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Child protection policy


This policy applies to Habitat For Humanity New Zealand (“HFHNZ”) personnel, affiliates personnel, and partner NGO personnel, both domestically and internationally. 

Background / context

This policy has been designed by Child Matters for Habitat for Humanity New Zealand and meets the legislative requirements of a child protection policy. No modifications are to be made to this policy without first obtaining specialist child protection advice from Child Matters, ensuring that any such modifications are in keeping with legislative requirements and in light of best practice knowledge. Child Matters takes no responsibility for any modifications made without, or contrary to, its advice.

Statement of Commitment

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand values all children, and believes that wherever a child lives, and whatever their circumstances may be, they have a right to be protected and to be free from all forms of harm.


1.1 The most effective way to safeguard children is to have a comprehensive and effective Child Protection Policy.

1.2 The purpose of this policy is to promote the wellbeing of children and to ensure that all persons working for, with, or on behalf of Habitat for Humanity New Zealand (“HFHNZ”) operate in ways which protect children from all forms of harm.

1.3 HFHNZ acknowledges that interactions with children, families, and whānau are a part of the organisation’s work and therefore a Child Protection Policy is of the utmost importance. This Child Protection Policy confirms the commitment of HFHNZ to the protection of children and proceeds to:

o outline the standards and principles by which all personnel will abide

o define abuse

o outline the action to be taken by personnel where any form of abuse or neglect is known or suspected

o establish what action is required when allegations are made against personnel

o outline expectations regarding personnel training

o outline expected behaviour of personnel.

Guiding Principles

1.4 HFHNZ asserts that abuse of children is unacceptable in all forms, and in all circumstances.

1.5 HFHNZ affirms that all children have equal rights to protection from abuse and exploitation regardless of their gender, race, religious or political beliefs, age, physical or mental health, sexual orientation, family or social background, culture, economic status or criminal background.

1.6 The decisions and actions of HFHNZ in response to any protection concern will be guided by the principle of “the welfare and best interests of the child.”

1.7 All services provided by HFHNZ for the safety and wellbeing of children adhere to the principles of partnership, protection and participation, and the rights and responsibilities accorded by Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

1.8 All services provided by HFHNZ for the safety and wellbeing of children have regard to mana tamaiti (tamariki) – the intrinsic value and inherent dignity derived from a child’s whakapapa and their belonging to a whānau, hapū, and iwi; ensuring the upholding, and protection, of Māori rights and interests, in accordance with the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.


  1. For the purposes of this Policy the following definitions apply:

“Child” means any person under the age of 18 years

“Child Abuse” can involve ongoing, repeated or persistent abuse, or may arise from a single incident. Child abuse may take many forms but it can be categorised into four different types:

  1. Physical Abuse
  2. Sexual Abuse
  3. Emotional Abuse

“Child Protection File” is a secure file on sharepoint which holds records of children who are considered to be suffering, or who are considered to be at risk of suffering, or likely to suffer, abuse or neglect. The child protection file includes information around those child protection concerns, including but not limited to:

  • A record of facts, including observations, with time and date
  • What was said and by whom, using the person’s words
  • o What action has been taken, by whom and when
  • All decisions, including if the concern does not require notifying the relevant statutory authority or the Police, with the reasons clearly identified and explained.

The child protection file must be kept up to date and its contents must remain confidential other than to Child Protection Officers, and authorised enquirers. It must be held securely and separately from other HFHNZ records.

“Child Protection Officer” is a person within HFHNZ who is responsible for the safeguarding of children. This person is responsible for ensuring that child protection is a key focus within HFHNZ both at a strategic level and on a day to day basis.

As at the date of this Policy the Child Protection Officers for HFHNZ are:

  • Jen Johnstone
  • Carina Dickson
  • “Child Protection Administrator” is a person within HFHNZ who is responsible for the management and administration of child protection documents and records, for example, child protection training records and criminal history check records.
  • As at the date of this Policy the Child Protection Administrator for HFHNZ is:

Tracey Mazur

“Emotional Abuse” is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effect on the child’s self-esteem and emotional development. This can include a pattern of rejecting, degrading, ignoring, isolating, corrupting, exploiting or terrorising a child. It may also include age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children and their social competence undermined or eroded over time. A child can also experience emotional abuse by being exposed to a dysfunctional environment which includes seeing or hearing the ill treatment of others, including but not limited to being exposed to family violence.

“Family Violence” can take many forms and may include, but is not limited to, actual physical violence (to a person, pet or property), threats of physical violence (to a person, pet or property), psychological, economic or sexual abuse. Children are always affected either emotionally or physically where there is family violence even if they are not personally injured or physically present.

“Habitat Ethics and Accountability Line” is the anonymous incident reporting system of HFHNZ. The Habitat Ethics and Accountability Line is accessible 24 hours at or by calling: 0800 002 341 (within New Zealand)/ +1 (720) 514-4400 (outside of New Zealand).

“Neglect” is characterised as the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological need. This can occur through direct and deliberate action or by omission or deliberate inaction to care for and/or protect the child. It may also include neglect of a child’s basic or emotional needs.

“Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children” formally known as Child Youth and Family. Oranga Tamariki is a Government Ministry dedicated to supporting children in New Zealand whose wellbeing is at significant risk of harm now, or in the future.

“Personnel” refers to any person working for, at, or with HFHNZ, both domestically and internationally, and includes, but is not limited to, directors, employees, consultants, contractors, partner NGO’s, volunteers, interns and students, whether working on a full time, part time, casual, or temporary basis. For the purposes of this policy, “personnel” extends to HFHNZ affiliates.

“Physical Abuse” is a non-accidental act that results in physical harm. This includes, but is not limited to, beating, hitting, shaking, burning, drowning, suffocating, biting, poisoning or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical abuse also involves the fabrication or inducing of illness.

“Sexual Abuse” is an act or acts that result in the sexual exploitation of a child, whether consensual or not. Sexual abuse can be committed by a relative, a trusted friend, an associate, or someone unknown to the child. Sexual abuse includes situations where the adult seeks to have the child touch them for a sexual purpose, and where they involve the child in pornographic activities or prostitution.

“Unsupervised access to children” refers to an individual being alone with one or more child(ren) at any time, for any length of time, whether physically or through the wider use of technology (e.g., contact through email/phone).

Change History

Last Updated: February 2022
Next Review Date: February 2025

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