Responding to the International Development Committee (IDC) report on sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector, Clifford Isabelle, Oxfam GB Director of Safeguarding, said:
“Perpetrators of sexual abuse have no place within Oxfam or any aid agency. The Committee is right to demand that all of us in the sector do more to tackle abuse and in particular the power imbalances that allow it to take place.
“In recent years, we have made significant strides in addressing our past failings but we know there is more to do. Working in partnership with local communities is crucial – both in preventing abuse and ensuring that survivors have the confidence and safe spaces to report misconduct – and we are committed to doing that.”
Notes to editors:
Since 2018, Oxfam has taken a number of steps to strengthen safeguarding in our international programmes. These include:
- Implementing a safe programmes framework to ensure safeguarding is properly embedded in the design, delivery and monitoring of programmes
- Strengthened ‘safer recruitment’ procedures for all appointments and a centralised reference system for departing staff to ensure that only appropriate references are given
- New measures to ensure we systematically inform communities how Oxfam staff should behave and how to report concerns
- Innovative research to better understand why women and other community members don’t feel able to report misconduct – and pilot projects to investigate how we can improve in response to that research
- A system of safeguarding focal points that complements our whistleblowing hotline and allows community members to report concerns to a trusted individual
- Standard operating procedures to ensure a consistent survivor-centred approach, prioritising the needs, wishes and safety of survivors.
- Clearer survivor-led policies to ensure appropriate reporting of potential crimes to police and authorities
- Increased support for survivors, including counselling and healthcare
- Timely reporting to regulators and donors