The behaviour of these individuals was shocking and utterly unacceptable. Ministers have made clear that there must be zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and the way this appalling abuse of vulnerable people was dealt with raises serious questions that Oxfam must answer. I am encouraged that the Government is reviewing its current work with Oxfam following the allegations.
The Department for International Development (DFID) funding to Oxfam is for specific projects and programmes, in some of the world’s poorest and most fragile countries. UK aid does a huge amount of good around the world, and we must continue to ensure it reaches those who need it most.
Our aid partners must have the strongest possible measures in place for training, prevention, detection and investigation in relation to sexual exploitation and abuse. They must fully investigate complaints in compliance with the Charity Commission, and support those who have been affected.
The International Development Secretary is committed to putting an end to this sort of despicable behaviour, which should not continue to exist in the aid sector. She has written to all UK charities in receipt of UK aid insisting they set out details of their safeguarding procedures and asking for confirmation that any concerns about specific cases have been referred to the relevant authorities. She is very clear that DFID will not work with any organisation that does not live up to the high standards on safeguarding and protection required.
Tough action is being taken to address this important issue. DFID has created a new unit to review safeguarding across all parts of the aid sector to ensure everything is being done to protect people from harm. It will also step up its work to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse across the UN and other international organisations. The Charity Commission and DFID will co-host a safeguarding summit with the aid sector to agree a set of actions to strengthen safeguarding processes.