IWDA Submission: ACFID Independent review into prevention of sexual misconduct and DFAT Policy Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment
IWDA supports all efforts to make our sector safer for women and girls – those we work with and those who work for us. In support of this commitment IWDA has made a submission to the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Independent Review into prevention of sexual misconduct and DFAT Policy Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment.
Our submission takes the opportunity to provide recommendations towards encouraging the International Aid and Development sector to take the lead in best practice and the establishment of new standards for preventing, responding to and supporting survivors of sexual exploitation, abuse, harassment and misconduct. In doing so we recognise the strength and unique approach of the ACFID Code of Conduct and the positive contribution this has made to safeguarding vulnerable people including children.
In our submission we note the root causes of gender based violence – including sexual exploitation, abuse, harassment and misconduct – are multi-dimensional and a consequence of the inequality experienced by women and girls. We recognise that survivors of all forms of gender based violence will predominantly (though not always) be women and girls and that perpetrators will predominantly (though not always) be men and boys. As a result, our submission focuses primarily on the need for independent, survivor-centered mechanisms for reporting and investigation of complaints, within Australia and within ACFID organisations. It makes recommendations for a survivor and complainant centered approach and development of best practice standards for investigation of complaints including the provision of complainant advocate support by people trained in sexual violence and its impacts.