One Life to Give Child Safeguarding Policy
One Life to Give (OLTG) is committed to American laws and a set of international resolutions, principles and standards that help create and maintain protective environments for children and safeguard and protect children against exploitation, abuse and child labour. It is a shared and collective responsibility of all OLTG staff to protect children from harm, and
1 OLTG has adopted this policy2 in recognition of its responsibilities as a non-profit foundation managing and implementing stabilization efforts in conflict and transitioning contexts, and as an entity funded by and acting on behalf of a range of donor governments.
Children are particularly at risk in the environments where OLTG works – contexts of humanitarian crises, conflicts, and transition. These environments and emergency situations lack proper infrastructure and rule of law, and often entail children being abandoned, on flight, injured or disabled, leaving them in a situation of minimal protection from their close ones or institutions set to safeguard and protect their rights.
While it is not possible for OLTG to eliminate all risks of child exploitation and abuse, careful management can reduce and mitigate the risks to children that may be associated with OLTG’s activities. These are identified during initial risk assessments and are managed for the whole duration of the OLTG activity. Moreover, OLTG will not employ a person if it is found that they are of concrete risk to children. OLTG’ recruitment procedures include a robust screening process for all personnel in contact with children, in the form of thorough reference checks and submission of criminal records for roles that involve working with children. OLTG will work to ensure that no children are put at risk through OLTG projects.
OLTG understands a child to be a person under the age of 18, in line with the UN Convention of the Rights
of a Child (UNCRC).
This Child Safeguarding Policy is a binding document4 applying to:
- OLTG staff, consultants, trainees, interns and volunteers, visitors, and anyone officially representing OLTG
Additionally, child safeguarding principles are included in the OLTG sub-contractor and implementing partner agreements, thereby also applying to:
- Organizations funded by or acting as an implementing partner to OLTG
- Sub-contractors engaged in OLTG operations
These contractual documents also include reference to OLTG whistleblowing and information on how and to whom OLTG partners can report any suspected misconduct or failure committed by OLTG staff or others representing or working for OLTG.
Child safeguarding principles are also outlined in the OLTG Child Safeguarding – Professional Behaviors and the Code of Conduct for OLTG staff, which all OLTG staff, trainees, volunteers, visitors and anyone representing OLTG, including consultants, are obligated to sign. Personnel who after investigation are found to have breached the Child Safeguarding – Professional Behaviors principles may be dismissed, suspended or transferred.
Child safeguarding standards and policies
In addition to American law, OLTG adheres to existing national laws in OLTG’s countries of operations, relating to inter alia child exploitation, child trafficking, abuse and child labour. OLTG staff or other acting on behalf of OLTG should abide by local legislation.
OLTG also adhere to the following international child safeguarding standards and UN policies:
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (resolution 44/25, 1990)
- Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (resolution 54/263, 2002)
- Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (resolution 54/263, 2002)
- Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959)
- International Labour Organization Convention 182 Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst
Forms of Child Labour (1999)
It is the duty of all OLTG personnel across all areas of work, to be risk aware, and to report any concerns of or possible breach of this policy.
Recognition of the best interest of the child
OLTG is committed to upholding children’s rights which entails a continuous reflection around and recognition of the best interest of the child, which not only includes safeguarding children’s rights, but also respecting and supporting children’s voice and wishes to ensure their safety, security and well-being are recognized and protected.
Zero tolerance of child exploitation and abuse
OLTG has a zero tolerance of child exploitation or abuse. This entails that OLTG and staff acting on OLTG’s behalf will neither support nor take part in any form of illegal, exploitative or abusive activities in their personal or work life, including, for example, child labour, child prostitution, trafficking, or other illegal and exploitative actions towards children. This also entails that persons who through risk assessments or recruitment procedures are understood to be posing an unacceptable risk to children, will be prevented from working with children and youth.
When taking images of children as part of project documentation, both photographs and videos, OLTG will ensure that these images are respectful, and that the children portrayed are adequately clothed. OLTG will request the consent of children and parents/guardians when taking images, and ensure to anonymize if the photograph or video is to be published.
OLTG will only hire workers over the age of 18 in any and all contexts. At the same time, OLTG recognizes the likely and high consequence risk of underage workers being engaged in projects that require a large number of manual laborers. OLTG also recognize the fact that child labour is not unusual in the countries where the organization works, and must therefore stay vigilant to detect any attempt to engage children in the workforce in a way that violates this policy. All partners to OLTG or third parties are contractually bound to ensure no child labour will be used in OLTG activities.
Work carried out by OLTG
In order to mitigate the risk of child labour in OLTG’s directly implemented projects, OLTG is working with the communities in target areas through steering committees to ensure that all workers are above the age of 18. No persons under the age of 18 will be hired at and by OLTG.
Work carried out through implementing partners
OLTG is conducting thorough appraisals and risk assessments of each and every project proposal to be supported through its funding mechanisms, or in other ways carried out by an implementing partner in some way or another representing or working on OLTG’s behalf. For operations or activities that target or involve youth or children, implementing partners undergo an organizational assessment prior to receiving funding. For local organizations, this includes a site visit and, where possible, background checks of the staff who will be working with children.
Reporting and whistleblowing on child safeguarding
All OLTG staff and others adhering to this policy have a duty to report any information received indicating a situation where any of the above principles are broken through one of the following reporting channels:
- 1) Through the Head of Program (either the Country Representative or Director)
- 2) Through OLTG Board of Directors
- 3) Through OLTG Contact
- 4) Through the established whistle-blowing channels as described in the OLTG website:
Any incident report must be made within 48 hours of an incident. Reporting response time is equally 48 hours. These timelines have been set to strengthen child safeguarding and ensure any serious risks are responded to in a timely manner. See the Incident Report Template at the end of this document.
When in doubt about whether an issue needs to be reported or not, confer with the Head of Program or OLTG Board of Directors.
Confidentiality of information will be respected. All child safeguarding concerns/reports/investigations will be dealt with on a need to know basis and all records will be held securely. Likewise, communication will be confidential and secure.
All reports and concerns will be properly considered and treated with discretion. OLTG will take all necessary steps against any form of retaliation suffered by staff or others reporting possible breaches of this policy. All OLTG staff are committed to protecting the identity of whistleblowers. All accusations of breach of the policy must be treated with care. False accusations could be used as a political tool, to damage the reputation of the organization, a single person or a group of persons.
Sanctions when breach
In the case of confirmed breach of the policy and the principles in the OLTG Child Safeguarding – Professional Behaviors there will be sanctions. The general rules are:
- Criminal acts reported to the police for further investigation.
- The child or children involved are secured proper follow-up, by the legal entity, social services,
caregiver, or the like.
- Disciplinary actions towards employees will follow, the main rule being dismissal.
- Termination of partnership: If partners do not participate and cooperate in the clarifications
of the allegations, and appropriate action is not taken, the partnership may be terminated.
Derogations from these general rules can only be decided by OLTG, and must be approved by the donor if applicable. Aspects to be considered are the gravity of the offense and risks related to the implementation of the sanctions.
DEFINITION OF TERMS5 Child is anyone under the age of 18 years.
Child safeguarding as a term refers to the internal policy and procedures to ensure that children are not placed at risk from both intentional and unintentional harm.
Child abuse consists of anything that individuals, institutions or processes may do or fail to do which directly or indirectly harms children or damages their prospect of safe and healthy development into adulthood. The main categories of abuse are defined by WHO as Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Neglect and Negligent Treatment, Sexual Abuse, and Exploitation.
Physical abuse involves the use of physical force (intentional or not) to cause actual or likely physical injury or suffering, (e.g. hitting, slapping, using a stick, shaking, pinching and kneeling for extended time).
Emotional or psychological abuse includes humiliating and degrading treatment such as bad name calling/insulting, constant criticism, belittling, persistent shaming, solitary confinement and isolation, like locking up a child in a room.
Sexual abuse includes all forms of sexual violence. This includes but is not restricted to incest, early and forced marriage, rape, involvement in pornography, and sexual slavery. Child sexual abuse may also include indecent touching or exposure, using sexually explicit language towards a child and showing children pornographic material.
Sexual exploitation means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.
Sexual activity with a child with or without their consent is child abuse and a crime. Consensual sexual activity with a child over the legal age of consent of the country in which she/he lives and/or in which the offense occurs, but below 18 years (although not a crime) will be dealt with as a breach of this Child Safeguarding Policy.
Economic exploitation means the use of a child in work and other activities for the benefit of others. This includes but is not limited to child labor, domestic labor, trafficking, child prostitution, or the recruitment of children into the army. It covers situations that interferes with the child’s education or that are harmful to a child’s health or physical, moral or social development.
5 These definitions are taken and adapted from the Save the Children’s Child Safeguarding policy.
To report an incident please print out the following form and return via email: