The Safeguarding Specialists
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Working Overseas Hub Home

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Welcome to our safeguarding hub for UK organisations working overseas. These pages have been provided to assist those volunteering or working overseas, their managers and those responsible for recruiting them. The pages focus exclusively on helping you meet your safeguarding obligations both in the UK and overseas.

These pages should be read in conjunction with our other hubs if your organisation is in one of these sectors:

Education Hub | Dental Hub |  Charity HubFaith Hub  Care Hub | GP and Primary Medical Services Hub | Ent & Leisure Hub

NCVO Members, log in to your NCVO account for your discount code, or email / phone us with your NCVO number.

Safeguarding Whilst Working Overseas

Many UK based charities work overseas to provide disaster appeals or humanitarian projects and services, including health care and education. Whatever the work, all UK based charities are expected to observe their local legal responsibilities within the UK and also those of the countries where they work.

Trustees need to consider the safeguarding elements of supporting projects, working with partners and employing staff locally. Their charities may also work in high risk areas and assessment of risk for the protection of staff, volunteers and vulnerable beneficiaries also needs to be considered.

There have been several high profile cases of serious offenders working or volunteering with UK based charities abroad. Trustees are held to be legally responsible for their charity’s work, therefore robust adult and child safeguarding arrangements are vital to both protect vulnerable beneficiaries and the charity’s reputation. In some cases, where Trustees have been found to be negligent, public liability insurance cover has been reduced. Trustees have then had to fund subsequent legal claims at great personal cost.

Charity Commission Guidance for Charities Working Abroad

You must:

  • be aware of different risks for staff, volunteers and beneficiaries who are overseas
  • have suitable reporting and monitoring processes in place for any work overseas
  • monitor where you work for any changes or new safety systems which are needed

Challenges of working overseas include:

  • different cultures, practices or legal systems
  • an unstable environment, like a conflict zone
  • working with many partners

You should apply the same practices as in England and Wales and make sure you comply with any extra requirements of the other country.

Follow The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability for overseas humanitarian work and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Minimum Operating Standards for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse if relevant.

You must know when:

  • to report issues to law enforcement in the country you are working in
  • you also need to report to police in the UK You can find resources online to help with working overseas.

These include:

Only use templates that are appropriate for your charity and where it works


International Child Safeguarding Course for all Staff & Volunteers Working Overseas (available in English and Arabic versions)

This course is a must for all organisations and individuals who work across the globe, especially in countries where safeguarding training is difficult to access. It is especially relevant for international schools and colleges, faith groups, charities and aid relief providers. The course is ideal for anyone who provides services, funding and supplies to; or works directly, or has contact, with children, young people and/or their families. Developed by our in-house team of experts who have provided face to face training across the Middle East and Europe, it aims to promote the best, and universally accepted, possible working practices.