Charity Commission issues safeguarding “alert” to international aid charities
The Charity Commission has issued a “formal regulatory alert” that urges international aid charities to address weaknesses in the ways they seek to prevent exploitation and abuse. The Commission has contacted more than 5,000 charities working overseas, telling them that “transformative change” is needed to achieve more effective safeguarding arrangements.
The alert follows an analysis of recent serious incidents reported to the commission which identified specific areas of weaknesses or risk. Over 2019/20 the Commission received 5,730 reports of serious incidents, of which 3,411 related to safeguarding, marking a near 40% increase on the previous year. This is feature, the Commission believes of “improved reporting and complaint mechanisms”.
However the Charity Commission is insistent that more needs to be done. Charities need to make it easier for recipients of aid to report allegations of misconduct and abuse and take a “survivor-centred” approach to handling incidents. It adds that as well as launching their own timely investigations into allegations, charities should consider joining the Misconduct Disclosure Scheme “to stop perpetrators of sexual misconduct from moving around the sector undetected”. So far only a small number of UK charities are currently part of this scheme.
The Commission also recommends trustees explore if gender and diversity imbalances on their own board and in senior management “are potential safeguarding risk factors which require proactive man