The strategic responsibility and focus which governing bodies must have for safeguarding can now be seen from the IICSA report published today. As part of the Roman Catholic Investigation, IICSA considered the Archdiocese of Birmingham. The case study considered the extent of abuse, failures to protect children, adequacy of responses, lessons learned and changes thereafter implemented.
The report in the Roman Catholic investigation – Archdiocese of Birmingham case study will be published today. IICSA has meanwhile announced a number of new dates and further research.
Religious organisations and settings – a two week hearing will commence on 16 March 2020.
All public hearings will have concluded by November 2020.
IICSA has undertaken research in connection with various investigations and themes. It has now announced a new research project focused on understanding how abuse impacts different communities, in particular in the case of this project black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. In undertaking this research IICSA hopes to find out about:
- barriers to disclosure and reporting of child sexual abuse in BAME communities in England and Wales.
- the nature of support victims and survivors in these communities receive in relation to child sexual abuse.
- the views of individuals from BAME communities on, and experiences of, interactions with institutions in relation to child sexual abuse (for example, education, support services, police).
The project will include a literature review, focus groups held within a small number of case study areas in England & Wales and some one to one interviews. The field work will be undertaken in autumn 2019 and the research report will be published in autumn 2020.
Paula Jefferson, Partner, BLM
The developments in DNA and the readily available “DIY kits” may lead to a new wave of litigation as legacy adoptions are investigated.
In Ireland a 71 year old woman and her “daughter” took a DNA test and discovered that the mother had been given the wrong baby back by a religious order over 50 years ago. It came to light following revelations that St Patricks Guild in Dublin had incorrectly registered over 100 births and the investigations into the organisation continue. As investigations proceed and more people take tests that number is likely to grow. It was as a result of the scandal that this lady and her “daughter” decided to take the DNA test.
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.