Polylogos is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children and young people. We recognise our responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promote safe practice and to protect children from harm, abuse and exploitation. Polylogos acknowledges its duty to act appropriately to any allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse.
For the purposes of the present policy, any person under the age of eighteen years is a child.
Paid staff and volunteers will strive to work together to ensure a healthy work environment, which embraces difference and diversity, and respects the rights of children, young people and adults.
The purpose of this policy
is (1) to protect children and young people who receive services from Polylogos, including children of adults who use our services; and (2) to provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection, and to ensure that all staff and volunteers abide by these standards.
Polylogos believes that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind. We understand and assume the responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, and to keep them safe. We are committed to working in a way that protects them as they grow, mature and are challenged in a healthy and safe environment.
Our objectives are
- to provide activities for children and young people that help them develop from childhood into adulthood, and to support them in this process.
- to enable the children to express themselves in a free and healthy way.
- to assist the children in integrating into the larger community.
- to help children and young people appreciate the diversity of their cultures.
We recognise that
- The welfare of the child is paramount;
- All children, regardless of age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to equality and to protection from abuse;
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
- All members and employees of the organisation should be clear on how to respond appropriately to such suspicions and allegations.
Screening and Hiring Practices
Polylogos establishes and sustains proper hiring and volunteer, internship selection practices, including completed applications and reference checks. For collaborators, volunteers, interns and staff involved in projects that directly involve children, Polylogos also conducts criminal background checks, social security checks and documented personnel files, with specific reference to the Child Protection Policy.
All prospective staff members, volunteers and interns will be requested to provide information about past work history, volunteer experience, and education.
All application forms will include a statement explaining that Polylogos has a zero tolerance for any emotional, verbal, physical or sexual abuse, and any other kinds of inappropriate behaviour by staff members.
Principles of Conduct when coming in contact or working with children
- Prior to performing any work duties, staff members, volunteers and interns will sign and date a copy of the Child Protection Policy.
- The Child Protection Policy will be maintained in the personnel file and is annexed to the employment contracts of staff, volunteers and interns.
- The core team and board of mentors at Polylogos will review the Child Protection Policy once a year, and share it with all staff, volunteers and interns, who will be requested to sign it.
- All external collaborators and associates who work or may come in contact with children through the organisation’s activities, will be provided a copy of the Child Protection Policy and will be requested to sign it prior to any involvement.
- Polylogos’ Code of Conduct includes the procedures for data collection and treatment of data about children and young people. Data privacy and protection issues shall comply with relevant EU rules (especially the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679. If personal data about children and young people needs to be collected, written informed consent will be sought from their parents or legal guardians. The data will be collected and used only for the specific purposes for which they are provided. Staff working directly with children and needing to collect personal data about children or young people shall refer to the Data Protection Policy of Polylogos and to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679. Polylogos does not share the personal data it collects with any other entity, unless formal explicit consent is given for this.
- Staff, volunteers or interns who may come in contact with personal data of research participants is required to sign a declaration of confidentiality before engaging in research. The declaration of confidentiality is specific to each case/project.
- All publications must comply with the Child Protection Policy, before being publicised or shared.
- Data, including images, of children and young people are only collected if strictly necessary and foreseen as specific activity or project implemented by Polylogos. Their use is therefore only limited to the duration of the project, and to the specific purpose for which they were collected. Prior to any collection or sharing of data, Polylogos will always seek permission from the child’s parents or legal guardians, as well as approval from the child. Explicit consent from the child’s parents or legal guardians and themselves is a prerequisite for gathering or sharing any data about the child, in accordance with GDPR and national law. Acquired images and data are stored on Polylogos’ local server and are accessible only by the staff, volunteers and interns who have signed the Child Protection Policy, and therefore have credentials to access these.
- The rules and expectations stated in this Child Protection Policy will be shared with each new staff member, volunteer and intern, and will be regularly reinforced with existing staff, volunteers and interns. This will be included in the induction training, as well being enforced through specific children’s rights and child protection trainings.
- All members of staff, volunteers, interns, external collaborators and associates have the obligation to report any suspicion or knowledge of child abuse. Staff, volunteers and interns are instructed to report any perceived gaps between policy and practice. Staff, volunteers and interns working directly or coming in contact with children will be instructed on the correct procedures to follow in case they suspect or have knowledge of a situation of child abuse.
- Reporting of suspected breach of the Child Protection Policy, follows a standard procedure, which all staff, volunteers and interns will be instructed on as part of the induction training. The reports will be received and managed by Polylogos’ Child Protection Policy Officer, a role currently held by Violeta Altmann (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Any member of staff, volunteer, intern, external collaborator or associate found in breach of the Child Protection Policy, will be immediately suspended from their position, pending investigation, internal or by statutory authorities depending on the specific case. Disciplinary action will be undertaken, including and up to termination of employment/cessation of the professional engagement with Polylogos. In case of an alleged or certain crime, the staff will be immediately removed from their position and their contract terminated.
Children’s Rights Training
All staff members (at minimum, all staff members, volunteers, and interns working directly with children and youth) will participate in a comprehensive initial children’s rights and child abuse prevention training, and in further training throughout their employment period, which includes information on the Rights of the Children (UNCRC, Lanzarote Convention, National regulation), Communicating with Children, Sexual abuse, Prevention, Early Identification, Responding, Documenting, and Reporting.
External collaborators and associates who may come in contact with children and young people in the fulfilment of their tasks as assigned by Polylogos will be obliged to take part in the same children’s rights and child abuse prevention training.
This policy was adopted by Polylogos, and signed on behalf of the core team.