It has come to light how the British Charity, Oxfam’s former head of safeguarding has revealed teenage volunteers in the UK Charity shops have been abused.

Bosses have been accused of ignoring previous evidence and pleas for more resources following staff being accused of rape and that sexual abuse by shop managers in the UK charity shops against young volunteers have been covered up.

Cases of adult volunteers assaulting child volunteers as young as 14 years old have emerged and on investigation it has become of extreme concern that young volunteers have been being left alone with adult volunteers who had not been checked for criminal records.

Statistics released have revealed how Oxfam has not carried out criminal record checks on the 23,000 volunteers across 530 UK Shops and how 123 alleged incidents have been investigated across its stores over the last nine years.

12 allegations of abuse have been reported over a two year period. One of the 12 cases involved an Oxfam Charity Shop Manager allegedly attempting to force a young volunteer to drop charges against an adult male volunteer who was said to have assaulted them.

Concerns have been being brought to the attention of the Charity Commission since 2015 and last night, Chief Executive of Oxfam, Mark Goldring has apologised for not acting fast enough.

As adult volunteers are in effect working for Oxfam, Oxfam may be vicariously liable for the actions of their volunteer.

Vicarious liability requires:

  • the necessary relationship between the defendant and the wrongdoer, and
  • the necessary connection between that relationship and the wrongdoer’s conduct.

Not only has abuse been taking place in UK Charity Shops, but sex abuse and prostitution has also been taking place overseas and the scandal in Haiti has also been reported.

The reports already mentioned above in 2015 also included reports from the Charity’s Global Operation of women being coerced to have sex in a humanitarian response by another aid worker, being coerced in exchange for aid and also where a member of staff committed sexual abuse.

As an Oxfam worker carrying out their role overseas, if they are a British national, you may still be able to sue them in the UK.

These employees and volunteers have abused their position of trust to gain access to vulnerable people. For these vulnerable people, unfortunately there is no getting away from what they have been through, and they may even be unable to continue with their chosen career path in helping others.

Here at Farleys Solicitors, we advise and represent many clients who have experienced abuse and we are witnessing increasing numbers of victims who approach us to seek financial redress for the physical and psychological pain that they have endured as a result of the abuse they have suffered.

For the victims of Oxfam abuse, there are a few options open to them that we may be able to pursue of their behalf:-

  • A civil action made directly against Oxfam
  • A civil action made directly against the perpetrator; or
  • A Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) claim for victims abused in the UK whereby an application for compensation is made to the publicly funded government agency

If you or a loved one has been the victim of abuse, our team is highly experienced and specialises in speaking directly with victims or their family members in confidence. Call 0330 134 6430 or email us here.