New hearing dates published
The Inquiry has published a timetable of preliminary and public hearings up to February 2020. The hearings include hearings on the role of the internet in facilitating child sexual abuse and the first phase of public hearings about sexual abuse in residential schools. The details of key hearings are below:
- May 2019 – Public hearings into ‘Child Sexual Abuse and the Internet’. More detail below.
- July 2019 – The Anglican Church. Public hearings on the Diocese of Chichester and the Peter Ball case studies have concluded and a report will be published in due course. A preliminary hearing in January 2019 will confirm the focus of the next public hearings in July next year.
- September-October 2019 – The first phase of public hearings on sexual abuse in residential schools. More detail below.
- October-November 2019 – The Roman Catholic Church. The public hearings in relation to the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the Ealing Abbey case studies will take place in November 2018 and February 2019 respectively. Once concluded the Inquiry will confirm the focus of the public hearings timetabled for October-November next year.
- February 2020 – Public hearings into the institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC. The investigation will consider whether any attempts were made to exert improper influence in order to hinder or prevent an institution from effectively investigating or otherwise responding to the allegations.
Public hearings into ‘Child Sexual Abuse and the Internet’
The Inquiry will explore institutional responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation facilitated by the internet. It will review national policies on preventing abuse facilitated by the internet and will consider the appropriateness of the response of the National Crime Agency, its CEOP Command, and the police. The Inquiry will investigate the policies of internet service providers, providers of online platforms, and other relevant software and communication technology companies relating to child sexual abuse, and consider the adequacy of the existing statutory and regulatory framework applicable to those organisations.
The objective of the investigation is to make practical recommendations that minimise the opportunities for abuse facilitated by the internet in the future.
The Residential Schools Public Hearings
In its interim report published in April 2018 the Inquiry stated that the investigation into child sexual abuse in residential schools was to “take a thematic approach when examining schools rather than focusing on individual schools.” It is likely that the themes to be explored will be confirmed at the preliminary hearing in January 2019. Past themes explored by the Inquiry in public hearings include compliance with statutory and wider guidance regarding safeguarding, response to disclosure, attitudes and leadership, governance and ownership and reputation. The Inquiry website states that it will consider how schools and other agencies respond to allegations of sexual abuse by school staff, and will address broad questions of school culture, governance, leadership, training and recruitment. The Inquiry intends to select case studies for focused investigation that will illuminate these issues.
When can we expect the public hearings to be concluded?
IICSA has reported that it intends to have held all hearings by the end of 2020.
Authored by Catherine Davey, Associate, BLM London