What we mean by Safeguarding and the Protection from Sexual Harassment, Exploitation, Abuse and Child Abuse (PSHEA-CA)

The term ‘Safeguarding’ specifically responds to the measures that CARE takes to prevent, report and respond to harm or abuse, and to protect the health, well-being and human rights of anyone that comes into contact with CARE, whether it is a CARE employee, related personnel, partner, programme participant or community member.

The acronym / term PSHEA is used specifically to refer to incidents of sexual misconduct committed by humanitarian workers against programme participants and community members.

Child Abuse (CA) refers to all forms of child abuse. Please see below for further definition.  Recognising that the root causes of both sexual exploitation and sexual harassment are inherently linked – including power dynamics and exacerbation of exiting vulnerabilities, Sexual Harassment has been integrated into PSEA.

While CARE is equally committed to addressing sexual harassment and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), this chapter focuses on prevention of and response to SEA-CA.

We define CARE employees broadly to include staff and related personnel such as board members, volunteers, personnel or employees of non-CARE entities or individuals who have entered into a cooperative arrangement with CARE (including interns, international and local consultants, individual and corporate contractors, and experts deployed to programmes.

A Child

A child is any individual under the age of 18, irrespective of local country definitions of when a child reaches adulthood

Adults experiencing vulnerability

Anyone 18 years or over who

  • is unable to take care of themselves/ protect themselves from harm or exploitation; or
  • due to their gender, mental or physical health, disability, ethnicity, religious identity, sexual orientation, economic or social status, or as a result of disasters and conflicts, are deemed to be at risk
  • is in a situation of subordination and therefore experiencing a power differential putting them at risk

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favour, 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, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. While typically involving a pattern of behavior, it can take the form of a single incident.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

Child Exploitation and Abuse (involves one or more of the following)

  • Physical abuse
    Physical abuse occurs when a person purposefully injures or threatens to injure a child. This may for instance, take the form of slapping, hitting, punching, shaking, kicking, beating, burning, shoving or grabbing.Physical abuse can be a single or repeated act. It doesn’t always leave visible marks or injuries.
  • Emotional abuse
    Emotional abuse is inappropriate verbal or symbolic acts toward a child or a pattern of failure over time to provide a child with adequate non-physical nurture and emotional availability. Such acts have a high probability of damaging a child’s self-esteem or social competence.
  • Neglect
    Neglect is the failure to provide a child (where they are in a position to do so) with the conditions that are culturally accepted as being essential for their physical and emotional development and well-being.
  • Sexual Misconduct with a Child
    Sexual Misconduct with a Child is any form of sexual activity with a child. It is evidenced by an activity between a child and an adult or another child who by age or development is in a relationship of responsibility, trust or power, the activity being intended to gratify or satisfy the needs of the other person. It may include, but is not limited to, contact or non-contact activities, the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any sexual activity, the use of a child in prostitution or other sexual practices,or exposing a child to online sexual exploitation material, the use of children inpornographic performances and materials, or taking sexual exploitative images of children.


Grooming generally refers to behaviour that makes it easier for an offender to procure a child or vulnerableadult for sexual activity. It often involves the act of building the trust of children and/or their carers or a vulnerable adult, to gain access to themin order to sexually abuse them. For example, grooming includes the provision of,or attention paid to a specific childor adult, providing gifts, money, drugs or alcohol to them, encouraging romantic feelings or exposing them to sexual concepts throughconversation or exposure topornography.Online groomingis the act of sending an electronic message, series of messages or engaging over an online platformwith content that may be of an indecent nature,with the intention of procuring the recipient to engage in or submit to sexual activity with another person, including but not necessarily the sender.Both children and vulnerable adults can be victims of grooming and online grooming, with children being particularly targeted by online groomers.


The measures we take to prevent, report and respond to harm or abuse and to protectthe health, well-being and human rights of anyone that comes into contact with CARE, whether it is CARE Employees and Related Personnel, partners, program participants and communities.

Community Volunteer

Personsfrom the local community where CARE is working and who undertake tasks for CARE on a voluntary nature.

Incentive Worker

A personwho is provided an incentive to do tasks for CARE that have a temporary and voluntary character. Incentive workers may, for example, bepeople withrefugeestatus, internally displaced peoples, returnees, or members of the host community, who are working for CARE by doing tasks in return for incentives.


Refers to a range of persons who are visiting CARE offices or programs, including donor representatives, journalists, media, researchers, celebrities, family members.