The issue of delay in the implementation of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI) recommendations has continued to make the headlines in the last couple of weeks.
A report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), released on 1 May 2019, confirmed that due to ongoing delays the updating of systems at the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), is running four years late and is almost £230 million over budget. The DBS is used by employers who need to obtain safeguarding information, such as details of criminal records, about people who want to work with children or vulnerable adults. The DBS took over from the Criminal Records Bureau in 2012.
A further 40 individuals have been arrested as part of Operation Stovewood.
Operation Stovewood was set up by the National Crime Agency (NCA) following the Jay Inquiry into the handling of child sexual exploitation reports in Rotherham. The Jay Inquiry was published in August 2014 and estimated that 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
Today, the International Bar Association (IBA) released its report Us Too? Bullying and Sexual Harassment in the Legal profession.
The report, commissioned in the wake of the #MeToo movement, has identified worrying statistics indicating that bullying and sexual harassment is endemic in the legal profession. The report, prepared after a survey of almost 7,000 lawyers across 135 countries, has identified that levels of bullying and sexual harassment in the UK legal profession are above the International average.
In August 2018, former Celtic football club youth coach and kit man, Jim McCafferty, was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison after admitting eight counts of sexual assault. These offences took place between December 2012 and December 2015 and his victim was aged between 14 and 16.
IICSA last week published its report in respect of the case studies relating to the (1) The Diocese of Chichester and (2) The response to allegations against Peter Ball. As with the other reports published by IICSA to date the picture painted of past responses to abuse is not a good one, although the report acknowledges the significant progress made by the Diocese in the last few years and the significantly enhanced focus and investment made now by the national church in respect of safeguarding.
On the 9 May 2019 Pope Francis issued an apostolic letter ”Vos estis lux mundi” which sets global standards for the reporting and investigation of clerical sexual abuse.
These new rules follow on from the Meeting for the Protection of Minors held in Rome in February 2019, which was attended by Bishops from around the world.