Cafod, the international aid agency of the bishops’ conference, has been suspended from the scheme that protects charitable beneficiaries from abuse after failing an audit of its complaints handling, writes Liz Dodd.
Cafod’s certification against the Core Humanitarian Standard framework has been suspended until 2019, after the charity failed an audit of its work in Kenya and Ethiopia.
The independent audit by the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) found “gaps” in the way Cafod handled complaints regarding overseas beneficiaries. The charity scored zero points out of a possible five points for its handling of complaints.
The HQAI warned that Cafod’s complaint-handling mechanism did not prioritise the safety of the complainant, and said that it did not work systematically to ensure communities were aware “of the expected behaviour of humanitarian staff regarding the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse”.
In March, Cafod was forced to sack an aid worker who had been accused of sexually exploiting vulnerable people while working with Oxfam in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
Cafod said it was undertaking “significant measures” to improve its accountability to the communities and individuals it served.