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Penny Lawrence today resigned as Deputy Chief Executive of Oxfam Great Britain.
Lawrence said: “I am deeply sad to announce that I have resigned as Deputy Chief Executive of Oxfam GB.
“Over the last few days we have become aware that concerns were raised about the behaviour of staff in Chad as well as Haiti that we failed to adequately act upon. It is now clear that these allegations - involving the use of prostitutes and which related to behaviour of both the Country Director and members of his team in Chad - were raised before he moved to Haiti.
“As programme director at the time, I am ashamed that this happened on my watch and I take full responsibility.
“I am desperately sorry for the harm and distress that this has caused to Oxfam’s supporters, the wider development sector and most of all the vulnerable people who trusted us.
“It has been such a privilege to work for such an amazing organisation that has done and needs to continue to do such good in the world.”
Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, said: “I deeply respect Penny’s decision to accept personal responsibility. Like us, she is appalled at what happened and is determined to do what is best for Oxfam and the people we exist to help.
“I would like to place on record my sincere thanks for the years of dedicated service that Penny has given to Oxfam and the fight against poverty around the world.”
Notes to editors
Lawrence joined Oxfam in February 2006 as Programme Director. She became Deputy Chief Executive in 2016.
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Oxfam America is an affiliate within the Oxfam confederation, a global organization that works in more than 90 countries to save lives, help people overcome poverty, and fight for social justice.
Oxfam treats all allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation very seriously and investigates each one thoroughly. We have a confidential 'whistle-blowing' helpline—which can be found in the US—and safeguarding focal or contact points within countries.
We are committed to continually learning and improving in order to protect our staff, volunteers and beneficiaries from sexual harassment and abuse and create a safe place to work for all.