Student Well-being

  Child Protection Policy

I.    Introduction
Armenian Evangelical Central High School is committed to the well-being of its students through establishing a safe environment. The AECHS Child Protection Policy is based on international standards, and on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which Lebanon is a signatory, and is in line with Lebanese law 422/2002. Reporting child abuse is a requirement under Lebanese law.
To comply with the Lebanese laws and conventions:

1.    The child rights-based approach under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was signed and ratified by Lebanon on May 14, 1991. This approach recognizes, without discrimination, that each child is a unique human being deserving of rights, and capable of participating in the process of achieving those rights given a supportive and adequately resourced environment.
2.    The Lebanese Law 422/2002, ‘The Protection of Juveniles in Conflict with the Law and/or At Risk’, specifically articles 25, 26, and 27, and the National Standard Operating Procedures for the Protection of Juveniles in Lebanon (SOP) adopted by the Ministry of Social Affairs. AECHS is adhering to the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) recommendations to implement a child protection policy that protects children and promotes their well-being.

II.    Child Abuse:

Child abuse is when a child or young person under the age of 18 is harmed.
The main forms of child abuse are: Physical, Emotional/ Psychological, Sexual, Neglect, Bullying, and    Exploitation.

1.    Physical abuse: Physical abuse is intentional physical harm to a child. It may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or guardian fabricates the symptoms or deliberately induces illness in a child.

    Indicators of Physical Abuse:
•    Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises
•    Suddenly behaving differently, fractures, welts, burns or cuts (beyond normal childhood bumps and falls)
•    Depression and anxiety and/or aggression and violence
•    Problems with relationships and socializing
•    Distant and withdrawn
•    Inappropriate clothing worn to cover up injuries, such as a coat on warm days
•    Running away from home or fear of parents being approached
•    Long-term effects include post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues
•    Aggressive behavior, risk-taking and missing school or running away
•    Sleep problems and bed-wetting or soiling
•    Negative thoughts, not looking after themselves
•    Displaying sexually inappropriate behavior

2.    Emotional/Psychological Abuse: Emotional/Psychological abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved. It may include preventing the child from expressing his/her point of view or participating in normal social interaction, deliberately silencing the child, or making fun of what she/he says or the way she/he communicates. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another.

    Indicators of Emotional/Psychological Abuse
•    Possible delayed physical, emotional, and mental development
•    Being unable to play or socialize well with others
•    Daydreaming
•    Self-harm
•    Sudden speech disorders
•    Neurotic behavior such as hair twisting or rocking
•    Fearful of making mistakes

3.    Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse is any sexual activity with a child. It may include forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Indicators of Sexual Abuse:
•    Pain or irritation to the genital area
•    Difficulty with urination
•    Infection, bleeding
•    Fear of people or places
•    Aggression
•    Regressive behaviors, bed wetting, or stranger anxiety
•    Stomach pains or discomfort walking, or sitting
•    Being unusually quiet and withdrawn, or unusually aggressive
•    Suffering from what seem to be physical ailments that can’t be explained medically
•    Showing immense fear of a particular adult
•    Mentioning receiving special attention from an adult, or a new “secret” friendship with an adult, or young person
• Age-inappropriate sexualized behavior or language

4.    Neglect: Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child's basic needs. A child may be left hungry, or dirty, without adequate clothing, shelter, supervision, medical or health care. A child may be put in danger, or not protected from physical, or emotional harm. A child who is neglected might possibly also suffer from other abuse as well. Neglect is dangerous, and can cause serious, long-term damage, possibly death.

Indicators of Neglect:
•    Constant hunger, begging for food from others, or stealing food
•    Poor personal hygiene
•    Worryingly underweight
•    Dressing unsuitably for weather
•    Illness or untreated injury
•    Looking worryingly sad, false smiles
•    Parents/guardians are uninterested in the child’s performance or well-being

5.    Bullying: Bullying is an unwanted, aggressive, repetitive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. This means that the bully uses his/her power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, popularity, or authority —to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.

a)    Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean and inappropriate statements. Verbal bullying includes teasing, name-calling, inappropriate comments, and threatening to cause harm.
b)    Social bullying or relational bullying involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. It might occur on social media platforms. Social bullying includes: Excluding someone from a group on purpose, telling others not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone, embarrassing someone in public
c)    Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes: hitting/kicking/pinching, spitting, tripping/pushing, making mean or rude hand gestures
d) Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. Online threats and mean, aggressive, or rude texts, tweets, posts, or messages all count. So does posting personal information, pictures, or videos designed to hurt or embarrass someone else.

Indicators of Bullying:
•    Become aggressive and unreasonable
•    Start to get into fights
•    Refuse to talk about what is wrong
•    Have unexplained bruises, cuts, scratches, particularly those appearing after recess or lunch
•    Have missing or damaged belongings or clothes
•    Have falling school grades
•    Be alone often or excluded from friendship groups at school
•    Show a change in their ability or willingness to speak up in class
•    Appear insecure or frightened
•    Be a frequent target for teasing, mimicking, or ridicule.
Bullying might happen between:

1.    Student to student
2.    A group of students to a group of students
3.    Group of students to one student
4.    Adult to student

6.    Exploitation: Exploitation refers to the use of children for someone else's advantage, gratification, or profit often resulting in unjust, cruel, and harmful treatment of the child. These activities are to the detriment of the child's physical or mental health, education, and moral or social-economic development.

Indicators of Exploitation:
•    Skipping school 
•    Staying out late or overnight 
•    Unexplained gifts/new possessions 
•    Drugs and alcohol misuse 
•    Secretive behavior 
•    Inappropriate or sexualized behavior 
•    Friendship or relationships with older adults 
•    Significant changes in mood or behavior changes in appearance (clothes, hygiene, etc.). 
•    Becoming withdrawn or isolated, poor mental health/self-harm, etc. 
•    Lots of time spent on social media talking to ‘friends’ they haven’t met or that you don’t know. 
•    Unexplained injuries 
•    They own a second mobile phone from which they are receiving a high volume of calls or need to leave urgently after receiving a text/call

III.    Barriers to reporting abuse:
We might assume that children would just tell someone if they are being abused. However, children's experience of abuse will be complex, and it can be very difficult to tell anyone.


1.    They fear of not being believed.
2.    They fear it will get worse if they tell.
3.    They have been threatened by the perpetrator.
4.    They do not know whom to tell.
5.    They think it is normal to be treated like this.


6.    They do not believe the child.
7.    Their suspicions are not confirmed, and they do not want to get someone in trouble for no reason.
8.    The child is a troublemaker, so he is probably lying.
9.    They do not know who to tell or how to tell.
10.    They do not want to get involved.
11.    They have experienced abuse themselves.
12.    They are scared they will make the situation worse for the child.

IV.    Procedures:

Child protection policy in AECHS aims to create a safe and secure environment for all students. One of the essential components of a child protection policy is the creation of clear guidelines for identifying and reporting any signs of abuse or neglect. 

Part of protecting children at AECHS is creating an environment where children are safe, respected, and listened to. Putting safeguards and advocates in place will help to remove barriers or will at least lower the barriers, provide bridges and shortcuts to a safe place where children are listened to and supported.

Teachers and Staff must remember that they are not alone in dealing with any disclosure. The administration and the counselor will respond and work with children in need.

Information shall be shared by the least number of individuals on a need-to-know basis only. In case of recorded incidents, the school will transfer the relevant incidents with the student’s file when moving to the next academic year. 

Regular review and updates to the policy are also crucial to ensure that it remains effective and in line with current best practices. Furthermore, the implementation of a child protection policy should involve collaboration with parents and guardians to ensure their active involvement in creating a safe and supportive environment for students.

AECHS creates and maintains a school framework that promotes child wellbeing and a secure environment where students can reach their full potential and are able to share freely their concerns.
The safety, well-being, and protection of our students are the paramount considerations in all decisions staff at this school make about confidentiality.
Confidentiality is a critical aspect of child protection policy at our school. AECHS ensures that sensitive information about children and their families is kept private and only shared with those who have a legitimate need to know. This includes not only our parents, and individual children but also our school principal, teachers, and the children's peer group. The child protection policy at our school has clear guidelines and procedures for maintaining confidentiality, which include obtaining informed consent from our parents or legal guardians before disclosing any information about the child, having secure systems in place for storing and sharing confidential information, and ensuring that our staff members are trained on the importance of confidentiality and how to handle sensitive information appropriately.

Child Protection Policy: Referral form
The person receiving the complaint, must fill out a Referral form and submit that to the relevant Head of Department who in turn must take the next necessary action.
The school will provide frequent training sessions to keep its staff updated and well-informed of all child protection policies.
In order to effectively implement the Child Protection Policy at AECHS, it is crucial to ensure that all staff members, including teachers, administrators, and support staff, are properly trained on identifying signs of abuse, reporting procedures, and maintaining confidentiality. Regular training sessions and workshops should be conducted to keep all staff members informed and updated on relevant policies and procedures.