Raising the standard of safeguarding investigations in the aid sector

15 March 2021

New Investigation Qualification Training Scheme announced

“Robust investigations into cases of sexual exploitation and abuse are key to catching perpetrators, punishing them, and removing them from the aid sector. This will help to provide justice to victims and survivors and act as a deterrent to other perpetrators.”*

This was a conclusion of the UK International Development Committee which released a report in January identifying a number of recommendations on the importance of investigations into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, including the need for robust investigations to take place and appropriate action to be taken against perpetrators if complaints are upheld.

A new training scheme to help stamp out this unacceptable behaviour, through improving the quality of safeguarding investigations carried out by NGOs and international agencies, is being developed by experts at the CHS Alliance in partnership with the global NGO Humentum, a leading provider of effective learning solutions for the NGO sector.

The Investigator Qualification Training Scheme, funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, will professionalise the way investigations into sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment are conducted and help bring perpetrators to justice.

“Humanitarians have an obligation to keep the people they serve safe from harm. Aid organisations need to ensure that investigations into sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment (SEAH) are not only fair, transparent and well managed but also survivor focused,” says Andrew McLoughlin, a former law enforcement officer and investigator in Australia and former investigator at The Global Fund and ICRC, who is the CHS Alliance’s Investigations Qualification Training Scheme Project Manager.

“This new training will ensure best practice is widespread across the aid sector and that SEAH investigations are of a sufficiently high standard to facilitate prosecutions by local authorities where appropriate.”

The learning and qualification will be designed to be accessible to people from the communities in which humanitarian and development work is taking place, especially women.

The scheme will have four tiers to build investigators’ professional skills and establish a professional standard and career progression for investigators. By taking a tiered approach, practitioners will continuously learn and receive support as they advance through the training levels.

The four tiers are:

  • Tier 1 – Foundation level
  • Tier 2 – Theory level
  • Tier 3 – Advanced practitioner level
  • Tier 4 – Qualification maintenance

It is envisaged that the foundation level course, which will be available online and without cost, will be available by the end of this year. The roll out of the other tiers will be managed progressively with the advance practitioner course available in the last quarter of 2022.

UPDATE: As of late 2023, CHS Alliance are working with Humentum to increase the number of available courses to improve access to IQTS. This scaling up includes a strong emphasis on supporting the training of women and staff from organisations with limited resources by using targeted pricing. We are also developing additional supporting services around the training. Visit the IQTS page for current information.

For further information, please contact our training team at training@chsalliance.org.

*IDC report: Progress on tackling the sexual exploitation and abuse of aid beneficiaries (article 21)