Journalists for Human Rights
Policy on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)
- Effective Date
October 15th, 2020
2. Policy Statement
Journalists for Human Rights (“JHR”) is committed to fostering an inclusive, diverse, equitable and harassment-free environment where all people are treated with respect and dignity. We also recognize that there may be conduct outside of the workplace that is unacceptable from individuals in the organization, or otherwise associated with JHR.
Journalists for Human Rights recognizes that where unequal power relationships exist there is potential for power imbalances to be exploited. Journalists for Human Rights has a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual exploitation and abuse, whether or not related to an abuse of power, as we believe all people have a right to live free from sexual exploitation and abuse. Employees, contractors, volunteers, donors, partners or other individuals associated with the organization who are found to have participated in sexual exploitation or abuse, whether inside or outside of the organization, will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or contract or termination of any further association with the organization.
This policy should be read in conjunction with JHR’s Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and Procedures as sexual exploitation and abuse in the workplace are also considered to fall under the definition of workplace harassment and is therefore also covered by that policy.
The purpose of this policy is to:
- Articulate JHR’s commitment to preventing sexual exploitation and abuse based on the 6 core principals of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which principles are as follows:
-Sexual exploitation and abuse by humanitarian workers constitute acts of gross misconduct and are therefore grounds for termination of employment.
-Sexual activity with children (persons under the age of 18) is prohibited regardless of the age of majority or age of consent locally. Mistaken belief regarding the age of a child is not a defence.
-Exchange of money, employment, goods, or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour is prohibited. This includes exchange of assistance that is due to beneficiaries.
-Any sexual relationship between those providing humanitarian assistance and protection and a person benefitting from such humanitarian assistance and protection that involves improper use of rank or position is prohibited. Such relationships undermine the credibility and integrity of humanitarian aid work.
-Where a humanitarian worker develops concerns or suspicions regarding sexual abuse or exploitation by a fellow worker, whether in the same agency or not, he or she must report such concerns via established agency reporting mechanisms.
Humanitarian workers are obliged to create and maintain an environment which prevents sexual exploitation and abuse and promotes the implementation of their code of conduct. Managers at all levels have particular responsibilities to support and develop systems which maintain this environment.”
- Establish a framework for addressing and preventing sexual exploitation and abuse either within our organization or by people associated with our organization.
This policy applies to all current employees of Journalists for Human Rights, including full and part-time, casual, contract, permanent and temporary employees. This policy also applies to volunteers, donors and members of the Board of Directors and members of the Board of Directors sub-committees. Since behaviour involving sexual exploitation and abuse can cause significant reputational damage to JHR, application of this policy may extend to any individual or entity associated with the organization in any manner regardless of the identity of the accused.
For purposes of this policy any reference to humanitarian workers, humanitarian assistance or humanitarian protection is to be read to include all individuals associated with, and services provided by, JHR.
Sexual Exploitation is 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. It includes but is not limited to:
- The exchange of money, goods or other commodities and or services, employment or any exchange of assistance in exchange for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour.
- Transactional sex, including the exploitation or the prostitution of others;
- Sexual relationships based on inherently unequal power dynamics;
- Any sexual relationship between those providing humanitarian assistance and protection and a person benefitting from such humanitarian assistance and protection that involves improper use of rank or position.
Sexual abuse is any actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. It includes but is not limited to:
- Any action or behaviour of a sexual nature that coerces, threatens or forces a person to engage in a sexual activity;
- Any unlawful sexual activity with a person under the age of 18. Not knowing or mistaking the age of a child is not a defence;
- Any involvement with child pornography or trafficking of human beings.
6. Policy Violations
Engaging in sexual exploitation or sexual abuse as defined above, is a violation of this policy. Violating this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including, termination of employment or contract or severance of any further association with JHR.
Journalists for Human Rights will contact local or national authorities in a timely manner, as appropriate given the nature and severity of the incident and where required by law, and will work in collaboration with authorities to aid their investigation to the greatest extent possible.
Refer to the responsibilities as provided for in JHR’s Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy. These responsibilities apply equally as it relates to this policy in regard to sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.
The Deputy Director is responsible for:
- Ensuring that all volunteers, interns, employees, directors and subcontractors understand and sign a Declaration of Adherence to the policy (refer to Appendix 1 for the format to be followed for such a declaration ) .
All Individuals covered by this policy at a minimum:
- Will not request any service or sexual favour from participants of JHR programs, children or others in the communities in which JHR works in return for protection or assistance, and will not engage in sexually exploitative relationships;
- Will not exchange money, employment, goods or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour. This prohibition against exchange of money for sex means individuals may not engage the services of sex workers while on JHR business, including on JHR premises or accommodation, or while travelling to/from or attending workshops, meetings and trainings, regardless of the local or national law concerning sex work or prostitution in the country;
- Are strongly discouraged from having sex or engaging in sexual activities with program participants because there is an inherent conflict of interest and potential for abuse of power in such a relationship. If an individual engages in sex or sexual activities with a program participant, the individual must disclose this conduct to his /her supervisor for appropriate guidance. Failure to report such conduct may lead to disciplinary action pursuant to JHR’s policies and procedures
- Must refrain from sexual activity with any person under the age of 18, regardless of the local age of consent, i.e. the local or national laws of the country in which the individual works or resides. (Not knowing or mistaking the age of a child is not a defence);
- Will not support or take part in any form of sexual exploitative or abusive activities, including, for example, child pornography or trafficking of human beings;
- Must report any concerns or suspicions they have regarding possible violations of this PSEA policy in accordance with the JHR Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and Procedures;
8. Procedures for Addressing a Complaint
Refer to the JHR Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and Procedures for procedures to be followed in addressing a complaint.
9. Privacy & Confidentiality
Refer to the JHR Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and Procedures in regard to Privacy & Confidentiality