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.
This is a huge investigation with many issues to consider. IICSA held a preliminary hearing recently which highlighted how wide a topic this is and the challenges IICSA faces in ensuring a proportionate investigation which still ensures all issues have been addressed.
The Offside Trust, the organisation set up in the wake of the football abuse scandal, which aims to work alongside football clubs to enhance safeguarding, has this week claimed that at least 80 sports coaches have been convicted of child sexual abuse in the past two years.
The second preliminary took place on 25 September in preparation for the three weeks of public hearings due to start on 26 November 2018.
In the Inquiry’s words: This investigation focuses on the support services and legal remedies available to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. It responds to multiple reports of inadequate support services, obstructive insurance companies and a civil justice system that may not deliver genuine reparation.