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The ACNC is reaching out to charities that support vulnerable children overseas to provide them with useful resources that will help them manage risks and remind them of their obligations. 

The latest data in the eighth edition of the Australian Charities Report shows approximately 7% of charities reported that they operate overseas.

ACNC Commissioner Dr Gary Johns said the ACNC has a big focus on education to support charities to strengthen their governance and improve their practices.

“Charities that work with vulnerable children overseas have to be especially aware of their obligations,” Dr Johns said.

“In addition to standard obligations, a charity that works overseas or funds work overseas must meet the External Conduct Standards, which were introduced in 2019.

“External Conduct Standard 4 covers the obligation to protect vulnerable individuals and External Conduct Standard 1 covers the requirement to control resources overseas, including funds that a charity sends overseas.”

The ACNC is advising charities that work to support vulnerable children overseas to: 

  • recognise the risks that come with operating overseas and the need for higher levels of governance
  • make sure activities and projects they support are in the best interests of children and meet their needs
  • have oversight of the activities and projects they support and make sure that they are in line with its charitable purpose
  • make sure any partner organisations overseas have comprehensive policies and procedures to protect children and manage funds responsibly
  • have their own comprehensive policies and procedures that protect children and manage funds overseas, and
  • act on concerns, suspicions, or complaints quickly and thoroughly.

The ACNC has developed some case studies and other resources to provide comprehensive guidance and education for such charities. They provide a thorough overview of a charity’s obligations and the practical things it can do to ensure the vulnerable children it works to support are kept safe.

Key resources are: