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We’re changing the way we keep people safe

Since February 2018, we have made big changes to make it easier for survivors of abuse to speak out and seek justice.

We have tripled our investment in safeguarding, created a Director of Safeguarding role who reports directly to the CEO, and have rolled out a mandatory safeguarding awareness course for 10,000 Oxfam employees worldwide.

But our work doesn't stop there. Abuse has no place in what we do - and we're working hard to make our organisation safe and secure for everyone, here in the UK and around the world.

Explore the sections below to see what we are doing differently.

  • Better supporting, and listening to, survivors

    Ensuring survivors can report abuse in confidence - and that they get the support they need - is paramount. 

    We are renewing appeals for survivors to come forward and report allegations. Our independent and confidential whistleblowing hotline operates globally and in five languages. Specialist safeguarding staff are also working on the ground where they are most needed - with at least one dedicated safeguarding lead in place in every country where Oxfam works. 

    We have improved the support we provide to survivors of abuse, which includes counselling and medical aid. A Survivor Reference Group, advising the Independent Commission, is helping us to learn and improve what we do.

  • Seeking justice more swiftly when abuse is reported

    We have appointed more than 100 people trained to carry out investigations around the world, and doubled the number of specialists working in Oxfam GB's head office. Our policies in reporting potential crimes to police and local authorities are clearer and have been developed with guidance from survivors. 

    We have introduced a new electronic record-keeping system for all cases. This secure central database is used by all Oxfam affiliates to build information and evidence of potential crimes. We're also working together to ensure everyone follows the same procedures.

  • Doing everything in our power to stop abusers in their tracks

    We are working with the wider aid sector to stop perpetrators from moving on unchecked to other roles and organisations. Oxfam is leading work with other agencies to better share information about offenders and, over the next two years, we will invest up to £2 million towards wider initiatives to make the aid sector safer.

    Here at Oxfam GB, we have implemented a new, central referencing system, so that only approved managers can provide job references for people leaving the organisation.

  • Always holding safeguarding at the heart of our work to end poverty

    Safeguarding training is mandatory for Oxfam GB's 10,000 staff around the world, and all staff and volunteers sign a code of conduct when starting work with us.

    But preventing abuse and exploitation is not just part of what we do - it is at the very heart of ending poverty. In order to change the power structures that allow abuse to happen, we are examining attitudes towards issues like gender, class and race and making efforts to challenge the status quo in partnership with other organisations.

  • Improving on our safeguarding work here in the UK

    In all our shops across the UK, enhanced DBS checks are put in place for all shop managers, deputy managers and volunteers who supervise young people, and we are piloting the scheme for all other volunteers.

    Right now all volunteers complete a disclosure form as a minimum, which asks them questions such as whether they have any spent convictions, are on a barred list, or have been cautioned for violent or sexual offences.

  • Being more open and accountable for our actions on safeguarding

    Our Director of Safeguarding works directly with our Chair of Trustees, Caroline Thomson, as well as reporting to the CEO.  Our trustees have greater oversight of safeguarding across the organisation, with the creation of a new Trustees Safeguarding Committee led by Caroline.

    Every six months, we publish a report on all safeguarding cases we have completed across Oxfam globally. We also have clear policies on reporting serious incidents to donors.

    We're committed to sharing information openly, ensuring public reputation is never put before the safety of people we are responsible for.