EFIL attended the Safe from Harm Conference in Brussels on 1st July, organised by the World Organization of the Scout Movement as a result of an extensive project on child protection in the non-formal education sector and in youth organisations.
In fact, following the EU directive 2011/92/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, criminal record checks are required for volunteers working with minors. This is of particular importance for NGOs active in youth work like AFS who need to guarantee high standards of risk management.
AFS showed expertise in child protection explaining how the support system to participant works, in particular how each country has a psychologist employed to deal with difficult cases and volunteers know they can turn to professional expertise.
Also, culture was mentioned as not being an important factor in child protection policies because no culture favors harming children. However, EFIL underlined that when dealing with minor/child protection in an international environment, volunteers/professionals need to be culturally competent in order to understand whether an abuse took place (from bullying to criminal cases).
The safety of participants to our educational programmes is the highest priority and cooperation between youth organisations at national level on this topic is encouraged in order to increase trust in our sector and cope with the new legislations regarding child protection policies.
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