Child Protection Programme
CIS believes that every child has the right to grow up in a healthy, safe, secure and supportive environment.
The school endorses the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to which Hong Kong is a signatory, and seeks to be a positive learning community that promotes well being, free from hazards and harm. The school adopts a strict zero tolerance policy towards the mistreatment or abuse of children.
Mindful of the special role that schools play as protectors of children, and in light of growing awareness of the harm that can be caused by child abuse, CIS runs a comprehensive programme of Child Protection overseen by school leaders and two designated members of the Board of Governors.
Details are outlined in a school-wide Child Protection Policy (see below) that encompasses:
- rigorous recruiting and vetting practices applicable to direct hires, contract staff, and all affiliated personnel, including volunteers,
- a Code of Conduct (see Policy below) signed by all personnel (as above),
- a Code of Conduct for visitors (see Visitors Do's & Dont's below),
- regular training for all personnel, as well as students and parents,
- dedicated Child Protection Officers and other responders,
- and clear protocols for reporting and inquiring into matters of concern.
For inquiries about Child Protection at CIS, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
For relevant staff for Hangzhou CIS, please see the Hangzhou Faculty page.
- Expectations for All Staff & Volunteers
- Expectations for Parents, Guardians & Caregivers
- Expectations for Visitors
- Expectations for Students
- Key Roles, Responsibilities & Training
- Definitions & Indicators of Abuse
- Reporting of Incidents, Concerns & Follow-Up Procedures
- APPENDIX I: Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct (HK & HZ)
- APPENDIX II: Visitor Code of Conduct (HK & HZ)
- APPENDIX III: Hangzhou CIS Visitor Policy
- Appendix IV: Visitor Do's & Don'ts (HK & HZ)
Chinese International School (CIS) believes that every child has the right to grow up in a healthy, safe, secure and supportive environment. The school endorses the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which has been ratified by China and the Hong Kong SAR, and seeks to be a positive learning community that promotes well being, free from hazards and harm. The school adopts a strict zero tolerance policy towards the mistreatment or abuse of children.
Mindful of the special role that schools play as protectors of children and of the harm that can be caused by child abuse, CIS has adopted this Child Protection Policy to ensure that all members of the CIS community understand CIS’s approach to child protection and have clear and helpful guidelines for their behaviour, including measures to prevent and address the specific issue of child abuse, which is defined as also including child neglect.
This policy informs all aspects of the school’s activities and operations, including how staff and other affiliated personnel are selected and asked to conduct themselves, and how all learning activities and other programmes are designed and delivered. Initial implementation involved a thorough review of potential risks, new positions of responsibility to anticipate and minimise risks, and the introduction of new practices for all community members. Ongoing implementation will involve an annual audit to monitor implementation and to continue to assess, identify, eliminate or control risks in all domains of the school’s activities.
CIS’s child protection programme focuses on prevention, but also includes clear steps to be taken when there are concerns that a student has been harmed or is being harmed. CIS uses the term “child protection” to refer both to measures to ensure safety and prevent harm generally and to measures to address specific cases of concern. (Some organisations may use the term “safeguarding” to refer to measures mitigating against potential harm to children, as distinguished from the term “protection” to refer to measures mitigating against harm already experienced by a child.)
CIS’s actions will be governed by Hong Kong law, or the laws of Hangzhou or other relevant jurisdictions.
In the event that students experience abuse or neglect in any aspect of their lives, CIS seeks to be a safe haven. The key document addressing the school’s responsibilities in such cases is The Hong Kong Social Welfare Department’s “Procedural Guide for Handling Child Abuse Cases”, and specifically Chapter 23, which states that personnel of Educational Services (including Kindergartens and Primary and Secondary Schools) have an obligation to safeguard the best interests of children through early identification and intervention.
Families and other community members need to be aware that CIS and its staff will sometimes be required to make a report to the Social Welfare Department, and they are asked to support the school’s decision to do so. In the event that abuse or neglect is suspected to come from a student’s family, the school will identify an approach to help in protecting the student.
In all instances, the school will maintain the confidentiality to the extent appropriate of the student, the student’s family, staff involved in the case, or any other relevant persons.
Inclusivity of All CIS Students
While a child is normally understood to be a person below the age of 18, CIS takes its duty of care for children to encompass all of its currently enrolled students, including those who may have reached or surpassed the age of 18.
Elements of This Policy
CIS requires all adults on either of our campuses or working with our students on or off campus to understand and uphold CIS’s approach to child protection. Expectations are detailed in Sections II-IV. This policy also incorporates the Codes of Conduct, information and education/training to be provided, definitions of abuse, and procedures for reporting concerns. The aim is to provide clear and supportive guidelines to assist our staff, families and other community members in understanding the boundaries between what is appropriate conduct with regard to students and what behaviours will not be tolerated because they are harmful or potentially harmful.
Please be aware that other aspects of CIS’s full programme of child protection may be covered in other policies, procedures or guidelines in the Staff, Student and Parent Handbooks.
All policies of the school are endorsed by CIS’s Board of Governors.
Staff and volunteers include all individuals:
- hired to work on CIS’s Hong Kong or Hangzhou campuses,
- hired to work with students on or off campus,
- or volunteering to work with students in a supervisory role,
- those in short-term roles (e.g., cover teachers, invigilators or visiting professionals),
- those individually employed,
- employed through a sub-contractor (e.g., some security/maintenance staff, service vendors or camp/trip providers),
- or living with or employed by staff members residing within the Hangzhou CIS Residential Building (e.g., family members, caregivers, cleaners, etc.)
Background & Reference Checks
All staff and volunteers are subject to the school’s Background and Reference Check Policy. The school’s Background and Reference Check Policy ensures that all individuals hired to work on campus, or to work with students on or off campus, or volunteering to work with students in a supervisory role, are subject to satisfactory background and reference checks prior to employment or taking part in any school activity for the first time.
Child Protection Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of all staff and volunteers to:
- Read, understand and comply with this policy;
- Comply with the Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct (see Appendix I);
- Be familiar with the definitions and indicators of abuse (which is defined as including neglect) that are identified in this policy;
- Be ready to make a report as detailed in this policy, if warranted;
- Cooperate fully in any follow-up measures, including investigations.
Information, Training & Acceptance of this Code of Conduct
At the time of hiring, all members of staff will be specifically briefed on this policy, including the Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct; and will be required to acknowledge that they have read, understand and will comply with all policies of the school, including the Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct.
Staff will also receive regular training to ensure their continued readiness to comply with this policy, including the Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct.
If individually employed, they must provide an undertaking that they have read, understand and will comply with the Child Protection Policy and Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct, as provided by CIS.
If employed through a sub-contractor, the sub-contractor must provide an undertaking that the personnel they employ to work at or with CIS have read, understand and will comply with the Child Protection Policy and Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct, as provided by CIS.
Responsibilities of Volunteers and of Staff Overseeing Volunteers
It is the responsibility of all staff overseeing volunteers to ensure that, prior to performing a volunteer role, all volunteers with roles involving the supervision of students (e.g., trip chaperones, event monitors, etc.):
- understand their roles;
- understand the school’s approach to child protection;
- complete an undertaking attesting that they have not committed any criminal offence and have no sexual criminal conviction record;
- understand and comply with the Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct (see Appendix I).
The above measures for volunteers apply to all volunteers with roles involving the supervision of students, irrespective of whether the volunteers may be former staff, current or former CIS parents or alumni, or bear any other prior relationship to the school.
Volunteers performing roles that do not involve the supervision of students (e.g., CISPTA General Committee, Alumni Board, Annual Fund Advocates, etc.) are not required to complete the above undertaking, but should still understand the school’s approach to child protection and uphold the Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct (see Appendix I), Visitor Code of Conduct (see Appendix II), and Hangzhou CIS Visitor Policy & Code of Conduct (see Appendix III).
Disciplinary Action & Other Consequences
Individuals who engage in conduct that is inappropriate, harmful, potentially harmful or in any other way incompatible with the Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct will be personally liable for their acts. This may involve disciplinary proceedings, which, depending on the seriousness of the misconduct, may result in summary dismissal. It may also result in civil liability and, in certain circumstances, criminal consequences.
As a result of a complaint or concern raised by a member of staff, student or other person, it may be necessary for the school to take disciplinary action against the staff member about whom the complaint is made. Disciplinary consequences will depend on the particular facts of each case and the school has absolute discretion to discipline any member of staff in any way it considers appropriate given the circumstances. Serious incidents of discrimination or harassment Incidents involving harm to or neglect of, or potential harm to or neglect of, students canconstitute gross misconduct which may result in summary dismissal of staff.
In the event of an investigation, the school may place any member of staff involved on paid leave and/or suspension on full pay and benefits should the school deem this necessary.
The school reserves the right to report any complaint to the police or other authorities of Hong Kong, Hangzhou, or other relevant jurisdictions, in which case the perpetrator may be subject to sanctions arising from criminal offences. The perpetrator may also be held liable in civil actions under relevant legislation or in separate legal actions.
- When a family joins CIS, parents will be asked to familiarise themselves with the school’s policies and procedures and to acknowledge that they have read, understand and will uphold them. Special reference will be made to this Child Protection policy and parents’ specific responsibilities with regard to the school’s approach to child protection.
- Annually, at the time of re-enrollment, parents will be asked to acknowledge that they have read, understand and will uphold the Child Protection Policy and other school policies and procedures, including the Visitor Code of Conduct (see Appendix II) and Hangzhou CIS Visitor Policy & Code of Conduct (see Appendix III). (Parents will be offered regular information to help them understand the school’s policies and procedures.)
- It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that they brief any household staff, temporary guardians, or other caregivers involved in the care of CIS students and/or regularly coming to campus about CIS’s approach to child protection. Such persons will be expected to understand and uphold the Visitor Code of Conduct (see Appendix II) and Hangzhou CIS Visitor Policy & Code of Conduct (see Appendix III).
- Parents are reminded of the school’s requirement that at least one parent/guardian be in full-time residence in Hong Kong with the student. The school expects that CIS students will receive close adult care and supervision in their home environment at all times and, regardless of age, will not be regularly left alone or unsupervised.
- Parents are reminded that they or another formally designated adult will normally be required to meet students returning from Hangzhou CIS or other school travel at designated pick-up points, such as the airport or school, rather than allowing children to return home on their own. Requirements will be specified in Hanghzou CIS or trip information.
- Parents are reminded of the requirement to disclose to the school any information that may affect the student’s school experience, including but not limited to medical conditions and learning, behavioural, psychological or emotional needs or concerns. Parents should keep their children’s Moongate profiles up to date and also promptly communicate with the Homeroom teacher/Advisor/Head of House, school nurse, school counsellor or other relevant member of staff any changes, especially in advance of a trip.
- Parents are also reminded of the requirements to 1) supply and maintain up-to-date contact details for two Emergency Contacts, who must be adults who can act on behalf of parents if parents cannot be contacted, and also 2) to supply Temporary Guardian information every time that both/all parent/guardian(s) of a student are absent from Hong Kong; this should include: a. dates of parent/guardian absence, b. contact details of a Temporary Guardian, and c. signed acknowledgement by the Temporary Guardian.
Failure to meet either of these requirements will require discussion with the school about the student’s future enrollment status at CIS.
- Families and other community members need to be aware that CIS and its staff will sometimes be required to make a report to the Social Welfare Department, and they are asked to support the school’s decision to do so.
- In the event that abuse or neglect is suspected to come from the student’s family, the school will identify an approach to help in protecting the student.
Household Staff, Temporary Guardians, or Other Caregivers
- It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that they brief any household staff, temporary guardians, or other caregivers involved in the care of CIS students and/or regularly coming to campus about CIS’s approach to child protection.
- Such persons will be expected to understand and uphold the Visitor Code of Conduct (see Appendix II) and Hangzhou CIS Visitor Policy & Code of Conduct (see Appendix III).
- Short Visitor Do’s & Dont’s” appear on this page and are also displayed at school entrances and appear on visitor badges as reminders to visitors.
- The full Visitor Code of Conduct and Hangzhou CIS Visitor Policy & Code of Conduct follow in Appendices II & III. All visitors are asked upon arrival to read, sign and uphold the Visitor Code of Conduct in order to ensure student safety and protection.
Students are expected to treat each other with courtesy and respect, and bullying is not tolerated.For expectations, as well as procedures when expectations are not met, see these sections of the Parent Handbook for policies relating to Primary students:
And these sections of the Student Handbook for policies relating to Secondary students:
These expectations apply equally to Hangzhou CIS students. Hangzhou CIS also has additional expectations of students that take into consideration the residential setting. Please see the Hangzhou CIS Student and Parent Handbooks.
- Students receive regular instruction and guidance in a variety of settings about appropriate behaviour among students and between students and other community members.
- With specific regard to child protection, the school provides students at every year level age-appropriate lessons so that they understand their needs, rights and responsibilities with regard to personal safeguarding. Lessons also informs students of who they may speak to at school should they have concerns about their own situation or that of other students.
- The school’s expectations for students and the school’s child protection measures also apply when students are engaged in activities and trips off campus. Measures to assess and minimise risk are a required element of the planning of all trips, in and outside of Hong Kong.
Disciplinary Action & Other Consequences
Students who engage in conduct that is inappropriate, harmful, potentially harmful or in any other way incompatible with the Student Handbook will be subject to sanctions as outlined in the above documents.
Subject to law and the circumstances, the school may be required to inform the police or other authorities of Hong Kong, Hangzhou, or other relevant jurisdictions.
In all cases, strict confidentiality will be maintained to the extent appropriate.
CIS recognises that sexuality is a normal part of human nature. Learning about this aspect of human nature is a normal part of childhood and adolescence, and age-appropriate education will be provided.
At the same time, the school takes the view that community members have the right to expect that school premises and school activities will be free of sexual behaviours. For this reason, CIS adopts a strict zero tolerance policy to sexual activity and/or physically intimate activity on the school’s campuses and during school activities. Sexual activity and/or physically intimate activity is understood to cover a range of behaviours, including non-touch behaviours such as sexting or other online or offline behaviours.
If students are found to have engaged in sexual activity and/or physically intimate activity, because of the variables involved the school will review the situation on a case-by-case basis and respond with an action plan that addresses behaviours of concern, physical and emotional/psychological effects, and disciplinary consequences.
In some cases the school’s response may also involve determining if sexual activity and/or physically intimate activity is inappropriate sexual behaviour or abuse. It should be noted that sexual behaviour involving a student or students will be considered abuse if it occurs without the consent or understanding of one party, as a result of coercion, or with a difference in age, responsibility, trust or power between the parties.
All staff and volunteers, including members of the Board of Governors, are required to undergo basic-level training in child protection that must be refreshed annually.
- New staff will receive an induction briefing and materials until such time in the school year when they can undergo full basic-level training.
- Members of the school’s Leadership Team and Child Protection Officers are required to undergo advanced-level training in child protection that must be refreshed every two years. It is also expected that during the interim period between advanced-level training of a comprehensive nature, they will also take part in presentations, conferences or other professional development in various specific topics that will enhance their ability to improve child protection at CIS.
Board of Governors
- Endorses this policy as part of the full Policy Handbook and holds oversight over the school’s child protection programme.
- The Chair and Vice Chair are designated to lead the Board’s oversight measures for child protection and serve as points of contact with the school leadership on such matters.
- The Chair and Vice Chair are the designated contact persons in the event that concerns arise involving the Head of School.
- In their individual capacities, Board members adhere to the Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct.
Current office holders:
- Andrew Brandler, Chair
- Venantius Tan, Vice Chair
Head of School, Deputy Head of School, Heads of Primary or Secondary, or Director and Deputy Director of Hangzhou CIS
- Serve as leaders of the school’s child protection programme, including this policy.
- Appoint CPO(s).
- Appoint Child Protection Response Team, as necessary.
- Ensure that the procedures outlined in this policy are followed appropriately and fairly in the interests of students and in accordance with Hong Kong law and Social Welfare Department guidelines, or the laws of Hangzhou or other relevant jurisdictions.
Current office holders:
- Sean Lynch, Head of School
- Li Bin, Deputy Head of School
- Anne Gardon, Head of Primary
- Christine Doleman, Head of Secondary
- Sally Zhang, Director of Hangzhou CIS
- Mitchell Grace, Deputy Director of Hangzhou CIS
Child Protection Officer(s) (CPOs)
Separate CPOs are appointed for Primary, Secondary and Hangzhou CIS, and two of these persons will also be designated as Lead and Deputy CPO for the whole school.
- Act as first-line responders to whom concerns regarding harm to a student are reported.
- Serve as coordinator of a Child Protection Response Team, if appropriate.
The Lead CPO also holds these responsibilities:
- Manages any liaison with the Social Welfare Department or other relevant authorities.
- Coordinates implementation of this policy.
- Ensures regular training for the various stakeholder groups covered in this policy.
- Maintains all confidential CP records for CIS Hong Kong students.
The CPO for Hangzhou CIS will hold these responsibilities:
- Manages any liaison with relevant local authorities.
- Maintains all confidential CP records for Hangzhou CIS students.
Current office holders:
- Jenny Chadwick, Assistant Director of Student Life - Lead CPO & CPO for Secondary
- Nick Panza, Primary Counsellor - Deputy CPO & CPO for Primary
- Mitchell Grace, Deputy Director of Hangzhou CIS - Deputy CPO & CPO for Hangzhou CIS
These will include all other counsellors not appointed as CPOs above and other persons who may be designated to served in this role.
- Act as first-line responders to whom concerns regarding harm to a student are reported.
- Serve as coordinator of Child Protection Response Team, if appropriate.
Current office holders:
- Tim Conroy-Stocker, Head of Counselling, Secondary
- Monica Chang, Secondary Counsellor
- Sarah Daly, Secondary Counsellor
- Jamie Li, Primary Counsellor
- Ann Mok, Secondary Counsellor
- Adrian Huen, Director of Finance & Business Administration
- Xie Li, Head of Office, Hangzhou CIS
Responders to Concerns Involving Staff
- The Deputy Head of School, Director of Finance & Business Administration, Director of Community Relations, and Director and Deputy Director of Hangzhou CIS will act as first-line responders to whom concerns involving a member of staff are reported.
- Maintain confidential child protection records relating to staff cases.
Current office holders:
- Li Bin, Deputy Head of School
- Adrian Huen, Director of Finance & Business Administration
- Catherine Han, Director of Community Relations
- Sally Zhang, Director of Hangzhou CIS
- Mitchell Grace, Deputy Director of Hangzhou CIS
Child Protection Response Team
- Coordinates initial fact-finding in the event of cases of concern.
- Supervises follow-up actions and ongoing support to students, families or staff, as necessary.
All staff and volunteers should familiarise themselves with the following definitions of what constitute abuse and typical indicators, and they should be vigilant and prepared to make a report to the CPO and/or a counsellor if they believe there is reason for concern. Staff are not expected to make a judgement about whether their concerns may or may not ultimately constitute abuse.
It should be noted that children who experience abuse will respond differently and some children will be more vulnerable than others. Children with special educational needs or with disabilities may face additional challenges. Special care and follow-up to support both victims and perpetrators will be required in the event of cases of peer-to-peer abuse.
Child abuse is broadly defined as any act of commission or omission that endangers or impairs the physical/psychological health and development of an individual under the age of 18 committed by individuals, singly or collectively, who by their characteristics (e.g., age, status, knowledge, organisational form) are in a position of differential power that renders a child vulnerable. (Note: CIS takes its duty of care to extend to all of its currently enrolled students, regardless of age and including those who may have reached or surpassed the age of 18.)
Child abuse is not limited to a child-parent/guardian situation, but may involve anyone entrusted with the care and control of a child -- e.g., child-minders, relatives, teachers, coaches, etc. Abuse may also be committed by a person unknown to a child, although it should be noted that perpetrators tend not to be strangers.
Types of Abuse
There are four main areas of child abuse, as outlined below.
It should be noted that some of the indicators listed below may be signs of problems other than abuse, and the advice of school counsellors or other trained professionals along with additional information will normally be required. Definitions of abuse can be complex and may also involve culturally-specific child-rearing behaviours, gender and role responsibilities, and expectations.
Neglect occurs when parents/guardians fail to provide for a child’s basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education and emotional needs, or fail to provide appropriate adult supervision or guardianship over extended periods of time.
Possible indicators of neglect:
- Child is dirty or unkempt.
- Child is often poorly or inappropriately dressed for the weather.
- Child is repeatedly late or absent from school.
- Child demonstrates excessive affection-demanding or attention-seeking behaviour.
- Child does not want to go home.
- Child is left for extended, age-inappropriate, periods of time without parent/guardian.
- Parents/guardians do not respond to repeated or urgent communications from the school.
2. Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is any non-accidental injury where adults physically hurt, injure or kill a child. This may involve hitting, shaking, squeezing, burning, hair-pulling, attempted suffocation or drowning, giving a child poisonous substances or inappropriate drugs or alcohol, holding a child against his or her will, extreme physical discipline, disfigurement or other cruel or inhumane acts, disregard for a child’s pain and/or mental suffering, as well as failure to take reasonable steps to prevent the occurrence of any of the above.
Possible indicators of physical abuse:
- Unexplained bruises, burns, lacerations, fractures or other injuries to any part of the body.
- Injuries inconsistent with information offered by the child.
- Injuries that regularly appear after holidays or other absences.
- Non-visible signs of impairment to a child’s physical or mental health or functioning (e.g., sleep deprivation, or inadequate, unhealthy diet).
3. SEXUAL ABUSE
Sexual abuse is the involvement of dependent, developmentally immature children and adolescents in sexual activities which are unlawful, or to which they are unable to give informed consent, or which violate the social taboos of family roles. This covers any contact and non-contact behaviours that result in children being used for the sexual gratification of others, including but not limited to touching genitalia, intercourse, involvement with pornography, indecent exposure, etc., and regardless of whether the child or children involved perceive themselves as victims or not.
Sexual abuse has characteristics that differ from other forms of child abuse and warrant special attention. While physical abuse is often the result of immediate stress and not usually planned, sexual abuse usually requires planning with results that are more harmful. The planning, referred to as “grooming”, often results in victims accepting the blame, responsibility, guilt and shame for the sexual behaviour of the offender. Sexual abuse requires far more secrecy than other forms of child abuse and so is more difficult to detect.
Possible indicators of sexual abuse:
- Sexually explicit play, language, knowledge or behaviour (e.g., sexting) that seems age-inappropriate.
- Discomfort in walking or sitting.
- Persistent complaints of stomach disorders or pains.
- Involuntary urination or soiling.
- Reluctance to undress for PE or swimming, or fear of bathrooms.
- Bruises, scratches or other evidence of physical trauma or bleeding in the genital area.
- Sexually transmitted infections in a child of any age.
- Attention-seeking behaviour, self-mutilation or substance abuse.
- Unusual interpersonal relationship patterns.
- Discomfort with or lack of trust in a familiar or specific adult.
It should be noted that many victims, through a process of manipulation, whether in person or online, etc., which is referred to as “grooming”, are taught that the sex is a form of love, and so tend to love their offender and may present as happy and well-adjusted children without negative symptoms because of their perception of being loved.
For student-to-student cases, please see Expectations for Students above.
4. PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL ABUSE
Psychological/emotional abuse is the emotional ill treatment or rejection of a child leading to significant emotional disturbance or trauma, or impaired behavioural, cognitive, affective or physical functioning or development. The ill treatment may involve a range of behaviours including a constant lack of love and affection, withholding affection, isolating, shouting, extreme criticism, verbal attacks, threats, scapegoating, excessive demands on a child’s performance, intimidation, threatening behaviour, or exposure to domestic violence. It can also involve harassment or indifference on the basis of race, culture, gender or disability. It may involve a repeated pattern of behaviour or a single extreme incident.
Possible indicators of psychological/emotional abuse:
- Over-reaction to mistakes or continual self-deprecation.
- Delayed physical/mental/emotional/social development.
- Sudden speech disorders, elective mutism/deafness.
- Inappropriate emotional responses or fantasies.
- Self harm or suicidal thoughts/attempts.
- Eating disorders or appetite disturbances.
- Disruptive behaviour or conduct problems.
- Marked deterioration in academic performance.
- Rocking, banging head or regression.
- Isolation or alienation.
- Sleep disturbance.
- Failure to make healthy relationships with peers.
The Responsibility to Report
All staff are expected to raise their concerns, no matter how small. What may seem like a minor matter by itself may represent a more serious concern together with other information known to the CPO. Members of staff will not be expected to respond to concerns alone or to make a judgment about whether abuse has taken place, but they are expected to raise their concerns, report any indicators of abuse as identified in this policy that they may have encountered, or other information giving reasonable cause.
It should be noted that individual cases may vary significantly from one another, and no single reporting and handling protocol is likely to address all of the circumstances of a particular case.
Reporting Possible Harm to a Student
Concerns should be reported to the one of the CPOs or Additional Responders (see Key Roles & Responsibilities).
Reporting Possible Misconduct by a Member of Staff
If concerns involve another member of staff, the report should be made to the staff designated as first-line responders for such cases -- the Deputy Head of School and/or the Director of Finance and Business Administration and/or the Director of Community Relations -- or relevant Head of Primary/Secondary or Director/Deputy Director of Hangzhou CIS. If concerns involve the Head of School, the report should be made to the designated members of the Board of Governors, who as noted above are the Chair & Vice Chair.
Names of specific individuals may be found, above, in “Key Roles & Responsibilities”.
Protection for Members of Staff Making A Report
The school will take reasonable steps to protect from victimisation or retaliation in connection with their involvement in making a report any staff member who makes a report in good faith. The school will not tolerate any behaviour whereby a member of staff victimises another person because he/she files a report, is about to file a report or is otherwise involved in a report (e.g., as a witness) relating to an allegation of harm to a student. Victimisation in any form will be subject to disciplinary action and may result in termination.
In all cases, actions will be conducted in a manner that ensures that information is documented factually and that strict confidentiality is maintained to the extent appropriate.
All documentation of the investigation will be kept in hard copy in a locked file in the designated Lead CPO’s office, and will not be kept digitally or in an individual student’s file. Records sent to schools to which the student may transfer will be flagged to let the receiving school know there is a confidential file for the student. The school will make every attempt to share information deemed to be in the student’s best interest.
STEP 1: Initial Fact-Finding & Response Team
When a student reports abuse to a staff member or there is reasonable cause to believe that abuse is occurring, the relevant staff member should immediately make a report.
All reports should include a written statement using the
- Child Protection Reporting Form.
The CPO will:
- Secure the immediate physical safety of the student, if that is a concern.
- Report the case to the relevant Head of Primary/Secondary or Director/Deputy Director of Hangzhou CIS.
- Take initial steps to gather information regarding the report.
- Form a school-based Child Protection Response Team, as needed, to address the report.
- When a report concerns a member of staff, the designated first-responder receiving the report will take the steps listed above, in lieu of the CPO, and relevant Head of Primary/Secondary or Director/Deputy Director of Hangzhou CIS will serve as coordinator of the Child Protection Response Team.
- For cases involving students of Hangzhou CIS, Step 1 will involve the CPO for Hangzhou CIS reporting to the Lead CPO. Should reporting to authorities be deemed appropriate, reporting will be to Hong Kong authorities as outlined in the Procedural Guide for Handling Child Abuse Cases by the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department.
- The Child Protection Response Team will include:
- the relevant CPO(s),
- relevant Head of Primary/Secondary
- and school counsellor,
and may include:
- Head of School,
- Deputy Head of School,
- School nurse,
- Secondary Head of Year,
- Hangzhou CIS Head of House,
- or other individuals who the relevant Head(s) of School deems appropriate.
A CPO will normally serve as overall coordinator of the Child Protection Response Team.
- The Child Protection Response Team will be responsible for initial fact-finding, which may involve:
- Interviewing relevant staff.
- Consulting with relevant staff to review the student’s history in school.
- Documenting information relevant to the case.
- Notifying the student’s family, as appropriate.
- The Child Protection Response Team will also be responsible for supervising measures under Steps 2 & 3, if deemed necessary.
STEP 2: Action Plan
Based on the initial fact-finding, a plan of action will be developed to assist the student and family. Possible actions that may take place are:
- Discussions between the student and CPO (or counsellor, as appropriate), using age-appropriate strategies, in order to gain more information.
- In-class or other on-campus observations of the student by an appropriate teacher, counsellor, or administrator.
- Meetings with the family to present the school's concerns.
- Referral of the student and family to an external professional counsellor or relevant specialist.
- Consultation with the relevant officer of the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department (SWD staff can provide advice, especially in cases where there are doubts as to whether or not to make a formal report).
- Consultation with legal counsel.
- Consultation with other local authorities, as appropriate.
In general, most cases that are determined to involve the following issues will be handled in-house by school counsellors and/or CPOs:
- Student relationships with peers.
- Parenting skills related to disciplining children at home.
- Student-parent relationships.
- Mental health issues such as anxiety, low self-esteem or grieving.
Cases that are determined to involve the following issues will typically be referred to outside specialists:
- Mental health issues such as depression, psychosis, dissociation or suicide ideation.
Cases that are determined to involve the following issues will always be reported to the Social Welfare Department for investigation and may also be referred to other outside specialists:
- Severe and ongoing physical abuse,
- Sexual abuse and incest.
In extreme cases, when abuse is ongoing or concerns remain about the safety of a student, reports may be made to:
- The Social Welfare Department.
- The Hong Kong police.
- The Education Bureau.
- Other relevant authorities.
- Authorities of other relevant jurisdictions, including but not limited to Hangzhou.
STEP 3: Ongoing Support
Subsequent to a reported and/or substantiated case of child abuse, the CPO and/or counsellor will:
- Maintain contact with the student and family to provide appropriate support and guidance.
- Provide the student’s teachers and relevant Head(s) of School with ongoing support.
- Provide resource materials and strategies for teacher use.
- Maintain contact with any outside therapists to update them on the the progress of the student in school.
- Maintain contact with the Social Welfare Department or other relevant authorities, as appropriate.
STAFF & VOLUNTEER CODE OF CONDUCT (For Hong Kong & Hangzhou)
Creating a healthy, safe, secure and supportive learning environment for students is the first priority of Chinese International School, and all staff, volunteers and other personnel have a responsibility to act with care, maturity, integrity and accountability to ensure that this is achieved and that students are always protected.
The following is a list of standards that staff and volunteers are expected to uphold, as well as inappropriate behaviours to avoid. Please be aware that this list is not exhaustive, and the underlying goal of protecting students should be kept in mind at all times.
This Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct applies to
the professional and private lives of all individuals hired to work on campus, or to work with students on or off campus, or volunteering to work with students in a supervisory role, and to all interactions with students regardless of age or location.
Staff & Volunteers Must Always:
1. Maintain a Safe & Positive School Environment
- Remember that your first priority is the protection and wellbeing of students.
- Treat every student in your care with courtesy, care and respect -- just as you would treat any adult member of the school community and as you would wish to be treated yourself.
2. Identify & Report
- Take responsibility for knowing what constitutes a potential risk, for promptly identifying situations that may place a student at risk of harm, and for managing, minimising or eliminating such risks
- Take responsibility to immediately report any concerns to one of the Child Protection Officers (CPOs) and/or responders; or in the case of concerns involving another member of staff, to the Deputy Head of School, Director of Finance & Business Administration, or Director of Community Relations, or Director or Deputy Director of Hangzhou CIS. This is a mandatory CIS requirement, and may differ from requirements under Hong Kong law. All reports should include a written statement using the Child Protection Reporting Form.
- Cooperate fully in any follow-up measures, including investigations.
3. Maintain Visibility
- Make yourself as visible as possible to other adults when working with students, and avoid putting yourself in situations where your behaviour could be open to question and therefore misinterpreted. (A general guideline is to conduct meetings in locations that are public and visible, with doors open and other adults present, preferably on campus.)
- Avoid situations where you may be alone with a student and not visible to others -- e.g., inviting a student to one’s own place of residence, car, or other private location; visiting a student’s home or room; or when on trips, sleeping alone in the same room with a student -- unless authorised by a parent/guardian, or in the case of medical or other emergency. (A general guideline is to have another student or adult in the room or near vicinity while talking to a student after school; or for example, to take two or more students to the bathroom together.)
- Take special care in boarding, residential or travel situations, which may pose additional risks due to dormitory/bedroom/sleeping area configurations and a casual atmosphere. (A general guideline would be to arrange meetings only in public areas and to clearly alert students and other adults to your presence when necessary to enter dormitories or other sleeping areas.)
4. Manage Communications, Photos & Video
- Do not engage in communications with students for purposes other than delivering the curriculum or conducting other normal school business.
- Conduct communications with students using school-sanctioned tools, channels or platforms.
- Do not save photos/videos of students on personal devices or upload to personal social media accounts without prior consent and full compliance with the school's Social Media Guidelines. (A general guideline is to monitor one’s own and others’ photography and videography to ensure that the purpose, content, quantity, and subsequent use, sharing and storage serves a constructive school purpose, and to regularly remove any photos/videos of students from personal devices to school storage.)
- Do not establish or seek to establish social contact outside of school with students, including students who have left the school who are under the age of 18.
- Do not take photographs of students in poses or clothing, such as swimwear, that could be overly revealing or open to misinterpretation.
Staff & Volunteers Must Never:
5. Inappropriate Materials
- Expose students to materials or media with non-age-appropriate language, violence, or sexual content.
6. Use of Language & Discipline
- Use language or other behaviours that could be considered abusive, such as swearing, shouting, name-calling, ridiculing, shaming, humiliating or threatening, or publicly singling out a student for negative treatment or exclusion. (A general guideline is to use language or discipline that is corrective and aims to teach, rather than language or discipline that is harsh and that aims to punish or humiliate.)
7. Physical Mistreatment
- Hit or otherwise physically punish or assault a student. Behaviours such as striking, slapping, spanking or shaking will not be tolerated.
8. Differential Treatment
- Treat students differently so that particular students are either favoured or excluded.
- Give to or accept from a student money, goods, or other benefits without the knowledge of a parent/guardian, apart from modest gifts given to all participants as part of a public or group celebration. (Staff and volunteers should also refer to the school’s Gift Policy.)
- Give comments, suggestions or advice -- whether positive or negative -- about a student’s physical appearance or other overly personal matters
- Act in ways that may exploit a student. (A general guideline is to never ask or directly or indirectly coerce a student to provide labor or services, especially those that result in the adult’s gratification, profit, or other financial or personal advantage.)
9. Touching, Provocative or Sexual Behaviour
- Wear clothing that is inappropriate because it is revealing or could be perceived as sexually provocative or offensive in some other way.
- Touch a student in a manner which is inappropriate. (A general guideline is not to touch a student in areas that would normally be covered by shorts and T-shirt, and not to perform personal services that a student can do for him/herself, such as dress or undress a student, or provide locker room or bathroom assistance -- unless authorised by a parent/guardian, or in the case of medical or other emergency.)
- Show any form of verbal or physical affection that is resisted or unwanted by a student. (A general guideline is that touch should be in response to a need of the student, not of the adult, and should generally be initiated by student rather than the adult.)
- Engage with a student in any emotional or romantic relationship, sexual activity and/or physically intimate activity, or behaviour that could be interpreted the above, including flirtatious or seductive looks, regardless of the student’s age, and regardless of the definition of legal consent and the age of majority in Hong Kong or other relevant jurisdictions. (In the interest of transparency, any concerns regarding a student’s perceived infatuation with a staff member should be reported to the staff member’s supervisor to allow third-party monitoring of the situation.)
- CIS premises are non-smoking, whether indoors or outdoors.
- Please use restrooms designated for adults.
- Please also familiarise yourself with emergency evacuation signage and proceed to the nearest exit in case of an alarm.
Our campuses are protected by CCTV.
(Staff & Volunteers are asked to sign a form indicating that they agree to uphold this Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct.)
All members of the public visiting the CIS Hong Kong and Hangzhou campuses must sign and follow this “Visitor Code of Conduct”. A shorter “Visitor Do’s & Don'ts” is prominently displayed at all entrances and on visitor badges (see Appendix IV).
VISITOR CODE OF CONDUCT (for Hong Kong & Hangzhou)
While you are on campus, keep your badge prominently displayed at all time and help us maintain a healthy, safe and secure learning environment for all our students.
Please do not:
- As a visitor, you must never be alone with students. Please keep yourself visible to other members of our community.
- You must never touch students. Please avoid intruding on students’ personal space and do not reciprocate physical contact from a student.
- Do not seek to contact students outside of CIS. Do not give your contact details or other personal information to students and do not accept or keep any personal information you may receive about students.
- Do not give to or accept from students inappropriate materials, money, gifts or favours, and do not show favouritism to particular students in any other way.
- Please do not smoke on our campus, whether indoors or outdoors.
- Be mindful of your language and conduct. Treat students with the same courtesy, care and respect as adult members of the school community, while at the same time avoid being overly familiar with students. Be aware that language and conduct appropriate in other settings may not be appropriate at our school.
- Request permission from an adult, not student, before taking photos and videos. Even when permission is granted, avoid close-ups or images that include student names and personal details. Do not post images on social media and delete images after use.
- Use adult-only washrooms. All washrooms are clearly marked. Be aware that you may need to proceed to another floor to find an appropriate washroom.
- Report hazards or concerns to the person hosting you or other staff in charge. These may include physical hazards, as well as behaviour that is disrespectful, harmful, or suspicious, whether by students or adults, between students, or between students and adults.
- Exit the school in case of an alarm. Evacuation information is posted throughout the campus. Familiarise yourself with evacuation routes and be prepared to proceed to the Sports Field or other designated area in the case of a fire alarm or other emergency.
Our campus is protected by CCTV.
(To indicate that they agreed to uphold this Visitor Code of Conduct, visitors will be asked to sign a form with the Code and the date and reason for their visit.)
Hangzhou Visitor Policy
All members of the public visiting Hangzhou CIS must follow these procedures, and sign and follow the Visitor Code of Conduct, as below.
- On arrival, report immediately on arrival to the Guard Station at the main entrance to the Residential Building where they will be asked to sign in.
- On signing in, all visitors will be issued with a visitor badge which must be worn for their entire visit. All visitors will also be asked to read and sign the Visitor Code of Conduct.
- A shorter “Visitor Do’s & Don’t’s” is prominently displayed at all entrances and on visitor badges.
- Before leaving, visitors must return their visitor badge and sign out at the Guard Station.
Visitor Access to Residential & Academic Buildings
Visitors are not permitted access to the Residential and Academic Buildings unless chaperoned by a member of the Hangzhou CIS staff. This rule also applies to Parents/Guardians, students’ extended family and other guests of students. Such persons may request access to the Residential Building up to 9pm, but permission must be requested in advance from the Director of Hangzhou CIS, Sally Zhang.
Contractors must make advance arrangements to visit the school and must be met by a member of staff before access is allowed. Contractors must wear their visitor badge at all times and sign and uphold the Visitor Code of Conduct like any other visitor.
Members of the Greentown School Community
Students and staff are encouraged to be hospitable to our friends and neighbours in the Greentown school community. However, visitors must be accompanied at all times and must never be given independent access to the Residential and Academic Buildings.
Open Days & School Functions
On special occasions, the Hangzhou CIS premises will be open to all visitors. Visitors should note that during these occasions, members of staff and students will be assigned duties to monitor the premises and may ask visitors to identify themselves. Access to dormitories, the entire Residential Building, or other areas may be restricted, at the discretion of the Director.
Employees or Resident Adult Family Members of CIS Staff
Caregivers, private cleaners or anyone regularly visiting campus or living on campus for an extended period of more than 48 hours must undergo formal Child Protection training and read, sign and uphold the Staff & Volunteer Code of Conduct. After such training, they will be given residential swipe cards, which give access to the lift and front door of their residence only. Non-lift access should only be used in exceptional circumstances and, like any other visitor, they should not enter other areas of the Residential and Academic Buildings without a staff chaperone. General access to the corridors and rubbish bins is only permissible for those of the appropriate gender. Such persons must wear their visitor badge at all times.
Instructions Issued to Students
Do not allow access to anyone not of the CIS community into the Residential or Academic Buildings. Direct all enquiries to the Deputy Director or Director. This also applies to Parents/Guardians, students’ extended family and other guests of students. Report immediately to a member of staff if you suspect a problem or notice a stranger unaccompanied by a member of our staff.
(To indicate that they agreed to uphold this Visitor Policy, visitors will be asked to sign a form with the Policy and the date and reason for their visit.)
Visitors Do's & Don'ts
Download our full Visitor Code of Conduct and submit it to your host prior to arrival on our Hong Kong or Hangzhou campus.
Thank you for helping us maintain a healthy, safe and secure learning environment for students.
Please do not:
- Be alone with students
- Touch students
- Seek to contact students outside of CIS
- Give to or take personal information from
students (likewise inappropriate materials,
money, gifts or favours)
- Smoke on campus (indoors or outdoors)
- Be mindful of your language and conduct
- Request permission before taking photos
- Use adult-only washrooms
- Report hazards or concerns to staff
- Exit the school in case of an alarm
Our campus is protected by CCTV.
CIS's programme has been undertaken with extensive training of CIS staff and specialist advice from the Council of International School (COIS) International Taskforce on Child Protection and other child protection professionals. COIS is one of our accrediting bodies.