Following the reports of sexual misconduct in the aid sector and requests from the Department of International Development and the Charity Commission on how agencies are responding, Christian Aid has submitted the requested information.
Following our initial statement to the media on February 12th, disclosing two incidents in the last twelve months, we are now disclosing the outcomes of all investigations, going back as far as our records permit, in order that there can be no doubt about our commitment to transparency and accountability in safeguarding matters. Over the last 10 years we have dismissed two members of staff following investigations for sexual misconduct and disciplined two further members of staff.
Christian Aid collaborates as part of the ACT Alliance Security Community of Practice, which runs global training for national and international staff for partner organisations all over the world. We were one of the first to include an LGBTI component in our Gender Security Guidelines which we wrote last year to support staff and recognise threats such as sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. In recent months we also requested that every country office incorporates a gender security component in their security plans.
As a faith based organisation, the dignity of all people is at the heart of our purpose. We believe that human beings are created in the image of God, and that we should use our power, skills and resources for the good of all. This is reflected in our organisational values. In our Code of Conduct, which we require every member of staff to sign, we state that ‘these values and behaviours are fundamental to all relationships that Christian Aid seeks to build in order to realise its vision.’
Christian Aid’s business model is based around working with local staff and partners who have deep roots in the communities that we serve. We believe this not only supports a greater understanding of beneficiary needs but also helps to ensure that the work we do is cognisant and respectful of local cultures and beliefs. We are also willing to challenge cultural norms where they contravene our fundamental values.
Christian Aid is a founding member of the Core Humanitarian Standard Alliance. We are externally certified against the Core Humanitarian Standard by the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative and regular auditing takes place. This standard requires us to meet certain key actions including those around preventing sexual exploitation and abuse and ensuring that complaints and feedback mechanisms are available to partner staff and beneficiaries.
We are signatories to the statement by Bond, the UK network for organisations working in international development, which sets out how we as a sector will work to improve. In taking these steps, we are also asking people to come forward to report unacceptable behaviour. We hope these measures send a clear message to those who experience or witness any form of abuse. It is really important that they know that we will listen and we will take action.