ACFID has released new guidance for the development of a Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment Policy. The guidance is available for free to both members and the wider sector via the online Good Practice Toolkit, and can be downloaded as a PDF.
The Guidance supports the current ACFID Code of Conduct requirements which have been strengthened since the implementation of the revised Code of Conduct in June 2017. Members are committed to advancing the safeguarding of those who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse (Commitment 1.5), and one of the ways they do this is through an organisational policy that takes a survivor-centred approach.
The ACFID Code of Conduct addresses safeguarding at a number of levels, and the Commitment at 1.5 targets prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (‘PSEA’) specifically. Commitment 1.5 came into effect on 1 January 2019 after receiving widespread support and official endorsement at the ACFID Annual General Meeting last year. It represented a clear and direct commitment by the ACFID membership to strengthen policy in this area and ensuring the highest standards of safeguarding.
The Guidelines have been produced to assist ACFID members to develop, implement and review their PSEA policy and supporting procedures. They have been developed in a way that considers other sector standards such as the recently released policy requirements adopted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through their PSEA policy. The focus on the sector to safeguard against sexual exploitation and abuse has also been articulated through the recently released External Conduct Standards by the Australian Not-For-Profit and Charities Commission, which requires a charity to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of vulnerable individuals overseas.
The new Guidelines step out the actions required to develop and implement a PSEA policy and includes key elements that need to be addressed. It also gives some examples and practical tips throughout. Commenting on the new Guidelines, ACFID’s Standards & Code Lead, Sophie Seck said:
‘ACFID members are committed to building and maintaining an internal culture that prioritises the safeguarding of vulnerable groups, and proactively addressing the power and structural inequalities that remain at the root cause of this issue. A PSEAH policy is an important opportunity to collectively set out an organisational commitment and approach.’
The Guidelines are one of a number of mechanisms ACFID uses to help support members achieve compliance in advancing the safeguarding of those who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse. They will be complemented by a webinar scheduled for 27 August 2019 (register here). Together, along with face-to-face events planned in September to support members understand and meet compliance requirements related to PSEA, they form the beginning of customised support to ACFID members, enabling them to strengthen PSEA across the sector.
If you have any feedback or questions, please contact the ACFID Code team at [email protected].