Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection


Pod Volunteer is fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults

Pod Volunteer has a responsibility to protect our participants and the communities we support at the charitable volunteering projects we work with around the world.

Pod Volunteer believes that everyone has the right to feel and be safe, and that we should safeguard and protect everybody involved in our volunteering programmes, and all those they meet, from violence, abuse, exploitation, harassment and neglect - with particular attention to children and vulnerable adults.

Pod Volunteer defines a child as anyone under the age of 18 years and a vulnerable adult as a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care themselves, protect themselves from harm or prevent themselves from being exploited. 

For families volunteering with children under 18, parents / guardians are responsible for children at all times. 

Looking after our volunteers aged under 18 years old

Pod Volunteer will endeavour to take all reasonable steps to ensure the wellbeing of under 18 year old volunteers who are travelling alone or unaccompanied by a parent / guardian.

The primary and most fundamental measure is that we rigorously select a limited number of projects that we consider suitable and allow under 18 year olds to join. In making this assessment, which is overseen by a Director of Pod Volunteer, we consider the following factors:

  • Destination country
  • Project location
  • In-country travel arrangements
  • Support level
  • Accommodation set-up
  • Risk assessment

From this foundation of only selecting suitable projects, we approach looking after our 18 volunteers in a similar way as our adult volunteers and we expect them to be sufficiently independent to take part in our projects and fulfil the standard volunteer role.

We have additional measures in place to safeguard under 18 year old volunteers including:

  • Designated Safeguarding Lead
  • Consent - parents / guardians are required to provide a signed consent form
  • Safer recruitment - all UK staff with direct contact are DBS checked
  • Staff Code of Conduct

Please contact us if you would like a copy of our full safeguarding policy.

It should be recognised that there are elements of the trips where Pod Volunteer is not able to take responsibility for safeguarding under 18 year old volunteers and outside of our control, including:

  • Travel to and from the project location 
  • Free time during non-working periods and on days off 
  • Accommodation – for projects with shared accommodation (detailed in our Guides for each project), rooms may be shared with over 18 year old volunteers

Looking after the communities we work with

Pod Volunteer carries out screening of volunteers who are in roles working with children and/or vulnerable adults and are accommodated directly within the community. The following policy in place to raise awareness and help prevent abuse.

Volunteers should:

  • Follow the local projects’ policies and rules
  • Not spend time alone with children and/or vulnerable adults or be in a situation where they are not visible to others
  • Discuss and listen to any issues or concerns
  • Respect each individual’s boundaries and right to personal privacy
  • Be sensitive about taking photographs and always ask permission
  • Remember that someone else might misinterpret their actions
  • Be aware of situations which may present risks and minimise these
  • Try not to display any personal emotions which could be distressing for the children / vulnerable adults 
  • Inform the local staff and/or Pod Volunteer UK office if they witness or suspect inappropriate behaviour by someone else

Volunteers must never:

  • Develop relationships with children or vulnerable adults which could in any way be deemed exploitative or abusive
  • Condone, or participate in behaviour of children or vulnerable adults which is illegal, abusive or exposes them to danger
  • Allow any rough or dangerous play, bullying, or the use of bad language or inappropriate behaviour
  • Show favouritism to any individual or give gifts (donations should be made via the project)
  • Administer any medication or health products