Core Standards for Survivor-Centered Support of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment

“One of the 16 Pledge commitments asked CEOs to “[r]ecognize the immediate and long-term effects sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment have on [NGO] staff and the people [they] serve, and [to] … ensure [their] organizations have robust policies and funded mechanisms to provide the necessary support.”

However, there has been no standard to date in the provision of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (SEAH) survivor support across organizations. In practice, this means that a survivor may receive a different level and standard of care depending on which organization employed the perpetrator. Additionally, the lack of clear standards has resulted in confusion among humanitarian and development organizations regarding an organization’s responsibility to a survivor of SEAH.

To address this, the From Pledge to Action survivor support subgroup at InterAction developed the Core Standards for Survivor-Centered Support of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment, which were launched on February 15, 2023. The Core Standards set out to ensure that all survivors of SEAH are entitled to adequate support services, regardless of which organization employed the person who caused the harm. They provide international development and humanitarian organizations with a set of standards related to safety, medical care, psychosocial support (PSS), accountability, and long-term recovery for survivors of SEAH. These standards necessitate that the survivor be the driving force behind all decisions related to service provision.

It is recommended that organizations begin adopting these standards to ensure standardization across the sector and to build trust in communities in which they work. While there is no formal enforcement mechanism for these standards, all organizations have a strong ethical obligation to address the needs of SEAH survivors.”