In Brief

Oxfam sex abuse scandal widens to charity’s UK shops

Whistle-blower says bosses failed to vet adult volunteers working alongside teenagers

The whistle-blower who exposed the sex abuse scandal at Oxfam has told how she “begged” senior staff to act after learning that vulnerable teenage volunteers were working alongside unvetted adults in the charity’s UK high-street shops.

A total of 123 alleged incidents of sexual harassment have been investigated in Oxfam shops over a nine-year period, according to the Daily Mail.

Helen Evans, the charity’s former global head of safeguarding, posted a lengthy statement on Twitter last night after giving an interview on Channel 4 News in which she told how Oxfam had received multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and abusive behaviour by its workers, both overseas and in the UK. She recalled one day when three separate sexual misconduct claims were brought to her attention.

“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, and that was three allegations in one day,” Evans wrote.

An investigation by the Charity Commission is due to begin today.

Oxfam faces a battle to “rebuild the public trust” following the scandal, chief executive Mark Goldring says.

The charity’s deputy CEO Penny Lawrence resigned yesterday, saying she took full responsibility for failings overseas during her watch.

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