This policy is to be read by and discussed with all staff and volunteers working with Winds of Hope and its partners.
Winds of Hope has an obligation to do the best it can to keep children safe from harm and abuse. As an Australian based organisation working overseas, it adheres to both Australian legal standards, as well as laws outlined in its countries of operation, to implement Child Safe Standards to protect children from harm.
With many of its projects focused on working with children to provide benevolent relief, Winds of Hope and its current partners must take steps to prevent abuse. We cannot assume that child abuse does not, and cannot, happen within our organisation.
In protecting the rights of children, Winds of Hope and its partners aim to:
• Promote the safety of children
• Prevent child abuse
• Ensure effective processes are in place to respond to and report all allegations of child abuse
Winds of Hope and its partners’ policy works to:
• Embed child safety in everyday thinking and practice
• Provide a minimum standard of child safety across all organisations and operations
• Highlight the vital role of keeping children safe from abuse
• Help ensure the cultural safety of African children
• Help ensure the safety of children with disabilities
Governance & Leadership
Winds of Hope and its partners employ strong and clear governance arrangements to ensure child safety is a focus within the organisation at all times. This includes:
• Embedding a culture that makes child safety paramount
• Applying strong governance, documenting how duty of care responsibilities to children will be met
• Making child safety a top priority in all operations
• Taking a zero-tolerance approach to child abuse
• Respecting, embracing and supporting the diversity of children
It ensures these principles by:
• Prioritising the safety and best interests of the children it works with
• Understanding the nature and risks of child abuse and taking deliberate action to protect children
• Removing all barriers to reporting child abuse
• Ensuring all leaders, staff and volunteers of the organisation are equipped with adequate training on child protection and complete necessary working with children checks prior to undertaking any project associated with children
Upholding Child Safety Policy
Winds of Hope and its partners collectively and individually ensure its child safety policies are upheld by:
• Making its Working With Children policy publicly available
• Making its policy clear and well communicated to staff, volunteers, children, families and the community
• Requiring all volunteers uphold this approach as part of the preliminary application and induction processes.
Code of Conduct
Winds of Hope and its partners help ensure the safety of children by implementing these standards as part of a code of conduct, which all staff and volunteers are required to understand and sign prior to undertaking any work
with Winds of Hope and its partners. These codes of conduct are available on both websites of the Winds of Hope’s partners.
Strong human resource practices, such as screening, supervision and training, can help reduce the risk of child abuse by new or existing staff or volunteers. Winds of Hope and its partners take the following key steps in
minimising risk to child safety:
• Promoting a commitment to child safety
• Implementing robust recruitment and assessment of all staff and volunteers to engage only the most suitable people
• Providing high quality supervision and professional development for staff and volunteers
Recruitment and assessment measures include:
• Communicating key selection criteria when recruiting volunteers
• Screen potential staff and volunteers to identify and avoid recruiting people who are not suitable to work children using a Working with Children Check, police checks, referee checks and identity checks Supervision and professional development practices include:
• Induction (carried out by Winds of Hope and its partners) for all new staff and volunteers, including discussion about child safety and the code of conduct
• Formal and informal supervision and mentoring at all projects
• Training opportunities
Responding and Reporting
Winds of Hope undertakes work with children within its partnering countries of operation. Therefore, it adheres to the response and reporting procedures implemented by its partners, which are the subject of standards enforced by
respective government authorities. Winds of Hope ensures that these standards are in line with child safety reporting processes outlined by the Australian Commission for Children and Young People.
Winds of Hope and its partners ensure that children who disclose that they are feeling unsafe or being abused must be heard, must be taken seriously and must be treated with sensitivity and compassion. The key steps taken in
the reporting processes outline:
• Types of behaviours or concerns that need to be reported
• The notification process within the organisation for reporting a child safety concern
• An internal investigation and recording process
• Clear procedures for reporting suspected criminal child abuse to the police or Child Welfare Ministries as soon as possible.
Winds of Hope and its partners believe all children have the right to be heard and have their concerns and ideas taken seriously, particularly on matters that affect them. Ideas on ensuring their own safety are no different.
All projects enable and promote the participation of children by:
• Supporting them to understand their rights through education
• Promoting and encouraging children’s participation in decision-making
• Valuing and respecting children’s views opinions and seeking their views
• Establishing an environment of trust and inclusion that enables children to ask questions and speak up if they have concerns about their safety Winds of Hope and its partners see the empowerment of children and all beneficiaries as beneficial to its overall development goals for:
• Promoting good practice, safety and governance
• Providing a safe environment for all children and participants to further its efforts to foster development
• Research appraisal, whereby obtaining valuable information about a child’s experience for the sake of benefiting a particular program or project in the community
Winds of Hope and its partners take all necessary steps to ensure its practices are compliant with standards enforced by Australian and Ugandan laws. This includes procedures for identifying, assessing, evaluating and removing risks, as well as reviewing and improving strategies on a regular basis. This policy is also made publicly available via Winds of Hope’s website, and reviewed annually at its Annual General Meeting (AGM).