IICSA publishes report in Accountability and Reparations investigation

At 12pm on Thursday 19 September 2019 IICSA published its report in the Accountability and Reparations investigation.

This IICSA investigation was set up to inquire into the extent to which existing support services and available legal process effectively deliver reparations to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

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Potential widening of legislation relating to ‘Positions of Trust’ in faith settings

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Safeguarding in Faith Settings is an informal, cross-party interest group of MPs and Peers which exists to help other MPs from all parties to become better informed on the issue of safeguarding in faith settings. It has launched an inquiry and has issued a call for evidence to be provided by 20 September relating to whether there should be a change in legislation relating to ‘Positions of Trust’ within faith settings.

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IICSA – residential schools

Phase 1 of the residential schools investigation will begin on 30 September. The hearing is due to last for two weeks and during the hearing regard will be given to the following:

  • Publication of a report in connection with closed schools
  • Oral evidence in connection with specific music and special needs schools
  • Further information about the issues and organisations involved in phase 2

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Public to have power to request review of range of new offences, including harassment & possession of indecent images

Fourteen sentences are to be added to the unduly lenient sentence scheme today, which was launched in 1989.  The scheme gives anyone the power to ask the Attorney General to consider referring a sentence to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration where it could be increased if deemed unduly lenient. The person requesting the review need not have a connection to the case.  It must be lodged within 28 days of the sentencing hearing.

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Scotland Considers Creation of Sexual Offences Court

A Scottish High Court judge, Lord Matthews has stated that Scotland is considering the creation of a dedicated sexual offences court.

The number of sex crimes being prosecuted in the Scottish courts has increased massively over the last decade. Despite that, conviction rates remain significantly lower than other crimes.  In 2017/18 the acquittal rate for rape was 55% and was 33% for sexual assault, in comparison with an overall acquittal rate for all crimes of 6%.

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NI LCJ hits out at delay in abuse victim compensation

Sir Declan Morgan, Lord Chief Justice for NI, has said that it is “shocking” that 2 ½ years after the final report of the HIAI, lead by Sir Anthony Hart who sadly died earlier this year without seeing his recommendations implemented,  was released there has been no progress in implementing those recommendations.

Along with recommendations on apologies, a memorial and the appointment of a Commissioner for survivors and victims the report recommended a Redress Scheme.  While an interim advocate has been appointed to assist the survivors in pressing their agenda forward there has been no progress in the creation of a Redress Scheme.

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Sexual Offences prosecutions in Northern Ireland take an average of nearly two years

The Department of Justice has produced figures which show that the average (median) time taken for processing cases where the main aspect was a sexual offence is 667 days.  This is in comparison to an average of 167 days in all other case or as low as 138 days for cases where the offences relate to public order offences.

The time is calculated from the point when the case was either reported to or detected by the PSNI until the date when the case was finally disposed of at court.

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