CARE International works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. Because of our mission and our focus on women and girls, we are deeply committed to building a world where violence, harassment and abuse against anyone is not tolerated.
Our ability to fulfil our relief and development mission is wholly reliant on the high standards of integrity and conduct of our staff working at all levels in the organisation; from those in head office to those working in the communities we serve.
In 2017, CARE had more than 9,000 staff in more than 90 countries. We collected figures in two separate categories: (1) sexual abuse and exploitation of community members and (2) sexual harassment within the organization.
CARE received 13 sexual abuse or exploitation reports in 2017, of which eight were substantiated. Seven of those eight staff were dismissed as a result and one resigned.
In the second category, CARE received reports of 15 cases of sexual harassment within the organization, of which eight were substantiated. Of those eight staff members: four were dismissed as a result; two contracts were not renewed; and the remaining two staff members received a warning and one no longer works for CARE.
We have researched and taken each case before us very seriously, but we also recognize that complex systems like ours are fallible. We are encouraging people inside and outside of CARE to share historical information with us.
Our global policy on Protection from Exploitation and Abuse and Child Protection explicitly outlines unacceptable behaviour, and what we will do to investigate allegations, support victims and discipline perpetrators, including referring them to the relevant authorities. We will continue to build upon this policy as we, along with others in the sector, reflect and evolve.
We have mechanisms in place to report abuse or harassment of any kind, either through management or HR structures, or through a hotline (known as the “CARE Line”). We also are now rolling out plans to strengthen our complaint mechanisms for our program participants to raise concerns or allegations of sexual harassment, exploitation or abuse. This includes our ability to track these issues across the confederation.
We will continue to focus on improving our reporting mechanisms at all levels of the organisation. At CARE, we have an uncompromising commitment to integrity and humility, which means we remain accountable to the people and partners we serve.