'Absolutely Unacceptable': Dozens Of Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Aid Workers Spark Apology
The Australian Council for International Development has apologised after an independent review substantiated 31 cases of sexual misconduct against aid workers from 20 organisations.
One case of alleged sexual abuse involved a local woman who was impregnated by a humanitarian worker.
Six of the cases involved sexual abuse, eight incidents concerned sexual misconduct and 17 others were allegations of sexual harassment, of the total 76 reported incidents over the last three years.
According to the report released by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine -- who were hired to run the independent review following allegations Oxfam UK staff had hired prostitutes following the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, workers from 20 organisations were involved in the misconduct.
The ACFID's board apologised to victims and survivors of sexual misconduct and said the peak body would be accepting all recommendations to prevent further harm.
"Our goal has always been to reduce cases of sexual misconduct to zero," the board said in a statement.
"In striving for that goal, we must ensure our organisations are places where victims/survivors feel safe to report without fear; are empowered to tell their stories; and justice is a cast-iron certainty."
The report found 25 of the reported cases of misconduct involved children under the age of 18, with almost 80 percent of the victims being female.
Sixteen victims experienced psychological injury or trauma while two of the cases involved physical injury.
Aid worker victim/survivors were most frequently staff from the Australian head office, followed by national and expatriate field staff.
The review also found Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Timor Leste were the most common international locations where incidents had been reported.
CEO Marc Purcell said any case of sexual misconduct was "absolutely unacceptable."
"Our goal is to always keep people safe from risk and harm," Purcell said.
"One case is a failure."
None of the victims were offered compensation, according to the report, with most receiving either counselling or an apology.
Three were provided medical treatment.
Of the organisations surveyed, 66 organisations reported no incidents while 33 did not respond.