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Our Policy

ALDIN Child Protection Policy

ALDIN Child Protection Policy

Association of Lawyers with Disabilities in Nigeria (ALDIN) has a zero-tolerance approach to child abuse, child exploitation, and policy non-compliance. ALDIN shall strive to protect children from abuse and exploitation in her operations. The Child Protection Policy has been approved by the Board of Management on 2nd day of July, 2020. The ALDIN Management board shall approve and review this policy every five years.

The Child Protection Policy applies to all our personnel.  The policy also applies to members of any ALDIN governance bodies (Board of Management and Board of Trustees) as well as ALDIN staff or contractors, who have contact with or work with children.

Definition

Child abuse is all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, against a child. A child for the purposes of this policy means a person under the age of 18 years.

Child exploitation and abuse can be one or more of the following: committing or coercing another person to commit an act or acts of abuse against a child; possessing, controlling, producing, distributing, obtaining, or transmitting child exploitation material; committing or coercing another person to commit an act or acts of grooming or online grooming.

Our Commitment

ALDIN will strive to meet its commitment to safeguard all children through the following means:

  • Utilize an effective recruitment and screening processes including criminal background checks for last 5 years prior to engagement, targeted interview questions and verbal reference checks for all personnel who will be working with or in contact with children
  • Require all personnel to be informed about the Child Protection Policy when they are hired
  • Require all personnel to sign the Child Protection Code of Conduct (below)
  • Forbid personnel from working with children if they pose an unacceptable risk known to the organization with regard to children’s safety or wellbeing
  • Apply child protection in ways that are culturally sensitive but without condoning acts that are harmful to children
  • Recognize that some children, such as children with disabilities, are particularly vulnerable
  • Not knowingly engage anyone who poses an unacceptable risk to children
  • Not knowingly fund any individual or organization, which poses an unacceptable risk to children, including unlawful child labor practices
  • When appropriate, make it clear that all children have equal rights to protection
  • When appropriate, ensure that children are listened to and consulted and that their rights are upheld.
  • In cases where our partners, staff, or volunteers work with or in contact with children, ensure that they share the responsibility for child protection, specifically according to this Child Protection Policy

Procedures for Reporting Concerns

Any suspected or detected abuse, as well as any exploitation and/or policy non-compliance should be reported within 24 hours to the ALDIN Vice-President or Legal Adviser. Reports should be sent to info@aldinigeria.com.

Reports must focus on: nature of the concern and details of the incident as witnessed or as disclosed to you. The reporter should make notes at the time of the disclosure or incident, noting what the individual says happened using his or her own words and phrases or noting what was witnessed. DO NOT TAKE NOTES IN FRONT OF CHILD DISCLOSING INDECENCY.

The report can include details such as the following:

  • Name of individual
  • Address and / or present location of individual
  • Name of suspected abuser
  • Incident information, including date/time of incident; place of incident
  • Type of abuse
  • Reporter’s observations, statements by victim
  • Other persons knowledgeable of the abuse
  • If relevant, family member or other person responsible for victim’s well-being
  • Name of reporting party
  • Signature of person writing the report and date of report

In cases of suspected or detected abuse, as well as any exploitation and/or policy non-compliance by individuals external to ALDIN, the ALDIN Vice-President or Legal Adviser will determine the best course of action. If allegations constitute a criminal offense in the jurisdiction where the matter arises, a referral to the police may be made.

In suspected cases of abuse by a representative of ALDIN, the concern will be investigated immediately by either the Vice-President or the Legal Adviser. Until the investigation is complete, ALDIN will follow disciplinary actions outlined in the ALDIN Constitution.

Confidentiality

In all matters dealt with as part of this policy, it is essential to respect the need for confidentiality. In certain circumstances, any lack of confidentiality may have devastating effects for the lives of individuals involved and may also result in serious consequences for reporters.

Child Protection Code of Conduct

  • All personnel will be required to sign the “Child Protection Code of Conduct” (below). This also gives ALDIN the right to dismiss any employees or consultants who breach the “Child Protection Code of Conduct.”

I, ___________________ [insert name], acknowledge that I have read and understand the ALDIN’s Child Protection Policy, and agree that in the course of my association with ALDIN, I must:

  • Treat children with respect regardless of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, disability, or other status
  • Not use language or behavior towards children that is inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate
  • Not engage children under the age of 18 in any form of sexual activity or acts, including paying for sexual services or acts, where under the law(s) applicable to the child, the child is below the age of consent or the act(s) are an offense under relevant laws
  • Wherever possible, ensure that another adult is present when working in the proximity of children
  • Not invite unaccompanied children into my home, unless they are at immediate risk of injury or in physical danger
  • Not sleep close to unsupervised children unless absolutely necessary, in which case I must obtain my supervisor’s permission, and ensure that another adult is present if possible
  • Use any computers, mobile phones, video cameras, cameras, or social media appropriately, and never to exploit or harass children or to access child exploitation material through any medium.
  • Not use physical punishment on children
  • Refrain from hiring children for domestic or other labor which is inappropriate given their age or developmental stage, which interferes with their time available for education and recreational activities, or which places them at significant risk of injury
  • Comply with all relevant national and local legislation, including labor laws in relation to child labor
  • Immediately report concerns or allegations of child exploitation and abuse and policy non-compliance in accordance with appropriate procedures
  • Immediately disclose all charges, convictions, and other outcomes of an offense, which occurred before or occurs during my association with ALDIN that relate to child exploitation and abuse

When photographing or filming a child or using children’s images for work related purposes, I must:

  • Before photographing or filming a child, assess and endeavor to comply with local traditions or restrictions for reproducing personal images
  • Before photographing or filming a child, obtain informed consent from the child or a parent or guardian of the child. As part of this I must explain how the photograph or film will be used
  • Ensure photographs, films, videos and DVDs present children in a dignified and respectful manner and not in a vulnerable or submissive manner. Children should be adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive
  • Ensure images are honest representations of the context and the facts
  • Ensure file labels, meta data, or text descriptions do not reveal identifying information about a child when sending images electronically or publishing images in any form

I understand that the onus is on me, as a person engaged by the ALDIN, to use common sense and avoid actions or behaviors that could be construed as child abuse and child exploitation when implementing our activities.  I understand that any breach of this code of conduct will not be tolerated by the organization and will be cause for dismissal from my position.

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ALDIN’s Policy on Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (PSEAH)

ALDIN’s Policy on Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (PSEAH)

The Association of Lawyers with Disabilities in Nigeria (ALDIN) has a zero-tolerance approach to sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment (SEAH), and to policy non-compliance. ALDIN joins the international nonprofit community in strongly supporting the core principles regarding the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, established in 2003 by the UN Secretary General.

It is our strong conviction that all people have the right to live their lives free from sexual violence. Therefore, we strive to protect everyone, within the operations of ALDIN, from abuse and exploitation.

The Policy on Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (PSEAH) (the “PSEAH Policy” or “Policy”) was approved by the Board of Management on the 18th of June, 2020. The ALDIN Board shall review, amend (as needed) and re-approve this policy every three years.

The PSEAH Policy, along with the ALDIN Child Protection Policy, applies to all our personnel members of Board of Management. Allegations of prohibited conduct can be made by any person irrespective of whether such persons have any contractual status with ALDIN.

Definitions

  1. Sexual exploitation: Any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes. It includes profiting monetarily, socially, or politically from sexual exploitation of another.
  2. Sexual abuse: The actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. It covers sexual offences including but not limited to: attempted rape (which includes attempts to force someone to perform oral sex); and sexual assault (which includes non-consensual kissing and touching). All sexual activity with someone under the age 18 is considered to be sexual abuse.
  3. Sexual harassment: A person sexually harasses another person if the person makes an unwelcome sexual advance or an unwelcome request for sexual favors, or engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated, or intimidated. Sexual harassment can take various forms. It can be obvious or indirect, physical or verbal, repeated or one-off, and perpetrated by any person of any gender towards any person of any gender. Sexual harassment can be perpetrated against beneficiaries, community members, citizens, as well as staff and personnel. This may include conduct that interferes with work, is made a condition of employment, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Sexual harassment may be carried out in person or remotely, including, but not limited to, via phone, email, or social media.
  4. Sexual misconduct: For the purpose of this Policy, this refers to acts of sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment as defined above.

Our Commitment

All allegations of sexual misconduct will be investigated and acted upon fairly and in accordance with ALDIN’s policies and processes.

Principles for investigation and action

We will abide by the following principles in reviewing SEAH allegations:

  • Recognize the importance of a survivor-centered approach.
  • Listen to and value the voices of persons with disabilities.
  • Base ALDIN’s commitment to respect the human rights protected by this Policy on internationally recognized human rights standards as contained in internationally and regionally recognized human rights instruments.
  • Treat the victim/survivor with respect, provide them with comprehensive information, and involve them in decision-making.
  • Apply SEAH protection in ways that are culturally sensitive, but without condoning acts that are harmful.
  • Recognize that inequalities based on intersectional identities including such distinctions as worker/beneficiary; ability/disability; ethnic and Indigenous status; religion; age; health; and poverty can increase the risk of SEAH.
  • Further recognize that, the intersection of gender and sexual orientation with other forms of inequality can increase the likelihood of SEAH occurring.

Steps towards commitment

To fulfill our commitment, ALDIN has taken or will take the following internal steps:

  • Assign oversight of PSEAH efforts, policies, and protocols to the Vice-President in order to monitor effectiveness, report progress, and improve efforts to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct that arises in the course of our work.
  • The Vice-President will report concerns, issues, or progress that arise through regular oversight to the President, who will in turn report these to the Board and ALDIN donors as appropriate, with the Vice-President doing so in the President’s absence. As appropriate, the Vice-President will raise concerns, issues, or progress with the Management Board.
  • Investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct against ALDIN personnel fairly and in accordance with ALDIN’s policies and processes. Investigation will be conducted by one or more of the following: ALDIN President, Vice-President, Management Board, ensuring due process to the best of ALDIN’s ability.
  • Act on the findings of investigations as appropriate and ensure lessons learned are used to improve policy and practice.
  • Not knowingly engage anyone who poses an unacceptable risk to those around them.
  • Utilize effective recruitment and screening processes for all personnel, including background checks that follow local legal requirements, targeted interview questions, and verbal reference checks.
  • Require all personnel to read the PSEAH Policy when they are hired, along with linked policies listed below, and adhere to them.
  • Require all personnel to annually sign the PSEAH Code of Conduct.
  • Provide consistent and regular training on topics related to PSEAH for all ALDIN personnel.
  • Provide supports as appropriate and feasible to ALDIN personnel who are victims or affected by situations of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment.
  • ALDIN Management Board shall review, amend (as needed), and re-approve this Policy every three years.

To fulfill this commitment, ALDIN has also taken or will also take the following steps vis-à-vis downstream partners:

  • Include PSEAH Policy requirements in contracts and agreements.
  • Provide information and resources on PSEAH for all ALDIN partners.
  • Require partners to have or develop sufficient PSEAH policies and protocols.
  • Include PSEAH in ALDIN’s risk assessment and monitoring efforts, and in all aspects of our relationship with partners, including contract agreements, grant application or procurement review, grant monitoring and oversight, and reporting requirements.
  • Conduct regular audits of whether partners have PSEAH Policies, protocols, and/or staff training in place. Monitor and follow up on any gaps.
  • Make it clear that reporting of any allegations or incidents should be within two days and reporting of any Policy violations within five days.
  • Investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct involving ALDIN partners in a timely and professional manner and ensure due process to the best of ALDIN’s ability. As appropriate to the jurisdiction where the matter arises, and when it comports with the wishes of the victims, survivors, and whistleblowers, a referral to the local law enforcement authorities may be made.
  • Act on the findings of investigations and ensure lessons learned are used to improve policy and practice.

Internal Complaint Mechanisms

ALDIN personnel who believe they are victims of prohibited conduct may seek resolution through an informal or formal process, as explained below. The processes described in this Policy are neither mandatory nor listed in priority order. An unsuccessful attempt to resolve the matter informally does not preclude it from being formally reported.

The mere expression of disagreement, admonishment, criticism or similar expressions regarding work performance, conduct, or related issues within a supervisory relationship shall not normally be considered harassment, discrimination, or abuse of authority within the meaning of this Policy.

Internal Informal Complaint Mechanism

Approaching the alleged offender: Affected individuals may, on a voluntary basis, if they feel comfortable doing so, approach the alleged offender directly and request that the alleged behavior cease.

Managerial intervention: Affected individuals may raise the issue with their supervisor if the situation allows and they feel comfortable doing so. Managers should provide advice, Human Resources assistance and/or information in a timely, sensitive and impartial manner regarding the availability of confidential advice, assistance, or other options available under this Policy, and report the internal complaint to either the Vice-President and/or the President.

Internal Formal Complaint Mechanism

ALDIN personnel may file a formal complaint of prohibited conduct. Formal complaints may be made anonymously. Reports should be submitted to a combination of the ALDIN Vice-President, President, and Board of Management. There is no deadline for filing a formal complaint, though we urge all reports to be made within 24 hours of becoming aware of them. Reports by an identified complainant as early as possible after the alleged incident(s) of prohibited conduct are strongly encouraged, as anonymity and the passage of time may result in challenges to effective investigation and resolution.

Reporting Procedures for Partners and Other External Actors

Reports of complaints from staff or member partners or other external actors must focus on: the nature of the concern and details of the incident as witnessed or as disclosed to them. Reports of abuse or exploitation of individuals must follow ALDIN’s Child Protection Policy. The reporter should make notes at the time of the disclosure or incident, noting what the individual says happened using his or her own words and phrases or noting what was witnessed.

The report can include details such as the following:

  • Name of alleged victim
  • Address and/or present location of alleged victim
  • Name of suspected abuser
  • Incident information, including date and time of incident; place of incident
  • Type of abuse alleged
  • Reporter’s observations; statements by alleged victim
  • Other persons knowledgeable of the alleged abuse
  • If relevant, family member or other person responsible for alleged victim’s well-being
  • Name of reporting party
  • Signature of person writing the report and date of report

 

Confidentiality

In all matters dealt with as part of this Policy, it is essential to respect the need for confidentiality to ensure the safety and wellbeing of victims/survivors of sexual misconduct and others who report sexual misconduct. This may include not being able to respond to the complainant beyond acknowledgement of receipt. In certain circumstances, the failure to maintain confidentiality may have devastating effects on the lives of victims or survivors of sexual misconduct and may also result in serious consequences for those who report sexual misconduct.

Policy on Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (PSEAH) Code of Conduct

All personnel who are employed or engaged as independent contractors by ALDIN will be required to sign the Policy on Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (PSEAH) Code of Conduct set forth below (“Code of Conduct”).  Any such personnel who breach the Code of Conduct will be subject to disciplinary action including termination.

 

I, ___________________ [insert name], acknowledge that I have read and understand the ALDIN’s Policy on Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (PSEAH), and agree that in the course of my association with ALDIN, I must:

 

  • Treat all people in the workplace with courtesy and respect and demonstrate my commitment to the prevention of and response to prohibited conduct.
  • Treat all individuals with respect regardless of race; color; sex; sexual orientation; gender identity; language; age; religion; political or other opinion; national, ethnic or social origin, disability; or other status.
  • Not use language or behavior towards any individual that is harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, or demeaning.
  • Refrain from any form of sexual misconduct.
  • Undertake mandatory training and attend other training opportunities to the extent possible.
  • Familiarize myself with this policy and related policies and resources, including the Child Protection Policy.
  • Report all formal allegations immediately, as appropriate, to the Management Board, President, or Vice-President.

 

I understand that the onus is on me, as a person engaged by the ALDIN, to use common sense and avoid actions or behaviors that could be construed as sexual misconduct when implementing ALDIN’s activities.  I understand that any breach of this Code of Conduct will not be tolerated by the organization and will be cause for disciplinary action including dismissal from my position.

 

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