July 9, 2018 / 5:17 PM / 3 months ago

Save the Children UK expects income drop after aid sex abuse scandal

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Aid agency Save the Children UK said on Monday it expected its income to fall by a sixth - 67 million pounds ($89 million) - this year after it withdrew from state funding amid claims of sexual misconduct by staff following a sector-wide sex scandal.

The humanitarian charity said its decision in April to temporarily stop bidding for funding from Britain’s foreign aid department (DFID) meant its estimated income for the year was 340 million pounds - down from 407 million pounds in 2017.

Save the Children UK’s former chairman said in May it had failed its female staff in its handling of sexual misconduct complaints against senior managers including former chief executive Justin Forsyth and ex-policy chief Brendan Cox.

The aid agency’s statement follows Oxfam’s announcement last month that it would make cuts to its operations due to a drop in funding after a sex abuse scandal centering on its staff that saw it kicked out of Haiti.

“Save the Children UK is now in the process of assessing the potential impact of this drop in funding for future years,” the charity said in a statement.

“The long-term underlying financial health of Save the Children UK is good ... budget plans are driven by a long-term strategy and goals and not by short-term changes to income around specific projects.”

From Oxfam staff paying for sex in Haiti to Syrian women exploited in return for aid and the harassment of women in the head offices of global charities, the humanitarian sector has this year been rattled by media coverage of sexual wrongdoing.

Charities have since pledged to overhaul their approach to dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment.

DFID minister Penny Mordaunt told a parliamentary inquiry last week there were signs that sexual predators were leaving the aid sector amid heightened vigilance after the sex scandal.

An exclusive survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in February found more than 120 staff from leading global charities were fired or lost their jobs in 2017 over sexual misconduct.

Writing By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org

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