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In light of recent reports about sexual misconduct across the humanitarian aid sector, Concern has said it expects the highest standards of behaviour from its 3,900 staff worldwide. We have a zero tolerance approach to any conduct that does not respect the rights and dignity of others and we believe that our safeguarding reporting systems work effectively.
All staff must sign up to a Code of Conduct and Programme Participants Protection Policy, which set out the standards of behaviour we demand from everyone. All volunteers, board members and visitors to our programmes also sign up to these policies so that the beneficiaries of our work and our staff are protected from abuse and exploitative behaviour. In addition, Concern operates a Complaints Response Mechanism that provides safe, accessible and effective channels so that people can exercise their right to raise complaints about the work and behaviour of our staff
While we believe our systems are effective, we are appointing an internal taskforce to review all of our safeguarding systems and procedures to ensure that they are as robust as possible and that they continue to be consistent with international best practice.
Following a thorough analysis of our safeguarding reporting systems over the past 10 years throughout Concern’s fundraising offices and 26 countries of operation, all complaints we received were immediately investigated and, where they were substantiated, disciplinary action was taken. The cases resulted in a number of dismissals and in addition, where relevant, local authorities were notified. Our guidelines also clearly state that any prospective employers that contact us for references must be informed of the fact of any dismissal.
CEO Dominic MacSorley has stated that:
We believe this is a critical opportunity for the sector to strengthen safeguarding systems and procedures and raise standards across the board. All organisations need to guarantee that programmes are implemented in a manner that ensures both the populations we seek to help and our staff are treated with dignity and respect. The critical life-saving work that all humanitarian organisations do every day is too important to jeopardise.