Statement of Commitment to Child Protection
The Statement of Commitment to Child Protection and Code of Conduct contains expectations that apply to all Compassion affiliates, partners, and representatives, namely all board and staff members, volunteers, contractors, and sub-contractors of Compassion International, Inc., the Global Partner Alliance, and all Implementing Church Partners as well as visitors with direct contact with beneficiaries.
This information outlines the minimum content of the approved Statement of Commitment to Child Protection within Compassion International globally. The code of conduct details the behavior expectations for interactions with beneficiaries. Field Offices and Global Partners may translate, clarify language, contextualize or add to this document as long as these minimum standards are maintained. The Statement of Commitment and Code of Conduct should be in all cases be a stand-alone document that should not be integrated into other releases or signatory document.
The authority for the establishment of a code of conduct and statement of commitment to child protection can be found in Board Policy 5.2.1 and Management Policy 102, “Global Child Protection.” These policies set the expectation for the development and maintenance of a statement of commitment to child protection and a code of conduct that is applicable for anyone interacting with beneficiaries. Everyone signing the statement of commitment to child protection and code of conduct is expected to have a thorough knowledge of these and to follow the standards and guidelines stipulated in the code of conduct and statement of commitment. The Management Policy also dictates that the consequences for violating the code of conduct and other policies related to child protection include “grounds for disciplinary action and/or termination of employment or relationship.”
Expected / Acceptable Behaviors
- I will demonstrate the proper respect and dignity of all children and will demonstrate Jesus’s love and care for them, regardless of their gender, age, race, religion, social background, culture, special need or disability.
- I will maintain appropriate and reasonable expectations for children based on their age and ability level. (For example, it is developmentally normal for a three-year-old to become upset easily when they are tired but we could expect a teenager to manage their emotions even when they are very tired.)
- I will engage in age-appropriate communication with beneficiaries.
- I will submit to the appropriate background or police checks as permissible by law prior to face-to-face contact with beneficiaries (at minimum – an employee may be requested to comply with background/police checks at hire).
- I will engage in activities with beneficiaries only in open or visible places, and in the event that an activity needs to take place in an enclosed space, I will ensure that at least one other approved adult is present.
- If I witness child abuse, know a child is in danger, observe any concerning behaviors from colleagues, partners or other representatives, or a child comes to me with a report of abuse, I will take it seriously and report it to the proper staff or relevant authorities. I will seek to do everything within my power to ensure the child is out of danger.
- I will keep all information about child protection investigations confidential, keeping in mind privacy and dignity concerns of all involved.
- If requested, I will comply with child protection related investigations and make available any documentation or other information necessary for the completion of the investigation.
- I will contribute to building an environment where children are respected and encouraged to discuss their concerns and rights.
- I will follow Compassion’s rules about communication with beneficiaries, including social media interaction.
- I will follow dignity standards (for example, only recording children who are dressed appropriately, understand they are being recorded, etc.) regarding child photography and videography.
- I will be careful about my appearance, language, action, to ensure that my behavior demonstrates a respect for beneficiaries and their families, their culture and their rights and follow recommendations provided.
- I will not solicit a romantic/dating relationship and will never engage in sexual/sexually suggestive behavior with any beneficiary, regardless of age.
- I will never engage in sexual/sexually suggestive behavior with any child under age 18, regardless of the legal age of consent in-country.
- I will never use language that is verbally/emotionally abusive, sexually suggestive, degrading, humiliating, shaming or is otherwise culturally inappropriate with a beneficiary.
- I will not touch (some examples include kissing, cuddling, picking up, holding, etc.) beneficiaries in an inappropriate or culturally insensitive way.
- I will never use any kind of physical discipline or physical punishment (some examples include whipping, caning, slapping, forcing punitive exercise, and other types of corporal punishment) as a method of correction for beneficiaries.
- I will never travel alone with a beneficiary, without an approved representative or prior approval, except in a life-threatening emergency where circumstances require immediate movement.
- I will not hire any child in any harmful form of child labor and follow local laws regarding child employment.
- I will never visit a beneficiary, their caregiver(s)and/or church outside the bounds of acceptable program or tours and visits standards.
- I will not gather, disclose or support the disclosure of information about beneficiaries or their families without prior, express permission that contains private or privileged content such as physical, mental or emotional health status, financial data, history of abuse or exploitation, or any portrayal that does not meet Compassion’s identified dignity standards. Additionally, I will not disclose information that might allow a beneficiary or their family to be physically located (such as a map to their home, home address, or geo-tag to their location in a photograph. I understand that disclosure includes content published in any print or digital form on any public or private platform.
- I will not condone or participate in illegal, unsafe or abusive behavior of any child, including exploitation, trafficking, harmful traditional practices, and spiritual or ritualistic abuse.
I, ____________________________________, acknowledge that:
- I have received a copy of Compassion International’s Code of Conduct on Child Protection.
- I recognize that the Code of Conduct outlines Compassion International’s expectations of me in my service, participation, and/or association with Compassion International.
- I have read and fully understand the content of the Code of Conduct.
- I have received training on the interpretation and application of the Code of Conduct.
- I have been given the opportunity to ask questions about any elements that I did not understand.
- I am aware that if I violate the Code of Conduct then I may be subject to organizational disciplinary measures including termination of employment, partnership, sponsorship, and any other associations I have with Compassion International.
- I understand that any violation by me may subject me to civil and/or criminal proceedings according to applicable local laws, as well as US and/or Global Partner country laws applicable to citizens travelling abroad.
I, _________________________________________, do hereby commit myself to fully abide by all elements of Compassion International’s Code of Conduct on Child Protect as they relate to my service, employment, participation, and/or association with Compassion International, its employees, beneficiaries, associates, and partners.