Responding to sexual misconduct reports in the sector, a spokesperson for ActionAid said:
“Sexual exploitation and abuse is completely unacceptable in any line of work, but it cuts especially deep in the charity sector because it contradicts the values and the standards to which we are all committed. It is absolutely essential that we all learn from this and take further steps as individuals and across the sector to ensure the protection of the people we are here to support.
“In the countries where ActionAid works, our local staff work directly with communities to listen to their needs and provide them with the tools and skills to help themselves, and challenge what holds them back.
“Throughout the organisation we have a zero-tolerance policy on any form of sexual harassment and misconduct, and clear child protection policies aimed to protect beneficiaries. We have a whistleblowing policy to encourage and protect staff to report concerns, and as soon as someone does come forward, processes are in place to ensure immediate and decisive action is taken.
“We have recently been working with external safeguarding experts to develop further our policy and procedures with regards to children and vulnerable adults. We are subjecting our humanitarian work to independent external review to ensure we are doing the best we can do protect crisis-affected people from abuse.
“It is essential that we are transparent and accountable, both to the communities where we work and to inspire confidence in those who so generously support our work with people living in the world’s poorest places and help change lives for good.”