Sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment is a reality in the aid workplace and affects both beneficiaries and aid personnel. 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. They also have a duty of care to respond to incidents of sexual violence against their staff. Sexual violence in all its forms violates human rights, and these incidents 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.
When responding to a report of an incident of sexual violence by a member of staff, a survivor-focused approach should be taken. Aid agencies should aim to prevent, be prepared and respond to incidents of sexual violence against their staff.