How the Foreign Service deals with reports of sexual abuse involving grant recipients

The Foreign Service has a longstanding policy of zero tolerance of bullying and other improper conduct. The #MeToo campaign highlighted the issue of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment in the workplace in general.

The campaign also led to renewed focus on this issue in the Foreign Service, in grant recipient organisations and, in particular, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in relation to Norway’s international development cooperation.

Reporting and following up all cases of harassment, abuse or exploitation is to be the norm in the Foreign Service and its partner organisations. The Foreign Service Control Unit (FSCU) is the point of contact for dealing with any such cases that arise in the context of Norwegian development cooperation. The Ministry expects its partner organisations to have ethical guidelines and good systems in place for preventing, reporting and dealing with these cases. This was the subject of an open letter to grant recipients from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of International Development in February 2018.

The Foreign Service has drawn up Guidelines for dealing with conflicts, harassment or other improper conduct and provides training in how to implement these. Organisations that receive grant funding from Norway must notify the FSCU, either directly or anonymously via an external whistleblowing channel, in cases of suspected sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment (SEAH) in connection with Norwegian development cooperation activities. Reported cases of sexual exploitation and abuse will be dealt with in the same way as reports of financial irregularities.