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International Child Protection Certificate

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There’s been a gradual shift in the way we’re all thinking about taking a gap year or a sabbatical from work. Gone are the days of spending the year backpacking around South East Asia, taking jobs in bars or shops to fund the next leg of the trip. Young people – and older people on a career break – are nowadays more interested in doing something worthwhile with their time away from the UK. This usually involves giving something back to the community either at home or overseas by sharing skills, or often, working with children. Authorities overseas have to thoroughly check the people who are interested in working with children, and so applicants from the UK are often asked for an International Child Protection Certificate, which is issued by ACRO.


What is on an International Child Protection Certificate?

International Child Protection certificates can be issued to UK residents, and also to people who live elsewhere in the world but who have lived and worked in the UK at some point. The aim of the scheme is to stop offenders travelling overseas under the guise of working with children or vulnerable adults, but with the sole aim of abuse. ACRO – the national Criminal Records Office – search through information held by Police and then issue a certificate which can be shown to employers in any country of the world as proof of a clean criminal record. An International Child Protection Certificate will list convictions in the UK, details of any pending prosecutions and any other intelligence or information which the Police think is relevant.


Getting Your International Child Protection Certificate

If you’re going to work overseas with children in some capacity, most often your employer will ask you to provide a certificate before arriving to work and won’t let you start employment or a voluntary role without one. So it makes sense to get it organised well before your flight time. There’s a couple of options for making the application for your International Child Protection Certificate. Online is probably easiest, although there is also the option for printing off the form and sending it in the post. As well as filling in the form, you’ll need various pieces of documentation to prove your identity and your address. There’s a long list of documents which you can use to prove your address which include things like driving licence, letter from the Benefits Agency or a utility bill. You’ll also need to send a colour copy of your passport or other travel document if you don’t have a passport to prove your identity. You will have to provide every address where you’ve lived over the last 10 years, and have the form endorsed by a professional person who knows you.


How long will I wait?

The turnaround time for receiving the certificate is around 10 working days. It might take longer if there is any confusion over your details, and if ACRO need to contact the person who has endorsed your form. Remember that your certificate will be sent in the mail, not electronically, which will add to processing time. If you need a basic disclosure check you can do so here.