Preventing and Responding to Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment

Tackling all forms of sexual misconduct Sexual misconduct – exploitation, sexual abuse, sexual harassment (SEAH), sexual violence – by our personnel violates the rights and well-being of the people we serve and the people with whom we serve. Such behaviours are directly in opposition to WHO’s values and our abiding responsibility to do no harm.Sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) of the populations we serve, and sexual harassment (SH) of our own workforce require similar prevention and response approaches because they stem from the same power differentials, inequities, drivers, and risks. Using the umbrella term, sexual misconduct, clarifies that these acts pertain to the WHO workforce, are prohibited, and therefore lead to disciplinary action.WHO has zero tolerance for any form of sexual misconduct, for inaction and for retaliation against those who raise complaints or bear witness. Our work prioritizes the rights and needs of victims and survivors.In 2021, WHO launched an intense period of prevention and response actions following the harrowing accounts of victims and survivors of SEA during the 10th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo encapsulated in the Management Response Plan that concluded in December 2023. To build on and institutionalize this progress, our future work is framed by the three-year strategy for preventing and responding to sexual misconduct.

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