Government response: Charity Commission statement on Oxfam

The Charity Commission has made the following statement in response to concerns raised in the media regarding Oxfam:

The allegations reported in the media have absolutely no place in society, and are made all the more shocking by the alleged involvement of charity workers. Charities are rightly held to the highest standards.

In August 2011, Oxfam made a report to the Commission about an ongoing internal investigation into allegations of misconduct by staff members involved in their Haiti programme. It explained that the misconduct related to inappropriate sexual behaviour, bullying, harassment and the intimidation of staff. The report to us stated there had been no allegations, or evidence, of any abuse of beneficiaries. It also made no mention of any potential sexual crimes involving minors. Our approach to this matter would have been different had the full details that have been reported been disclosed to us at the time.

We have written to the charity as a matter of urgency to request further information regarding the events in Haiti in 2011 to establish greater clarity on this matter. This includes a timeline of events, information about when the charity was made aware of specific allegations and the detail of the investigation’s findings and conclusions. This information will be considered as part of an ongoing case regarding the charity’s approach to safeguarding.

It is important that charities engage with the regulator frankly and openly. We must fully understand the allegations that have been made to ensure that we have confidence in the charity’s approach to safeguarding now and in the future.

A report of the Commission’s ongoing case into Oxfam from December 2017 can be found on GOV.UK

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