Presented By Apostle Innocent Akomas and delivered by Mrs Onyinyechi Nwosu of the Child Protection Network.
LEGAL FRAME-WORK FOR CHILD SAFEGUARDING POLICIES
There are international, national, regional and even state laws and guardians that seek to protect and safeguard children. These laws includes:-
- Convention of rights of children 1989 (International)
- African Chapter of the Rights and Welfare of Children 1999
- Child Right Acts 2003 (National)
- Child Rights Law 2006 (Abia State). Etc.
These laws promote three (3) principal goals for child’s protection and safeguarding which every home and association should have;
- Safety:- All children have the right to live in an environment free from abuse and neglect irrespective of their parents, background or disabilities i.e they have the right to live in a safe place. The safety of children is a paramount concern that concerns all child protection efforts.
- Permanency:- Children need a family and a permanent place to call home. A sense of continuity and collectedness is central to children’s health and development.
- Health and Wellbeing:- Children deserve nurturing families and environment in which their physical, emotional, educational, social and health needs are met.
PRINCIPLES FOR CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFEGUARDING
In identifying child abuse and neglects, there are guarding principles/indicators that point to child abuse;
- Overall Well-being of the Child:- We have to keep keen interest in the overall well-being and the possible risk of harm to the child. It is important to note that no child is completely disabled rather every child is differently able in one way or the other
- Best Interest of the Child:- It is understood that situations varies, so it is important to consider all available information about a particular child and the environment before we reach to a conclusion. Whatever thing we are doing for a child that is not in his/her best interest is done selfishly.
- Consultation & Conspiracy:- When there is any concern which is normal to feel worried, it is advisable to seek for consultation to the appropriate authorities especially when a child is being abused rather than self-confrontation.
- Safer Recruitment of Staffs:- For organizations that work with children, inclusive of child’s protection policies should be integrated into the training and induction programs of the staff.
All organizations who must employ staffs or volunteers to work with children should adopt a consistent safe recruitment process to engage personnel who have direct or indirect contact to children. The following engagement process should be observed:-
- An intending staff or volunteer should submit a minimum of two written character references by family/family members or previous employer or any person who has not less than two (2) years relationship with the candidate to prove that the person can actually stay with the children and they will be safe.
- He/she should also give a signed statement of commitment to the organization.
- Intending personnel should be mandated to depose the affidavit of good behaviour as regards his/her interaction with children.
- At least one member of the recruitment panel should have undergone training or be familiar with issues of child protection and safer recruitment.
- The principles of self-improvement should be included in the terms of contract drawn up between the organization and the staff, contractors or agencies.
- All organizations should carry out a background check of sex offenders register to clarify if the candidate have in any way violated or abuse the rights of a child before being employed or contracted.
It is to this end that the Child Safeguarding and Protection Policy should be developed to prescribe management systems in place, to create and maintain a safe environment for children. Thus, it is the priority for the government to set up and put systems or policies in place together with other appropriate child protection agencies in conjunction with schools, religious or worship centers and organizations to have the right child protection policies, or face children continue to being abused.
In a suggestive opinion, any school, religious or worship centres and organizations that do not have an approved child protection policy should not be allowed to function so as to have our children safeguarded.
Moreover, the best solution against all forms of child abuse is to take proactive measures instead of being reactive on matters concerning safeguarding and child protection rather than punishing the abusers while the abused lives with the trauma and stigma.