Our commitment to tackling sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment


At the Safeguarding Summit on 5 March 2018, the DEC and its member charities pledged to improve safeguarding standards.  At the International Summit “Putting people first” which took place in London today, 18 October 2018, DEC and its members together with representatives of the international aid sector reaffirmed this commitment.

Putting people first

The safety and wellbeing of the children and adults we seek to serve will always be our priority. This is core to who we are and will always prevail above all other considerations.

We will not tolerate sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment and will put the voices, rights and safety of victims, survivors and whistle-blowers first. We will prevent safeguarding breaches from occurring but will follow up promptly and comprehensively if they do. We will report incidents to the appropriate authorities and prioritise the protection and safety of survivors and victims when doing so.

Sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment are fundamentally about gender inequality and power imbalances and our leaders are committed to tackle this head on. They will drive the cultural changes we want to see – this means modelling inclusive leadership, more diverse management teams, and accountability at all levels of our organisations.

We take responsibility and will continue to work together as members of the DEC and of the wider international aid community to drive transformation in safeguarding and to demonstrate improvements. Some DEC members have well-developed safeguarding approaches in place and are driving up standards globally, but we can never be complacent. We must go further and make sure that we and all our partners are consistently meeting high standards, whatever the size of operations and regardless of the contexts in which humanitarian assistance is delivered in our name and with funds from the British public.

We will ensure that our approach is informed by the people we work with in countries around the world, in order to develop context-appropriate solutions based on their experience and knowledge.

This is what the commitments and related actions set out here aim to achieve.