Crackdown on sexual predators working in international aid sector

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Charities are set to be able to access a new database which allow them to carry out international criminal checks on potential employees

17th October 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A crackdown on suspected sexual offenders working for charities has been announced.

The International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt is set to pledge £2m to create a worldwide register of suspected sexual predators working in the international aid sector.

The initiative is part of a “concerted global effort” to crackdown on predators, and will see a global database created which aims to give charities the ability to conduct international criminal record checks on potential employees.

The system will also provide a secure online profile to upload concerns about employees, who could be hit with travel restrictions if placed under investigation.

Mordaunt is expected to announce the new scheme at an international safeguarding meeting in London later today (17 October), where she will also set out plans to establish a new independent ombudsman to investigate abuse cases.

“This is a landmark initiative to tackle predatory individuals who are moving from organisation to organisation below the radar,” she told a national newspaper. 

The announcement comes after the sector was rocked by a number of Oxfam aid workers who were found to be sexually exploiting victims in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Mordaunt added: “The most shocking thing (about the Oxfam scandal) was the inadequacy of that organisation’s response — the utter lack of moral compass as to what the right course of action was towards the victims and in allowing someone who shouldn’t have been in a position of authority to transfer to other organisations.

“I have been very clear that when organisations report and their numbers go up, we don’t beat them up. Had Oxfam done the things that you would have expected — report properly, honour obligations to their donors, the Charity Commission and the beneficiaries, ensure that individuals of concern were not able to move on to other organisations – then it would not have had the crisis that ensued."