ActionAid Thailand is part of ActionAid International Federation. In all actions concerning children, the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration with an ActionAid country being committed to the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 and the Declaration of Human Rights 1948 both of which promote respect for the rights of children.

1. Scope

The scope of ActionAid’s Child Protection Policy applies to:

  • All ActionAid staff members, whether full time, part time or engaged on fixed-term contracts.
  • Consultants, interns, volunteers, board members, representatives of partner agencies and any other individuals, groups or organisations who have a formal/contractual relationship with ActionAid that involves any contact with children.
  • Donors, journalists, celebrities, politicians and other people who make contact with or communicate externally about children must be made aware that this Policy applies to them while visiting ActionAid programmes or offices.

2. Definitions

Child – Any person under the age of 18 years

Child abuse – Physical abuse of a child is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the intentional use of physical force against a child that results in – or has a high likelihood of resulting in – harm for the child’s health, survival, development or dignity. This includes hitting, beating, kicking, shaking, biting, strangling, scalding, burning, poisoning and suffocating. Much physical violence against children in the home is inflicted with the object of punishing.

Sexual abuse – Sexual abuse is defined as the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared, or else that violates the laws or social taboos of society.

Children can be sexually abused by both adults and other children who are – by virtue of their age or stage of development – in a position of responsibility, trust or power over the victim.

Emotional and psychological abuse – Emotional and psychological abuse involves both isolated incidents, as well as a pattern of failure over time on the part of a parent or caregiver to provide a developmentally appropriate and supportive environment. Acts in this category may have a high probability of damaging the child’s physical or mental health, or its physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. Abuse of this type includes: the restriction of movement; patterns of belittling, blaming, threatening, frightening, discriminating against or ridiculing; and other non-physical forms of rejection or hostile treatment.

Neglect – Neglect includes both isolated incidents, as well as a pattern of failure over time on the part of a parent or other family member to provide for the development and well-being of the child – where the parent is in a position to do so – in one or more of the following areas:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Emotional development
  • Nutrition
  • Shelter and safe living conditions

3. Principles

3.1 Our values

We adhere to clear values including mutual respect, equality and justice for all people. We do not tolerate any form of child abuse or exploitation. Children who come into contact with ActionAid Thailand must be protected from deliberate or unintended actions that place them at risk of child abuse, sexual exploitation, injury, discrimination and any other harm. This is the ethical standard we hold ourselves to and we expect the same for our partners and suppliers.

3.2 Our partners and suppliers

ActionAid partners should also follow ActionAid’s Child Protection Policy and it must be included as part of the partnership agreement or memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the partners. ActionAid partners, by the nature of their work, interact with vulnerable communities and children and will therefore be aware of sensitive information concerning children. This information may be called upon as evidence in child protection investigations or to inform decision-making.

Concerns regarding partners or suppliers must be reported immediately to the ActionAid representative who in turn will report them to the Country Director or the Secretary General (SG) for the Global Secretariat (GS).

– Whenever a Partner has concerns of abuse or exploitation, detailed notes of circumstances and dialogue must be included in records and kept confidential. These records may be used as evidence to save a child from abuse and exploitation.

– Concerns that are evidenced by impairment of health, physical injury, sexual exploitation, criminal activity or threats to children must be reported immediately to statutory child protection agencies or equivalent authorities.

4. Actions

4.1 Recruitment and selection

ActionAid recognises that appropriate and stringent recruitment and procurement procedures can prevent people who may pose a risk to children from gaining employment and thus minimise the risks of child abuse being committed by a member of staff, volunteer, consultant, partner or supplier.

The following should be reflected in Recruitment and Selection Procedures of ActionAid Countries/GS posts, including but not limited to memvers of staff, volunteers, and consultants:

– A clear Job Description and Person Specification for the role (staff, volunteer or consultant), which is properly assessed during selection.

– Two references for all staff members and volunteers, including their most recent employer (or school), to include the reason for leaving.

– Gaps in employment/education history should be explored at interview.

– Confirmation of identity.

– Local legal requirements for criminal record checks must be complied with.

A criminal record/police check is generally only necessary when a post requires unsupervised access to children as part of its normal duties. Therefore, wherever possible roles should be designed so they do not require this access.

4.2 Training

Appropriate and adequate training and refresher courses must be planned and implemented for staff members and partners working directly with children and those line managing them in the following areas:

– Local laws relating to child labour, abuse, exploitation and trafficking

– Contact details and information of various government authorities and bodies working in this area

– Information on how to recognise child abuse

– Procedures on how to report child abuse

4.3 Reporting procedures

– ActionAid is not a child protection agency and does not have the expertise to investigate or deal with allegations of child abuse.

– The responsibility of ActionAid is to take action to ensure the safety of the child by passing relevant information to the appropriate authorities or agencies.

– If the allegation involves a partner then an appropriate manager/contact within the partner organisation should be informed.

4.4 Compliance and dispute resolution

Compliance of the ActionAid’s Child Protection Policy lies firstly with ActionAid staff; with the overall responsibility of ensuring full compliance lying with Country Directors and the Secretary General for the Global Secretariat.

Breaches in the policy can lead to disciplinary action including possible dismissal. In case of any dispute, the interpretation of the Director of Finance and Operations will be final and binding.

All memorandums of understanding (MoU’s) with partner organisations or Consultancy Agreements should include this policy as an appendix when starting any long term project or when children will be involved. For partners and consultants, breaches can lead to termination of contractual & partnership agreements.

Where relevant, the appropriate legal or other frameworks as per the national laws will be referred to.

5. Policy adaptation and review

All ActionAid countries are to ensure that they align to this policy and their local labour laws regarding child protection. The review of this policy will be aligned with ActionAid’s strategic period or earlier if necessary due to urgent demand or need, legislative changes or structural changes to the Federation. The reviewed document and any recommended changes are to be submitted to the International Leadership Team (ILT) for approval prior to going to the Federations Leadership Team (FLT) for final approval.