Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for an Inter-Agency Community Based Complaints Mechanism (IA CBCM) with specific attention to Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)



1.1 These Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are designed to guide and define steps and measures to be taken when there is a suspected or alleged sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) committed by staff of humanitarian and development actors1 in Ethiopia. Sexual harassment between staff members and GBV are not included in the scope of the SOPs.

1.2 The purpose of the SOPs is to facilitate a consistent approach across all potential SEA complaints received, from every possible channel, implementing Secretary-General’s Bulletin on “Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse” , and the Secretary-General’s Bulletin on “Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: a new approach” .

1.3 The SOPs are designed to provide consistency in the way complaints are recorded, logged and referred to individual organisations for investigation, as well as the way survivor-centred assistance is provided.

1.4 With the efforts of multiple stakeholders, substantial progress has been made on PSEA in the last years. Ethiopia established a national PSEA Network in 2018, and three regional PSEA Networks in SNNP,
Somali and Oromia regions. However, there are still inadequacies in the legal framework, non-conducive social norms and attitudes towards SEA, and limited legal, psycho-social, and health resources.

1.5 These SOPs cover the whole of Ethiopia and in no way intend to change or override the existing organizational specific internal policies on PSEA. Rather, they are procedures to supplement internal policies and reinforce common action to prevent and to respond to SEA through a people centred approach. The IA CBCM is not a new complaint mechanism, but a means of strengthening and linking the existing complaint and feedback mechanisms (CFMs) of each signatory organization, so that any complaint can be referred to the responsible entity for follow up and at the same time encompassing a people centered approach to accountability to affected populations (AAP).

1.6 It is paramount to note that for the IA CBCM to function adequately, the SOPs need to be complemented by effective linkages with GBV/CP referral pathways, awareness creation on the pathways for staff and communities and training of PSEA Focal Points. Multiple channels should be available for people to report and this includes checking the functionality of already identified CFMs on an ongoing basis with users, both staff and community members, protected against retaliation.