Accepted Paper:

Peacekeepers or Perpetrators? Child safeguarding in humanitarian contexts  


Rosa Freedman (University of Reading)
Sarah Blakemore (Keeping Children Safe)

Paper short abstract:

This paper presents research findings on how to safeguard children from sexual exploitation and abuse in humanitarian contexts. Building on research funded by the AHRC and BA, the research has taken place in peacekeeping operations, PTCs, and TCCs to provide robust evidence for our proposed solution

Paper long abstract:

The vast majority of the 100,000 uniformed peacekeeping personnel and the hundreds of thousands of individuals who work in the aid and humanitarian sectors perform their jobs with courage, dedication and professionalism. Yet those who do commit sexual offences bring shame on the entire aid system and betray the trust of those that they have been sent to protect. There is a need for system-wide solutions to ensure that such abuses cannot occur with widespread impunity. While there is general agreement that we must address the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse , very few practical solutions have been proposed let alone implemented. A key problem is that the current laws, policies and practices operate across different scales, including at the international level and local level where operations are carried out, and within the countries that contribute personnel. As a result, very few effective solutions have been designed that can address the causes and consequences of aid workers and peacekeepers who perpetrate sexual exploitation and abuse.

We have designed, and are now testing and implementing, an effective solution that can be adapted for use in all peacekeeping operations. Our research demonstrates that work across and involving all of those scales can produce effective practical solutions to discrete aspects of this complex problem. The research that we have conducted provides a robust methodology for implementing solutions to safeguard children in peacekeeping contexts. Our toolkit provides prevention, protection and safeguarding specifically in relation to children within peacekeeping, humanitarian, and development contexts.

Panel C04
Intervention in 'chaos zones': humanitarian assistance and peace-building [NGOs in Dev and Religions & Dev study groups] (Paper)