As we learned from the Devex #aidtoo campaign, workplace sexual misconduct in global development is much more common that we think — 86 percent of aid workers report knowing a colleague who has experienced sexual violence in the course of their work.

It’s not a matter of if but when sexual harassment will come to light at any organization. The sooner organizational leaders begin to take definitive and transparent steps to address the problem, the safer the office will be for all staff who work there.

Here are five steps leaders can take to combat sexual harassment in an organization:

  1. Accept that your organization is already affected by sexual harassment and violence, what you don’t yet know is the current scope of the problem.
  2. Believe the accusers; develop an internal response mechanism to make sure victims are supported and create multiple confidential reporting channels rather than one centrally-managed one.
  3. Abide by a zero-tolerance policy for sexism and harassment.
  4. Properly vet and train all personnel in sexual violence prevention and response.
  5. Ensure the same policies are applied in the headquarters and the field.

Read the full article on addressing sexual harassment by Sarah Grausz and Farah Mahesri at Devex International Development