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 organizations ‘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 organizations and professionals worldwide have implemented them. The increasing incidence of this reflects growing recognition by organizations that they have a responsibility, in all of their work, to keep children safe.

What are the standards?

The four globally recognized Keeping Children Safe standards are now used widely, in all sectors, to ensure best practices in child safeguarding, as well as better accountability to those who are using or benefiting from the services of an organization. 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 organization 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 programs and activities.

Standard 4: Accountability

The regular monitoring and review of an organization’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
  • Organizations 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 for 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 International Child Safeguarding Standards, which include useful guidance notes, benchmarking tools and will help to evaluate risks.

Help us keep children safe

Be part of the solution by making a generous donation to Keeping Children Safe USA, contributions to which are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Stay up to date

Join child safeguarding practitioners from around the world to receive news and updates about our online courses, workshops, conferences, and special announcements.

By signing up for our newsletter, you agree for KCS to use your data in accordance with the applicable Data Protection Law. View our Privacy Policy.