In a scathing report made my MPs in the House Of Commons, it’s been shared that there’s an endemic of sex abuse in the aid sector. The report revealed that this is owing to a ‘boys club attitude’ in male-dominated charities.

The report, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the Aid Sector, was composed following the discovery of shocking abuse by Oxfam charity workers in 2011. The International Development Comittee of the House of Commons condemned and accused the aid sector of ‘complacency verging on complicity’ in the sex abuse fiasco. The report made clear the failure in both the disgusting treatment of those in need of help and the gross negligence shown by charity officials in their dealings with the sex abuse scandal.

A Culture of Denial

Kevin Watkins, CEO at Save The Children, UK

“We’ve made mistakes” Kevin Watkins, CEO at Save The Children UK

Later in the report, MPs called attention to a lack of regulation, which made the aid sector ‘attractive for people wishing to exploit others’. The senior officials of charities were engaging clearly in a ‘culture of denial’.

Labour MPs branded the entire sector as deluded, warning the United Nations and other humanitarian organisations that they must not continue to dwell in a culture of denial when dealing with allegations and claims, especially considering the severity of the issue at hand. One MP added:

The committee is concerned that previous attempts have amounted to limited action in order to quell media clamour. No matter how insurmountable this looks, solutions must be found. This horror must be confronted.

Roland van Hauwermeiren

Earlier discoveries revealed Roland van Hauwermeiren paid teenage girls for sex

Advice and Warnings

According to the BBC, the committee also strongly suggested to charity officials:

  • Ensuring the beneficiaries of humanitarian aid have knowledge of and confidence in their rights
  • A zero-tolerance culture on sexual exploitation and abuse is the least that victims should expect
  • Reports of wrongdoing should be proactively sought and responded to robustly, with feedback to victims and survivors.
  • Known perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse should be identified through improved reporting and accountability and prevented from moving into new positions

The Secretary for International Development, Penny Mourdant, endorsed the report, explaining that:

“Until the sector is fully prepared to address the power imbalance, cultures, and behaviours that allow sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment to happen, we will never stamp it out.”

There will be a worldwide summit on the issue later this year. Secretary Mourdant has said to the sector that they should then demonstrate the positive progress they have made on this very negative report.

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