Summary: PSEAH Guidance

RDI Network
October 2021
7 min read

ACFID’s ‘Guidance for the development of a prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment policy’ has been developed to assist members to develop a policy and framework. Below is a summary of the guide.

  • A PSEAH policy states an organisation’s commitment to preventing sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, and communicates this commitment to stakeholders. It also establishes the responsibilities of staff, volunteers, partners and others to prevent, report, and respond to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment (SEAH).  
  • The policy supports the prevention of SEAH by working alongside an implementing and monitoring plan to track the organisation’s progress. Organisations are also involved in providing a safe and trusted environment that protects all who come into contact with them. An organizational culture that prioritizes safeguarding against sexual misconduct also ensures that it is safe for those affected to come forward and report incidents and concerns.
  • The purpose of ACFID’s guide is to support PSEAH best practice in their organisations, and satisfy the commitment to PSEAH in the ACFIDs Code of Conduct. DFAT also requires funded partners to have documented policies and procedures in place that meet the expectations of DFAT’s PSEAH policy.
  • The guide adopts a survivor-centred approach, which prioritizes the rights, needs, wishes and empowerment of survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse. This includes providing those affected by SEAH with accessible complaints mechanisms, handling complaints sensitively and confidentially, and ensuring that any response is robust and sensitive to the wishes and protection of survivors.
  • The process for developing a PSEAH policy includes consulting internal and external stakeholders. Consulting staff, governing body members and partners helps to create ownership and awareness of the policy, and ensure it fits the nature of the organisation and works with existing safeguarding policies. Consulting in country partners and other stakeholders also helps to build a shared understanding of the issues, that is contextualized, and culturally and gender appropriate.
  • Consultation should also include affected communities and primary stakeholders. In particular, effort should be dedicated to receiving feedback from girls, women and people with disabilities. This helps to understand the EAH risks that they face, and informs the design procedures so that they are community based, accessible and appropriate.
  • The guide also describes the key elements of a PSEAH Policy, including aspects related to the development sector, and how to tailor the policies to an organisation.  This includes:  the title and scope of the policy, a statement of commitment to PSEAH, principles that underpin the policy, and who the policy will apply to.
  • The policy should also include the outline for a reporting mechanism for SEAH including access for overseas staff, partners and primary stakeholders. This includes documented complaints handling and investigation procedures. It should also include reporting obligations, including to senior management and where it is safe to do so and in accordance with the victims/survivors wishes, local law enforcement.

Read the full guide: