World news story

New international initiative to tackle travelling child sex offenders from the UK

British initiative to keep children safe is being launched in Vietnam.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The International Child Protection Certificate is designed to ensure that teachers and volunteers have no police record relating to child sex offences.
The International Child Protection Certificate is designed to ensure that teachers and volunteers have no police record relating to child sex offences.

The International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) is a new police check for UK nationals who are travelling and working overseas and will help identify and screen out those who are unsuitable to be working with children.

It will be launched at the British Vietnamese International School Hanoi, where specialist child protection workers and law enforcement officers working to tackle sexual abuse will be attending a three-day Achieving Best Evidence training course, hosted by the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre and the British Embassy, in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLISA).

CEOP has found that some international schools, charities and other agencies overseas do not currently have access to the same level of police checks available to organisations in the UK, sometimes enabling sex offenders to gain positions of trust with children.

CEOP is the UK’s national law enforcement agency dedicated to protecting children from abuse. The certificate has been designed to help prevent those who are known to have committed child sex offences from gaining inappropriate roles in other countries.

Full details of the ICPC will be made available at the launch event which will start at 9.00am, 26 February 2013.

Following the Achieving Best Evidence training, CEOP will also be conducting a regional police workshop on ‘Best practice in online investigations’ in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Security (MPS). Officers from Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos Peoples Democratic Republic and Thailand will be participating.

The training in Vietnam is the continuation of the work of CEOP’s International Child Protection Network (ICPN) and is supported by funding from British Embassies in the region.

Peter Davies, Chief Executive of CEOP said

There is clear evidence to suggest that serious sex offenders who are known to authorities in the UK will often seek out opportunities to work or volunteer abroad. In many instances this will be through teaching roles but could equally be through other occupations such as a charity worker, an orphanage worker or as a children’s home worker. The International Child Protection Certificate is intended to be a world-wide safeguard which will give employers and voluntary organisations reassurance that applicants have no convictions in the UK which would make them unsuitable to work with children

It’s the only UK police check for UK nationals and residents working overseas for some organisations overseas so it’s an essential pre-employment or placement check to protect children

The British Ambassador Dr Antony Stokes highlighted the significance of the initiative:

This will be the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre’s fourth year working with Vietnam. I am pleased that we are able to step up our leading role in helping to keep children safe in Vietnam by launching the International Child Protection Certificate. The positive approach of the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has been central to this progress. I hope that this initiative helps enable further strengthen the protection of children in Vietnam

Robin Rickard, Country Director, British Council confirms:

The British Council has a legal obligation to ensure that we are not negligent in our recruitment practice. Whatever the background, making sure that we do everything we can to prevent appointing people who may pose a risk to children we see as an essential part of child safeguarding

The robust screening of applicants is proven to act a deterrent for offenders seeking employment with access to children. This year we have introduced safe recruitment guidance to all our offices worldwide including here in Vietnam and especially for our teaching centres.

The ICPC adds value and strength to what the British Council is doing internally and we greatly welcome this UK initiative in Vietnam. We hope our network of partner organisations across the country will recognise and adopt this approach.

Christopher Short, Assistant Head of Secondary and School Child Protection Officer, The British Vietnamese International School continues:

The British Vietnamese International School in Hanoi is delighted to be able to host the launch of the International Child Protection Certificate.

The BIS group of schools has always taken the issue of Child Protection very seriously; we require all international staff to provide clearance certificates from their last country of residence in addition to the certificate from their home country required by the local authorities. The ICPC will be a useful tool to ensure we have made the appropriate checks on staff moving from the UK.

Published 26 February 2013