The International Child Protection Certificate

Life in Spain Thu, 21 Mar 2013

Keeping a close check on the people who work with children is important. Paedophiles will manoeuvre themselves into situations where they have access to children and then groom those left in their care. Tragically there have been several recent cases where prominent people in positions of trust in the UK have abused children they had responsibility for.

Different countries have their own methods of checking the records of individuals to make sure that they have no criminal convictions precluding them from working with children. Even then this isn’t foolproof as there has to be a first time for these incidents and unfortunately some individuals are particularly good at winning trust. However, having checks in place can act as a deterrent and provide some confidence for parents that their children are in good hands.

What happens though when someone goes to work abroad? The normal checks that operate in one country will not necessarily be accessible across borders.  International schools may have a large number of teachers from different parts of the world. Making sure that all their staff are suitable to work with children is a difficult but very important duty.    

It is getting easier. A new certificate has been launched in the UK to help address this problem. The International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) is issued by the CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre).It is a criminal records check for UK nationals and others working abroad. It checks an individual against police and intelligence databases in a similar way to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). It can be requested for existing employees or during the recruitment process.

Ultimately it is everyone’s business to be vigilant in any setting where adults work with children. No check is perfect and those without a first offence may still be ‘invisible’. However, the new ICPC is a good example of countries working together to protect their children.

For more information about the ICPC, to register your organisation or to apply for an ICPC as an individual go to

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