Samaritans brings in 'measures' amid reports men met vulnerable callers for sex

2 August 2021, 09:51 | Updated: 2 August 2021, 09:55

Samaritans has said it has introduced new safeguarding measures
Samaritans has said it has introduced new safeguarding measures. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

The Samaritans charity has brought in new "measures" amid allegations that helpline volunteers met vulnerable callers for sex.

The famous service, which helps people in distress, is set to monitor phone calls in the future to ensure inappropriate relationships are not being formed.

The Telegraph reports it understood there have been incidents where middle-aged men used their position to meet female callers for sex.

It said a memo was sent to volunteers which said 44 serious incidents had taken place since 2017.

Samaritans said a "very small number of safeguarding incidents" had been found and that swift action was taken.

Samaritans chief executive Julie Bentley said: "Our 20,000 Samaritans volunteers enable us to provide vital emotional support to anyone who is struggling, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and in the four years from January 2017, volunteers on our telephone service answered over 13 million calls.

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"Running any national service on this scale means that, on extremely rare occasions, high standards are not always met and from the millions of calls answered, a very small number of safeguarding incidents were identified.

"Our robust investigation procedures meant these incidents were handled swiftly and appropriate action taken.

"Any safeguarding matter is one too many and as such we review our practices on an ongoing basis and have introduced further measures as part of our commitment to delivering a consistently high-quality experience for our callers."

Samaritans said its Serious Safeguarding Panel investigates incidents, which are reported to the Charity Commission.