GIF is dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of children around the world and is committed to maintaining a workforce (including volunteers and consultants) that will protect and preserve child welfare regardless of age, ethnicity, race, caste, socio-economic status, religious aﬃliations, gender identity, sexual orientation and or learning abilities/challenges.
This pledge/organization policy covers all forms of child abuse, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, exploitation and child labor, and online child sexual abuse and exploitation. Global India Fund will ensure that any and all vulnerabilities facing children, including those associated with their age, socio-economic background, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity are taken into account in all our work, and the safety and integrity of all child participants will be protected.
Accordingly, all volunteers, staff, board members, and others involved in the work of Global India Fund must follow these policies without exception. This includes:
- GIF staff in all categories of employment, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and contract employees, interns, fellows, and volunteers in all program operations and settings;
- Board members, trustees and ambassadors;
- Staff and representatives of partner organizations or organizations that have a formal/contractual relationship with GIF that involves contact with children unless it has been stipulated in the contract that the partner organization will enforce a child protection policy that will be reviewed by GIF; and
- Donors, journalists, photographers, celebrities, politicians and other visitors to GIF programs that may come into contact with children must act in accordance with this policy while visiting GIF programs or engaging with youth in this context.
For purposes of this Child Protection Policy, the following definitions apply:
- Child: A child means every human below the age of eighteen years.
- Child Protection: Preventing and responding to violence, exploitation, neglect and abuse against children, including commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, child labor and harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage.
- Safeguarding: Child safeguarding is the responsibility that organizations have to make sure their staff, operations, and programs do not harm children, that is that they do not expose children to the risk of harm and abuse, and that any concerns the organization has about children’s safety within the communities in which they work are reported to the appropriate authorities, as legally necessary.
- Violence against children: All forms of physical or mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.
- Physical abuse: That which results in actual or potential physical harm from an interaction or lack of an interaction, which is reasonably within the control of a parent or person in a position of responsibility, power or trust. There may be single or repeated incidents.
- Sexual abuse: Child sexual abuse includes all forms of sexual violence against children including 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, showing children pornographic material and sexual abuse on the internet.
- Online child sexual abuse and exploitation: Online child sexual abuse and online child sexual exploitation involve the use of information and communication technology as a means to sexually abuse and/or sexually exploit children.
- Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse involves doing harm to a child’s emotional, intellectual, mental or psychological development. This may occur as an isolated event or on an ongoing basis. Emotional abuse includes but is not limited to any humiliating or degrading treatment (e.g., bad name-calling, threats, yelling/screaming/cursing, teasing, constant criticism, belittling, persistent, shaming etc.), failure to meet a child’s emotional needs, and rejecting, ignoring, terrorizing, isolating or conﬁning a child.
- Neglect: Neglect includes but is not limited to failing to provide adequate food, sufficient or seasonally appropriate clothing and /or shelter. Neglect is also failing to prevent harm; failing to ensure adequate supervision; failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment or providing inappropriate medical treatment (such as administering medication when not authorized); or failing to provide a safe physical environment (for instance exposure to violence, unsafe programming location, unsafe sleeping practices, releasing a child to an unauthorized adult, access to weapons or harmful objects, failing to child-proof a space that children will occupy etc.). This deﬁnition should be referred to in consistency with cultural norms in each country of operation.
- Child Labor: Work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that:
- Is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and/or
- Interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
Whether or not particular forms of “work” can be called “child labor” depends on the child’s age, the type and hours of work performed, the conditions under which it is performed and the objectives pursued by individual countries. The answer varies from country to country, as well as among sectors within countries.
Policy Implementation Guidelines
Employment: All GIF staff must commit to complying with GIF’s Child Protection Policy by signing the agreement that follows before accepting an offer of employment (paid or unpaid) or contract.
Safe programming, including partnership building and sensitive communications (use of social media and digital technology): GIF staff and all people working with and for GIF must adhere to the following guidelines as they engage in program implementation and use social media or digital technology to promote program activities:
- All formal agreements/contracts between GIF and partner organizations to implement GIF’s programs with and for children must have this policy annexed to the agreements;
- Sign and comply with this policy as part of their formal agreement/MoU/contract with GIF and commit to adhere to its guidelines under all circumstances during program implementation;
- Partner organizations that have their own child protection policy must mention a clause in the partnership agreement ensuring adherence to their own child protection policy (that will be reviewed by GIF) if they do not adapt GIF’s policy;
- Written consent will be taken from parents/ guardians/ caretakers before involving their children in any activity outside of the program implementation plan already agreed upon between GIF and partner organization;
- Identify, minimize and attempt to avoid potential situations posing a risk to children’s safety and/or protection. This will include but not limited to choosing a safe venue with proper entrance and exits, time of event preferably day time especially when children are not accompanied by family members/guardians, designating safe meeting points, identifying protocols for movement at the event (in pairs, groups, with a facilitator);
- Ensure that images of children e.g., photographs, videos, are respectful, that the children are adequately clothed (especially their private body parts are covered) and that sexually suggestive poses are avoided; and
- Ensure that any image or recorded case history of a child does not place him/her at risk or render him/her vulnerable to any form of abuse. Identifying information, such as last name, address and school should be hidden/altered as much as possible and can be shared only with the consent of the child and/or their parents/guardians.
Staff of GIF, partners and any person engaged in GIF activities should report child protection-related concerns or complaints against a GIF staff member, volunteer, contractor, consultant, donor, sponsor, visitor, partner, board member, or any other person formally affiliated with GIF, as legally required.
The concern/complaint should be reported to the child protection policy focal person listed above. In case the perpetrator is the child protection policy focal person (currently Dr. Amita Vyas), the complaint should be reported directly to GIF’s Treasurer (currently Dr. Nitasha Nagaraj).