The Final Report: Independent Inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA)

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Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The long-awaited report into institutional failings relating to child sexual abuse was published and identifies the ‘incalculable’ lifelong harm caused to children through such failings affecting relationships whether they be personal, family or sexual, and damaging physical, emotional and mental health sometimes beyond repair.

Lack of support available to both child and adult victims

It identifies that decisions about children in organisations such as the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church and other educational organisations and settings were not always based on the paramount interests of the child but on evading the involvement of the police or the local authority. It found that there is still a lack of support available to both child and adult victims and survivors.

In surveys conducted for the report, ‘girls were at least three times as likely as boys to describe experiences of child sexual abuse. Disabled participants were twice as likely to describe such experiences as non-disabled participants, and those who lived in a care home were nearly four times as likely to have experienced child sexual abuse. Those who had experienced childhood neglect were nearly five times as likely to have experienced child sexual abuse as those who had not.’

Three key recommendations

The Inquiry has made 20 welcome recommendations to combat systemic weaknesses which have left children vulnerable to abuse and exposed them to harm or denied them access to justice. Three recommendations are key to the Inquiry’s work:

  1. The introduction of mandatory reporting requiring individuals in certain positions, whether paid or voluntary, to report allegations of child sexual abuse to a relevant authority. Failing to do so could lead to a criminal offence of failing to report an allegation;
  2. The creation of a redress scheme for England and Wales providing compensation for victims and survivors;
  3. The establishment of a Child Protection Authority which will have powers to inspect any institution associated with children.

The report demands that all institutions involved on a regular basis with children must be proactive and vigilant and allegations acted upon with proper investigation, regardless of cultural, religious, educational or societal norms and beliefs. There should be no exceptions.

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