OSCR reminds trustees of legal duties in wake of Oxfam scandal

Michael Eavis

England and Wales's charity regulator is now investigating Oxfam's safeguarding procedures after it said the charity hadn't disclosed the full details of an internal inquiry into sex abuse allegations by its aid staff in Haiti.

The charity also faces a challenge to hang on to major corporate partners, and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award has confirmed it is reviewing its association with the organisation.

The charity said it had publicly announced an investigation into the allegations when they surfaced in 2011.

The scandal has led to the resignation of Oxfam's deputy head and has thrown into question government funding for the charity, which amounted to around £32 million (36 million euros, $44 million) past year.

In her letter to NGOs, Mordaunt said responses to DfID must confirm that a safe and trusted environment was provided that safeguarded anyone their organisation had contact with; and that there was an organisational culture that prioritised safeguarding and took a proper and sensitive approach to the reporting of incidents.

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The post comes after actress Minnie Driver became the first celebrity to resign as an Oxfam ambassador in protest at the sex scandal.

Ms Mordaunt said: "No organisation is too big, or our work with them too complex, for me to hesitate to remove funding from them if we can not trust them to put the beneficiaries of aid first".

"We need to make sure anyone guilty of such gross misconduct is not able to move between different organisations, exposing more vulnerable people to risk", said Byanyima. The charity said it had received a reference from someone claiming to be his former Oxfam boss, sent from a private email account.

Oxfam officials were meeting the Charity Commission on Wednesday after the regulator launched a statutory inquiry.

Mordaunt also said that they "must also specifically confirm" that any and all concerns their organisation may have on specific cases and individuals have been reported to the relevant authorities.

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It's a betrayal of all who put their faith in them: those who most needed their help.

The charity confirms Damien Berrendorf, Oxfam's country director in Haiti from 2012 to 2017, was dismissed previous year.

He said he had "intimate relations" with a Haitian woman but insisted that she was not a prostitute.

The charity investigated sexual misconduct allegations in 2011.

On Monday the deputy head of Oxfam resigned over what she said was the charity's failure to respond adequately to the allegations of sexual misconduct by some of its staff in Chad as well as in Haiti.

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