Staff faced harassment at Save the Children

Save the children

The charity has urged to take action after a review found almost a fifth of staff said they had experienced issues at work

9th October 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has pledged to take swift action after almost one in five staff said they had experienced harassment at work.

Save the Children ordered a review of its workplace culture following the uncovering of the international aid scandal in Haiti.

And the review found 28% of the 700 current members of staff who responded said they had experienced discrimination or harassment - 19% of the charity's total 1,068 staff, not including volunteers.

The review was led by an independent expert – Suzanne Shale – and took place amid sexual harassment being made against Save the Children's former chief executive Justin Forsyth and its former director of policy, Brendan Cox.

Dr Shale's report said there were "a small number of incidents of gender harassment and unwanted sexual attention" in the last three years although no evidence of sexual coercion.

She also reported claims of women being subjected to unwanted sexual attention, staff making comments about women being less reliable at work and a small number of staff receiving comments on the way they dressed.

Dr Shale said while most staff found Save the Children a supportive employer, "any experiences of interpersonal mistreatment at work are disturbing", and called on the charity to provide better oversight and governance of staff.

Save the Children chief executive Kevin Watkins said staff have a right to be protected against harassment of any type.

He said: "There have been failures in our organisational culture and processes, including widely reported historic cases in which there were abuses of power and authority.

"To the women affected, I unreservedly and unconditionally apologise on behalf of Save the Children. It must never happen again."

Following claims of misconduct earlier this year, both Forsyth and Cox apologised for their behaviour but that they did not accept all of the allegations that had been made against them. Forsyth subsequently resigned from his role as deputy director of Unicef.