Compassion’s Commitment to Child Protection
Compassion International believes that children should be known, loved and protected. We believe the protection of children is central to Godâ€™s heart for them.
As an expression of that belief, Compassion places the love, care and protection of children above all other considerations. Because children living in extreme poverty are among the most vulnerable in the world, Compassion International, its board of directors, global partners and implementing church partners have established clear policies that are designed to promote the safety and protection of every child in our programme.
Compassionâ€™s approach to and philosophy for child protection is based on the following strongly held convictions:
- No violence against children is justifiable, and all violence against children is preventable.
- Children are valuable to God, are uniquely created individuals and are worthy of dignity and respect.
- It is everyoneâ€™s job to protect children.
- Everyone involved in the protection of children should always act in the best interests of children and be held accountable if they do not.
- Children are both vulnerable and strong. We view children as active contributors to their own protection. Children must be empowered to fully engage in the work of child protection â€” their own protection and the protection of their peers. At the same time, children must be protected and cared for by the adults in their lives.
- Sponsors have a responsibility to protect children.
- Government authorities have a role to play in the protection of children from maltreatment, and to respond if children are harmed. Compassion promotes local legal systems and local authorities as the most appropriate legal outlets for redress of criminal cases of child abuse, exploitation and neglect, while also recognising that parents and partners play a critical supportive role in these efforts.
How Compassion Protects Children
Our approach to child protection begins with preventing abuse whenever possible. When a child is abused, we intervene quickly and seek to provide restoration and healing to children impacted by abuse and alerting the relevant local authorities. Finally, Compassion believes in empowering children to be active agents in their own protection and advocacy.
To accomplish these goals, Compassion provides:
- Age-appropriate child protection curriculum for all beneficiaries.
- Training for caregivers in child protection and abuse prevention.
- Training for staff members, leaders and volunteers at the church partner in child protection, safe practices and responding quickly and appropriately to incidents of abuse.
- Training and accountability through Compassionâ€™s global â€śCode of Conductâ€ť regarding children.
- Background checks on anyone coming into contact with children including employees and supporters who visit their sponsored children.
Your Role as a Sponsor in Protecting Children from Abuse
As a sponsor, you are part of Compassionâ€™s movement to release children from poverty in Jesusâ€™ name. You are part of a community of advocates who believe in the example set forth by Jesus.
Jesus demanded that His disciples protect children. In Matthew 18:6, the Bible is unwaveringly clear in Godâ€™s mandate to protect children: â€śWhoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.â€ť God takes the protection of children seriously!
If your child says something in a letter that makes you feel abuse is happening or likely to happen, we encourage you to talk to one of our Supporter Experience teamÂ on 01932 836490 or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You, your childâ€™s family, our church partners and Compassion staff work together to form a safety net for your sponsored child.
Visiting Your Sponsored Child
We require a background check for everyone 18 and older who interacts with any Compassion-assisted beneficiary, specifically on trips to visit their children. This applies to all visitors universally, including donors, sponsors, artists and speakers â€” before youâ€™ve gone on a trip.
Our child protection policy guides interactions between sponsors and children occurring on our group trips or individual custom visits. Any visitor who will interact with Compassion-assisted children must have approved arrangements through Compassion, country offices and projects will not accept unapproved visitors.
This helps to protect the children in the Compassion projects from potential abuse as well as protect visitors from any wrongful allegations.
All visitors must sign Compassionâ€™s child protection policy and agree to abide by it before a custom visit can be arranged, or when participating in a group trip. Compassion reserves the right to deny a visit request that would not be in the best interest of the child.
Sponsors who meet their sponsored children on a trip or visit are in the unique position of directly communicating with their children. A sponsor will never be left alone with a sponsored child.
In this situation it's normal to want to share personal contact information, or to request such information from the child or the child's family. However, any direct communication not facilitated by us could potentially expose the children or sponsors to unnecessary risk. As a result, personal contact information cannot be exchanged.