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Charity Safeguards ‘No hiding place’ for predators in aid organisations

CASES of children being sexually abused by charity workers are among a batch of 80 incidents reported to a watchdog in the past three weeks, it was revealed yesterday.

Non-profit organisations have told the Charity Commission about a wave of current and historical “serious” cases of people being harmed or put at risk of harm since February 12.

The reports, which span 26 charities, include allegations or incidents of sexual abuse of staff, volunteers and beneficiaries, including children, the commission said.

Some reports were made after the sector came under the spotlight in the wake of the Oxfam scandal, in which a number of employees dispatched to Haiti to assist with the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake were exposed for having paid local women for sex.

The commission said the average weekly number of serious incidents being reported — including in finance and governance — had doubled in recent weeks to about 100.

At a safeguarding summit in London, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt warned predators exploiting the aid sector there is “no hiding place.”

But she 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 own staff.

She had written 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.

All have responded and given statements of assurance about the way they operate, but 37 still have questions to answer, the summit heard.

New standards have now come into force that aid organisations must meet to be eligible for government money.

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