Policy Number:                         MTA002


Date adopted:                           5 September 2013


Authorised by: Board of Directors of Maluk Timor Australia




Date of reviews:                       March 2017 July 2020

January 2023


Date of next review:                 January 2025


All previous versions prior to January 2023 Policy titled Child Protection Policy Reviewed by: Board of Directors of Maluk Timor Australia

Refer to Section 6 below for information on the process for policy review.



Policy Context













1.  Purpose: Why do we have a Child Protection Policy?

The need to protect children is an issue for all communities. Children across the world are subjected to exploitation and abuse and experience sexual, physical and psychological violation. Many are forced into exploitative work, including commercial sexual exploitation. There are many factors that increase children’s vulnerability to exploitation and abuse, including disability or being orphaned, displaced, homeless or abandoned.


Child exploitation and abuse traumatises children and adversely affects their development and well-being. Children who are exploited and abused experience a greater likelihood of long-term consequences, including mental health issues, reduced educational outcomes, drug and alcohol abuse and increased likelihood of coming into contact with the law. At its core, child exploitation and abuse undermines a child’s right to grow up safely.


There is international recognition that adults who have a formal role in working with or supporting children are in positions of trust and authority. The relationship between an adult and child is not a relationship between equals. Children are dependent on adults to care for and protect them. It is a shared and collective responsibility of all adults to prevent child exploitation and abuse. Maluk Timor Australia (MTA) has adopted this policy in recognition of its responsibilities and is committed to working with its partners to prevent and safeguard and respond to child exploitation and abuse.


Child sex offenders often seek employment or volunteer placements in organisations that work with children in Australia or overseas. They might be attracted to working in developing countries to access vulnerable children and to avoid tougher laws.


This policy sends a clear message that child exploitation and abuse is not tolerated and attracts disciplinary and commercial sanctions, as well as criminal penalties under Australian domestic and extra-territorial laws.


2.  Scope

This policy will apply to all Maluk Timor’s activities regardless of whether they take place in Australia or Timor- Leste. All Directors, contactors, employees and volunteers will abide by this policy, as well as all partner organisations funded by MTA who travel to Timor-Leste and any visitors to MTA sites or MTA controlled sites.


3.  Policy statement: Our commitment

The MTA Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct (refer to Appendix 2 of this Policy for the Code of Conduct) affirms our commitment to the safety and well-being of children. We are committed to safeguarding children from abuse and exploitation.


This commitment is based on the following principles:

a)       Zero tolerance of Child abuse and exploitation


MTA will not tolerate child exploitation and abuse in any way by anyone who works for or is associated with MTA. MTA will not knowingly engage anyone who poses a risk to children.


b)       Assess and manage child protection risk and impact

While it is not possible to eliminate all risks of child exploitation and abuse, careful management can identify, mitigate, manage, or reduce the risks to children that may be associated with MTA funded programs and activities. These risks are identified during initial risk assessments and are managed for the duration of the Program activity.


c)       Safeguarding and Protection of Children is a shared responsibility

It is everyone’s responsibility to maintain vigilance, practice risk management, and to support MTA’s commitment to child rights. To effectively manage risks to children, MTA requires the commitment, support and cooperation of all personnel and associates.


d)       Procedural fairness

MTA uses fair and proper procedures when making decisions that affect a person’s rights or interests. Our partners are expected to adhere to this principle when responding to concerns or allegations of child exploitation and abuse.


e)       Recognition of the best interest of the child

Consideration of what is in the best interests of the child is key in any decision related to MTA’s work with children. MTA will be guided by national or international laws, however its operations may go beyond these (i.e. MTA will not necessarily be limited in its response to an incident to complying with relevant laws). MTAS recognises that some children, such as those with disability and children living in areas impacted by disasters, are particularly vulnerable. In all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.


As an Australian Registered Charity supporting overseas partners in the delivery of quality health care this Policy deliberately draws on the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade policy, tailored to meet MTA’s unique circumstances. Our commitment extends to compliance with this policy being mandatory for contractors of MTA and partner organisations we support including Associação Maluk Timor (AMT). We are obliged to comply with relevant Australian legislation, and international law which prohibit the abuse and exploitation of children, including child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, child labour and child pornography.



Associação Maluk Timor has developed a policy and procedure under this overarching policy that reflects the environment in Timor Leste.


3.1.  Goal and Objective


The goal of this policy is to safeguard children from exploitation and abuse of all kinds in the delivery of MTA’s activities.


The objective of this policy is to create and maintain safe and protective environments for children in the delivery of MTA’s activities.


4.   Implementation

Maluk Timor Australia will apply this policy and, where applicable, the DFAT Child Protection Policy.

Maluk Timor Australia requires all Directors, contactors, employees, and volunteers sign that they have read, understood, and agree to abide by the Safeguarding Code of Conduct of Maluk Timor Australia, including the requirements to comply with this policy.

4.1  Use of media (images and video) and messages


MTA bases all image gathering and publishing processes on ethical standards, which includes an assessment of risks to children; child safety and respect for children’s rights, privacy, integrity and dignity. This includes obtaining and documenting informed consent from a child’s parent/guardian and, if possible, children themselves. Children’s best interests and protection will be prioritized over opportunities for promotion and advocacy.

MTA will educate and increase awareness of safeguarding and ethical approaches to working with parents, guardians and children for image gathering and publishing processes.

MTA has a set of expected behaviours when photographing or filming a child or using children’s images for work- related purposes. These expectations include that:









5  Procedures


Maluk Timor Australia’s internal screening process include stringent screening measures that strive to ensure inappropriate people are not employed or engaged with on voluntarily basis. Screening processes may also be applicable to Directors.

Screening processes may include:


Clearance Certificate must be retained by MTA for not less than seven (7) years after engagement ceases. This Check will be re-conducted every five years.



5.2  Risk Awareness

Maluk Timor Australia is committed to promoting risk awareness through training of all Directors, contactors, employees, and volunteers. We are also committed to supporting Associação Maluk Timor to implement risk awareness through supporting the development and implementation of training, educational posters, and reporting information to be displayed in office and procedures including promoting zero-tolerance.

5.3  Risk Assessment

Maluk Timor Australia has adopted a risk-based proportional approach to Child Safeguarding. Minimum standards (as defined by DFAT) are applied commensurate with the assessed risk. Risk and decision-making process is incorporated into existing activity planning and risk management processes.







A Child Safeguarding specific risk assessment will be undertaken annually for both Maluk Timor Australia and Associação Maluk Timor (as downstream partner). Risk mitigation and strategies will be reviewed to commensurate with the level of Child Safeguarding risk associated with the activities as part of annual risk assessment.

5.4  Minimum Standards

Based on the Child Protection specific risk assessment Maluk Timor Australia will apply procedures that reflect the DFAT minimum standards. These are set out in Appendix 1.

5.5  Reporting


Maluk Timor Australia provides a safe, supportive, and secure environment to report Child Safeguarding concerns or allegation. Maluk Timor Australia takes all concerns seriously and response immediately. All reported incidences of Child Safeguarding will be recorded, regardless of whether substantiated or full investigation required. Investigations will be managed in accordance with the principles outlined in 5.6 of this policy.

Reporting procedures will be in accordance with the Maluk Timor Australia Policy – MTA017 Complaints Policy.

5.5.1       Reporting to and Monitoring by DFAT

DFAT requires reporting to help it monitor Child Safeguarding incidences. It is mandatory for all DFAT partners to report immediately any suspected or alleged case of child exploitation, abuse, or policy non-compliance by anyone within scope of the policy in connection with official duties or business. MTA is committed to adhering to and transparency in DFAT reporting.

5.5.2       Reporting to the Board

The Finance, Risk, Audit & Governance Committee (FRAG) and Board receive quarterly reports on any incidences of Child Safeguarding as part of its compliance program.

Child Safeguarding risk assessments are undertaken and reviewed by the FRAG Committee. The Child Safeguarding Policy is reviewed every 2 years or as appropriate.

5.5.3       Reporting from Downstream Partners

Maluk Timor Australia includes contractual obligations, including adherence to relevant policies (completing partner compliance checks), when funding downstream partners. We will collaborate with all downstream partners to ensure compliance with the Child Safeguarding Policy and its requirements. Where appropriate, we will assist with information to support their compliance with Child Safeguarding requirements and to develop their own policies, reporting processes and systems. Maluk Timor Australia will review partner compliance on a yearly basis.







Maluk Timor Australia’s primary downstream partner is Associação Maluk Timor. Associação Maluk Timor has developed procedures to investigate reported incidences of Child Safeguarding in Timor-Leste that comply with this policy and their reporting obligations to Maluk Timor Australia.

Mandatory compliance including reporting is specified in the Maluk Timor Australia and Associação Maluk Timor Relationship Agreement and subsequent funding agreements (as required). Maluk Timor Australia maintains oversight of compliance through quarterly reporting with Associação Maluk Timor, submitted to the Finance, Risk, Audit & Governance Committee (FRAG) and the Board.

The complaints and investigation procedures for Associação Maluk Timor outlines the process to report and inform Maluk Timor Australia of alleged incidences and substantiated incidences reported throughout various stages including:


6.  Breach of the Child Safeguarding Policy

Any suspected breaches of the Child Safeguarding Policy should be reported to the Chair of the Board or the Chair of the Finance, Risk, Audit & Governance Committee in accordance with the Code of Conduct (4. Breach of the Code of Conduct).

As per the Code of Conduct, Maluk Timor Maluk Timor Australia reserves the right to inform the appropriate authorities where it is considered there has been criminal activity or an apparent breach of law.


7.  Engagement with Community and Community Awareness

Maluk Timor Australia via the funding of Associação Maluk Timor is engaged with the community and promotes strategies to increase awareness of Child Safeguarding.


8.  Staff Awareness

Maluk Timor Australia conducts an induction session for all Directors, contactors, employees, volunteers. This session reinforces our ethos that all people are to be treated with dignity and respect. Part of this session includes awareness of PSEAH, reinforces Maluk Timor Australia’s has a zero-tolerance policy for child safeguarding.

Sessions relating to awareness and the prevention of, including but not limited to; PSEAH, Child Safeguarding, Disability Inclusion will be conducted every 3 years.







Maluk Timor Australia encourages all Directors, contactors, employees, and representatives of partner organisation to report any concerns of incidents relating to Child Safeguarding.


9.  Working with Partners

Maluk Timor Australia will collaborate with Partner Organisations, local and international relating to Child Safeguarding.




10.  Other related policies and procedures

Policies ·       Employment policies
  ·       Informed media consent
Forms or other ·       The Constitution of Maluk Timor Australia


·       The Articles of Association of Associação Maluk Timor
  ·       Agendas and Minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors of Maluk Timor Australia
  ·       Agendas and Minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors of Associação Maluk Timor


  1. Review processes



This policy will be reviewed every 2 years, with additional periodic reviews as required.




The Board of Directors is ultimately responsible for reviewing this policy and approving any changes. The Company Secretary is responsible for ensuring the review process is listed for discussion on the Board agenda.




The policy will be reviewed by the Finance, Risk and Governance Committee and then the Board. Notice of the review will be placed on the Board agenda and a copy of the current policy will be attached.









Changes will be included in the minutes of the Board meeting and the soft copy of this policy will be updated accordingly. All hard copies will be retrieved and replaced with an updated policy duly dated. All relevant contractors and volunteers will be provided a copy of the updated policy.







12.  Reference: Key terms and phrases

‘Maluk Timor’ means both Maluk Timor Australia and Associação Maluk Timor.


‘Maluk Timor Australia’ means the Australian incorporated entity, Maluk Timor Australia (ABN 54 121 715 446).

‘Associação Maluk Timor’ means the Timor-Leste incorporated entity.


‘Agreement’ means a contract, grant agreement or other arrangement entered into by DFAT and a DFAT partner, whether legally binding or not.

‘Contractor(s)’ means a person or entity engaged pursuant to a contract for services and includes specified personnel in an agreement and independent contractors.

‘DFAT Business’ means any actions taken or work performed by a DFAT partner pursuant to an Agreement.


‘Downstream Partners’ means suppliers, individuals and organisations who are engaged by DFAT partner to perform DFAT business.

‘Abuse’ means


Physical abuse’ the use of physical force against a child that results in harm to the child. Physically abusive behaviour includes shoving, hitting, slapping, shaking, throwing, punching, kicking, biting, burning, strangling, and poisoning.

Neglect’ the failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child (where they are in a position to do so) with the conditions that are culturally accepted as being essential for their physical and emotional development and wellbeing.

Emotional abuse’ refers to a parent or caregiver’s inappropriate verbal or symbolic acts toward a child, or a pattern of failure over time to provide a child with adequate non-physical nurture and emotional availability. Such acts have a high probability of damaging a child’s self-esteem or social competence.

Sexual abuse’ the use of a child for sexual gratification by an adult or significantly older child or adolescent. Sexually abusive behaviours can include fondling genitals; masturbation; oral sex; vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger or any other object; fondling breasts; voyeurism; exhibitionism; and exposing the child to, or involving the child in, pornography

Ill-treatment’ disciplining or correcting a child in an unreasonable and seriously inappropriate or improper manner; making excessive and/or degrading demands of a child; hostile use of force towards a child; and/or a pattern of hostile or unreasonable and seriously inappropriate degrading comments or behaviour towards a child.







Child or children’ In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ‘child’ means every human being under the age of 18 unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. For the purposes of this policy, DFAT considers a child to be a person under the age of 18 years.

Child abuse material’ Material that depicts (expressly or implicitly) a child under 18 years of age as a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse.

Child exploitation’ One or more of the following:


Child exploitation material’ Material, irrespective of its form, which is classified as child abuse material or child pornography material.


Child pornography’ In accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ‘child pornography’ means ‘any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes.’


Child pornography material’ Material that depicts a person, or is a representation of a person, who is, or appears to be, under 18 years of age and is engaged in, or appears to be engaged in, a sexual pose or sexual activity, or is in the presence of a person who is engaged in, or appears to be engaged in, a sexual pose or activity, and does this in a way that a reasonable person would regard as being, in all the circumstances, offensive.


Child protection’ An activity or initiative designed to protect children from any form of harm, particularly that arising from child exploitation and abuse


Child safeguarding’ The broad obligation on staff and partners to ensure that the design and delivery of programs and organisational operations do not expose children to adverse impacts, including the risk of abuse and exploitation, and that any concerns about children’s safety within the communities where they work are appropriately reported.


Contact with children’ Working on an activity or in a position that involves or may involve contact with children, either under the position description or due to the nature of the work environment (also see Working with children definition).







Working with children’ Working with children means being engaged in an activity with a child where the contact would reasonably be expected as a normal part of the activity and the contact is not incidental to the activity. Working includes volunteering or other unpaid works.







  1. Appendices

Appendix 1: MTA-compliant Child Protection Policy Fundamentals


Compliance standard Why this is required Evidenced by
1. The organisation has a child protection policy that applies to all personnel, partners and subcontractors that are engaged by a contractor or civil society organisation to perform any part of a MTA- funded activity A child protection policy provides clear guidance and demonstrates how the organisation, across its operations, will ensure that children are protected from child exploitation and abuse in the delivery of Australian aid. –          Child protection policy.

–          Personnel are aware of the organisation’s child protection policy (e.g. through internal communication and training).

–          Documented plan for ensuring MTA-funded implementing partners are meeting the minimum standards set out in 2.5 of this policy.

2.       The organisation has robust recruitment screening processes for all personnel in contact with children. These recruitment procedures include:

–          criminal record checks before engagement

–          verbal referee checks

–          interview plans that incorporate behavioural- based interview questions. These are to be used when candidates are applying for positions that involve working with children.

Child-safe recruitment and screening processes are essential to enable an organisation to choose the most appropriate person for a position that involves contact with children. –          Documented criminal record checks for personnel in contact with children.

–          Documented verbal referee checks.

–          Interview plans incorporating behavioural- based interview questions that are specific to positions that involve working with children.

–          Documented request for an applicant to disclose whether they have been charged with child exploitation offences and

their response.

3. The organisation’s child protection policy includes a documented reporting procedure for child exploitation and abuse allegations and policy non- compliance, including available sanctions for


An effective child protection policy requires a report handling procedure. One of the biggest hurdles to a personnel reporting child exploitation and abuse is that there is no formal system in place to do so, or that the personnel are not aware of a –          Organisation’s guidelines for managing concerns or allegations of child exploitation and abuse, and policy non-compliance.

–          Documentary evidence that personnel can raise concerns about a child’s safety or well-







  formal system to report concerns or allegations.


Reporting systems must respect the rights of the alleged victim and alleged offender.

being or unacceptable behaviour by personnel

–           Documentary evidence outlining the organisation’s details of available sanctions of breaches of the code of conduct.

4. The organisation provides child protection training for personnel Personnel must be fully aware of their responsibilities to protect children and how to report concerns or allegations about child exploitation and abuse. –          Training agendas and timeframes for training

–          Materials used in training

5. The organisation has a child protection code of conduct that meets the minimum standard set by MTA (see Appendix 2–MTA’s Child Protection Code of Conduct). A code of conduct protects children and personnel. It makes clear the organisation’s standards for acceptable/unacceptable behaviour in relation to children and must be signed by all personnel.


It protects personnel by providing guidance on how to avoid situations that may be perceived as harmful to children. It also provides employers with a sound basis on which to conduct disciplinary action.

–          A child protection code of conduct based on MTA’s Child Protection Code of Conduct

–          Signed copies of the codes of conduct or a register documenting details of personnel who have signed the code of contact

6. The organisation’s child protection policy commits it to preventing a person from working with children if they pose an unacceptable risk to children Provides the organisation with clear grounds as an employer to determine whether a person is the most appropriate to work with children –           Referenced in relevant documentation, including policies, contracts and human resource guidelines
7. The organisation’s employment contracts contain provisions for dismissal, suspension or transfer to other duties for any employee who breaches Reinforces the importance of the organisations’ policy to personnel


Ensures the organisation has legal recourse to remove or transfer personnel who pose an

unacceptable risk to children

–           Contract with personnel







the child protection code of conduct    
8. The organisation’s child protection policy is subject to regular review – at least every two years or earlier if warranted Contexts change, particularly in the development sector. There must be a commitment to review and update the policy as required.


Given that child protection policies are relatively new for many organisations, it is important that an organisation can learn and adapt from its experiences in implementing its child protection policy.

–          Timetable/timeframe for review

–          Policy review report at least every two years

–          Records of consultation with MTA on policy review

9. The organisation undertakes a risk assessment that covers all MTA-funded activities that have contact with children. The assessment should identify risks, classify any high-risk activities and document steps being taken to reduce or remove these


Some activities are higher risk than others. This may be due to the nature of the activity or the location. For example, working with children with disability or in an emergency situation. –          Risk log identifying high risk activities and measures to reduce or remove the risks to children

–          Evidence that risk assessments are reviewed/updated throughout the lifecycle of the activities







Appendix 2: Mandatory reporting process for MTA Personnel and MTA-funded individual contractors

What should I report?


You should report:



What if I am not sure what I have seen is child exploitation and abuse?

Contact the MTA contacts below for confidential advice and further information about what constitutes child exploitation and abuse or policy non-compliance.


How do I make a report?


Any person may report a Child Protection Incident, or potential incident. This can be done via:

The CEO of Maluk Timor Australia: [email protected] or 0439900018; or by contacting any board member.


What information do I need to provide in the report?


You should provide as much information as possible, including:







What happens to the information I provide?


All information provided to the MTA reporting contacts will be treated confidentially in accordance with our Privacy Policy and any relevant Commonwealth legislation.







Appendix 3: Legislation relevant to child protection

A range of laws are relevant to this policy, including Australian Commonwealth, state and territory laws and local laws in countries where MTA works. A number of international child protection instruments also apply.

1.       Relevant Australian Legislation


Commonwealth legislation


Under Commonwealth law an Australian citizen or resident can be prosecuted for an offence committed against a child in another country under laws that have an extra-territorial application.


Criminal Code Act 1995                          Examples of offences


Maximum penalty

Division 272 (child sex offences outside Australia)


Engaging in sexual intercourse outside of Australia with a child under 16 years of age


20 years imprisonment

Engaging in sexual activity outside of Australia with a child under 16 years of age 15 years imprisonment
Engaging in sexual intercourse or sexual activity outside of Australia with a child under 16 years of age and the child has a mental impairment or is under the care, supervision or authority of the defendant. 25 years imprisonment
Engaging in sexual intercourse outside of Australia with a young person aged 16 or 17 years and the defendant is in a position of trust or authority 10 years imprisonment
Engaging in sexual activity outside of Australia with a young person aged 16 or 17 years and the defendant is in a position of trust or authority 7 years imprisonment







Grooming a child under 16 years of age to engage in sexual activity outside of Australia 12 years imprisonment
Possessing, controlling,

Division 273 (offences involving           producing, distributing or

child pornography material or             obtaining child pornography or child abuse material outside                child abuse material outside Australia)                                               Australia


15 years imprisonment

Division 474 (telecommunications offences, subdivision C) Accessing, soliciting or transmitting child pornography or child abuse material using a carriage service 15 years imprisonment
Engaging in sexual activity with a child under 16 years of age using a carriage service 15 years imprisonment
Online Grooming of a child under 16 years of age 15 years imprisonment


State and territory child protection legislation


State or territory Legislation Source
New South Wales Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act


Victoria Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/
Queensland Child Protection Act 1999 https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/
Western Australia Children and Community Services

Act 2004

South Australia Children’s Protection act 1993 https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au
Tasmania Children, Young

Persons and their Families Act 1997








Australian Capital Territory Children and Young People Act 2008 https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/
Northern Territory Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 http://www.nt.gov.au/dcm/legislation/current.html


2.       Local Legislation


Most countries in which MTA works have legislation relating to child exploitation and abuse.


When working in-country, MTA Personnel and the personnel of contractors and civil society organisations implementing aid program activities are required to abide by local legislation, including labour laws with regard to child labour.


  1. International child protection instruments that Australia is a signatory to


State or territory Legislation
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child www.unicef.org/crc
Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/50b353232.html
Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/47fdfb180.html
Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child www.un-documents.net/gdrc1924.htm
International Labour Organisation Convention 182 Concerning the Prohibition and immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of

Child Labour