Victim assistance

Assistance and support to complainants and victims

Assistance and support to complainants, victims and children born as a result of sexual exploitation and abuse is provided in cooperation among all United Nations system entities involved in the response to sexual exploitation and abuse. The Conduct and Discipline Teams working in different field operations around the world have engaged in mapping the services and assistance available for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. In many instances this has been done in consultation with other UN, international and local NGO partners.

Consequently, when an individual comes forward as a victim of sexual exploitation and abuse, assistance and support by the UN will be provided through identified existing local services, programmes, networks and community mechanisms that are appropriate to the given context and in a manner that responds to the individual needs of the complainants or victims and that does not isolate or stigmatize them. Assistance and support is provided even before an investigation into the allegations has been completed. A complainant does not need to identify the perpetrator or prove that they were sexually exploited or abused by a UN staff member or related personnel in order to receive basic assistance. Such assistance and support may include medical assistance, help to access psychological counseling and to find shelter, clothing, food or protection, if their security is at risk. Complainants are also assisted to understand how the UN will handle their complaint. If a victim’s claim is substantiated through an investigation, they can receive additional support and assistance.

Cooperation among UN entities

In order to have a harmonized approach on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse in field locations among the various actors in the UN system, networks of coordination have been established under the heads of development and humanitarian actions teams. These networks collaborate on and have oversight of all activities related to protection from sexual exploitation and abuse and include representation from each UN system organization present in the country, as well as from other international organizations, NGOs and the host government. Investigation and adjudication of complaints rests with the individual entities.