Senior Safeguarding Investigator - Ethics & Compliance

Ethics & Compliance Washington, District of Columbia Portland, Oregon Anywhere, United States


Location Washington, DC, Portland, or remote in the US

Position Status Full-time, Exempt, One year with potential for extension

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary

The Intake and Investigations division is tasked with the intake and investigation of all reports of ethics violations including fraud, corruption, and Code of Conduct and Global Human Resources complaints. The team is responsible for managing all phases of the investigative process from intake to case closure. The Intake and Investigation division resides within the Ethics and Compliance Department, which is led by the Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer.

General Position Summary

The Sr.Investigator, Safeguarding is responsible for conducting investigations into allegations violations of Mercy Corps' child safeguarding, sexual exploitation and abuse, anti-trafficking in persons, and sexual misconduct in the workplace policies. It is the role of the Sr. Investigator to ensure that Mercy Corps takes all reports of misconduct seriously and investigates them thoroughly and impartially consistent with sector-wide best practice, donor expectations and our commitment to a survivor-centered approach. The Sr. Investigator will plan, conduct and prepare reports for assigned safeguarding investigations. The Senior Investigator may be supported by Co-Investigators, who are fled based team members trained to support but not lead investigations. Investigations will be conducted in the field and remotely; working in a variety of diverse cultural contexts and time zones. 

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Effectively plan and execute impartial, thorough, timely and survivor-sensitive investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct, sexual abuse and exploitation, child abuse, and trafficking.
  • Develop and draft timely investigation plans that identify risks and prioritize a survivor-centered approach.
  • Conduct witness, survivor and subject interviews, both in person and remotely, in a survivor-sensitive manner.
  • Provide survivor-centered support to survivors and witnesses.
  • Identify, collect, and review documentary evidence needed for investigations.
  • Prepare detailed written investigation reports which may be subject to third party (donor) review.
  • Maintain organized, confidential, and thorough investigation files.
  • Coordinate with Co-Investigator(s) to support investigation efforts when possible; help build Co-investigator capacity.
  • Help identify lessons learned from Safeguarding investigations for the agency to consider when revising policies, procedures, and training.
  • Help build trust and confidence in Mercy Corps’ reporting, investigation, and follow up systems and foster a climate where team members feel confident and comfortable coming forward with issues.
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality

Supervisory Responsibility 

  • None


Reports Directly To: Acting Case Manager for Safeguarding, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer

Works Directly With  Investigator(s), Co-Investigator(s), HR Officers and field teams

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • At least 5 years of experience as a trained and practiced investigator is required.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and interest in Safeguarding, a sensitivity to cultural diversity and gender issues.
  • Experience working in humanitarian aid or development, either living overseas or spending a significant amount of time in foreign countries is preferred.
  • Ability to navigate difficult circumstances with a calm demeanor and in a methodical, analytical manner.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Additional experience as an ethics officer, attorney or similar position is preferred
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, effective organizational and interpersonal skills.
  • Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws.
  • English fluency (written & verbally) required; strong preference for additional fluency in French, Spanish and/or Arabic

Success Factors

The successful Investigator, Safeguarding will have knowledge of the INGO environment; deep knowledge of best practice in conducting safeguarding investigations, including knowledge on how to conduct internal investigations in the context of insecure and opaque environments, with varying cultures, languages and education levels; and an enduring ability to move complex problems forward in a timely yet methodical manner. This person will have an utmost understanding of and appreciation for the confidential nature of this work. This person will have an abiding sense of empathy for the difficulties that INGOs face and an unwavering commitment to improvement in the face of these difficulties. They will have very strong project management skills and will be adept at communicating with and motivating a diverse array of stakeholders.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in either Portland, Oregon or Washington, D.C or remote in the U.S, and it requires up to 50% travel to countries which may be listed as failed or failing states. Travel for investigations is occasionally urgent, resulting in travel departure within days of notice.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient, and relevant to the communities they serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives. 

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work. 

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.