Oxfam Australia welcomes independent review into prevention of sexual misconduct

Media Releases, News article written on the 21 Nov 2018

Oxfam Australia’s Chief Executive Helen Szoke welcomed the review, commissioned by the Australian Council for International Development and carried out by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine.

“Oxfam Australia welcomes this independent report that provides all Australian international development NGOs with ways in which we can better tackle the issue of sexual misconduct, as we have absolutely zero tolerance for those who abuse their power and harm those we are trying to help.

“We participated fully in the review, seeing it as an opportunity to build a better understanding of the prevalence of the issue in the sector and any weaknesses and gaps in the way agencies are working to stamp out sexual misconduct.

“In 2011, some members of Oxfam Great Britain staff in Haiti acted in a way that was totally unacceptable and is a black mark against the high values we set ourselves at Oxfam.

“Whilst Oxfam has reviewed and strengthened our policies and practices since 2011, we know we cannot be complacent and need to continue to strengthen our processes to help ensure we protect our staff and those with whom we work with and for, from abuse.

“Nineteen of the 31 recommendations relate to ACFID member organisations.

“Of these 19, Oxfam Australia already complies with 12.

“In terms of the remaining recommendations, Oxfam Australia is either currently already in the process of implementing or can very quickly implement strengthened processes to become compliant with 5 of these by April, 2019.

“Two remaining recommendations, which relate to reparation for victims/survivors and long-term support, will require some work investigating best-practice and some conversations on a sector-wide approach.

“It’s good to see the report highlighting the fact that organisations need to take the time to ensure there are safe spaces to explore sensitive issues about sex and power and appropriate conduct across a range of contexts.

“We’re committed to strengthening the ways in which we do this – including through our work on combating harmful gender norms that perpetuate inequality and intolerable behaviour.”

Oxfam Australia publishes cases of sexual misconduct in our Annual Report.

For further information please contact Laurelle Keough on 0425 701 801 or laurellek@oxfam.org.au