Oxfam criticized by U.K. regulator over Haiti sexual misconduct scandal
British charity Oxfam failed in its response to allegations of sexual abuse by support staff in Haiti, tolerated poor behaviour and broke guarantees to satisfy safeguarding requirements, a report by the U.Ok. charities’ regulator mentioned on Tuesday.
Oxfam GB mentioned it accepted the findings of the Charity Fee and was implementing its suggestions.
Oxfam, one in every of Britain’s largest charities, was thrown into disaster final 12 months when it was reported that some former employees in Haiti paid for intercourse whereas on a mission to assist these affected by a 2010 earthquake.
The charity subsequently apologized, however the scandal prompted Britain to droop funding to Oxfam.
The report discovered it didn’t do sufficient to determine whether or not the victims of sexual misconduct in Haiti have been minors, didn’t report the allegations and handled senior employees extra leniently than junior employees.
Whereas the report discovered no proof of a coverup, it mentioned that the charity’s guarantees on safeguarding had not all the time been backed up with motion.
“What went unsuitable in Haiti didn’t occur in isolation,” mentioned Helen Stephenson, chief government of the Charity Fee. “Our inquiry demonstrates that, over a interval of years, Oxfam’s inner tradition tolerated poor behaviour and at occasions overpassed the values it stands for.
“Vital additional cultural and systemic change is required to handle the failings and weaknesses our report identifies.”
The regulator issued Oxfam GB with an official warning and the charity should now set out a plan of motion to enhance its requirements and implement the report’s suggestions.
Oxfam GB mentioned it accepted it ought to have improved its safeguarding practices and cut back the chance of sexual abuse occurring. The charity has appointed a brand new director of safeguarding and tripled its funding within the space.
“What occurred in Haiti was shameful, and we’re deeply sorry. It was a horrible abuse of energy and an affront to the values that Oxfam holds expensive,” Caroline Thomson, chair of trustees at Oxfam GB, mentioned in a press release
“However I’m assured that Oxfam GB is altering, and that the steps we’re taking are placing Oxfam on the precise path for the longer term.”
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