Donkeys and child safeguarding

Keeping Children Safe (KCS) is happy to announce that The Donkey Sanctuary, one of the largest equine charities in the world, has been awarded KCS Level 1 Certification. This follows a rigorous audit of the charity’s safeguarding policy, and procedures, for children and vulnerable adults, both in the United Kingdom and abroad. 

Founded by Dr. Elisabeth Svendsen, MBE, when she bought her first donkey, Naughty Face, in 1969, The Donkey Sanctuary has grown from a charity rescuing UK donkeys from neglect and abuse to an international animal welfare organisation transforming the lives of millions of donkeys and mules, and the people who depend on them for their livelihood. Today, The Donkey Sanctuary has 10 sanctuaries around the UK and Europe, giving lifelong care to over 7,000 donkeys and mules, and reaches approximately 1.8 million donkeys and mules through its work in 35 countries worldwide.

When asked what the connection with safeguarding and donkeys is, Helen Wilson, the organisation’s global safeguarding manager, replied, “In most of the world, donkeys are used by some of the most vulnerable people.”

The sanctuary also has a donkey-facilitated learning programme that works with children and vulnerable adults. Historically, explained Wilson, the programme worked with children with hearing impairments. But the programme has been expanded to include adults with addictions, adults who have been trafficked, as well as veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Thousands of people, including countless children, have visited the sanctuary at Slade House Farm in Sidmouth, Devon, England, where they can spend time with some of the rescued donkeys and enjoy a nice meal at the restaurant.

It was helpful to have an external quality assurance,” said Wilson, “about KCS’s rigorous safeguarding audit which led to The Donkey Sanctuary being awarded Level 1 Certification. The report cited the organisation’s “excellent examples of good practice in terms of a Safeguarding policy, procedures, Whistleblowing and Governance and Accountability.”

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