Oxfam faces government crisis talks over Haiti sex abuse scandal

Oxfam remains mired in crisis following the Times sex abuse report

Oxfam remains mired in crisis following the sex abuse report

Monday, February 12, 2018

Oxfam faces crisis talks with the Government as it deals with the fall-out from claims of sexual misconduct by aid workers.

The charity is reeling from a report in the Times newspaper which claimed it tried to cover up sex crimes in Haiti following the country's 2010 earthquake. Four people were sacked and three people were allowed to resign following an internal inquiry, but it is claimed that Oxfam withheld the full details of the investigation from government authorities.

International development secretary Penny Mordaunt will meet the charity on Monday, after warning the "scandal" had put its relationship with the Government at risk.

Oxfam denies a cover-up, but Mordaunt said on Sunday that the charity had lied and failed in its "moral leadership" by failing to fully disclose details of its investigation.

"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," she told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

"If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation is not there then we cannot have you as a partner."

Charities, including Oxfam, have been told they will have funding withdrawn if they fail to comply with authorities over safeguarding issues.

Oxfam's chair of trustees, Caroline Thomson, says more staff members have come forward to express concerns about the recruitment and vetting of staff since the sex abuse scandal broke.

Thomson added that these issues "would be examined in more detail," according to iNews.

Yesterday Thomson announced that Oxfam's method of vetting and recruiting staff would be vetted as part of an initial raft of measures to "improve safeguarding" and strengthen the handling of sex abuse cases.

Oxfam will also be establishing a new external helpline to serve as a haven for whistleblowers.