Child Protection Policy

Policy

  • Ahliah School is committed to ensuring a secure and safe environment for all its community members. In line with this, all employees shall have the duty to safeguard all students’ wellbeing
  • All personnel shall report harm against children
  • All personnel shall follow a standardized procedure for managing child protection related situations.
  • All personnel shall protect the confidentiality and privacy of information with respect to students and personnel’s records and should refrain at all times from discussing sensitive issues related to students, parents, and colleagues.

Definition

  • School environment is the physical property, school transportation services, and any ground used for school services, trips or events as well as school online platforms 
  • Personnel is used to refer to all employees
  • Community member is used to refer to faculty/staff, students, parent/guardian(s), Board of Trustees, volunteers and alumni.
  • Child is every individual under the age of 18. However, this policy is applicable to students above 18 since they fall under the school’s safeguarding remit.
  • Wellbeing is the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy, this state is free from harm, violence, abuse, neglect, bullying and exploitation
  • Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological and emotional needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent/guardian failing to:
  • provide adequate food, clothing, and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
  • protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
  • ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers)
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment
  • Abuse is the act of inflicting intentional harm toward a person. It can be physical, emotional or sexual. . Abuse might happen between:
    1. Adult to one student
    2. adult to group of students
    3. parent/guardian to student
    4. faculty/Staff to one student
    5. faculty/Staff to a group of students
  • Physical abuse is intentional physical harm to a child. It may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or guardian fabricates the symptoms of or deliberately induces illness in a child.
  • Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved. It may include preventing the child expressing his/her point of view or participating in the normal social interaction, deliberately silencing the child or making fun of what she/he says or the way she/he communicates. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve bullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
  • Sexual abuse is any sexual activity with a child. It may include forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
  • Bullying is unwanted, aggressive, repetitive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. This means that the bully uses his/her power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, popularity or authority —to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Bullying might happen between:
    1.  student to student
    2. a group students to a group of students
    3.  group of students to one student
    4.  faculty/staff to faculty/staff
  • Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean and inappropriate statements Verbal bullying includes:
    1. Teasing
    2. Name-calling
    3. Inappropriate comments
    4. Threatening to cause harm
  • Social bullying or relational bullying involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. It might occur on social media platforms. Social bullying includes:
    1. Excluding someone from a group on purpose
    2. Telling others not to be friends with someone
    3. Spreading rumors about someone
    4. Embarrassing someone in public
  • Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
    1. Hitting/kicking/pinching
    2. Spitting
    3. Tripping/pushing
    4. Making mean or rude hand gestures
  • Imminent risk refers to all forms of abuse, threats or other circumstances endangering the safety and development of a child that require immediate judicial measures to prevent serious harm. (Standard Operating Procedures for the protection of juveniles in Lebanon– SOP). The imminent risk is when the child is in immediate danger
  • Potential risk refers to threats that can affect the development and safety of a child but do not require immediate judicial measures. (Standard Operating Procedures for the protection of juveniles in Lebanon– SOP)

Purpose

  • To create and maintain a school framework which promotes the child wellbeing and a secure environment where students can reach their full potentials and are able to share freely their concerns.
  • To develop the competencies of the school personnel to detect signs of child abuse.
  • To provide all personnel with a guideline for communication and behavior with children in relation to suspicious and /or disclosure of abuse
  • To comply with the Lebanese laws and conventions:
    1. The child rights-based approach under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) signed and ratified by Lebanon on May 14, 1991. This approach recognizes, without discrimination, that each child is a unique human being deserving of rights, and capable of participating in the process of achieving those rights given a supportive and adequately resourced environment.
    2. The Lebanese Law 422/2002, ‘The Protection of Juveniles in Conflict with the Law and/or At Risk’, specifically articles 25, 26 and 27, and the National Standard Operating Procedures for the Protection of Juveniles in Lebanon (SOP) adopted by the Ministry of Social Affairs. Ahliah School is adhering to the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) recommendations to implement a child protection policy that protects children and promotes their wellbeing.

Procedure

  • Confidentiality
    1. Information shall be shared by the least number of individuals on a –need- to know basis only.
    2. The child protection officer (CPLO) shall keep records, filing of incidents and archives separately from the student file and only accessible to the CPLO and CPLO deputy.
    3. In case of recorded incidents, the school will transfer the relevant incidents with the student’s file when moving to another educational institution. 
  • Child Protection Liaison Officer (CPLO)
    1. The CPLO is responsible for handling all witnessed or suspected cases of harm against a child within the school
    2. The principal assumes the responsibilities of the CPLO and assigns the Chair of the Safety Committee the responsibilities of the Deputy of Ahliah CPLO.
  • Health and Safety Committee
    1. The school appoints a health and safety Committee to be in charge of following on all safeguarding, risk assessment, and child protection related concerns.
    2. The chair of the Health and Safety committee is the CPLO  deputy.
    3. The members of the Health and Safety committee are the Principal (CPLO) the heads of divisions the counselor, and the school nurse.
    4. The Health and Safety committee will be meeting when issues of bullying arise to discuss a course of action on individual basis.
    5. The principal (CPLO) may involve the Health and Safety committee to discuss the plan of action for alleged incidents of abuse where the level of risk is considered “potential risk”.
    6. The committee shall review the risk assessment and propose safety workshops and training as per Safety at School policy
  • Guidance for Reporting

      A. Guidance for Bullying

    1. A community member that witnesses bullying or receives a complaint related to bullying shall report his/ her concern to the relevant Head of Division.
    2. The head of the division shall inform the CPLO deputy and call for the Health and Safety committee to agree on an appropriate action.
    3. The head of the division shall keep a record and closely monitor all incidents involving bullying.
    4. The CPLO deputy shall share a termly report with the CPLO including all incidents of bullying. The report shall include the plan of action for each case and the follow-up results.Guidance for abuse and neglect A community member shall report all cases of abuse and or neglect. The reporting can be based on:

      B. Guidance for abuse and neglect 

  • A community member shall report all cases of abuse and or neglect. The reporting can be based on:
    1. receiving  a disclosure /information that a child is experiencing any type of abuse/ or neglect  inside or outside the school.
    2. having  a concern about the child’s behaviors including the observation of signs that indicate that the child is experiencing any type of abuse and/or  neglect.
    3. witnessing any  incident of direct abuse.
  • All community members shall follow the guidance for reporting
  • All community member shall follow the reporting guideline
  • Reporting timeline:
    1. A community member that notices any signs of neglect and or any type of abuse, shall report it to the CPLO or the CPLO deputy as soon as possible. If the community member has reason to believe that the student is at imminent risk of danger, then she/he must report his/ her concern within 24 hours, otherwise, she/he will need to report incidents/suspicions within 3 days. For example, a direct disclosure of sexual abuse in an imminent risk: the child is in immediate danger.
    2. If the allegation is made against the CPLO, the community member shall report to the CPLO deputy.
    3. The CPLO deputy shall proceed with the investigation and involve the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

     C. The CPLO response to the reported information

  • The CPLO shall investigate all reported information and concerns, and assess the severity of the available information and the severity of the case to determine a plan of action.
    1. If the CPLO  assesses that the student is at an imminent risk and  experiencing any form of abuse or threats that endanger his/her safety, and if contacting the parents/guardian places the student in an increased risk, the CPLO shall report to one of the following within 24 hours:
    2. a. Judicial authority
    3. b. The Union for the Protection of Juveniles in Lebanon
    4. c. Ministry of Social affairs
  • If the CPLO assesses that the student is in a potential risk and the  concern is about a students’ welfare and does not compromise student safety, the CPLO within a week, shall:

          a. call for meeting with the safety committee to establish a plan of action.

          b. call for a meeting with the parents/guardians to agree on an appropriate action or make any referral.

  • If the CPLO feels unsure about whether a referral is necessary, he/she shall consult the Ministry of Social Affairs to discuss concerns and obtain advice.
  • The CPLO shall inform the community member who reported the disclosure that the case is being followed-up on.

Training

  • The Head of the Human Resources department shall ensure the training of All personnel on Ahliah  Child protection policy .