Independent Special Commission completes final report
Two years ago, SOS Children’s Villages was deeply saddened to learn that there have been instances where we have failed to keep people safe. We apologized for the harm caused to those affected by past abuse, and we apologize again today. We continue to urge anyone with knowledge of wrongdoing to come forward. We have been listening to, and taking action on, their allegations, and we remain focused on supporting the victims/survivors.
SOS Children’s Villages does not tolerate abuse or violence against children and adults participating in our programs or against the people who work for our organization.
We developed a four-year, 24-point Safeguarding Action Plan, one part of which was to establish an external Independent Special Commission to give us an impartial, expert view. The commission reviewed our policies, investigated past safeguarding cases, and has now provided us with their final report, which includes specific recommendations for how we must improve.
We are pleased that the commission recognized the progress we have been making in the past two years. We have put in place a global ombudsperson system to represent the needs of children and young people and provided integral, individualized support to victims/survivors. We have adopted stronger policies such as a new Code of Conduct and Child and Youth Safeguarding Policy, and increased awareness of safeguarding risks across all our areas of work.
The commission also concluded that significant work remains to complete the necessary transformation, including improving human resources standards, conducting leadership audits at all levels, strengthening governance structures, and ensuring we meet our duty of care to child and youth care practitioners. Plus following up on the commission’s investigation reports and holding individuals, including leaders, accountable.
We thank the commission for their work and most importantly, we thank all those who came forward and gave evidence to the commission. We will do everything possible to do right by them, so that SOS Children’s Villages delivers on our mission to ensure children and young people grow up with the support and relationships they need to become their strongest selves.
Read the full statement from the Executive Board of SOS Children's Villages International and hear from our International CEO, Ingrid Johansen, on the SOS International website.