Scottish aid group reveals two cases of sexual misconduct

Alasdair Clark

Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) says it has dealt with the two allegations decisively 

IN A LETTER to supporters of Sciaf, the charity’s boss has said it has dealt with two cases of sexual misconduct decisively, after Oxfam was rocked by claims of a cover-up after it was revealed senior aid workers paid women and children for sex in earthquake-hit Haiti.

Alistair Dutton, Director of Sciaf, the official aid agency of the Catholic church in Scotland, reassured supporters that the current allegations about Oxfam had no connection with Sciaf.

Read more: Oxfam deputy chief quits amidst sex scandal 

Detailing Sciaf’s policy on child protection and safeguarding, Dutton said in the letter that he was personally responsible for overseeing that any allegations were dealt with sensitively and professionally. 

Dutton revealed that the charity had dealt with two cases of abuse in the organisation’s 50-year history, and speaking to the BBC he confirmed that one involved a junior member of Sciaf staff in Ethiopia in 2016 and another involved a volunteer with a partner organisation in 2012. 

Both, Dutton said, were immediately suspended and later dismissed and the cases passed to the police. 

In the letter, Sciaf highlighted that the organisation first and foremost sought to protect those who come to harm; supporting their emotional, physical, psychological and social well-being as well as removing the accused is removed from any opportunity to repeat the alleged offence. 

Dutton added: “Such abuses of power are also criminal offences and must be dealt with according to the law where the incident happens.

“Where allegations are made, Sciaf will co-operate fully with the police and legal bodies.” Alistair Dutton, Sciaf Director

“Where allegations are made, Sciaf will co-operate fully with the police and legal bodies to ensure that they are fully investigated, and prosecuted if charges can be brought.”

Oxfam has come under intense pressure after allegations it actively covered up cases of abuse, and a number of famous faces who have promoted the organisations work have sought to cut ties by resigning as “ambassadors” for the aid organisation. 

The Archbishop Desmond Tutu announced on Thursday afternoon that he had quit as a global ambassador for Oxfam, saying he is “deeply disappointed by allegations of immorality”.

Alistair Dutton of Sciaf said that although he recognised people “feel deeply betrayed by the unacceptable actions of a tiny minority”, that the revelations “shouldn’t detract from the incredible life-saving humanitarian work that has been done since the earthquake in 2010”.

Picture courtesy of CIDSE

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