The safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults is of the greatest importance to Hope and Homes for Children. The child’s best interest is paramount in all our actions and activities. As you prepare to visit one of our programmes we ask that you read, and agree to abide by, the following guidelines and code of conduct which aim to ensure that your visit will be a positive experience for all concerned.
Local legislation and regulations
Please be aware that all countries where we work have measures in place to protect the safety and privacy of all children cared for in the national childcare system. These measures cover aspects ranging from general protection to accepted use of images and the type of information which can be used to identify children.
For example it is against the law in many countries to take pictures of children in state care – this is likely to include children living in institutions, small group homes and foster care.
Irrespective of the country and child protection system we have to ensure that children’s dignity and universally recognised rights to privacy are respected. We also have to comply with general data protection regulations and best practice.
Guidelines for visitors to HHC programmes regarding photographs and information
The following is a general policy for all programmes where we operate. Each country, however, may have specific laws or cultural sensitivities that need to be considered and you will be advised on this before or at the start of your visit.
We understand that visitors to our programmes may want to take photographs as a record of their visit, however as an organisation dedicated to protecting and improving children’s lives our first duty is to ensure that the rights, privacy and identity of our beneficiaries are protected. Therefore the following guidelines should be followed:
- Whilst positive group shots of children and adults are fine if permissions have been obtained, we ask that you do not take pictures of individual children or families who have been introduced to you by Hope and Homes for Children;
- The person leading the visit will advise you on where permission has been obtained to take group shots. However, as a courtesy to people, please always ask permission before taking any pictures to ensure the subjects are happy with this. This includes photographs of staff members;
- Please do not take photographs in any children’s institutions;
- Photos of beneficiaries (both children and adults) are only to be used as a personal record. If you would like images for use in talks, presentation, publications or on social media these can be obtained from Hope and Homes for Children in UK. If you have personal photos that you would like to use, you can submit these to the UK Brand Team for approval;
- Any additional guidelines specific to the country or country partner should be respected.
Communication, Information and Case Studies
During your visit you may be given access, directly or indirectly, to information about beneficiaries.
- Information you receive from Hope and Homes for Children about individual children, adults or families must be treated confidentially and written information should be returned at the end of the visit to the local HHC staff member leading the visit;
- Information that beneficiaries may tell you directly must also be treated confidentially;
- If you wish to use any of the information about individual beneficiaries you have met, in talks or for publications, then the information first needs to be approved by the UK Brand Team to ensure identities are changed and privacy is respected;
- Please do not give personal email addresses or phone numbers or agree to conduct individual communication by written, electronic means or by private visits with any beneficiaries you meet on your trip;
- Please do not make any promises of help or support to individual beneficiaries or projects during your trip;
- If you wish to bring gifts for children and/or other beneficiaries, please speak first to the country director who will distribute them on your behalf or advise you on the most appropriate way of distributing them yourself.
Hope and Homes for Children Code of Conduct for Programme Visits
The aim of Hope and Homes for Children’s Code of Conduct for Overseas Visits is to protect children and adults in our care and to ensure that all visits are a positive experience for them. At Hope and Homes for Children we strive to ensure that the Code of Conduct is interpreted in the best interests of the child. The Code of Conduct is a guide on expected standards of behaviour when visiting any Hope and Homes for Children programme.
The Code of Conduct is binding on all Hope and Homes for Children paid and unpaid staff and anyone acting as a representative of our organisation. It also includes all visitors, donors and journalists.
It is important to recognise the trust placed in adults by children, and recognise the power held over children by adults. Treat this trust and this power with the highest responsibility.
As part of our Safeguarding Policy we ask all visitors to our overseas projects to sign up to the following:
- Respect children’s right to privacy. Children and families may decline to be visited and have the right to change their mind about the visit at any point. Children must not be expected to interact with visitors unless they choose to do so.
- Maintain an appropriate relationship with children and beneficiaries. Any form of sexual relationship or activity with a child or with a beneficiary is totally unacceptable. Visitors will not be left alone with children. Use of prostitutes is also strictly forbidden.
- Use appropriate and respectful forms of communication. Physical aggression, intimidation, verbal abuse and persistent shouting are not acceptable. Any form of assault (e.g. hitting, kicking, pinching, slapping) is strictly forbidden.
- Use appropriate language. Do not swear and never make sexual or suggestive comments to a child or beneficiary. If a child or beneficiary makes such comments, be prepared to enforce these boundaries in your response
- Do not discriminate against a child or beneficiary because of his or her age, gender, disability, culture, language, racial origin, religious belief or sexual identity. Conversely do not favour or give all of your attention to one particular child or beneficiary.
- Be vigilant and aware of how actions can be misinterpreted by children and beneficiaries. Actions made with good intentions can seem intrusive or intimidating to some children and beneficiaries. Sometimes children become attracted to the adults visiting them. Adults should be aware of the impact of their actions and should sensitively address any misunderstanding.
Hope and Homes for Children Code of Conduct Declaration
I have read the Hope and Homes for Children’s Code of Conduct and Communications guidelines and understand them to be an essential component of the Hope and Homes for Children Safeguarding Policy.
I declare that I understand and agree to comply with the Code of Conduct and the Communications Guidelines
Authorised by Date
Should a visitor travelling as a representative of Hope and Homes for Children refuse to accept, or agree to be bound by Hope and Homes for Children’s Child Safeguarding Policy the visit will be cancelled.