Concerns & complaints
If you observe that DRC or its staff do not live up to DRC’s standards and commitments we hope that you will let us know. You can do so by raising a concern informally with our staff or by using our official complaints mechanisms. We appreciate your input, which will help us improve our work.
Informal comments and concerns
We strongly encourage that informal comments and concerns about our work are raised with our staff as close to the activity as possible. They can respond immediately and they know the context.
Only when your concern is not promptly resolved, or when it is formal or sensitive, are you advised to submit an official complaint. The mechanism for submission of official complaints is different for operational and sensitive complaints (see below).
Who can complain?
- People participating in DRC’s actions (“beneficiaries”)
- Other people directly affected by DRC’s actions and policies;
- Partners and their staff (humanitarian partners, contractors and authorities);
- DRC staff.
What can be complained about?
In short: breaches by DRC or its staff of DRC’s Accountability Framework such as the humanitarian principles, DRC’s Code of Conduct and other local commitments, including assistance commitments. At country level DRC normally operates locally adapted complaints mechanisms that further define what can be complained about.
Operational complaints regard operational issues, such as the actual administration of DRC’s selection criteria and the actual quality and quantity of the assistance provided by DRC. Operational complaints are normally of a non-sensitive nature and must be submitted through DRC’s country-based complaints-handling mechanisms. Information about the mechanisms for submission of an operational complaint is provided by DRC’s office(s) in-country. If you wish to submit an operational complaint, please use the in-country mechanism.
Sensitive complaints regard serious breaches of DRC’s Code of Conduct, which, if verified, could lead to sanctions against staff or partners. For this reason, a more strict mechanism applies, namely the Code of Conduct Reporting Mechanism.
Impartiality and confidentiality policy
DRC will ensure that complaints are handled professionally and fairly with respect for the integrity of the involved persons and institutions as required under the circumstances. DRC does not tolerate any attempt by DRC staff of intimidation or retaliation against a complainant.
The Danish Demining Group is a part of DRC and is covered by DRC’s complaint policies and mechanisms.
Sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse
DRC has a zero-tolerance when it comes to sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse. This has a clear management focus and the zero-tolerance is clearly reflected in every employee’s contract with DRC. Therefore all staff has an obligation to report suspicions of misconduct.
All DRC operations have mechanisms by which any DRC stakeholder, including persons of concern, can file reports if they suspect or experience sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse. These mechanisms ensure confidentiality of the survivor/victim, the witnesses and the reporting person. By using the reporting mechanism, claims are investigated according to DRC’s due process standards, and if proven, sanctioned accordingly.
DRC have detailed guidelines for the conduct of administrative investigations into complaints of sexual misconduct. DRC has a team of experienced and trained investigators, placed both in our international operations worldwide, and in a highly specialized Code of Conduct unit in DRC headquarters. The trained investigators are able to respond rapidly to reports of sexual misconduct.
We are hereby sharing the Code of Conduct annual report for 2016 as well as the figures for 2017. As soon as the report for 2017 is finished, this will go online as well.
In 2017, DRC investigated 25 complaints of sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse. 16 cases were substantiated and 9 cases were unsubstantiated. In the 16 substantiated cases, 12 staff members were dismissed. Please note that some of the dismissed staff were reported for more than one incident.