Authored by Chanel Worsteling, Child Protection and Wellbeing Programme Manager, Association of International Schools in Africa
Child abuse can affect anyone. The US Department of Justice indicates that as many as 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 20 boys experience sexual abuse before the age of 18. Children of all ages, gender, races and ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds and can experience harm. Children can also experience more than one type of abuse such as neglect, emotional or psychological abuse and physical or sexual abuse which can have serious and long-lasting impacts on their lives. Online abuse and exploitation is now a serious and growing threat to children everywhere. End Violence Against Children report that at any one time, 750,000 individuals are estimated to be looking to connect with children for sexual purposes.
Understanding that children everywhere are at risk of harm and the vital role schools can play in identifying children at risk of harm and how schools can respond so that they get the appropriate support and care they need is a key focus of the AISA Child Protection programme.
To meet accreditation standards, all international schools are now required to have a Child Protection Policy with procedures in place for reporting an allegation regarding an adult in the school or a concern that a child may be at risk of harm. Schools are required to appoint staff with oversight of child protection procedures and related school policies. But who should take on that responsibility? Should it be one person or a team, when does an action, incident or omission become a child protection concern, and what are the thresholds for reporting a concern? These are all questions that are addressed in the new AISA Child Protection Guidance Note.
AISA will facilitate an extended Online Deep Dive in early 2021 that is designed for Child Protection Teams in member schools to discuss their roles, responsibilities, and internal reporting guidance. To express your school’s interest in this training, contact Chanel Worsteling. Details will be available shortly.
The Association of International Schools in Africa is dedicated to serving its members throughout Africa during this challenging time. Please let us know if you require additional or specific information, resources and or support, and we will endeavour to assist you as soon as possible.