Child Safeguarding Info Hub

 

We want to identify and promote lessons learned from past and current practices so that we can make sure that child safeguarding is effectively implemented throughout our federation.

 

FAQ

 

 

 

Care Promise

 

 

FAQ

  • SOS Children’s Villages commissioned Keeping Children Safe, a recognized safeguarding organization, to conduct the Independent Child Safeguarding Review (ICSR) to help us learn from past safeguarding cases and make improvements. The report has now been made available to the public on our website

  • The ICSR was not an investigation into historical child abuse concerns but a review set up to better understand what contributed to the occurrence of child safeguarding incidents in selected complex cases, how the organization responded and what lessons can be learned for the larger organization.  

  • The aim was to continue to reduce risks in SOS Children’s Villages programmes today and improve current child safeguarding work for the future. 

  • The Independent Child Safeguarding Review sets out a total of 46 specific recommendations that are grouped into five key areas, relating to: improvement of child safeguarding measures; leadership and organizational culture; oversight, governance, and accountability; care quality and the role of primary caregivers; and justice and support for victims, survivors and whistleblowers.  

  • We commit ourselves to take immediate actions and implement all 46 recommendations in the ICSR report. 

  • We commit ourselves to take immediate actions and implement all 46 recommendations in the ICSR report. To make that happen, we have prepared a wide-ranging Safeguarding Action Plan. With this, we hold ourselves accountable for taking concrete actions with set deadlines.  

  • Our Safeguarding Action plan includes eight key actions:  

  1. Ensuring an independent commission examines cases of failings, including child abuse, corruption, and breaches of regulations 
  2. Establishing an ombudsperson system to represent the rights of children, young people and others affected by abuse 
  3. Funding individualized support for those who have experienced abuse 
  4. Providing extra support for our programmes in high-risk countries 
  5. Expanding our ‘Protective Behaviours’ empowerment programme for children and young people 
  6. Strengthening the incident management system 
  7. Updating and embedding our Code of Conduct into everything we do 
  8. Fully implementing the Prevention of Sexual Harassment, Exploitation and Abuse regulation

  • The safety and wellbeing of children and young people in our programmes is our primary concern; it’s why we exist. In a video message, Ingrid Johansen, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages, issued an apology to those who have experienced harm. 

  • An Independent Special Commission was established to address past and contemporary cases of failings, including child abuse, corruption, misuse of funds, and breaches of regulations that protect children’s and employees’ human rights. 

  • We are working on the creation of a child safeguarding ombudsperson system throughout our global organization to represent the rights of children, young people and other affected persons. Building on the successful model already practiced by some of our member associations, it will support those individuals who have experienced abuse and anybody seeking resolution of their concerns. 

  • Funding from existing reserves has been made available for individual support to all children, young people and others affected by abuse in SOS Children’s Villages programmes, to support them towards healing, closure and becoming self-reliant. This includes medical, mental health, psychosocial and legal support as well as support to improve their individual living situations. 

  • We believe the courageous individuals who have come forward, and we encourage everybody who suspects any wrongdoing in our programmes to report it. 

  • If you have been affected by harm or abuse or have another safeguarding concern, please report this to SOS Children’s Villages in your country. You can also use our online whistleblower channel, which allows you to report anonymously in numerous languages. 

 

  • Our Child Safeguarding Annual Reports provide official statistics about incidents across the federation. For example, in the latest report (2019), there were 12 cases of staff as perpetrators of sexual coercion or abuse. In those cases, there were 15 children involved.  

  • There are a number of reasons why the ICSR report’s findings are presented in an anonymized fashion. It is of the utmost importance to protect the privacy and safety of victims and whistleblowers. In addition, we do not want to give the impression that all matters are resolved. We are prepared for more allegations to surface. We encourage people who have experienced or know of violations of our Code of Conduct in our programmes to come forward, if you have not done so already.  

  • Any one child harmed is one too many, and we will continue to do everything we can to prevent harm and respond quickly and appropriately to every single incident. 

  • We commit ourselves to take immediate actions and implement all 46 recommendations in the ICSR report. To make that happen, we have prepared a wide-ranging Safeguarding Action Plan. With this, we hold ourselves accountable for taking concrete actions with set deadlines. 

  • Among its key priorities, the Safeguarding Action Plan addresses a number of issues related to organizational culture, governance and human resources. These include: 

  1. Expanding our ‘Protective Behaviours’ empowerment programme for children and young people 

  2. Strengthening the incident management system 

  3. Updating and embedding our Code of Conduct into everything we do 

  4. Fully implementing the Prevention of Sexual Harassment, Exploitation and Abuse regulation

  • On 6 May, SOS Children’s Villages made an announcement confirming cases of failings in safeguarding and governance. Parallel to that, and taking into consideration our ongoing learnings as well as the ICSR, SOS Children’s Villages has developed a Safeguarding Action Plan - a holistic approach that shows how we will support those harmed; improve programme quality; update policies; and implement human resources changes that ensure everyone is accountable for doing their part to create a safe environment. 

  • SOS Children’s Villages’ work aims to break the cycle of child neglect, abuse and abandonment, and the safety and wellbeing of children is fundamental to achieving this goal. The vast majority of our programmes are run well – and children and young people in them are properly cared for.  

  • Each child harmed is one too many. This is why we are committed to implementing our Child Safeguarding Action Plan to track our progress towards the implementation of all recommendations in the ICSR report. 

  • We will concentrate our efforts to ensure that all children are safe. We urge anyone with information about any wrongdoing to come forward. This can be done anonymously via our online reporting channels

  • SOS Children’s Villages has pro-actively informed its sponsors, stakeholders and supporters about the findings of the Independent Child Safeguarding Review. We will continue to update them on any further actions taken in response to this and other reports we have commissioned from external bodies to understand and respond to past organizational failures. 

  • Our commitment to transparency is exemplified by the full publication of the ICSR Global Report itself and the establishment of an independent Special Commission. While we specifically ask those with additional information of past failings to come forward, we also want to ask our sponsors, stakeholders and supporters to let us know how we are doing. If you have any further questions or want to leave feedback on our process, please get in touch with us.  

  • We believe the courageous individuals who have come forward, and we encourage everybody who suspects any wrongdoing in our programmes to report it. 

  • If you have been affected by harm or abuse or have another safeguarding concern, please report this to SOS Children’s Villages in your country. You can also use our online whistleblower channel, which allows you to report anonymously in numerous languages.