Keeping children and young people safe

Plan International recognises that violence against children and young people is prevalent throughout the world and in all societies. We are deeply committed to eradicating violence against children and young people and take very seriously our duty to safeguard all children and young people and promote their welfare.

This also means holding ourselves to account in ensuring that no child or young person is harmed or placed at risk of harm as a result of their association with us.

Our child and young people safeguarding implementation framework, which is explained below, helps us ensure we do all we can to make sure children and young people stay safe and protected when they engage with us and with those who represent us.

Our child and young people safeguarding implementation framework

We hold ourselves accountable to children

Plan International has a clear and unequivocal safeguarding policy, Say Yes! to Keeping Children and Young People Safe and Protected, that aims to make sure no child or young person who is associated with Plan International comes to any harm.  The policy governs the behaviours of Plan International staff, associates and visitors, ensuring we minimise risks to children and young people and report any concerns about a child or young person’s welfare appropriately.

Our programme work is committed to ensuring child protection

We run programmes around the world designed to make a lasting difference in children’s lives by addressing the problem of violence against children. These programme activities are linked to, but distinct from our efforts to ensure that we as an organisation ‘do no harm’ to children. 

Read more about our global work to protect children from violence.

Creating safe environments for children and young people

We have developed several measures and mechanisms designed to prevent risk of harm to children and young people:

Policy and guidance

We have a strong policy, related guidance and tools in place which:

  • Embrace the organisations commitment to safeguarding and respecting children and young people irrespective of age, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, race, religious or political beliefs, disability, physical or mental health, socio-economic background, or any other aspect of their background or identity. 
  • Ensure we recognise and respond to the specific safeguarding risks and needs regarding gender and other identities, and challenge biases, discrimination and other forms of violence which may arise as a result of these.
  • Ensure staff and associates work and interact safely – adopting appropriate codes of conduct – with children and young people.

Awareness and prevention 

We work on creating a culture of awareness where: 

  • All staff are aware of and understand the problem of abuse and their roles and responsibilities to prevent harm and keep children and young people safe and protected.  
  • Those associated with the organisation understand their responsibilities to prevent harm and protect children and young people. 
  • Children, young people and communities we work with are aware of the policy so they know what behaviours to expect and how to report any concerns.

Staff, associates and partner development 

We undertake capacity building programmes which ensure the socialisation of the policy, taking it from paper to practice. We ensure that staff and managers are appropriately skilled, confident and supported in meeting their gender-responsive safeguarding responsibilities. We also ensure capacity building is cascaded down to partners and associates as appropriate.

Reporting and responding 

We ensure that staff and associates are clear on what steps to take when concerns arise and that the organisation can respond effectively to these concerns.

Safe engagement and sanctions

We adopt measures and take action to prevent those who abuse or may be a risk to children and young people from becoming involved with the organisation. We take stringent measures against any staff, associate or visitor who abuse a child or young person.

We are members of the Inter-Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme which exists to stop abusers moving within and between humanitarian and development agencies. As such, we systematically check with previous employers for any findings of sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and/or sexual harassment during employment, or incidents under investigation when a potential new hire left their previous employment. As part of this scheme, we also respond systematically to such checks from others.

Managing risks to keep children and young people safe and protected

We include child and youth safeguarding in risk management to ensure that risks are identified and appropriate controls put in place.

Clear management responsibilities and designated staff

We ensure that managers and designated safeguarding focal point staff are aware of their responsibilities for creating safe environments for children and young people, implementing the policy and ensuring child protection measures are operating effectively and are clearly defined.

The boards of Plan International are ultimately accountable for the child protection policy. The prime responsibility for the implementation of the policy lies with the director of each office. Managers have very clear responsibilities for making sure that child protection measures are in place and operating effectively. Each country also has a lead child protection policy focal point who coordinates the implementation of the policy.

Mainstreaming children’s and young people’s safety through standards

We have standards in place to embed and implement safeguarding. This is one of the most important tools for creating a child and youth safe organisation. These standards: 

  • Clearly state what is expected in relation to implementing the policy.
  • Provide a benchmark and a basis for accountability.
  • Provide targets. 
  • Help minimise risks to children, young people, staff and the organisation. 

Managers are accountable for implementing the standards as they apply to their area of responsibility.

Monitoring and evaluation

We monitor the extent to which safeguarding measures are in place, evaluating their effectiveness and undertaking safeguarding reviews/audits. In addition, we undertake staff surveys to monitor attitudes towards and awareness of safeguarding children and young people.

Visible and committed leadership

The role of leaders in changing an organisation’s culture should not be underestimated. 

Our leadership is committed to role modelling our organisational values and behaviours and upholding the principles of our safeguarding commitment, ensuring the framework is effective.

However, everyone within the organisation is expected to take individual responsibility for creating positive changes for children and young people. 

Contact Plan International’s Global Head of Safeguarding Children and Young People
If you have questions or concerns about safeguarding children and young people at Plan International, contact our Director of Safeguarding Children and Young People:
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 733 346
Address: Plan International, International Headquarters, c/o Director of Safeguarding Children and Young People, Dukes Court, Block A, Duke Street, Woking, Surrey, GU21 5BH, United Kingdom


Annual Report on Safeguarding – 2021

Annual Report on Safeguarding – 2020

Annual Report on Safeguarding – 2019

Annual Report on Safeguarding – 2018

Annual Report on Safeguarding – 2017