Sexual Violence and Abuse in the Aid Workplace and Humanitarian Settings

Sexual violence, exploitation, and abuse is a reality in the aid world. Yet it is rarely reported as a security or safety incident.

Unequal power relationships contribute towards exploitation and abuse. There are many unequal power dynamics at play within humanitarian settings. The aid workplace is hierarchical as are the relationships between aid workers and beneficiaries. There has been an increase in reporting of sexual violence in humanitarian settings. However, many cases often go undetected and unreported.

Humanitarian organisations have a responsibility to safeguard beneficiaries of their services as well as their personnel from harm, including from sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. Humanitarian organisations have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for their staff and to ensure that effective safeguarding mechanisms are in place.

Sexual violence in all its form violates human rights. Incidents of this kind are deeply distressing for the survivor, their family, their colleagues and the whole aid community. Sexual violence incidents also have the potential to leave survivors with lifelong physical and mental health problems.

Quick Links

Our Work

At Insecurity Insight we are specialized in the reporting and collating of reported information about threats facing people living and working in humanitarian settings.

Monthly News Briefs
Our monthly news briefs report cases of sexual violence by law enforcement bodies, conflict related sexual violence, and sexual violence that targets IDPs, refugees or vulnerable beneficiaries. They are a testimony to the survivor’s bravery and willingness to report and share their experience and it is encouraging to see that reporting of sexual violence in increasing. Our monthly news briefs cover publicly reported events however we know that there are many more incidents of sexual violence which remain unreported.

Online Reporting Tools

Report abuse in the aid workplace. This online reporting tool is aimed towards international and national staff working in the aid sector who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse in their workplace. We have previously worked with Report the Abuse to whom many individuals reported their experience of sexual violence and abuse. Following its closure due to a lack of funding, we have carried on the reporting facility. Report abuse is a safe and secure online reporting platform for survivors of sexual violence and abuse in the aid workplace to report their experience.

Report abuse in the public healthcare response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We are currently developing an online reporting tool for individuals who are working in public health responses in the DRC and who have experienced sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers also working within that health response. This reporting tool has been created following the recent revelations of widespread sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers working in the 10th Ebola response in the DRC. We know that there are risks of the same patterns continuing to occur, especially with the current COVID-19 health crises and the 11th Ebola outbreak. We believe that survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse deserve a safe and secure platform to report their experience.

Get in touch with us

If you are an organization or individual working on sexual violence, exploitation and abuse and would like to partner with us to do anything on reporting and recording of these incidents please get in touch with us.

You may be interested in

Support

Support

Our ‘Responding to Sexual Violence’ mobile guide can help you take action, report, and get support when sexual violence and abuse happens to you or a colleague.

Listen

Listen

Hear Megan Norbet – Founder and Former Director of Report the Abuse – share her advice on how NGOs should respond if a member of staff reports an incident of sexual violence.

Read

Read

EISF’s guide “Managing Sexual Violence Against Aid Workers” provides information for aid agencies in preventing, being prepared for and responding to incidents of sexual violence against their staff.

SIIM Guidance Handbook

SIIM Guidance Handbook

Tool 7: Good Practice in gender-sensitive incident reporting & complaints mechanism for reporting SEA. Access the tool kit here.

Data

Data

Selective quick charts and datasets are available on the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX).