Child abuse and neglect are concerns throughout the world. Child abuse and neglect are violations of a child’s human rights and are obstacles to the child’s education as well as to their physical, emotional, and spiritual development. The Overseas School of Colombo endorses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which our host country, Sri Lanka, is a signatory.
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 identify children who are in need of help and protection, and to take steps to ensure that the child and family avail themselves of the services needed to remedy any situation that constitutes child abuse or neglect.
All staff employed at The Overseas School of Colombo must report suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect whenever the staff member has reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered, or is at significant 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. Furthermore, cases of suspected child abuse or neglect may be reported to the appropriate employer, to the respective consulate in Sri Lanka, to the appropriate child protection agency in the home country, and/or to local authorities.
The Overseas School of Colombo seeks to be a safe haven for students who may be experiencing abuse or neglect in any aspect of their lives. As such, OSC will distribute this policy annually to all parents and applicants, will communicate this policy annually to students, will provide training for all staff, will make every effort to implement hiring practices to ensure the safety of children, and will review the policy annually for compliance and effectiveness.
In the case of a staff member reported as an alleged offender, OSC will conduct a full investigation following a carefully designed course of due process, keeping the safety of the child at the highest priority.
(Adapted from the Child Protection Handbook, Association of International Schools in Africa, May, 2014)