A young girl, seen from behind
Part three: Delivering better

Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Niamey, Niger

In Niger, 1.6 million children are affected by humanitarian crises. Border closures and other COVID-19 containment measures have rendered specific vulnerable groups even more at risk, such as children living on the street. As the pandemic continues to spread across the Sahel region, violence against children has spiked. UNICEF/Juan Haro

Sexual exploitation and abuse are an unacceptable breach of the fundamental rights of the people served by the humanitarian sector and of those working within it, as well as a deep betrayal of its core values.

The IASC supports a humanitarian environment in which people affected by crises are safe and respected, and can access the protection and assistance they need without fear of exploitation or abuse by any aid worker. The IASC also supports aid workers themselves, ensuring they are respected and empowered to deliver aid and protection in a manner that is free from abuse.

The IASC is scaling up protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) within all humanitarian response operations, focusing on three priorities at country level:

  1. Encouraging victims to come forward by ensuring that safe, trusted and accessible mechanisms for reporting SEA are available in all humanitarian situations, and promoting a “speak up” culture within IASC entities.
  2. Improving quality, survivor-centred SEA assistance and additional protection measures.
  3. Strengthening vetting, reference-checking, investigation processes and disciplinary measures, including prompt and respectful investigations.

In 2020, the IASC issued the Interim Technical Note: Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) during COVID-19 Response. To date, as part of the COVID-19 response, 22.6 million children and adults were provided with a safe channel to report SEA. In addition, UNHCR and ICVA launched an Interagency Community Outreach and Communications Fund on PSEA, and the IASC produced an interactive learning package for IASC partner staff to raise awareness of sexual misconduct. It also strengthened the Six Core Principles on PSEA.

An IASC PSEA site and global dashboard have been launched to make resources more readily available to practitioners and to track progress on PSEA against IASC commitments.