ERI Safeguarding Policy: Children and Vulnerable Persons




ERI Safeguarding Officer is Br Brian Bond (

Edmund Rice International (ERI) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) granted ECOSOC status at the UN in 2012, and committed to working at the local and international level for children, young people and those marginalised because of poverty, lack of access to education, legal status, environmental degradation, amongst others.

Edmund Rice International is inspired by the Christian message, shares in the Gospel values of the Catholic tradition, and appreciates each person as being a child of God, with the intrinsic dignity and worth of this state.

Scope of Policy: This policy and appendices details the standards to which Edmund Rice International (ERI) operates in relation to raising awareness, to prevention, reporting and responding to harm or abuse suspected or known of all personnel, beneficiaries and associates especially children and vulnerable persons. This Policy focuses on the unique vulnerabilities and special protection requirements for children and vulnerable persons.

ERI is committed to creating an environment where potential risks are identified, considered, and minimized and there are clear responsibilities and easily accessible processes and procedures to ensure this in all areas of our ministry.

This Policy is underpinned by the Human and Child Rights UN (United Nations) Charters, Conventions and Declarations, principally the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 (UNCRC) and its Optional Protocols, relevant Canonical laws and regulations as well as relevant Swiss and national laws and statutory requirements where ERI and its partners has a presence.


Edmund Rice International’s advocacy and training programmes primarily involve engagement with adults from the Edmund Rice and partner networks. However, sometimes its advocacy and training activities in Geneva, New York, in-country and online may bring its’ personnel in contact with children and vulnerable persons and those responsible for their care. In these cases, Edmund Rice International shares responsibility with parents and carers for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the children and vulnerable persons engaging with ERI activities. ERI Personnel commit themselves to:

  • Respecting children and vulnerable persons in all aspects of Edmund Rice International activities, and recognizing that certain children and persons are more vulnerable to abuse and discrimination because of, amongst others, their ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
  • Developing healthy working relationships that respect professional boundaries, including appropriate language, behaviour and work environments.
  • Enshrining children and vulnerable persons’ rights in policies, training of personnel, and activities.
  • Developing safe and healthy environments and systems for the children and vulnerable persons that engage with Edmund Rice International.
  • Consulting with children and vulnerable persons in all aspects of activities that involve children and vulnerable persons.
  • Ensuring children and vulnerable persons’ participation, in appropriate ways, in decision-making about advocacy and sustainability projects that involve children and vulnerable persons.
  • Avoiding violence, sexual contacts, neglect, discrimination, and exploitation in their relationships with children and vulnerable persons.
  • Prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable persons in situations where allegations or accusations are made against Edmund Rice International personnel or to them, about a third party.
  • Working cooperatively with agencies concerned with the welfare and protection of children and vulnerable persons.
  • Responding justly and compassionately to those who have suffered abuse by Edmund Rice International personnel.


  • Edmund Rice International is committed to implementing, monitoring and reviewing this policy and procedures annually and formally evaluating it every three years.
  • The Safeguarding Policy applies to all Edmund Rice International personnel and their partners.
  • The ultimate responsibility for safeguarding and ensuring the safety of children and vulnerable persons engaging with ERI rests with the ERI Board
  • ERI Safeguarding Unit: The Board Chair is the overall Safeguarding Lead for ERI. The ERI Board will appoint a Board Member to be the designated Board Safeguarding Representative and the Executive Director to be the Project Safeguarding Officer.

ERI Safeguarding Unit

ERI Safeguarding Lead (Board Chair) Mr. Philip Glendenning
M: +61 419 013 758

ERI Project Safeguarding Officer (PSO) Brian Bond cfc
Executive Director of ERI
Rue de Vermont 37

1211 Genève 20
T: +41 22 779 4011
M: +33 6 88 52 59 00

ERI Board Safeguarding Officer (BSO) Philip Ryan cfc
M: +353 87 345 3632

  • Safeguarding is a standard agenda item on all ERI Board and Team meetings, where progress and performance on safeguarding is discussed and information on current safeguarding issues and protection cases is shared.
  • The Board Risk subcommittee includes responsibility for safeguarding.
  • The ERI Board conducts a safeguarding monitoring visit annually. The report is recorded in the ERI Safeguarding Monitoring Template based on the ERD template

(Appendix 1).

  • Documentary evidence of safeguarding processes is maintained securely by the ERI

Project Safeguarding Officer and available for verification. This includes, amongst others:
– Reviews of policy and procedures
– Project personnel and visitor declarations

– Monitoring reports
– Induction and training of personnel – Meeting minutes
– Reports or complaints
– Investigations


ERI is committed to safeguard and protect all persons, in particular children and vulnerable persons, ensuring zero tolerance to any misuse of power, status, or trusted position for any sexual or other exploitative purposes by acting in the following key areas:

A. Raising Awareness
B. Prevention of a Safeguarding Incident
C. Reporting of a Safeguarding Incident
D. Acting on a Safeguarding Incident report

A. Raising Awareness:

A.1 All ERI Personnel will be trained to understand their safeguarding responsibilities and obligations as set out in this Policy and will receive mandatory safeguarding training for at least three hours within the first six months of their association with ERI, with periodic refresher training at least once every two years.

A.2 All ERI Personnel will acknowledge in writing (Appendix 2) the receipt, acceptance and understanding of:

• The Safeguarding Policy.
• The Safeguarding Behaviour Protocols post refresher training (Appendix 3) • The Social Media Protocols post refresher training, and

• The obligation to report, if they become aware, of any harm or risk to beneficiaries, to the ERI Project Safeguarding Officer, immediately and in any event within 24 hours;

All signed acknowledgements will be kept on file by the ERI Project Safeguarding Officer.

A.3 The Safeguarding Policy will be publicized on the ERI website and explained to all relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries, including children, vulnerable persons and their carers’. Easily understood and child friendly safeguarding posters and awareness materials with contact details of the ERI Project Safeguarding officer will be displayed for all ERI activities involving children.

B. Prevention of a Safeguarding Incident – All ERI personnel are are expected to conduct themselves with dignity and respect towards one another, the children, vulnerable persons and the community they engage with, to ensure compliance with child protection measures, to ensure full disclosure and to maintain the professional standing of ERI. Towards this:

B.1 Job adverts, interviews and contracts are to all state ERI’s commitment to safeguarding.The Safe Recruitment Checklist based on ERI’s Safe Recruitment Policy is to be followed (Appendix 4)

B.2 Background recruitment checks are to be conducted for all members of the Board, ERI Team, Interns and Volunteers. References, which include specific questions on safeguarding, are to be checked and documented for all ERI personnel.

B.3 Social Media Safeguarding: ERI will use social media to share and communicate information, comments, messages, images, video and other content related to its activities. ERI is committed to ensuring that these online experiences for all persons, especially children and vulnerable persons, are safe and positive and are undertaken with sensitivity to safeguard

each person’s right to dignity, privacy, and confidentiality.

ERI’s Social Media Safeguarding Protocols (Appendix 5) sets out the principles to regulate:

  • Online communication between different stakeholders, use of personal information,

promotion of the organization and rules regarding the use of social media

  • Personal use of social media by ERI personnel
  • the use of images of children and vulnerable persons

While images can be an important element in portraying ERI’s work to the general public and other stakeholders as well as for raising funds, ERI will strive to maintain the dignity of every person and will not use images without consent or those that are disrespectful or demeaning.

The ERI Board will review and update its social media safeguarding protocols when the policy is reviewed.

C. Reporting of a Safeguarding Incident – All ERI Personnel are made aware of their individual responsibility to uphold this Policy and report any Safeguarding Incident.

C.1. Obligation to report: All personnel under the scope of the Edmund Rice International Safeguarding Policy are obliged to report any suspicions or evidence of abuse to the ERI Project Safeguarding Officer (PSO) immediately and in any event within 24 hours.
(Appendix 6)

C.2 In the event of an issue being reported to the safeguarding officer in Geneva, the matter will be referred to the Département de l’instruction publique, de la formation et de la jeunesse (DIP). Direction du Service de protection des mineurs.

C.3 Compliance Procedures: If Edmund Rice International receive allegations or accusations concerning a child or vulnerable person that they are responsible for, they commit to:

  • Prompt and effective following of the relevant protocols applying in that particular country and in that ecclesiastical administrative unit. (Appendix 7)
  • Prompt and effective following of the relevant protocols applying in their own congregation, their home province, their province of residence, and the provinces where the allegation is made and the alleged offence occurred.
  • Confidentiality, as appropriate, to protect the privacy of the individuals concerned.

If there is conflict between different laws, standards or policies within a particular site, Edmund Rice International personnel are committed to:

• Basing their conduct on the principles and code of the Safeguarding Policy.
• Seeking legal and canonical advice, where appropriate, on resolving the conflict.
• Respecting State laws over Church or other faith-based laws, standards and policies.

C.4 Reporting Procedures: There are clear procedures in place (Appendix 8) that provide step- by-step guidance on how ERI personnel can report safely and how confidentiality must be maintained.

C.5 Disciplinary Action: ERI personnel are aware that failure to report, failure to respect confidentiality and any retaliation or discrimination against personnel who report, will be addressed under ERI’s disciplinary policy and procedures.

C.6 Documentation: All safeguarding incidents, concerns and follow up must be documented by the PSO ensuring confidentiality is maintained throughout. (Appendix 9)

D. Acting on a Safeguarding Incident report – All ERI Personnel are responsible and obligated to report any suspicion of incidents as soon as it is discovered to the ERI Project Safeguarding Officer (PSO) immediately and in any event within 24 hours.

D.1 The ERI safeguarding Unit must be informed of the case, within 24 hours of receiving the Safeguarding Incident Report by the PSO. ERI notifies ERD/donors according to contractual requirements using information provided by ERI Safeguarding Unit and approved by the ERI Legal sub committee.

D.2 In order to achieve effective and fair reporting and management of incidents, all incidents reported will be categorised and managed according to ERI’s Safeguarding Incident Thresholds and escalated if necessary. (Appendix 10)

D.3 Safeguarding Investigations: Safeguarding investigations follow a survivor-centred approach and investigators reporting to the ERI Safeguarding Unit conduct the process in accordance with sector best practice to prevent further harm occurring. ERI Safeguarding Unit coordinate and prioritise the safety, physical and psychological health and welfare of all

survivors while upholding and promoting their rights of confidentiality, equality, and access to justice.

Failure to Comply with the ERI Safeguarding Code protocols or failing to report a known or suspected safeguarding incident committed by an ERI Personnel will result in disciplinary action which may result in suspension and dismissal from employment, volunteering/internship, or Board membership; and/or may have “Do Not Rehire” placed on their personal file.


When children participating in UN related events in Geneva are hosted by ERI they are to be accompanied by a responsible adult and a consent form recording the names of the children and accompanying adults, the sponsoring organization and the date and purpose of the visit is to be completed and signed by the child, the accompanying adult and ERI Project Safeguarding Officer (PSO). A copy of the form is retained on file by the PSO.

All volunteers or personnel of other organizations, collaborating with ERI and who come into contact with children or vulnerable persons as a result of their engagement, are to be briefed on ERI’s safeguarding policy and rules, and required to sign a declaration that these are understood.

Although children and vulnerable persons are protected by policies of sponsoring institutions, the ERI staff have responsibility for ensuring safeguarding risks associated with any visits to ERI are assessed and mitigated by the sponsoring institution. Clear communication to visiting institutions with regards to where responsibility for the safety of the children lies, is to be documented. ERI also has the obligation to report and follow up safeguarding concerns.

When ERI Personnel visit schools to speak with groups of students, they are fully compliant with the safeguarding policies and protocols of the host school.

The ERI Office bullying, harassment and safeguarding policy is displayed in the office that ERI shares with other faith-based NGOs.


For all ERI activities including online and social media work, risk assessment will be conducted by ERI to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable people. Risk assessment documents are to be filed by the ERI Project Safeguarding Officer. (Appendix 11)

Informed Consent in Child Participation: ERI Child participation activities are voluntary and inclusive (especially of the most vulnerable children), and both children and parents/caregivers/guardians receive information on the activities to make informed decisions regarding participation, including consideration of risks that could be associated with the activity.


  • The provisions under this Policy will bind all ERI Personnel always.
  • This policy will be read together with the Safeguarding Policy Appendices and all other relevant organizational policies (e.g., Recruitment Policy, Disciplinary Policy, Whistle-

blowing Policy, etc.) as appropriate.

  • In the event where safeguarding policies/standards differ in text or implementation with

other ERI organizational policies or standards, the more stringent policy/standard will be applied.


On an annual basis, the Executive Director will review this policy, suggest necessary modifications to the ERI Board and provide the ERI Board with an update on implementation of the policy including recommendations from monitoring and evaluation activities. The ERI Board is responsible for approval of any modification(s) to the policy.

ERI Board and ERI Team members are committed to updating themselves on reporting policies and identification of child/vulnerable person abuse and they are committed to receiving a minimum of two hours of continuing education regarding safeguarding every 2 years.


[Note that specific nations or legal systems may define these terms differently, and these specific definitions are in force within those jurisdictions.]

“CHILD”: a human being under eighteen years of age

“CHILD ABUSE”: physical, emotional or sexual violence enacted on children and vulnerable persons, legal, systemic or institutional violence or discrimination against children and vulnerable persons, or neglect of children and vulnerable persons

“ECCLESIASTICAL ADMINISTRATIVE UNIT– regional, national or international Catholic Church authorities, wider than parish and diocese (e.g., National Episcopal Conference, Regional Bishops’ Conference)

“EXPLOITATION” – any behaviour or system that uses children and vulnerable persons for ends which violate their rights

“ERI” – Edmund Rice International
“ERI PERSONNEL” – members of the ERI Board, the ERI Team, and all those working for

ERI, as employees, interns and volunteers

LSO” -Local Safeguarding Officer = the person with designated responsibility for ERI activity in a specific setting, e.g. a training course or a workshop

“NEGLECT” – failure to meet the basic needs of children and vulnerable persons or failure to promote or respect their rights

“RIGHTS OF THE CHILD” – those rights outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by United Nations General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989)

Safeguarding: is the responsibility of organizations to make sure their staff, operations, and programs do no harm to children and adults, nor expose them to abuse or exploitation, including online or via mobile phones.

“SEXUAL CONTACT” – any behaviour that involves touching, arousing or gratifying another person, sexually

BSO”- ERI Board Safeguarding Officer is the person with overall responsibility for leading and ensuring best policy and practice in safeguarding children and vulnerable persons

Social Media: Forms of electronic communication/content used to share information, comments, messages, images, video and other content via a Social Network.

“PSO” – ERI Project Safeguarding Officer is the person operationally responsible for promoting, ensuring, coordinating best safeguarding practice across ERI (this role is currently exercised by the Executive Director)

“VIOLENCE” – any behaviour towards another person that denies their dignity as human persons; violence may be physical, emotional (verbal, non-verbal, written, electronic), sexual (harassment and assault), legal (when laws deny human rights), systemic (when structures deny human rights, formally or informally) or institutional (when an organisation denies human rights)

“ VULNERABLE ADULT” – a vulnerable adult is described as a person aged 18 years or over, who is in receipt of or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation. It also covers those more vulnerable to abuse and discrimination because of, amongst others, their ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability or sexual orientation.


  1. Child Rights Connect Safeguarding Policy
  2. UK World Vision Safeguarding Policy
  3. UNICEF Online Safeguarding Guidelines
  4. Keeping Children Safe – Guidelines
  5. Child Safeguarding documents of the Presentation Brother and the Christian Brother Congregations