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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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International Safeguarding Summit

A representative from the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland this week attended the international Safeguarding Summit in London.

The summit was co-hosted by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCEW), and was also attended by UK international development charities, regulatory bodies, and Government and independent safeguarding experts.  

The high profile event addressed the safeguarding prevention and response failures that have led to sexual exploitation and abuse within the UK international development sector. For more information click here.

Frances McCandless, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, commented: “Safeguarding is a vital issue for all charities, not just charities working abroad.

“Charity trustees are responsible for ensuring those benefiting from, or working with, their charity are not harmed in any way through contact with it and this is particularly important where beneficiaries are vulnerable persons or children in the community.

“We have a zero tolerance approach to sexual exploitation and abuse, and will work with our partners across the charity sector to improve safeguarding and implement best practice.”

Where the Commission finds a charity is operating with vulnerable beneficiaries and does not have an appropriate policy in place, the charity will be contacted to ensure immediate action is taken.

If a serious incident occurs involving vulnerable beneficiaries, the Commission expects charity trustees to report to the Commission immediately on what has happened and how it is being managed. This is known as serious incident reporting, and guidance on this is available on the Commission’s website here.

“It’s important charities engage with the regulator frankly and openly so we can fully understand any allegations that have been made and can have confidence in the charity’s approach to safeguarding,” added Ms McCandless.

“It is also vital the public can have trust and confidence in the charities they support and I would encourage anyone with concerns to approach the charity, and don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek assurances.”


For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Commission Communications Officer, on telephone: 028 3832 0169 or email:

Notes to editors

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the independent regulator of charities in Northern Ireland, established under the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.