An update on some recent developments in the various abuse inquiries:
- England & Wales – the IICSA has announced the dates for the preliminary hearings in the initial investigations. These hearings will consider applications for Core Participants, submissions on the scope of the investigation and the possible timetable and broadcast of future proceedings. The dates are 9 March re Lord Greville Janner; 16 March (morning) re the Anglican Church; 16 March (afternoon) re Cambridge House, Knowl View & Rochdale; 24 March re Lambeth Council. The hearings will be at the Royal Courts of Justice. They are open to the public and press but will not be broadcast.
- England & Wales – a tender is now running for the provision of support services for the Truth Project for all locations (save the North West where a tender has now closed). The anticipated cost for the contract, which involves provision of support to victims and survivors when they participate in the Truth Project is £2.5m.
- Australia – the scope of the work of the Royal Commission, which provides an indication of the likely scope of the work of the IICSA, can be seen by the recent requests for information and evidence which have been made in respect of a dance school, an institute of music and the Australian Defence Force cadets. Future investigations undertaken by the IICSA are likely to be similarly broad in depth and variety of organisations considered. The Commission has also today confirmed its arrangements for Cardinal Pell to give evidence by video-link from Rome. Again we would expect that the IICSA will if necessary not let the fact that a key witness is overseas prevent their evidence being taken.
- Jersey – again this acts as an example of the extent of the future work of the IICSA. The second phase of this Inquiry has now concluded. The first phase heard from those who had accounts of abuse to give and who worked in or were in contact with child care. The second phase considered the decisions taken in relation to the timing of police investigations and decisions to prosecute alleged abusers. During these phases the Inquiry heard from 600 witnesses and received more than 2 million pages of evidence. The Inquiry will now move on to its third phase when it will consider the evidence received and whether the child care system in Jersey was adequate. If not it will consider what went wrong, whether systems have now changed and what should happen in the future.
Written by Paula Jefferson, partner