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Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: next steps

Inquiry

Report published

This Committee agreed early in this Parliament to draw up a comprehensive re-examination of progress taken to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector. Our focus is the aid recipients who become victims and survivors of abuse at the hands of individuals working in the sector. This inquiry will consider the support needed by victims and survivors to secure justice and rebuild their lives when they have experienced abuse, what can be done to change the culture in the aid sector to prevent it from occurring in the first place, and how the new Foreign Affairs and Development Office (FCDO) should take this work forward.

In its report, Progress on tackling the sexual exploitation and abuse of aid beneficiaries, the International Development Committee (IDC) finds that sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) is still happening in the sector.

This is supported by a unique survey by the IDC where 73% of respondents believe there remains a problem with SEA being perpetrated by aid workers. This is likely to have been made significantly worse with the coronavirus pandemic, with reductions in aid and food supplies making female beneficiaries more vulnerable to exploitation. Further, perpetrators are continuing to move from organisation to organisation with impunity.

Government response published

During the inquiry, the IDC paid tribute to the former Department for International Development (DFID) and its work in tackling sexual exploitation and abuse. It therefore recommended that the new department, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, should adopt many of DFID’s practices. The Government accepted these recommendations, ranging from enforcing the enhanced safeguarding due diligence procedures, include a specific section on safeguarding in annual reports, and for DFID’s approach on safeguarding investigations to be built on.

However, the IDC is disappointed that some recommendations are not being carried forwards by the Government. There is still to be no audit of whistleblowing practices, the FCDO will not require partners to publish case data and the IDC received no commitment from the Government to use the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality to inform its prioritisation of future work.

Terms of Reference: Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: next steps inquiry launched

Reports, special reports and government responses

View all reports and responses
Seventh Report - Progress on tackling the sexual exploitation and abuse of aid beneficiaries
Inquiry Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: next steps
Committees International Development Committee
HC 605
Report
Response to this report
Seventh Special Report: Progress on tackling the sexual exploitation and abuse of aid beneficiaries: Government Response to the Seventh Report of the Committee, Session 2019–21
HC 1332
Special Report
Seventh Special Report: Progress on tackling the sexual exploitation and abuse of aid beneficiaries: Government Response to the Seventh Report of the Committee, Session 2019–21
Inquiry Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: next steps
Committees International Development Committee
HC 1332
Special Report

Oral evidence transcripts

View all oral evidence transcripts
19 November 2020
Inquiry Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: next steps
Committees International Development Committee
Oral Evidence
17 November 2020
Inquiry Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: next steps
Committees International Development Committee
Oral Evidence
3 November 2020
Inquiry Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: next steps
Committees International Development Committee
Oral Evidence
SEA0036 - Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: next steps
Witnesses Bond
Committees International Development Committee
Written Evidence
SEA0034 - Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: next steps
Witnesses CHS Alliance (CHS Alliance)
Committees International Development Committee
Written Evidence
SEA0035 - Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: next steps
Witnesses Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) (Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI))
Committees International Development Committee
Written Evidence

Contact us

  • Email: indcom@parliament.uk
  • Phone: indcom@parliament.uk, 020 7219 1223/1226 (Inquiry, evidence and General enquiries) / doylem@parliament.uk, 07842 601500 (Media enquiries only)
  • Address: International Development Committee, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA