Child Protection at LWIS-CiS
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CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

LWIS-CiS is a child-centered school. Our mission is to create a safe and nurturing environment that caters for the physical, social and emotional growth and wellbeing of our learners.

Our practices and procedures on child protection are fully governed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Child Protection Policy launched by the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education together with UNICEF in 2018 and are in line with the Lebanese Law # 422/2002, "Protection of Juveniles in Conflict with the Law or at Risk”. These laws, practices and procedures protect children from abuse, neglect and sexual exploitation. In this policy, the term "children” refers to all learners registered at LWIS-CiS.

FORMS OF HARM/ABUSE

All our children have the right to be protected against all forms of harm/abuse, including:

  • PHYSICAL HARM/ABUSE

 Physical harm/abuse is any type of physical violence against children. It can take many forms, including, but not limited to:

  1. Hitting
  2. Kicking
  3. Slapping
  4. Burning
  5. Cutting
  6. Choking
  7. Shaking

These acts could leave the following possible symptoms/indicators:

  1. Bruises, burns, sprains, dislocations, bites and cuts
  2. Bodily injuries in places not normally exposed to falls, rough games, etc…
  3. Implausible explanation of injuries
  4. Refusal to discuss injuries
  5. Repeated stomach pains
  6. Discomfort with physical contact or touching
  7. Covered arms and legs in hot weather
  8. Fear of returning home or of parents/guardians being contacted
  9. Wariness or distrust towards adults
  10. Self-destructive tendencies
  11. Aggression towards others
  12. Passivity and compliance in a worrying manner
  13. Chronic running away
  14. Fear of making mistakes for fear of contacting parents
  • SEXUAL HARM/ABUSE

Sexual harm/abuse is forcing children or persuading them to take part in sexual activities knowingly or unknowingly. The act could include physical or non-physical contact. This could take many forms, including, but not limited to:

  1. Exposing children to sexual acts
  2. Watching children undress
  3. Discussing explicit sex in front of children
  4. Involving children in pornography or sharing pornography with them
  5. Touching children inappropriately
  6. Forcing or persuading children to touch someone else’s genitals or play sexual games

 These acts could leave the following possible symptoms/indicators:

  1. Pain or irritation in the genital area
  2. Difficulty with urination
  3. Infection or bleeding
  4. Fear of people or places
  5. Aggression
  6. Regressive behaviors, bed wetting or stranger anxiety
  7. Excessive masturbation
  8. Sexually provocation
  9. Stomach pains or difficulty walking or sitting
  10. Unusual quietness and withdrawal or unusual aggression
  11. Frequent absence from school
  12. Regression in toilet training
  13. Immense fear of a particular adult
  14. Reclusion
  15. Age inappropriate sexualized behavior or language
  16. Mentioning receiving special attention from an adult or establishing a new "secret” friendship with an adult or a young person
  • EMOTIONAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM/ABUSE

Emotional/Psychological harm/abuse is the ongoing emotional maltreatment or neglect of children. It might take many forms, including, but not limited to:

  1. Humiliation
  2. Shaming
  3. Belittling
  4. Undermining
  5. Threatening to abandon or to use violence

These acts could leave the following possible symptoms/indicators:

  1. Delay in physical, mental and emotional development
  2. Loss of previously acquired skills
  3. Extreme passivity or aggression
  4. Compulsive stealing
  5. Drug or substance abuse
  6. Unexplained or repeated headaches or stomach pains
  7. Sleeping or eating disorders
  8. Desperate seeking of attention
  9. Self harm
  • NEGLECT

Neglect is the failure to provide a child with basic needs, such as food, shelter, hygiene, health care, supervision, safety and structure.

 The above could leave the following possible symptoms/indicators:

  1. Slow rate of growth
  2. Hunger or stealing food
  3. Untreated injuries
  4. Sadness
  5. Tiredness
  6. Unfinished assignments
  7. Unsuitable clothing
  8. Poor hygiene

 

COMMITMENT BY ALL MEMBERS OF STAFF

  1. All members of staff should be aware of the Child Protection Policy and act as first contact agents to protect and safeguard our children.
  2. The school nurse examines many children suffering from or facing physical or health issues and gets the opportunity to examine them privately. Therefore, the nurse is in a position to identify symptoms of abuse and should report such observations, if found, to the school head counselor. The nurse is expected to preserve the privacy of the child and keep all information confidential.
  3. The sections’ counselors are in a position to identify abuse victims through their meetings with the children who either have regular scheduled meetings or have been referred by the heads of sections. The counselors are expected to immediately report any suspicion of abuse to the head counselor.

CHILD PROTECTION COMMITTEE (CPC)

The Child Protection Committee has the following duties:

  • Ensure the proper implementation of the Child Protection Policy
  • Keep all members of staff aware of the policy and provide training where necessary
  • Ensure the yearly review of the policy

The permanent members of the committee are the principal, vice principal and head counselor. They may invite any member of staff or external professional advisor to join on a temporary or permanent basis.

REPORTING (FIRST CONTACT AND OBSERVATION)

A child may approach a trusted member of staff to disclose an incident of abuse. The first contact member of staff must follow the guidelines listed below:

  1. Find a quiet, private place to talk to the child
  2. Listen calmly and carefully to the child
  3. Look directly at the child
  4. Be empathetic and supportive
  5. Take the disclosure seriously
  6. Reassure the child of having done the right thing by speaking up
  7. Limit questions to seeking facts
  8. Be transparent about the obligation to report the information to the head counselor in confidentiality
  9. Take notes as soon as possible following the disclosure
  10. Check if the child is willing to see the head counselor immediately
  11. Report the incident immediately to the head counselor

The first contact member of staff should not:

  1. Panic
  2. Express shock or disbelief
  3. Ask leading, investigative, suggestive or unnecessary questions
  4. Ask who, why and how questions
  5. Pressure the child to disclose information
  6. Blame the child, for example saying: "You should have reported earlier”
  7. Make assumptions
  8. Seek help while the child is disclosing information
  9. Give the child advice on how to deal with the situation
  10. Attempt to deal with the situation alone
  11. Promise to keep information to himself/herself

In case of a child reporting abuse to a member of staff or a member of staff observing a possible abuse case, the reporting must be immediate and follow the process below:



CONFIDENTIALITY AND PROTECTION

The school will strive to protect anyone reporting an allegation of abuse or neglect against intimidation, harassment or retaliation and maintain the reporter’s identity confidential, unless disclosure is required by law.

All received information is treated with confidentiality and only shared with members on a need-to-know basis. The purpose of confidentiality is to protect children, preserve their rights and respect their families’ rights.

PREVENTION

LWIS-CiS has a strict code of conduct for employees, learners, parents/guardians and visitors that protects the right of children to a safe and nurturing learning environment.


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