The Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner Office (SVV) Child Protection Policy
The Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner is an independent and impartial public official. The Commissioner provides advice and assistance for people who feel they have been discriminated against including children. SVV’s work is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (1). Child protection is crucial to ensuring that children and young people have the rights, information and space in which they can express their views and communicate effectively with other children and adults. According Estonian Child Protection Act (2) every child has:
Child discrimination can occur in all countries and in all societies. It may involve the discrimination on grounds of gender, nationality (ethnic origin), race, colour, religion or other beliefs, age, disability or sexual orientation etc. of children and young people. It can take many forms and across any situation that a child may be in. In order to prevent, report and support children and young people, SVV has developed this Child Protection Policy. A child safeguarding policy is developed through consultation with staff and associates and children right protection stakeholders.
SVV working for children’s rights have an absolute duty to protect children from discrimination and therefore is required to have adequate standards, policies and mechanisms for protection in place. SVV therefore believes that in order to prevent discrimination or address discrimination of a child or young person it is important to create an environment where:
SVV works with and for children throughout Estonia, striving for a society that respects the rights of children. SVV believes that children’s participation promotes the protection of children. SVV aims to create spaces where children feel able and willing to speak about discrimination, free from discriminators and which empowers them to become actors in their own protection without further discrimination or shame. SVV work to empower children by making them aware about their rights and creating a safe environment in which they can exercise their rights.
SVV Risk assessment aims to determine whether a child report of discrimination concern needs further investigation and which service, response or level of intervention, is required to respond, taking into account organisational factors. SVV determs risks as follows:
Organisational measures, safe recruitment
As a condition for working with SVV, all staff and all those acting on behalf of SVV, such as consultants or interns are required to:
Education and Training
Education and training are very powerful ways to improve practice. All those employed or engaged by the SVV have access to regular training on child safeguarding that is appropriate for their role and responsibilities, beginning at the induction/orientation stage. Training on child safeguarding is essential to ensure that all workers and volunteers are clear on their responsibilities and understand the different forms of abuse and risks that children/young people they are working with may be exposed to.
The SVV has a training strategy for child safeguarding training based on a training needs analysis. Safeguarding training is consistent with Convention on the Rights of the Child and Child Protection Act.
All those employed or engaged by the SVV are required to do the following:
Code of Conduct
This Code of Conduct includes guidance on ethical and proper standards of behaviour of adults towards children, and also of children towards other children. It has been developed with the best interests of the child as the primary consideration and should be interpreted in a spirit of transparency and common sense. SVV aims for everyone, children and adults, to participate in a safe and protected way in SVV’s work and activities.
relationships with children could be perceived.
photographing, filming or requesting personal information for activities.
meetings with children (to allow one to go out to deal with any
immediate needs of children).
SVV data protection and communication
Children need particular protection when you are collecting and processing their personal data because they may be less aware of the risks involved. Children’s personal data should be processed in SVV systems and processed by SVV data protection regulations. Children have the same rights as adults over their personal data. These include the rights to access their personal data; request rectification; object to processing and have their personal data erased.
Children merit specific protection when you use their personal data for communication purposes (f.e. pictures for SVV official purposes). Personal data use for public communication purposes should be consentaneous with child and parents or carers. Decision of data publication should be taken into account influence for children life in cumulative perspective.
Children report management
If a child or young person discloses abuse or there is reason to believe that the child or young person has been or is at risk of discrimination the following steps must be taken:
If allegations or suspicion of abuse of a child or young person is made against a
staff member the following procedure must be followed:
Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner.
The aim of monitoring and evaluating the Child Protection Policy is to learn from practical case experiences, which will contribute to inform policy reviews and changes to the Child Protection Policy.
SVV will regularly monitor the implementation of its Child Protection Policy and procedures. Progress, performance and lessons learned are reported by advisors to the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner annually. Monitoring and evaluation will be done by checking whether the standards from the Child Protection Policy are implemented and whether safeguards are working. This will be done by carrying out a survey among SVV staff, interns and consultants on how the standards from the Child Protection Policy are being met, how effective they are and what needs improving.
Next to the overall monitoring and evaluation of the Child Protection Policy, reactive monitoring will take place, after incidences have occurred, which will contribute to a learning process for SVV and if necessary changes to the Child Protection Policy or other procedures and policies.
(1) Convention on the Rights of the Child https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx
(2) Child Protection Act https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/506052015001/consolide/current
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