In Brief

Reports of abuse at charities skyrockets

Minister warns ‘predatory individuals’ to move out of charities sector after sharp spike in abuse claims

Reports of sexual harassment, bullying and abuse at British charities have skyrocketed in the months following the Oxfam sexual abuse scandal.

The Charity Commission has revealed the total number of serious incidents reported by charities from February to May this year reached the same level as during the whole of 2016/17.

The watchdog has refused to identify which charities have been implicated, but The Guardian reports that a “significant number” of allegations came from the group of 179 charities contacted by Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, seeking urgent assurances that all incidents of potential abuse had been reported to the commission in the wake of the Oxfam scandal.

In response to the scandal which rocked the charity sector, the commission also launched a review of the 5,500 historic reports of serious safeguarding incidents dating back to 2014, the majority of which involve allegations of criminal behaviour.

Mordaunt told an evidence session on sexual abuse and exploitation in the aid sector that because of actions taken by the government since February, predatory individuals had “moved out of the sector”.

“The message from us is that we have made good strides and other donors are coming with us and if you are a predatory individual then the time to move on is now,” she said.

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