In 2011, some members of Oxfam staff in Haiti acted in a way that was totally unacceptable and is the most appalling mark against the high values we set ourselves at Oxfam.
Oxfam’s priority is to stand fully by the survivors of such reprehensible behaviour – and to ensure that such behaviour is absolutely rooted out of our organisation. We stand firmly against the exploitation and abuse of women and girls.
That the event took place seven years ago and involved a small number of staff is no cause for complacency. This is not the first story of sexual misconduct Oxfam has faced in recent months.
We have not done enough to change our own culture and to create the strongest possible policies to prevent harassment and protect people we work with around the world. We are doing that now with all our effort.
Oxfam today has a global and dedicated Safeguarding approach with a best practice package of measures to ensure we protect all our staff, prevent sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse happening in the first place.
We have a Global Taskforce on Prevention of Sexual Harassment, Exploitation & Abuse that is co-chaired by our Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima.
We want to use this opportunity to reiterate that our confidential ‘whistleblowing’ line is available to all Oxfam staff and all the people we work with. We know the only way to change culture and make the safeguarding system work is to be open and transparent about it.
We hope we can rebuild our trust with our supporters who know, as we do, that the actions of a few do not represent all that Oxfam stands for.
Notes to editors:
For more details about the investigation in 2011 please refer to Oxfam Great Britain’s statement here.