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Child Protection Policy Framework

Code of Conduct to protect children and young people from abuse and sexual exploitation

Caritas commits itself to creating and maintaining an environment which promotes its core values and prevents abuse and sexual exploitation. Caritas employees and volunteers are expected to contribute to building a harmonious workplace based on team spirit, mutual respect and understanding. All staff members are expected to uphold the dignity of beneficiaries served by Caritas organisations by ensuring that their personal and professional conduct is of the highest standard at all times.

Caritas Internationalis strongly condemns all kinds of abuse and sexual exploitation, especially towards its beneficiaries.

Abuse occurs when adults or other children hurt children or young people under the age of 18, either physically or in some other way. Sexual abuse occurs if a child or young person is pressured or forced to take part in any kind of sexual activity, whether or not the child is aware of, or consents to, what is happening.

Sexual abuse includes incest, rape and fondling. It may also include non-contact activities such as showing pornography or internet-based activity. Sexual abuse may involve siblings or other family members, or persons outside the Family.

1. Abuse and sexual exploitation constitute acts of gross misconduct and are therefore grounds for termination of employment. All relevant legal steps should be taken corresponding to the legal and social conditions of the local situation.

2. Exchange of money, employment, goods, assistance or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour is prohibited.

3. 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 an excuse.

4. Where a Caritas employee or volunteer develops serious concerns regarding abuse or sexual exploitation she/he must report such concerns to the appropriate body within the Caritas concerned and local legal authorities where appropriate.

5. Caritas employees or volunteers may not engage in any form of harassment, discrimination, physical or verbal abuse, intimidation, favouritism or exploitative sexual relations.

6. Caritas employees and volunteers are expected to behave in accordance with Caritas values.

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Child Protection Policy

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