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Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse

UNICEF's approach to protection from sexual exploitation and abuse

The United Nations Secretary-General’s report on Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: A new approach calls for new efforts to end abuses committed by those serving under the United Nations flag in any capacity and “bring this scourge to heel”. The strategy emphasizes a system-wide approach, focusing on: putting victims first, ending impunity, engaging civil society and other external partners, and raising awareness on the issue.

UNICEF Image: A girl holds up a cloth, Democratic Republic of the Congo
© UNICEF/UNI42312/LeMoyne

UNICEF is steadfast in its commitment to strengthening protection from sexual exploitation and abuse. UNICEF is working closely with the United Nations Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Working Group, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Task Team on Accountability to Affected Populations and Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and other implementing partners to strengthen and scale up our programmes to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse. These efforts include the following measures:

• Notification: UNICEF offices raise an alert of any allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of children by United Nations and related personnel as soon as possible after receiving an allegation, as a matter of standard procedure.

Strengthening victim assistance: UNICEF and its partners have taken steps to strengthen and monitor assistance and support to victims, including medical care, psychosocial support and a safety plan to address risks to victims and witnesses.

• Contracts, agreements and recruitments: UNICEF’s contracts with vendors include prohibitions of sexual exploitation and abuse by vendor personnel. UNICEF’s agreements with civil society implementing partners include like provisions. UNICEF also requires candidates for employment as staff members to disclose investigations, charges and sanctions for misconduct; a proven allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse will be grounds for disqualification. Similar procedures are planned for the engagement of individual contractors and consultants.

Online training module on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse launched in 2017.

• Mandatory training: An online training module for staff and consultants on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse – developed jointly with UNDP, UNFPA and UN Women – was rolled out in 2017. The training is mandatory for all staff and consultants, and is available for UNICEF implementing partners.

• Cooperation with investigations: UNICEF is reviewing its capacity for investigations carefully. It has developed tools and training materials, and makes specialized staff and partners available to safeguard interviews of child victims and witnesses.

Allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse should be reported to UNICEF’s Office of Internal Audit and Investigations at integrity1@unicef.org.

Learn more about the United Nations' work on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse (links to external website).
Watch a video about the United Nations’ commitment to protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (links to external website).




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