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Keeping Children Safe

At Plan International, we are deeply committed to realising children’s rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – including their rights to protection and freedom from abuse and exploitation. This also means holding ourselves to account in ensuring that no child is harmed or placed at risk of harm as a result of their association with us.

As an agency working with children, we take our responsibility to ‘do no harm’ very seriously.

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

Taking the lead on keeping children safe

In recognition of our commitment to child protection, Plan International has become the first NGO in the development sector to be awarded Level 1 certification for safeguarding children. This follows an independent assessment by the Keeping Children Safe coalition, which sets industry standards in child safeguarding. This certification positions Plan International as an industry leader in child safeguarding.

Keeping Children Safe described Plan International as being “at the forefront of child safeguarding”, not only meeting but exceeding the requirements for Level 1 certification. The coalition assessed our framework for implementing our child protection policy, finding the framework to be robust and ensuring that we put children’s safety at the heart of everything we do.

Our child protection implementation framework

We hold ourselves accountable to children
Plan International has a clear and unequivocal child protection policy, Say Yes! to Keeping Children Safe, that aims to make sure no child 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 report any concerns about a child’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 child protection programme work.

Creating safe environments for children
We have developed several measures and mechanisms designed to prevent risk of harm to children:

1.  Policy and guidance: We have in place a strong child protection policy and associated procedures and guidance. This includes guidelines on the behaviour that staff and those associated with Plan International should adopt when interacting with children, how to report and deal with breaches of the child protection policy and standards for implementation, which we use to measure how well the policy is being put into practice.

2.  Awareness and prevention: We work on creating a culture of awareness where:

  • everyone within Plan International is aware of and understands the problem of child abuse, what is expected from their behaviour with children, and their responsibilities to prevent harm and protect children
  • those associated with Plan International understand their responsibilities to prevent harm and protect children
  • children and communities we work with are aware of our policy, so that they know what behaviours to expect from us and how to report any concerns.

3.  Reporting and responding: We ensure that our staff and associates are clear on what to do if they are concerned about a child’s welfare, and that Plan International can respond effectively to these concerns.

4.  Staff and partner development: We provide comprehensive in-house training to ensure that our staff and managers are appropriately skilled, confident and supported in meeting their child protection responsibilities. This training is also delivered to partner organisations and other associates as appropriate.

5.  Child protection in risk management: We include child protection in risk management, ensuring that child protection risks are identified and controls put in place.

6.  Monitoring, reporting and accountability: We monitor the extent to which child protection measures are in place, evaluating their effectiveness through annual checks across the organisation and undertake child protection audits in countries.

7.  Clear responsibilities and designated staff: 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.

8.  Safe engagement and sanctions: We take action to prevent those who abuse or may be a risk to children from becoming involved with Plan International, and take stringent measures against any staff, associates or visitors who abuse a child.

Contact Plan International’s Head of Child Protection Policy
If you have questions or concerns about child protection at Plan International, contact our Head of Child Protection Policy:
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 733 346
Address: Plan International, International Headquarters, c/o Head of Child Protection Policy, Dukes Court, Block A, Duke Street, Woking, Surrey, GU21 5BH, United Kingdom

Plan International is a member of the Keeping Children Safe coalition