Tearfund’s commitment to keeping people safe

Tearfund works around the world to see people freed from poverty, living transformed lives, and reaching their God-given potential. We focus on reaching the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world. We are deeply committed to building a world where healthy relationships are restored; a world where violence, harassment and abuse is never tolerated.

Tearfund is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all our beneficiaries, partners, volunteers and staff, with a particular emphasis on our beneficiaries, who are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. We believe this is an important part of our calling as Christians and we expect to be held accountable for our actions.

We are deeply saddened and disturbed to learn of the abuse that has taken place within the international development sector and we stand with others in condemning these events. Abuse, harassment and violence should never be tolerated. We make our safeguarding, whistleblowing and personal conduct policies clear to all our staff, volunteers, partners and other representatives.

In 2017, Tearfund had more than 1,000 salaried staff working in nearly 50 countries in many of the most dangerous, hard to reach and isolated parts of the world. They work alongside 350 local partner organisations working on our behalf, who employ approximately 14,000 staff in total. We also arranged for 284 people to work overseas as volunteers.

Whilst we strive to apply our safeguarding and personal conduct policies as comprehensively as possible right across this international network, sadly we wouldn't be able to claim that there has never been any instance of misconduct or abuse at Tearfund or within the broader network of our partners and representatives.

We can guarantee that every incident that we have been made aware of either has been fully investigated and dealt with or is currently being investigated. We have disclosed all cases to the Charity Commission in accordance with their guidelines. Every incident that is reported is taken very seriously and investigated by a senior staff member responsible for safeguarding. We commit to dealing with them swiftly and robustly.

We recognise that our approach of working with many small local partner organisations and volunteers creates a complex network and our systems for reporting incidents will not always function perfectly. We are committed to promoting a culture within Tearfund where people can bring forward any concerns and we are actively encouraging staff to reflect and share any historical information that they may now recognise as potential misconduct. We are fortunate to have committed and passionate staff who care deeply about the well-being of the communities we serve and their colleagues.

Tearfund is open to constructive criticism and committed to building and strengthening our current global approaches to safeguarding. We will do whatever is necessary to give victims a voice and a safe place to report abuse. We are committed to investigating allegations, supporting victims and ensuring perpetrators are disciplined and referred to the relevant authorities.

We actively seek feedback from our partners and beneficiaries and make every effort to ensure there is an open and equal partnership between all those involved in the fight against poverty. We have respect, a deep concern and duty of care for every individual we work with. If we ever discover that trust is broken we will deal with it robustly and swiftly.

Nigel Harris
Nigel became Tearfund’s chief executive in November 2015. He is married to Teresa, they have two children, both students and is an active member of St Michael's Church, Southfields, London.