Sandra Horley, the chief executive of domestic violence charity Refuge, has been accused of creating a “toxic”, “bullying atmosphere” and mismanaging funds by members of the charity’s staff in a letter to a national newspaper.
A letter signed by 13 members of staff has reportedly been sent to The Times over concerns that nothing was being done about the claims. It was initially sent to charity trustees at the end of 2017.
The letter reads: “For a charity that empowers women in its services, the situation in head office is unfortunately very different. The atmosphere is toxic.”
In it, Horley is accused of using charity funds to publish a book and it is claimed that senior management bully the charity’s staff. Horley is one of the country’s highest paid charity bosses, with a remuneration package of £210,000 – 220,000.
The letter also alleges that staff had to take time off due to anxiety and seek help for mental health issues as a result of the atmosphere. It also states that between January to November 2018, 20 members of the fundraising team left.
The Charity Commission began a compliance case in January 2018 after a serious incident report, but it was later closed. Refuge said it made changes to its governance structure following the investigation.
Charity Update has contacted Refuge for comment.