Responding to today’s launch of the Australian Council for International Development’s (ACFID’s) independent review into prevention of sexual misconduct, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said:
“Oxfam welcome’s ACFID independent review into the prevention of sexual misconduct in the development sector. It’s critical that we do everything we can to ensure that those with whom we work are at all times kept safe from harm.
“We know Australians place enormous trust in us and the work we do; it’s a responsibility we do not take lightly.
“The aid sector, like the rest of our society, is not immune to the issue of sexual misconduct, but what’s critical is that we are doing all we can do to prevent it and ensure swift resolution when incidents occur.
“Oxfam Australia has been horrified by the Haiti revelations and the incidents of sexual misconduct in the aid sector that have come to light. Our work advancing women’s rights, especially in situations of vulnerability, is central to Oxfam’s identity.
“Oxfam globally reviewed and strengthened its policies and practices in regard to safeguarding in the wake of the Haiti case.
“Oxfam Australia has systems in place to protect people from this kind of abuse, but we know we can never be complacent and need to continually improve so that we are always working to the highest possible standard.
“We’re looking forward to participating fully to the ACFID review and will be using this as an opportunity to learn and further develop our safeguarding policies and practices.”
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Notes to editors: In addition to our strong policies and oversight, we have banded together with other Oxfams to strengthen our safeguards, including having a dedicated Safeguarding Team, a confidential whistleblowing line and more comprehensive policies.
In addition to this, Oxfam International has launched an independent High-Level Commission on Sexual Misconduct, Accountability and Culture Change to review Oxfam’s records, and launched a new global database of accredited referees.