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20 August 2020 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

HJ Talks About Abuse: Abuse within the aid sector

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In this episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, host Alan Collins talks about the prevalence of abuse within the aid sector.

The UK Government’s International Development Committee has announced that it is launching a re-examination into the progress that has been made to tackle sexual abuse and exploitation within the aid sector.

The examination’s focus is on aid recipients who become victims and survivors of sexual abuse within the sector. The International Development Committee will look at such topics as the ability of victims to access justice and their ability to rebuild their lives as well as looking at the steps needed to change the culture within the aid sector so that abuse can be prevented in the first place.

The US State Department has also recently released a “Trafficking In Persons” report. Part of this report is about accountability for UN peacekeepers. The report highlights that countries send troops on peacekeeping missions but those peacekeepers often have no accountability back home for any wrongdoing done while on peacekeeping missions.

When refugees are more concerned about their safety and survival, they do not have the resources to seek justice when they have been violated.

If the International Development Committee wants to really tackle this issue, they need to speak to victims and not just those who are providing aid.

In the example of UN peacekeepers or foreign aid workers, one thing that would go a long way to addressing the issue would be to remove jurisdictional boundaries so that a survivor can have their abuser prosecuted in any country around the world. For instance, if the survivor is in Country A and is abused by a peacekeeper from Country B while they are in Country A, then the survivor should be able to have their abuser prosecuted in Country A, Country B or in any other country.

It is also unreasonable to expect that a refugee who is struggling to feed, clothe and house themselves would be able to obtain a form, fill it out and post it back in order to report their abuse. In order for refugees to be able to access justice, they need to be able to report abuse from within the refugee camp.

Author bio

Alan Collins


Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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