Justice Education Society’s (JES) mission is to empower people to access and deliver justice in Canada and globally. This is accomplished through a variety of methods and programs that all reflect our vision: Justice for All.
In executing our programs, we work with and provide services to a wide demographic of people, from youth, educators, recent immigrants, Indigenous communities, justice system professionals, law enforcement, foreign governments and judicial authorities.
This Policy seeks to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by
- promoting increased awareness;
- promptly reporting, investigating and resolving any SEA incident that may occur; and
- providing assistance and support to victims of SEA.
This Policy applies to all employees, contractors, partner organizations, volunteers, board directors, and any individual engaged by JES.
Partner organizations will develop and implement and adhere to their own SEA policy, in accordance with the signed memorandum of agreement with JES, and their policy will be in compliance with the scope of this policy. In the absence of their own PSEA policy, this policy must be incorporated by reference into their contracts with JES and accepted by the signing party.
“Sexual exploitation: any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.
Sexual abuse: an actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.”
JES has a zero tolerance approach to SEA. JES does not allow any employee, contractor, partner organization, volunteer, board director or any individual engaged by JES to participate in any form of sexual abuse or exploitation. All are expected to uphold the highest standards of personal and professional conduct at all times, and to provide assistance and services in a manner that respects and fosters the rights of beneficiaries and other vulnerable members of the local communities.
JES strives to create and maintain a safe environment, free from SEA, by taking appropriate measures internally and in the communities where JES operates, through prevention and response in the work that we do.
JES abides by the six core principles of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse:
- “Sexual exploitation and abuse by humanitarian workers constitute acts of gross misconduct and are therefore grounds for termination of employment.
- Sexual activity with children (persons under the age of 18) is prohibited regardless of the age of majority or age of consent locally. Mistaken belief regarding the age of a child is not a defence.
- Exchange of money, employment, goods, or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour is prohibited. This includes exchange of assistance that is due to beneficiaries.
- Any sexual relationship between those providing humanitarian assistance and protection and a person benefitting from such humanitarian assistance and protection that involves improper use of rank or position is prohibited. Such relationships undermine the credibility and integrity of humanitarian aid work.
- Where a humanitarian worker develops concerns or suspicions regarding sexual abuse or exploitation by a fellow worker, whether in the same agency or not, they must report such concerns via established agency reporting mechanisms.
- Humanitarian workers are obliged to create and maintain an environment which prevents sexual exploitation and abuse and promotes the implementation of their code of conduct. Managers at all levels have particular responsibilities to support and develop systems which maintain this environment.”1
- The Board will be informed by the CEO of all complaints and the results of the pursuant investigation.
Roles and Responsibilities
- All employees and anyone who works with JES have the responsibility to promptly report incidences of SEA being perpetrated by anyone within JES.
- The management team is responsible for creating and maintaining an environment in which everyone knows what JES expects from them and feels able to report any suspicious or inappropriate behaviour.
- Employees must fully cooperate with investigations into incidents of SEA.
- JES commits to maintaining a robust recruitment screening, referencing, background and police checks process for all employees, contractors, board directors and volunteers.
- JES commits to SEA prevention by raising awareness and providing training to all employees, including empowering them to integrate the PSEA core principles into their daily work to ensure safe programming.
- All employees, contractors, board directors and volunteers must sign the PSEA Declaration form confirming they have read, understood and agreed to abide by the PSEA Policy of JES. Adherence to the PSEA Policy is a condition of employment. Violation of the PSEA Policy may be grounds for termination of their employment for just cause without notice or pay in lieu of notice.
- The management team must deal with situations of SEA immediately upon becoming aware of them, whether or not there has been a complaint. In addition, human resources (HR) and the CEO are responsible for conducting investigations as set out in this Policy, as well as implementing any follow-up steps that are determined to be appropriate following an investigation.
Complaint Reporting Process
If you feel that you are a SEA victim or you believe anyone engaged by JES is either a victim or perpetrator of SEA, you should take the following actions immediately:
Step 1 As long as you are comfortable doing so safely, a complaint or report should be submitted directly to your supervisor, HR or the CEO. The supervisor or HR has the responsibility to report to the CEO within 24 hours of receiving a SEA report.
Step 2 The report or written complaint should include as much detail as possible about the circumstances including dates, times, locations, persons involved, witnesses and the specific conduct that is the source of the complaint. Attach any supporting documents, such as e-mails, handwritten notes or photographs. If the complaint involves the individual to whom you normally report, then you should refer the complaint to that individual’s immediate manager, HR or to the CEO.
If the CEO is implicated in the complaint, the report or complaint should be submitted directly to the President of the Board, who will bring it to the Executive Committee’s attention within 24 hours.
If the President is implicated in the complaint, then the Vice-President or another member of the Executive Committee should receive the report and convene a sub-committee meeting within 24 hours. The sub-committee in consultation with the Executive Committee will investigate and decide on the best course of action.
The complainant is fully within their rights at any time to submit the report directly to an external authority, such as the local police service.
Once JES receives a formal complaint it will conduct an investigation. In the event that a complainant does not proceed with a formal complaint, JES may still initiate an investigation if it is deemed to be a potential case of SEA.
The CEO or Board is responsible for ensuring that a fair and thorough investigation is conducted in a timely fashion, and that appropriate actions are taken.
The investigation process framework is described below:
- Review the complaint and select the investigator. For the majority of complaints, JES will assign an appropriate person internally to conduct the investigation. In some circumstances, such as complex or sensitive situations, JES may appoint an external investigator to conduct an investigation.
- Oversee the investigation, which includes:
- Interview complainant
- Interview respondent
- Interview witnesses, if any
- Review any relevant documents or evidence provided
- Analyse the information and come to a decision.
- Following the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will provide a summary of the investigation findings to the complainant and the respondent. Both parties will have an opportunity to provide any additional information they believe may be relevant to the final outcome of the investigation.
- When the investigation is concluded, the investigator will report their findings to the CEO or Board. The complainant and respondent will be advised of JES’ findings.
- JES will then decide whether this Policy has been contravened and whether discipline and/or corrective action should be taken. If the investigation reveals that the complaint was without substance and filed in bad faith, appropriate action will be taken against the complainant.
- If the Criminal Code may have been contravened, the case will be referred to authorities who have an independent legal mandate to investigate such cases.
The procedures in this Policy and any investigation carried out are intended to be flexible in order to respond to the specific circumstances at issue. JES reserves the right to engage in a different procedure as it deems appropriate in any given circumstance.
JES is committed to providing referrals to available support services for victims of SEA.
Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure confidentiality throughout the process. Information will only be disclosed to the extent required for the purposes of carrying out a full and fair investigation, to address the findings from the investigation, or as required by law or to report a possible criminal offence. All parties involved in the resolution or investigation of a SEA complaint are expected to facilitate the process, co-operate and maintain confidentiality.
Employees will not be subject to retribution or reprisal for filing SEA complaints, participating in any investigation, or reporting any violation of law or the Policy. Retaliation of any type against any employees will not be tolerated and such conduct may result in disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination for just cause.
Any employee who is found to have engaged in conduct prohibited by this Policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment for just cause. Any employee who makes false or reckless SEA allegations or makes such allegations for improper purposes will be subject to discipline, up to and including immediate termination of employment for just cause.
JES will review this Policy annually. This Policy is not intended to address every situation and JES reserves the right to amend this Policy at its sole discretion, from time to time. All employees are expected to keep up-to-date with this Policy.