AusAID Child protection policy Jan 2013

AusAID Child protection policy Jan 2013

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. During emergency and disaster situations, children are more likely to experience exploitation and abuse as a result of being separated from their parents and other caregivers who would normally protect them from such harm. 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.

As Australians we believe in the fundamental right of children to grow up safely and enjoy a childhood that is free from exploitation and abuse. Australia has a world-leading aid program and we are committed to ensuring child safety in all aspects of our aid delivery. Every individual or organisation that works with children under the Australian aid program has an obligation to protect children from exploitation and abuse. It is our responsibility, shared with our partners, to create and maintain protective environments for children.

The Australian Government is the first bilateral donor—and AusAID the first Australian Government agency—to implement a child protection policy, which was introduced in 2008. In doing so they are demonstrating best practice in their approach to our work with children. 

This policy provides a framework for protecting children from exploitation and abuse in the delivery of Australia’s overseas aid program. AusAID’s Child Protection Policy follows five guiding principles: zero tolerance of child exploitation and abuse; recognition of the best interests of the child; sharing responsibility for child protection; a risk management approach; and procedural fairness.