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YaR Forum India

Don Bosco

YaR Child Policy and Essential Protocols

FIRST PUBLISHED: January 2013 Published by Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk Palam Gaon, New Delhi – 110 045, INDIA. Email: Copyrights c 2013 by the publishers All rights reserved. Reproduction, storage or transmission of any part of this publication in any form or by any means, only with prior permission. Design and layout Bosco Society for Printing and Graphic Training, Okhla, New Delhi- 110 025 Printed at Bosco Society for Printing and Graphic Training, Okhla, New Delhi- 110 025 Printed and published with the assistance of:

Don Bosco YaR Child Policy and Essential Protocols

Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk Palam Gaon, New Delhi, 110045, INDIA 2013






01. Introduction


02. Vision


03. Principles of the Policy


04. Objectives of the Policy


05. Priority Areas for Policy Implementation


5.1. Survival


5.2. Development


5.3. Protection


5.4. Participation


06. Organizational Protocols


07. Recruitment, Training and Capacity Building


08. Documentation and Research




09. Advocacy


10. Responses to Allegations of Staff Offences against Children


11. Communication about Children


12. Evaluation and Review of Policy


13. Who are governed by this policy?




I. “Protection of Minors: Policy Statement and Guidelines for use in Salesian Institutions”, (Art. 1.2.2), published by SPCSA, New Delhi, 2006.


II. “Protection of Minors: Policy Statement and Guidelines for use in Salesian Institutions”, (Art. 2.1-2.2.2), published by SPCSA, New Delhi, 2006.


III. “Protection of Minors: Policy Statement and Guidelines for use in Salesian Institutions”, (Art. 5), published by SPCSA, New Delhi, 2006.


IV. “Protection of Minors: Policy Statement and Guidelines for use in Salesian Institutions”, (Art. 6), published by SPCSA, New Delhi, 2006.




i. Format for requesting investigation into suspected child abuse


ii. Format to declare ones commitment to the child policy by all the personnel.




such as Child Welfare Committees and for the formula-


tion of child and youth related policies. This is surely an honour and an opportunity to serve the Indian children. The Salesians have been always having a Comprehensive Child Policy, that Don Bosco himself called the “Preventive System”. It was meant to protect children from all harm and provide them with a family-like ambience which is loving and where they would naturally bloom

The work of the Salesians of Don Bosco for the Young

into mature human beings. It was preventive, in the

at Risk (YaR) dates back to their first presences in India.

sense that it aimed at protecting the children from every

Sent by God to be signs and bearers of His love for the

form of danger. It was propositive because it created

young, particularly the poorest and the most abandoned,

the ideal climate for their growth. It is also a spirituality,

they have been always working for the young at risk.

a way of life, because it guided the growth of the young

Even today the vast majority of their works are clearly

person towards the logical ends and goals of his or her

for the young people who run the risk of being left out of

life. It also contributes to nation building, because it is

education and development if not for their interventions.

aimed at grooming citizens committed to common good in their own countries and in the world. Hence, a Child

Nevertheless, over the years we have come to apply the

Policy is part of the very upbringing of the Salesians.

term “Young at Risk” particularly to some specific cate-

Everyone who visits a Salesian institution meant for

gories of the young -such as street and vagrant children,

children can immediately notice that the very construc-

the runaways, those who are unaccompanied by adults

tion is conducive to take care of them constantly. The

caretakers, child labourers, school dropouts, children

residence of the Salesians is also within the residence

of migrant manual labourers, refugees, and in general

of the children so that elders are constantly present and

those living in the fringes of the organized society.

promote the integral welfare of the young.

Inspired by the very first works that their Founder Don Bosco did on the streets of Turin in the mid nineteenth

The present policy is an outcome of the spiritual and

century, this work by the Salesians has naturally blos-

educational patrimony of the Salesian Congregation. It is

somed in India under similar conditions. As a Religious

based on a century old wealth of experience in dealing

Congregation in India, they are not only pioneers in this

with children, a sound spirituality that puts the welfare of

field but also have a large presence in reach and impact.

the child at the centre of interests, and a loving commit-

They have formed themselves into a network at the

ment to God on their behalf. Of course, it takes elements

national level, which has reached out to other religious

from modern educational sciences, social and humani-

and non-religious works in the field forming a significant

tarian sciences and the latest ecclesiastical, national and

larger network. The Central and State Governments of

international laws and policies regarding child welfare

India today call upon their expertise for various services

and protection. It is also educative towards the Salesians 5

themselves and their other adult collaborators who are

to any one who abused them in any way! Jesus reserved

in contact with children. Thus it has become not just a

his severest condemnation for such people. It would

policy but a veritable educative tool for youth workers.

be better for them to be drowned in the ocean with a millstone tied around their neck! Children were God’s im-

The policy we have in hand is also the fruit of a few

age for Jesus. Don Bosco picked up this deep insight of

years of work by a well qualified and experienced team

Jesus and became in the modern times one of the great-

of Salesians and lay collaborators. It has seen several

est lovers of children. For their welfare he was willing to

drafts, study, evaluation and redraft at various levels,

sacrifice his entire life. Jesus and Don Bosco are at the

including the Conference of the Salesian Provincials in

base of this policy and its spiritual base and inspiration.

South Asia. The Salesians in South Asia have a larger

Such a policy is definitely destined to guide our thought

Child Policy and the YaR Child Policy falls within this

and work for children. May everyone involved in working

general context. The talk of officially drawing up a policy

with them take this policy to heart and practice it to the

for child protection and development began with the YaR


and then extended itself to the rest of the Institutions that the Salesians run. It integrates also an earlier docu-

Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga SDB

ments of the Salesians for dealing with eventual cases of

General Councilor for Salesian Society of Don Bosco Regional for South Asia and President of the SPCSA

child abuse. In that sense this YaR Child Policy is a pioneering document. I appreciate the Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk. Particular merit for this goes to the central team for the animation of the young at risk in India. Rev. Fr. Mathew Thomas, the Regional Delegate for the Young at Risk and his team deserve our special thanks. With him there have been a host of other persons who have contributed to the policy. The policy is an authoritative one, having the seal of approval by the Conference of the Provincials. It is above all an inspiration for all child workers, who in the name of God commit themselves to their welfare. Jesus was very fond of Children and used to spend plenty of time playing with them, listening to them, teaching them and learning from them. Of all the religious leaders in the world, Jesus was the one who gave the central place to Children and childhood in his spirituality. He himself was quintessentially a child of God who he called his Father. One could not enter heaven if one did not become like a child. The Kingdom of God belonged to them. And woe 6

handed down to it by Don Bosco himself, popularly called Friend of the Young. Don Bosco based his system of caring for the young on the inner powers of reason, love and spiritual depth. A few basic YaR Network principles of caring for the young are: • We shall accompany the Young at Risk in their struggle to grow to fullness in freedom and humane-


ness. • We shall provide a positive environment that will prevent exploitation and will empower the marginalised children and the young. • We shall create spaces where Young at Risk can live and grow with dignity, especially by giving priority to participatory, human and Child Rights perspectives. Every YaR Network member organisation is a unique

Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk (YaR

story of commitment to the Young at Risk. The organi-

Forum) is a national network of organizations that are

sations operate from different locations in the country

committed to the care and protection of children/youth

providing different and relevant responses and services

who are at risk. Challenged by the poverty, hardships,

to the various deprivations suffered by them. Yet a com-

oppression, exploitation and marginalisation of the

mon basic spirit guides them all. This YaR Child Policy

young, the YaR network organizations reach out to

is a faithful expression of that inspiring and guiding spirit

extreme situations of exploitation and marginalisation

that weaves into practices for the care and protection of

of the young with emergency services as well as other

the Young at Risk.

forms of short and long-term services to protect them and to care for them.

Through a national consultative process, ideas were gathered to draw up the draft of this policy for discus-

YaR means friend and that is what the YaR Network

sions at the YaR Annual Convention in March 2011 at

members want to be, FRIENDS OF THE YOUNG at

Chennai. Later the finalised text of the Policy was pre-

RISK. We want the children/youth that come under the

sented to the Salesian Provincial Conference of South

umbrella of YaR services provided by the YaR Network

Asia (SPCSA) for approval. The approved text of the

members, enjoy child friendly atmosphere and child safe

policy was strengthened in accordance with the direc-

spaces and practices. Child friendly atmosphere and

tions given by SPCSA. The approved text was circulated

child safe practices are the trademark of YaR Network

for one year among the network members for familiaris7

ing with the policy, and that was found to be very useful.

As noted earlier, the YaR Network has formulated its

During this period many of the member organisations of

Child Policy through a collaborative effort. Every mem-

the YaR Network trained their personnel in the contents

ber in the Network can claim that they have contributed

of the policy and they signed their commitment to it. So

to the making of it. This ownership would come with the

this printed version of the YaR Child policy is reach-

big responsibility and challenge to live the child policy

ing the hands of the network members after an year of

that they have made. This would need much dedication

testing in the field, which further contributed towards

from the network members to internalise the spirit of

strengthening the policy.

the policy and implement it. Let us take up those challenges for the sake of the deprived and the marginalised

The YaR Child Policy is the result of a long drawn

children in India so that, they may have life, life in all its

process of reflection and practice. At this moment I

fullness (Jn 10:10) - a life of dignity.

would like to acknowledge the contributions of the many persons towards getting ready the YaR Child Policy in

Fr. Mathew Thomas

its final form. Many YaR Network members shared their

Secretary and Executive Director, Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk.

existing Child policies for consultation. Several Salesians researched and presented the different sections of the policy for general discussion at the Child Policy seminar. Fr. Kuriakose Pallikunnel moderated the discussions at the YaR Child Policy seminar leading to the formulation of the final text of the policy. Mr. Sonikutty George, the UNICEF Child Protection Officer, Ms. Razia Ismail, Director IACR, Fr. Jose Kuttianimattathil, Fr. Dominic Veliath and Fr. T.D John contributed with their expertise to improve the content or the language of the policy statement and made sure that it is in keeping with the required standards and legal provisions. This process drew inspiration from the child protection practices and policies of many organizations from all over the world and I would like to acknowledge that with gratitude. I also thank BoscoNet, Don Bosco Mondo and ASMOAF for their financial support for printing and publishing the policy. This policy applies to Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk and to all the YaR Forum Network members. After a period of five years from its publication, the policy would be reviewed. 8

to make me love you very much.”(Il Giovane Provveduto, Turin 1847, p.7) It is this passion of Don Bosco for the vulnerable young persons that motivates the YaR Forum services for the Young at Risk. The Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk has been established by the Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia (SPCSA) for reflection, sharing and coordination among those involved in the Salesian ministry for the Young at Risk (YaR), to network with likeminded persons and organizations on behalf of Young at Risk, and to influence policies related to the Young at Risk . The YaR Child Policy is deemed to be a faithful expression of the spirit, guidelines and objectives mentioned above. It attempts to resonate with the voices of the children of the world: “We are not the sources of problems; we are the resources that

1. Introduction

are needed to solve them. We are not expenses; we are investments. We are not just young people; we are people and citizens of this world. You call us the future but we are also

“I have come that they may have life,

state that the purpose of his life was

life in all its fullness.” (John 10: 10.)

to give ‘life’ especially to the weak

The Don Bosco National Forum for

and lowly in society. Don Bosco, the

the Young at Risk (YaR Forum), com-

founder of the Salesian movement

mitted to serving and working with the

for youth, reached out to serve the

Young at Risk, draws its inspiration

marginalized youth of his times say-

from these words of Jesus which

ing: “That you are young is sufficient

the present.” (The Children’s Statement to the World Leaders at the UN General Assembly’s Special Session on Children, 8 May 2002.) Children are an invaluable asset of humanity; hence it is particularly 9

important that they are nurtured and

able children are not delivering suf-

Society as a whole. The underpin-

protected effectively, so that they

ficiently. One cannot remain a silent

ning thrust of such an effort could be,

grow up as persons who are physi-

spectator to this situation. Challenged

articulated as: ‘Every child matters”,

cally fit, mentally alert, and morally

by this, the YaR Forum seeks to ad-

irrespective of religion, caste, sex,

healthy, endowed with necessary

dress the dire needs of children and

place of birth and any other factor of

skills and helpful attitudes. The YaR

their neglect by the State by reaching

identity or ability.

Forum is committed to the promotion

out to and advocating on behalf of the

and safeguarding of the rights of chil-

following most vulnerable groups of

This policy encapsulates an over-

dren as mandated in the Constitution

children: children on the streets, child

arching expression of intent and

of India, according to the principles

labourers, abandoned orphans, chil-

commitment for everyone in the

contained in the Convention on the

dren in conflict with the law, children

YaR Forum. All the members of YaR

Rights of Children, the Juvenile Jus-

with disabilities, run away children,

Forum are duty-bound to function

tice Act, and the Preventive System

children from dysfunctional families,

according to the principles, objectives

of Don Bosco (Pedagogy of Pres-

institutionalized children, young sub-

and priorities outlined in this policy.

ence), and to ensuring the realization

stance abusers, children in war-torn

The YaR Forum and its members

of the highest standards and equal

and conflict areas, refugee children

stand committed to invest the re-

opportunities for survival, develop-

or children of the displaced including

quired resources to implement this

ment, protection and participation

ethnic groups and minorities, children

policy effectively.

to all children. The following policy

in sex trade and children affected

statement and guidelines aim at pro-

by HIV/AIDS, children who have

viding children and youth, ‘that part of

dropped out of education, trafficked

human society which is so exposed

children and children in very serious

to danger and yet so rich in promise”

danger of being trafficked, and all

(BM II, 35), a safe environment in

children who are found in any other

which they can grow and become

situation of serious vulnerability.

fully alive. The YaR Child Policy reflects a paraThe YaR Child Policy has been

digm shift from welfare and need-

framed to ensure the care and

based approach to an approach

protection of children at risk (a child

of equal rights and justice for all. It

being any individual below the age

outlines the way in which the YaR

of 18 years). The poverty, hardships,

Forum aims to listen to the voices of

oppression, exploitation and margin-

children as participants in an agenda

alization of children are increasing

for their dignity, well being and future.

alarmingly. The systems, plans and

It posits itself as a platform to protect,

development processes of the State,

support and empower children, both

for the care and protection of vulner-

in their individual situations and in the


2. Vision The Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk, in collaboration with State, non-State actors, and families of children, strives to offer every child a nurturing, respectful and safe environment based on an agenda of equity and the best interests of the child, to enable all children to access rights, opportunities and resources for survival, protection, development and participation, to ensure for them a safe and happy childhood and to secure their future prospects.


3. Principles of the Policy 3.4. The safety and security of children shall be of prime importance. The children will be protected from harm, abuses, neglect, exploitation, discrimination and violence as they have the right to protection. 3.5. The physical, social, psychological, emotional, intellectual, moral, cultural and spiritual development of the child shall be addressed in totality. 3.6. A family setting is most conducive to the all-round-development of children. Institutionalization shall be resorted to only when family setting and alternative forms of family care 3.1. The Constitution of India guar-

3.2. Child Rights are universal; inter-

are not possible, and every effort will

antees certain rights to every person

related, interdependent, indivisible

be made to restore the institutional-

in this country including children. All

and inalienable.

ized children to their families or to alternative forms of family care.

children have equal rights; no class, origin, custom, tradition, cultural or

3.3. The best interests of the child

religious practices shall be allowed

shall be the paramount consideration

3.7. The principles of equity, justice

to violate, restrict or prevent children

in all actions concerning or affecting

and non-discrimination shall guide all

from enjoying these rights.

the child.

actions concerning children.


3.8. Individuality, age, gender, and

the children and with utmost circum-

KINDNESS is to be practiced in all

recognition of the special needs and


the YaR involvements for the overall

vulnerability will set the direction for

development and protection of the

any/all programmes and interventions

3.12. Children have the right to ac-

related to children.

cess information that is important to


their development and well-being.

3.14. Consistent with the mandates

3.9 Consultation and participation

The children, especially from minor-

enshrined in the Constitution of India,

of children in a manner appropriate

ity and indigenous groups, should be

the international standards in the

to their age, in all matters affecting

provided with information in a lan-

Child Rights Convention of UN, legal

them, is an indisputable right of every

guage which is suitable and simple.

directions as in Juvenile Justice Act

child and shall be respected in all our

Children should also have access to

and other relevant legal systems of

dealings with children.

children’s books and other forms of

the country, and in keeping with the

media appropriate to their growth and

spirit of the Preventive System of


Don Bosco, the YaR Forum in col-

3.10. Taking positive measures for the care and protection of children is

laboration with the State and other

the primary responsibility of the State;

3.13. Don Bosco’s Preventive System

non-State sectors shall create a safe

and these measures are to be car-

of education with its principles of

environment for the child.

ried out by the State, adhering to the


“Rights” perspective. Collaborating with the State to implement its laws, policies and schemes for the care and protection of children will be an important contribution of YaR Forum, while being faithful to the guiding principles and standards of this policy. 3.11. The Publishing of information and depiction of children in whatever form will be done, respecting the privacy, dignity and the best interests of


4. Objectives of the Policy The YaR forum shall, in all its ser-

of all decisions on matters concerning

grated development and protection of

vices and support to all the children


the young; to create a culture of rights so that violations of child rights be-

for whom it assumes responsibility, 4.5. Consult, network and collaborate

come rare and difficult; to protect the

locally, nationally and internationally

young from falling into

4.1. Ensure survival, health, well-be-

with State and non-State actors for

the situations of risk,

ing, nutrition, clean water and sanita-

the care and protection and promo-

harmful influences,

tion to prevent malnutrition, disease,

tion of the rights of children.

situations of abuse

commit itself to:

disability and death due to avoidable causes.

and exploitation. 4.6. Make every effort to improve knowledge, attitude and practice

4.2. Ensure the necessary standards

among children and personnel

of human and infrastructural re-

regarding Child Rights and their viola-

sources, so as to enable children to

tions, to find out and make known

develop to their full potential.

how and where to access protection and to support them in situations that

4.3. Shall collaborate for the estab-

threaten or violate child rights.

lishment of a safety net of strong preventive, promotive and punitive

4.7. Adopt the Preventive System or

laws, institutions, procedures and

the “Pedagogy of Presence� that uses

enforcement machinery to ensure


accountability in governance which

KINDNESS to enable the best in

leads to the care and protection of

every child to blossom; to create an


environment of preventive care by taking active steps to prevent any

4.4. Create an environment where in

harm to the child; to provide a healthy

the aspirations of children are a part

environment that supports the inte-


5.2. DEVELOPMENT There is no substitute of any sort for quality and age-appropriate education for the physical, emotional and cognitive development of children, so as to empower them to live confident

5.Priority Areas for Policy Implementation

and happy lives with life skills for their own safety and protection. Hence the YaR Forum shall: 5.2.1. Provide and promote quality, child-friendly, gender-sensitive and a locally relevant school education. 5.2.2. Provide opportunities for sports, leisure, recreation and creativity. 5.2.3. Provide early childhood education, prevent children dropping out of


5.1.3. Make efforts to prevent child

education, promote better enrolment,

The right to life and survival is an

marriage and ensure the right age at

ensure quality primary and upper-

inalienable right of every child. It


primary education for all as non-

is important to accord the highest

negotiables, and promote secondary

priority to promote the health and

5.1.4. Provide for child-friendly and

well being of children. Hence the YaR

safe physical spaces by ensuring easily

Forum shall:

accessible facilities, clean environment,

5.2.4. Enable children to develop

adequate infrastructure facilities, living

holistically, draw out their aspira-

5.1.1. Make efforts to eliminate

spaces, playgrounds, safe drinking

tions and focus on their aptitudes

crimes against life such as abor-

water, sanitation facilities etc.

by reviewing the curriculum with a

tion, female foeticide and infanticide.


special focus on mental health from

Every child has a right to be born and

5.1.5. Make available sufficient nutri-

a perspective of self esteem, confi-

to live.

tious diet and adequate clothing.

dence and life skills.

5.1.2. Provide timely, quality and es-

5.1.6. Provide immunization to the

5.2.5. Make available skill training

sential medical care and treatment for

child for protection from vaccine- pre-

to older children to prepare them


ventable diseases.

for life, so that they may be able to 15

find employment and imbibe inde-

rights and teach them to access help

development, as well as to their own

pendent living skills, so that they

when their rights are violated.

communities and families keeping

continue to live their lives on their

in mind their best interests, and with

own leading to and establishing

5.2.8. Make necessary efforts to

due solicitude for the child’s own

families of their own.

secure or to restore children who are

sense of security and belonging.

unaccompanied and who are in insti5.2.6. Address issues of children

tutions, a meaningful access to their

5.2.9. Provide care, support and

affected by life threatening and/or

own culture, religion and language,

services to the children in a spirit of

stigma attached diseases such as

so that they may know, understand

accompaniment, supportive supervi-

HIV/AIDS and make efforts to ensure

and value their own identity. Also

sion and in a friendly family-like atmo-

proper care such as treatment, health

make efforts to give such children

sphere offering a caring presence to

care, nutrition and education and to

the best opportunity to be restored

the child.

prevent discrimination.

to their own cultural setting and

5.2.7. Educate children about their 16

environment, to obtain for them a

5.2.10. In caring for children, give

better atmosphere for their integrated

them sufficient freedom, be reason-

able towards them, provide emotional

for children can foster their develop-

the street, impact of armed conflict,

support, discipline them with loving

ment, progress, health and education

deployment in armed forces, child

kindness, and avoid corporal punish-

leading the children to become knowl-

marriage, unnecessary institutional-

ments and public humiliation.

edgeable, committed and compas-

ization etc. Child protection is saying

sionate men and women for others.

‘Yes’ to prevent, to respond to and to

5.2.11. Educate and take care of

It is ensured by caring and enabling

resolve the abuse, neglect, exploita-

children in a culture-friendly, religion-

policies, regulations and services.

tion and violence affecting children.

the existential expression of a core

5.3.1. To ensure a protective environ-

5.3.3. Children need protection from

belief of the YaR Forum which stands

ment for children always and every-

Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation and

by the conviction of being “loyal to

where the YaR Forum will net work


one’s own faith and culture; while

with the allied systems of the State,

duly respecting the faith and culture

NGOs, donors, society at large,

5.3.4. ABUSE

of another”. This principle should be

family, civil society groups, respon-

Abuse is a deliberate act of ill treat-

concretely translated into action, by

sible citizens, etc. We work together

ment that can harm a child’s safety,

fostering in the children an attitude

towards transforming the society to

well being, dignity and development.

of openness towards God, towards

become a caring community that pro-

It can include all forms of physical,

human beings and towards the world;

tects and takes care of its children.

sexual, psychological and emotional

respectful and tolerant way. This is

while at the same time, duly respect-

ill treatment. All abuse involves abuse

ing the culture and religion of each

5.3.2. Child Protection involves creat-

of power because there is always a

child. Furthermore, it is also important

ing a child safety net in the society to

power difference between the abuser

to inculcate in children an attitude of

protect children from vulnerabilities

and the abused.

respect towards different cultures and

underlying many forms of harm and


abuses like sexual abuse, exploita- Physical Abuse involves the

tion, trafficking, hazardous labour,

use of violent physical force so as to

5.2.12. Treat the children with a counselling attitude and facilitate individual counselling for personal growth, and group counselling

violence, living and working on

cause actual or likely physical injury or suffering (e.g.: hitting, shaking, burning, mutilating, torturing etc).

with a view to group living and community life. Emotional or Psychological Abuse includes hu-


miliating and degrad-

A positive and protec-

ing treatment such

tive environment

as calling nicknames 17

that hurt, constant criticism/nagging, Neglect is sometimes passive


belittling, persistent probing, solitary

in as much as it relates to failures

Exploitation refers to the use of chil-

confinement and isolation.

to carry out some key aspects of

dren for someone else’s advantage,

care and protection of children at the

gratification or profit, often resulting in Child Sexual Abuse includes

appropriate time. Such neglect could

unjust, cruel and harmful treatment of

all forms of sexual violence including

result in significant impairment of the

the child. These are detrimental to the

incest, early and forced marriage,

child’s health or development, includ-

child’s physical, mental, emotional,

rape, involvement in pornography

ing failure to grow emotionally and

moral, social, health and develop-

and sexual slavery. It also includes


ment. It covers situations of manipulation, misuse, abuse, victimization, oppression or ill-treatment. Any assignment given to children should take into account the age, capacity and the best interests of the child. There are two main forms of child exploitation: sexual exploitation and economic exploitation. Sexual Exploitation involves the abuse of a position of trust and the differential power of the adult against the vulnerability of the child for sexual purposes. These include sexual exploitation of the child for personal sexual gratification as well

indecent touching or exposure, using Neglect leaves a trail of evi-

as for profiting monetarily, socially

sexually explicit language towards

dence in the way children are affect-

or politically. Child prostitution, child

a child and showing children porno-

ed. Care givers who do not act on this

trafficking for sexual abuse, child

graphic materials.

evidence are also guilty of neglect.

pornography, sexual slavery, sexual assault and sexual harassment are

5.3.5. NEGLECT Severe neglect or repeated Neglect involves, deliberately

failure to provide timely care, there

or through carelessness or negli-

by endangering the child is criminal Economic Exploitation of

gence, failing to provide for or secure

negligence. E.g.: Deliberate failure to

a child is the use of the child in

for children their rights to safety and

provide medical care is exposing a

work or in other activities for profit.


child to severe harm or even death.

This includes, but is not limited to,


sexual exploitation.

child labour. Economic Exploitation

iii. Collective Violence: violence com-

physical punishment (or the threat of

implies the idea of a certain gain or

mitted by the State or by the society


profit through the production, distribu-

at large. 5.3.8. The YaR FORUM AND ITS

tion and consumption of goods and services. Child domestic work, child Interpersonal violence


soldiers, child bondage, the use of

includes corporal punishment such as


children in criminal activities including

hitting the child with the hand, pinch-

the sale and distribution of narcotics

ing, pulling the hair, forcing the child

The YaR Forum is committed to

and the involvement of children in

into uncomfortable or undignified po-

the protection of children from any

hazardous work are economic exploi-

sitions, use of physical exercises as

perceived or real danger/risk to their

tation of children.

punishment, burning and scarring the

life, their personhood and childhood

child and other humiliating punish-

with a focus on reducing vulnerability.


ments such as verbal abuse, ridicule,

Hence the YaR Forum shall: According to article 19 of UN-

isolation and ignoring the child.

CRC states that all forms of physical Plan and implement pro-

or mental violence, including sexual Collective violence includes

grammes to reduce the risks faced

abuse are acts of violence. In its 2002

violence by the armed forces/law

by vulnerable children and collabo-

report on Violence and Health, World

enforcement and security forces,

rate with stakeholders at all levels to

Health Organization (WHO) defines

the use of the death penalty, cruel

ensure that children are protected

violence as, “The intentional use of

inhuman and degrading treatment,

from all forms of inhuman degrading

physical force or power, threatened or

torture, forced displacement, unlaw-

treatment including abuse, exploita-

actual, against a child by an individual

ful imprisonment etc. Other forms of

tion, neglect and violence.

or group that either results in or has

collective violence include violence

a high likelihood of resulting in actual

resulting from armed conflicts, ter- Create awareness against

or potential harm to the child’s health,

rorism, organized crime, child infan-

harmful customary practices such as

survival, development or dignity”.

ticide, honour killings, corporal or

child marriage, corporal punishment, The WHO has identified three types of violence: i. Self-directed Violence: suicide, selfmutilation. ii. Interpersonal Violence: all forms of physical, sexual and psychological abuse, neglect and exploitation including domestic violence and other forms of gender- based violence.

ragging, human sacrifices, honour

in any form. If it is known that a child

5.4.4. Design all programme so as

killings and witch hunting.

is being abused, exploited, neglected

to move consciously from welfare

or is a victim of violence, keeping

approach to rights-based approach Advocate before the State

silence or being indifferent would be

and engage children (whose age

for special protection measures,


so permits) in programme planning,

schemes and rehabilitation measures to address the special needs of chil-

implementation and evaluation. 5.4. PARTICIPATION

dren at risk.

Establish mechanisms for participation and involvement of children on

Child Participation refers to the

matters related to them. Make efforts to enrol school

involvement of the child in the

dropouts back in school and prevent

process of making decisions which

5.4.5. Provide opportunities for

children from dropping out of school

affect the child’s own life and the

children to be members of children’s

so that they may not fall into the dan-

life of the community in which the

clubs, groups and movements.

gerous situations of child labour and

child lives. The YaR Forum wants to

other forms of exploitation.

ensure that children are made aware

5.4.6. To provide opportunities to

of their rights and are provided with

children to grow up as persons with Build the capacity of person-

opportunities to develop skills, form

a sense of purpose, convinced and

nel who have the responsibility for

aspirations and express their views in

responsible, and to relate to the

the care of children with adequate

accordance with their age and matu-

Divine and to practice their religion

information, education, training in the

rity and to enable them to be actively


right attitudes and practical skills.

involved in their own development and in all matters concerning and

5.4.7. Create a neighbourhood/ Create awareness among

affecting them. Accordingly the YaR

society that is participatory and child-

children about their rights, about how

Forum shall:


5.4.1. Respect the views of children

5.4.8. Provide life skills training for

and discuss with them and under-

children to acquire appropriate knowl-

stand matters concerning them.

edge and skills with a view to their

to respond to situations of risk and thus train them to protect themselves. Provide support to children to safeguard their property and to

adequate participation in decision-

receive their rightful inheritances

5.4.2. Provide training to build the

making processes that affect their

which may be under threat because

capacity of personnel in the organiza-

lives, have awareness about their

of the situations of disadvantage that

tion on the concept and processes of

rights, know where to go, who to talk

they are in.

child participation.

to, and how to avoid or respond to risks.

The YaR Forum believes that abuse,

5.4.3. Empower children by provid-

neglect, exploitation and violence

ing them information about their

against children are not acceptable



Child Protection is related to organizational protocols, policies and procedures aimed at to ensuring that every child under the care of the organization is safe while they are

6. Child Protection and YaR Organizational Protocols

under its care: 6.1. All the personnel will give respect and dignity to all children under their care. Furthermore they shall consider each child as a unique individual with specific characteristics and needs and shall adopt an individualized plan/approach for each child. 6.2. All the personnel must sign a statement stating that they are aware 21

of the contents of the Child Policy

must not be expelled from the care

use unbecoming language, tobacco

and would respect and abide by it

of the organization arbitrarily by an

products and liquor in the presence

and understand that action would be

individual, but such decisions must be

of children who are under the care of

taken against them in cases where

the result of a consultative process

the organization.)

their behaviour is not in accordance

among authorized persons that keeps

with the policy.

in mind the spirit of the Child Policy.

6.10. Children who are victims or who are suffering from grave problems

6.3. Prior permission is required from

6.7. All personnel need to be aware

need to be cared for by professionals

authorized persons for volunteers and

that they may be working with

and by responsible persons who have

externs to photograph, video graph,

children who, because of the cir-

the skills to give them the proper

and record children/children’s events

cumstances and abuses they have


and with a view to use of these mate-

experienced in life, may exploit a rela-

rials for purposes outside the objec-

tionship to win special attention. The

tives of the organization. Under no

adults are always expected to behave

circumstances will anyone be allowed

appropriately and responsibly in their

to use these materials for any com-

interaction with children even when

mercial purpose.

a child may be acting in a provocative or seductive manner. The adult

6.4. All personnel need to be aware of

should avoid being in a compromising

the risks involved in being alone with

or vulnerable situation.

a child where one cannot be noticed by other adults. Such situations must

6.8. Inappropriate behaviour towards

be avoided.

children, the failure to behave in accordance with the YaR Child Care

6.5. To create an atmosphere that

and Protection Policy can lead to

prevents child abuse and promotes

disciplinary action including termina-

child protection, it is important

tion of employment/ volunteer status/

that all the personnel abide by the

internship and/or board/ committee

stipulations mentioned in the docu-


ment, “Protection of Minors: Policy Statement and Guidelines for use

6.9. All personnel must be concerned

in Salesian Institutions�, (Art: 1.2.2),

about demeanour and appearance

published by SPCSA, New Delhi,

in their dress, language, action, and

2006. See Annexure 1.

relationship with children. It is important to maintain an appropriate

6.6. Children must not be disciplined

standard of behaviour in the presence

using any form of violence. Children

of children. (E.g. They should not


7. Recruitment, Training and Capacity Building 7.1. All personnel will be carefully and

pertaining to Child Rights and the

properly screened, selected and ap-

Pedagogy of Presence (Preventive

pointed following the HR policy. Pref-


erence will be given to persons who have records of positive contribution

7.5. The organization will be committed

for the promotion of child welfare.

to the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of child care, protection procedures

7.2. Persons selected will have to be

and behavioural protocols.

child-friendly, with qualifications pertaining to child care and promotion,

7.6. Once a year the staff and volun-

such as degrees/training in peda-

teers will undergo a self- appraisal,

gogy, sociology, psychology, law and/

peer appraisal and organizational as-

or long-term experience of working

sessment to evaluate and to monitor

with children.

their services for the care and protection of children.

7.3. In view of the best interests of children, the organization will not appoint

7.7. For further directions regarding

anyone with a prior conviction for child

recruitment, training and capac-

abuse, paedophilia or related offences.

ity building of personnel, the YaR Forum shall be guided by the relevant

7.4. Training, capacity-building

stipulations contained in the docu-

programmes and relevant activities

ment, “Protection of Minors: Policy

will be conducted by the organization

Statement and Guidelines for use in

to help all personnel to understand

Salesian Institutions�, (Art. 2.1-2.2.2),

the content of the Child Policy, Child

published by SPCSA, New Delhi,

Rights, legal systems in the country

2006. See Annexure 2. 23

8. Documentation and Research 8.1 Guided by the Juvenile Justice

8.3 Child-focused researches and a

Act and other relevant policies, efforts

comprehensive training of person-

need to be made to establish ap-

nel will also be initiated to meet the

propriate data collection mechanisms

emerging needs and to improve the

and systems to document effectively

effectiveness of services to the Young

information about the children served,

at Risk.

about the activities and programmes conducted about the organization itself.

8.4 The progress of the child under the care of the organization needs

8.2 Reports generated from the docu-

to be documented ensuring that all

mentation would help to identify existing

aspects of their growth is taken care

gaps and to plan the future operations

of till he/she is positively rehabilitated.

on behalf of the Young at Risk.


9. Advocacy 9.1. Children at Risk often are not able to make their voices heard at the right places. The YaR Forum aims to find ways to create spaces for their voices before the State and other significant bodies. 9.2. It is important to influence political governance and decision making so that issues and concerns of Young at Risk get represented in national policies and programmes. 9.3. Efforts will be made to collaborate with the State and its allied systems, mechanisms and programmes and to participate at consultations to help promote the special needs of disadvantaged children. 9.4. Efforts should be made to join hands with the State and Non-state bodies for the care and protection of children by participating and accepting roles and responsibilities in bodies/committees and structures set up by them for the welfare of children. 25

10. Responses to Allegations of Offences Against Children 10.1. The organization encourages

sional Standards, as the case may

open discussion during organizational


meetings on the occurrence and the

also be kept confidential. 10.6. An accusation of abuse by a

possibilities of child abuse, exploita-

10.3. Any personnel of the organi-

child will not be dismissed without ap-

tion, neglect and violence.

zation who has enough reason to

propriate investigation, no matter who

believe that a child has been abused

the alleged perpetrator is.

10.2. Where an allegation has been

by a personnel or by an extern is

made that a personnel of the or-

duty bound to report the matter to

10.7. Records will be made of all

ganization has abused a child, the

the child protection committee of the

facts related to the investigations

organization will take appropriate


of child abuse allegations and they

action with promptness to deal with

will be carefully and confidentially

the allegation. In dealing with these

10.4. Any personnel to whom a child

filed by the committee. It is not

allegations the YaR Forum will com-

has revealed that he or she is abused

necessary to keep a record of an al-

ply with the demands of the existing

is bound to report it to the child pro-

legation if an inquiry is not initiated

legal provisions. If the abuse is very

tection committee of the organization.

regarding the allegation. An inquiry

serious and falls under IPC or any

will be initiated only if the allega-

other relevant law a first information

10.5. The allegation will be kept

tion is submitted in writing. A signed

report (FIR) must be filed with the

confidential, with only those directly

statement may not be necessary

local police by the YaR Centre and/

concerned having the information.

from the child who complains of

or Provincial Commission for Profes-

Any investigation on allegations will

having been abused since it may be


difficult for him/her to give a signed compliant. But the one to whom he/she has confided regarding the abuse can record the details of the complaint. 10.8. Both the child and the alleged perpetrator will be treated with respect from the start of the process to its close. Extreme care will be taken to protect the child who is more vulnerable. This could include placing the accused on administrative leave until the investigation is completed, without prejudice to the existing state/ labour laws. 10.9. If a foreigner is involved in child abuse, the relevant embassy will be informed. 10.10. The child Protection Committee of the organization is to be constituted of three persons who are child friendly, possess adequate knowledge of the YaR Child Policy, child rights and the relevant legal provisions and have sufficient experi-

abuse will initiate a preliminary inquiry

10.12. If the allegation is against the

ence of working with children. The

into the allegation after obtaining

Director, then the procedure is carried

head of the committee will be known

the permission of the Director of the

out in consultation with the President

as the Child Protection Officer and it

organization. If the inquiry reveals

of the registered trust or society to

will be appropriate to have a woman

that the allegation is not of a grave

which the organization belongs.

member in the child protection com-

nature the committee will proceed


with the investigation. If found guilty,

10.13. If the allegation of abuse is of

a just penalty will be imposed with

a grave degree then the child protec-

10.11. The child protection commit-

the approval of the Director of the

tion committee asks the Director of

tee on receiving a complaint of child


the organization to report it to the 27

Provincial. If the allegation is against

be damaging and long lasting. Hence

ation will decide about what and how

the Director then the committee will

YaR Forum commits itself to support

to inform the police and the media.

ask the President of the Trust or the

and accompany the victims of abuse

Society to report it to the Provincial

and their families to the best of its

who will direct the allegation to be

ability to facilitate healing and recon-

investigated by the Provincial Com-


mission for Professional standards. 10.17. In the matter of action to be 10.14. The process of investigation

taken when a personnel (employee or

that will be followed by the Provin-

Salesian) is found guilty or innocent

cial Commission for Professional

by the Provincial commission for Pro-

standards will be according to the

fessional Standards, the YaR Forum

guidelines contained in the docu-

is bound to follow the stipulations

ment, “Protection of Minors: Policy

laid down in the Art.6 of the docu-

Statement and Guidelines for use in

ment, “Protection of Minors: Policy

Salesian Institutions”, (Art: 5), pub-

Statement and Guidelines for use in

lished by SPCSA, New Delhi, 2006.

Salesian Institutions”, published by

See Annexure 3.

SPCSA, New Delhi, 2006. See Annexure 4.

10.15. When a person is found guilty of grave child abuse by the Provin-

10.18. If any personnel in the organi-

cial Commission for Professional

zation have reason to believe that a

Standards, his or her services are

child from the neighbourhood society

immediately terminated without preju-

and not necessarily a child under

dice to existing state/labour laws. If

the care of the organization is being

the abuse is of a lesser degree the

abused, the staff must report it to the

person found guilty is punished with a

competent authority in the organiza-

just penalty. Persons who have been

tion within 48 hours, and the compe-

found guilty of grave child abuse are

tent authority in the organization will

not to be transferred to another YaR

be required to make arrangements

centre or any centre where such a

to report it to the competent legal

person will be once again in frequent

authority in the locality.

contact with children. Such persons are also not to be appointed to work

10.19. The organization will designate

with children at such centres.

someone to deal with the media and the police if necessary. The Child Pro-

10.16. The effects of an abuse can 28

tection Committee after due consider-

11. Communication About Children

11.1. The Organization will not display

11.3. Disclosure of information about

11.5 If the reports regarding children

or publish photos of children in vul-

the past or present abuse of children

are found to be expressed in indecent

nerable or humiliating situations.

and of any of the persons involved

and using disrespectful language,

should be treated with confidential-

appropriate efforts should be under-

11.2. Communications about children

ity, and disclosure should be limited

taken to correct such adverse expres-

should use pictures that are decent

only to the persons who are entitled


and respectful. If photographs of

to know and on matters they strictly

children need to be published, the

need to know.

organization will take special care to protect children’s privacy, if so

11.4. The language used in the com-

required, in the best interests of the

munication about children should be


respectful. 29

12. Evaluation and Review of Policy The problems and difficulties being

cally reviewed both in approach and

including children, will be conducted

faced by children today may change

implementation methods.

once in 5 years. The review will be

over time. Current challenges may

The YaR Child Policy will be reviewed

done with reference to issues put

be overcome and new issues could

every year at the Annual General

forth in this document and others-

emerge that require new approaches

Body Meeting of the YaR Forum.

emerging and relevant to the care

not covered by this policy. This

However, a comprehensive review

and protection of children especially

necessitates that the policy be an

spearheaded by the YaR Forum, in

the Young at Risk.

evolving document that is periodi-

consultation with all stakeholders,

13. Who are governed by this Policy? All the personnel of YaR Forum which includes members of the management, committee/board members, staff, volunteers and interns and the member organizations and their personnel shall abide by this policy. 30

A. Annexures i.

“ Protection of Minors: Policy Statement and Guidelines for use in Salesian Institutions”, (Art. 1.2.2), published by SPCSA, New Delhi, 2006. 1.2.2 Contacts and Behaviours that are appropriate and inappropriate: Don Bosco insists “that the youngsters should not only be loved, but that they themselves should know that they are loved.” There are many ways of showing affection, some of which are appropriate and others inappropriate. The following lists may help us to strike an accepted and happy medium in this area. More than a list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’, they are a reminder to live a role where one enjoys trust with responsibility. Contacts and Activities that are Appropriate Under Most Circumstances a) Handshake. b) Normal hugs when initiated by a child. c) Pat on the shoulder. d) Arms around shoulders e) Sitting close to or in the midst of children f) Verbal praise of a child’s achievements. g) Holding hands during prayer, or when the child is upset. h) Holding hands while walking with small children. i) Holding and picking up children j) Smiling at and/or laughing with a child. Restrictions on Physical Activities and Contacts a) Any touching of a child shall be age appropriate and based on the need of the child and not on the need of the adult. If a child initiates physical contact, an ap31

propriate, limited response is proper. b) One does not engage in wrestling with a child. c) One does not hold, hug or touch a child if the child resists in any way. d) One does not engage in excessive or frequent hugging. e) If one-on-one pastoral care of a child should be necessary, avoid meeting in isolated environments and in closed rooms where one cannot be seen. Schedule meetings and use locations that create accountability and do not give rise to suspicion. f) All trips, rides, vacations and other such activities must have the approval of the parents and/or the appropriate institution prior to the activity. g) No child shall live in the living quarters of adult personnel. h) No child shall be taken to an adult personnel’s living quarters unless accompanied by other adults. i) No overnight trips with a child or a group of children unless at least one other adult (Salesian, parent or collaborator) is present. Restrictions on Emotional Contact a) One does not excessively e-mail any child. b) One does not telephone children unless necessary; primary contact should be with the child’s parent. c) One does not get excessively involved in a child’s activities or life. d) No adult should have an exclusive friendship with one child. Restrictions on Behaviours a) One does not provide children with alcoholic beverages, tobacco, drugs or anything that is prohibited by law. b) One does not engage in any physical discipline of a child. c) One does not give gifts or money to a ‘special’ child. d) One does not show favouritism to select children in scholastic, co-curricular or other activities. e) One does not use disciplinary action as an excuse for prolonged interaction with select children. f) One does not take photographs of children while they are nude, partially nude or undressing. g) One does not undermine parent’s authority by ridiculing parent’s beliefs or allowing children to do things against the wishes of their parents. h) One does not ask a child to keep a secret from his or her parents. 32

i) One does not shame or belittle a child. j) Topics, vocabulary, recordings, films, games or the use of computer software or any other form of personal interaction or entertainment that could not be used comfortably in the presence of parents should not be employed with children. Sexually explicit or pornographic material is never appropriate for children.


“ Protection of Minors: Policy Statement and Guidelines for use in Salesian Institutions”, (Art. 2.1-2.2.2), published by SPCSA, New Delhi, 2006. 2.1 Screening Procedures for Personnel who are not Salesians

In order to ensure the well-being of children Don Bosco insisted that all “teach-

ers, craft masters and assistants must be of acknowledged morality” The Salesian Society is committed to making all reasonable efforts to assure that its personnel are trustworthy and morally upright. All hiring or acceptance of employees shall be done carefully. All existing agreements with the non-Salesian personnel shall be reviewed and shall be amended, if necessary, to include the statement that anyone found guilty of a grave act of child sexual abuse will be terminated immediately without prejudice to the respective State/Labour laws. 2.1.1 Information and References to be Provided

All non-Saleisan personnel will be required to provide certain information about

themselves and names of some persons who can be referred to as part of the application process by filling up the forms given in Appendix A, B and C (Application Form, Criminal Record Form, Health Form). The information and references submitted by potential personnel are to be carefully reviewed. 2.1.2 Interview

All non-Salesian personnel shall be interviewed in person by a team consisting of

at least two Salesians designated by the institution. 2.1.3 Acknowledgement of the Child Abuse Policy

The Policy of the Province with regard to preventing and dealing with cases of

child sexual abuse is to be made part of the “Service Rules” of the Institution or part of the “Code of Conduct for those working in Salesian Institutions.” All personnel shall consent to abide by the “Service Rules” or “Code of Conduct.” 2.2 Employee Education and Policy Information 33

2.2.1 Making Available this Policy Statement and Guidelines All Personnel will receive a copy of the “Service Rules” or “Code of Conduct” of the Institution. Copies of this “Policy Statement and Guidelines for Preventing and Treating Cases of Child Sexual Abuse,” shall be made available in all institutions of the Province at a place easily accessible (e.g. library) to all personnel. 2.2.2 Training All new personnel will be made familiar with this “Policy Statement and Guidelines for Preventing and Treating Cases of Child Sexual Abuse,” during in-service training. Presentations on Child Abuse and on this Document will also be given at appropriate gatherings such as: Faculty/Staff meetings; Workshops/training programmes for faculty/staff; Orientation programmes for students/children The text, “Guidelines for Affective and Sexual Maturity: For Formation of Lay Collaborators in Dealing with Young People,” prepared by Fr. Abraham Vettical may be used for giving training.


“Protection of Minors: Policy Statement and Guidelines for use in Salesian Institutions”, (Art. 5), published by SPCSA, New Delhi, 2006. Article 5: The Provincial Commission for Professional Standards And the Process of Investigation [Comment: In a letter addressed to the Salesian Provincials, titled, “Some Guidelines Concerning the Abuse of Juveniles, dated 19 July 2002 the Rector Major and the General Council asked each province to set up an “appropriate committee for dealing with alleged cases of abuse,” and described its competence and duties in broad lines. The following text is based on the guidelines given therein and in the Code of Canon Law, both of the Latin (CIC) and Oriental Churches (CCEO)]. 5.1 Establishment and Composition of the Provincial Commission for Professional Standards a) Each Province shall set up a Provincial Commission for Professional Standards to assist the provincial in his task of dealing with alleged cases of sexual abuse of children. b)  The Commission is made up of three to five competent persons like a lawyer, a psychologist, a priest and possibly other members endowed with wisdom and prudence. It is recommended that some members of the Commission be


lay persons. The names of the Commission members is made known to the province. c)  The Coordinator of this Commission is appointed by the Provincial and he will have power to act in the name of the Provincial. 5.2 Competence and Purpose of the Provincial Commission for Professional Standards a)  The Provincial Commission for Professional Standards exists to investigate cases of child sexual abuse in keeping with the directives of Canon Law and the Salesian Congregation, to provide advice and to review policies and has no independent power or authority. b) The Provincial Commission for Professional Standards shall: a.  Examine alleged cases of sexual abuse of children on the part of Salesians, for the purpose of informing the Provincial of the innocence or culpability of the accused. b.  Suggest to the provincial modes of procedure in conformity with the laws of the country, state and the Church. c.  Interview the accused Salesian, the victim(s), and other persons of interest and will inform them of the results of the enquiry. d.  Propose to the Provincial criteria and guidelines for the Province in dealing with the victim, the accused and at risk members. e.  Review the Provincial’s pastoral response to the individual making the allegation and, as appropriate, to his/her family f.  Maintain contact with the parallel committee of the diocese g.  Offer to the provincial opinion concerning the suitability of the accused person for continuing in religious life and ministerial priesthood. 5.3 Officers a)  The Coordinator of the Provincial Commission for Professional Standards shall chair the meetings of the Commission. He shall ensure that the work of the Commission is properly documented and communicated to the Provincial and appoint other ad hoc assistants from among the other Commission members as may be required to accomplish the work of the Commission. b)  At the beginning of each meeting of the Provincial Commission for Professional Standards, the coordinator shall appoint a recording secretary to record the decisions and other relevant actions of the Commission.


5.4 Record Keeping a) The Provincial Commission for Professional Standards shall maintain a file on every case or matter it considers. Each file shall contain a written description of the matter presented to the Commission, a written report of the investigation conducted, conclusions reached, and a written summary of the advice given to the Provincial. b) The files of the Provincial Commission for Professional Standards are the property of the Province whose member is being investigated. c) The records kept and all other documents and information received by the members of the Commission shall be treated as confidential. 5.5 Operating Procedures 5.5.1 Preliminaries - Responding to a complaint a) When there is an allegation, which according to the considered judgement of the provincial needs further investigation, the Provincial shall notify the coordinator of the Commission. The Coordinator shall promptly contact the other members of the Commission and schedule a meeting as soon as practical. b) The Provincial shall provide the Commission with all the information that is at his disposal relevant to the matter under consideration. c) The Commission will determine if the accusation deals with an abuse that should be treated by penal process as described in the Code of Canon Law (CIC 17201728; CCEO 1471-1479), or if the complaint can be dealt with by correction and apology, and accordingly give the complainant other means of addressing the issue. This may include voluntary mediation in an issue. The Commission will keep in mind the gravity of the offence as indicated by CIC 1395 รง2, 1321รง3; CCEO 1453 รง1, 1414 รง 2. d) The Commission may make a recommendation concerning any immediate action that needs to be taken in relation to the protection of vulnerable children and adults. e) The Coordinator shall inform the accused of the nature of the complaint if it is possible to do so. The accused needs to be given enough details about the complaint, and the complainant to be able to make a response. The accused shall be entitled to information about the process for dealing with the complaint. The accused will be offered the possibility of choosing a support person, if needed, from a list of support persons indicated by the province. The accused may choose someone of his preference from outside the list also. 36

f) The Coordinator shall seek a response from the accused within a specified time limit in order to determine whether the facts of the case are significantly disputed. g) The Commission may ask the provincial to see that the accused stand aside from a particular office or from all offices held in the province, pending investigation. The provincial may seek the opinion of others involved in the matter before making a decision, and shall give the accused the opportunity to be heard on the matter. Where the accused is a Salesian, the provincial shall comply with CIC 1722, CCEO 1473. h) Under no circumstances shall there be any attempt to intimidate a complainant or to dissuade a complainant from proceeding with a complaint. 5.5.2 Proceeding with the Investigation a) Where the complainant is not the victim, the coordinator shall not make arrangements to interview the victim without first discussing the matter with the complainant. If the facts are disputed, and it is not possible to interview the person who has been victimized, then it may not be possible to proceed any further in dealing with the complaint unless relevant information from other reliable sources are available. b) When a child has to be interviewed the coordinator shall get the services of someone professionally recognized as skilled in interviewing children. The province shall make available the names of skilled practitioners in interviewing children. c) Special care shall be taken in interviewing persons with intellectual or psychiatric disability. Only a qualified and experienced person shall conduct such interviews. d) The coordinator has the discretion to close a matter if the complainant decides not to cooperate with the process and there is no reasonable ground of getting reliable information from other sources. e) The coordinator shall arrange an interview with the accused if the person is available and willing to speak to the coordinator or other members of the Provincial Commission for Professional Standards. If the accused does not wish to cooperate with the process, the process will continue and reach a conclusion concerning the truth of the matter so that the provincial can make an appropriate response to the complainant. f) Where an interview has to take place with the accused, the coordinator shall inform the accused that in Church law a person is presumed innocent till proven guilty. An accused person may be invited to admit to an offence but is not bound to do so, nor may an oath be administered (CIC 1728 รง2, CCEO 1479?). 37

g) The accused has a right to obtain independent legal advice. The accused is entitled to have one support person of his/her choice during any interview. h) Decisions about who should be interviewed are made after taking into account also the wishes expressed by the complainant and the accused. The Coordinator will make known to the complainant the version of events as presented by the accused. i) The province is not required to disclose documents which it has an obligation to guard as confidential to the accused or to any other person. j) A written record shall be made of all interviews. k) The Provincial Commission for Professional Standards will provide a written report to the provincial of its findings. They shall also comment on how serious the offence was from a pastoral perspective and the punishment to be imposed. The punishment is to be “according to the gravity of the offense, not excluding dismissal or deposition” (Motu Proprio, Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela, 2001, no 4 ç2; Cf. CIC 1395 ç2, 1321ç3; CCEO 1453 ç1, 1414 ç 2.; Criteria and norms for Salesian Vocation Discernment, nos.75-76). l) The complainant and the accused are entitled to know the findings of the assessment promptly. The provincial should communicate this to them. The Provincial may delegate the Coordinator to do this. m) If the Provincial Commission for Professional Standards decides to reject the complaint, then it must provide reasons for its decision to the complainant. n) During the assessment, and therefore, at a time when guilt has been neither admitted nor proven, the issue of guilt, liability or the particular course of action that may follow assessment cannot be commented upon. o) As the assessment process is a difficult and trying time for all concerned, particularly the complainant and the accused, the process of assessment shall be undertaken and concluded as quickly as possible (three months). p) Where the accused is a Salesian, the documents associated with the investigation (penal process) shall be preserved in accordance with CIC 1719, 489-490; CCEO 1470. q) The records of the interview and all other documents are to be treated as confidential. r) The process of investigation is complete in relation to the complainant when the provincial gives a response to him/her at the end of the investigation. It may happen that the complainant does not pursue the case or does not show interest in the case after the initial complaint. In such a situation the investigation may not have been initiated or completed and it is considered as officially closed three 38

months from the day the complaint was accepted. [At times the investigation may not have been initiated because the complainant shows no interest in the case indicating that the complaint may not be true]. The process is complete in relation to the accused when the provincial has made known to the accused his findings as well as his decision concerning the ministry that the accused person may engage in from that time.


“Protection of Minors: Policy Statement and Guidelines for use in Salesian Institutions�, (Art. 6), published by SPCSA, New Delhi, 2006. Article 6: ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN WHEN ONE IS FOUND GUILTY OR INNOCENT 6.1 The Duty of the Provincial and His Council Once the Provincial has received the findings of the Provincial Commission for Professional Standards, he will present the findings to his Council, which gives its judgement, expressing this also by a vote. The Provincial, after consulting his Council, will also decide on the measures to be adopted canonically (including the prohibition to exercise the priestly ministry and possible dismissal). 6.2 Actions to be taken when an Employee is found Guilty a) If an employee admits guilt, does not contest guilt, or there is a finding of guilt, with regard to a grave act of sexual abuse of a child, his or her services are immediately terminated without prejudice to existing State/Labour Laws. Adequate safeguards are taken to assure that the Salesian Society does not employ the individual in any capacity. b) For acts of sexual abuse of a child of a lesser degree (e.g. indecent proposal), one is punished with a just penalty, not excluding dismissal. c) For the evil/criminal act committed and the legal consequences that arise from it he/she alone is responsible d) He/she is exhorted to own his/her responsibility and to cooperate fully with any investigation that may he initiated.. e) The province will accompany him/her according to the demands of Christian charity to face the new situation. 6.3 Actions to be Taken when a Salesian is Found Guilty a) If a Salesian member, who has completed the initial formation (e.g. Perpetually 39

Professed Salesian Brother, Priest) admits guilt, does not contest guilt, or there is a finding of guilt, with regard to a grave act of sexual abuse of a child that person is removed at once from every public, pastoral or educative ministry, and placed in a position where the possibility of contact with children will be minimal. He may be suspended a divines (= from the ministry of clerics) or restrictions may be placed on his exercise of sacramental ministry. He could be dismissed from the clerical state, if the case so warrants (cf. CIC 1395 ç2; CCEO 1453 ç1; Rector Major’s Letter of 19 July 2002). b) In the case of one in initial formation he is not admitted to renewal of profession or orders and is asked to leave the congregation (Criteria and Norms for Salesian Vocation Discernment, nos.75-76) c) For acts of sexual abuse of a child of a lesser degree (e.g. indecent proposal), one is punished with a just penalty, not excluding removal from office and ministry (cf. CIC 1395 ç2; CCEO 1453; Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela, n.4 ç2) d) In the case of public scandal when a priest or deacon is concerned he is to be immediately suspended a divinis (= from the ministry of clerics). In certain cases, it is fitting that the confrere asks for dispensation from celibacy. He may be also dispensed from the clerical state and the congregation if the case so warrants. e) For the evil/criminal act committed and the legal consequences that arise from it the guilty person alone is responsible (in the spirit of Regulations 191). f) The accused confrere is afforded a competent follow-up of a spiritual, psychological and medical kind through a well chalked out Ongoing Accompaniment Plan (see article 8). g) No Salesian who has committed an act of sexual abuse of a child may be transferred for ministerial assignment to another province/diocese or eparchy. h) Before a Salesian can be transferred for residence to another province, diocese/ eparchy the provincial shall forward, in a confidential manner, to the local provincial and bishop/eparch of the proposed place of residence any and all information concerning any act of sexual abuse of a child and any other information that he has been or may be a danger to children or young people (Cf. Letter of Fr Adriano Bregolin dated 24 July 2004 addressed to all Salesian Provincials as well as “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, art 14). 6.4 Actions to be Taken when the Accused Person is Proved Innocent a) If the individual is found innocent, all charges are dropped. The Provincial will consult the Provincial Commission for Professional Standards and the Director of 40

the Institution where the accused had worked to determine if it is to the benefit of all to restore the individual to his or her duties. In any event, the situation shall be noted in the individual’s personal file for future reference if necessary. b) The Provincial will coordinate communication with all appropriate parties so that reconciliation can take place where possible and the damage done to reputations can be repaired. c) The Provincial shall take whatever steps are necessary to restore the good reputation of the one who was accused. d) If it is ascertained that the accusation was done maliciously legal action for defamation may be initiated against the one who made the false accusation. 6.5 Reporting to the Local Bishop and the Rector Major a) Once the accusations have been verified, the Provincial will inform the Local Bishop. b) The Provincial will send all the documentation with his final judgement to the Rector Major.


B. Appendixes i. Format for requesting investigation into suspected child abuse

REQUEST FOR AN INVESTIGATION INTO SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE Name of the child____________________________________________ age_________ M


Address____________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ Name of parents ___________________________________________ phone_____________________ Address ____________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________

Nature and extent of suspected abuse:

Previous injuries, event, and symptoms of note:

Identity and address of alleged offender (if known):

Date: ___________________________ Name: ____________________________________________




ii. Format to be filled in and signed, to declare ones commitment to the child policy


I declare that: I have read and understood the Child Care and Protection Policy of the organization. The contents of it were explained to me in a language that I am familiar with. I will work according to the procedures as laid out in the Child Policy. I have not been convicted of any offence involving moral turpitude or any offence involving physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children, nor are there any such cases pending against me. I understand that if a complaint is brought against me regarding abuse of children while working with the organization, I will co-operate with the appropriate authorities during the investigation. If I am proved guilty of child abuse, I alone am responsible for the act of abuse and for the legal consequences that arise from it.

Signature……………………………………… Name…………………………….......……………………………… Designation…………………………………........................................... Date………….………………………… Signature of the witness……………………………………. Name……..............………………………………….


Abbreviations BM –The Biographical Memoirs of St. John Bosco (19 Volumes) CIC - Codex Iuries Canonici (The code of Canon law of the Latin Church) CWC - Child Welfare Committee DBNF YaR - Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk FIR - First Information Report IPC - Indian Penal Code JJ Act - Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 JJB - Juvenile Justice Board Jn - Gospel of St. John SPCSA - Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia UNCRC - United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child WHO - World Health Organization YaR - Young at Risk YaR Forum - Young at Risk Forum


Don Bosco loved much, dreamt big and showed the way. Today, this man’s name is magic. Millions of young people in one hundred and thirty-two countries around the world have found hope and learnt to live responsible lives because of Don Bosco. He would often say, “It is enough for me that you are young, for me to love you”. His life was a living out of that love. The YaR Forum wants to keep this love alive. We want the miracles of his dream to continue. We want to dream with the young and make their best dreams come true. (Adapted from Don Bosco, He loved much... dreamt big... showed the way by Joe Mannath SDB)

Young at Risk The YaR Forum Network reaches out to the deprived and marginalised young such as children/youth on the streets, child labourers, abandoned and total orphans, children in conflict with law and young prisoners, young substance abusers, young victims of abuse, young victims of ethnic violence and armed conflicts, the young infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, children trafficked, school drop outs, run away and missing children, and others. Those are the young whose safety, wellbeing and development are at risk through neglect, abuse and exploitation. Over 95 cities and towns in India are reached by YaR Network to provide care and protection to the deprived and marginalised children and youth through shelter homes, children’s homes, youth hostels, street presences, childline services, Homelink Child Tracking Systems, child labour schools, vocational training, academic education programmes, child rights centres, documentation, research, advocacy programmes…. and many more. On an average, the YaR Network Members together reach out to over two and a half lakh of children/youth at risk across India annually.

Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk Palam Gaon, New Delhi – 110 045, INDIA. Ph. 011 25081014, Email:

YaR Child policy  

YaR Child policy

YaR Child policy  

YaR Child policy