Our commitment: We owe it to anyone who may have been affected by the misconduct of Oxfam staff to look back at previous cases and re-examine whether they were dealt with appropriately. If they were not then, insofar as is possible, we will take new action in line with Oxfam's values. This may lead to some current staff facing disciplinary action and possibly losing their jobs. We will continue to communicate to staff, volunteers, partners and beneficiaries that it is safe and indeed actively encouraged to report any instances that they experienced or witnessed
that they have previously felt unable to report or were not adequately dealt with at the time. We will ensure an effective whistle-blower system that can be easily and safely utilized by staff, volunteers and people external to Oxfam. More resources will be made available for this as needed.
What we have done so far October 2018:
- Oxfam has independent external whistleblowing systems in five languages and publicized these to staff.
- Oxfam GB has established a confidential mechanism (called "Speak Up") to take reports on any type of misconduct including on safeguarding, fraud, modern slavery and employee relations. A previously established reporting system remains available to all Oxfam staff via: email@example.com
- Oxfam GB is also communicating with communities about how and who to contact to raise concerns, rather than in placing reliance solely on its whistleblowing hot-lines.
- Some other affiliates have their own systems. Oxfam Hong Kong, Oxfam America and Oxfam Australia have publicized whistle-blowing channels to all their partners. Oxfam Australia is reviewing its complaint mechanisms and updating its intranet and external website to make reporting clearer and easier.
- All Oxfam country teams are ensuring that whistle-blowing and reporting systems such as emails, hot-lines and websites, are in place and accessible.
- Oxfam has established 'Safeguarding Focal Points' in all its country teams: these are experienced volunteer staff who support awareness and prevention activities, offer advice to people who have concerns to discuss, and who can be the first point of contact to begin taking grievances into the formal safeguarding process.
- Oxfam has set-up a confederation wide database of safeguarding cases. This now captures anonymised summary information on historical and current cases. All Oxfam affiliates are required to input into the database immediately that a case is opened. We are able to improve our ability to monitor cases, analyse trends and identify under-reporting and slow progress.
- We are running awareness and prevention trainings and using staff meetings, newsletters, emails, Workplace (Facebook at work) and noticeboards to create a better "culture of safety".
- Nine Oxfam affiliates (Belgium, Italy, Quebec, America, Spain, Australia, Mexico, Canada and GB) have expanded or set up survivor support mechanisms that include counselling, psychosocial support and medical aid. They are improving access to these services including for the people we work with in our programmes.
- Oxfam Intermon (Spain) now has a psychosocial support team of trained staff.
- Oxfam Australia now has trained Workplace Discrimination & Harassment Contact Officers, Domestic and Family Violence Responders and Mental Health First Aiders, who support the Safeguarding Focal Points.
- Oxfam GB now provides PSEA/child protection specialists from the safeguarding team to ensure that survivors are not caused any further harm through the investigation process, and women investigators to interview survivors where necessary.
- Oxfam Canada has held two mandatory all-staff training days on how to properly accept a disclosure from someone who has been a victim of sexual misconduct, so as to not re-traumatize them while ensuring proper support.