The IICSA is making progress with its work. Latest developments are detailed below.
On 31 January 2017 the IICSA chair and panel held the second preliminary hearing on the Child Migration module which is part of the investigation into children outside the UK. Representatives of the five institutional and one complainant core participants attended the hearing which reviewed the scope of the two scheduled hearings, disclosure, witness evidence and various other practical preparations. The first of two public hearings for this module will begin on 27 February and last for two weeks. It will provide an introduction to, and history of, the child migration programmes and explain the involvement of various organisations as well as hear evidence from a number of former child migrants. The second hearing is scheduled to start on 10 July and will hear from the institutions involved and examine whether they took sufficient care to protect child migrants, the steps taken in response to allegations of sexual abuse and the adequacy of support and reparations thereafter.
Seminars to consider the responses to the issues paper on criminal compensation schemes are due to be held in February. These will be attended by invited participants. The seminars will be live streamed with transcripts and recordings available on the IICSA website thereafter.
Requests have been made for any literature or materials relevant to:
- The characteristics and behaviours of perpetrators of online-facilitated child sexual abuse. This information is particularly focused at abuse facilitated by the internet including looking at specific technologies and an emerging sub-type of offences including sexual extortion and self-generated content shared by children. Consideration will be made of the opportunities for institutions to prevent, detect, disrupt or respond to online-facilitated abuse. Relevant institutions include government and regulators, law enforcement, industry, private and charitable organisations, schools and other educational establishments. Contributions to this research are sought by 13 February 2017 (by email to firstname.lastname@example.org ).
- The incidence of child sexual abuse in the young people’s secure estate and the response process to such allegations. This information is to assist in the investigation into child sexual abuse in custodial institutions. Any relevant materials should be provided to the IICSA (email to email@example.com ) by 17 February 2017.
The number of core participants involved in the first seven most advanced investigations continues to increase gradually as late applications are considered. Core participant status has now been granted to the three children of Lord Janner; to the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey; to the former Bishop of Chichester John Hind and his wife Janet Hind who was child protection officer for Chichester Diocese and National Child Protection Adviser to the Church of England; and to David Hill a child migrant and author of The Forgotten Children. There are now 155 individuals, eight groups, 40 institutions and 13 other individuals who have been granted core participant status.
The Home Office and Freedom of Information
A management statement has been published by the Home Office in consultation with the IICSA to make clear the roles and responsibilities and specifically the sponsorship of the Inquiry by the Home Office. There have in the past been criticisms raised of the overlap between those working at the IICSA who are or have been involved in the work of the Home Office. The statement sets out in detail the remit of the Home Secretary, the Inquiry Chair, the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office, the sponsor of the Inquiry and the Inquiry Secretary. The statement also notes that the IICSA is not a public body as listed by the Freedom of Information Act. This clearly has an impact on the ability of individuals and organisations to make Freedom of Information requests although the statement says that “to ensure openness and transparency (the Inquiry) will publish as much information in relation to its work as possible.”
Written by Paula Jefferson, BLM