Sexual harassment and discrimination audit

In recent weeks, allegations have emerged of sexual harassment by an external trainer used by CiFAR in one of our programmes in 2017-2018. In light of and as a response to this, and our responsibility to ensure that persons with whom we work are protected at all times during their work with us from sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination, we have decided to undertake an audit of our safeguarding systems.

The purpose of this audit is to understand if and where things have not worked well in the past and to strengthen our approach to protecting persons we work with from sexual harassment and discrimination in the future. It is important to note that this is a learning exercise for us, and should not replace recourse to authorities for any participant that may have experienced unlawful harassment or discrimination.

Base definitions

Harassment is actions or words that endanger or harm another participant or result in other participant having a reasonable belief that they are in danger, harm or are inhibited from participating due to the actual or threated action. Such actions include:

  • Verbal or physical harassment or sexual harassment, including inappropriate propositions, offers or comments
  • Verbal or physical threats
  • Assaults or other physical harm
  • Any other behavior that causes others to feel unsafe or unwelcome (e.g. bullying, misgendering)

Discrimination is the treating of someone differently because of a protected characteristic without a specified justification. Discrimination can entail:

  • direct discrimination – treating someone with a protected characteristic less favourably than others
  • indirect discrimination – putting rules or arrangements in place that apply to everyone, but that put someone with a protected characteristic at an unfair disadvantage
  • harassment – unwanted behaviour linked to a protected characteristic that violates someone’s dignity or creates an offensive environment for them
  • victimisation – treating someone unfairly because they’ve complained about discrimination or harassment

Protected characteristics are:

  • age
  • disability
  • marital status
  • physical appearance
  • race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • religion or belief
  • sex or gender, gender reassignment
  • sexual orientation


The audit is taking place in a two stage process. Stage 1 involves the circulation of a questionnaire to all previous participants in our projects, asking about experiences with sexual harassment and discrimination and anonymously collecting feedback.

Stage 2 entails an internal review of the feedback and anonymised information collected, against which we will consider and review our harassment and discrimination policies for trainings.  Our new policy and process will be published before the end of 2020 on our website.

Contact persons

Should you wish to speak to someone instead of or in addition to completing the survey, you can reach out to any of our staff or board members at any time.

  • Agatino Camarda, Director: acamarda@cifar.eu
  • Alexandre Brutelle, Project Coordinator (Investigate), abrutelle@cifar.eu
  • Lucia Cizmaziova, Project Coordinator (Sanctions), lcizmaziova@cifar.eu

  • Jackson Oldfield, Chair of the Board, joldfield@cifar.eu
  • Laila Martin, Deputy Chair of the Board, lmartin@cifar.eu

Sexual harassment and discrimination audit