Children Change Colombia has a responsibility to safeguard, protect and promote the welfare of all children, young people and vulnerable adults. We also have a responsibility to minimize any harm that we might do inadvertently as a result of our activities or those of our partners. We embrace the ‘do no harm’ principle * and encourage and support our partners to do the same. To reflect this, we have developed a full set of safeguarding policies and procedures that help us to fulfil these responsibilities. Our safeguarding procedures are based on UK legislation, including Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, revised 2018) and are underpinned by the Keeping Children Safe Standards (revised 2014), a set of internationally recognized standards that outline good practice to minimize the risk of harm to children as a result of our activities. They are also in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; an international agreement that protects the rights of children and provides a child-centred framework for the development of services for children.
To reflect this, we have developed a full set of safeguarding policies and procedures that help us to fulfil these responsibilities. Our safeguarding procedures are based on UK legislation, including Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, revised 2018) and are underpinned by the Keeping Children Safe Standards (revised 2014), a set of internationally recognized standards that outline good practice to minimize the risk of harm to children as a result of our activities. They are also in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; an international agreement that protects the rights of children and provides a child-centred framework for the development of services for children.
We also understand that, as is recognized in Working Together to Safeguard Children, “no system can fully eliminate risk. Understanding risk involves judgment and balance”. We strive to achieve this through our policies.
In March 2021 we officially joined the Keeping Children Safe International Network; an independent not-for-profit organization that works under the mission of ending abuse, exploitation, and abandonment of children in organizations around the world. We receive consulting services from them in safeguarding topics.
Keeping Children Safe sets international recognized child safeguarding standards for organizations that work with children. The network brings together organizations working in 120 countries to identify and share safeguarding best practice and work together to advocate for stronger child safeguarding measures around the world.
As part of our work, Children Change Colombia collects and disseminates media involving children and young people. We recognize that this may involve risks to children and young people. This statement sets out how we seek to minimize this risk and balance it with the benefits to these same children of sharing their stories.
Best practice on the use of media
The Keeping Children Safe (KCS) standards for media best practice are as follows:
• Images of children must not show them in states of undress or in inappropriate poses.
• Details attached to images and included in stories must not allow that child to be traced to his or her home or community.
• Distinctive buildings, street signs or landmarks should not be included in an image if they identify where a child lives or works.
• Geotagging of images should be disabled when taking photographs.
• Ensure the photographer/journalist/translator you have employed has been properly vetted and reference checked.
• Make sure you have been given permission by children and their parents/carers to take their image and use their information.
Children Change Colombia’s Film and Photography Policy
Children Change Colombia incorporates the above KCS standards in our film and photography policies, as well as incorporating the following standards:
1. Communications about children
We will ensure that the portrayal of any child or children is not sentimentalized or sensationalized in any way. Children must be presented as individuals with their own identity and dignity preserved. In all forms of communication, Children Change Colombia will avoid:
• Using language and images that could possibly degrade, victimize or shame children.
• Making generalizations that do not accurately reflect the nature of the situation.
• Discrimination of any kind.
• Personal and physical information that could be used to identify the location of a child and cause them to be put at risk
2. Sensitive information procedure
As Children Change Colombia increasingly supports work on youth leadership, we have experienced situations where children and young people specifically ask for their names to be associated with their stories. Children Change Colombia respects the right of children and young people to be acknowledged as the subjects/authors of their own stories and to share them, where the decision to do so has been an informed one and where children and young people are aware of the ways in which we may share their story.
Where case studies or stories are received from partners with a statement that the child or young person has requested that their real name be used, Children Change Colombia will make a decision about whether to honour this request. Factors that will be taken into account will include the age of the child, any sensitive or potentially harmful information in the story, and other identifying information. The Designated Safeguarding Officer will always be requested to participate in any such discussion and will have the final say on whether to honour such a request or not.
In cases where a child’s real name is used, only their first name will be used and any other identifying information (surname, school name, neighbourhood etc) will be changed/omitted in any versions of the story saved on our system and shared with others.
3. Consent for case studies
We ask all partners to ensure that children and young people give informed consent for their case study to be shared with Children Change Colombia and for us to share this story in reports to donors, social media, and blog or website articles. This applies to both anonymised and non-anonymised case studies. A child may withdraw their consent at any time for their case study to be used. This will always be made clear to the child at the time of giving consent.
4. Conduct of photographers and filmmakers
Children Change Colombia has a code of conduct that all visitors to our partners’ projects (including staff, donors, supporters and photographers/filmmakers) must read and sign. This includes expected standards of behaviour while with children and young people, as well as guidance on sensitive topics that visitors should avoid initiating conversation on and appropriate ways to respond if a child shares something sensitive or of concern.
If a visitor contravenes this code of conduct, Children Change Colombia and/or our partner may terminate the visit immediately. The incident will be reported to Children Change Colombia’s Designated Safeguarding Officer and if appropriate, a report may be made to the relevant authorities.
Children Change Colombia’s policies and procedures on safeguarding, and particularly on the collection and use of media involving children and young people, are in line with accepted best practice within the sector. In making decisions about their implementation, we commit to always take into account the best interests of the children and young people and the Do No Harm principle.
We believe that in this way we are taking all possible action to minimize risks of harm to the children and young people that we work with.