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Our approach to safeguarding

Our approach to safeguarding

Tanya Barron, Plan International UK’s former CEO, shares a message to our supporters on our commitment to safeguarding, and protecting children and vulnerable people.

Like you, I have been deeply shocked and saddened by recent revelations about misconduct by staff working for aid and development agencies.

I want to reassure you that, as Chief Executive of Plan International UK, I am absolutely committed to preventing and rooting out such behaviour.

Achieving equality for girls and women

As you know, Plan International’s mission has gender equality at its core. With your support, we fight for girls and women to be treated as equals.

The abuses we have seen recently are fundamentally about an imbalance of power – between rich and poor, and between men and women.

Our staff across the globe are dedicated to tackling these very challenges. Precisely because of this focus of our work, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of safeguarding and protection.

Sadly, as an aid community, we are not immune from the utterly unacceptable actions of a small number of those who work for and with us.

From 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, Plan International had six confirmed cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of children by staff, volunteers or partner organisations. One involved a Plan International staff member and the other five were volunteers or partner organisations.

None of the cases involved any Plan International UK staff or any British citizens.

The staff member was dismissed without a reference and contracts of volunteers or partner organisations were terminated. Five out of the total six cases were of a criminal nature and were reported to the local authorities.

In all cases we linked victims and families with local support networks.

We assist affected children and families by providing support which is sensitive to their needs and circumstances. For example, where appropriate, this includes linking victims and their families with services to provide medical, psychosocial and other support.

None of the cases involved any Plan International UK staff or any British citizens.

In the same period, there were nine confirmed incidents of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct by staff against other adults. This resulted in seven dismissals. The other two staff, whose misconduct constituted use of inappropriate language, were given a warning.

None of the cases involved any Plan International UK staff or any British citizens.

Our ongoing approach to safeguarding

My job – our job – is to protect children and vulnerable people. We do so in extremely challenging circumstances.

The painful but important truth to acknowledge is that sometimes things can go wrong. When they do, we are deeply sorry.

We are fully committed to efforts among NGOs, government and the United Nations to make sure we do everything within our power to stop abuse, including strengthening our approaches to safeguarding and HR, and creating a culture that encourages staff to speak out.

We will actively participate in the UK Government’s upcoming Safeguarding Summit.

Thank you for your ongoing support. With our dedicated supporters and partners, we will continue with resolve and humility to do our very best for some of the world’s most vulnerable girls and boys.


If you'd like to speak to our Supporter Care team about our approach to safeguarding and protection, please call 0300 777 9779 or email

This blog was last updated at 10:30am on 24 February 2018.

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