Fundamental to the operation of CfA is respect for the dignity and basic human rights of people within Australia and throughout the world. Every person who represents CfA is expected to reflect these values in their professional conduct, regardless of who they are dealing with, or where they are working.
Sexual exploitation abuse, and sexual harassment (SEAH) is a violation of basic human rights. CfA aims to provide a safe and trusted environment that safeguards everyone from SEAH including beneficiary communities, workers, program participants and partner organisations.
CfA is committed to safeguarding the people it helps and who it works alongside. We recognise that the nature of CfA’s work places our workers and program participants in positions of authority and trust in relation to the communities we work with, especially vulnerable adults and children. CfA workers and program participants have an obligation to uphold high standards of personal and professional conduct at all times and must not abuse this position in order to exploit or abuse another person.
CfA will actively prevent and respond to SEAH and maintain an organisational culture that prioritises safeguarding against SEAH so that it is safe for those affected to come forward and report incidents and concerns with the assurance they will be handled sensitively and appropriately
The following must comply with this Policy in the course of their work and when representing CfA:
All of the aforementioned must comply with the standards of behaviour set out in this CfA Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment Policy.
Appropriate consultation (tick for ‘yes’, otherwise leave blank)
Worker: employees (Australia and overseas), consultants, contractors, office volunteers, interns, the CfA Board, visitors, or anyone engaged to undertake work for this organisation.
Program Participant: defined as any person engaged to undertake an assignment, volunteer or otherwise, on an international or domestic program managed by CfA.
Accompanying adult dependent: defined as any person over the age of 18 supported by CfA to accompany a person undertaking an assignment, volunteer or otherwise, on an international or domestic program managed by CfA.
Partner Organisations: any organisation either in Australia or overseas that receives a benefit from an CfA program and where volunteers and program participants are placed
Program beneficiaries: any person who, either directly or by association, derives a benefit from an CfA or CfA affiliated program. Examples include but are not limited to; Partner Organisation employees and community members who directly receive a service or engage with a program participant in the course of the participant’s work with a Partner Organisation.
Sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment (SEAH) occurs against a child or an adult and can occur between people of the same or different genders. It includes situations such as:
Sexual Exploitation – any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.
Sexual Abuse – the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.
Sexual Harassment – any verbal or physical conduct or any conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome, uninvited or not reciprocated in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances would have reasonably anticipated the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated. This can include unwelcome sexual advances or unwelcome requests for sexual favours or displaying or sending sexually explicit images or asking intrusive questions about someone’s personal life, including their sex life.
Sexual harassment can take various forms. It can be direct and/or indirect, physical and/ or verbal, repeated or one-off instances and perpetrated by any person of any gender towards any person of any gender. Sexual harassment can be perpetrated against beneficiaries of CfA’s programs, community members, citizens, as well as employees and workers.
Child Sexual Abuse – the use of a child for sexual gratification by an adult or significantly older child or adolescent. Sexually abusive behaviours can include fondling genitals; masturbation; oral sex; vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger or any other object; fondling breasts; voyeurism; exhibitionism; and exposing the child to, or involving the child in, pornography (see CfA Child & Vulnerable People Protection Policy).
Child Exploitation – one or more of the following:
Online Child Sexual Exploitation (or child pornography) – in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ‘child pornography’ means ‘any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes.
Child – any person under the age of eighteen (18) years as defined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child irrespective of local country definitions of when a child reaches adulthood.
Vulnerable adults – those aged over 18 years and who identify themselves as unable to take care of themselves/ protect themselves from harm or exploitation; or who, due to their gender, mental or physical health, disability, ethnicity, religious identity, sexual orientation, economic or social status, or as a result of disasters and conflicts, are deemed to be at risk.
Survivor – A person who has SEAH perpetrated against him/her or an attempt to perpetrate SEA against him/her.
CfA’s commitment to the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse is informed by the following principles:
Child rights and women’s rights as core values within CfA: CfA upholds the rights articulated in the International Bill of Human Rights, The UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and promotes the right of adults and children to be protected from all forms of violence including SEAH.
Safeguarding vulnerable adults and children: Issues of SEAH are fundamentally about abuses of power. Situations of poverty, vulnerability and discrimination as well as power inequities between genders, between aid workers/volunteers and beneficiary communities, and within organisations, create unequal power dynamics resulting in environments where SEAH can exist. CfA acknowledges the impact of SEAH on an individual’s health and wellbeing, and that negative physical, mental health and social outcomes that are likely to be compounded when perpetrated by a person in authority.
Strong leadership: CfA expects those in positions of leadership, including people management, to set clear expectations and model respectful behaviour in their interactions at work and in public and to take measures to improve diversity and inclusion in line with CfA Policy.
Expected behaviours of those representing CfA: Given differing local contexts, CfA workers and program participants may be faced with a range of unfamiliar social, cultural, financial or personal settings when working or volunteering overseas. Communities trust that the people representing CfA will always conduct themselves in a professional manner and not engage in behaviour contrary to the safety or wellbeing of the children and adults they come into contact with.
Zero tolerance of SEAH: Behaviour by CfA workers or program participants that results in the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child or adult, helps facilitate SEAH or where allegations of SEAH are ignored by CfA or partner organisation personnel, will not be tolerated and CfA will immediately respond and take seriously any concerns raised.
Take action to prevent SEAH: CfA aims to prevent SEAH through implementation of this Policy, communication, training and working collaboratively with all personnel, country offices and partner organisations to safeguard everyone against SEAH.
The following list of expected behaviours applies to all of CfA workers, CfA program participants and other program approved adult dependents, in both their personal and professional lives. The aforementioned must, at all times:
In addition, CfA workers must adhere to the following expected behaviours:
Sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment by CfA workers, program participants and AVP approved adult dependents constitute acts of gross misconduct and are therefore grounds for termination of employment or volunteer assignment.
Disciplinary actions/possible outcomes for breach of the CfA Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment Policy can include:
All CfA workers are responsible for championing good practice and maintaining an organisational culture that prioritises safeguarding against SEAH.
Managers and leaders at all levels have responsibilities to support and develop systems that maintain an environment that facilitates implementation of this Policy and which prevents SEAH. They must ensure that CfA workers and program participants understand and comply with this Policy.
Managers and leaders must create a safe environment at CfA for anyone to come forward and raise allegations or concerns of SEAH and take action to immediately respond to any reports.
PSEAH training will be provided for CfA staff, Board Directors, and program participants and any other training as required by DFAT.
CfA will apply robust recruitment and screening procedures for all CfA workers, program participants and AVP approved adult dependents to reduce the risk of engaging a person with a background of unacceptable risks to children or adults, particularly vulnerable children and adults.
These procedures include:
CfA will design and implement an effective risk management processes that includes consideration of the risk of SEAH. The process will document the controls in place or to be implemented to reduce or remove the risks of SEAH
CfA provides a safe, supportive and secure environment to report incidences of SEAH and breaches of this Policy. CfA will take all concerns seriously and respond immediately and in accordance with AVIs and DFAT reporting requirements. All reports of SEAH will be recorded, regardless of whether substantiated or full investigation required. The principles of natural justice will apply to all investigations.
CfA workers, program participants and accompanying adult dependents must immediately report any concerns, suspicions or allegations of SEAH or breach of the CfA Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment Policy. A report should be made to one of the following people as applicable:
Program participants and Accompanying Adult Dependents (AAD) may report a concern regarding sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment or Policy breach to any of the following people:
CfA Workers may report a concern regarding sexual exploitation abuse and harassment or Policy breach to any of the following people:
Visitors, Beneficiaries of our programs, and Members of the Public may report a concern regarding sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment through
Children and young people may also report a concern regarding sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment to an CfA Child Protection and Safeguarding staff or any CfA staff member who will in turn report disclosures in line with AVIs reporting procedures.
Anyone wishing to make a report anonymously which would be protected by the Whistleblowers Protection legislation of any jurisdiction needs to refer to the CFA Whistleblower Protection Policy for information on protected disclosures and can make a report as specified in the Policy.
Any person reporting a case of SEAH, in good faith, or any person who has cooperated with an investigation into a report of SEAH, will be protected by this Policy. Malicious and vexatious reporting of SEAH with the intention and/or result of harming another person’s integrity or reputation amounts to serious misconduct and is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. This is distinct from reports made in good faith based on the judgment and information available at the time of the report, which may not be substantiated by an investigation.
Reporting and investigation progress will include engagement of and reporting to the Organisational Leadership Team and CfA Board members.
Investigations of SEAH will be carried out in a manner that is timely, fair, objective and as far as is practicable, confidential. This includes the use of appropriate interviewing practice with complainants and witnesses. All information and documented evidence will be held securely and in the strictest confidence as far as is appropriate.
Sensitive information related to reports of SEAH whether involving CfA workers, program participants, accompanying adult dependents or others in the communities in which CfA works shall be shared only with Australian or local law enforcement authorities, when a notification to police or appropriate authorities must be made or on a ‘need to know’ basis. Information of alleged perpetrators that may be provided to law enforcement authorities and/or to DFAT will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 and any and all privacy legislation and principles that may apply.
CfA will adopt a survivor-centred approach in preventing and responding to SEAH. CfA will ensure that all responses are developed in a manner that balances respect for due process with a survivorcentred approach in which the survivor’s wishes, safety and wellbeing remain a priority in all matters and procedures. Furthermore, all actions taken should be guided by respect for choices, wishes, rights and dignity of the survivor.
CfA will ensure survivors of SEAH are offered support and assistance such as referral to safe health/medical, psychosocial and legal/justice response where appropriate and where required to specialised children’s or women’s services.
Children have the right to participate in decisions that will affect them. If a decision is taken on behalf of a child, the best interests of the child shall be the overriding guide. Referrals should be done in consultation with child focused agencies specialising in the special needs of child survivors of sexual abuse, and who are familiar with local procedures relating to the protection of children.
Survivors will be provided with information on the progression of an investigation and final outcomes.
CfA will work with Partner Organisations in the prevention of SEAH and Partner Organisations will be advised of avenues available to report concerns regarding SEAH.
CFA-P25.V1 Prevention of Sexual Exploitation Abuse and Harassment Policy – Effective Date: 7 August 2020 Document
Approved By: Board of Management.
Controlled Document — Printed Versions are not controlled. CFA