The Safeguarding Children in Peacekeeping Toolkit

The toolkit builds upon our expertise and our research, which provides the evidence-base for how to safeguard children from peacekeeper sexual exploitation and abuse. It is based on: desk research on law, human rights, and political science; qualitative data gathered from field research; and work with stakeholders. This creates a context-specific toolkit for Peacekeeping Training Centres, Troop-Contributing Countries, international organisations, implementing partners, and other actors and entities involved with peacekeeping. Using interdisciplinary research and through working with a comprehensive group of stakeholders, we have created an evidence-base for recommendations necessary to drive forward the research and policy agenda.

The toolkit, versions of which have been implemented successfully in thousands of organisations in nearly every country in the world, is based on international standards for child safeguarding, and is implemented within an organisation through (i) a self-assessment of current policies and practices, (ii) a robust mapping of relevant local and international laws and practices on child safeguarding, (iii) developing context-specific policies, measures and procedures based on the organisation and the legal mapping, (iv) training, and (v) follow-up.

A key problem within humanitarian and conflict settings is that the current laws, policies and practices operate across different scales, including at the international level, and regional and local levels. This means that organisations require knowledge and understanding of the range of laws, policies and contexts that apply. This is particularly difficult when those organisations have to deploy quickly into an emergency setting, or when rule of law has broken down within a society. In those most fragile contexts, the opportunity for impunity for crimes or harms caused are significantly higher.

We work with each organisation or entity to carry out a comprehensive mapping of laws and practice on safeguarding in the countries in which they operate. We identify areas of weakness and strength and then co-produce safeguarding measures that are sensitive to the local culture but that uphold international standards on who is a child and what constitutes abuse, with global and regional standards and frameworks being applied across the board. Part of the safeguarding measures, training and implementation includes underscoring that organisations must be prepared and know how to take action locally when concerns arise. They will therefore need to have information on local services, authorities to whom reports should be made, and organisations working locally, which can provide support where needed. The implementation of these measures requires a true commitment from organisations to address child sexual exploitation and abuse, and to adhere to global standards whilst also ensuring that staff understand local contexts.