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Christian Aid reveals sexual misconduct investigations following Oxfam accusations

Sun 11 Feb 2018
By Tola Mbakwe

In the past 12 months, Christian Aid has investigated two incidents of sexual misconduct, both of which occurred overseas.

It announced on Sunday that one investigation led to the dismissal of a staff member, while the other case resulted in disciplinary action (not dismissal).

The Christian relief agency said in both cases, no laws were broken but “the staff members involved did not live up to the standards and expectations outlined in our code of conduct”.

 

It said one of the instances was “a case of failings in adequate safeguarding”, which was reported to the Charity Commission.

Christian Aid’s comments come after Oxfam has been accused of covering up the use of prostitutes by aid workers in Haiti in 2011. It is facing mounting criticism over its handling of the allegations of sexual misconduct.

Although the charity has denied covering up the alleged scandal, Christian Aid said the claims are “deplorable”.

“We are saddened by the accounts of deplorable behaviour from a group of individuals who have abused their power, exploited their position, and sought to subvert systems designed to protect vulnerable people in Haiti,” the charity stated.

“Through their unacceptable actions, they have undermined the vital, effective and life-changing work carried out by Oxfam, as well as by other aid and humanitarian organisations worldwide.”

Nick Ansell/PA Wire

 

Oxfam said it publicly announced an investigation into the allegations when they surfaced and kept the Charity Commission informed.

But the charity regulator said Oxfam's report stated there had been no allegations of abuse of beneficiaries and did not mention potential sexual crimes involving minors.

"Our approach to this matter would have been different had the full details that have been reported been disclosed to us at the time," the Charity Commission said in a statement.

Four members of staff were dismissed and three, including the country director, resigned before the end of the 2011 investigation, Oxfam said.

Responding to reports that staff who left Oxfam in Haiti later joined other aid agencies, without their knowledge of the incidents, Christian Aid: “We are committed to living out our values of respect and dignity for all, and we will investigate any claims about any individuals involved in the Haiti incident to ascertain the facts, should they relate to Christian Aid and should we receive further information.”

Christian Aid added that it’s having its safeguarding policies reviewed by The Churches Child Protection Advisory Service and will be training managers in the area.

The charity added it will soon deliver a “safeguarding training course for faith organisations, especially churches, so they can understand, recognise and respond to safeguarding issues, and develop a safer culture”.

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