News Worms
News Worms


Penny Mordaunt warns charities could have funding cut over 'safeguarding issues'

Penny Mordaunt warns charities could have funding cut over 'safeguarding issues'

More than 120 workers for British charities were accused of sexual abuse in the past year alone, sparking fears overseas aid organisations are being are being targeted by paedophiles.

Oxfam workers were accused of paying Haitian natural disaster survivors for sex during relief efforts.

The charity chose to allow Mr Van Hauwermeiren to step down from his position and crucially didn't share details of the termination of contract with his new employer.

"Charities that receive government funding have been warned they must be accountable and report any allegations of abuse if they want to continue receiving taxpayers" money.

Late on Friday, the Department for International Development (DFID) also said it was reviewing its relationship with the UK-based charity, to which it gave almost £32 million (36 million euros/$44 million) a year ago.

The call came as the British charities regulator released its own statement detailing Oxfam's previous disclosure of the events, including that it characterised the misconduct as "inappropriate sexual behaviour".

"This is a historic case but it is in some respects still live".

All of these would be followed up, she told the BBC's Andrew Marr.

Charities, including Oxfam, have been told they will have funding withdrawn if they fail to comply with authorities over safeguarding issues.

"These allegations are deeply shocking", said one official.

Asked by Marr if she thought Oxfam had failed in its "moral leadership", Ms Mordaunt replied: "Yes, I do". "If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation isn't there, we can not have you as a partner", she said.

"Our primary aim was always to root out and take action against those involved and we publicly announced, including to media, both the investigation and the action we took as a result".

"If they do not hand over all the information that they have from their investigation. then I can not work with them any more as an aid delivery partner - and any other organisation in those circumstances", she told the BBC.

The charity had a fund worth more than $100 million to provide relief supplies and help rebuild Haiti's infrastructure, the Times reported.

The UK-based charity is also facing fresh accusations that its workers used prostitutes in Chad in 2006, the Observer reported.

Roland van Hauwermeiren, 68, whom Oxfam said was forced to resign as Haiti country director in 2011 after allegedly admitting hiring prostitutes, went on to become head of mission for Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh from 2012 to 2014.

Oxfam said it had no report of the Chad allegations, but had introduced steps to prevent sexual exploitation of the vulnerable people they deal with after the Haiti revelations.

Of those, 53 were referred to the police or other authorities and 20 people were dismissed.

And it will extend an existing review into bad behaviour and the charity's culture to include looking at how people are hired and managing of staff in challenging environments.

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