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Which children’s charity should you give to?

Three things you MUST check!

Tragically, many children’s charities have not looked out for the interests of Australian children. The 2013-14 Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse highlights the vast array of charities that breached their duty of care.

The challenge for anyone wanting to give to a charity that helps children is to find out:

  • Have they committed offences in the past?
  • Are they reformed?
  • Are they genuinely a child-safe institution?

There are no fail-safe methods of answering these questions, but a few techniques can steer us in the right direction.

1. Have they committed offences in the past?

To find out if a charity is a past offender, search the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s narrative section for the name of the charity. This will show clearly if the charity has claims against them.

2. Are they reformed?

Charities can change for the better. Just because a charity offended in 1982 doesn’t mean that they’re still offending. To find out if a past offender has reformed and changed their practices:

  • Look for a formal apology. A formal apology signals to beneficiaries that they have reflected on past behaviour and are remorseful for any harm done.
  • Find out if they’re they a signatory to the National Redress Scheme. This scheme “holds institutions accountable” and “helps people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse gain access to counselling, a direct personal response, and a Redress payment”. The list of charities that have signed up is here.
  • Look for changes of leadership. One of the most important signs that the charity is serious about reform is if there has been a change of leadership since the offending actions took place.

3. Is the charity now a child-safe institution?

To identify child-safe institutions, find out if the organisation is adopts the National Principles of Child Safe Organisations. These principles “aim to provide a nationally consistent approach to creating organisational cultures that foster child safety and wellbeing across all sectors.” They evolved from the Royal Commission. 

Conclusion

Many children’s charities have breached their duty of care in the past, which can lead us to doubt their current practices. However, there are a few techniques that can be adopted to help make sure you only give to genuinely reformed and child-safe charities.

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