Child sex abuse claims among cases newly reported to charity watchdog

06 March, 2018, 01:57 | Author: Gregory Stephens
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The Charity Commission said that since The Times reported that seven Oxfam staff had paid for prostitutes or bullied colleagues in Haiti after its quake in 2011 a further 26 aid organisations had come forward to report cases of sexual misbehaviour or malpractice.

Major UK charities, the Charity Commission and DFID have agreed upon initiatives to be taken forward to improve safeguarding standards. The aid sector needs to ensure it is meeting its duty of care to the world's most vulnerable people.

~ Penny Mordaunt challenged UK-based worldwide development charities, regulatory bodies and independent experts to drive up standards and to agree practical tools, processes and protocols to ensure the aid sector protects the people it serves. "It must do all it can to win back the trust of the British public", said Mordaunt.

A number of actions were today agreed to drive up standards in the aid sector at a Safeguarding Summit co-hosted by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Charity Commission.

However the Charity Commission, the regulator which is investigating the new cases, said it would not be publishing their names unless the cases led to a full inquiry, prompting fears of a cover-up.

Representatives from British aid agencies were ordered to come together to find ways to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse exposed in the wake of the Oxfam scandal.

Ms Mordaunt wrote to 179 aid charities and organisations after it emerged there were widespread concerns about the behaviour of aid workers and the way they were being dealt with.

"But however noble the cause, it will never justify means which fall below basic standards of conduct expected of any organisation".

The reports are now being assessed by the Charity Commission's new taskforce, with the detail of the allegations or the charities involved not being revealed. It total 80 new incidents were reported.

It builds on action already taken by DFID in response to allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector, including establishing a new Safeguarding Unit to urgently review safeguarding across all parts of the aid sector.

"The head of the department noted that the DFID had completed a review of historic internal allegations".

"There is a clear distinction between the way that the aid sector in the United Kingdom has been regulated compared to the regulation here in Australia. The second piece obviously is we've got the accreditation process with DFAT and things like child safeguarding is a key part of that", Ronalds said.

"We are following up with 37 organisations to gain further clarity on their assurance, or reporting, and will issue a summary of all our analysis when this work is complete", Mordaunt added.

It also identified the importance of developing and implementing mandatory standards which would make organisations accountable to beneficiaries - ensuring those receiving aid are able to identify and raise concerns. We will bring you to justice.


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