Child pro­tec­tion pol­icy mat­ters

Panay News - - WORLD -  By Yvon­nie F. Ganit,

ESP-I, Don Leopoldo Gial­ogo Memo­rial School, Ta­paz East Dis­trict

IF ONLY Dr. Jose Rizal can rise from the dead, he will for sure hunt ev­ery man or woman abus­ing chil­dren – the hope of the fa­ther­land.

Keep­ing chil­dren safe is every­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity. Or­ga­ni­za­tions and pro­fes­sion­als who work with chil­dren are re­quired to en­sure that their poli­cies and prac­tices re­flect this re­spon­si­bil­ity.

A child pro­tec­tion pol­icy pro­vides guide­lines for or­ga­ni­za­tions and their staff to cre­ate safe en­vi­ron­ments for chil­dren. It is a tool that pro­tects both chil­dren and staff by clearly defin­ing what ac­tion is re­quired to keep chil­dren safe, and en­sur­ing a con­sis­tency of be­hav­ior so that all staff fol­low the same process.

A child pro­tec­tion pol­icy also demon­strates an or­ga­ni­za­tion’s com­mit­ment to chil­dren and en­sures pub­lic con­fi­dence in its safe prac­tices.

Do schools have child pro­tec­tion pol­icy in placed? The kind of pol­icy that has clearly de­fined re­quire­ments to keep chil­dren and staff safe, with clear ways of iden­ti­fy­ing con­cerns, with ap­pro­pri­ate pro­ce­dures should a con­cern arise, guide­lines for re­port­ing and record­ing con­cerns, re­cruit­ment guide­lines in­clud­ing screen­ing and vet­ting pro­ce­dures for both paid and un­paid staff, safe work­ing prac­tices and agreed staff be­hav­iors, and child pro­tec­tion train­ing for all adults work­ing with chil­dren?

Stud­ies show that three out of 10 chil­dren in grades 1 to 3 and al­most five out of 10 from high school ex­pe­ri­enced phys­i­cal vi­o­lence (such as pinch­ing and hit­ting) com­mit­ted by teach­ers; four out of 10 chil­dren in grades 1 to 3 and seven out of 10 in higher grade lev­els ex­pe­ri­enced ver­bal abuse by their teach­ers; 36.53 per­cent of chil­dren in grades 4 t 6 and 42. 88 per­cent of high school stu­dents ex­pe­ri­enced ver­bal sex­ual vi­o­lence in school and 11.95 per­cent of

chil­dren in grades 4 to 6 and 17.60 per­cent of high school stu­dents have ex­pe­ri­enced in­ap­pro­pri­ate touch­ing; 73.58 per­cent of chil­dren in grades 4 to 6 and 78.36 per­cent in high school in ur­ban ar­eas suf­fered ver­bal abuse vi­o­lence from their peers; 30.17 per­cent of chil­dren in grades 4 to 6 and 37.57 per­cent in high school in ru­ral ar­eas ex­pe­ri­enced phys­i­cal abuse or vi­o­lence com­mit­ted by their peers; 26.74 per­cent of chil­dren in grades 4 to 6 and 43.71 per­cent in high school in ur­ban ar­eas ex­pe­ri­enced ver­bal sex­ual abuse com­mit­ted by their peers; and 9.65 per­cent of grades 4 to 6 and 17.71 per­cent of high school stu­dents ex­pe­ri­enced in­ap­pro­pri­ate touch­ing.

The Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DepEd) launched its Child Pro­tec­tion Pol­icy on May 3, 2012, through DepEd Or­der No. 40, s. 2012, to pro­mote a zero-tol­er­ance pol­icy for any act of child abuse, ex­ploita­tion, vi­o­lence, dis­crim­i­na­tion, bul­ly­ing and other re­lated of­fenses. The child pro­tec­tion pol­icy has es­tab­lished the cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment or that kind of pun­ish­ment or penalty im­posed for an al­leged or ac­tual of­fense (phys­i­cal, sex­ual, psy­cho­log­i­cal and other acts of vi­o­lence), which is car­ried out or in­flicted, for the pur­pose of dis­ci­pline, train­ing or con­trol, by a teacher, school ad­min­is­tra­tor, an adult, or any other child who has been given or has as­sumed author­ity or re­spon­si­bil­ity for pun­ish­ment or dis­ci­pline.

Child pro­tec­tion is more than just a re­spon­si­bil­ity. It is a strong com­mit­ment we have to­wards our chil­dren. All chil­dren have equal rights to pro­tec­tion from abuse and ex­ploita­tion. The sit­u­a­tion of all chil­dren must be im­proved through pro­mo­tion of their rights as set out in the UN Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child. This in­cludes the right to free­dom from abuse and ex­ploita­tion. Child abuse is never ac­cept­able.

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