The International Development Committee has published its report into sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector. The report concludes that NGOs may have created new policies and procedures but have not successfully implemented them, and where initiatives have been developed, these have been continually underfunded. The report says that this leaves the overall impression of ‘complacency, verging on complicity’. The report should act as a wake-up call for charities, whether working in the aid sector or in the UK, that safeguarding needs to be at the heart of an organisation’s culture.
The report concludes:
- Sexual exploitation and abuse is endemic across organisations, countries and institutions
- There has been collective failure of leadership and engagement from top levels down over many years
- There is self-delusion in the aid sector in dealing with and tackling problems
- Organisations have failed to put victims at the heart of solutions which could be harmful; and certainly renders reforms ineffective
Whilst the report is specific to the aid sector and the particular challenges that it faces and needs to overcome, many of the themes in the report are relevant to charities working with vulnerable groups in the UK.