Safeguarding in Action

Across Oxfam Ireland and the global Oxfam organisation, we are working hard to ensure that our staff, volunteers, partners and those we serve are safe and valued.


We completely condemn and will not tolerate any form of abuse in the workplace or across our programmes and are continually working to improve our culture and safeguarding processes.


In February 2018, we agreed on a comprehensive global action plan (our 10 Point Plan) to review and update our safeguarding policies and procedures in line with global best practice. 


Ongoing work in Oxfam Ireland:

We have made significant progress in strengthening our own all-island safeguarding systems by:


  • Updating and providing training on our robust policies and procedures. This includes safeguarding policies specific to our work in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as well as globally.
  • Creating a designated safeguarding team to support staff and volunteers
  • Completing an all-staff survey on our culture and delivering workshops on our values
  • Developing and implementing an action plan based on the outcomes of the survey and workshops
  • Introducing new standard operating procedures to improve safeguarding reporting here and throughout the confederation
  • Reforming our HR systems, including by strengthening our referencing processes and enhancing our staff inductions and performance management to include a focus on behaviours, culture and safeguarding

We are committed to making Oxfam Ireland a safe place to work and volunteer and will continue working to develop even more robust policies that prevent abuse and protect, value and empower people.


In the last financial year (2018-2019), we recieved no complaints in Oxfam Ireland relating to safeguarding, nor do we have any open safeguarding cases.


Since 2011, we have received three complaints relating to safeguarding. All were fully investigated and reported to the relevant authorities as required. One was upheld and we took appropriate disciplinary action.

Ongoing work across Oxfam globally:

As an international organisation, we remain committed to working with others across the sector and in government to implement changes that protect people and prevent abuse all while working to ensure that gender equality becomes a stronger part of our work.


As part of our 10 Point Plan, we established an Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct led by women’s rights experts and asked them to hold us to the highest standards in reviewing all aspects of our culture, policies and practices relating to safeguarding.


We accept their criticisms and welcome their recommendations, many of which we have already acted on.


In May 2019, we released our fourth update on progress against our 10 Point Plan.  


To date, we have:


  • Streamlined and updated our robust safeguarding policies and procedures, investing in our safeguarding work across the confederation.
  • Increased budget, resources and staff to drive culture change across the entire confederation
  • Introduced new policies on child safeguarding, protection, sexual diversity, and ethical content gathering
  • Reformed our HR systems to strengthen our referencing processes and better recruit and train staff and volunteers.
  • Introduced a new performance management process that emphasises accountability
  • Implemented new standard operating procedures to improve timeliness and consistency of safeguarding reporting
  • Planned for a new global safeguarding shared service and case management system
  • Completed a staff-wide survey to help us to understand our culture
  • Started workshops and staff initiatives for self-refection, discussion and actions to change our culture
  • Made an organisation-wide commitment to make gender equality an even stronger part of our work

We are determined to show leadershipwhen it comes to safeguarding, implementing and championing policies and procedures in line with national and international best practice.


Above all, we will continue to work hard to strengthen our systems so that we can do more and better for the world’s poorest and to ensure that nothing stops our life-saving and life-changing work.


We cannot do this without our supporters. With your ongoing help, we will continue to support people affected by poverty, disaster and injustice, putting their safety and dignity first.