The island’s Overseas Aid & Development Commission said it welcomed the International Development Committee report.
This concluded that aid organisations had been ineffective in dealing with abuse – failing to protect the victims, or to stop the offenders from moving on to other work within the sector.
Guernsey has no equivalent of the regulator in the UK, the Charities Commission, while a sizeable proportion of more than 500 charities registered here work overseas.
‘Since the Oxfam scandal broke early this year, the themes of the report have become widely known, namely that some aid workers, especially in the chaos of natural disasters and responses to crises, exploit or abuse the people they are supposed to be helping,’ said the commission.
It has an annual budget of £2.9m to support projects in the world’s least developed countries and has tightened up checks before donations are made after the recent scandal.
‘The report does not suggest that funding should be withdrawn from aid – if anything, it encourages the UK’s Department for International Development to beef up its support for charities to develop proper systems to manage safeguarding and protection. It recognises the important role of aid in “providing lifesaving resources to people and communities in crisis”.’
‘But it is absolutely clear that people who receive aid must not come to harm at the hands of those who should be helping them – and that aid agencies must be held accountable for keeping people safe.’
It said the transformations demanded of the aid sector were similar to those which providers of health and care had undertaken following major scandals, including a much greater focus on the voices of people who have suffered, introducing appropriate mechanisms for complaint and redress, putting in place stronger organisational safeguards against abuse and exploitation, and making sure that people who have committed abuse are properly sanctioned.
‘The commission has already put in place additional checks about charities’ safeguarding and child protection processes,’ it added.
‘We will be using these for the first time in our current funding round, which has just closed.
‘We will continue to review and refine the governance checks we have in place, to make sure we are doing our part to hold organisations to account for protecting the people they serve.
‘In addition, we will be asking the Policy & Resources Committee to discuss the aspects of the report which relate to regulation of charities.’
In the UK, regulation is done by the Charities Commission and, although there is a Register of Charities, there is no real equivalent
regulator in Guernsey.
‘We are also contacting all overseas aid charities registered with the Association of Guernsey Charities to invite them to discuss any support or training they might need in respect of safeguarding and child protection, and to explore how the commission may be able to support that.
‘The safety and wellbeing of people who receive aid remains our top priority.’
Deputy Emilie Yerby, the commission’s president added: ‘I am sure that everybody will share my sadness about the scale of sexual
exploitation within the aid sector that this report has identified. However, we must remember that many aid organisations do undertake their work in a culture where harassment, abuse and exploitation are never acceptable, and actively promote reporting such acts.
‘The commission strives to ensure that any charity we support has appropriate and robust policies in place to ensure that all working with or
benefiting from the charity’s work are protected from sexual exploitation and abuse and that policies are properly implemented and monitored for effectiveness.’Continued on Page 2
Comment Page 18