Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Aid Charities Hit by 80 Abuse Claims; Allegations That Staff Targeted Volunteers, Children and Victims We'll Bring You to Justice, Mordaunt Warns the Sex Predators in Aid Charities

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Aid Charities Hit by 80 Abuse Claims; Allegations That Staff Targeted Volunteers, Children and Victims We'll Bring You to Justice, Mordaunt Warns the Sex Predators in Aid Charities

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil Deputy Political Editor

THE scale of the sex abuse scandal engulfing Britain's aid charities emerged today after they admitted to 80 cases where victims were harmed or put at risk. Twenty-six out of 179 organisations told the Government that since mid-February they had identified "safeguarding" cases. Seven said these had been reported in the current financial year, with the rest more "historic". The cases include the sexual abuse of people receiving aid as well as volunteers and staff, with children among the alleged victims. The incidents were across a "wide spectrum", including where measures to ensure individuals were not put at risk were lacking. Charity chiefs had been kept in the dark by junior staff about some claims. The International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt announced that Continued on Page 8 Continued from Page 1 her department would enforce new standards by refusing to fund charities which failed to meet them. At a safeguarding summit in Westminster, she said: "Unless we do all we can to prevent wrongdoing, and unless we can hold all those who do wrong to account, we will have failed in our duty to protect the most vulnerable."

She warned predators exploiting the aid sector that there was "no hiding place", adding: "We will find you, we will bring you to justice. Your time is up."

However, Ms Mordaunt also admitted that a review, going back more than two decades, at the Department for International Development had found 14 cases of substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment among its staff.

Dfid wrote to the 179 aid organisations to which it gives funding. It asked about their practices to prevent sexual harassment, bullying and other abuse, and if they had any cases of misconduct. Ms Mordaunt said: "Across the returns, we saw important examples of good practice, but overall, there was too little evidence in the areas of robust risk management, comprehensive reporting, responsibility being taken at the highest level for safeguarding, and of beneficiaries always being put first. …

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