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  1.   Who can use the toolkit?

  2.   What is the toolkit?

  3.   Why aren’t the government or larger nonprofits funding this?

  4.   Where is child abuse happening?

  5.   How come there is abuse in charities?

  6.   What can I do?

Who can use the toolkit?

Short Answer:

This free toolkit is a resource for everyone and is particularly focused on the needs of international nonprofits.

Longer Answer:

The toolkit is free for everyone and provides information useful to nonprofits, donors, volunteers, students, and the general public on keeping children safe and helping them to thrive.

The target audience is smaller nonprofits that are funded and managed from the “developed” world and have programming in the “emerging” or “developing” world. These resources are for any organization, whether the nonprofit programs focus directly on children or not. Child abuse can happen anywhere. The information is important for working with partners as well as with field offices.

What is the toolkit?

Short Answer:

The Child Protection Toolkit is an online platform of resources to assist international nonprofits in developing and strengthening child protection mechanisms

Longer Answer:

The Child Protection Toolkit is an online platform of resources that include:

  • Documents, such as templates, manuals, glossary of terms, self assessments, guidelines, and checklists

  • Training videos on child abuse, investigations, and positive discipline

  • Directories of larger nonprofits, government agencies, hotlines, and the UN, which can be of assistance.

  • Laws and protocols which form the backbone and common understanding for child protection


The materials will be provided in a variety of languages and will be adaptable to a variety of ages, situations, countries, and types of programming. Wherever possible, materials already developed by other organizations and individuals will be highlight and used or adapted. No point in recreating the wheel!

Why aren't governments or larger nonprofits funding this?

Short Answer:

The toolkit project does not fit their funding priorities at this time.

Longer Answer:

Governments, regulatory agencies, industry organizations, and large international nonprofits, such as Oxfam and Save the Children, are interested in preventing child abuse and are working to stop abuse within their organizations. While many of these organizations have been contacted and support the idea of the toolkit, the startup costs and monitoring do not fall within their rather strictly set funding parameters and priorities.

As larger organizations, their operations, contexts, missions, and contexts differ from smaller international nonprofits. Larger aid organizations are working to create safety mechanisms for themselves, but these initiatives need translating to fit smaller charities’ needs, resources, and situations. This toolkit will bring together existing relevant work, re-formulate resources to fit smaller nonprofits, and create resources that are specific to smaller charities.

Where is child abuse happening?

Short Answer:


Longer Answer:

Child Abuse is happening everywhere. Sadly, child abuse happens in the US and outside, in organizations working for good and in for profit enterprises. No organization is immune.

Child abuse is happening WITHIN organizations and OUTSIDE of organizations with children the organization is trying to help.


Abuse within organizations:

Sexual predators look for easily accessible children, where they are unlikely to be caught, face charges, or have a permanent record. Overseas charity organizations often provide these three characteristics.   In addition to sexual predators, there are sexual opportunists. They may not have intended to abuse a child but the situation was available. This can include staff or volunteers of an organization, which does not specifically work with children. For example, an organization may work on water issues, but a staff may sexually assault a child on the organization’s property, during work hours, as “payment” for services, or because of the power dynamic created as an employee of an international nonprofit.

Physical abuse can be socially acceptable, exacerbated by high stress (poverty, starvation, war, removed coping mechanisms, etc.), or learned behavior (abused as a child). International nonprofits work not only with vulnerable child but also traumatized and fragile adults. Most physical abusers do not want to hurt children, but, for one reason or another, do not have the skills and resources to deal with challenging situations. Many teachers and care-givers admit wanting effective alternative methods for disciplining children.


Abuse outside of organizations:

International nonprofits work with vulnerable, often already traumatized populations. The mission and ethos of nonprofits are to help these populations. Child abuse, like in the US, is occurring all over. Statistics show that the communities served will have abused children within them. While an organization may not have the mission or power to rectify the situation, the staff can make important contributions to assisting the child, preventing and/or de-escalating abuse, and creating safe spaces for the child to heal. This all takes training and knowledge, so as to no re-traumatize or increase abuse.

How come there is abuse in charities?

Short Answer:

Despite altruistic intensions, charities exist and operate in a flawed world.

Longer Answer:

While this is a very complex situation, a number of key issues contribute to creating a perfect space for child abuse. International charities, especially those from the US, do not have many legal requirements to operate as a charity. The US does not require any particular child protection policies, safeguards, or procedures by domestic or international nonprofits. The US government does not actively regulate general organizations that are not specifically part of the US child protective services system. While USAID, the UN, and other agencies may require safeguarding policies in order to receive funding, the vast majority of nonprofits do not receive funding from governments and are not part of aid industry bodies or coordination activities, which would provide limited assistance, education, and oversight on these issues.

Secondly, the countries within which these international nonprofits work, usually have weak governments and rule of law, and are often overwhelmed, understaffed, under-funded, and/or corrupt. These governments are happy to have outside assistance and are often not focused on creating and enforcing regulations or monitoring of child abuse in these organizations. Moreover, many charities are working outside of legal frameworks and are not even registered within the country they work. Corrupt officials and local customs enable international offenders to pay their way out of criminal proceedings or flee the country before prosecution. Additionally, international nonprofits, while not rich, are relatively so compared to the local population. Thus, there is a power inequality; local communities and governments do not want to lose the aid provided by these organizations and are keen to settle issues or look the other way for the ‘greater good’ of the community continuing to receive assistance.

Finally, international and US/UK domestic laws are being strengthened to give law enforcement agencies the ability to prosecute international crimes, but investigations are expensive, time-consuming, and difficult when dealing with international borders, jurisdiction, governments, etc. While progress is being made, legally, risk is not high for being prosecuted as an international sex offender.

What can I do?

Short Answer:

Advocate! You and your friends, as donors, can encourage your charities to re-examine and strengthen their child protection mechanisms.

Longer Answer:

While the problem is big, there are very real and concrete actions you can take to make a difference.

Educate yourself and others. By being an informed advocate you can raise awareness of donors so that organizations prioritize child protection. As a donor yourself, you can be an advocate at your charity. Talk to the organization about what mechanisms they employ and how they can find help to strengthen their child protection.

In particular sexual predators are looking for situations of easy access and low culpability. Organizations can inexpensively and effectively minimize both of these criteria and prevent sexual abuse both internationally and domestically by volunteers and staff. Organizations can also make reporting clear and easy as well as train staff to learn techniques for working with children without resorting to physical abuse. Nonprofits are their own best preventers of abuse and YOU are the children’s and organization’s best advocate and catalyst for change.

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