1.3 Prevention of sexual exploitation and gender-based violence

Distribution of relief items introduces powerful resources into the community that can be misused and abused. Distributions can increase the protection risks to vulnerable groups-in particular a heightened risk of sexual exploitation and abuse, and gender-based violence. Perpetrators can be from the beneficiary group or other public in the area, community leaders, or humanitarian staff.

Humanitarian staff in particular is in a position of power, and must be carefully managed and monitored to ensure they do not abuse their position of power and that beneficiaries are protected. Consequently, it is essential that all distribution planning and implementation activities take concrete measures to prevent and respond to increased risks of sexual exploitation, abuse, gender-based violence and other protection risks that may be linked to distribution activities. This area has to be taken seriously by leadership and management and should emphasized to all involved at early stages of any distribution. For more information, see Chapter on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Chapter 32 Quality and Accountability. The following checklist provides some practical concrete measures that must be implemented to reduce such risks.


All registration and distribution activities must ensure that:

  • women, men, girls, boys and other people with special needs from the community are actively involved in the distribution planning, in particular in site selection and timing
  • women are actively employed in the registration and distribution process including as registration officers, drivers, distribution officers, tally clerks and monitors
  • all staff sign a code of conduct, and activities are to provide orientation and awareness to all staff involved in distributions on prevention of sexual exploitation. Complaints against staff are investigated and disciplinary measures are implemented when required
  • both women and men receive clear information about their entitlements including type and quantity of items they should be receiving; and when, where and how distributions will take place
  • confidentiality during registration is assured, especially for vulnerable groups including female-headed households
  • complaints mechanisms are in place including an appropriate system for investigating and addressing complaints. Consider including accountability information, including how to complain on the ration card
  • a referral system for reporting and responding to security incidents during distributions is operational
  • distribution sites, times and travel routes are safe and accessible for women and men, boys and girls of different age groups and backgrounds
  • the distribution circuit is designed in a way that ensures open, transparent and safe distributions
  • distributions are conducted at times that allow people to travel and reach home in daylight
  • monitoring takes place by both CARE staff and community representatives, particularly by women
  • programme monitoring assesses the impact of distribution activities on women and identifies any protection risks.
  • Where online platforms like LMMS and SCOPE exists for registration, distribution, and capturing beneficiary complaints, then Country Offices are encouraged to utilise them because of their efficiency and effectiveness.