As part of the IICSA research programme a series of seminars have also been held in order to gather information and views about important topics within IICSA’s remit. Each seminar is led by a member of the Inquiry Counsel team and relevant stakeholders and victim and survivor groups are invited to participate.
The seminars held or planned are:
- Criminal Injuries Compensation – this seminar relates to the accountability and reparations investigation. The first seminar, an introductory session, was held on 21 February 2017. During this seminar topics such as criminal compensation compared to the civil justice system were discussed along with the orders the courts can make. The aim of this seminar is to discuss and gather information in relation to:
- the collaborative working in the criminal justice system and its role in responding to child sexual abuse
- the risk of re-traumatisation of victims and survivors who are in contact with the criminal justice system and how this risk can be minimised
- how the criminal justice system meets the needs of offenders who are victims and survivors of child sexual abuse
- the support needs of victims and survivors in contact with the criminal justice system.
- Criminal Justice System – two days of seminars were held on 21-22 November 2017. The seminars focused on the way in which cases of child sexual abuse are dealt with by the criminal justice system. Day one explored the experiences and perspectives of complainants by victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, as well as the organisations who support them, in relation to going through the criminal justice system. On day two, criminal justice professionals discussed the key issues from their perspective in the way that child sexual abuse cases are currently dealt with, and explored options for improving criminal justice processes and outcomes. The following issues were out of the scope of this seminar:
- Falsely accused individuals
- Criminal compensation (including CICA)
- Interactions between the CJS and family courts/civil courts
- The management and rehabilitation of child sexual abuse perpetrators
- Health Sector – two day seminar held on 26-27 September 2017 which examined whether current arrangements to prevent child sexual abuse in healthcare settings are effective and what opportunities there are to make sure children who receive healthcare treatment are best protected from sexual abuse. Healthcare leaders and other professionals participated.
- Preventing and responding to child sexual abuse – seminar held on 12 April 2017. The seminar focused on learning from best practice overseas. IICSA commissioned the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to undertake a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) exploring what can be learnt from different jurisdictions, outside of England and Wales, about the role of institutions in preventing child sexual abuse and exploitation. UCLan’s findings were presented and evidence was given from experts about what England and Wales can learn from best practice overseas in preventing and responding to Child Sexual Abuse.
- Social and political narratives about child sexual abuse – seminar to be held on 7 February 2018.
- The Civil Justice System – seminars were held on 29 and 30 November 2016 in response to the Inquiry’s issues paper on the civil justice system and criminal compensation. These seminars are directly related to the Accountability and Reparations investigation. The seminars covered:
- Access to justice for victims and Survivors;
- Civil litigation;
- Limitation, including: limitation as a barrier and a defence in civil litigation; proposals for reform;
- Civil litigation, including: the nature of the adversarial system; the spectrum of both claimant and defendant approaches to bringing/defending claims; identifying the correct defendant/insurer; disclosure; investigating the claim; legal issues and defences; the use of single or joint experts; early offers of settlement; settlement without admissions; and apologies;
- Compensation, including: causation of injury; quantification of damages; provision for treatment; payment options;
- Other types of accountability and reparation, including: acknowledgment of abuse; accountability within the civil justice system; admissions of institutional liability; the value of apologies; face-to-face meetings; learning lessons and preventing recurrence; access to wider support;
- Possible reforms to civil litigation, including: pre-action protocol; guiding principles; duty of candour; ADR; specialist judges; increased judicial powers and sanctions; support;
- A redress scheme, including: advantages and disadvantages; investigation and assessment process; tariffs; comparative models; funding; legal representation.
- Victims and survivors’ experiences – seminars were held on 4 and 5 July 2017 discussing the impact of child sexual abuse, support needs and support services.
Further details about the seminars and the matters discussed are all available on the IICSA website.
Written by Miriam Rahamim, solicitor at BLM