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When does Duty of Care apply?

In short, Duty of Care is the obligation to care for staff and volunteers. It is particularly important in the humanitarian field since travelers may be exposed to a number of risks. So, when does duty of care apply? Additionally, there are two different types of Duty of Care—legal and moral. But when does each apply?

Legal versus moral Duty of Care

Moral Duty of Care is the natural feeling of responsibility for those who deploy. This applies to all those who are participating in a mission. For example, this is the feeling of responsibility shown from organization to staff, among peers, and from volunteers to their organization. In fact, individuals have the moral Duty of Care for themselves and others.

Legal Duty of Care is different. It is the legal obligation to assess and mitigate foreseeable risks. Legal Duty of Care goes beyond the moral aspect. If the organization is negligent and an accident or injury occurs, the affected person can sue them.

Duty of Care Brochure CTA

Duty of Care legal precedent

The legal concept of Duty of Care in the humanitarian sector begins with the case of Dennis v. NRC. Mr. Dennis deployed to Kenya with the Norwegian Red Cross (NRC). At the time, the country was in a civil conflict situation. Mr. Dennis was kidnapped and injured during the tour, later being rescued.

Upon his return, he sued the NRC for gross negligence. The court agreed that the NRC failed to provide safety and security during the mission, and particularly that they could have mitigated the risk of kidnapping considering the given circumstances. Today, the case sets the legal precedent for evaluating Duty of Care in the humanitarian sector.

When to apply Duty of Care

In practice, the application of Duty of Care can mean a number of things. The obvious one comes up in a conflict zone. Organizations must provide security briefings and escorts if necessary. They should also carefully plan tours and evaluate how necessary they are.

However, what about health risks? In the case of a volunteer deploying to help a rural community in Africa, the organization still has a Duty of Care. They have to provide ways for the volunteer to obtain drinking water. Additionally, health briefings are necessary.

Duty of Care essentially applies to all situations of deployment. However, the degree of precaution depends on the field conditions. Plus, Duty of Care is also applicable upon return from the mission. Many humanitarians witness a high degree of human suffering. That means the organization also must provide mental health services or assistance.

Raptim Duty of Care

At Raptim, we take Duty of Care to heart. That’s why we have a comprehensive set of Duty of Care services. We support our travelers at every step of the way—before departure, while in the field, and upon their return. Our Duty of Care system keeps you informed, in touch with your organization, and support reporting capabilities for better future risk assessments.

We Help You With your Duty of Care

We believe our world is a better place when compassion can travel where it is needed most. As a global humanitarian travel organization, we devote ourselves to serving those who serve the world. Our experienced staff can be reached at any given time. Please use our quick address locator to contact your nearest Raptim office should you have any questions. You can also follow our blog for more stories and travel information.

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