Save the Chil­dren faces UK watch­dog in­quiry over sex ha­rass­ment re­sponse

Cyprus Today - - UK -

SAVE the Chil­dren will be in­ves­ti­gated over its re­sponse to al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct and ha­rass­ment against se­nior staff, Bri­tain’s char­ity watch­dog said on Wed­nes­day, fol­low­ing a ma­jor sex abuse scan­dal which en­gulfed the global aid sec­tor.

The Char­ity Com­mis­sion said the in­quiry would fo­cus on the char­ity’s han­dling of claims such as those made against ex­chief ex­ec­u­tive Justin Forsyth and former pol­icy chief Bren­dan Cox.

The watch­dog will ex­am­ine how mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions in 2012 and 2015 were dealt with and whether they were fully dis­closed to the body which reg­u­lates char­i­ties in Eng­land and Wales.

“We do have ques­tions that must be an­swered, and we need to hold the char­ity for­mally ac­count­able for pro­vid­ing them in a clear and timely man­ner,” said Michelle Rus­sell, di­rec­tor of in­ves­ti­ga­tions and en­force­ment at the Char­ity Com­mis­sion.

Save the Chil­dren and its former ex­ec­u­tive Mr Forsyth both apol­o­gised in Fe­bru­ary for his in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour to­wards fe­male staff and the char­ity said pro­ce­dures had not been prop­erly fol­lowed in re­view­ing three com­plaints against him.

Mean­while Mr Cox said that he made mis­takes and be­haved in a man­ner that caused some women hurt and of­fence when he was work­ing at Save the Chil­dren. He re­signed in Septem­ber 2015.

The in­ter­na­tional aid or­gan­i­sa­tion said in a state­ment it would co­op­er­ate with the in­quiry by the Char­ity Com­mis­sion.

“We are com­mit­ted to work­ing with the Char­ity Com­mis­sion to es­tab­lish a truth­ful and ac­cu­rate ac­count of events and the char­ity’s re­sponse,” said Peter Ben­nett-Jones, the chair of Save the Chil­dren’s UK board of trustees.

“If mis­takes were made, we will act swiftly and de­ci­sively to ad­dress them.”

Char­i­ties in the aid sec­tor were put un­der the spot­light ear­lier this year af­ter an ex­posé by the Times news­pa­per re­vealed that some Ox­fam staff paid for sex with pros­ti­tutes in Haiti af­ter the coun­try’s 2010 earth­quake.

They have since pledged to over­haul their ap­proach to deal­ing with al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct and ha­rass­ment.

An ex­clu­sive sur­vey found more than 120 staff from lead­ing global char­i­ties were fired or lost their jobs in 2017 over sex­ual mis­con­duct.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cyprus

© PressReader. All rights reserved.