World Vision is committed to creating a world that is safe for children, so child protection is a top priority. Building on that foundation, World Vision seeks to empower children, families, communities and partners to prevent and respond to exploitation, neglect, abuse and other forms of violence affecting children, especially the most vulnerable.
Child Protection Work
Many children around the world do not have the protective systems and support that we universally need in order to flourish. They may be separated from their families or guardians. They often don’t have access to schools or playgroups. They often live in countries with poor welfare and health services. Even when these services do exist, they may not reach or help those children most in need.
The world’s most vulnerable children include trafficked children, orphans, child soldiers, street children, child brides, displaced children and children that are in conflict or emergency situations. Without support, these children are vulnerable to neglect or deliberate harm from others. Their physical and mental development can be threatened, or affected permanently. Child protection is about contributing to a society that helps uphold a child’s rights. It is about the sustained well-being of children within their families and communities.
World Vision’s long-term presence in thousands of communities means that everyday we are confronted with the shocking reality that hundred of millions of children experience violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect. Their rights to care and protection are ignored. We encounter tragic stories of sexual exploitation and abuse, trafficking, dangerous work, violence against children and the recruitment of child soldiers. Many traditional practices, such as early marriage, are also harmful. Children are particularly vulnerable in the face of natural disaster or human conflict. All of these threats have long-lasting effects on a child’s wellbeing.
How we protect children
Our vision is that by 2020 children in some of the world's most difficult places to grow up, will live free from exploitation and abuse, in communities where they can flourish. We provide financial and technical support for World Vision programmes that empower children to protect themselves. We also work with their families, communities and governments to strengthen the systems that protect them. The child protection system is the full protective environment around the child, consisting of laws, services, attitudes and behaviour that combined, prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence against children. Often these children are hidden away, but we support communities to identify children in vulnerable situations so they can link them to the support and protection they need.
We also advocate for the Irish government to use its influence to better protect the world’s most vulnerable children. Together with our partners, World Vision focuses on:
- preventing exploitation, harmful traditional practices and violence against children in their families and communities
- protecting children living in vulnerable situations in communities
- restoring children who have been abused, neglected or exploited
- protecting children from the impact of armed conflict
World Vision supports 12 Area Development Programmes (ADPs) across 6 countries in Africa where Child Protection is a key focus in our work, benefiting thousands of children living in the world’s hardest places.
But making positive changes in the lives of children torn apart by poverty and conflict isn’t something we can do alone.
We have achieved all this by working closely with communities to create, for example, child-friendly spaces where vulnerable children can be safe and access vital services, and by supporting child protection committees and local services to respond to the needs of the most disadvantaged children.
We also helped communities identify their main child protection threats and advocate with their government to strengthen protection systems.
Sponsor and Child security
World Vision offices around the world are actively involved in ensuring children are completely secure from fear or any potential abuse resulting from inappropriate contact by a sponsor or their person. You will notice as you proceed through our site that we release only limited information about the children. We don’t share last names, community names, or any other information that might identify the child’s location. We want you to have the opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with your sponsored child in a way that is safe, secure and fulfilling for both of you. Because of this, we ask our sponsors to abide by the following standards while participating in World Vision Child Sponsorship.
Communication – We discourage direct, unmonitored communication with your sponsored child or family without World Vision’s knowledge. This includes telephone, emails and unplanned visits to see your child.
Sharing information – We welcome you to share your sponsored child with your family and friends on social media. In order to protect their security pleased do not post your sponsored child’s last name, ID number or personal location/address.
Sharing Media – World Vision prohibits geo-tagged media that exposes a child’s precise location and wherever possible, measures should be take to prevent electronic copying of photographs and videos.
Your security – Your privacy and security are equally important to use and sponsored children and families are discouraged from contacting you without World Vision’s knowledge as well. This is to protect you from being solicited to meet needs beyond your commitment as a sponsor. If you are contacted, please report this immediately to World Vision.
We take potential misuse of child photographs on the web very seriously. Children and their families must be assured that World Vision is protecting the integrity of the information about themselves that they’ve given us, including photographs. When sharing your child’s photo or video please take measures to prevent others downloading, copying, or replicating the information. Child profiles are presented for the purpose of conveying appropriate information about the sponsorship relationship and are not for wider distribution (other than the sponsor child’s photo)
The lives of children, their families and members of their community should be represented with accuracy and dignity. We consider the children we work with as our partners, working with us to help bring holistic transformation to communities living in poverty. We seek the full, informed consent of parents, guardians and or community leaders for a child’s participation in our child sponsorship programs.
Child Protection Policy
World Vision was born out of the Korean War in 1950 to assist the children who were innocently caught up in this conflict. Today it has blossomed into one of the major relief and development agencies committed to the service and the rights of the child in all aspects in keeping with the charisma of its founder.
World Vision Ireland is vehemently opposed to any form of exploitation or abuse of children or their families. Such practices are morally unacceptable, totally incompatible and inconsistent with the aspirations of the organisation. More often than not, exploitation of children is irreversibly detrimental to them, their families and communities at large.
To remain faithful to the hopes and aspiration for a safer and loving world where children can realise their potentialities, World Vision Ireland from time to time reviews its methods of operation and practices to meet the challenge of the day. In this context, in consistent with the World Vision Partnership, World Vision Ireland is reviewing and formulating procedures and guidelines with a specific reference to the exploitation of children. Their primary objective is to protect children supported through the office of World Vision Ireland. These practices are to ensure that no individual may gain access to children via World Vision Ireland for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The guidelines in consequence will also protect the visiting individual, the image and the reputation of the organisation.
This policy document, which contains guidelines in three categories, is solely for the purpose of use within World Vision Ireland. It is not expected to be regarded as a legal document; nevertheless, it is consistent and compatible with the legal framework of the Republic of Ireland. It is important to keep in mind that legal definitions and practices may vary among nation states and as such a policy of a non-state body, as in this case, has to be congruent with the legal structures and practices of that nation state.
The three categories of guidelines which are (a) on recruitment and training of paid staff and volunteers, (b) on procedures for reporting suspected or actual abuse of sponsored children, and (c) guidelines for advertising and communications are consistent with the legal base and relevant practices of respective government departments.
The guidelines are followed by some explanatory notes and tables which may be helpful in understanding practical aspects and implications of this policy.