Our work on safeguarding is created with the support of clinical practitioners, gender specialists and feminist leaders in the sector. Our services are delivered by clinical psychotherapists and individuals with decades of experience working in humanitarian and related sectors. We deliver services across the world and in multiple languages.
We advocate for change in the sector and beyond, supporting government and non-government organisations at the forefront of addressing gender imbalance and social injustice. Read about the key principles that we follow.
We treat any reports of safeguarding harm related to Safer Edge seriously. Read about our own reporting procedures for safeguarding incidents or concerns.
We develop internal and external safeguarding policies, procedures and processes
We meet donor and regulator due diligence requirements on safeguarding
We develop policy and procedure to fit local context
We implement partners' due diligence and provide support to your partners in creating appropriate safeguarding measures
We provide safeguarding assessments using specific data on safeguarding risks in over 140 countries where humanitarian and development organisations operate, allowing them to tailor their approach
We provide safeguarding assessments on behalf of regulators and donors, including compliance, risk management and reporting procedures
We audit and review existing systems to meet current best practice and sector requirements.
training and learning
We provide general training for all staff which can be delivered face to face, remotely through training of the trainer, or through our e-learning courses. We can deliver safeguarding training across the world in several different languages.
We also have a range of specialist training courses including Safeguarding Focal Points, Safeguarding Investigations training and Survivor-Centred Response.
We deliver sector-leading, innovative products to overcome some of the challenges that arise in safeguarding. Projects include products to overcome concerns on reporting, how to respond effectively in a crisis situation and how to raise safeguarding awareness in remote and immobile communities.
One of our recent innovations is our unique and comprehensive database of safeguarding risk in over 140 countries, endorsed and supported by UCL's Department of Political Science. Read more below.
One of the barriers safeguarding measures can face is the conflict between universal policies and local context. Criticism has been levelled at the sector as trying to take Northern Hemisphere/Western values and attitudes and apply them without regard to local context.
In 2018, to address this criticism, we developed a Safeguarding Database, collating over 30 sets of data covering 141 countries where humanitarian organisations operate. Data was obtained from UNHCR, UNICEF, US State Dept, US Dept Lab, ILGA UK government, academic papers, NGO's data and other sources.
The data-which was of mixed variables-was quantified into numeric rankings allowing us to set quantities per data set to produce rankings at Low, Medium, High and Very High. We have organised the data into six key themes and a number of sub themes:
Legal Protections and Law Enforcement capability
From January to March 2019 the database was peer reviewed by a team from the Department of Political Science at UCL, who subsequently endorsed and supported the project. The database is updated with new data regularly.
The database allows us to identify safeguarding risks at country and regional level with unparalleled specificity. This in turn means that we can help organisations tailor training, reporting mechanisms and procedures to reflect the local context much more accurately, ensuring that such measures are effective.
key principles for safeguarding
Most safeguarding services are either preventative (policies, training, induction etc) or reactive (investigations, post-event reporting etc). Whilst we provide these services to a very high standard, we also put an emphasis on proactive measures: communicating to communities how to sport signs of harm, encouraging early interventions and training organisations how to discover harm rather than wait until it is reported to them.
We believe that the huge psychological hurdles for victims and survivors to overcome to report harm- fears of disbelief, shame and perceived misjudgement or causing further harm- mean relying on reporting alone is a flawed approach. We help and encourage organisations in the sector to take a greater responsibility in early intervention and proactive measures.
responsible use of power.
Safeguarding incidents happen through an imbalance of power, whether deliberate or as a result of the environment. The humanitarian sector has a responsibility to exercise transparent and responsible use of power inside and outside of organisations.
We help organisations understand power dynamics at all levels of their business. We train individuals to be self-aware of how they hold and exercise power, how they have been conditioned in the use of power and how to avoid misjudging what is and isn't acceptable behaviour. Helping organisations understand how power operates internally supports effective cultural change and is key to integrating safeguarding throughout the organisation.
Traditional safeguarding measures have tended to have a binary focus: aggressor and victim/survivor. We believe the risk of harm is much higher in environments which become accumulatively toxic; where a continuous decrease in acceptable behaviour leads to graver acts of harm. The humanitarian sector has long recognised that the environments it works in can skewer individuals' perceptions of what constitutes harm or suffering, as well as what individuals should tolerate.
Collective responsibility for safeguarding means everyone being responsible for ensuring a positive work environment. Our research and training focuses on psychological studies on 'the bystander effect', where individuals are evolutionarily pre-programmed not to stand out from a crowd and intervene when they see bad behaviour. We equip individuals to overcome that instinct, to avoid confusing reporting with judging. This approach helps individuals understand and fulfil their responsibilities for maintaining a positive and safe working environment.
creating the right environment.
our safeguarding reporting procedure
We treat any reports of safeguarding harm related to Safer Edge seriously. We consider all harms- physical, verbal, psychological or proxy- and our policies focus on addressing the imbalances of power between genders, identities, orientations, ethnicities and physical or mental capabilities which are often at the heart of safeguarding harms.
Safer Edge staff, consultants and anyone who has come into contact with the organisation can report safeguarding concerns in person in strictest confidence to the Safeguarding focal point or via an anonymous email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safer Edge is committed to a victim-and-survivor centred approach to investigating concerns. We therefore operate a presumption of truth approach rather than a balance of probabilities. In a presumption of truth approach we recognise the significant psychological challenges of making a report and therefore start on the basis that the individual coming forward is telling the truth as they see it. Our responsibility is not to make a judgement on truth, but to take the report forward to establish whether there is sufficient information to enable action to be taken. In doing so we are committed to fairness and objectivity in our treatment of those who are the subject of the report.
We are committed to ensuring our procedures protect the anonymity of those who have reported and the integrity of any investigation by adhering to professional investigative procedures. Support for victims and survivors will be provided through Safer Edge's network of trained PSEA clinical psychotherapists and responders.
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