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© 2015. Oxfam is a registered charity in England and Wales (no 202918) and Scotland (SC039042). Oxfam GB is a member of Oxfam International.

Safeguarding in Oxfam shops

Oxfam shops are community hubs - welcoming environments where many different people from a broad range of backgrounds collaborate as a team and raise money to fight poverty around the world.

Oxfam takes safeguarding extremely seriously. We have systems in place to protect our shop staff and volunteers from harm, and encourage them to recognise and report issues and allegations of concern.

Oxfam's Global Safeguarding team, including a dedicated Trading Safeguarding Advisor, supports seven HR trading staff (called HR Business Partners) trained in safeguarding and mental health first aid. In turn, these HR Business Partners train area managers, shop managers and deputy shop managers in safeguarding. Volunteers receive information about safeguarding when they join Oxfam and an online training course in safeguarding will be available to all volunteers in the next couple of months.

This system means our retail network understands it's everyone's responsibility to recognise safeguarding issues and report them. Reporting can be done via area managers, shop managers, HR, a confidential safeguarding line or Oxfam's whistleblowing service. The safeguarding phone line number is displayed on posters in each shop. There is zero tolerance of inappropriate behaviour in Oxfam shops.

We have rigorous procedures also in place to prevent abuse in shops. These include enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for shop managers, deputy shop managers and many volunteers in supervisory roles. We're rolling out DBS checks to all volunteers in supervisory roles. We are ensuring young volunteers or adults at risk don't work shifts without an enhanced DBS-checked person present.

We make sure two adults are present in each shop to prevent lone working, including whenever a young person is volunteering. All volunteers are asked to provide two references and disclose any current criminal convictions. We risk assess every volunteer who discloses a conviction. We do not allow volunteers or staff to work in shops if they are, or have been, on the sex offenders register.

All allegations of misconduct or abuse in Oxfam shops are investigated by the HR team, closely supported by the Global Safeguarding team. The police are routinely informed if there is any suggestion a crime has been committed. After each full investigation appropriate action is taken, including contacting local authorities and the DBS if necessary.

Oxfam is constantly reviewing and updating its safeguarding procedures to ensure our shops remain safe and enjoyable places to work.

Raising a concern

Anyone can raise a concern or make a complaint to Oxfam about something they have experienced or witnessed. If you have any concerns about the actions of any volunteer or Oxfam employee, they should be reported to any of the following:

  • The shop manager or deputy manager.
  • The shop's HR Business Partner (contact details will be on display in the back room of the shop).
  • Shop Support on 0300 2001333 or
  • Oxfam Safeguarding Team on or telephone +44 (0)1865 473813


Whistleblowing: Independent confidential hotline

Oxfam GB offers an independent, third party whistleblowing hotline and case management system for use by anyone connected to our work: this includes people we work to support, staff, volunteers, partners and supporters. Anyone using this system can remain anonymous. This is in addition to our current internal safeguarding system.

In all cases where you cannot access ethicspoint, report directly to Cases will be referred to the appropriate team to investigate.

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