Power, authority, legitimacy, trust and dependence are the five base ingredients and starting point for creating exactly the right environment, or recipe, for sexual exploitation of the vulnerable to take place.
It is no coincidence therefore that the hot beds of child molestation and sexual exploitation are to be found in some concentration within the types of organisation where the victims often depend on, or ‘respect’ the perpetrators.
Religious groups, charitable organisations, schools, institutions (I include political institutions) and families are all environments which provide an ideal infrastructure for potentially destructive sexual encounters to take place.
There is another factor which such organisations have in common and that is the sad fact that it is far much easier to join them or to become a member than it is to become an employee of a professional organisation which thoroughly vets and interviews potential recruits.
Sexual predators know full well that if they join the priesthood they will very quickly enjoy the trust of many and of course, as representatives of their God, they have power, legitimacy and authority over a very dependent flock…….and a ready-made selection of potential victims.
The paedophile who joins local organisations and eventually say, becomes the governor of an orphanage or school also has the five basic ingredients bestowed upon him in a comparatively short space of time.
Likewise, the charity worker who may be a nobody in his own country but in a Third World environment where he is handing out water, food and clothing or helping someone to rebuild their home is someone to be admired, respected and trusted…….. and if he is so inclined, he will find it comparatively easy to invoke his new-found status and power.
It is no wonder that sexual predators of all flavours find such environments so fertile.
Add to that the rather slack personnel selection systems normally found within such organisations, some of whom are crying out for volunteers and workers, we have a real recipe for disaster. Proper scrutiny and due diligence are NOT options, they are an absolute necessity.
Because of the lack of stringent selection procedures, those who in the commercial world would never make it to the second rung of an average company’s organisational ladder, suddenly find themselves being looked up to and respected and yes……revered.
They are the authority figures to whom children pay deference to.
They are gods to the hungry and the dispossessed.
They are potential enablers to the overambitious and the believers.
Yes, they do give but far too often, what they demand in return is too much.
It’s time for those at the top to stop inquiries, commissions, debates etc and revisit the basics. This government’s ‘Meetings not Action’ approach should be temporarily suspended.
The rapidly amplifying Oxfam scandal will be a Baptism of Fire for the UK’s new Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt…..who (luckily) is one of the few competent action-oriented Ministers we have.
A good starting point might be a worldwide database of charity volunteers and employees with the sort of vetting which would ensure maximum protection for the vulnerable. Here are a few areas which should be investigated:
- ID Documents and Right to Work Checks
- Visa Checks
- Credit and Financial Checks
- Employment History and Gap Analysis
- Academic Qualification Checks
- Professional Qualification Checks
- International Checks
- Media and Social Media Checks
- Driving Licence Checks
- Global Sanction Checks
- Criminal Record Checks
- Proper Referencing