All AISA schools have policies and procedures to ensure that every child – regardless of their age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation – has a right to equal protection from harm. An important component of these school policies and procedures is a guide or framework for how a school will respond to a child protection concern or disclosure of harm or abuse. This is found in the school Managing Allegations Protocol, which may be a stand-alone document or form part of the school Child Protection Policy.
Once a concern or allegation has been reported to the school Child Protection Officer (CPO) or Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), it is best practice for them to form a Response Team. This team is specific to the case and may be comprised of members of the Child Protection Team and or other relevant members of staff.
Understandably, responding to an allegation or concern that a child has been significantly harmed is a difficult and distressing matter for all involved, including the Response Team. Many decisions need to be made, often in quick succession, and doing so in a stressful situation is no easy task.
To support CPO/DSLs and Response Teams, AISA has developed a Case Review Tool that is designed to support teams in their consideration of each case. The tool prompts teams to consider their response through the lens of; the child who was harmed (taking a child-centred and trauma-informed approach), current school policies and procedures, and legal and communication needs. It also prompts teams to review the case through a prevention lens. Considering if the school needs to consider any changes or actions that might be needed in the school systems and policies, culture and context, school partners, and people and training. This prevention section may be done at a later date.
This tool does not replace the need to document the case in an incident report but should be an attachment to the report to show how the team arrived at certain decisions.
The hope is that the tool will enable response teams to provide holistic care and support to vulnerable students while providing the team a degree of confidence that they are acting with due care in their duty to protect.
AISA Child Protection & Wellbeing Programme Manager
The Association of International Schools in Africa is dedicated to serving its members throughout Africa. 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.