What is the practice and why is it exemplary?
All of the information about SOS’ various feedback mechanisms is easily accessible on their website. The mechanism for safeguarding concerns is particularly accessible. It is available in six languages and has a separate submission form aimed at children, which uses language that speaks directly to them, provides examples of what kind of behaviour to report and explains how to submit anonymous reports.
SOS is working to improve its mechanisms, with the Secretariat and six Member Associations (MAs) piloting procedures set out in a working document on feedback and complaints. Learnings from the pilots were used to update SOS’ mechanisms.
We also commend SOS on providing an overview of reported incidents in its 2017 accountability report, with a particularly comprehensive overview of critical staff-to-child abuse incidents. We welcome SOS’ openness in reporting these incidents, and the recognition that underreporting is a problem in cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. Various measures to reduce the risk of child abuse are outlined, and the need to widen the safeguarding approach to include adults is also flagged.
How to further strengthen it?
With these commendable practices in place, SOS now needs to focus on rolling out these mechanisms fully amongst its Member Associations (MAs). We are pleased to note that each MA is currently required, at a minimum, to define contact points for stakeholders to provide feedback, establish a dedicated email address, and develop child- and youth-friendly mechanisms to gather feedback at the programme level.