The Truth Project is a vital aspect of IICSA’s work as it enables victims and survivors to share their experiences with the Inquiry in a safe and confidential way. As at the end of March 2020 there had been just over 20,000 expressions of interest made to the Truth Project and it had received 4,738 accounts, some in writing, some by telephone and some in person. IICSA has now, working with SignHealth, made it possible for victims and survivors who are deaf to share their experiences via videolink. At the current time, in view of COVID-19, face to face truth project sessions have been suspended.
Many of the accounts (suitably anonymised) have been published and provide a valuable record of the impact of abuse. The latest statistics published about who has contacted the Truth Project show that 68% were female, 31% were age 50-59 when they made contact, 91% were white, abuse began between ages 4-7 for 34% and similarly between ages 8-11 for 34%, fondling was experienced by 56% of those making contact and 86% reported an impact on their mental health. Of the perpetrators 46% were family members and 14% older children or peers. Where the abuse was connected with an institution 16% were schools and 7% religious institutions.
IICSA also has a Forum for victims and survivors with over 1000 members who are able to attend a range of events and contribute to the policy and research work of the Inquiry. Currently members of the Forum are being asked to complete a short form about redress.
Paula Jefferson, Partner, BLM