The warning on Monday evening came as the UK’s Charity Commission launched a statutory inquiry into Oxfam amid concerns it might not have “fully and frankly disclosed” all details about the Haiti allegations. The charity’s deputy chief executive, Penny Lawrence, has resigned, saying was “desperately sorry”.
A former senior official at the charity also said she had repeatedly warned senior management of a culture of sexual abuse in some offices around the world, and asked for more resources to tackle the issue. Helen Evans, the head of global safeguarding at Oxfam from 2012 to 2015, told Channel 4 News that in a single day she received allegations about a woman being coerced to have sex in a humanitarian response by an aid worker, a woman being coerced in exchange for aid and another case where a staff member had been struck off for sexual abuse and hadn’t disclosed that.
She also claimed that volunteers as young as 14 in Oxfam shops in the UK had alleged abuse. In at least one case an adult volunteer had allegedly assaulted a child volunteer. In 2012-14 there were 12 allegations, she said.
The European commission, which provided almost as much funding as the UK government last year, said: “We are ready to review and if needed cease funding any partner who is not living up to the required high ethical standards.”