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Safeguarding 101: Why it’s critical to keeping kids safe

22nd October 2020

Whether you’re a parent, leader of a youth-focused organization, or coach of a youth sports team, you should know what safeguarding is and why it’s critical to keeping kids safe.

Every child, adolescent, and young person deserves to be safe, protected, and thriving, but tragically, the data shows that this often isn’t the case. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Safeguarding is critical

In 2019, in partnership with The Equality Institute and the Oak Foundation, we undertook a systematic review of proven solutions and best practices to prevent and respond to sexual violence against children and youth.

What Works to Prevent Sexual Violence Against Children demonstrates that one of the critical, cost-effective, and evidence-based strategies that needs to be implemented is safeguarding. Safeguarding is the process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they grow up with safe and effective care that enables them to have optimum life chances to enter adulthood successfully. Safeguarding within child and youth-serving organizations can include various policies, procedures, and practices that organizations can implement to both prevent child sexual abuse from happening and to ensure a swift response when abuse is reported or identified.

Safeguarding is critical because children who spend time with any youth-serving organization are vulnerable to sexual violence. Whether it’s a school sports team, an international NGO, or a religious group, any organization working with and for children needs to be equipped to protect children from all forms of child sexual exploitation and abuse. One such organization that Together for Girls is proud to partner with is the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, which requires that each of their members have a robust child safeguarding policy in place to guide their work. They also work with their grantees and partners to assess their current safeguarding practices and build on areas of weakness. These practices are crucial in creating and promoting child-safe organizations.

Dr. Daniela Ligiero, Together for Girls Executive Director and CEO, recently spoke at the Keeping Children Safe Summit along with global child safeguarding practitioners, academics, and experts, on the importance of child safeguarding and what works to end sexual violence against children.

What Works cover

“We need to work together.... to make sure that protecting children is required, that it is non-negotiable, and that it is standard practice.”

Daniela LigieroChief Executive Officer & President, Together for Girls

Take action now

There are actions we can all take right now to protect children. What youth-focused organizations do you know? Reach out to them and find out what their safeguarding policy is. If they don’t have one, consider helping them come up with one. Hold them accountable to put policies and practices in place to keep kids safe.

We know that violence against children is prevalent, but we also know that it does not have to be this way. By working together to ensure that all youth-serving organizations have effective child safeguarding policies and procedures in place, we can make tremendous strides to end violence against children.

Learn more about solutions to end violence against children.

To help ensure children are safe during COVID-19 and beyond, visit keep-kids-safe.org.

To gain a better understanding of how your organization’s child safeguarding is doing, take this self-assessment.

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