The report shows progress on the 24 actions of the Safeguarding Action Plan, which was put in place in June 2021 in response to past safeguarding failures at SOS Children’s Villages.
“The biggest change I have seen is the significant shift in awareness throughout the organization,” says Ingrid Johansen, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages International, in a foreword to the report.
“There is recognition that safeguarding, creating an environment where everyone we are in contact with is safe, is central to achieving our mission. We have had difficult conversations and made critical decisions necessary for transformation,” she says.
Among the actions covered in the report are the creation of a federation-wide ombuds system for children and young people - a first for the development sector – and immediate support for those who have come forward to report past abuse.
“Our goal is two-fold: to listen to and provide individualized support to anyone in the past who has experienced harm, and to prevent harm in the future,” says Ms. Johansen.
Next month, the Independent Special Commission, a body of high-level independent experts with the mandate to investigate past failures and recommend appropriate measures, will release its final report. The commission’s report will feed into the review and revision of the Safeguarding Action Plan, which is being revisited in light of lessons learned in implementing the plan.
Safeguarding Action Plan progress Report March 2023