We must do whatever we can to keep those who are affected by our work safe, and protect them from all forms of violence, injury, exploitation, abuse, neglect, mistreatment or sexual abuse. We must also respond appropriately to any safeguarding concerns within our organisation, our partners, or the communities where we work.
Our safeguarding work focuses on children and ‘adults at risk’: someone aged 18 or over who has care and support needs because of their age or frailty, gender, mental or physical health problems, learning or physical disabilities or the impact of disasters and conflicts. As a result, they may be unable to protect themselves from harm, exploitation or abuse.
Our safeguarding policy was first published in April 2017, and ensures we adhere to the principles of safeguarding set out by the UK Care Act (2014):
Our video below outlines Sightsavers’ approach to safeguarding, and provides clear guidance on how to create safe environments and raise any concerns.
Our Speak Up reporting platform enables beneficiaries, staff, volunteers, partners and more to raise concerns about the conduct of Sightsavers and its staff.Visit the Speak Up page
Recent research on child protection and disability carried out by humanitarian organisation Plan International found that children with disabilities experience far higher levels of abuse than their peers.
We have a specific mandate to protect and promote the rights of people with visual impairments and other disabilities. In recognition of this, our policy outlines a broad child safeguarding approach, but also includes specific actions focused on people with disabilities.
Our policy covers seven areas of focus:
All Sightsavers representatives, including staff, volunteers and external consultants are required to understand their responsibility to keep children and adults safe, and to sign and abide by the Sightsavers Code of Conduct.
In the IDDC’s inclusive safeguarding statement (pdf), we outline our position on disability-inclusive safeguarding to support others working in the development sector. This statement can also be used as an advocacy tool to demand meaningful disability-inclusive safeguarding.
In line with our commitment to safe programming and recruitment, Sightsavers participates in the inter-agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme, which is administered by the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response.
Sightsavers supports this online hub, funded by the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, which hosts free guidance, tools and research to help aid organisations improve their safeguarding practices.Read the news story