Preventing Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in Iraq

Humanitarian staff also learn how to respond when they receive complaints or witness abuses. One important action is to report misbehaviour to the PSEA Network.

“Now that we have a confidential system in place, we are trying to raise awareness… among partners and staff on what kind of behaviour we should follow when interacting with beneficiaries, and for staff to know how to report when they come across such cases,” said Ms. Emond.

As the trainings have been rolled out, other organizations and government agencies have expressed an interest in participating.

“The Department of Labour and Social Affairs of Thi Qar Governorate requested UNHCR to conduct the same PSEA training for their staff,” said Alia Albuswailem, the focal point for addressing sexual and gender-based violence in Iraq for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

A safe environment

Training participants are also guided in the development of an action plan to ensure that their staff understand what SEA is, what policies are in place, and what their obligations are.

“The training gave us a wider perspective on gender-based violence. I want my staff to be well-informed on gender-based violence issues and challenges,” said Akram T. Hamasaiid, from People’s Development Organization, a UNFPA partner that manages six women’s support centres.

“We serve more than 1,500 women and girls each month. They reach out to us for advice and psychosocial support, and it is important that we inform them about their rights,” he said.

“We need to provide them with a safe environment,” Mr. Hamasaiid added.

(Source: UNFPA)

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