The objective of BICE’s internal policy on child protection is to establish throughout BICE’s network a dominant atmosphere of welfare for the children ensuring the respect of their dignity and their rights.
Schools and in more general terms, all institutions dealing with children, must guard against all forms of physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Their risk cannot be ignored.
This is the reason why, about ten years ago, BICE established an internal policy of protection based on prevention and on a code of conduct that is imposed on all collaborators and partners of the organisation, and from which the member organisations of BICE must draw inspiration. This diptych was completed in January 2011, with the creation of a Commission on Child Protection, whose mission now constitutes the third pillar of the internal policy for the protection of childhood of BICE.
Prevention directed to adults consists of an awareness of the different forms of violence, the legal framework, a reflection on the establishment of balanced relationships with the children made of benevolent listening but also of reminders of the limits that the child must learn to discern so these may not be crossed by adults and by himself(1).
On their part, children must be introduced to their rights according to their age and they must understand what is meant by the respect owed to their bodily dignity. Our experience has also shown the effectiveness of the preventive actions carried out by children with other children and adults as well.
A code of conduct
It includes rules for the recruitment of representatives and behavioural advice for adults in contact with children. It also sets forth the attitude one must have in the presence of a suspicion of abuse or proven abuse of a child. The imperative obligation is to report the incident to one’s hierarchy and to BICE’s Commission for the protection of childhood and to always contact at the same time the administrative (social, health…) and/or competent judicial authorities, while ensuring the respect for all involved people. Lastly, it advocates the measures to be taken for the protection and accompaniment of the child victims.
The Commission on Child Protection
The mission of the BICE Commission on Child Protection is to ensure that child protection policies are implemented at the heart of the organisation and to permit adjustments to the changing risks. Placed under BICE’s Board of Directors, to which it reports on an annual basis, it ensures, under the responsibility of the General Secretary:
- the diagnosis of the existing policies in the network organisations and their update in case of a failing level,
- a systematic training of the people in charge, of personnel and network collaborators,
- the most ample publicity of BICE’s internal Child Protection Policy,
- the review of the incidents that occur within the network and a watch over the changing risks,
- the consultation with the teams in case of a suspicion of abuse and, if necessary, in case of a proven abuse.
(1) In traditional authoritative patterns that do not take into account the word of the child, his « no » is never heard. If he adds this to the incapacity of being heard and understood by the adult, he will not be able to say « no » in case of an assault. Laxity has a similar effect since he has no knowledge of the necessary limits.