Child Protection Policy for ELTE Team of ENGAGE
The partnership consists of three academic organizations and an NGO (Uccu Roma Informal Educational Foundation) and will be working closely together with additional NGOs in all countries, specifically in interventions involving children and youth, we will work closely together with Fundación Secretariado Gitano, Spain (FSG) in Spain.
These academic organizations are committed to preventing, protecting and responding to, harm to children through the rigorous ethical standards of research which corresponds with their task within the project (i.e. collecting data among secondary school age children). The UNCRC defines the child as a person under 18 years of age. These ethical standards are established by the American Psychological Association for research with children that prescribe ethical standards in 16 areas. For all empirical research conducted with children (and adults) will be conducted following the approval of the Institutional Review Board (ethical committee) which is a requirement at the three academic institutions involved in the project. These principles are described in the following areas (for more information, see https://www.srcd.org/about-us/ethical-standards-research-children):
- Non-harmful procedures
- Informed consent
- Parental consent
- Additional consent (i.e. institutional)
- Mutual responsibilities
- Unforeseen consequences
- Informing participants
- Reporting results
- Implications of findings
- Scientific misconduct
- Personal misconduct
In the case of Eötvös Loránd University, taking into account the standards above, for data collection among secondary school children, a detailed consent form will be prepared for children, their parents and the institution which will outline the purpose of the study, the potential risks of participation, explain that the survey is anonymous, confidential, voluntary and how the data will be stored and treated. We will only ask questions which are no more than everyday expressions of opinion. For children under the age of 16 years, active parental consent will be required, for children above 16 years of age, passive parental consent will be requested, which means that the parents will be informed as expected by the ethical standards of research and parents can deny participation of their child. Data will be collected among children over 16 who take part in the programmes organized by Uccu Roma Informal Educational Foundation.
ELTE acknowledges the duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and is committed to ensuring safeguarding practices to reflect statutory responsibilities and government guidance. Our policy has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children, namely:
- United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
- Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
- Children Act 2014
- The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR)
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The purpose of our policy is to protect children and young people who participate in the study. This includes to provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection; ELTE believes that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people and to keep them safe. We are committed to practice in a way that protects them.
ELTE acknowledges that some children, including disabled children and young people or those from ethnic minority communities, can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and we accept the responsibility to take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure their welfare.
Our policy recognizes that the welfare and interests of children are paramount in all circumstances. It aims to ensure that regardless of age, ability or disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, socio-economic background, all children
- have a positive and enjoyable experience during the data collection for the impact assessment research in a safe and child centered environment
- are protected from abuse whilst participating in the data collection for the impact assessment research
- their welfare is paramount, as enshrined in the Children Act 1989
- have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), is the first instrument that recognizes children as social agents and as holders assets of their own rights. Its 54 articles collect economic rights, social, cultural, civil and political of all children and adolescents. The principle that inspires this Policy is the sense of responsibility of FSG entity to ensure the safety and support of children at all times: provide a protected environment and a safe space for participation, expression and development for children and adolescents with whom they work, and create all the necessary conditions so that the people responsible for the well-being of children have all their capacities to promote, demand and defend their rights, paying the necessary attention to prevent, detect and report any threat or violation that puts the life, integrity or physical, psychological, emotional and social development of children.
The objectives of this Policy are therefore:
- guarantee the safety and support of children at all times
- continuous learning and improvement based on the experience gained and a continuous analysis of their actions and improvement of the Policy periodically.
Participating children, their parents and the institutions will be informed that in case any concerns arise in the area of child protection (i.e. risk of harm), these cases will be followed through. A follow-up consultation may be organized to mitigate harm, with the involvement of an external experts (e.g. child psychologist), if necessary, depending on the issue, either in the presence of school representatives or in their absence.
For ELTE, data will be collected by the staff members of the institutions with the help of student assistants. All members of the data collection team will be informed about the policy regarding child protection related to the activity they are involved in (as described in the section on policy). In the recruitment of student assistants, attitudes toward child protection will be vetted. All staff members (including student assistants) will have to follow guidelines for data collection regarding child protection.
As part of the safeguarding policy ELTE will
- promote and prioritize the safety and wellbeing of children and young people
- ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and is provided with appropriate learning opportunities to recognize, identify and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children and young people
- ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of incidents/concerns of abuse and support provided to the individual/s who raise or disclose the concern
- ensure that confidential, detailed and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored
- prevent the employment/deployment of unsuitable individuals
- protect personal data by ensuring confidentiality and requesting consent from the stakeholders of ELTE (children, youth, students, parents, ,).
- creating a safe space and informing children, co-workers and family about the child protection policy and related procedures (awareness, prevention, reporting, responding).
- making children aware of their rights and their active role in child protection
- putting in place fair, secure and transparent reporting channels during the data collection for the impact assessment research and guarantee the right of stakeholders (children, parents, staff) to be heard
- enabling and empowering youth, students and children to make their own decisions and informed consent
- valuing, listening to and respecting youth, students and children.
In the case of ELTE for data collection among children, exact procedures will be developed before each data collection to be adopted to the actual school in which data collection takes place. Common for each case is that the questionnaires will be developed to be appropriate for the age-group in language, complexity and topics. As stated above, data will be collected among children who are over 16 and take part in the programmes organized by the UCCU Roma Informal Educational Foundation. Children will be asked to provide information on questions that they are familiar with. No matter where the data collection takes place, children must be provided with privacy in giving their answers (computer screens not visible to others, answers given on paper to be stored in closed envelopes not to be seen by other students or teachers). All data collection will take place in writing, no personal interviews will be conducted with children. Staff members, who will be informed about child protection policy before the data collection, will only be present during data collection to offer technical instructions, answer questions of clarification and when data is collected on paper, to distribute and collect questionnaires.
ELTE Child Protection Policy applies to all staff, employees, assistants, volunteers who have contact with children and young people or anyone working on behalf of ELTE. All ELTE staff, assistants and volunteers have a full induction which will include Safeguarding and Child Protection if their role will take them into contact with children or young people in order to ensure they understand ELTE ’s guidelines on contact with children, and how to behave appropriately at all times towards children. It also ensures that they know how to respond to concerns, suspicions and allegations of abuse, what to record, who and when to report to. Failure to comply with the policy and procedures will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in dismissal/exclusion from the institution.
Monitoring child protection will be an integral part on the evaluation of each data collection and intervention event. Specifically, staff members of the interventions and data collection will always report the details of the data collection and the intervention to the project coordinator either in personal interview format or in a group discussion. These conversations will allow discussions of problems or dilemmas related to child protection as well. Any concern that is presented during these reports will be followed through, as described in the section on Policy. Staff members will be held accountable in case any concerns are raised during the project in their conduct with children, these cases will be appropriately investigated and dealt with according to the ethical and legal standards. The Child Protection Policy will be reviewed a year after development and then every three years.
You can find the ELTE team's Child Protection Policy signed version here.