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Major New Initiative To Control Pedophiles Launched In Manila & London

12 Feb 2013

The British embassy in Manila is at the heart of two major initiatives launched today designed to further put pressure on pedophiles targeting children in the Philippines and other countries

The two facets of this operation are an internet awareness training program to highlight the dangers of cyber-porn and other such dangers facing children using the internet, and more importantly, the launch of a criminal records certificate relating to any people who have resided in the UK. This is an extension of a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), now known as the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check launched in the UK several years ago specifically to make sure those having sex crime or violent histories are unable to work with children or vulnerable persons. 

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British Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires Steph Lysaght signing a copy of the International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) Click image to enlarge

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The International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) is new weapon to combat the threat of UK sex offenders travelling to other countries and gaining access to children through teaching, charity or volunteering roles. 

Many 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 and this has sometimes enabled sex offenders to gain positions of trust with children abroad.

The British police organization Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) has developed the ICPC along with the British Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Criminal Records Office.

The ICPC is a criminal records check against police and intelligence databases in the UK that reveals any convictions or reasons as to why someone should not work with children. It is similar to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (formerly CRB check) that is required for anyone working professionally with children in England and Wales. 

Shown during the launch are (from left): Ms Darlene Bonggon (representative, Department of Education); Councillor EP Bartolome (Taguig City Government); Mr Steph Lysaght (Chargé d' Affaires, British Embassy); Simon Bewlay (Chairman, British School Manila); Col Theresa Cid (Chief, PNP Women and Children's Desk); Director Gemma Gabuya (Department of Social Welfare and Development); Executive Director Brenda Vigo (Council for the Welfare of Children), Ms Lilian Pimentel (representative, Department of Interior and Local Government) and Mr Tim Gerrish (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre). Click image to enlarge

Many international schools and child-focussed charities operating around the world employ UK nationals as teachers, workers and volunteers.  For the first time, a police criminal records check is now available for UK nationals who are working or seeking employment overseas to work with children. 

The Internet is becoming an increasingly important tool for young people. They are spending more time online to learn, to socialise and express themselves in creative ways. However, using the Internet can expose children to risks such as cyber bullying, child abuse and the possibility of accessing inappropriate or illegal content. In this age where the Internet is becoming more and more accessible through improved technology, there is an increasing need now than ever before to protect ourselves and our children online.

This is backdrop of a campaign to safeguard children from online risks launched by the UK Government and its partners on 12th February 2013.

The Safeguarding Children Online campaign will raise awareness on the dangers that children can face online. The British Embassy Manila will provide practical information about online protection through its partners in Philippine government, media, civil society and the academe that are geared towards children, as well as their parents and carers. A micro-site in the British embassy website will be central to this information drive (http://ukinthephilippines.fco.gov.uk)

Steph Lysaght, Chargé d’ Affaires at the British Embassy Manila explained: “Child protection is an issue that resonates on a global level. While the Internet is an important tool for children, there are risks our children face each time they go online. Our campaign provides information about such risks as cyber bullying, cyber sexual abuse and inappropriate sites for children and their parents and carers. We have worked with local organisations as the Child Protection Unit Network in helping protect children and our campaign builds on these efforts. Information can be found on the British Embassy Manila website and we encourage everybody to visit our website to learn more about protecting ourselves and our children online.”

This campaign is launched alongside a new international initiative to prevent sexual offenders who have worked in the UK from travelling to other countries and gaining access to children through teaching or volunteering roles.

Representatives from government departments were present to back the initiative, including the Philippine National Police, Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the League of Cities of the Philippines, and the Council for the Welfare of Children.

Meanwhile, specialist child protection workers and law enforcement officers working to tackle sexual abuse will be attending a three-day Safeguarding Children training course hosted by the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre and the British Embassy, which will include the launch of the International Child Protection Certificate.

CEOP’s International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) will help identify and screen out those who are unsuitable to be working with children. 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.

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 anyone who has resided in the UK and who now lives and works overseas so it’s an essential pre-employment or placement check to protect children.”

The ICPC provides reassurance to those in positions of responsibility in overseas schools and other child focussed organisations that those whom they employ do not have a criminal record in the UK which would otherwise make them unsuitable to work with children. The ICPC can be requested for existing employees or during recruitment of new employees. 

The Certificate contains a person’s complete conviction history as recorded on UK police records, including ‘spent’ and ’unspent’ convictions. Additionally, the certificate contains foreign criminal history information where such information has been disclosed to the UK. 

The ICPC is available on application to any UK national or non-UK national previously resident in the UK who is seeking to work overseas with children. Schools and organisations that are registered for the ICPC scheme can request a job applicant to provide a Certificate as part of their recruitment process. Equally, existing employees can be asked to periodically produce an ICPC as part of their ongoing vetting processes. The ICPC is supplied direct to the applicant and not to the school or organisation offering employment or voluntary placements. 

The ICPC will help organisations to make informed decisions on a person’s suitability for employment or continued employment in positions that provide regular access to children. 

Information for schools and organisations 

If you are a school or other child focussed organisation operating outside of the UK and you would like to find out more about the ICPC scheme, please download the Information for Schools and Organisations Booklet via the link below. For more information on the ICPC application process, please see the Frequently Asked Questions. If you cannot find the information you are looking for or you would like to register an interest in the ICPC scheme, please contact ACRO Customer Services

Download the Information for Schools and Organisations booklet (Adobe PDF)

 

     ICPC Information for Schools and Organisations 

 

Download the ICPC Application Form 

 

 

     ICPC Application Form - Microsoft Word 

Microsoft Word version 

 

 

     ICPC Application Form - Adobe PDF 

Adobe PDF Version   

Information for applicants 

If you are a UK national or have been resident in the UK and are intending to travel overseas to work with children, the school or organisation you will be working with may require you to provide them with an ICPC. Before submitting an ICPC application you should contact your employer to check whether they will require you to provide the Certificate.

Application forms can be accessed by the Word & Adobe links above.

For more information on the ICPC application process, please see the Frequently Asked Questions. Further advice is available from ACRO Customer Services.

Analysis by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre of offender management cases undertaken in 2011 found that one in five were associated with roles that involved access to children. Teaching and schools-related positions were the most represented occupations or voluntary roles associated with cases of offending overseas. Since 2006, CEOP has undertaken over 1200 investigations into travelling UK sex offenders.*

Many 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 and this has sometimes enabled sex offenders to gain positions of trust with children abroad.

CEOP has worked with the ACPO Criminal Records Office (ACRO) to launch the International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC), which CEOP believes is a vital new tool for schools and other overseas organisations in the prevention of harm to children under their care. Applications can be made at www.acro.police.uk/icpc

Similar to the UK's CRB system, the ICPC is a police check for UK nationals who are travelling and working overseas. It will help identify and screen out those who have previous convictions that make them unsuitable to be working with children.

The ICPC will allow international schools and other organisations who work directly with children abroad to be able to access the criminal conviction history of UK citizens and those who have resided in the UK for any period of time. This will enable overseas schools and other organisations to assess an applicant's suitability to be working with children. The ICPC can also be requested for those UK nationals already in paid or voluntary employment in other countries, including the estimated 74,000+ UK teachers who currently work in international schools around the world.**

The certificate, which takes approximately 10 days to process, can be applied for from anywhere in the world and will help to ensure that working abroad is not seen as an ‘easy option' for those who are not suitable to work with children in the UK but who may otherwise seek to travel overseas to abuse children.

Peter Davies, Chief Executive of CEOP:

"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 charity worker, 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.

"I am confident the ICPC will become an essential pre-employment or placement check to protect children overseas from UK offenders."

Superintendent Phil Winchester, ACPO Criminal Records Office said;

"The ACPO Criminal Records Office is pleased to be working in partnership with CEOP to ensure information can be made available to overseas organisations in order to help protect children and young people from sexual predators who would seek to abuse their positions of trust.

"The ICPC provides a significant opportunity to afford protection for children around the world.''

Jon Brown, the NSPCC's Head of Strategy and Development for Sexual Abuse, said;

"The introduction of an International Child Protection Certificate is a positive step towards preventing known sex offenders in the UK from being able to work with children overseas. As an organisation which campaigns to end child cruelty and which works closely with CEOP, the NSPCC welcomes this safeguarding measure, which will further help to protect children from harm."

 

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