Caritas Africa Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy and vulnerable adults
Declaration of membership
Caritas Africa adheres to the Caritas Internationalis Policy for the Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable Adults.
Caritas recognizes the right of children and vulnerable adults to be protected, regardless of their gender, race, culture, or disability. Caritas recognizes the power inherent in working with children and vulnerable adults and the potential for abuse and exploitation of these individuals by the staff involved.
Caritas is committed to creating and maintaining an environment that promotes its core values and prevents abuse and exploitation of people. Caritas staff and associates[2 ] are called upon to uphold the dignity of all those with whom they come into contact, demonstrating at all times irreproachable personal and professional behavior. They are also called upon to serve with integrity and to promote goodwill in the performance of their responsibilities.
Caritas recognizes the special needs of children and vulnerable adults and is therefore committed to creating and maintaining an environment that protects them.
This policy applies directly to the following categories of personnel:
1. All staff and associates of the Caritas Africa General Secretariat.
2. Staff seconded through an operational support mechanism under a Caritas Africa mandate.
3. Staff and associates of member organizations.
The General Secretariat will support the member organizations in case of need.
1.3. Protection of children and vulnerable adults
Caritas Africa prohibits all forms of exploitation and abuse, including
- Caritas staff and associates are prohibited from engaging in sexual activity with children (i.e., persons under the age of 18, regardless of the age of majority or consent locally). Mistake about the age of the child cannot be used as a defense.
- – Caritas staff and associates are prohibited from causing any physical or emotional harm to children and vulnerable adults.
- The exchange of money, employment, goods, or services for sex, including sexual favors, is prohibited for Caritas staff and associates.
- Caritas staff and associates are prohibited from engaging in any form of humiliating, degrading, or exploitative behavior toward children, women, and vulnerable adults.
- Caritas staff and associates are prohibited from using their position of authority or office to deny assistance or services or to grant preferential treatment.
- Caritas staff and associates are prohibited from using their position of authority or office to seek or demand payment, privilege, or other benefit.
- Caritas staff and associates are prohibited from becoming involved in human trafficking in any form.
In the same vein, Caritas staff and associates are strongly discouraged from engaging in sexual relationships with those with whom they work, given the inherently unequal power relationship. This type of relationship is contrary to the principles and values of Caritas and weakens the credibility and integrity of its work.
Caritas staff and associates have an obligation to report any concerns or suspicions of exploitation and abuse of a child or vulnerable adult. Failure to make such a report may put the victim and Caritas at risk and is a violation of the Caritas Africa Safeguard Policy and Code of Conduct.
Caritas staff and associates must report, through established accountability mechanisms, any concerns expressed by a staff member of a non-member organization or body.
Caritas adheres to the highest standards in human resources and recruitment to protect the people we work with from exploitation and abuse. These standards include:
- Secure recruitment – reference checks of potential candidates with an emphasis on an impeccable track record in the performance of their duties, in accordance with the Code of Conduct. Caritas Africa adheres to the sector-wide referral scheme called the Interagency Disclosure System.
- Induction – all staff must have familiarized themselves with the Caritas Internationalis Code of Conduct, the Complaints Handling Procedures and Policy, the CI Safeguarding Policy for Children and Vulnerable Adults, the Standards of Conduct for Children, and the Glossary of Terms.
- Acceptance – all staff must have read, understood and signed the CI Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy and Code of Conduct.
1.6. Data protection
Caritas Africa is committed to the highest level of protection in the handling of personal data. Personal information required during investigations related to violations of the Caritas Africa Code of Conduct and Safeguard Policy of children and vulnerable adults will be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679, on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data.
 “Staff” includes all staff, volunteers, interns and governance members.
 “Associates” refers to consultants and contractors.