Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
Sexual exploitation and abuse by humanitarian workers inflict harm on those the humanitarian community is obligated to protect and jeopardizes the credibility of all assistance agencies. Humanitarian workers are expected to always uphold the highest standards of personal and professional conduct to protect beneficiaries of assistance.
The IASC is committed to protecting affected people from sexual exploitation and abuse in all humanitarian response operations. From the normative to the technical level, the IASC has taken determined action to strengthen the humanitarian sector’s response with a victim-centred approach.
The IASC strives to:
- Ensure a victim-centred approach to addressing sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment;
- Promote positive change in organizational culture through strategic communications and role modelling;
- Improve referencing systems to stop transgressors from moving through the humanitarian sector;
- Strengthen sector-wide investigation capacity;
- Support collective activities of in-country networks.
In January 2022, the IASC welcomed the new IASC Champion on PSEAH, Mr. Andrew Morley, Chair of SCHR (President of World Vision International).
IASC Champion's priorities lie across three domains:
- Affected Population-Focused
The Champion will lead the IASC to agree upon a definition of a victim/survivor Centred approach, its main principles, and key entities/actions involved in its implementation including prevention work, investigations, and response to SEAH violations.
The Champion will support the development of an institutionalised five-year project to centrally employ and deploy IASC PSEA coordinators to the 15 highest risk contexts and mobilise political support and additional donor funding for it.
- System Improvement
The Champion will lead the continued process of culture change started under the UNHCR and UNFPA Championships, building on the existing work of SCHR to ensure that the sector actively evidences a zero-tolerance approach for inaction on SEAH.
For more details see IASC PSEAH Championship Priorities, Andrey Morley/SCHR 2022.
The PSEA Coordinator Roster provides direct support to Humanitarian Coordinators through the deployment of technical experts. PSEA Coordinators support and collaborate closely with Humanitarian Country Teams, clusters, and key national and local stakeholders, and lead inter-agency networks to ensure that protection from sexual exploitation and abuse is collectively addressed through codes of conduct and community-based complaint mechanisms, and strengthened through a country-level action plan.
IASC Support Mission to Central African Republic (CAR)
Upon request of the Humanitarian Coordinator, the IASC provided PSEA field support to CAR in December 2020 and March 2021. The objective was to address allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse and review CAR’s 2018 Information Sharing Protocol. The IASC recommended identifying more resources in operational hubs and community outreach activities, specific coordinated mechanisms and increased awareness on the codes of conduct.
IASC Support Mission to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Following the publication of reports of sexual exploitation and abuse in the DRC by the New Humanitarian and Thomson Reuter Foundation, affecting several IASC member organizations and other partners in the Ebola response, the IASC came together to put survivors at the center, hold perpetrators to account, and equally important, find out why, despite continued efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, the system is still failing to prevent these violations. The IASC Principals called for immediate and urgent action and the Emergency Directors Group (EDG) called for the deployment of an IASC field support mission to provide the needed technical support and assistance to the HC, HCT and the National PSEA Taskforce.
The IASC External Review of Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment was commissioned by the 2021 IASC PSEAH Champion, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem.
The purpose of the review was to provide an independent assessment of the progress since the IASC review of PSEA in 2010 and to consider the impact and effectiveness of the IASC approach to PSEAH. The scope of the review is global.
The review is organized around four themes:
- victim-centred approach
- community engagement and accountability
- leadership at global and country level
- sexual harassment
‘Saying No to Sexual Misconduct’ is an interactive and innovative learning package that aims to raise awareness among IASC partner staff and ensure they have the skills and tools to define, detect and respond to sexual misconduct.
This one-day in-person training uses case studies, testimonies, group discussions, creative team and role-play activities, powerful videos and thought-provoking questions to promote dialogue and learning.