Why is this a priority?
CIS became deeply involved in child protection work when a specific case involving hundreds of students across multiple schools and countries shed light on the fact that children were being abused without detection or reporting. We learned that even when suspicions do arise, offenders often leave to join other schools and continue their pattern of behaviour due to a lack of awareness of the signs of abuse coupled with historic mismanagement of allegations.
The international education community responded by forming an International Task Force on Child Protection. Following two years of consultation, a comprehensive set of child protection standards have now been agreed by accreditation and inspection bodies globally. The standards cover allegation management, staff selection, detecting and reporting abuse, education and support for leaders, teachers and students about behaviour and boundaries, implementation of policies, and collaboration with the local community.
It became clear that everyone must begin to discuss the topic more openly to develop understanding and address it effectively. Our school and university communities need to be vigilant in hiring and monitoring staff, and recognising problematic behaviours of adults or students in our school communities. Then, school leaders will understand their roles in preventing and addressing abuse.