IICSA research report into child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities

In June 2020, IICSA published a research report into child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities. The research aimed to draw out how ethnicity, community and culture shapes people’s experiences of child sexual abuse. To do this, the research engaged with a range of ethnic minorities particularly from Caribbean, African and South Asian ethnicities, including victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. This article will explore the research findings, which will be used to enhance the Inquiry’s knowledge of child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities.

The first key research finding is that cultural stereotypes and racism can lead to failures on the part of institutions and professionals to identify and respond appropriately to child sexual abuse. Furthermore, it could also make it more difficult for individuals in ethnic minority communities to disclose and speak up about child sexual abuse. Cultural stereotypes and racism were highlighted by the research as two key themes throughout discussions with participants, with two broad operational mechanisms:

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Health Minister announces Adult Safeguarding Bill for Northern Ireland

On the 10 of September, the Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann confirmed his intention to bring forward a new Adult Safeguarding Bill for Northern Ireland, to help protect care home residents and other vulnerable members of society.

This commitment is in response to the first report from an independent review commissioned to examine the health and social care system’s response to care failings at Dunmurry Manor Care Home which had previously been identified.

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Harvey Weinstein victims awarded nearly $19 million in compensation

Settlement has been reached in two class action lawsuits against Harvey Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company.

Weinstein is currently serving 23 years in prison in New York after being convicted of sexual assault and rape in the third degree.

The settlement is subject to approval by the district court as well as the bankruptcy court that is presiding over The Weinstein Company’s bankruptcy case.

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IICSA most recent research report: Support services for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse

In August 2020, IICSA published its most recent research report into support services for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

This research report had been commissioned by IICSA in order to gain some insight and clarity into the experience of victims and survivors of child abuse when they try to and/or access support services.

The research and the associated report is the work of the independent research consultants Broome|Gekoski who worked in conjunction with the University of Hertfordshire.

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Righting wrongs and entrenching rights: ongoing activity in Scotland

Followers of this blog will be aware that the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee has issued a call for views on the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill. This legislation seeks to right certain wrongs of the past by means of financial redress for survivors of childhood (under 18) abuse in relevant in-care settings. The call for views closes on 2 October 2020.

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Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: an update

On 15 September 2020, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) plans to resume hearing evidence relating to the child migration case study. Evidence on Scottish Government knowledge of and response to abuse is planned for mid-November 2020.  A case study examining the abuse of children in boarding schools is expected to start in early 2021.

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Extension of the ‘look-back’ window in New York City

Last August (2019), adult victims of childhood sexual abuse were given a year-long window of opportunity to seek justice for their suffering. The ‘look-back window’ suspended the statute of limitations under the Child Victims Act to allow survivors to file their case between 14 August 2019 and 14 August 2020. This window, which has also been named a ‘window of justice’ has recently been extended by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, allowing survivors to file suit for historic claims of abuse under the Child Victims Act until 14 August 2021.

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Parliamentary call for views launched on Scottish in-care redress bill

On 24 August 2020 the Education and Skills Committee at the Scottish Parliament launched a call for views on the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill.

  • A link to the call for views is here. A link to guidance issued on creating a submission in response to this call is here.
  • The closing date for responses is 2 October 2020.
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Scottish Redress Bill discussed in Scottish Parliament

In the morning of 19 August 2020 the Education and Skills Committee of the Scottish Parliament considered, in private, its approach to the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill. This committee will be scrutinising the bill at Stage 1 of the three stage Scottish legislative process. That afternoon, the Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP, delivered a statement in the parliament’s chamber on the bill and took questions on it.

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Initial reaction by Scottish claimant firms and a survivor organisation to proposed Scottish statutory redress scheme

The weekend’s press carried some negative initial reaction by Scottish claimant firms and a survivor organisation to the statutory redress scheme which the Scottish Government’s Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill proposes to establish.

This initial reaction focused on the proposed interaction between a claim for statutory redress and a claimant’s right to seek compensation in Scotland’s civil courts. The legislation as introduced requires survivors to waive their right to claim civil compensation if they succeed in a claim for redress.

One claimant solicitor publicly commented that “Forcing an abuse survivor to waive their rights is our worst fears confirmed. Rather than helping survivors secure justice, this is an absolute gift to the organisations and insurance companies who otherwise will be forced to pay larger settlements.” These comments are in the context of the legislative proposal of four possible financial levels of redress – £10,000, £20,000, £40,000 or £80,000 – in exchange for a waiver.

Another claimant solicitor publicly described the proposed statutory scheme as “outrageous” adding that “Survivors are being bribed. They are being pressured to make a choice in a very complex area of law which will have a profound impact on their lives.”

A spokesperson for INCAS (In-care Abuse Survivors) described the requirement for a waiver as “unacceptable” while a Scottish newspaper lead editorial concluded “disturbingly, this system would mean that children told to keep quiet by abusers are now being ordered to stay silent again.”

A ministerial statement on the proposed scheme is to be given in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament this Wednesday afternoon. Our further analysis of the bill and the developing reaction to it will follow shortly thereafter.   

 Hughes_FrankFiona McEwan

Authored by Frank Hughes, Partner and Fiona McEwan, Associate, BLM

frank.hughes@blmlaw.com and fiona.mcewan@blmlaw.com 


Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to customers of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.