Code of Conduct

Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)

Policy preamble

The following code of conduct is consistent with Tula Foundation’s code of conduct and is an addendum applicable to the division of Tula Health’s work in Guatemala to make it compliant with the Government of Canada’s efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse in the delivery of Global Affairs Canada-financed international development assistance.

All Tula Health employees and subcontractors are responsible for adhering to values, behaviors and practices outlined in the following code of conduct.

Policy statement

Tula Health is committed to providing a safe environment for all employees and project beneficiaries, free from sexual exploitation and abuse. Tula Health operates a zero-tolerance policy for any form of sexual exploitation and abuse in the workplace and project settings and takes a ‘victim-centred approach’, which treats all incidents seriously and promptly investigates all allegations of sexual misconduct. Any person found to have sexually exploiting and/or abusing other employees and/or beneficiaries will face disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment. All complaints of sexual exploitation and abuse will be taken seriously and treated with respect and in confidence. No one will be victimised for making such a complaint.

Definition of sexual exploitation and abuse

According to the U.N. Secretary-General’s bulletin on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse:

  • Sexual exploitation refers to 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 refers to an actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

Sexual activity with children (persons under the age of 18) is prohibited regardless of the age of majority or age of consent locally. Not knowing or mistaking the age of a child is not a defence. Anyone can be a victim of sexual exploitation and/or abuse, regardless of their sex and of the sex of the exploiter and abuser. Anyone, including employees of Tula Health, casual workers, contractors or visitors who sexually exploit and/or abuse another will be reprimanded in accordance with this internal policy.

All sexual exploitation and abuse is strictly prohibited whether it takes place within Tula Health premises or outside, including at project events, training sessions or conferences sponsored by Tula Health.

Complaints procedures

Tula Health recognizes that sexual exploitation and/or abuse may occur in unequal relationships (i.e. between an employee and project beneficiary) and that it may not be possible for the victim or witness to confront the alleged exploiter or abuser. A designated Tula Health employee is responsible for receiving and reporting complaints of sexual harassment. When the designated employee receives a complaint of sexual exploitation and/or abuse, he/she will:

  • immediately record the dates, times and facts of the incident(s)

  • ascertain the views of the victim as to what outcome he/she wants

  • ensure that the victim understands the company’s procedures for dealing with the complaint

  • discuss and agree the next steps: on the understanding that choosing to resolve the matter informally does not preclude the victim from pursuing a formal complaint if he/she is not satisfied with the outcome

  • keep a confidential record of all discussions

  • respect the choice of the victim

  • ensure that the victim knows that they can lodge the complaint outside of the company through the relevant country/legal framework

  • referral to the relevant authorities in cases of criminal conduct, at the victim’s request

Sanctions and disciplinary measures

Anyone who has been found to have sexually exploited and/or abused another person under the terms of this policy is liable to any of the following sanctions:

  • verbal or written warning

  • adverse performance evaluation

  • reduction in wages

  • transfer

  • demotion

  • suspension

  • dismissal

The nature of the sanctions will depend on the gravity and extent of the harassment. Suitable deterrent sanctions will be applied to ensure that incidents of sexual exploitation and/or abuse are not treated as trivial. Certain serious cases, including physical violence, will result in the immediate dismissal of the harasser. If misconduct is found, training on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse will be provided to all employees.

Implementation of this policy

Tula Health will ensure that this policy is widely disseminated to all relevant persons. It will be included in the staff handbook. All new employees must be trained on the content of this policy as part of their induction into the company. It is the responsibility of every manager to ensure that all his/her employees are aware of the policy.

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