Operations Enfants du Cambodge
CHILD’S PROTECTION POLICY
UNICEF uses the term ‘child protection’ to refer
to preventing and responding to violence,
exploitation and abuse against children – including
commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, child
labor and harmful traditional practices, such as
female genital mutilation/cutting and child
marriage. UNICEF’s child protection programs also
target children who are uniquely vulnerable to these
abuses, such as when living without parental care,
in conflict with the law and in armed conflict.
Violations of the child’s right to protection take
place in every country and are massive, under
recognized and under-reported barriers to child
survival and development, in addition to being human
rights violations. Children subjected to violence,
exploitation, abuse and neglect are at risk of
death, poor physical and mental health, HIV/AIDS
infection, educational problems, displacement,
homeless-ness, vagrancy and poor parenting skills
later in life.
Operations Enfants du Cambodge is committed to
practice which protects children from harm. Staff
and volunteers in this organization accept and
recognize our responsibilities to develop awareness
of the issues which cause children harm.
|This policy is based on the following
- The welfare of the child is paramount.
- All children, whatever their age, culture,
disability, gender, language, racial origin
religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the
right to protection from abuse.
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be
taken seriously and responded to swiftly and
- All staff and social workers have a responsibility
to report concerns to the Designated Person with
responsibility for child protection (project manager
related to child protection). Staff/ volunteers are
not trained to deal with situations of abuse or to
decide if abuse has occurred
We will aim to safeguard children by:
- Adopting child protection guidelines through
procedures and a code of conduct for staff and
- Sharing information about child protection and
good practice with children, parents and careers,
staff and volunteers.
- Sharing information about concerns with agencies
who need to know, and involving parents and children
- Carefully following the procedures for recruitment
and selection of staff and volunteers.
- Providing effective management for staff and
volunteers through support, supervision and
- We are committed to reviewing our policy and good
|This policy sets out agreed guidelines relating
to the following areas:
- Responding to allegations of abuse, including
those made against staff and volunteers
- Recruitment and vetting of Staff and volunteers
- Supervision of organizational activities
|1. Definitions of abuse
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking,
throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning,
suffocating or otherwise causing harm to a child.
Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or
career feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately
causes ill health to a child whom they are looking
after. This situation is commonly described as
factitious illness, fabricated or induced illness in
children or “Munchausen Syndrome by proxy” after the
person who first identified this situation. A person
might do this because they enjoy or need the
attention they get through having a sick child.
Physical abuse, as well as being the result of a
deliberate act, can also be caused through omission
or the failure to act to protect.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill
treatment of a child such as to cause severe and
persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional
development. It may involve making a child feel or
believe they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or
valued only insofar as they meet the needs of the
It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate
expectations being imposed on children. It may also
involve causing children to feel frequently
frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or
corruption of a child.
Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all
types of ill treatment of a child, though it may
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or
young person to take part in sexual activities,
whether or not the child is aware of, or consents
to, what is happening. The activities may involve
physical contact, including penetrative acts such as
rape, buggery or oral sex, or non-penetrative acts
such as fondling. Sexual abuse may also include
non-contact activities, such as involving children
in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic
material or watching sexual activities, or
encouraging children to behave in sexually
inappropriate ways. Boys and girls can be sexually
abused by males and or females, by adults and by
other young people. This includes people from all
different walks of life.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s
basic physical and or psychological needs, likely to
result in the serious impairment of the child’s
health or development. It may involve a parent or a
carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and
clothing, leaving a young child home alone or the
failure to ensure that a child gets appropriate
medical care or treatment. It may also include
neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic
emotional needs. It is accepted that in all forms of
abuse there are elements of emotional abuse, and
that some children are subjected to more than one
form of abuse at any time. These four definitions do
not minimize other forms of maltreatment.
|2. Recognizing and Responding to Abuse
The following signs may or may not be indicators
that abuse has taken place, but the possibility
should be considered.
Physical signs of abuse: Any injuries not
consistent with the explanation given for them;
-Injuries which occur to the body in places which
are not normally exposed to falls or games;
-Unexplained bruising, marks or injuries on any part
of the body; -Bruises which reflect hand marks or
fingertips (from slapping or pinching); -Cigarette
burns; -Bite marks; -Broken bones; - scalds;
-Injuries which have not received medical attention;
- Neglect-under nourishment, failure to grow,
constant hunger, stealing or gorging food, untreated
illnesses, inadequate care; - Repeated urinary
infections or unexplained stomach pains.
Changes in behavior which can also indicate physical
abuse:-Fear of parents being approached for an
explanation; - Aggressive behavior or severe temper
outbursts; -Flinching when approached or touched;
-Reluctance to get changed, for example, wearing
long sleeves in hot weather; -Depression; -Withdrawn
behavior; -Running away from home.
|Emotional signs of abuse: The physical signs
of emotional abuse may include: -A failure to thrive
or grow particularly if a child puts on weight in
other circumstances e.g. in hospital or away from
their parents’ care; -Sudden speech disorders;
-Persistent tiredness;- Development delay, either in
terms of physical or emotional progress.
Changes in behavior which can also indicate
emotional abuse include:-Obsessions or phobias;
-Sudden under-achievement or lack of concentration;
-Inappropriate relationships with peers and/or
adults;-Being unable to play;-Attention seeking
behavior; -Fear of making mistakes;-Self-harm; -Fear
of parent being approached regarding their behavior.
|Sexual Abuse: The physical signs of sexual
abuse may include:-Pain or itching in the
genital/anal area; -Bruising or bleeding near
genital/anal areas; -Sexually transmitted disease;
-Vaginal discharge or infection; -Stomach pains,
-Discomfort when walking or sitting down;
Changes in behavior which can also indicate sexual
abuse include: Sudden or unexplained changes in
behavior e.g. becoming withdrawn or aggressive;
-Fear of being left with a specific person or group
of people; -Having nightmares; -Running away from
home; -Sexual knowledge which is beyond their age or
development al level; -Sexual drawings or language;
-Bedwetting; -Eating problems such as over-eating or
anorexia; -Self-harm or mutilation, sometimes
leading to suicide attempts; -Saying they have
secrets they cannot tell anyone about; -Substance or
drug abuse; -Suddenly having unexplained sources of
money; -Not allowed to have friends (particularly in
adolescence); -Acting in a sexually explicit way
|Neglect: The physical signs of neglect may
include:-Constant hunger, sometimes stealing food
from other children; -Constantly dirty or smelly;
-Loss of weight or being constantly underweight;
-Inappropriate dress for the conditions.
Changes in behavior
which can also indicate neglect include:-Complaining of being tired all the
time; -Not requesting medical assistance and/or
failing to attend appointments; -Having few friends;
-Mentioning being left alone or unsupervised.
3. What to do if you (OEC staff) suspect that
abuse may have occurred
- You must report the concerns immediately to OEC who will designates necessary person to:
- Obtain information from staff, volunteers,
children or parents and careers, who have child
protection concerns and to record this information.
- Assess the information quickly and carefully and
ask for further information as appropriate.
- They should also consult with a statutory child
protection such as parents association (PA) and
Child Club (CC) to clarify any doubts or worries.
- The designated person should make a referral to a
statutory child protection agency or the police
- The designated person has been nominated by OEC
to refer allegations or suspicions of neglect or
abuse to the statutory authorities, Commune
Committee for Women and Children (CCWC) and then to
the security police of the commune.
Suspicions will not be discussed with anyone
other than those nominated above.
- It is the right of any individual to make
direct referrals to the child protection agencies.
If for any reason you believe that the nominated
persons have not responded appropriately to your
concerns, then it is up to you to contact the CCWC
and commune security directly.
Allegations of physical injury or neglect
If a child has a symptom of physical injury
or neglect the designated person will:
1. Contact Social Services for advice in cases of
deliberate injury or concerns about the safety of
the child. The parents should not be informed by the
organization in these circumstances.
2. Where emergency medical attention is necessary it
will be sought immediately. The designated person in
cooperation with CCWC will inform the doctor of any
suspicions of abuse.
3. In other circumstances speak with the
parent/career/guardian and suggest that medical
help/attention is sought for the child. The doctor
will then initiate further action if necessary.
4. If appropriate the parent/career will be encouraged
to seek help from Social Services. If the
parent/care/guardian fails to act the designated
person should in case of real concern contact ADHOC
or LICHADO or LAC for assistance or advice.|
|Allegations of sexual abuse
In the event of allegations or suspicions of
sexual abuse the designated person will:
1. Contact the social worker for children, PA and CCWC
and families directly. The designated person will
not speak to anyone else.
2. If the designated person is unsure whether or not to
follow the above guidance then advice from the ADHOC
or LICHADO or LAC will be sought. In fact the two
first organizations have the duties to proceed the
affairs to the court.
3. Under no circumstances is the designated person attempt to
carry out any investigation into the allegation or
suspicions of sexual abuse. The role of the
designated person is to collect and clarify the
precise details of the allegation or suspicion and
to provide this information to ADHOC or LICHADO
whose task it is to investigate the matter and to
assist the victim legally.
4. Whilst allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse should
normally be reported to the designated person, their
absence should not delay referral first to security
police of the commune.
4. Responding to a child making an allegation of
- Stay calm, listen carefully to what is being said
- Find an appropriate early opportunity to explain
that it is likely that the information will need to
be share with others-do not promise to keep secrets
- Allow the child to continue at his/her own pace
- Ask questions for clarification only, and at
all-time avoid asking questions that suggest a
- Reassure the child that they have done the right
thing in telling you
- Tell them what you will do next and with whom the
information will be shared
- Record in writing what was said using the child’s
own words as soon as possible, note the date, time,
any names mentioned, to whom the information was
given and ensure that the record is signed and dated
Helpful statements to make
- I believe you (or showing acceptance of what the
- Thank you for telling me
- It’s not your fault
- I will help you
| Do not say
- Why didn’t you tell anyone before?
- I can’t believe it!
- Are you sure that this is true?
- Why? Who? When? Where?
- Never make false promises
| 5. What to do after a child has talked to you
- Make notes as soon as possible (ideally
within 1 hour of being told) you should write
down exactly what the child has said and what
you said in reply and what was happening
immediately before being told (i.e. the activity
being delivered) You should record the dates,
times and when you made the record. All hand
written notes should be kept securely.
- You should report your discussion with the
designated person as soon as possible. If this
person is implicated you need to report to the
CCWC, commune security and to ADHOC and LICHADO
for further assistance.
- You should under no circumstances discuss
your suspicions or allegations with anyone other
than those nominated above.
- After a child has disclosed abuse, the
designated persons should carefully consider
whether or not it is safe for a child to return
home to potentially abusive situation. On these
rare occasions it may be necessary to take
immediate action to contact Social and Women
Affairs of the lieu putting safety measures into
| 6. Recruitment and appointment of workers and
In recruiting and appointing
workers OEC will be responsible for the following:
- Identifying the tasks and responsibilities
involved and the type of person most suitable
for the job.
- Drawing up the Selection criteria
and putting together a list of essential and
desirable qualifications, skills and experience.
- All applicants should apply in writing and
their application will cover their personal
details, previous and current work/volunteering
- We will always send a copy of Statement of
Commitment with the application pack.
- We will make sure that we measure the
application against the selection criteria.
- All applicants need to sign a declaration
stating that there is no reason why they should
be considered unsuitable to work with children
under the age of 18. They are also required to
declare any pending case against them.
- We will ask for photographic evidence to
confirm the identity of the applicant.
- We will request to see documentation of any
qualifications detailed by the applicant.
- We will always interview our candidates; ask
for two references.
- We will at least three people from our
organization on the interview panel.
- We will request two written references from
people who are not family members or friends and
who have knowledge of the applicant’s
experience. We will ask the referee to also
comment on their suitability for working with
children. We will also try and follow up written
references with a telephone call.
- The same principles apply to young people
who have been involved with the organization and
have become volunteers.
| 7. Allegations against a member of staff
We will assure all staff/volunteers that it will
fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith
reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or
may be, abusing a child. Where there is a complaint
against a member of staff there may be three types
- A criminal investigation.
- A child protection investigation.
- A disciplinary or misconduct investigation.
The results of the police and child protection
investigation may well influence the disciplinary
investigation, but not necessarily.
| 8. Action if there are concerns
- Concerns about poor practice:
- If, following consideration, the allegation
is clearly about poor practice; this will be
dealt with as a misconduct issue.
- If the allegation is about poor practice by
the Designated Person or if the matter has been
handled inadequately and concerns remain, it
should be reported to the Management Committee
(MC) who will decide how to deal with the
allegation and whether or not the organization
should initiate disciplinary proceedings.
- Concerns about suspected abuse:
- Any suspicion that a child has been abused
by either a member of staff or a volunteer
should be reported to the Designated Person, who
will take such steps as considered necessary to
ensure the safety of the child in question and
any other child who may be at risk.
- The Designated person will refer the
allegation to the police.
- The parents or careers of the child will be
contacted as soon as possible for complete
- If the Designated Person is the subject of
the suspicion/allegation, the report must be
made to the MC who will refer first to local
authority of the lieu.
- Internal Enquiries and Suspension:
- The MC will make an immediate decision about
whether any individual accused of abuse should
be temporarily suspended pending further police
and social services inquiries.
- Irrespective of the findings of the social
services or police inquiries the organization
will assess all individual cases to decide
whether a member of staff or volunteer can be
reinstated and how this can be sensitively
handled. This may be a difficult decision;
particularly where there is insufficient
evidence to uphold any action by the police. In
such cases, the organization must reach a
decision based upon the available information
which could suggest that on a balance of
probability, it is more likely than not that the
allegation is true. The welfare of the child
should remain of paramount importance
| 9. Supervisory arrangements for the management
of OEC activities and services.
aim to protect children from abuse and our team
members from false allegations by adopting the
- We will keep a register of all children
attending our activities.
- We will keep a register of all team members
(both paid staff members and volunteers).
- We will keep a record of all sessions
including monitoring and evaluation records.
- Our team members will record any unusual
events on the accident/incident form.
- Written consent from a parent or guardian
will be obtained for every child attending our
- Where possible our team members should not
be alone with a child, although we recognize
that there may be times when this may be
necessary or helpful.
- We recognize that physical touch between
adults and children can be healthy and
acceptable in public places. However our team
members will be discouraged from this in
circumstances where an adult or child is left
- All team members should treat all children
with dignity and respect in both attitude
language and actions.
| 10. Support and Training