Thursday, 15 February 2018

More allegations against charities come to light

"Oxfam has been accused of covering up the use of prostitutes by staff in Haiti in the wake of the deadly earthquake in 2010. Allegations that prostitutes were used by staff in Chad in 2006 have also emerged." 
"It has denied a cover-up, but the charity's chief executive has said nine members of staff `behaved in a way that was totally unacceptable`."


Mike Robinson spoke on UK Column News about some of these matters: "I just caught this headline on Sky News. Oxfam: Former development secretary Greening `absolutely shocked` by claims against Oxfam. "

"She was speaking to Sky News. She said she was absolutely shocked. She said: `I don`t recall being aware of those allegations` [while she was in post] `but I certainly know that when I had any instances raised with me, they always would have been followed up. I`m not the kind of person who would have ignored anything like that. Why would anyone?` "

Mike Robinson found this statement interesting given the involvement of the Charity Commission into allegations against Oxfam.

"Well the Charity Commission for England and Wales has announced that they are opening a statutory inquiry today into Oxfam and they are going to improve safeguarding in the charity sector as a whole, they claim. They say that this has come after the allegations made against Oxfam regarding misconduct by staff involved in the humanitarian response in Haiti. They said that they have concerns that Oxfam may not have fully and frankly disclosed material details about the allegations at the time in 2011; about its handling of the incident since; and the impact that these have had on public trust and confidence."

"But this is quite interesting because actually the Charity Commission had already been investigating Oxfam during the course of 2011 and they had produced a report which came out in December."

"It said in 2017 `We engaged... with Oxfam over a number of concerning allegations about recent and non-recent safeguarding incidents involving senior programme staff including allegations of sexual harassment of other staff... `"

What the Charity Commission found:
"Oxfam cooperated fully with us. We established that the charity has a strong policy framework around protecting staff and beneficiaries from sexual exploitation and abuse, which is underpinned by the activities of a dedicated safeguarding unit. We also saw evidence of several examples of best practice including the publishing of data and trends about allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation against Oxfam staff and partners."  

"Many of the allegations reported against senior country staff relating to sexual abuse and exploitation were not substantiated, and the Commission has seen no indication to suggest that the risks to staff at Oxfam are any greater than those facing staff in other similar organisations. However, there clearly have been incidents of behaviour that did not meet the organisation’s culture and values and which have brought into question how confident trustees could be in the charity’s wider people management systems." 
"We also identified some weaknesses in how trends in safeguarding allegations were picked up, reported to trustees and management follow up properly agreed."

"They said that many of the allegations reported against country staff - senior country staff - relating to sexual exploitation and abuse were not substantiated. Well, they`ve been substantiated now. So I`m questioning here how good is this statutory investigation going to be... when they ran an investigation last year and they found nothing."

"It goes on, though. But we concluded there`s further work for the charity to do in respect of its HR culture and overall governance and management of safeguarding. The Commission considers that the charity needs to be more mindful of the allocation of resources which enables an appropriate balance between proactive preventive activity in the investigation of individual allegations."

"So basically they said nothing of any use. They apparently found nothing particularly wrong with the charity but then we have these revelations over here and apparently today more revelations about alleged sexual abuse taking place involving children in Oxfam charity shops."

Brian Gerrish concurs: "It`s amazing isn`t it Mike? And of course when UK Column was pointing a finger at the UK charity Common Purpose... what was discovered?  Matthew Byrne, one of the Merseyside Common Purpose advisory board members. Horrific crimes. I will leave people to look him up for themselves. Was there an investigation by Common Purpose?  Nothing that was made public. Was there any police investigation into him and his links with Common Purpose? No investigation at all. Was there any follow up of the fact that Common Purpose had been providing training in many schools across the country particularly in the Sheffield area with no CRB checks. Nothing was followed up on that at all."

"So what we consistently see is that when allegations come to the surface, or evidence comes to the surface, overwhelmingly there`s a close down."

"But it`s beginning to grow, so people might have missed this from a couple of days ago. It`s focusing in on Brendon Cox. This is the Daily Mail and the article is that it`s alleged that Mr Cox grabbed here hips, pulled her hair and forced his thumb into a lady`s mouth in America, in a sexual way. This was a lady working in a US government job. She reported the incident to the police as a sex assault claim...And what comes to light again in this article ... So it included a text which he sent to her later."

"He left Save the Children after there had been numerous other complaints about him. So quite remarkable. Of course here we`ve got people tied in with the mainstream political parties. These are all allegations at the moment. They seem to be building up. But is any action taken against these major charities?"

"And of course one of the things we have consistently said in our UK Column report is that child abuse survivors simply laugh when you say `Well didn`t you get any help from NSPCC or Barnardos or any of the other major charities? Those survivors have simply laughed and said `Well of course the abusers are embedded within those charities as well`. Maybe we`re beginning to see it."

"And just to bring things full circle. We`ll bring in the Open Government Partnership. Now we mentioned them a couple of days ago. This is bringing us back towards George Soros. But I was intrigued to see that we`ve got Helle Thorning Schmidt as one of the Open Government Partnership ambassadors but she`s also there as Chief Executive of Save the Children International. So remarkable isn`t it? All these people clustered around the mainstream parties. Of course this lady married to ... Stephen Kinnock. Here she is working with a major children`s charity. That charity now coming under the spotlight alongside Oxfam."

Police whistleblower

"Well, we`ll contrast that with what? The testimony of a very brave Metropolitan policeman, John Wedger.  This man speaking out to UK Column on audio... and video, clearly saying that the British government, MPs, charities, local authorities covered up child abuse in London, including the deaths of children.  He was villified, hounded at work."

"He`s doing a walk from London to Manchester. This is his JustGiving page. He was after just £5,000 and I`m delighted to say that today I can report that that JustGiving target is up to £6,255. Now the additional money over his target of £5,000 is going to go to a charity. And if you go to the JustGiving site you can actually have a look at that. So some good news there Mike, but it`s taken John Wedger to suffer so much in order to get that story out.  Mainstream press, the BBC in particular, simply will not follow through on the evidence."  [13 February 2018]

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