Church & Spiritual Details
Please read through the following policies and indicate your agreement.
Child Protection Policy
CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
1.1.1 Policy Statement
The Hillsong Africa Foundation (HAF) supports and upholds the rights of children as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC 1989), and the South African Children’s Act 38 of 2005. We take our duty of care seriously and place priority on providing a safe environment where children are protected from harm, abuse and/or exploitation. We believe that protecting the most vulnerable is evidence of our love for God and all of His creation.
1.1.2 Purpose of Policy
This Child Protection Policy (CPP) has been developed to:
1. Demonstrate HAF’s commitment to protect children from harm and abuse;
2. Prevent the abuse of children through risk management strategies;
3. Educate staff, partners, volunteers and others about child abuse;
4. Provide a clear Child Protection Code of Conduct which must be adhered to by all staff and others;
5. Provide guidance on how to report and respond to concerns and allegations of child abuse.
This Policy also supports the rights and wellbeing of HAF staff, volunteers and other key groups and safeguards them from allegations that can arise from careless and unwise behaviour. It encourages active participation of the staff and leaders in building and maintaining a secure environment.
1.1.3 Guiding Principles
HAF is committed to preventing child abuse and to be an agent of healing and justice. We will therefore ensure that children are nurtured and protected from any harm or abuse.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the universal foundation for child protection. The fundamental principle of the Convention is that children have their own indivisible rights. Moreover, article 19 states that ‘State Parties shall protect the child from all forms of physical and mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse’.
The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 is the foundation for child protection in South Africa. The fundamental principal of the Act is that children have their own invisible constitutional rights, namely
a) the protection from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation;
b) that the best interests of a child are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child;
(c) to make provision for structures, services and means for promoting and monitoring the sound physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional and social development of children;
d) to strengthen and develop community structures which can assist in providing care and protection for children;
e) to protect children from discrimination, exploitation and any other physical, emotional or moral harm or hazards;
f) to provide care and protection to children who are in need of care and protection;
g) to recognize the special needs that children with disabilities may have; and
h) to promote the protection, development and well-being of children.
1.1.4 Scope of Policy
This policy applies to all staff, volunteers and other key groups.
● ‘Staff’ refers to: full time, part time, international and national and also those engaged on short term contracts such as: interns, learner-ships, consultancies, researchers, photographers etc.
● ‘Volunteers’ refers to: full or part time volunteers.
● ‘Others’ or ‘Other Key Groups’ refers to: visitors and any other individuals or groups that have contact with the organisation. Partnership Agencies of Hillsong Africa Foundation must have a child protection policy and processes that are to the same or higher standards as HAF.
1.1.5 Child Protection Risk Management
HAF recognizes that there are a number of potential risks to children in the delivery of our programs to the vulnerable and disadvantaged. In recognizing these risks, HAF proactively assesses and manages these risks to children in our programs to reduce the risk of harm. This is achieved by examining each program and its potential impact on children. Programs that involve direct work with children are considered a higher risk, and therefore require more stringent child protection procedures. However, as children are part of every community in which we work, we are always mindful of potential risks.
220.127.116.11 Duty of Care: is a common law concept that refers to the responsibility of the organisation to provide children with an adequate level of protection against harm. It is the duty of the organisation to protect children from all reasonably foreseeable risk of injury.
18.104.22.168 Child Abuse: any form of harm or ill-treatment deliberately inflicted on a child and includes—
(a) assaulting a child or inflicting any other form of deliberate injury to a child;
(b) sexually abusing a child or allowing a child to be sexually abused;
(c) bullying by another child;
(d) a labour practice that exploits a child; or
(e) exposing or subjecting a child to behaviour that may harm the child psychologically or emotionally
22.214.171.124 Child Labour: means work by a child which—
(a) is exploitative, hazardous or otherwise inappropriate for a person of that age; and
(b) places at risk the child’s wellbeing, education, physical or mental health, or spiritual, moral, emotional or social development
126.96.36.199 Contact: in relation to a child means—
(a) maintaining a personal relationship with the child; and
(b) if the child lives with someone else—
(i) communication on a regular basis with the child in person, including—
(aa) visiting the child; or
(bb) being visited by the child; or
(ii) communication on a regular basis with the child in any other manner, including—
(aa) through the post; or
(bb) by telephone or any other form of electronic communication
188.8.131.52 Exploitation: in relation to a child includes—
(a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, including debt bondage or forced marriage;
(b) sexual exploitation;
(d) forced labour or services;
(e) child labour prohibited in terms of section 141; and
(f) the removal of body parts
184.108.40.206 Neglect: in relation to a child, means a failure in the exercise of parental responsibilities to provide for the child’s basic physical, intellectual, emotional or social needs
220.127.116.11 Sexual Abuse: in relation to a child means—
(a) sexually molesting or assaulting a child or allowing a child to be sexually molested or assaulted;
(b) encouraging, inducing or forcing a child to be used for the sexual gratification of another person;
(c) using a child in or deliberately exposing a child to sexual activities or pornography; or
(d) procuring or allowing a child to be procured for commercial sexual exploitation or in any way participating or assisting in the commercial sexual exploitation of a child
18.104.22.168 Trafficking: in relation to a child means—
(a) the recruitment, sale, supply, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children, within or across the borders of the Republic—
(i) by any means, including the use of threat, force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or the giving of receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control of a child; or
(ii) due to a position of vulnerability, for the purpose of exploitation; and
(b) includes the adoption of a child facilitated or secured through illegal means
22.214.171.124 Children: For the sake of this document, ‘children’ are regarded to be any person under the age of 18 year, as per South African law.
126.96.36.199 Child Protection – Child Protection is the term used to describe the responsibilities and activities undertaken to prevent or stop children being abused or maltreated.
South Africa is ranked 119th on the Human Development Index and faces many obstacles to its development, stemming from:
● its low levels of economic development
● high unemployment
● internal conflict
● epidemics such as HIV/AIDS
● natural disasters
● lack of infrastructure
HAF’s projects are predominantly located in shantytowns without basic services. These communities are highly impoverished by unemployment, substance abuse, malnutrition, crime and inadequate housing. The children whom participate and interact with HAF’s projects are from diverse backgrounds and circumstances, and thus a variety of risks are associated with implementing such projects. Such risks include working with young children, potential to work with orphaned and abandoned children, activities involving physical contact and rotations of volunteers. Environmental risks include exposures to alcohol, drug abuse, gangsterism, domestic and criminal violence and abuse.
1.3.1 Recruitment, Policy Distribution and Management
HAF is committed to child safe recruitment, selection and screening practices. These practices aim to recruit the safest and most suitable people to work as staff or volunteers in our programs. Our child safe practices include:
● Promoting our child safe commitment on our website, in other promotional materials and in all job advertisements. Further job descriptions describe key selection criteria and outline tasks and accountabilities.
● All applicants for staff or volunteer positions will be required of the following:
○ Submission of a detailed application form and/or resume including details of previous/current employment, education and experience.
○ An interview, ideally face-to-face.
○ X2 Reference checks from approved referees (all applicants must include last employer, no referees can be family members)
○ Police clearance documentation, not older than 3 months.
○ Signed CPP, indicating they have read and understand the policy in full.
● All staff and volunteer positions will be assessed for the level for risk in relation to contact with children. Positions working directly with children are considered ‘high risk’ and therefore will require the highest level of screening, including:
○ Asking child safety screening questions in interviews.
○ Specific questions to referees about their suitability to work with/be in contact with children.
○ Extra training about child protection and procedures.
● All staff and volunteer positions will be subject to a probationary period, which ranges from 3-6 months.
● HAF reserves the right to refuse employment or volunteer status to or terminate any person’s employment or volunteer status that may pose a risk to children.
● All signed CPP policies, with their respectful police clearance documentation and interview forms are kept on file.
1.3.2 Code of Conduct
All staff, volunteers and others are required to read and sign the Child Protection Code of Conduct (see Appendix 1.5.1)
1.3.3 Communications Policy
HAF will at all times portray children in a respectful, appropriate and consensual way.
● Right to privacy, dignity and respect: A child has the right to have all private and personal information kept confidential, including full names, school names, exact locations, or medical conditions. Images and related media may not disclose the child’s HIV status. This is a criminal offence in South Africa.
○ A child should always be portrayed in a dignified and respectful manner and not in a vulnerable or submissive manner. Children should be adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive.
○ Children should be portrayed as part of their community.
○ Local cultural traditions should be assessed regarding restrictions for reproducing personal images.
○ Images should be an honest representation of the context and the facts.
○ When sending images electronically, file labels should not reveal identifying information.
○ All photographers will be screened for their suitability, including police checks where appropriate.
● Right to safety: Children have the right to be safe and adults have the responsibility to ensure this safety. Any publication or dissemination of information that might put them at risk is not permitted. Any information that makes them appear or feel different from their peers may make them vulnerable and thus is not permitted.
● Right to ownership of intellectual property: Children own the materials such as drawings and writings they have made and can decide how they should be used – under adult guidance and with permission from parents or guardians.
○ When taking photos or recording stories of a child, consent must be gained from a parent or guardian.
○ Written consent must be acquired when:
- When a child’s story is being told or they are the main focal point of a photo.
- When photographing children in the context of politically or culturally sensitive issues.
- Taking images or video of individuals in private or clinical settings.
○ If it is not possible to gain consent then the photo or story will not be used. There should be no identifying information (Full names, school names, exact locations, or medical conditions) of the child used in the publication of images.
1.3.4 Reporting Mechanisms
HAF considers the abuse and exploitation of children to be completely unacceptable. We will take all concerns and reports of child abuse seriously and act on these reports immediately. It is mandatory for all staff, volunteers and others to report concerns or allegations of child abuse. These concerns may relate to a child, volunteer or staff member involved in the organisation or a concern about a child or person/s outside of the organisation’s programs. If you do have a concern, you should immediately follow child abuse reporting procedures.
Who should report?
All staff, volunteers and others including people in the community and partner organisations.
What should be reported?
● Any disclosure or allegation from anyone regarding the safety or wellbeing of a child.
● Any belief of suspicion that a child is being abused, exploited, groomed or is at risk of significant harm.
● Any observation or concerning behaviour exhibited by the HAF staff, volunteer or other relevant stakeholder that breaches the code of conduct for working with children.
● Inappropriate use of the organisation’s photographic equipment or computers including evidence of child pornography.
● Staff engaging in suspicious behaviour that could be associated with sexual exploitation or trafficking.
● When a child discloses or implies abuse, let them talk but don’t ask questions. Your questioning the child could cause confusion and contaminate evidence and allow the abuser to be set free.
● Be a supportive friend to the child while leaving the investigation process to those with authority. Reassure the child that they have done the right thing and you will help them. Your encouragement and support could be particularly important to the child and provide a stable relationship in a time of intense turmoil and conflict.
● Explain to the child that you cannot give your word that you will keep the information confidential as you are obliged to inform persons in authority.
● As soon as practical (not in front of the child), record details of your conversation and contact the HAF Project Coordinator and/or HAF Chief Operational Officer.
● It is not your role to judge or asses if a child has been abused, but rather to report forward. We have neither authority nor justification to act independently in dealing with abuse. This responsibility belongs to Child Protection Services and the Police. We must at all times cooperate with the authorities that society has appointed to investigate abuse and manage its impacts.
● Child abuse is often underreported in South Africa dues to lack of capacity and ability of young children to report abuse to authorities, fear of being harmed, and social acceptance of practices like corporal punishment and sexual harassment.
How and who to report to?
● Reports can be made through the link “HAF Confidential Incident Report”
● If you do make a report please inform the HAF Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, who will then launch a response in alignment to our procedure stated below in ‘What happens when I report?’
Phone: +27 021 801 0001
Address: 1 Kinetic Way, Century City, Cape Town, 7446
● If the allegation is against the HAF Monitoring and Evaluation Officer then please inform the HAF Chief Operational Officer
Phone: +27 021 801 0001
Address: 1 Kinetic Way, Century City, Cape Town, 7446
● If you are not satisfied with HAF’s response, you may submit an external report to the South African Department of Social Development:
What happens when I report?
Upon submission of a Confidential Incident Report, the Hillsong Africa Foundation will launch an internal investigation and will determine what action should be taken based on the severity of the allegation and in consultation with relevant parties.
HAF will take the following steps when a belief or suspicion of child abuse or exploitation is reported:
1. An internal investigation is launched:
The HAF Monitoring and Evaluation Officer (HM&EO) will act immediately by launching an investigation and developing an investigation plan. All reports will be appropriately investigated no matter who the alleged perpetrator is. The HM&EO will lead the investigation with other members of senior management and if deemed appropriate a HAF board member. The HM&EO will ensure relevant laws and legislative procedures are followed (external legal advice will be sought when required). The investigation will be considered top priority until closed.
2. When applicable, the incident is reported to the police, government agencies or other relevant organisations:
○ The concern will be immediately reported according to the relevant provincial reporting requirements.
○ HAF must report all child protection allegations of a criminal nature directly to the police. The police will advise whether the internal investigation needs to be suspended whilst the police investigation is underway. In such cases, HAF will ensure risk management strategies are put into place to protect children (e.g. an individual subject to the allegation may be stood down until an investigation is complete).
○ If the child is outside of South Africa, the HM&EO will provide guidance to the in-country Partner or Field Workers in regard to sourcing support through local police and social services.
3. Incident and investigation is documented:
All steps taken are to be extensively documented and any documentation is to be kept in a secure place (e.g. password protected file). Once the investigation is completed, a report will be made available to the HAF Board.
4. Allegation is kept confidential:
All child protection incidents and alleged incidents are to be handled with extreme sensitivity and all precautions are taken to ensure confidentiality, with only those directly involved having the appropriate information. HAF understands that in some cases incidents and allegations may need to be reported even if the child or party concerned is reluctant to give their consent. At all times HAF will uphold the best interest of the child.
5. Support is provided to those involved:
The reporter, victim and person subject to an allegation will be treated with respect from the start of the process until the case is closed. External counselling will be provided if necessary. If the child requires extra support or protection, the HM&EO will coordinate with local social services organizations. If the child is outside of South Africa, the HM&EO will provide guidance to the in-country Partner or Field Workers in regard to sourcing support through local social services.
6. Person subjected to an allegation may be stood down or partnership suspended:
In some instances a staff member, volunteer or other subject to an allegation, may be stood down during the course of the investigation if it is deemed to be in the best interests of children. This process does not indicate guilt or innocence. If the individual is an employee or Field Worker they will continue to receive full pay and other entitlements.
In the case of a Strategic Partner, if the allegation is organizational, if it is considered in the best interests of children, or if the organization is non-cooperative, then HAF may suspend the partnership until the investigation has concluded and an acceptable resolution has been achieved.
What happens if the incident is proven or suspicion credible?
In the event that an incident has been proven or there is credible suspicion, HAF will automatically terminate a staff member, volunteer or any other representative’s association with the organisation. A Partner Organisation, which according to HAF, does not respond adequately to a proven incident or credible suspicion (e.g. this may include terminating staff or appropriately addressing risks) will have its partnership terminated.
1.3.5 Involving Children
HAF is committed to child and youth participation. We will implement this commitment by providing opportunities for children’s views to be heard and incorporate their views into our policies and programs.
HAF is committed to educating staff and others about child protection. Annual trainings include but are not limited to: Child Protection and Safeguarding, Recognizing and responding to child abuse, and Environmental and venue safety training.
1.3.7 Revision of document
The CPP will be reviewed every two years. The Program Manager will manage the review and staff will be consulted in this process.
Code of Conduct
● Treat children and young people with respect.
● Listen to children and take their concerns seriously and communicate with children in an appropriate manner that shows respect and reflects our CPP (this includes by all verbal and written means).
● Provide children with a safe and protective environment.
● Ensure that another adult is always present when working with or near children.
● Make sure that all children are supervised at all times by approved people.
● Visually identify yourself as an approved kid’s leader by wearing Hillsong Africa Foundation requested apparel.
● Ensure that children’s programs are set up and run in a way that minimises risk to children and keeps in mind their safety and protection.
● Ensure that during any children’s programs (including camps etc where stay overs are required) children will have privacy for all their personal needs such as toileting and dressing.
● Respect cultural differences.
● Ensure that children are treated in an age appropriate manner and that I will not do for a child something that they can do for themselves (e.g. dressing, going to the toilet etc).
● Use all forms of media and technology (including but not limited to video and digital cameras, computers and phones) in an appropriate manner and in a way that reflects our CPP.
● Ensure that I abide by any South African and local laws in regards to child protection and child safety.
● Ensure I am not in a position where there is a risk of an allegation being made.
● Act immediately on suspected of or complaints of neglect, abuse or suspicious behaviour, by reporting to your project coordinator.
I WILL NOT:
● Cause physical harm to a child. All forms of corporal punishment are forbidden. This includes smacking, hitting or physically assaulting a child.
● Humiliate, put down, abuse or shame children either verbally or through my actions.
● Allow a child to play in an area that could lead to the child’s harm.
● EVER be alone with a child or take children into solitary quiet places alone.
● Develop sexual relationships with children or commit any sexual acts with children.
● Take children to my own home, make arrangements to spend time with children outside of the children’s program or visit a child at their home while the parent is not home.
● Sleep in the same room or bed as a child. The only exception is if I have been granted permission to supervise children during programs that require evening stay overs such as camps. In this case:
o I will NEVER sleep in the same bed as a child.
o I will NEVER sleep in the same room as a child without another CPP-approved adult present.
Note: anyone permitted to supervise children in stay-over circumstances will be required to undertake the highest level of screening and training outlined in the recruitment section of this policy).
● Talk to a child under the age of 16 on the phone without the parent’s consent. Always talk to the parent before talking to the child.
● Touch a child in an inappropriate, unnecessary or culturally insensitive way. This includes ways of showing affection towards children in the way of holding, hugging and kissing.
● Conduct or be part of harmful traditional practices, spiritual or ritualistic abuse.
● Do things of a personal nature for or with a child, such as assistance with toileting or changing clothes. If any assistance is required and cannot be avoided, I will do so in full view of another approved kid’s leader. Note: anyone permitted to assist children in this way will be required to undertake the highest level of screening and training outlined in the recruitment section of this policy.
● Develop ‘special’ relationships with children that could be seen as favouritism. I will not show favouritism to children or give children preferential treatment based on (but not limited to) their age, race, gender, religion or place in local society.
● Hire any children for any purpose and I will adhere to all child labour laws
● View or access child pornography through any source or medium.
● Refrain from reporting or delay reporting any claims of child abuse that are made (including any concerns that I may have).
● Use Hillsong Africa Foundation’s computers, mobile phones, video and digital cameras without permission, in an inappropriate manner, nor use them for the purpose of exploiting or harassing children
● Put photos, videos or other identifying information of a child on social media without informed consent form the child and his/her parents/guardians.
● Utilise workers/volunteers who pose a risk to children’s safety.
● Participate in orphanage tourism/volunteerism including visiting or volunteering in an orphaned or vulnerable children (OVC) residential care centre. I will also not be involved in facilitating orphanage tourism through sending, organising or receiving teams (of non-stakeholders) for the purpose of volunteering or visiting an OVC residential care centre.
● Be intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs prior to or whilst engaging with any child.
● Exchange personal contact details with children. (examples include exchanging phone numbers or email addresses)
Use of children’s images for work related purposes
When photographing or filming a child for work related purposes, I must:
● Ask for permission from the HAF project coordinator or on-site leader before taking pictures.
● Obtain consent from the child/parent/guardian, as per the section 1.3.3 Communications Policy.
● Ensure that children are presented in a way that is respectful and does not show them in any pose that could be interpreted or seen as sexual in nature, undignified, vulnerable or in a submissive manner.
● Ensure that photographs or films are never taken of naked children and that children are appropriately clothed.
● Ensure that children are portrayed as part of their community and images are an honest representation of the context and facts.
● Comply with local laws and cultural traditions.
● Ensure that no information about the child that could identify them, their health, any personal problems, their family or their whereabouts will be included with the film/photograph and that file names also do not reveal this information.
● Ensure that any media/correspondence that is sent electronically does not include any information about the child, their family or their whereabouts.
1.5.2 VOLUNTEER INDEMNITY
By submitting this application and by participating as a volunteer, I, the undersigned, affirm that I have read, understand and agree with the following:
I hereby accept full responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the information and accompanying documents in my application and understand that any false or misleading information in, or in connection with my application, may be cause for rejection/ conclusion of voluntary service.
I recognize and accept that participation in such activities involve certain amount of risks, both foreseeable and unforeseeable.
My involvement in The Hillsong Africa Foundation (HAF) is solely on voluntary basis and shall not involve any form of remunerations in return for service(s) rendered, both in monetary terms (e.g. allowance and reimbursement of expenses) as well as in kind (e.g. accommodations and loan of organizational assets), unless otherwise stated;
Whilst all due care is taken by HAF to manage and minimize risks, I do undertake to release and discharge HAF, its staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, partners, or any other servants or agents from all liabilities, claims, costs, charges and expenses, for any accident, injury, loss or damage (herein collectively referred to as “risk incidents”) (whether directly or indirectly by and/or to myself/other person(s)/other organization(s)) that may occur in the course of, or as a result of participating in such activities.
I also recognize that, while the work of HAF involves a wide range of people from all walks of life, fields of work and faith groups, HAF is a Christian organization, guided by Christian values and principles. As such, I agree that I will respect the various guiding principles, values and standards of this organization.
In the case of a medical emergency, I hereby give permission to the doctor chosen by HAF, its staff or other team members, to secure proper treatment for and/or order hospitalization, injection, anaesthetic, or surgery for myself. I understand that every effort will be made to contact my emergency contact and/or doctor prior to instituting such procedures.
I agree not to expose HAF to any civil or criminal proceedings, nor violate or infringe the rights of any third party, nor give rise to any claim whatsoever. In the event that I breach the aforesaid, I undertake to assume all liability in any such claims(s) or proceeding(s).
I understand that the scope of this agreement includes all claims based on the negligence, action, inaction or omission of HAF, its staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, partners or any other servants or agents.
In the event of any risk incidents, I agree to inform HAF and the organizers immediately and assist with any incident inquiry as may be necessary, as determined by HAF.