The work of Child Soldiers International is founded on the principle of upholding the rights-based framework provided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Whilst Child Soldiers International’s charitable object refers to children associated with armed forces and groups, the organisational child protection policies address acts of maltreatment towards any child.

This policy summarises the code of conduct applicable to all trustees, staff, consultants, representatives of organisations working in partnership with Child Soldiers International and volunteers (referred to as Child Soldiers International ‘representatives’) to protect the children with whom they come into contact.

Organisational policies

Child Soldiers International adheres to the principles of the following guidelines:

  • the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in humanitarian action (‘CPMS’), as established by the Child Protection Working Group;
  • the Keeping Children Safe Standards; and
  • the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Six Core Principles Relating to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

These guidelines are incorporated into Child Soldiers International’s Staff Handbook, which all Child Soldiers International trustees, staff, consultants and volunteers must act in accordance with.

Code of conduct

When entering into a contract with Child Soldiers International, all employees, consultants and partner organisations agree to the following code of conduct:

  1. Child Soldiers International representatives should avoid being alone with children for any significant periods of time. Ideally two adults should be present for the supervision of all activities with children;
  2. Sexual activity with children (persons under the age of 18) is prohibited regardless of the age of majority or age of consent locally. Mistaken belief in the age of a child is not a defence;
  3. Child Soldiers International representatives should never hold, fondle, kiss, cuddle or touch minors in an inappropriate or culturally insensitive way;
  4. If it is necessary to spend time alone with a child, permission should be obtained from either the parents or guardians.
  5. Sexual relationships between Child Soldiers International representatives and stakeholders are strongly discouraged since they are based on inherently unequal power dynamics. Such relationships undermine the credibility and integrity of Child Soldiers International’s work.
  6. Exchange of money, employment, goods, services or assistance for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour, is prohibited.
  7. Child Soldiers International representatives are obliged to create and maintain an environment that prevents exploitation and abuse. All representatives have a responsibility to support and develop systems that maintain this environment.
  8. Child Soldiers International representatives are required to make appropriate use of information technology (such as email, social media, internet) to ensure that they do not participate in the sexual exploitation of children by viewing internet pornography.

Reporting abuse

Any member of staff who discovers or suspects any form of maltreatment towards a child, whether by a representative of Child Soldiers International or not, should refer the matter immediately and in confidence to a member of the Leadership team, or the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Disciplinary procedures

For staff members, volunteers or other representatives of Child Soldiers International. any breach will be addressed as part of the normal disciplinary procedures of this organisation.

Child exploitation and child abuse constitute acts of gross misconduct and are therefore grounds for summary dismissal.

When warranted, Child Soldiers International will report cases of abuse of children for investigation and possible prosecution