Keeping Children Safe, an international organisation setting standards to protect children from exploitation and abuse, has awarded its ‘Level 1 Certification’ to SOS Children’s Villages International.
The certification confirms that SOS Children’s Villages has developed a child safeguarding framework to protect children from harm and has processes for responding effectively when incidents occur.
“We are proud that our commitment to child safeguarding has been recognised by Keeping Children Safe,” said SOS Children’s Villages CEO Norbert Meder. “We have a zero tolerance approach to child abuse anywhere in our sphere of influence, and we are dedicated to making the world a safer place for children.”
Mr Meder added, “We are a learning organisation, and the process of certification has been particularly valuable in showing us how to strengthen our existing practices for ensuring children in SOS Children’s Villages programmes are safe from harm.”
Sarah Blakemore, Keeping Children Safe Director, said: “After a robust and comprehensive assessment, this Level 1 Certification demonstrates that that SOS Children's Villages has child safeguarding measures in line with International Child Safeguarding Standards. Keeping Children Safe is delighted that SOS Children's Villages is leading the way in safeguarding children from exploitation and abuse.”
The certification process involved interviews with 37 member associations of SOS Children’s Villages, located around the world, plus two of its General Secretariat office locations. The process assessed SOS Children’s Villages with respect to Keeping Children Safe’s high standards in these areas:
The organisation develops a policy that describes how it is committed to preventing and responding appropriately to, harm to children
The organisation places clear responsibilities and expectations on its staff and associates and supports them to understand and act in line with these
The organisation creates a child-safe environment through implementing child safeguarding procedures that are applied across the organisation
The organisation monitors and reviews its safeguarding measures
Only three other global organisations have achieved the Level 1 Certification standard. It can be followed up with Level 2 Certification, which requires a more in-depth questionnaire and a higher level of compliance.
The SOS Children’s Villages approach
The foundation of our approach to child safeguarding is the SOS Children’s Villages Child Protection Policy: Child Safety is Everybody’s Business. Furthermore, obligations for all staff members to report any concern are reinforced in the organisation’s Code of Conduct.
We put the child at the centre of everything we do, and we make children aware of their rights and their active role in promoting their safety.
Our internal policies and procedures draw from key international frameworks such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.
Keeping Children Safe
An international authority, Keeping Children Safe supports 77 members to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable children.
Its standards are based on these principles:
All children have equal rights to protection from harm.
Everybody has a responsibility to support the protection of children.
Organisations have a duty of care to children with whom they work, are in contact with, or who are affected by their work and operations.
If organisations work with partners they have a responsibility to help partners meet the minimum requirements on protection.
All actions on child safeguarding are taken in the best interests of the child, which are paramount.