Mellon Educate recognizes the rights of all children to be protected from harm in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unfortunately all children are potentially at risk from abuse and exploitation by adults. Everyone has a responsibility and a role in protecting children and it is essential that we follow all practical and reasonable steps to counteract any risk to children with whom we are in contact with.
Our global child protection mission is to:
Create ‘child safe’ environments – internally and externally – where children are respected, protected empowered and active in their own protection, and where staff are skilled, confident, competent and well supported in meeting their protection responsibilities through clear policies, procedures and good practice.
The outlined procedures form the core of the Mellon Educate child protection strategy. All staff members and board members are required to have a good understanding of the basic procedures.
Anyone connected with Mellon Educate and travelling overseas to visit a project is obliged to sign and abide by the policy and procedures in place e.g. Staff members/Volunteers. Enforcement of this policy will be monitored through an annual Child Protection Audit, risk assessment and a policy review every two years.
A member of the Mellon Educate Board is responsible for considering child protection in all board decisions.
The Child Protection Focal Point (CPFP) is the key contact for Child Protection. Any concerns however minor should be brought to his / her attention immediately. In the absence of the CPFP the CEO should be contacted.
Mellon Educate staff, board members, volunteers, associates and visitors must:
- Never abuse and/or exploit a child or act/behave in a way that places a child at risk of harm.
- Report any child abuse and protection concerns they have in accordance with applicable local office procedures.
- Respond to a child who may have been abused or exploited in accordance with applicable local office procedures.
- Cooperate fully and confidentially in any investigation of concerns and allegations.
- Contribute to an environment where children are respected and encouraged to discuss their concerns and rights.
- Be aware that Mellon Educate will take appropriate legal or other action against anyone who makes false and malicious accusations of child abuse.
- Never share your personal contact details with nor ask for or accept such details from any child associated with Mellon Educate work.
- Never make any unsupervised direct/indirect contact (such contact may include but is not limited to visits and any form of communication via social media, emails, letters etc) that is intended to establish personal relationships with any child associated with Mellon Educate.
All candidates are interviewed carefully with child protection in mind.
Selected candidates must sign the child protection policy, disclosure of convictions form and the standards of integrity before commencing employment.
All staff members, board members, volunteers must obtain Police Clearance/ DBS check, which is a condition of continued employment or association.
Awareness and update training will be arranged and provided as necessary.
All staff members have a responsibility to consider and help minimize child protection risks within their own areas of responsibility.
Data Protection, child information and images
The nature of our work means we hold details of children and their families. We are solely responsible for ensuring that the information is not abused and is used for the intended purpose.
All information and images are held securely, databases are password protected and access to information is given on the basis of role.
Suppliers and agencies working on our behalf are made aware of our child protection policy and must ensure that their operations offer the same degree of protection.
We will only use a child’s image or personal information in our marketing, advocacy, fundraising, communication and programme work, in ways that will safeguard their dignity and protect their rights. Permission is always obtained for these images and information from a representing guardian or parent.
Mellon Educate monitors all Internet traffic and web usage for inappropriate content.
Mellon Educate Volunteers
Mellon Educate Volunteers include all donors who make financial contributions individually and/or as a group, company or organisation. Volunteers/Supporters includes others who donate their time, public standing, expertise and enthusiasm to further our work. To ensure that we do not put children at risk through contact with volunteers/supporters, we have the following safeguards in place:
- We retain the right to turn down requests to support Mellon Educate at our discretion.
- We require volunteers visiting communities, and who will have direct or indirect contact with children, to obtain Police Clearance – we consider only history or convictions that could impact on the safety and wellbeing of children or others.
- Zero tolerance on unsupervised direct/indirect contact (such contact may include but is not limited to visits and any form of communication via social media, emails, letters etc) that is intended to establish personal relationships with any child associated with Mellon Educate.
Volunteer Programmes (Annual Building Blitz)
Mellon Educate encourages volunteers to visit communities in which we work so that they can see first-hand the families they are helping. It is the responsibility of the CPFP to advise volunteers of visits procedures, including child protection measures. All visits are arranged by Mellon Educate Staff.
- Each volunteer must obtain DBS Police Vetting before a visit can be authorised
- All volunteers must sign a statement to confirm that they understand our visit policy and will abide by the guidelines set out.
- Each volunteer must provide us with a copy of their passport.
- Mellon Educate staff must be present throughout each visit.
- Children must not be invited or taken away from their communities.
- Mellon Educate strongly discourages any invitation by supporters for children to visit their own country.
- Families must not exchange contact details (this includes email, phone numbers, social media contacts, address, webcam, Skype etc) during visits.
- All visits are monitored
Working directly with children
Child participation is an inherent part of Mellon Educate work. Mellon Educate staff members, volunteers and associates may occasionally work directly with children. In anticipation of this the following measures are in place:
- Candidates for this work are subject to enhanced back ground checks.
- Candidates must be conversant with the Child Protection Policy.
- Parental consent will be required for all children involved in a Mellon Educate activity. This consent will be documented and filed.
Identifying Risk & taking action:
It is everyone’s responsibility to report any potential or actual risk to a child’s wellbeing and safety. An incident report form should be used to record any abuse, attempted abuse or suspected abuse of a young person and passed to the CPFP. The CPFP will follow up with the CEO, and relevant external bodies. All actions taken in relation to the individual case must be adequately documented to reflect the rights of the child and of the abuser/suspected abuser and securely stored.
Mellon Educate reserves the right to bring a sponsorship or association to a close at any time where a risk to children is identified. In such incidents we will write to the individual advising them of the decision. All related communications and decisions would be recorded.
Where a staff member or board member, intern or volunteer is considered to be a risk in any way to children, the CEO and / or the relevant board member will consider the circumstances. The situation will be handled in accordance with our code of conduct and disciplinary procedures.