22 November 2018
We are committed to following the example of Jesus, and so treating all people with care and respect has been at the core of Tearfund’s work since we started in 1968. We remain wholly committed to the safeguarding and protection of the people we work with in communities around the world, as well as all Tearfund staff, volunteers, representatives and partner staff.
Here are just some of the actions we’ve taken in recent months, to make sure we’re working to the highest standards:
- To enable our employees to quickly spot if something is wrong, and know exactly what to do if they have concerns, we completed mandatory staff training to deepen safeguarding knowledge and expertise across the organisation.
- We appointed a new Safeguarding Advisor, to provide one point of contact for staff on this crucial issue and keep Tearfund in-line with current best practice.
- In October, Tearfund joined with others at a conference run by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID). We were asked to share our experiences of including survivors’ voices as part of safeguarding discussions.
- Together with BOND, a UK network for agencies working in development, we’re continually looking at how we can improve what we do as well as sharing learning with others.
As we continue to tackle poverty around the world, following Jesus where the need is greatest, we will keep on doing all we can to protect those we work with. We commit to keeping you up to date with our progress and invite you to lift up this important work in your prayers. Thank you.
5 May 2018
A news article has been published today in the Scottish edition of The Times, covering a historical safeguarding incident that took place in a project in Malawi in July 2009. Tearfund is deeply saddened by the incident.
The project was run by a partner organisation Tearfund was working with at the time and was partially funded by a grant from the Scottish Government.
The incident involved an employee of the partner organisation who abused a 16 year old girl within that organisation’s care. When a Tearfund staff member in Malawi was notified of the allegation of abuse, even though the allegation did not involve a Tearfund staff member, we ensured our safeguarding procedures we had at the time were followed. A Tearfund Child Protection Officer also intervened to ensure that swift and appropriate action was taken.
This included providing care for the individual who was harmed, and the partner organisation launching an investigation. The individual was provided counselling and moved away from the project. The incident was reported to the Malawi Police, and the partner organisation dismissed their staff member. Tearfund ceased working with this partner organisation in 2010.
We remain committed to the safeguarding and protection of everyone we work with, including beneficiaries, volunteers, Tearfund staff and the staff of partner organisations.
20 April 2018
We remain deeply saddened and distressed by the devastating news of safeguarding and misconduct cases in the international development sector. Sadly even as a Christian organisation we are not immune, but our solemn commitment is to investigate and deal with all such incidents appropriately. Since the beginning of the year we have carried out a ten year review to ensure this has happened. At the same time we are increasing our investment into safeguarding to better protect all those we and our partners work with.
19 March 2018
Tearfund is committed to the highest standards of safeguarding. We are joining together with other NGOs to ensure we are all working to improve the effectiveness of our safeguarding. You can read more about this here.
As a matter of course, Tearfund's safeguarding and whistleblowing policies are reviewed every three years and are updated accordingly.
We constantly seek to understand and model best practice in global standards for safeguarding and whistleblowing. Our Safeguarding policy has recently been reviewed and re-approved by our Board of Trustees in February 2018 as part of our regular three year review cycle. We have taken this opportunity to carefully scrutinise our safeguarding and whistleblowing policies and ensure we are maintaining the highest standards.
We have challenged ourselves to consider how we can improve the application of our policies in practice. Consequently, Tearfund’s leadership have agreed:
- We are providing refresher safeguarding and whistleblowing training for all staff, volunteers and all representatives. We are also setting up a programme to develop the capacity of our partner staff.
- We are ensuring all new staff, volunteers and representatives receive safeguarding training as part of their induction and that refresher training is provided a minimum of every three years.
- We have set up an independently-administered whistleblowing 24/7 hotline called ‘Safecall’ that anyone - Tearfund staff, volunteers and partner staff - can call to report potential incidents of misconduct and safeguarding concerns. The contact details (email and telephone) were made available on Tearfund’s website on 5th March 2018. We are in the process of making these details available to all partners in their national languages. The link to Safecall can be found on the ‘Reporting Concerns’ page.
- We have an ongoing programme of development to strengthen our expertise in dealing with any safeguarding incidents that may arise.
- We are actively participating in sector-wide meetings and initiatives to improve safeguarding standards across the whole aid and development sector.
- We are preparing for external audit and certification by the end of 2018 by an external organisation that specialises in safeguarding for the aid and development sector.