Introduction 

PACES is a UK based charity established in 2006, with the aim of providing healthy, structured after- school sports programs for Palestinian girls and boys ages 8-16 years living in refugee camps and most marginalized and vulnerable areas in Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon. 

One of PACES main objectives is to enhance children’s life skills through sports programs and educational activities and empower them to become active citizens within their communities. To achieve this objective, children, who are considered the main beneficiaries of PACES, come into direct contact with staff and non-staff members throughout their enrolment period and during the program activities.  PACES is committed to safeguarding these children and promoting their welfare, through enforcing awareness, prevention and reporting protocols.  

The PACES Child Protection Policy sets out fundamental principles related to the safeguarding of children, and outlines the approved procedures to achieve it.   

Scope 

This policy applies to everyone who is in contact with PACES children including:

    • PACES coaches and assistant coaches: young individuals who train/coach the children and deliver the PACES program 
    • Local partners’ coordinators: individuals appointed by local partners to facilitate the implementation of the program  
    • PACES team members:  
      • Direct staff: full-time or part-time supervisors, coordinators, and technical staff who oversee the implementation of the program  
      • Indirect staff: program managers, regional and administrative staff who monitor the implementation of the program 
    • Consultants: individuals hired by PACES to provide expert advice or training  
    • Volunteers: individuals donating their time and experience  
    • Partners and supporters: individual donors or organizational representatives  
    • Members of the Board of Trustees and Advisory Board  

All individuals under scope are to be referred to as stakeholders further in this document.  

Definitions & Types of Abuse 

  • Child: According to the World Health Organization; A child is a person 19 years or younger unless national law defines a person to be an adult at an earlier age. 
  • Child Abuse: Child Abuse is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as: “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.” 
  • Types of abuse:  
    • Physical Abuse: defined as any intentional or non-intentional use of physical harm against a child, with a person that has responsibility or power over the child and can include striking, kicking, punching, biting, shaking the child or any action that results in physical harm of the child. 
    • Sexual Abuse: actual or probable sexual exploitation or molestation of children that may or may not result in physical injuries. Sexual abuse comes in the form of physical violation or psychological violation through verbal or visual sexual content. This type of abuse can result in physical, emotional or behavioural harm.  
    • Emotional Abuse: A form of non-physical abusive behaviour that attack’s a child’s self-esteem and confidence, leaving the child feeling depressed, anxious and in some cases suicidal. Some examples of emotional abuse include; verbal aggression, intimidation, isolation, manipulation and humiliation. 
    • Neglect: consistent failure to meet the child’s basic physical, emotional, and medical needs.  

General Principles 

PACES aims to create a safe environment for all children enrolled in its program by following these principles:  

  • Zero tolerance for child abuse: PACES charity does not tolerate any form of child abuse or exploitation and acknowledges the duty of care to safeguard and promote the well-being of children.  
  • Shared responsibility to protect children: caring and keeping the children safe will be a shared responsibility to successfully reduce risk to children. PACES expects support from all stakeholders interacting with children in any event, by reporting all suspected cases of abuse to PACES without delay using agreed procedures.  
  • Equal rights to protection from harm: every child enrolled in PACES’s program, despite age, gender, or nationality, or area of living shall be protected from any type of harm inflicted by anyone, governed by PACES internal policies and procedures. 

How PACES aims to achieve these principles: 

  • Educate: PACES will provide necessary training for all stakeholders on child abuse and the risks to children, how to minimize risks to children, and general good practice. PACES will also educate children on how to protect themselves, and how to recognize and report abuse.  
  • Monitor: PACES will observe and monitor stakeholder behavior and interaction with children 
  • Follow up: PACES will ensure all observations and allegations are documented, concerns are addressed, and action is taken when required with no delay 

Code of Conduct 

The Code of Conduct outlines the expected behaviour of stakeholders who are in contact with children, in line with PACES mission and values.   

Approved behaviour 

  • Treat all children with dignity and respect  
  • Maintain appropriate boundaries with all children and use appropriate language 
  • Give all children equal attention 
  • Report all allegations and suspicions of inappropriate behaviour immediately 
  • Keep all details about child protection concerns confidential from all 

Undesirable actions:  

  • Being present with a child without having another adult present, in any space, venue or vehicle  
  • Not seeking supervisor approval or consultation in unfamiliar situations  
  • Directly contacting children via online social channels  
  • Taking and saving photos and videos of children on personal phones or devices  

Risk factors:  

  • Use any type of violence against children. 
  • Behave in a way or use language which could negatively influence children or set a bad example. 
  • Invite unaccompanied children without the permission of their parent/guardian, unless they are at immediate risk of injury or in physical danger. 
  • Develop any relationship with a child. 
  • Threaten a child physically or verbally. 
  • Discuss religious or political beliefs. 
  • Use physical disciplinary action  

Reporting & Legislation 

Reporting guidelines: 

All stakeholders are obliged to report actual or suspected or actual child abuse immediately. All allegations will be investigated and treated with utmost confidentiality.  

Reporting procedures: 

  • Any allegation, incident or suspicion of potentially undesirable behaviour or breach of the Code of Conduct by must be immediately reported verbally or by email (safe@pacescharity.org) to the individual’s line manager, country manager, regional directors or board members, who will initiate the procedure  
  • All reported cases will be documented immediately and precisely by the responsible party by using the report form which includes: 
  • Details of whom the allegation is against. 
  • Details of child involved. 
  • Details of alleged incident (Date, time, place, witnesses). 
  • Nature of allegation. 
  • All cases, proven or claimed, will be dealt with in a fully confidential manner and all written reports will remain securely protected. Only individuals that have legitimate reasons to access information are allowed to review them.  

Responding to child abuse: 

When an allegation is made or if any inappropriate behaviour is suspected, a follow-up investigation will be performed by any individual or committee assigned by the Chairman or by Regional Finance and Administration Director who will lead the investigation; however, in some cases immediate disciplinary action is required or referrals to local authorities. 

In any case, the best interest of the child should be the only governing factor in making any disciplinary action.  

After assessing any child abuse allegation or complaint, PACES will take into consideration internal disciplinary outcomes or applicable legislation in the country in which the supposed incident took place. 

Disciplinary outcomes may include: 

  • Verbal warning 
  • Written warning 
  • Suspension 
  • Layoff  
  • Referral to local authority  

PACES’ Child Protection Policy will ensure full compliance with host country and local child welfare and protection legislation, or international standards; whichever affords greater protection.  

Additional Guidelines  

Training:  

PACES is committed to provide appropriate training for staff and stakeholders on the Child Protection Policy. A child protection specialist will prepare training material and do a TOT for interested and capable staff members who will train other staff members and stakeholders to recognize their responsibilities with regard to their roles in the program 

The training will be done twice a year; in February before the program starts and in August as a refresher.   New staff members will be provided with comprehensive training and written documents for PACES child protection policy as part of the human resources briefing procedures, and will receive additional training  with all staff members and stakeholders when scheduled.  

The child protection policy training will include the following: 

1. Definitions and types of abuse.
2.General Principles.
3.
How to recognize abuse.
4.
Responding to child abuse.
5.
Reporting procedures.
6.
Sign the code of conduct.  

Monitoring: 

PACES M&E system will integrate new key performance indicators to ensure continuous accountability and proper implementation of the child protection policy. Field visits will be conducted by key staff members, groups with higher risks or reported incidents will be mentored closely. Interviews with staff members and stakeholders including children, parents and coaches will be conducted to ensure proper implementation of the child protection policy. The results will be reported in the periodic reports of the program. 

Confidentiality: 

PACES is committed to deal with all personal information in a confidential manner. Suitable steps will be taken to protect all received personal information from loss and unauthorised access or any other misuse during the complaint-handling process. However, PACES cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality, given obligations of law.