Statement of Belief
The abuse and neglect of children are concerns around the world. Child abuse and neglect are violations of a child’s human rights and obstacles to a child’s education, as well as to their physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development. Academia Cotopaxi endorses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), of which our host country, Ecuador, is a signatory. At Academia Cotopaxi, we believe that all students have the right to be protected from abuse and neglect. We recognize that schools fill a special institutional role in society as protectors of children. Schools need to ensure that all children in their care are afforded a safe and secure environment in which to grow and develop, both at school and away. Educators, having the opportunity to observe and interact with children over time, are in a unique position to identify children who are in need of help and protection. As such, educators have a professional and ethical obligation to report suspicions of abuse to school authorities. Academia Cotopaxi seeks to be a safe haven for students who may be experiencing abuse or neglect in any aspect of their lives.
- All children have equal rights to be protected from harm and abuse.
- Everybody has a responsibility to support the protection of children.
- All schools have a duty of care to children enrolled in the school and those who are affected by the operations of the school.
- All actions on child protection are taken with the best interests of the child, which are paramount.
Definition of Child Abuse
According to the World Health Organization, child abuse constitutes “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.”
- The School will comply with all legal requirements related to child protection within Ecuador and will maintain an effective working relationship with relevant government agencies.
- The School will comply with the standards and regulations of the NEASC accrediting organization as well as the IBO.
- The School will appoint a Child Protection Officer with oversight of child protection procedures and policies. The School will maintain a Child Protection Team who will perform the following functions: coordinate child abuse and neglect prevention training, discuss potential cases of child abuse and neglect and determine if they warrant reporting, act as intermediary between the school and the reporting authority, and address child safety concerns of staff.
- The School will conduct robust practices to ensure that it employs faculty and staff of sound moral character suitable for working with children and youth.
- The School will take action in any situation involving suspected abuse or mistreatment of any student enrolled in the school.
- All staff employed at Academia Cotopaxi, must report suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect as well as suspected or identified child abusers and sex offenders whenever the staff member has a cause to believe or suspect that a child has suffered, or is at risk of suffering abuse or neglect. Reporting and follow up of all suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect will proceed in accordance with administrative regulations respective to this policy which includes reporting to respective authorities when appropriate.
- In all cases of suspected child abuse, the school will attempt to demonstrate respect for families, their privacy, and their culture, subject to current legal requirements, always keeping the best interests of the child in mind.
- The School will conduct regular professional training workshops for volunteers, faculty and staff on student safeguarding, child abuse prevention, recognition, intervention and reporting.
- In the case of a staff member reported as an alleged offender, Academia Cotopaxi will conduct a full investigation following a carefully designed course of due process, keeping the safety of the child at the highest priority.
- Academia Cotopaxi will distribute and communicate this policy annually to all stakeholders and will review the policy annually for compliance and effectiveness.
- UN World Health Organization (WHO).
- The International Task Force on Child Protection (ITFCP).
- Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) Child Protection Handbook. May 2014.
- Conference Material. AAIE Child Protection Workshop. June-July 2016.
- Código de la Niñez y Adolescencia - Ecuador