Some of you will have seen media reports detailing that in 2011 some members of Oxfam staff in Haiti were involved in sexual misconduct. This behavior was totally unacceptable and is the most appalling mark against the high values we set ourselves at Oxfam.
Oxfam's priority is to stand fully by the survivors of such reprehensible behavior—and to ensure that such behavior is absolutely rooted out of our organization. We stand firmly against the exploitation and abuse of women and girls.
That the event took place seven years ago and involved a small number of staff is no cause for complacency. This is not the first story of sexual misconduct Oxfam has faced in recent months.
We have not done enough to change our own culture and to create the strongest possible policies to prevent harassment and protect people we work with around the world. We are doing that now with all our effort.
Oxfam today has a global and dedicated Safeguarding approach with a best practice package of measures to ensure we protect all our staff, prevent sexual harassment, exploitation, and abuse happening in the first place.
We have a Global Taskforce on Prevention of Sexual Harassment, Exploitation, & Abuse that is co-chaired by Oxfam America President, Abby Maxman.
We want to use this opportunity to reiterate that our confidential 'whistleblowing' line is available to all Oxfam staff and all the people we work with. We know the only way to change culture and make the safeguarding system work is to be open and transparent about it.
We hope we can rebuild our trust with our supporters who know, as we do, that the actions of a few do not represent all that Oxfam stands for.
Oxfam America is an affiliate within the Oxfam confederation, a global organization that works in more than 90 countries to save lives, help people overcome poverty, and fight for social justice.
Oxfam treats all allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation very seriously and investigates each one thoroughly. We have a confidential 'whistle-blowing' helpline—which can be found here in the US—and safeguarding focal or contact points within countries.
We are committed to continually learning and improving in order to protect our staff, volunteers and beneficiaries from sexual harassment and abuse and create a safe place to work for all.