Child Safeguarding

Protecting children is at the heart of what we do. We remain ever vigilant to continuously improve our safeguarding policies and practices, and to ensure a safe and caring environment for children and young people.

As outlined in our Child Protection Policy, we focus on awareness, prevention, reporting and responding to create a safe and caring environment. For us, this means an environment where children and young people feel safe, loved and cared for; where their rights are respected; and where they can raise concerns, knowing they will be listened to and their concerns acted upon swiftly and immediately. We have learned to approach safeguarding holistically, meaning ensuring a high level of programme quality overall. We provide ongoing training for our staff, especially those working directly with children and youth, and for parents in our family strengthening programmes. We work with children to make sure they know their rights and how to report concerns. In 2020, with in-person visits limited by the pandemic, much of this work was done virtually or by phone calls. The year 2020 also saw the Independent Child Safeguarding Review near completion. We commissioned this review in order to learn from past child safeguarding cases and improve our practices. The final report is now available on the Child Safeguarding Info Hub. The Review noted important progress SOS Children’s Villages has made in the last decade. At the same time, it identified significant gaps where we were not able to prevent harm and did not respond appropriately. We have committed to implementing all recommendations from the Review at rapid pace. Our Child Safeguarding Action Plan has outlined eight priority areas, including an Independent Special Commission to review past cases, an ombudsperson system and individual support to those who suffered harm. We will report transparently on our progress alongside our Child Safeguarding Annual Reports. We owe it to the children and young people we work for and to everyone engaged in our mission. We also hope these materials serve as a resource for others to improve child safeguarding practices across our sector.

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