Health Care

Belfast shop cuts ties with Oxfam over abuse claims

Belfast shop cuts ties with Oxfam over abuse claims”

It comes after Oxfam's former global head of safeguarding, Helen Evans, told Channel 4 News on Monday that she was anxious the charity could be exposing children who help out in its 650 United Kingdom shops to harm.

The resignation comes as Oxfam is battling to save its British government funding after a newspaper reported alleged sexual misconduct by its staff in Haiti during humanitarian relief operations there following a 2010 natural disaster.

"Following concerns raised in this article, the staff member has been put on leave while we examine the issues raised and follow our Code of Behavior protocol to determine next steps", Bain said.

Oxfam's deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence has quit since the news emerged.

A report in The Times last week that revealed Oxfam aid workers in Haiti had resigned and been sacked following incidents of sexual exploitation, bullying and intimidation, which were not reported to the Charity Commission or the government. She acknowledged that allegations had been known that country director for Chad, Roland van Hauwermeiren, and members of his staff, had paid for sex while they were stationed in the African country in 2006 before the team was moved to Haiti four years later.

The Times reported on February 10 that a current CAFOD employee was named as an Oxfam staff member who had been working in Haiti in 2011 and was accused of misconduct.

And as the fallout from the scandal continued, one popular Belfast book store says they are terminating their business relationship with the charity.

Concerns were also raised over Oxfam's use of public money.

She met with the chair and chief executive of Oxfam on Monday, and in a statement issued afterwards said she had "asked them to confirm to DfID by the end of the week precisely how they will handle any forthcoming allegations around safeguarding - historic or live - in a way in which the public can have confidence".

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It has written to Oxfam "as a matter of urgency" seeking more information, including a timeline of events, information about when the charity was made aware of specific allegations and the detail of the investigation's findings and conclusions.

"That's what I would say, there was no protection for victims".

Both the Department for International Development and the European Union - who have both donated millions to Oxfam's programmes - have warned that funding to the charity could be cut.

Any suggestion the furore was subsiding was quashed by Ms Evans's new revelations which included that volunteers in Britain were not subjected to criminal checks and that her complaints were dismissed by Oxfam bosses, the Charity Commission and the Home Office. "I'm not the kind of person who would have ignored anything like that - why would anyone?"

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

"We do not expect that either, it's against everything we stand for, but we cannot help but conclude that there are also people in our ranks who do not belong there", he said to BNR. It cited a "confidential report" by Oxfam, which said that there had been "a culture of impunity" among some staff in Haiti.

"Our approach to this matter would have been different had the full details that have been reported been disclosed to us at the time", it said.

Aid agencies Save the Children, the British Red Cross and Christian Aid have also confirmed reports of inappropriate sexual behaviour involving their staff.

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