Child Safeguarding Policy

This document has been authorized by Governing Body, Executive Board and signed by staff members and has to be reviewed after the training in Budapest 2018.

Purpose

The Austrian National Committee for UNICEF upholds the declaration that the welfare of children is paramount and is absolutely committed to protecting the rights of children, including protecting children from all forms of abuse and exploitation. The Committee is dedicated to adhering to highest standards of ethical behavior when working with children and is directly linked to all other signed ethical frameworks and policies of the NatCom.

In order to protect the name of UNICEF, the agreed ethical standards of the NatCom and specially the children it is agreed, that each staff member presents an official Leumundszeugnis edited and certified by the local police authorities.

Legislative context

This Policy is governed by and should be interpreted in accordance with the laws and regulations of the national jurisdiction.

Application

This Policy applies to Board members, management and staff of the Austrian National Committee for UNICEF. It is also applies to third parties as stated in the ethical standards, e.g. contractors and consultants, etc as appropriate. Breach of this Policy constitutes an act of Misconduct and may be grounds for disciplinary action and/or termination of employment or termination of the relationship with the National Committee.

Consultation

Staff are consulted and involved in the design, introduction and implementation of the Child Safeguarding Policy and has to be individual signed and is therefore communicated to each. The board members and staff are familiar with the CRC. The Advocacy Officer should provide additional trainings as/if requested by staff or board members.

Definitions

Abuse
includes physical or mental violence, injury, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.

Board member
a member of the Governing Body, also referred to as Director or Trustee.

Child / Children
any person under 18 years of age.

Child safeguarding
a broad term describing the activities, standards of behavior, policies and procedures as they apply to the duty towards children, including the processes for minimizing risks of any form of Abuse.

Child Safeguarding Officer
the appointed position that receives reports of any breaches for this Policy and conducts appropriate Investigations. The function of the Child Safeguarding Officer is delegated to the Executive Director who consults with the head of advocacy of the NatCom. If the report concerns the Executive Director, then the breach of this Policy should be reported to the Chair of the Board.

Executive Management
the Executive Director and her/his direct reports.

Investigation
a search for evidence connecting or tending to connect a person or entity with conduct that infringes the law or National Committee policies, procedures and guidelines.

Member of staff
a member of staff or management of the National Committee, permanent or temporary.

Policy statements

Standards of conduct

1.1
Board members, Executive Management and Staff members must have a good understanding of the provisions and principles in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and shall always act in the best interest of Children.

1.2
All individuals, as specified in the Application part of this Policy, shall behave in accordance with the acceptable standards of behavior, and never in a way that may be abusive or put a Child at risk of abuse or exploitation.

Child participation in National Committee activities

1.3
Child participation in any activity should be voluntary and positive experience. Children should express their opinions freely and be given opportunities to be heard.

1.4
When children are participating in any National Committee-related fundraising, advocacy or communication activities, all necessary steps shall be taken to ensure they are protected from vulnerability.

1.5
All individuals shall ensure that any direct contact with Children is conducted in an open environment.

Field visits

1.6
Any visit to UNICEF country programs shall be pre-arranged, in accordance with the Field Visits Protocol for National Committees and any protocols established by the respective Field Office.

Photography

1.7
All individuals shall abide by the UNICEF Photography requirements for taking photographs or filming Children, when required in the course of their duties, including obtaining the necessary consents.

1.8
All care shall be taken to prevent unauthorised access or inappropriate use of stored images.

Recruitment

1.9
The National Committee is committed to thorough recruitment and selection processes, including the completion of any mandatory screening checks as required under the applicable Child protection legislation. This includes the recruitment of staff and volunteers for the Education for Development activities. Information and communication technology.

1.10
Personal information of Children recorded in internal systems shall be strictly accessible only by the staff involved in the projects concerned, and on a need-to-know basis. All care shall be taken to prevent unauthorised access or inappropriate use accordingly to applicable law.

1.11
The use of information and communication technology to access inappropriate material including content in any form linked to Child pornography, abuse or exploitation of women is strictly prohibited

Procedures

Reporting

2.1
Any individual who becomes aware of unacceptable conduct under this Policy should report the issue to the Executive Director as soon as he or she becomes aware of the issue.  In case the issue relates to the executive Director him or herself, a member of the governing body has to be named to accept the report and lead the further process.
Confidentiality and whistleblower protection provisions have to be secured according to applicable Angestelltengesetz.

2.2
In accordance with the UNICEF Policy, any concern or suspicion of sexual exploitation or sexual abuse of a Child by any individual employed by or directly affiliated with the National Committee or any related entity must be immediately reported to the Executive Director.

2.3
Any Board member or a Member of staff who may be implicated in a Child safeguarding report must not participate in any process regarding that particular issue except to present information on own behalf if required.

2.4
A report can be made in-person (verbally) but must be followed up in writing. The Executive Director confirms the details and acknowledges receipt of the report. The timeframe for this communication shall not exceed five working days.

2.5
Due to the seriousness of the matter, a report should not be made anonymously, however all reports will be treated with confidentiality to the maximum extent possible and the applicable national laws.

2.6
The report should describe in detail the specific facts demonstrating the basis for the report or belief that unacceptable conduct has occurred. This should include the background, the nature of issue, the reasons for the concern, relevant dates, names of individuals, and other relevant facts as appropriate.

Investigation

3.1
The Child Safeguarding Officer thoroughly examines the details of the disclosure and decides whether there are grounds for proceeding with the Investigation. If no further action or Investigation is to follow, an explanation for the decision shall be provided to the person making the report within five working days. Where grounds are found to exist, the Executive Director will investigate.

3.2
The Child Safeguarding Officer shall advise the individual who is subject of the report of the Investigation process, including but not limited to the structure of the Investigation, timeframes, roles and responsibilities, the appeal process and other relevant matters. The timeframe for this communication shall not exceed ten working days, unless there are circumstances that require this communication to be delayed.

3.3
An Investigation should not take longer than one month to complete from the date of receipt of the original report. However, if the nature of Investigation is such that the process exceeds this timeframe, all parties shall be informed of the progress on regular intervals as appropriate.

Outcome of Investigation

4.1
The Executive Director shall determine, following an Investigation, an appropriate response to the report of breach of this Policy. If administrative or disciplinary action is recommended as an outcome, it shall be actioned through the National Committee’s Board in line with disciplinary rules and procedures of applicable law.

4.2
Any occurrence of Child Abuse, where grounds are found to exist, will be reported to the relevant law enforcement and/or Child protection authorities for possible criminal proceedings (unless already reported when the incident occurred).

4.3
Advice, support and counselling, or information on how to access such support services, should be provided to all individuals concerned, where appropriate.

Appeal

5.1
An individual who is not satisfied with the outcome of the Investigation may appeal against the decision. The timeframe for lodging the appeal shall not exceed ten working days. In case of an Appeal an auditing committee has to be build, including one member of executive board and one member of governing board but excluding the lead person of the initial process.

Recording and monitoring

6.1
The Executive Director establishes a process for recording and storing reports of breaches of this Policy. Board members and Members of Executive Management and staff members involved will have access to the relevant records, especially as they pertain to their personal information. All records should be treated as confidential and kept in accordance with the data protection legislation, as applicable.

6.1.1
In exceptional circumstances, the issue needs to be brought to the immediate attention of the Chair of the Board (e.g. reputational risk to the organization through imminent media reporting). This should be done in a manner that preserves confidentiality to the extent possible.

6.2
The Executive Director provides feedback to the Board on a regular basis on this process, its effectiveness and the implementation of any suggested procedural improvements.

Responsibilities

7.1
It is the responsibility of the Executive Director to ensure the effective implementation of this Policy, and it is the responsibility of the Executive Director to maintain this Policy and any associated documents.

7.2
It is the responsibility of the Executive Board to ensure that the briefing on Child safeguarding issues and this Policy is included in the induction programs for new Board members, Executive Management, staff and volunteers and third parties as appropriate.

Review

8.1
This Policy is scheduled for review after the training in Budapest 2018. The review will be conducted jointly by all staff members. Results will be subject to executive board and governing body for further recommendations and formal adoption.

8.2.
This Policy was formal adopted by the General Assembly ( December 2018 ) of the Austrian National Committee for UNICEF.

Any ammendments and revisions in the following years will be subject to the GA for formal adoptions.

Beschluss GV 2018
Beschluss GV 2019
Beschluss GV 2020
Neuvorlage: GV 2021