult, depending on the level of abuse, legal steps are taken in accordance with the national reporting and responding system that defines the levels of responding in each individual case. Where necessary, legal assistance is provided.
Confidentiality is of supreme importance while dealing with cases of abuse. Information provided by the complainant is to be handled with sensitivity. The child or any other person who gives information regarding child abuse must be made aware that if he or she reports the case, information about the
alleged abuse will be shared only with the selected members of Child Protection Committee. Written records of all reported abuse incidents and their conclusions are kept confidential.