One year after the final report published by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
It has been one year since the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published their final report in October 2022.
What was the report?
The IICSA’s report followed a seven year inquiry into institutional failings in England and Wales described by the IICSA as an “epidemic that leaves tens of thousands of victims in its poisonous wake.” The inquiry came after a series of child sexual abuse scandals involving celebrities such as Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris, as well as figures in authority.
Over seven years, the inquiry conducted 15 investigations which have led to individual reports on bodies such as religious institutions, residential schools, and the internet. More than 7,000 victims took part in the investigations into abuse in Westminster and the church. Some 325 days of public hearings saw testimony from 725 witnesses, including three former prime ministers, senior police officers, and church leaders. The various investigations shone a light on the way policing and other institutions had failed some of the UK’s most vulnerable children, who the inquiry found had been led to believe that they were not worthy of protection.
Amongst its various recommendations, IICSA called for a “national redress scheme” to obtain compensation for victims let down by the state and private institutions. They also recommended to make it mandatory for people who work in regulated activity or in positions of trust to report allegations of child sexual abuse, including criminal sanctions under certain circumstances.
What has changed since then?
Following the report published last October, the government announced its plans to follow some -but not all – of the IICSA’s recommendations in May of this year.
The main announcement was the government’s intention to create a new victims’ redress scheme, working closely with survivors of abuse to understand how best survivors can be supported.
The government also announced that they are moving towards making it mandatory for those who work with young people in England to make reports of child sexual abuse if they suspect a child is being abused.
However, one year on from the IICSA’s final report and the concrete evidence of these recommendations coming into fruition is yet to be seen, with the government insisting that while several recommendations in the report are accepted, they are subject to “further assessment”, spurring MP Sarah Champion to wonder, “Where is the funding? Where is the actual getting on with the recommendations?”
Action now: campaign to support the Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel
While the government may be moving slowly to action the IICSA’s recommendations, action is being taken elsewhere to support survivors of abuse in England and Wales.
Last month, the Hydrant Programme launched a campaign to raise awareness of the Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel (CSARP). The panel is a joint enterprise between the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and supports victims and survivors who reported allegations of child sexual offences which were then marked ‘no further action’ before 5 June 2013. If it is felt the decision to take ‘no further action’ in the case was in-correct, the CSARP may be able to help.
The work of CSARP is vital to support vulnerable people who are genuine victims of abuse, and who have not felt supported or heard after disclosing their experience of abuse. It assists those victims to be heard and to have another chance of seeking justice, something that we feel passionate about here at BBK.
If you have been sexually abused, we are here to listen and to help. It is important to know that you may also be entitled to an award of compensation as well as securing a criminal conviction of your abuser. Our trained specialists at BBK can explain your options to you to help you achieve the justice you deserve.