IICSA summary of victims and survivors views on redress

On 14 October, IICSA published a summary of victims and survivors’ views on redress.

The Victims and Survivors Forum (the Forum) is open to all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. It was set up to facilitate IICSA’s engagement with victims and survivors, making it easier to ask questions, offer suggestions, and for IICSA to gather the views of victims and survivors.

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Specialist training across Justice sector to better support victims in sexual violence cases announced by Irish Minister for Justice

Readers of this blog will be aware that in an earlier post published on 10 August, 2020 we commented on the publication of the Review of the Protection of Vulnerable Witnesses in the Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual Offences (which has been chaired by Professor Tom O’Malley BL) by the Irish Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD.

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First trial of its kind to be held in the Vatican as abuse alleged to have taken place within its walls

A trial opened last month in the Vatican’s criminal tribunal for two priests – one accused of sexually abusing an altar boy in the Vatican’s youth seminary and the other accused of covering it up.  The trial is the first of its kind to be held within the Vatican.

The Vatican tribunal is comprised of a president and four judges who are chosen from university professors and jurists, with proven experience in civil, criminal or administrative matters.

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Update on the Australian National Redress Scheme

In its most recent newsletter on 21 October the Australian National Redress Scheme (NRS) advised that the Australian’s Government’s commitment to constantly striving to improve the NRS for survivors and victims is evidenced by its announcement that in the 2020-21 Budget, a further AUS$104.6 million will be invested in the NRS. This will be used to improve and stabilise the operation of the NRS and better support survivors and victims to ensure the NRS meets its expectations.

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Northern Ireland Executive appoints permanent Commissioner for Victims of Institutional Childhood Abuse

In addition to establishing the HIA Redress Board, the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act 2019 (the 2019 Act) also somewhat uniquely provided for the establishment of a permanent Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse.

Section 22 of the 2019 Act states that the principal aim of the Commissioner “…is to promote the interests of any person who suffered abuse while a child and while resident in an institution at some time between 1922 and 1995.”

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Church of England approves pilot redress scheme

At a meeting of the Church of England’s  Archbishops’ Council on 23 September, the Council voted unanimously for safeguarding proposals to implement an interim pilot redress scheme for survivors of abuse, and also to strengthen independence in the Church’s safeguarding work.

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German Catholic bishops set up countrywide ‘redress scheme’

On Thursday 24 September, the Conference of German Catholic Bishops disclosed plans to pay survivors of sexual and physical abuse by Catholic priests in Germany, compensation of up to €50,000 (£45,350). Rather than refer to the payments as compensation, the German Catholic Church insists on referring to them as “payments in recognition of [the survivors’] suffering.”

The president of the Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing said that the figure was arrived at after reviewing relevant court awards in German abuse claims and was at “the higher end” of comparable damages that have been made via the normal court claims process. 

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“Creagh Lane men” continue campaign to be included in Irish Redress Scheme for survivors of abuse in national schools

Earlier this month a well know group, the “Creagh Lane men” who were sexually abused as children in Creagh Lane National School in Limerick again protested outside the Department of Education and also at Leinster House.

The men were abused by their teacher in the 1960s at Creagh Lane National School in Limerick.

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IICSA research report into child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities

In June 2020, IICSA published a research report into child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities. The research aimed to draw out how ethnicity, community and culture shapes people’s experiences of child sexual abuse. To do this, the research engaged with a range of ethnic minorities particularly from Caribbean, African and South Asian ethnicities, including victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. This article will explore the research findings, which will be used to enhance the Inquiry’s knowledge of child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities.

The first key research finding is that cultural stereotypes and racism can lead to failures on the part of institutions and professionals to identify and respond appropriately to child sexual abuse. Furthermore, it could also make it more difficult for individuals in ethnic minority communities to disclose and speak up about child sexual abuse. Cultural stereotypes and racism were highlighted by the research as two key themes throughout discussions with participants, with two broad operational mechanisms:

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