Oxfam (GB) Slammed by Charity Watchdog for Unprofessional Conduct

News outlets, ranging from the AP and Euronews, to the BBC and The Guardian have reported that Oxfam has been neglecting child abuse claims and has implemented a working culture consisting of “poor behaviour” according to the Charity Commission, with reports of said unprofessional conduct dating back to as far back as 2010, the same year in which the Haiti earthquake was struck.

The scandals had led to resignations from Oxfam GB’s chief executive, Mark Goldring, and its deputy chief executive, Penny Lawrence, which in turn has dented financial support for the organization, from both UK aid support, and from donor counts, and the unprofessional working culture has been continuous in nature, with allegation of sexual and physical abuse that were not internally investigated adequately, alongside reports of payment for sex at senior organizational level, and has led to Oxfam GB no longer being able to operate in Haiti.

After the Charity Commission findings on Oxfam were published, Oxfam apologised, via its chair of trustees, Caroline Thomson, saying that “It was a terrible abuse of power, and an affront to the values that Oxfam holds dear,”, and that “the commission’s findings are very uncomfortable for Oxfam GB but we accept them.

That said, the AP reported that this was an issue that was not isolated to Oxfam GB alone, with then-UK top development official, Penny Mordaunt pointing out that sexual predators were targeting aid organizations due to the chaotic working environments, and the International Development Committee’s chairman, Stephen Twigg saying that “it would be a mistake to see this as an issue involving one organization alone”, and that “the sector as a whole has a clear duty to face up to the challenge of ensuring that such serious wrongdoing is prevented and rooted out, and that it has robust safeguarding measures in place to support victims, survivors, and whistleblowers in coming forward.”

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