working with children and young people policy

indigo foundation is a child-safe organisation

indigo foundation is committed to the development, well being and safety of all children and young people. indigo foundation will uphold the rights of children and young people as stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This policy acknowledges that children and young people are a community with particular needs within our partner communities and when entering into partnerships these needs will be evaluated under indigo foundation’s key development areas, mission statement and guiding principles.

This Working with Children and Young People Policy has been developed to provide a practical and aspirational guide to creating positive outcomes for children and young people in indigo foundation programs. In addition, the policy outlines a range of risk management strategies that will be implemented to reduce any risk of children being harmed.

  1. Goal

The policy’s overall goal is to increase the safety, self esteem and confidence of children and young people and improve their ability to participate in decisions affecting them, thereby maximising their access to opportunity, their integration into the community and improving their resilience, their standing in the community and lessening their risk of exploitation and abuse.

  1. Scope

For the purposes of this policy, a child will be considered to be a person under the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is obtained earlier. A young person will be considered to be a person aged between twelve and twenty five years. indigo foundation acknowledges that children are a diverse community.

This is a global policy and applies to:

  • All indigo foundation volunteers and staff
  • All Managements Committee Members
  • Consultants engaged by indigo foundation
  • Supporters and other participants on field visits organised by indigo foundation

Each person is responsible for having a thorough knowledge of this policy and the procedures set out below, acting in accordance with this policy and complying with it.

Breach of the risk management aspects of this policy or the indigo foundation Working with Children and Young People Code of Conduct constitutes an act of misconduct and is grounds for disciplinary action and/ or termination of involvement in indigo foundation.

  1. Guiding Principles

This policy is guided by indigo foundation’s four guiding principles of Transparency, Equity, Community Ownership and Sustainability. Within this policy there are a further four principles.

  • Recognition of the interests and rights of children and young people.

Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and indigo foundation is committed to upholding the rights and obligations of the convention. indigo foundation recognises that children and young people are particularly vulnerable, more so in communities under stress, and that all children have the right to be treated with respect and dignity.

  • Shared Responsibility

indigo foundation recognises that society as a whole shares responsibility for promoting the wellbeing and safety of children and requires the active support and co-operation of partners and staff implementing indigo foundation funded community development activities.

As part of the discussions leading to a formal Commitment Agreement, indigo foundation’s Project Managers will ensure our partners understand the Working with Children and Young People policy and that their compliance will be monitored during monitoring and evaluation visits.

  • Positive Re-enforcement

indigo foundation recognises that by building an environments and communities where children feel safe, secure, empowered and are valued for their participation there is a range of social and health benefits and the risk of abuse is decreased.

Not only do children and young people benefit from being involved in decision-making but also organisations and services that involve children and young people will benefit from their involvement. Agencies may gain a better understanding of what makes an effective service for children and young people or will build stronger relationships with the young people they work with.

  • Risk Management of Child Abuse

indigo foundation’s approach to mitigate the risk of child abuse includes selection procedures for recruitment including a working with children police check; ongoing monitoring of partners implementation of the policy.

  1. How will the policy be implemented within indigo foundation?

4.1 An audit of programmatic impact on children and young people

All projects undertaken by indigo foundation Australia will include an impact assessment of children and young people as a discreet community within the project target community in line with our mission statement and four guiding principles and the four additional principles listed under section 3.

       4.2 Increase awareness of child protection issues

A key step in reducing risks to children when delivering aid activities is to increase awareness of risk and risk management. indigo foundation Australia staff and volunteers will receive information on their obligations under this policy and the requirements for reporting concerns or allegations of child abuse.

     4.3 Strengthening of internal recruitment and screening processes

indigo foundation’s recruitment processes of staff and volunteers for key roles will employ screening measures to ensure inappropriate persons are not employed by the organisation. These include background checks on all successful candidates, including verbal referee checks and targeted interview questions. Volunteers who will be in contact with children will be expected to have a Working with Children check (or its jurisdictional equivalent). All volunteers and staff covered by indigo foundation’s Working With Children and Young People Policy will be required to sign indigo foundation’s Working with Children and Young People Code of Conduct.

Indigo will request all volunteers and staff to confirm they have never been convicted of nor cautioned for an offence against children anywhere in the world.

       4.4 Review Working With Children policy regularly

The policy will be reviewed every three years, or earlier if warranted, and lessons learned will be incorporated into subsequent versions.

5. Reporting concerns of child abuse.

5.1 In Australia

If concerns regarding abuse of children or young people arise, all parties will be directed through a formal complaints procedure process by the Chairperson.

indigo foundation will treat all concerns raised seriously and ensure that all parties are treated fairly and the principles of natural justice will be a prime consideration. All reports will be handled professionally, confidentially and expediently. The person alleged to have violated the indigo foundation Working With Children and Young People policy would have the opportunity to present his or her view of the events in question. indigo foundation will hold its determination until the investigation is completed.

     5.2 In the Host Community

indigo foundation commits itself to follow these principles in our work. In turn, we ask that the communities we work with abide by these principles. We will work with communities to ensure these principles are upheld. If a community cannot follow these principles, indigo foundation will cease working with it.

  1. Definition of Child Abuse.

Child abuse is defined as[1]:

  • Physical abuse
    This is when a child is hurt or injured by a child or an adult. Physical abuse includes hitting, kicking, punching and other ways of inflicting pain or injury such as burning, poisoning, drowning or smothering. It also includes giving a child harmful drugs or alcohol.
  • Emotional abuse
    This is when adults deny children love or affection, or constantly threaten or humiliate them. Sarcasm, degrading punishments and ignoring a child are also forms of emotional abuse and undermine a child’s confidence and sense of self-worth.
  • Neglect
    This is when a child’s basic need for love, food, warmth, safety, education and medical attention is not met by parents or carers.
  • Sexual abuse
    This is when a child is used sexually by an adult or young person. Sexual abuse can include kissing, touching the child’s genitals or breasts, vaginal or anal intercourse and oral sex. Encouraging a child to look at pornographic magazines or videos is also sexual abuse.
  • Bullying, racism and other types of discrimination are forms of child abuse. Like other kinds of abuse they can harm a child physically and emotionally
  • Exploitation: Exploitation refers to the abuse of children and their rights in circumstances such as:
  • being forced into unacceptable forms of labour;
  • being forced to participate in acts of violence and war;
  • trafficking of children;
  • children participating in pornography (including the production of pornographic material, e.g. videos, photographs etc) and prostitution for the financial gain or personal gain of their abuser.


[1] Adapted from the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)