The behaviour of some members of Oxfam staff uncovered in Haiti in 2011 was totally unacceptable, contrary to our values and the high standards we expect of our staff. As soon as we became aware of the allegations we immediately launched an internal investigation.
Our primary aim was always to root out and take action against those involved and we publicly announced, including to media, both the investigation and the action we took as a result.
Four members of staff were dismissed as a result of the investigation and three, including the country director, resigned before the end of the investigation. Allegations that underage girls may have been involved were not proven.
After the investigation, we carried out a thorough review of the case which resulted in the creation of our dedicated Safeguarding Team and a confidential ‘whistleblowing’ hotline as part of a package of measures to ensure that we do all we can to protect our staff, prevent sexual abuse and misconduct happening in the first place and improve how we handle any allegations.
For further information please contact Tricia O’Rourke on 01865 472498 or 07850 920258
Note to editors
· Oxfam put out a press statement on 5 August 2011 saying that we had launched the investigation and another on 5 September announcing the outcome.
· The legal advice we received in Haiti was that given the nature of the allegations, especially with the continued upheaval and chaos post the earthquake, it was extremely unlikely that reporting these incidents to the police would lead to any action being taken.
· Oxfam Trustees, the Charity Commission and DFID, as well as other major donors of our Haiti work including the EU, WHO and UN agencies, were kept informed of the investigation and its outcome.
· The Charity Commission confirmed that Oxfam had taken appropriate action and that it therefore had “no regulatory concerns”.
· The misconduct findings related to offences including bullying, harassment, intimidation and failure to protect staff as well as sexual misconduct.
· Early in the investigation, the country director took full responsibility for events that took place under his management and was permitted to resign on the basis that he fully cooperated with and supported the investigation.