IVAO - the International Virtual Aviation Organisation - was founded in Belgium in 1998, and is located in Galmaarden. IVAO is a legally registered not-for-profit-organisation (NPO) under Belgian law and aims to provide an online platform for flight simulation enthusiasts to enjoy their hobby in a simulated real-world environment, in company of other people, flying or providing Air Traffic Control services.
The organisation itself has a multi-layered management structure to ensure it is strategically governed in a fair, legal and transparent way. All IVAO's services and software will always be provided free of charge as the organisation's costs are covered by private donations and corporate sponsorship.
IVAO is working closely with children, vulnerable adults and young people as part of its activities, providing them an online virtual aviation environment, in which they can fly as virtual pilots and/or provide Air Traffic Control services. Anyone, over the age of 13 (thirteen), is able to interact with other members anywhere in the world. However, consent of a legal guardian is necessary for anyone from age 13 (thirteen) to 15 (fifteen). Communication happens digitally via voice and/or text, publicly and/or privately. Members are also provided the opportunity to participate in real life meetings in some settings.
IVAO abides by the duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, vulnerable adults and young people and is committed to safeguarding practices that reflect statutory responsibilities, government guidance and complies with best practice requirements.
- IVAO recognises the welfare of children and vulnerable adults is paramount in all the work we do and in all the decisions we take.
- All children and vulnerable adults regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation has an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse.
- Some children and vulnerable adults are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other circumstances.
- Working in partnership with children, vulnerable adults and young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.
- protect children, vulnerable adults and young people, who receive IVAO’s services, from harm.
- provide staff and volunteers, as well as children and young people, with the overarching principles that guide our approach to children and vulnerable adults and young people protection.
This policy applies to any member of IVAO holding a VID (virtual ID). This group also includes people working on behalf of IVAO, including senior managers and the Board of Governors, and volunteers. Failure to comply with the policy and related procedures will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in dismissal and/or a suspension from the organisation.
People with a permanent suspension or that are removed from the network are not considered as members of IVAO and therefore not focus of this policy.
This policy doesn’t affect legal or moral obligations to report any incident to public authorities, especially when a child, vulnerable adult or young person is in immediate risk.
Based on The International “Convention on the Rights of the Child”, any member is considered a child, where they have not yet reached the age of 18 (eighteen).
Children have the rights common to all human beings as outlined in the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” but also rights specific to being children and thus in the process of development.
Children’s maturity and capacity to negotiate situations, depending on the phase of growth, must be respected. Children should be provided with a safe and protective environment in order to develop physically, cognitively and emotionally. Neglect of those aspects is understood as violence against children.
A vulnerable adult is a person, who has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs), is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.
Children and adults may be vulnerable to neglect and abuse or exploitation from within their family and from individuals they come across in their daily lives. There are 4 main categories of abuse: sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and negligence.
- Sexual abuse is defined as any sexual activity between a child and a person at a more advanced stage of psychosexual development. This also includes forcing a child to participate in sexual activities or depicting children in pornographic material.
- Physical abuse is defined as real or potential physical harm against a child while under the care of parents, responsible individuals or institutions.
- Emotional abuse is defined as emotional treatment that affects children’s perception of themselves and their development negatively.
- Negligence is defined as not giving children enough attention, being careless, and affecting their development, education, nutrition, housing and access to safe living conditions negatively. Lacking supervision and protection from all sorts of harm is also considered neglect.
It is important to be aware of more specific types of abuse that fall within these categories:
- Bullying and cyberbullying
- Child sexual exploitation
- Child Criminal exploitation
- Child trafficking
- Domestic abuse
- Female genital mutilation
- Historical abuse
- Online abuse
This policy is dependent on the implementation of international legal frameworks, to preserve children’s rights. It is mainly based on The International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
IVAO aims to prevent the risks mentioned above, ensuring a safe and protective environment for all children, vulnerable adults and young people who participate in IVAO’s services (exceptions mentioned in section 3 “Purpose”).
IVAO will ensure an appropriate level of safeguarding resources to its volunteers and any relevant people linked to the organisation, who require it (e.g. contractors).
All volunteers are provided with resources to effectively:
- understand what safeguarding is and their role in safeguarding children, vulnerable adults and young people.
- recognise children, vulnerable adults and young people potentially in need of safeguarding and take appropriate actions.
- understand how to report a safeguarding alert.
- understand dignity and respect when working with children, vulnerable adults and young people.
- have a complete understanding of this policy.
IVAO expects all volunteers and Governors to maintain confidentiality. Information will only be shared in line with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection.
However, information should be shared with local authorities if a child is deemed to be at risk of harm. Contact the police if they are in immediate danger, or a crime has been committed.
Any concern must be sent directly to the Board of Governors, which will then keep a written record of any details about the person involved, the nature of the concern and the actions taken, decisions made and why they were made.
All records must be signed and dated. All records must be securely and confidentially stored in line with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
All volunteers should be aware of the IVAO Rules and Regulations and the IVAO social media policy. Furthermore, all volunteers should be familiar with the fact that it is unlawful to photograph children, vulnerable adults and young people and publish it without the explicit consent of the person with parental responsibilities.
Particular care should be taken when reporting a possible breach of this policy. Whistleblowers shall:
- maintain discretion
- raise a report only if they know the full facts and do so in good faith, honestly and for genuine reasons
- cooperate with the people being involved in the investigations
- Notify the Board of Governors if they have been subject to repercussions or victimisation on the network, as a result on their report
It is important that people within IVAO have confidence to come forward, to speak or act if they are unhappy with anything. Whistle-blowing occurs when a person raises a concern about dangerous or illegal activities, or any wrong-doing within the organisation. This includes concerns about other volunteers.
Whistleblowers will be guaranteed with support by IVAO, if they report serious breaches of this policy. They can expect that:
- any report on a breach will be investigated and will be answered
- confidentiality will be preserved about their identity and report
- advisory will be given, if confidentiality can’t be maintained
- protection from any repercussions or victimisation on the network, as a result on their report
Any concern related to this policy shall be raised and addressed preferably via email to the Board of Governors (see contact details section 9).
The report should -at least- include the following:
- Name of the person concerned
- Summary of the reporter’s relationship with the person concerned
- Details of the person, who committed the breach, and its relationship with the person concerned
- Accurate reporting of the alleged breach of the Safeguarding Policy and evidence of this through recordings
Each volunteer of IVAO has the responsibility to immediately report breaches of this policy, as outlined in section 7.3 “Reporting wrong-doing”.
The Board of Governors will take appropriate steps in the investigation of each report and will:
- initiate further actions to protect the organisation, the public and especially protect the affected child, vulnerable adult or young person.
- maintain confidentiality and acknowledge receipt of the email as soon as possible.
- investigate promptly and fairly, in accordance with applicable policies and procedures of IVAO, and suspend members temporarily during investigation, if needed.
- notify legal authorities and the person with parental responsibilities, if the concern is well-founded.
- take appropriate actions on the network and permanently suspend any members violating this policy.
The Board of Governors is responsible for monitoring the Safeguarding Policy and will reevaluate the policy itself and all ongoing procedures periodically and adjust them accordingly.
Any concern on this policy may be addressed to the Board of Governors.
- represented by the Board of Governors -