Our Safeguarding Framework


As a global organization that works with children who have lost parental care, or who are at risk of losing it, we see far too many cases of child abuse and neglect.

Child abuse is widespread and persistent, exacerbated by poverty and, in some cases, legitimised through harmful cultural practices such as corporal punishment. Child abuse is a taboo subject in many cultures and is underreported.

SOS Children's Villages does not tolerate any form of child abuse, exploitation, neglect or violation of a child’s privacy and rights. We are committed to creating and maintaining a caring and protective environment for every child we reach through our programmes.

We work in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.

Our Child Protection Policy focuses on four key action areas: awareness, prevention, reporting and responding. We place special emphasis on awareness and prevention to safeguard children and improve the quality of the care they receive. In case of a reported child safeguarding concern, it is taken seriously and addressed without delay. This means that:

  • We build the capacities of co-workers, children, young people and families to recognise signs of abuse –  and how to prevent it.

  • We teach the use of tools such as positive discipline.

  • We work to eliminate harmful cultural practices.

  • Any reported child safeguarding incident or concern is carefully assessed and, based on the results of the assessment, concrete actions are decided and put in place.

The SOS Children's Villages Child Protection Policy defines different kinds of child abuse and explains how to safely report concerns. The policy also spells out the obligation of every SOS Children's Villages employee and associate to report any concern, suspicion or allegation of any child abuse.

The SOS Children's Villages Code of Conduct, which is binding for every employee, additionally defines appropriate and expected standards of behaviour towards children for all adults in our organisation.

The regulation on prevention and protection against sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse is based on our Code of ConductChild Protection PolicyGender Equality Policy, and other parts of our integrity approach. It defines our focus on prevention to create and maintain a safe environment for all involved in the work of the federation. The regulation outlines our response mechanism to cases of suspected sexual misconduct towards any person, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, disability, religion or ethnic origin.  
Every child safeguarding concern or incident reported is taken seriously and assessed thoroughly. Based on the findings of the assessment, further steps are decided. One of these measures can be conducting a child safeguarding investigation. The guiding principle when dealing with any reported concern is that the safety and welfare of the child always come first. 

The user guide Listening and responding to individuals experiences of past child abuse provides guidance on how to deal with and appropriately respond to allegations of past abuse, the specific nature of these allegations and the related challenges.

SOS Children's Villages member associations are accountable for responding to child safeguarding incidents within the frame of our Child Protection Policy and national laws. More information on these procedures can be found in the child safeguarding reporting and responding procedures in member associations policy support document. The roles and responsibilities of the GSC in the reporting and responding process are further outlined in the Working Together To Protect Children policy support document.

If you are concerned about a child's safety, please click here to report it.