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Christian mission trips to have safeguarding challenges looked into to ensure best practice

by Cara Bentley

Since it was revealed that staff at Oxfam had hired prostitutes while in Haiti, other missions, charities and NGOs are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of having good safeguarding procedures.

However, Christian safeguarding charity Thirty:One Eight says more research is needed to enable a full understanding of the challenges faced by those in this field, to then ensure that best practice is carried out across the board.

In a questionnaire, Thirty:One Eight will be looking into what challenges those who go on mission trips face when trying to protect children and vulnerable adults and asks questions such as whether those going abroad are required to have a DBS check or not.

Thirty:One Eight, who assisted the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the Church of England and help churches with their safeguarding practice, will work with the University of Chester's psychology department to launch an academic study into the challenges and training needs for organisations sending people abroad for mission.

Justin Humphreys, CEO of Thirty:One Eight, said: "We have a strong track record of conducting and commissioning research in the UK and overseas. In order to help with the development of best practice in safeguarding within the faith sector

"We are particularly excited about this study, which comes at a crucial time amidst growing scrutiny of organisations working with vulnerable groups overseas."

The research will be conducted by Dr Lisa Oakley, Senior Lecturer at the University of Chester, and Professor Moira Lafferty, Deputy Head of the School of Psychology at Chester University.

Dr Oakley said: "There is an absence of research in the area of safeguarding of children and young people in international Christian work.

"Literature that does exist tends to review past cases and demonstrates significant mistakes that have been made, which include protection of institutions, failure to recognise abuse and ineffective reporting mechanisms.

"Through this new research, we hope to build a current picture which can be used to inform the development of best practice and therefore support organisations further in safeguarding children and young people."

The deadline for completing the questionnaire is 31st October 2019.

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