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Published: Fri, February 16, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Oxfam chief quits over Haiti, Chad sex scandals

Oxfam chief quits over Haiti, Chad sex scandals

The charity watchdog is now set to begin its inquiry into Oxfam.

Oxfam Deputy Chief Executive Penny Lawrence resigned from her post Monday amid a growing sexual scandal involving the British charity group.

A former Oxfam employee has said she encountered allegations of rape, harassment and sex in exchange for aid handouts when she was working for the charity.

Allegations emerged last week that Oxfam staff had used prostitutes in Haiti in 2010. In one country programme (South Sudan) we had 7 per cent of staff witnessed or experience rape or attempted rape.

She said a meeting was held to discuss her concerns about widespread abuse but no action was taken until past year.

Evans told Channel 4 News of a survey conducted during her 2012-2015 tenure which exposed a "culture of sexual abuse" in some Oxfam offices.

Her email to Goldring, shared with Channel 4, said: "Having a concern discussed at LT (leadership team) with feedback from the chief executive can go a long way to effecting positive change".

Oxfam did not inform the Department for International Development at the time that this case involved sexual misconduct.

Among the allegations is that the head of Oxfam in Haiti had "wild sex parties" with multiple sex workers.

The charity received £31.7 million from the Government in 2016/17, but the support has been put at risk by the scandal, which led to the resignation of its deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence.

She said that she was extremely concerned that children were being left alone with volunteers who were not criminal-record checked.

"We've made very clear that had the details of what has come out over the last few days been told to us, we would have dealt with this very differently", said Michelle Russell, the Charity Commission's director of investigations.

"But these decisions shouldn't be taken hastily, but I am considering them". They didn't ask to speak to me.

Mr MacLeod said charities were not above the law and at the very least they should have reported the crimes to the Haitian police force. "I just didn't understand why they didn't take action". "This included meeting with the charity and requesting detailed information about its safeguarding procedures".

"We are ready to review and, if needed, cease funding to any partner who is not living up to the required high ethical standards", said European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic. Are there other whistleblowers that have brought safeguarding concerns to the Charity Commission only to be ignored?

Concerns were also raised over Oxfam's use of public money. "There was an exploration of how should the organization respond but we didn't act on it". "We have doubled the number of people to four in our dedicated safeguarding team and we are in the process of recruiting two extra staff".

Miss Mordaunt has sent a letter all United Kingdom charities working overseas - including Oxfam - to demand they do more "to fully protect vulnerable people".

In a statement, Dame Barbara Stocking said: "We apologise for giving any sense that the state of Haiti did not exist". The results shocked us and reinforced the need to tackle such reprehensible behaviour.

Lawrence says allegations were first raised about the behavior of some Oxfam staff in an earlier mission.

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