Safeguarding guidance and resources
We are committed to ensuring organisations are equipped to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse across the international development sector. We’ve gathered essential information, resources and training to support members to drive up safeguarding standards across their organisations.
What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding is commonly considered to be the responsibility of organisations to make sure their staff, operations and programmes do no harm to children and vulnerable adults, or expose them to abuse or exploitation. It is, however, increasingly becoming best practice to think about how we safeguard everyone in our organisations at all times, including protecting staff from inappropriate behaviour such as bullying and harassment.
Who does it apply to?
Everyone connected to your organisation should know how to keep children and adults safe. They should have appropriate learning opportunities to develop and maintain the necessary attitudes, skills and knowledge to do this. Partners, associates and other organisations that contribute to business operations should have safeguarding measures in place which are consistent with these standards. The communities you work with should understand your commitments to safeguarding and what to do if concerns arise.
Policies and procedures
Guidance on best practice for developing and implementing policies and procedures is likely to evolve, as a result of the initiatives that will be taken forward to improve sector safeguarding standards. The CHS Alliance Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) Handbook provides a useful current overview of what your organisation should already have in place.
See our quick reference on measures to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse [PDF] (adapted from the CHS Alliance PSEA Quick Reference Handbook).
Charity Commission requirements
The Charity Commission advises that safeguarding should be a priority for all charities – not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk. It is important that trustees understand and fulfil their legal duties – this includes taking proper steps to protect people who come into contact with your charity and reporting serious incidents to the Commission.
Trustees should assure themselves that their safeguarding practices are robust. If there are concerns about this or about how issues may have been dealt with in the past, trustees should carry out a formal review, including on the adequacy and robustness of the charity’s safeguarding measures, procedures and policies.
- Guidance for trustees on how to protect children and adults at risk
- Guidance for trustees on serious incidents and how to report them
- The Charity Commission’s approach to safeguarding
Below is a selection of existing resources and standards to help organisations prevent sexual exploitation and abuse. If there are other resources you think we should include, please contact us.
- CHS Alliance PSEA Handbook
- Keeping Children Safe – Safeguarding Standards Handbook
- Inter-Agency Standing Committee Minimum Operating Standards on PSEA
- Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy: Whistleblowing guidance and code of practice for employers
We recognise that organisations may require specialist support to review and update their safeguarding practices. CHS Alliance has a list of approved PSEA trainers and investigators.
Below is a selection of training providers and resources that address sexual exploitation and abuse in the development and humanitarian sectors. Online resources are free to use, but you will need to register with the learning provider to access them.
disasterready.org offers self-study programmes including:
- Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (InterAction) - a comprehensive curriculum including modules on Introduction to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Mainstreaming of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Managing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Investigations.
- Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Course (UNHCR) - a one-hour online course targeted at UN staff.
- Child Safeguarding (Save the Children) - a three-minute video covering some of the signs of potential Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) and how you can respond to effectively safeguard children.
InterAction offers full course materials for download, including facilitators guides, on PSEA Basics, Community-Based Complaints Mechanisms, Investigations and Management of Investigations.
Kaya (by the Humanitarian Leadership Academy) also offers the modules Introduction to Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Managing sexual exploitation and abuse investigations from the InterAction curriculum described above.
CHS Alliance offersface-to-face training in sexual exploitation and abuse investigations.
How to raise a concern
What should you do if you want to raise a concern? The following links provide guidance for individuals who want to report wrongdoing.
Your employer should have policies and procedures for doing this, but you can report a concern to them even if they don’t. If you don’t want to tell your employer, you can also report a concern to the Charity Commission directly. As a whistleblower you are protected by UK law – you shouldn’t be treated unfairly or lose your job if you "blow the whistle". You also have the right to make your claim anonymously or confidentially.