Oxfam sacks 22 staff over sexual abuse allegations

Out of 5,000 staff, Oxfam has seen 36 per cent increase in claims about sexual exploitation and abuse 

Rachael Revesz
Tuesday 31 October 2017 21:22
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UK charity regulator received 1,131 reports of serious safeguarding incidents in 2016
UK charity regulator received 1,131 reports of serious safeguarding incidents in 2016

Oxfam has dismissed 22 staff over allegations of sexual abuse in the last year.

The dismissals come as campaigners ask governments to take a closer look at the funding they provide to aid groups.

Reports of Oxfam staff’s inappropriate behaviour emerged during media spotlight on the dozens of allegations of sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination from women and men facing disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and other high-profile figures in media, politics and the arts.

Oxfam, which employs around 5,000 people, said it dealt with 87 claims of sexual exploitation and abuse involving its staff in one year to the end of April, a 36 per cent increase in one year.

“Donors and government entities need to ask more questions of the people that they are funding,” aid worker Megan Nobert told Reuters.

Ms Nobert founded the Report the Abuse campaign group after she was raped by a colleague while on assignment at a UN peacekeeping base in South Sudan.

About three quarters of the claims resulted in disciplinary action, Oxfam said, while it referred 53 claims to the police and carried out internal investigations for 33 claims.

“Oxfam treats all allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation very seriously,” Oxfam said in a statement, adding that data on allegations of sexual abuse by staff was published in its annual reports.

Campaigners say that many victims of abuse do not report the incident as they feel fear, shame, and worry about damage to their career.

The UK charity regulator has received 1,131 reports of serious safeguarding incidents from charities in 2016, including allegations of sexual abuse.

Agencies contributed to this report

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