One of Chance for Childhood’s specific reasons to exist is to ensure the protection and safety of some of the world’s most forgotten children. We strongly believe that the sexual exploitation and abuse of children under any circumstances is unacceptable.
We cannot be naïve in our approach to addressing such a huge issue and we require strong and robust systems and actions to ensure that our Child Protection Standards are robust and fully engrained across our organisation and work. We cannot fail at this task and thus place it at the forefront of our agenda.
As Chance for Childhood’s CEO, I will continue to ensure that I do everything possible to improve our systems so that children are protected from any form of abuse and sexual exploitation and that any cases are reported safely and confidentially by the victims.
In practical terms, we have recently invested significant time and resources into Child Protection, especially looking critically at our risk assessments and clarifying clear reporting channels and pathways in all our countries of operation. We assign a Child Protection Focal Point in each of our projects. Training on Child Safeguarding and Protection is also mandatory for all staff, either based in the UK or in Africa.
Child protection issues are at the very heart of what we try to achieve. For instance, we work with justice systems around the world to improve the standards of protection systems and address deeply rooted issues which can lead to vulnerable children being put in even greater risk. We fight to prevent children being arrested for petty crimes being thrown in dirty, overcrowded adult jails, where sexual abuse and exploitation are rife. Only by ensuring that the stakeholders involved, both within the public and private sectors, are held accountable to zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, can we truly address issues which ultimately put these children in danger of abuse and harm.
It is essential that we are transparent and accountable, both to the communities where we work and to inspire confidence in those who so generously support our work with the most vulnerable children. When it comes to the protection of children, we are determined to act. There is no room for complacency.