Commitment 1.5 We advance the safeguarding of those who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse

Compliance Indicators

Compliance with the Commitments will be assessed against the following Compliance Indicators. All of the applicable Compliance Indicators must be met by every ACFID Member to be considered compliant with the Code.  Each of the Compliance Indicators has one or more compliance Verifiers. Verifiers are the description of evidence that is required to substantiate compliance with each Compliance Indicator. Guidance is also provided.

1.5.1 Members demonstrate their organisational commitment to the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.


Members are required to extend this compliance indicator and verifiers to partners through MOU or similar.

All members must have a policy document that:
• Describes the standards of behaviour for organisation’s staff, representatives and partners
• Specifically prohibits sexual exploitation and abuse
• Outlines how the policy is implemented throughout the organisation.

Members are also required to appoint a prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse focal person.


Acts of sexual exploitation and abuse are intrinsically linked to power and gender inequity and disproportionately impact on women and girls.  An understanding of gender and power inequity in the contexts and relationships within which your organisation and staff work is important to effectively addressing this issue. 

A prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse policy provides one way for your organisation to advance the safeguarding of those who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse. These people may be adversely affected by the conduct of staff or volunteers associated with your organisation or through the design and implementation of your programs and activities. 

This policy should outline your organisation’s commitment to the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse and outline the responsibilities of staff, volunteers, partners and others in relation to prevention, reporting and responding to incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Your organisation may choose to have a standalone policy or to include the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse in a wider safeguarding policy.

Your organisation must appoint a focal person for the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. A sexual exploitation and abuse focal person provide a key role in raising awareness throughout your organisation and in coordinating, supporting and advising on the development and implementation of prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse policy and practices.

Members receiving funding from DFAT should also consider the requirements of DFAT's Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Policy. This is currently in development and will be completed in 2019.  ACFID will consider alignment of Code requirements with DFAT policy following its release.

Examples and guidance for developing a policy on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse is located in the Resources Section below.

Good Practice Indicators

Good Practice Indicators are yet to be developed for this Commitment.


Good Practice Guidance

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to further deepen and improve practice over time.


  • Undertake a power analysis and gender analysis of your programs and organisation to identify gaps, barriers and strengths for PSEA.
  • Create your own PSEA or safeguarding policy and Code of Conduct and support local staff and partners to do the same.
  • Ensure that your approach to PSEA places the voice and wishes of the survivor/victim at the centre of your management, reporting and responses.
  • Educate staff and other stakeholders about how to reduce risk and ensure organisational activities protect both adults and children.  This should include discussions about power imbalances, local status and workplace cultures and how they impact on work and personal relationships.
  • Designate a PSEA focal person to be responsible for promoting PSEA throughout your organisation, coordinating staff training, monitoring your compliance to relevant internal and external policies, and coordinating policy reviews and to serve as the central contact point for both internal and external queries.


  • Establish clear reporting and investigation procedures on sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse to report suspected or known instances of abuse to relevant authorities. These should include clear guidance on internal and external reporting requirements for your organisation in Australia and in field offices. 
  • Ensure your approach to addressing incidents of sexual misconduct include reparations for survivors/victims such as long-term access to medical, psychosocial and legal services and other forms of support.
  • Report suspected or known instances of sexual exploitation and abuse to relevant local and Australian authorities unless this is at odds with the wishes or welfare of the affected person or the life or serious welfare of the alleged perpetrator.
  • Report safeguarding incidents and their response to senior management and governing bodies.


  • Work with your partners to understand the implications for PSEA of local contexts and a shared understanding of the gender and power inequities and their impact on PSEA.
  • Develop a shared understanding with your partners of appropriate behaviours and incident reporting processes.
  • Work with partners and field managers to support and understand of healthy sexual relationships. There is no clear definition of sexual exploitation or consent and different understandings of gender right and power. 
  • Develop communications to ensure that partners and communities where you work are aware of what behaviours are inappropriate and how to report, investigate, document and manage sexual misconduct incidents.