What should we do now that the updated policy is out?

The two most important things you can do is read the policy and encourage others in your Chapter or National Association to read and discuss the policy. If you have a responsibility for training in your Chapter or National Association you should be organising some briefings on the updated policy in advance of any programmes, national events or online activities.

The name has changed from child protection policy – why?

The name change reflects that this policy is more than just protecting children from harm or abuse. Safeguarding is all of the things we do to make sure children can be safer.

Why has the policy been changed?

The Child Safeguarding Policy is one of the most important policies and procedures in CISV. It sits alongside the Positive Behaviour Policy one which every adult who is attending a programme or event and every board member in every Chapter or National Association should read and understood. The changes are part of an annual review of the policy and some are in response to very serious child protection incidents or concerns. We need to learn and change our practice as a whole organisation. This is part of that process.

The definition of sexual abuse has changed – why is that?

The definition of sexual abuse has been changed and no longer contains reference to consent in a manner that could confuse and give worryingly mixed messages. The new definition is more in line with accepted current definitions within international children’s charities.

‘Procedure 1′ is now called ‘Safer Recruitment’. What does that mean?

Safer Recruitment is all of the processes and actions that those who recruit within CISV into positions of trust and responsibility take to ensure that those adults who may be unsuitable to work with children are deterred from applying or are rejected as applicants during our recruitment process.

It is more than police checks and references – it is how we advertise the roles, the questions we ask at interview to make sure we have the best adults for the roles and who are suitable to work with children. Some National Associations do more than what is expected in the Policy which is very positive. It is however not acceptable to do less than what is in the policy.

Appendix 3 seems to also be about safer recruitment?

Yes, it is! This appendix is about some important standard information we should have in our recruitment forms when we recruit volunteers to our programmes.

For ‘Procedure 2: Education and Training’, is there now online training that has to be completed?

Yes. Staff (including local and national interchange coordinators), Leaders and JCs must compete all of the online eLearning CISV Safeguarding modules before any programme, event or online activity with children begins. It is also part of the certification process for Risk Managers. It is important that as many adults as possible complete this training so please do encourage everyone.

‘Procedure 4: Communicating with and about children’ has altered. What is new?

We have added to what was there already, setting out clear boundaries for adults to have when they communicate with children in person and online. It means adults can communicate with children with another adult, but we are limited to when CISV adults communicate individually with children.

Why are we limiting CISV adults communicating with children?

Both online and in person we needed to set out clear rules and expectations that all adults must follow. We have a responsibility to model good online and in person behaviours when we communicate with children. This in part has been because of our learning from serious incidents, but also to keep us in line with other comparable organisations who have also been learning from incidents.

Does this mean we cannot speak to children anymore?

No. We can and should speak to, and most importantly, listen carefully to children, but we need to remember and stick to the new rules which is part of a culture change for CISV. For example, when we start communicating with groups of children as a leader, we would always let the parents know this is starting. We would also have another CISV adult copied into the conversation.

When the policy says ‘social media’, what does that mean?

Social media are interactive technologies that allow the creation or sharing and exchange of information, messages, ideas and interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and network. There are many social media websites, platforms and applications in use today.

Is it not a parent’s responsibility to look out for their children in their online activities?

Yes, it is, and where we can we should encourage this. It is CISV’s responsibility to ensure all of our adult volunteers have and maintain clear boundaries when they communicate with children in person and online.

Does this mean we cannot use social media to communicate with children?

You can still use social media but it must be as a group conversation and include another CISV adult and it must be on a platform or app that allows communications like this in its terms and conditions.

What do you mean by ‘social media terms and conditions’?

All social media have terms and conditions that include things like a minimum age limits. CISV must not support or encourage the use of social media or applications for children under the age limit in the terms of conditions.

Can you give some examples of age limits in social media and online communications terms and conditions?

Facebook and Instagram you have to be 13 to have an account.

Whatsapp is a bit complicated. If you live in a country in the European Economic Area and any other included country or territory (collectively referred to as the European Region), you must be at least 16 years old (or such greater age required in your country) to register for and use WhatsApp. If you live in any other country except those in the European Region, you must be at least 13 years old (or such greater age required in your country) to register for and use WhatsApp.

Zoom requires users to be aged 16 and over to have an account unless they are communicating using an education licence.

This means it does require some checks to be done with the terms and conditions before anyone starts communicating with children in CISV.

Can I be an adult in CISV and ‘friend’ or follow an individual CISV child on social media?

No. The policy now expects that this does not happen. We have had some serious incidents where social media was being used inappropriately by an adult. Other similar organisations now have clear boundaries on this and it is important that we understand the risks that this can bring with it.

Having organisational ‘professional boundaries’ between children and adults in an organisation must be seen as a normal expectation and part of child protection and safeguarding.

What if I have ‘friended’ or followed individual CISV children previously?

If they are still children, it would be sensible and good practice to take the time to unfollow them on social media so that you are in line with this policy.

The procedure states that an adult may meet individually with a child who is at least 16 years of age but under 18 who is in a specific position of responsibility (for example, in a formal JB role). What does it mean specific role and responsibility?

This means a position that the National Association has designated as such OR at an international level seen as such. For example Junior Branch Board Members and Junior Counsellors at a programme. The procedure also states that the communication must only be about their role and specific position of responsibility and where it is practical and possible such one to one in-person meetings should be conducted within the line of sight of other adults.

How can adults from a programme stay in touch with children in the future?

This can be done in groups, for example all of the delegations and adults from a camp could form a private Facebook Group (if they were over 13) and the group can stay in touch that way.

Does this policy mean someone in CISV will have to monitor our social media accounts?

No absolutely not! We have set out in this policy the standards and expectations for all adults in CISV to follow. If someone raises a concern or makes an allegation, it would be standard practice then to check social media accounts of those concerned.

How much has ‘Procedure 5: Recognising, Reporting and Documenting Concerns’ changed?

It is important to note that there are now clearer reporting deadlines. Sometimes people were leaving it until the end of a programme or even weeks after a concern to submit an IRF. This can no longer happen because timely reporting is very important.

There seems to be an added appendix on the signs and indicators of abuse or neglect?

There is. Appendix 1 is a list of some of the more obvious signs and indicators of abuse. It is not a full list and should be seen as a guide. It should complement any in person training.

What is different in ‘Procedure 6: Acting on Concerns’?

There are clearer lines of responsibility, there are clearer timescales for reporting and there is a section on reporting abuse that may have happened in the past.

Why has ‘Appendix 2: CISV Child Safeguarding Policy, Child Friendly’ been added?

Whilst it is every adult’s responsibility to protect children in CISV from harm and abuse, children must be offered the information they need to ensure they can report or raise concerns they may have about themselves and other children. This document should be shared with children who are going to attend our programmes or events at a chapter, National, or International level, as well as online programmes.