The Charity Commission has been forced to defend its own investigations after Oxfam’s former head of safeguarding claimed she told the watchdog women were being coerced into sex for aid.
Helen Evans said she was “extremely concerned” by the response to concerns she raised while heading the charity’s global efforts to protect staff and beneficiaries from 2012 to 2015.
While appealing for more resources from management to deal with a rising number of allegations, Ms Evans told how in a single day she was told of a woman being coerced into sex in exchange for aid, another aid worker having sex with a beneficiary and a member of staff being struck off for abuse.
“There has been a lot of coverage about Oxfam and how shocking and surprising this is – it isn’t,” she told Channel 4 News.
“I went in 2015 to the Charity Commission, I went back again in 2017. Everything I’m saying today, the Charity Commission knew, so why is the Government saying this is a surprise?”
Ms Evans had emailed Oxfam’s chief executive, Mark Goldring, warning that data being gathered from staff “increasingly points to a culture of sexual abuse within some Oxfam officers” but a face-to-face meeting was cancelled in 2014.
While “repeatedly” asking for increased resources the following year, she said three allegations were made in a single day: “There was one of a woman being coerced to have sex in a humanitarian response by another aid worker, another case where a woman had been coerced in exchange for aid and another one where it had come to our attention where a member of staff had been struck off for sexual abuse and hadn’t disclosed that, and we were then concerned about what he might be doing.”
Abuse against teenage volunteers in Oxfam’s UK shops was also reported (PA)
Ms Evans’ reports also recorded alleged abuse and “inappropriate conduct” towards teenage volunteers working in Oxfam’s UK charity shops.
In an email to her…