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.
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.
The work of IICSA has been quietly progressing; sometimes the subject matter hits the headlines but much has not. A brief summary below notes the current progress of the investigations.
A significant focus of the Royal Commission (RC) in Australia in the national inquiry in connection with child abuse was religious organisations. Given the results of the RC and of other similar inquiries, it is not surprising that IICSA has announced an investigation looking at child abuse and religion, this being in addition to the two current investigations into abuse in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its report into sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions on the 28 February 2019.
The report follows on from a hearing on 9 – 20 July 2018 and can be found here.
It examines evidence of “appalling abuse and institutional failures to protect children in the youth secure estate in England and Wales”. The investigation looked at Youth Offenders Institutions (YOI), Secure Training Centres (STC) and Secure Children’s Homes (SCH).
The first report published by IICSA in March 2018 related to child migration and it included a recommendation that HM Government establish a redress scheme for surviving former child migrants providing an equal award to every applicant on the basis they were all exposed to the risk of sexual abuse. This concept of being at risk of abuse even if abuse did not occur echoes the harm’s way payments included in the Lambeth Council Scheme and proposed in the Northern Ireland Redress Scheme.