ADRA Canada is an international humanitarian and community development organization focused on empowering and protecting the most vulnerable of humanity. ADRA Canada seeks to identify and address social injustice and deprivation in developed and developing countries, serving people without regard to their ethnic, political, social, sexual orientation, or religious association, and investing in the potential of individuals through community development programs and initiatives.

ADRA Canada staff are expected to uphold the highest standards of personal and professional conduct and integrity at all times to protect vulnerable persons from sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). SEA inflicts harm on those we are obligated to protect, while at the same time jeopardizing the credibility of the agency. All ADRA Canada staff and related personnel are required to behave irreproachably with members of the community, fellow staff, and taking particular care with the most vulnerable groups: minors, women, the elderly, marginalized members of society, and persons with disabilities.

ADRA Canada aims to implement efficient policies, procedures, and systems to prevent and respond to SEA and commits to create a zero-tolerance culture against complacency and impunity that would affect members of the community, ADRA Canada staff and all affiliated stakeholders.

What is Sexual Exploitation and Abuse?

SEA is any actual or attempted abuse against a person who is in a position of vulnerability, and of differential power or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially, or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.

Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Key Terms:

Community-Based Complaints Mechanism: A system blending both formal and informal community structures, by which individuals are able and encouraged to safely report incidents of SEA. Local communities are involved in developing the system so that the structure is both cultural and gender-sensitive. The selection of different mechanisms and multiple entry points will allow both staff and community participants opportunities to report at the organizational or community level in ways which are both convenient and familiar to them.

Safeguarding: Preventing acts of sexual misconduct from being perpetrated by members of the aid world, whether against members of the local community or actors delivering aid.

Sexual Abuse: Actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

Sexual Assault: Sexual activity with another person who does not consent. This definition also includes sexual touching. Keep in mind that minors at law do not have legal capacity to consent to sexual activity with anyone who is the age of majority.

Sexual Violence: Acts of a sexual nature against a person without their consent and that cause such a person to engage in an act of a sexual nature by force, by threat of force or coercion, such as that caused by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or abuse of power, or by taking advantage of a coercive environment or such a person’s incapacity to give genuine consent.

Sexual Harassment: Prohibited conduct in the community and in the work context committed against staff, interns, volunteers, project participants, service providers and any other related stakeholders. Involves any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, verbal or physical conduct or gesture of a sexual nature, or any other behavior of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation to another.

Survivor-Centred Approach: An approach that creates a supportive and conducive environment in which the survivor’s wishes are respected, their safety ensured, and they are treated with respect and dignity.

Whistle-Blower: A staff member, intern, volunteer or anyone who reports misconduct, including sexual exploitation or abuse, may be entitled to protection under specified agency terms. (Refer to ADRA Canada’s Complaints Policy)

Policy Scope

This policy applies to and is mandatory for our policy adherents who are defined as all ADRA Canada