Over 1,000 complaints to charity watchdog in the wake of Oxfam sex abuse allegations in Haiti

The 1,152 reports of “serious safeguarding incidents” made since February is roughly the same number reported in the whole of last year, the Charity Commission told MPs.

The figures emerged as the ex-boss of Oxfam said the charity didn’t report that its staff had sex with prostitutes in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in 2011 – because it didn’t class prostitution as a crime.

Oxfam was plunged into crisis in February after it emerged some of its workers in Haiti engaged in “sex parties” with prostitutes in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Dame Barbara Stocking, who was head of Oxfam at the time, yesterday said the charity received legal advice not to tell the charity watchdog that prostitutes had been used by its staff.

In a letter to the International Development Committee, she admitted that Oxfam should have done more to investigate whether minors were exploited for sex.

But she said its internal “detailed investigation” found no substance to allegations that minors were used for sex.

Yesterday the head of the Charity Commission Helen Stephenson told the same committee of MPs that the number of reports made in the last four months was around the same as it received in the whole of 2016/2017.

The scandal rippled out to other aid organisations, including Save The Children.

Mrs Stephenson told the committee: “We have received about 1,100 reports of serious incidents with regards to safeguarding since February.

“To put that into context, that is about the same number of serious reports that we received in the year 2016/17.

“The number of reported serious incidents have gone up. They have levelled off but they have stayed at that level for the last four months.”

The body defines safeguarding as the duty of trustees to ensure staff, beneficiaries and anyone who comes into contact with the charity are protected from harm such as emotional abuse, radicalisation and exploitation.

The commission previously revealed in April that it had opened 440 new cases after receiving 523 fresh reports in February and March.

Some of those new cases involved “potentially criminal” allegations, which the regulator said at the time it was checking had been passed on to police. International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt told the committee that it was a “hard judgement” to make as to whether predators were more attracted to work in aid than other sectors.

Ms Mordaunt told MPs: “I understand that because of the action that we have taken in the sector, the strong message that we are sending, but also the practical things that we are doing, and the effect that we are having, whether it’s in agencies or organisations, that predatory individuals have moved out of the sector.

“The message from us is that we have made good strides, we will make further, and other donors are coming with us.

“So, if you are a predatory individual and you have been targeting the aid sector, your time to move on is now.”

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