a revised version
The Liliane Foundation (LF) formulated the Child Protection Policy (CPP) as a formal instrument to protect children and youngsters with disabilities (further referred to as the children) from abuse in its projects, programmes and activities. Abuse can happen in any form: physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. Abuse and neglect can occur in all societies and cultures and in many organisations and institutions. Therefore, LF will seek out and fight the ignorance, the secrecy and the harm that accompanies child abuse wherever it occurs and whenever LF and its partner organisations encounter it. LF is working towards creating an environment of child protection in all areas of its work by raising awareness, empowering children by helping their voices to be heard, training employees and others in the prevention of child abuse, recognising the signs of child abuse, reporting and dealing with child abuse. If you want to read more on the developments of a (re)newed Child Protection Policy, please click below.
Over the last 7 years in the process of implementation of its own CPP, LF witnessed a lack of child protection in CBR settings and among partners due to a lack of professional resources and little awareness about the need to protect children from abuse. Further, stigma and lack of empowerment; uncomprehensive child protection policies and lack of child centred preventive measures can only increase incidents of child abuse. By preventive measures one can think of awareness raising, empowering and supporting families and other stakeholders to gain a more positive attitude, knowledge and skills how to cope and nurture the children and how to protect them from potential abuse.
All of the aforementioned aspects are structural problems and linked to the way society views and treats persons with disabilities1. Abuse often happens as a result of the lack of knowledge and powerlessness of caregivers or other stakeholders who are dealing with the children. Only focusing on the individual child and the perpetrator of the violence is not enough to create sustainable changes in the communities where these children live. Empowering families and other stakeholders to cope and nurture the children better can lead to more sustainable results in the process of their protection.
Policy purpose and scope
In reflecting on the aforementioned findings, LF decided to revise its CPP and take on a preventive angle. It now includes more child-centred preventive measures such as: enhancing the resilience of children in the process of their protection; improving the coping skills of caregivers and building protective structures within communities. Preventive measures within organisations, reporting and responding procedures are elements that are still relevant and remain within this policy. Therefore, this revised CPP is a statement of where LF aspires to be, particularly in developing countries where it is vital to take into account local understanding of child abuse, culture, religion, local law, traditional practices and partnership arrangements which in no case should be taken as excuses for abuses of children. LF will also dedicate time, financial and human resources for effective implementation of this policy. The policy, by definition, is dynamic and will therefore remain permanently "under construction". New versions will be released to include the results of further work.
Process of policy development
Policy Advisor is leading the process of revision together with few colleagues from the International Partnerships and Programmes department. In the process we have also consulted 2 SPOs from Cameroon and Nicaragua. On the 10 September, the Policy Advisor will give an update of the policy developments to the MT. By the end of September the policy will be finalized taking into account the feedback of all persons involved. Further the policy will be officially presented to the MT for discussion and approval. When the policy will be approved then the project team will get into the second phase of drafting an action plan for implementation. Consequently, the policy will be shared with all the SPOs in the network.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the LF Policy Advisor, Sofka Trajcevska and the Head of the IPP Henk Hofste email@example.com.
1 Boersma, M. (2013). Protecting Children with Disabilities from Violence in CBR Projects: Why We Need to Work with a Different Form of Child Protection for Children with Disabilities.