Oxfam vows shake-up after Haiti sex abuse

Michele Moreno
February 12, 2018

It said Oxfam's leaders had "showed a lack of judgement" in their handling of the matter and their level of openness with the government and Charity Commission.

Oxfam has faced criticism for the way it handled allegations that staff had used prostitutes during an aid mission in Haiti in 2011.

She told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: I am affording them the opportunity to tell me in person what they did after these events and I'm going to be looking to see if they are displaying the moral leadership that I think they need to now.

'We will continue to address the underlying cultural issues that allowed this behaviour to happen, ' she said.

"They still have information they should be giving to the authorities".

Mordaunt said she would write to British charities working overseas demanding they declare any problems relating to the duty they have to protect their staff and the people they work with from harm and abuse - so-called "safeguarding".

Penny Mordaunt described reports of sexual exploitation in the sector as "utterly despicable".

In the latest revelations, the Sunday Times reports more than 120 workers for Britain's leading charities were accused of sexual abuse in the past year, "fuelling fears paedophiles are targeting overseas aid organisations".

At the time, the charity said he had left because of serious breaches of its code of conduct.

Ms Mordaunt replied: "Well, quite".

Oxfam has denied that they took part in any coverup thought according to reports they did not let the Haitian government what was happening which meant they were unable to take legal action against the employees involved.

"If they do not hand over all the information that they have from their investigation... then I can not work with them any more as an aid delivery partner - and any other organisation in those circumstances", she told the BBC.

The charity also said it had yet to find evidence proving allegations that underage girls were involved.

"Oxfam had no formal obligation to anybody anything, this wasn't a public story, this was an internal investigation", Mr Goldring said.

But she said: "Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to stop individuals falsifying references, getting others that were dismissed to act as referees and claiming it was a reference from Oxfam, or former or current Oxfam staff that worked with the individual providing a reference in a personal capacity".

Roland van Hauwermeiren, who resigned from Oxfam in 2011 after admitting that prostitutes had visited his villa in Haiti, was head of Oxfam in Chad at the time.

"We will examine these in more detail to ensure we further strengthen the improved safeguarding, recruitment, vetting and staff management procedures that were put in place after 2011", Thomson said in a statement.

Ms Mordaunt said it did not matter how good the safeguarding practices were in an organisation if they did not "have the moral leadership to do the right thing".

She will meet with the charities regulator this week.

Other reports by Insurance News

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