Protection against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) represents a fundamental failure of protection. It brings harm to those we are mandated to protect, and it jeopardizes the reputation of our organization. Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra (SSK) is committed to protecting vulnerable populations from SEA in the locations we serve at the hands of SSK staff and collaborators (consultants, sub-partners, contractors). Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra stands on zero tolerance towards Sexual exploitation and abuse.

WHAT IS SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE (SEA)?

Sexual exploitation: Actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.

Sexual abuse: Actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

SEA also includes sexual relations with a child, in any context, defined as a human being below the age of 18 years.

CORE PRINCIPLES

SSK staff and collaborators must work and behave in a manner that respects and fosters the rights of the people they serve abiding by the six core principles:

1. Sexual exploitation and abuse constitute acts of serious misconduct and are therefore grounds for disciplinary action including summary dismissal, and criminal proceedings.

2. Exchange of money, employment, goods, assistance or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour is prohibited.

3. Sexual activity with children (persons under the age of 18) is prohibited, regardless of the local age of consent or majority. Mistaken belief in the age of a child is not a defence.

4. SSK staff have a duty to report any instance where they may suspect or detect signs of SEA.

5. SSK will protect people SSK report SEA in accordance with the Whistleblowing and Protection Against Retaliation policy.

6. SSK staff shall create and maintain an environment that prevents SEA and promote the implementation of the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Managers at all levels have particular responsibilities to support and develop systems that maintain this environment.

ACTS OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE INCLUDE:

  • Sexual assault.

  • Demanding sex in any context or making sex a condition for assistance.

  • Forcing sex or someone to have sex with anyone.

  • Forcing a person to engage in prostitution or pornography.

  • Engaging in prostitution even if it is deemed legal in a country.

  • Sexually explicit behaviour on audio/video means of communication.

  • Unwanted touching of a sexual nature.

  • Engaging in sex with individuals below the age of 18 years.

  • Other types of sexually exploitive or sexually abusive behaviour may be grounds for administrative action, disciplinary measures, and criminal proceedings.

 

SUPPORT

 

Protection from retaliation:

SSK will protect those who report SEA. It is expected that the reporting is being done in good faith (with intentions to save the victim or protect the sanctity of the organization). However, if someone (SSK staff or collaborator) found knowingly report of false allegation with mischievous intentions, it will be considered as misconduct under sexual exploitation and could attract disciplinary action.

 

For survivors:

If you are supporting a victim of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse – you can make a confidential report. Medical and psychosocial support is available for all those affected by sexual exploitation and abuse. The societal forces that tend to marginalize persons with disabilities exacerbate the likelihood and the impact of SEA. People with disabilities can be more vulnerable to SEA and often face increased barriers when it comes to reporting or getting the support they need. Staff are encouraged to be particularly alert to suspected cases of SEA within vulnerable populations.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU BECOME AWARE OF POSSIBLE SEA?

Anyone having concerns or suspicions about a possible case of SEA by an SSK staff, or sub-partner, consultant, regardless of their position, has a duty to report to the PSEA Focal Point or the Director or the reporting Manager in the Office any time at ethics@sahbhagi.org or contact CASH committee.

  • You do not need proof before reporting, but all reports must be made in good faith.

  • Do not investigate.

  • Always maintain strict confidentiality.

  • Respect the dignity, wishes and rights of those affected by SEA.

 

WHAT TO REPORT:

Who committed the alleged wrongdoing?

Do you know if anyone else was involved? (Provide full names, titles and organization, if possible).

  • What has happened? Describe in detail what you know or suspect of a SEA incident.

  • Who was involved? Were there any witnesses?

  • When and where did the incident take place? Providing dates and time, if at all possible.