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Child Protection Handbook
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Table of Contents

Child Protection        2

Child Protection Policy        2

Child Protection Commitment        2

Child Protection Education and Awareness        3

The Curriculum        4

Primary School Child Protection Curriculum Overview        4

Secondary School Child Protection Curriculum Overview        5

Child Protection Curriculum Delivery        6

Child Protection Identification Guidelines        6

Child Protection Reporting Procedures        9

Child Protection Disclosure Flow Chart        9

Procedures for reporting suspected cases of child abuse or neglect        10

Confidentiality        11

Appendix A: AISL Parent Child Protection Expectations        12

Appendix B: Child Protection Resources        13

References        14


Child Protection

Child Protection Policy

The American International School of Lusaka (AISL) is committed to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and has demonstrated this commitment throughout this Child Protection Handbook. In alignment with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the American International School of Lusaka (AISL) seeks to be a safe haven for all students, particularly those who may be experiencing abuse, neglect, or harassment in their lives.  As such, AISL distributes this policy annually to all parents and applicants, communicates this policy annually to students, provides training for all staff, makes every effort to implement hiring practices to ensure the safety of children, and reviews the policy annually for compliance and effectiveness.


AISL has adopted the definition of child abuse and neglect as defined by the
World Health Organization. According to the World Health Organization, child abuse constitutes “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.”  (WHO, June, 2020, para. 2) 

 

Child abuse and neglect are concerns throughout the world. They violate a child’s human rights and are obstacles to the child’s education as well as to his or her physical, emotional, and spiritual development. The American International School of Lusaka endorses the United Nations UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which our host country, Zambia, is a signatory, and AISL has a zero tolerance policy for child abuse, neglect, and harassment.


AISL recognizes that all cases of suspected child abuse
, neglect, or harassment require careful, confidential and prompt investigationAll staff employed at the school must report suspected incidents of child abuse, neglect, or harassment whenever the staff member has reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered, or is at significant risk of suffering, abuse, neglect, or harassment. Reporting and follow up of all suspected incidents will proceed in accordance with administrative procedures included in this policy.  Furthermore, cases of suspected child abuse, neglect, or harassment may be reported to the parent/guardian, to the appropriate employer, to the respective Embassy or Consulate in Lusaka, Zambia, and to Zambian legal authorities.  AISL may report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect of an American citizen (student) to the Regional Security Officer at the United States Embassy. 

In the case of a staff member reported as an alleged offender, the American International School of Lusaka will conduct a prompt inquiry and follow Board policy pursuant to the AISL Employee Code of Ethics and discipline procedures outlined Faculty Handbook. At all times, the safety of the child will be the highest priority. 

Child Protection Commitment

[1]AISL is committed to the safety and protection of children. The AISL Child Protection commitment is aligned with the AISL Employee Code of Ethics and applies to all faculty, staff, employees, and volunteers who represent the school and who interact with children or young people in both a direct and/or unsupervised capacity. The policy also applies to any external adults interacting with students (e.g., guest speakers, sports coaches from other schools, ISSEA host families, etc.), and to situations that may occur during school-related events both on and off campus.

AISL employees and other adults interacting with students are to strictly follow the rules and guidelines in the AISL Child Protection Policy as a condition of providing services to the children and youth participating in AISL programs.

[2]All AISL employees are expected to:

AISL employees will not:

Note: All AISL employees are subject to a criminal history background check.

In the event that the abuse, neglect, or harassment allegation involves a staff or faculty member of AISL, the Principal and School Director will follow board policy pursuant to the AISL Employee Code of Ethics and discipline procedures outlined Faculty and Staff Handbooks.

Child Protection Education and Awareness

[4]AISL is committed to educate and develop awareness about child protection to all stakeholders in our community. This includes the following; school policy, child protection identification guidelines, reporting procedures, child protection commitment, and preventative measures (school curriculum). Review of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child will be included.

Below is a table outlining AISL’s commitment to educate all adult stakeholders in our community.  

Group

Facilitators

When

Primary School Faculty

Primary School Counselor

Primary School Principal

August In-Service

Secondary School Faculty

MS/HS Counselors

Secondary School Principal

August In-Service

Teacher Assistants

Primary School Counselor

Primary School Principal

August In-Service

Administrative Staff

Counselors, Director

August

Support Staff/Drivers

Counselor, Operations Manager

August

Coaches

Counselor, Athletic Director

August

Parents

Counselors

August, January (2x per year)

The Curriculum

The curriculum in the primary and secondary schools is developmental and based upon the recommendations of The Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) presented in the Association’s Child Protection Handbook (2016).

Primary School Child Protection Curriculum Overview

[5]As part of our Personal and Social Education program in Primary school, the following areas are taught as part of our child protection education for children. Our teaching points includes:

Emotional Safety:

Every person is worthy of protection

Every person has the right to be safe

Every person is important

Every person can speak up for themselves and others

Every person can defend themselves from harm

Every person can speak up for what they need

Using an I-message helps us communicate our feelings in a respectful way

Physical Safety:

Using awareness helps us stay safe

Being calm and confident helps us stay safe

We can move out of reach if we sense/see trouble

We can persist in getting help from adults

Having a safety plan in place is important

Boundaries:

We each belong to ourselves (my body is mine)

Some things are not a choice (for health and safety reasons,a parent or medical professional may need to see/touch our private parts)

Problems should not be secrets

We should keep telling until we get help

Physical Touch:

Must never be a secret

Must be safe

Touch for fun, play and affection must be the choice of both people

We can change our minds

We respect our friends choice if they change their mind

                

Secondary School Child Protection Curriculum Overview

[6]Child abuse, neglect, and harassment are problems of growing concern, a violation of children’s human rights, and an obstacle to child and youth education and development. Educators have a special role in combating child abuse.

The Grade 6-12 AISL Child Protection curriculum is designed to be flexible and adaptable, and may be modified to meet student needs. Secondary School Counselors will take the lead and deliver the curriculum through the Advisory Program, Physical Education, or a grade level seminar.

The curriculum has four main concepts:

This curriculum is designed to meet the range of developmental needs and is vertically aligned.

AISA (2016) states in their Child Protection handbook that, “Culture plays a large role in how people discuss and define personal safety and abuse. Personal space and acceptable behaviors vary across the globe. Students in the international school setting bring many different cultural perspectives to the class discussion. However, culture should never be used to excuse inappropriate behavior. Students should feel confident relying on a “gut feeling” if they are unsure if a touch or situation is appropriate or inappropriate. They are the ones who ultimately decide what is appropriate or inappropriate, safe or unsafe. Educators are uniquely positioned to be present if students need help and help them learn how to advocate for and protect themselves.

The four core concepts of the secondary curriculum remain the same in each grade: Identify, Access, Act, and Value. Teaching – and re-teaching – these essential learning objectives are key to student learning.

Developmentally appropriate content and delivery for each lesson ensures a varied and rich learning experience.

Concept 1

Concept 2

Concept 3

Concept 4

Grade 6

IDENTIFY:

Safe and Unsafe Situations

ACCESS:  Trusted Persons

ACT: To Stay Safe

VALUE: Self and Community

Grade 7-8

IDENTIFY:

Safe and Unsafe Situations

ACCESS:  Support Structures

ACT: To Stay Safe

VALUE: Self and Community

Grade 9-10

IDENTIFY:

Safe and Unsafe Situations

ACCESS:  Trusted Persons

ACT: To Stay Safe

VALUE: Self and Community

Grade 11-12

IDENTIFY:

Safe and Unsafe Situations

ACCESS:  Support Structures

ACT: To Stay Safe

VALUE: Self and Community

Child Protection Curriculum Delivery

[7]Below is a table describing the manner in which AISL delivers the Child Protection Curriculum to students in Kindergarten through Grade 12.

Grade Levels

Method of Delivery

Who

When

Kindergarten-Grade 5

Classroom Guidance Lessons; Parent Sessions

PS Counselor

By mid-October

Grades 6-8

Advisory/PHE

MS Counselor

By mid-September

Grades 9-10

Advisory/PHE

MS Counselor

By mid-September

Grades 11-12

Advisory

HS Counselor

By mid-September

Child Protection Identification Guidelines

From: Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) Child Protection Handbook, 2016

How is abuse defined?
Definitions of abuse are complex and based in various cultures of child-rearing behaviors, gender and role responsibilities, and family expectations. The primary determination of abuse is dependent on some form of a relationship that is used to meet the needs of the more powerful person, either a member of the family, a teacher, or a friend. Research guides the definitions below that are based in understanding the impact of certain behaviors.


Physical abuse:

Possible Indicators of Physical Abuse:

Emotional abuse:

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child so as to cause severe and adverse

effects on a child’s emotional development. It may involve: conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved; that they are inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person; age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children; causing children frequently to feel frightened; or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment of a child, though it may also occur alone.

Possible indicators of emotional abuse:

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is committing or allowing to be committed any sexual offense against a child as defined in the AISL Anti-Sexual Harassment and Assault Policy. Sexual abuse has distinct characteristics that warrant special attention. While physical abuse is often the result of immediate stress and not usually planned, sexual abuse requires planning with results that are more insidious.

The planning to commit sexual abuse, referred to as grooming, often results in victims accepting the blame, responsibility, guilt and/or shame for the sexual behavior of the offender. The commission of sexual abuse requires far more secrecy than other forms of child abuse; therefore, sexual abuse is more difficult to report.

Many victims, through the process of grooming, are taught that sexual abuse is a form of love, so tend to love their offender and may present as happy and well-adjusted children with no negative symptoms because of their perception of being loved.

Possible Indicators of Sexual Abuse:

Neglect

[8]Neglect is failure to provide for a child’s basic needs within their own environment.

failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs, specific examples may include verbal humiliation, refusing to acknowledge presence of a child, invasion of privacy for no specific reason, violent threats, etc.)

Note: AISL requires that one parent/guardian be a full-time resident of Lusaka and living in the same residence as their child(ren). Should parents/guardians leave the country or residence for any reason, the responsibility for informing the school of the temporary guardian’s name, address, and all appropriate contact details lies with the parent or guardian.

Possible indicators of neglect;


Note: Behavior indicators alone do not constitute abuse or neglect. Together with other indicators, such as family dynamics, a referral may be made to the school counselor or administration.  

Child Protection Reporting Procedures

What happens when a staff member has reasonable cause to suspect?

These indicators of abuse and neglect will be used by the staff member as a guideline for reporting to the

Child Protection Officer. The counselors will then meet and decide to convene a Child Protection meeting that may involve the principal, counselor, and/or Title IX Coordinator (for cases of a sexual nature). A report must be made within 24-hours of a staff member having reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect. [9]Reports will be kept confidential to the extent that the law and school policies permit, keeping the welfare of the child a priority.

Child Protection Disclosure Flow Chart 


Procedures for reporting suspected cases of child abuse or neglect

Step 1: Reporting:
When a child reports abuse or there is reasonable cause to believe that abuse or neglect is occurring, the AISL staff member will seek advice from the Child Protection Officer within 24 hours. A meeting between all the counselors will follow and The Child Protection Response Team will meet within 24 hours to address the report and plan an investigation. The response team will include at least the Principal, Counselor, and in some cases, the other Counselors, the School Nurse, and other individuals deemed necessary. In all cases, follow up activities will be conducted in a manner that ensures that information is documented factually and that strict confidentiality is maintained. The following procedure will be used:


Step 2: Action Plan
Based on acquired information, a plan of action will be developed to assist the child and family. Actions that may take place are:

In cases of severe abuse or where outside authority and intervention is deemed or legally necessary, one or more of these possible actions will follow:

Note: AISL is expected to report suspicion of neglect and/or abuse of a child of a US citizen to the Regional Security Officer at the US Embassy.

In the event that the abuse or neglect allegation involves a staff or faculty member of AISL, the Principal and School Director will follow board policy, pursuant to ethical professional behavior and consequence of actions outlined in the Faculty Handbooks.

Step 3: Follow up
Subsequent to a reported and/or substantiated case of child abuse or neglect:


[10]All documentation of the investigation will be kept in the child’s confidential records file. When a student moves to a new school, the Child Protection Team will meet to determine whether and to what degree to pass information along to the new school within the limits of the law and professional responsibility. AISL will make every attempt to share information that it deems necessary to protect the child.

In case of reports of sexual abuse, the School and Title IX Coordinator may consult with a trained, independent investigator.

Most cases of suspected abuse or neglect will be handled by AISL counselors, such as those involving:

  • Student relationships with peers, e.g general conflict or bullying
  • Parenting skills related to disciplining children at home
  • Student-parent relationships
  • Mental health issues such as mild depression, low self-esteem, grief.

Some cases will be referred to outside resources, including

  • Mental health issues such as signs of, for example, depression, psychosis, dissociation, suicide ideation.

Cases reported for investigation and outside resources:

  • Physical abuse or neglect
  • Sexual abuse (harassment and assault)

In extreme cases when the abuse does not stop or concerns remain about the safety of the child, reports could be made to:

  • Local authorities.
  • The consulate or embassy.
  • The employer.
  • The home-of-record welfare office.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is essential UNLESS someone discloses that they or someone else is in danger. In such cases, it is the responsibility as AISL to do whatever is necessary to get help.


Appendix A: AISL Parent Child Protection Expectations


We acknowledge that by enrolling our children at AISL, we understand the commitment to upholding rights and protecting all children.  We also recognize the importance of these values in the education of our children, and agree to reinforce these values at home. 

I / We undertake to:

The AISL Child Protection Policy works for the child, for the family, and for our community

Research indicates that international communities are as prone to child abuse as communities in their home country. Child abuse is a multi-faceted issue that involves dynamics of the child, the family, and the community. The AISL Child Protection Policy works to respond at all three levels.


Appendix B: Child Protection Resources

Child Protection Response Unit

Under Ministry of Gender & Child Development

Office of the President

Department of Child Development

Provincial Administration

P.O. Box 34430, Lusaka

Zambia

Contact person: Mr. Dominique Silubanji

Assistant to the Child Provincial Coordinator

Cell #: 0967-952024

Email: lskprov@zamnet.zm

Zambian Police & Department of Social Welfare Child Protection

Unit  Ph: 0979300715 / 0955300003 / 0977452680

Child Line

http://www.lifelinezambia.org.zm 

Childline Zambia is a Toll Free Telephone counseling and guidance service. This service aims at promoting child protection and is accessible for both child callers and those calling on behalf of children.

Call For Free Childline 116


References

United Nations. "A Summary Guide to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child." Save the Children International, UNCRC, www.savethechildren.net/sites/www.savethechildren.net/files/A%20summary%20guide%20to%20the%20UN%20Convention%20on%20the%20rights%20of%20the%20child.pdf.

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Last updated: November 2021


[1] Article 23: EVery child who is disabled - be it mental or physical - has the right to special care, education, health and other services to help them lead a full and independent life (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)

[2] Article 29: Every child has the right to an education which helps develop their personality, mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential, and encourages them to respect their human rights of all (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)

[3] Article 16: Every child has the right to privacy (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)

[4] Article 3: The best interest of the child should always be a primary consideration when decisions affecting children are made (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)

[5] Article 12: Every child has the right to express their opinion, and this opinion is listened to and taken seriously in all matters affecting the child; Article 29: Every child has the right to an education which helps develop their personality, mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential, and encourages them to respect their human rights of all; and Article 39: EVery child has the right to help if they have been hurt, neglected or poorly treated (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)

[6] Article 12: Every child has the right to express their opinion, and this opinion is listened to and taken seriously in all matters affecting the child; Article 29: Every child has the right to an education which helps develop their personality, mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential, and encourages them to respect their human rights of all; Article 29: Every child has the right to an education which helps develop their personality, mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential, and encourages them to respect their human rights of all; and Article 39: EVery child has the right to help if they have been hurt, neglected or poorly treated (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)

[7] Article 3: The best interest of the child should always be a primary consideration when decisions affecting children are made; Article 12: Every child has the right to express their opinion, and this opinion is listened to and taken seriously in all matters affecting the child; Article 29: Every child has the right to an education which helps develop their personality, mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential, and encourages them to respect their human rights of all; Article 16: Every child has the right to privacy; Article 24: EVery child has the right to the highest attainable standard of health and access to quality health care services, clean water, nutritious food, a clean environment and information to help them stay healthy;  Article 29: Every child has the right to an education which helps develop their personality, mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential, and encourages them to respect their human rights of all; and Article 39: EVery child has the right to help if they have been hurt, neglected or poorly treated (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)

[8] Article 27: Every child has the right to a standard of living good enough to meet their physical and mental needs (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)

[9] Article 3: The best interest of the child should always be a primary consideration when decisions affecting children are made and Article 16: Every child has the right to privacy (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)

[10] Article 3: The best interest of the child should always be a primary consideration when decisions affecting children are made and Article 16: Every child has the right to privacy (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)