3. Applying the policy in practice

As part of our commitment to Safeguarding, CARE recognises the importance of organisational culture and accountability in creating a safe and supportive organisation for our staff, partners, and the communities with whom we work.

All CARE offices and their HR staff are continuously improving CARE’s HR policies and practices to ensure we are promoting the values and culture that support our vision and mission. We strive to ensure that we attract new employees, Board members, consultants, volunteers, interns, and contractors who demonstrate the culture and behaviors that promote and reinforce our safeguarding culture, gender equality & diversity and a safe workplace, free from harm.

With more than 90 offices globally, the CARE confederation is bound by different legal obligations within the countries we work and therefore our offices adopt HR policy and practices that are locally relevant, within local legal frameworks.

In order to meet your safeguarding commitments and ensure that safeguarding is fulling embedded into the employment cycle please refer to the Safeguarding and HR: Safer Recruitment Guidance.


  • Include reference to CARE’s Safeguarding commitments in all job advertisements both online, and on job advertisement boards.
  • Ensure that every job description explicitly includes that the responsibility for preventing and responding to sexual exploitation, harassment and abuse, and child abuse. For management roles, make clear their additional responsibilities for safeguarding included monitor the development and implementation of SEA-related work in the CO emergency plans.
  • Include a question relating to Safeguarding and PSEA in every interview – this will help you to ascertain the candidate’s commitment to safeguarding and their attitude towards PSEA-CA. For examples of questions you can ask for specific job roles please refer to our Safeguarding and Code of Conduct Questions for Interviews
  • To avoid recruiting unsuitable candidates, conduct a minimum of 3 reference checks before any new hiring. Include specific questions in reference checks safeguarding and their suitability for the role taking into consideration past behaviour.
  • Where legally applicable, ensure that every recruitment abides by the Misconduct Disclosure Scheme (MDS). Refer to the MDS in all Job Descriptions and Job Advertisements, making clear to the candidate the expectation of CARE in relation to reference checking.
  • Include the CI Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct in every employee contract, making clear that a breach of the policy could lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
  • Ensure that every staff member, including management, consultants and volunteers, and other temporary staff working on the response to an emergency receives a copy of the CARE International Safeguarding PSHEA-CA policy, signs the relevant Code of Conduct.
  • Strive for gender balance in staff. Include at least one or two women in programme locations e.g. distribution teams, post distribution monitors.

Onboarding process

  • Ensure all staff must are made aware of the established procedures to report any incidents of sexual exploitation, harassment and abuse, and child abuse in the particular emergency setting.
  • Ensure that each staff member is required to sign the CI Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct an agreement as a mark of having read and understood the CARE Code of conduct/policy and procedures, and that they will abide by the policy, at all times whilst employed by CARE
  • CARE’s policy/code should be communicated/discussed with all partners and their staff and included in the partner agreements. Partners should be encouraged to get all their staff to review and sign a similar code.
  • Organise additional skill-building events for those with significant responsibilities, for receiving, investigating and/or responding to reported incidents.
  • All staff must receive a comprehensive orientation on CARE Safeguarding requirements (see below). In additional all CARE Staff and related personnel must receive training on Safeguarding within their first month of joining. Please refer to our CI Safeguarding Training resources.


All new employees must be given an orientation in to safeguarding requirements at CARE. The following topics must be included as a minimum:

  • Overview of CARE’s Safeguarding and PSHEA-CA work within the confederation.
  • Safeguarding and PSHEA-CA obligation for the confederation and individuals included in the PSHEA-CA policy.
  • Discussion on terminology including Safeguarding and PSHEA-CA.
  • Survivor centred approach to safeguarding at CARE, and response to concerns raised.
  • How to recognise and report Safeguarding / PSHEA-CA concerns including using CARE Line.
  • Overview of Safeguarding / PSHE-CA within the sector, why incidents occur and collective responsibility of all to mitigate and report.
  • Reminder to complete the Safeguarding training and signing of the Safeguarding Code of Conduct and Policy.

Safer Programming is ensuring that all CARE’s programmers are safe for men, women and children to participate in. It refers to the preventative, practical actions that we take within our programmes to identify and mitigate risks and prevent potential harm that our programmes could cause to programme participants, either by our own staff, related personnel, partners or by the programme activities. All those who come into contact with CARE must be safeguarded to the maximum possible extent from deliberate or unintentional harms or failings that place them at risk of harm, abuse, exploitation or harassment. Safer programming therefore, is about strengthening and building the protective environments in which programmes take place through comprehensive risk management and designing programmes that contribute to a safer environment for all. It includes building positive relationships with communities, building trust and responding to feedback appropriately to build people’s confidence to report sensitive issues and feel safe when engaging with CARE.

Safer programming is closely connected to programme quality. In the long term a programme that does not prioritize the safety of the participants, or exacerbates existing harmful cultural norms is highly likely to create more harm and be of poor quality. If a programme is determined, through comprehensive risk assessment, to increase or exacerbate risk, and safeguarding risk cannot be adequately mitigated or minimised, or where the inherent risks are too high, CARE should be prepared not to implement.

Safer programming is not about mitigating against every risk. If a project involves working with the hardest to reach communities or supporting women and girls who may be at an increased risk of harm, mitigating against all risks may mean that the programme would not go ahead, or it could be ineffectual. Certain risks are not within CARE’s area of control, i.e., they do not arise because of our programmes or projects. Thus, we must continuously identify, assess and monitor these risks throughout the programme cycle, building mitigations and controls into programme design, implementation and closeout to ensure that our programme and projects are appropriate, system-strengthen and build protective environments thus reducing the likelihood of harm, exploitation and abuse.

Safer programming should be considered at every stage of the programme cycle – from planning and design through to close out. Safeguarding risks must be continuously assessed and monitored throughout the programme and mitigations implemented to reduce the likelihood of harm. Managing risk is an ongoing process. Tools such as the quick and simple risk matrix can help guide and record the process.

The emergency programme manager/team leader must:

  • Make available resources for the implementation of SEA-CA work which would require a budget line for training or awareness-raising on SEA prevention, response and reporting procedures.
  • Must develop and implement plans to create awareness among programme partners, vendors and communities-especially among vulnerable groups such as women and children-regarding information on relief criteria, their entitlements and rights, CARE’s zero tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse, and reporting procedures for any incidents of SEA-CA.
  • Coordinate and conduct the completion of a comprehensive risk assessment, including a risk mitigation plan for every programme. The mitigation plan must be reviewed as part of every programme review meeting.
  • Carry out assessments to identify specific needs and potential exploitation/protection issues, especially for women and children. Include people with expertise in the area of gender, child protection, psychosocial care, etc. in assessment teams.
  • Ensure that due diligence is undertaken on partners and that CARE programming teams work with partners to understand what they have in place for preventing and responding to Safeguarding: PSHEA-CA concerns.
  • Collaborate with partners on the completion of Safeguarding Risk assessments, drawing on our partners contextual expertise to best mitigate the risk of SHEA-CA.
  • An effective mechanism is implemented for grievance and complaints in the areas/communities we work in. This mechanism should be designed in collaboration with programme participants and community members. This is critical to provide the opportunity for every individual in the community to let us know how we can improve our response, and as part of that they can also report on SEA-CA issues.
  • An assessment of the status of response to SEA incidents and measures taken for prevention is included in the after-action reviews and other evaluations of emergency response. These assessment teams should include staff/consultants with expertise on gender and the topic of SEA-CA.
  • Emphasise the need for staff to be aware of the psycho-social impact of such disasters and exploitative behaviours and respond with empathy.
  • Identify and partner with individuals/organisations to respond to the psycho-social, medical and legal needs for survivors of sexual abuse/exploitation.
  • Conduct awareness-raising activities and display locally appropriate and effective posters that communicate CARE’s values/standards for staff behaviour and incident-reporting options at all prominent response points/camps in communities.
  • Display posters with information on relief criteria and entitlements prominently outside camps/distribution sites. Collaborate and coordinate with other agencies to develop and implement reporting and feedback mechanisms, as well as advocacy efforts on SEA as required.

Ensure that the gender equity and diversity (GED) coordinator or an independent consultant periodically conducts a random survey with staff to find out their knowledge and attitude towards sexual exploitation, the CARE policy and procedures, and their individual responsibility.

For more information on Safer Programming and sector specific guidance please refer to the CARE Safer Programming Guidance.


For Help Contact:

If you have an issue you think you should report, or you are concerned about the behavior of staff member, partner or related personnel, you can report your concern using the following channels:

CARE Line: http://www.care.ethicspoint.com/

You can also report your concert to:

  • your human resources manager
  • your manager or another appropriate manager
  • your Safeguarding / PSHEA-CA Focal Point

Our key principles to reporting:

  • CARE wants to know when wrongful conduct occurs
  • CARE does not tolerate harassment, exploitation, abuse or other forms of wrongful conduct such as fraud.
  • CARE’s hotline, known as “CARE Line”, is among options for CARE staff to report wrongful conduct. Other options include:
    • Office-managed reporting mechanisms (dedicated email address, comment box, phone number, etc)
    • Talking to office leadership
    • Talking to a manager
    • Talking to HR
  • CARE will take appropriate actions to the best of CARE’s abilities to protect persons from retaliation when reports of misconduct are reported in good faith. Reprisals against people for reporting in good faith are a breach of our polices.