Samaritans callers put at risk by rogue volunteers including 'sex predators'

DOZENS of callers to Samaritans have been put at risk by rogue volunteers — including alleged sex predators.

The charity has had to investigate 46 so-called safeguarding rule breaches in the past four years.

It reported the most serious to police, it is understood.

A source said: “A number of Samaritans have been taking advantage of callers, meeting them outside shift rotas.

“The numbers are tiny compared to the good work done but it shouldn’t be hushed up.”

Last night Tory MP Nigel Mills said: “This is very worrying.

“People go to the Samaritans at their most vulnerable and to hear people have been taken advantage of is shocking.”

In a confidential memo for volunteers, senior managers say 13 of the 46 incidents have been serious.

They say the top concerns have been failure to safely implement policies and procedures, sexual misconduct and interacting with a caller while not on duty.

The memo adds: “On each occasion, a caller had been put at risk in some way.”

The charity has more than 20,000 volunteers providing a 24-hour helpline for callers facing emotional stress or suicidal thoughts.

They handle 10,000 cries for help a day and are bound by strict confidentiality rules.

The charity, whose patron is Prince Charles, insists all safeguarding incidents are handled robustly and reported to the Charity Commission.

It is briefing volunteers on additional measures to tighten procedures.

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