“Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct“
The Plan International (Hong Kong) is committed to creating a safe environment for children and young people to ensure their well-being.
When participating in any activities related to children, including being a staff member, partner, volunteer, or visitor, we recommend that you first watch the relevant “Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct” guideline video to understand appropriate and inappropriate behaviors related to children and how to protect their rights. Then, read and sign the “Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct”.
After reading the “Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct”, please fill in your personal information at the bottom of the webpage and download the certificate as proof of your commitment. You will also need to present the signed certificate when participating in any activities related to children to show that you will abide by the “Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct” and ensure the safety and well-being of children during the activities.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us before signing.
We are committed to creating a safe environment for children and young people. All Staff, Associates, and Visitors have a duty to uphold the principles of the “Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct” on Safeguarding Children and Young People and commit to maintaining an environment that prevents violence against children and young people. Further to this, sexual exploitation and abuse by staff (including those that work in our humanitarian response) constitute acts of gross misconduct and is therefore grounds for termination of employment.
As such, I agree that I will:
- Adhere to the “Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct” and be open and honest in my dealings with children and young people, their families, and communities participating in programmes, projects, processes, events, and activities.
- Treat children and young people in a manner which is respectful of their rights, integrity, and dignity and considers their best interests regardless of age, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, race, language, religious or political beliefs, marital status, disability, physical or mental health, family, socio-economic or cultural background, class, or any history of conflict with the law.
- Create and maintain an environment which prevents the abuse and exploitation of children and young people ensuring that I am aware of potential risks with regards to my conduct and work, and take appropriate action so as to minimise risks to children and young people.
- Contribute to building an environment where children and young people we engage with are
- respected and empowered to participate in and discuss decision-making and interventions into their safeguarding in accordance with their age, maturity and evolving capacities; and
- well-informed on their safeguarding and protection rights and what to do if they have a concern.
- Display high standards of professional behaviour at all times, providing a positive role model for children and young people.
- Comply with all relevant international standards and local legislation in relation to child labour, and refrain from using children and young people aged below 18 years for domestic or other labour, if such work is inappropriate, exploitative or harmful given their age or developmental capacity, which interferes with their time available for education and recreational activities, or which places them at significant risk of injury, exploitation, or violence. In addition, I understand that I must not use children and young people of any age that we work with for domestic or other labour.
- Respect the privacy and confidentiality of participating children and young people. This means I will:
- Never ask for or accept personal contact details or invitations to share personal contact details (this includes email, phone numbers, social media contacts, address, webcam, skype, etc.) from any child or family associated or formerly associated4 with our work or share my own personal contact details with such individuals except where this has been explicitly authorised by the organiser and/or for the organiser’s business purposes.
- Never disclose, or support the disclosure of, information that identifies sponsored families or children, through any medium, unless that disclosure is in accordance with standard policies and procedures of the organiser and/or has the explicit consent of the organiser.6 Media include paper, photographs, and social media.
- Never make any contact with a child, young person, or family members associated with the organiser’s work that is not supervised by a (or another) member of the organiser’s Staff. Such contact may include but is not limited to visits and any form of communication via social media, emails, and letters.
- Always ensure that when on an official or work visit with the organiser and I wish to take pictures of children and young people associated with the organisation, for personal use, I will:
- Always consult first with the the organiser so as to make sure that it is ok to take pictures in the local context and that the intended use of the pictures does not conflict with the organiser’s policies.
- Ask permission of the child or young person (or in the case of young children, their parent or guardian) informing them of the specific purpose(s) and intended use (including how and where) and respect their decision to say no making it clear that there will be absolutely no negative repercussions from denying such consent.
- Ensure the images are respectful and do not impact negatively on their dignity and privacy.
- Ensure that the use of the images does not put the child or young person at risk of being identified or located.
- Never upload the images of children and young people associated with the organiser to non-organiser social media pages without the full and explicit consent of the organiser.
- Report and respond to any concerns, suspicions, incidents or allegations of actual or potential abuse to a child or young person in accordance with applicable procedures of the engaging office.
- Cooperate fully and confidentially in any investigation of concerns or allegations of abuse to children and young people by the organiser.
- Immediately disclose all charges, convictions, and other outcomes of an offence, which occurred before or occurs during association with the organiser that relate to exploitation and abuse of a child or young person.
I will not:
- Abuse or exploit a child or young person or behave in any way that places a child or young person at risk of harm, including through harmful traditional practices such as, for example, Female Genital Mutilation, forced or child marriage.
- Engage in any form of sexual activity or develop physical/sexual relationships with anyone under the age of 18 regardless of the age of consent locally. Mistaken belief in the age of a child is not a defence.8
- Engage in sexual relationships with the organiser’s youth direct beneficiaries aged 18 to 24 years as these undermine the credibility and integrity of the organiser’s work and are based on inherently unequal power dynamics’.9
- Use physical punishment/discipline or use of physical force of any kind towards children and young people.
- Engage young people in any form of sexual activity which involves the exchange money, employment, goods, or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour. This includes exchange of assistance that is due to beneficiaries10
- Use language or behave towards a child or young person in a way that is inappropriate, offensive, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate.
- Fondle, hold, kiss, hug or touch children or young people in an inappropriate or culturally insensitive way.
- Have a child/children/young person with whom I am in contact in a work related context, stay overnight at my home or any other personal residential location or accommodation.
- Sleep in the same room or bed as a child or young person with whom I am in contact in a work related context. Where it is necessary to sleep close to unaccompanied children and young people, I will make sure that another adult is present and it is in line with authorised procedures.
- Do things of a personal nature for children or young person, with whom I am in contact in a work related context, (e.g. taking a child/young person to the toilet/bathroom; helping them get un/dressed etc.) that they can do for themselves.
- Spend time alone away from others with children and young people with whom I am in contact in a work related context; I will always make sure that another adult is with me and/or I am with the child/young person in an open public place, where others are around and in plain view of others.
- Hit or otherwise physically assault or physically abuse children or young people.
- Act in ways that shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children and young people, or otherwise perpetrate any form of emotional abuse.
- Discriminate against, show differential or preferential to, or favour particular children and young people to the detriment of them or others.
- Develop relationships with, engage in any practice with or develop behaviour towards children and young people which could in any way be deemed or interpreted as exploitive or abusive.
- Condone or participate in behaviour of children or young people which is illegal, unsafe, or abusive.
- Use any computers, mobile phones, video and digital cameras, or any such medium to exploit, harass or bully children or young people.
- Use computers, mobile phones, or video/digital cameras or other electronic devices, to access, view, create, download, or distribute pornography, especially abusive images of children or young people.
The above is not an exhaustive list. Staff, Associates, and Visitors should consider all related actions and behavior which may compromise the rights and safeguarding of children and young people.
Disclaimer: This Safeguarding Code of Conduct is not intended to be a comprehensive or definitive statement of the law on any subject, nor is any part of the Safeguarding Code of Conduct intended to provide legal advice for any specific situation.
Neither Plan International nor any of the contributors to the Safeguarding Code of Conduct assume any obligation to ensure that the information provided in the Safeguarding Code of Conduct is (i) complete or (ii) suitable, sufficient, or appropriate for any purpose or particular circumstances. Neither Plan International nor any of the contributors to the Safeguarding Code of Conduct accept any responsibility or liability in relation to the use of the Safeguarding Code of Conduct or for any actions taken as a result of information included in the Safeguarding Code of Conduct.
To the extent permitted by law, Plan International and the contributors to this Safeguarding Code of Conduct exclude all liability in respect of all claims arising out of or in connection with this Safeguarding Code of Conduct. You should seek independent legal or other professional advice concerning your case or matter and not rely on the information in this Safeguarding Code of Conduct. While Plan International and contributors to this Safeguarding Code of Conduct have worked collaboratively on its development, it may not represent the views of each of the individual contributors.
Personal Conduct outside Work or Engagement with Us
We do not dictate the belief and value systems by which Staff, Associates, and Visitors conduct their personal lives. However, actions taken by them out of working hours that are seen to contradict this policy will be considered a violation of the policy.
Our Staff, Managers, Associates, and Visitors are required to adhere to principles of the “Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct” on Safeguarding Children and Young People both at work and outside work.