Bond, the UK network of international development NGOs, is to publish a document this afternoon (18 October), The UK NGO’s Commitment to Change in Safeguarding, detailing how the sector will work to this end. It pulls together seven months of work by its members to identify the best examples of safeguarding and child protection policies and practices from both the aid and humanitarian sector, as well as across the UK domestic sector.
It also aims to demonstrates how the NGO sector will drive forward consistency and leadership on safeguarding to ensure that everyone works together to protect people from sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment.
Within it, Bond members make 12 commitments, which will work to drive change in the following ways.
- Preventing abusers from joining organisations in future. The NGO sector is building on the experience of the domestic sector and working with the UK government to establish consistent and rigorous referencing and background checks for staff.
- Ensuring the sector listens to whistle-blowers and survivors and puts their safety and protection at the heart of reporting and complaints systems.
- Helping NGOs act on complaints swiftly, robustly and responsibly. This will include transparency when reporting incidents to the appropriate authorities whilst ensuring they protect and support survivors and victims throughout.
- Ensuring NGOs build organisational cultures that prevent abuse, embedding ethical behaviour which upholds honesty, dignity and respect for all.
Judith Brodie, Interim CEO for Bond, said:
“Today marks a turning point for the NGO sector and reflects our commitment to ensuring people are kept safe from harm. We have stronger understanding of where the inconsistencies and gaps are when it comes to reporting and handling incidents, as well as what we must do to address them. Some work has already begun which will, in the short term, result in an increase in reported incidents as people feel more confident speaking out.
“For the longer term, solutions, such as global DBS checks or a potential passporting system, are being explored with the Home Office and DFID. As a sector we are determined to do all we can to ensure those we work with are safe and secure. This is about significant and sustainable change for the long-term.
“Our 12 commitments show we are raising the bar on safeguarding, but this isn’t just about words – our commitments are backed up by much needed action.”
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