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Mapping Safeguarding Risk

Safer Edge is frequently asked the question “how do you translate well-meaning safeguarding policies into relevant and proportionate actions in the field?"

Part of the answer involves understanding the local environment. Factors such as local attitudes to women, children and sexual orientation, the presence of large numbers of vulnerable children and adults and the legal and law enforcement framework of country, can all impact the risk of sexual abuse and exploitation occurring.

But, these factors are complex and data can sometimes be contradictory or unreliable. So to help we have analysed dozens of data sets across over 140 countries where humanitarian organisations operate, in a process peer-reviewed by UCL. This is, we believe, the first database of its kind and means we can heat-map safeguarding risk as well as begin to identify wider trends and themes.

Now, of course, sexual abuse, harassment, exploitation and violence can occur anywhere. And this data analysis only covers the risk when working with vulnerable adults and children. It does not cover the risk of aid workers being harassed, abused or exploited by other aid workers -there’s a separate set of tools we use to address this.

And understanding the local environment is only one part of understanding the risk, so when working with partners we also consider the type of work and who’s doing the work, to produce more detailed assessments of risks and mitigations.

But as a signpost to where you may want to focus resource, add additional measures, check reporting procedures and numbers, we hope you find this heat map helpful.

If you’d like to know more about this process, how we can use this data to support you or more on Safer Edge’s range of Safeguarding advice, training and assessments reach out to us on:

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