The safeguarding standards

The first International Child Safeguarding Standards were launched in 2001 by a coalition of relief and international development agencies that later became known as Keeping Children Safe. The Standards represent a commitment by those working with and for children to ensure that their organisations ‘do no harm’ and that they meet the responsibilities set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect children from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the independent expert for the UN study on violence against children, acknowledged the importance of the KCS standards stating that ‘they offer an excellent opportunity not only for the improvement of the quality and professionalism of those working with children but most importantly, it will help to achieve a greater impact for children.’

Since the standards were first published, tens of thousands of organisations and professionals worldwide have implemented them. The increasing incidence of this reflects growing recognition by organisations that they have a responsibility, in all of their work, to keep children safe.

What are the standards?

The four globally recognised Keeping Children Safe standards are now used widely, in all sectors, to ensure best practice in child safeguarding, as well as better accountability to those who are using or benefiting from the services of an organisation. Each standard outlines the key elements that should be put in place to keep children safe and lists the requirements needed to meet these standards.

The  International Child Safeguarding Standards

Standard 1: Policy

The development of a policy that describes how an organisation is committed to preventing harm to children, outlining the steps that must be taken should an incident occur.

Standard 2: People

The identification of clear responsibilities and expectations for all staff and associates, supporting them to understand and act accordingly.

Standard 3: Procedures

The creation of a child-safe environment by implementing high-quality safeguarding procedures that are applied in all programmes and activities.

Standard 4: Accountability

The regular monitoring and review of an organisation’s safeguarding measures.

General principles

The standards are based on the following set of principles:

  • All children have equal rights to protection from harm
  • Everyone has a responsibility to support the protection of children
  • Organisations have a duty of care to the children with whom they work, are in contact with, or who are affected by their activities and operations
  • If organisations work with partners they have a responsibility to help them to meet minimum requirements on child protection
  • All actions on child safeguarding are taken in the best interests of the child, which are paramount


For more details you can download PDF copies of the KCS Child Safeguarding Standards, which includes useful guidance notes, benchmarking tools and will help to evaluate risks.

We are here to help

KCS can take you through all the steps needed to ensure that your organisation meets these International Child Safeguarding Standards. From your initial self-assessment, providing expertise and high-quality audits, to achieving KCS certification, we help organisations of all types and sizes to raise their understanding of how to safeguard children.

To find out if your organisation is doing all it can to keep children safe, start by using our free self-assessment tool that will help you to discover your strengths and weaknesses.

Or, for more advice and information on how we can help you, please do get in touch with our team today.

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