This week, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) has announced that on 21 and 23 January 2019 it will hear evidence, via video link from Australia, of witnesses whose evidence is relevant to the child migrant case study. Prior to migration, the witnesses were children in care in residential care establishments run by religious organisations.
In September 2017 we reported on the issue of ‘up-skirting’ – the practice of taking a picture up the skirt or dress of a woman or girl in public, sometimes as part of a programme of harassment by the person taking the picture, often occurring without the victim ever being aware. The photos are then often circulated to others invading the privacy of, distressing and humiliating whomever is in the picture. At the time it was noted that this was an example of where the law had not caught up with the misuse of technology. However, today the government has indicated that it will support a private members bill – the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill 2018 – to make the practice a criminal offence in England and Wales. The Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on 15 June 2018 and it is understood to have cross party support. Continue reading
Australia punishes people who abuse children overseas with up to 25 years imprisonment. Despite this, some Australian paedophiles are known to take inexpensive holidays to South East Asian and Pacific island countries to abuse children. In response, Australia is going to introduce new laws to tackle child sex tourism in what has been described as a “world first”. The Government has said the new rules, which includes the cancellation of passports, will ensure child sex offenders cannot travel “to vulnerable countries where they are out of sight and reach of Australian law”.
As Australia is the news through the IICSA child migrant investigation, the work being undertaken by the Royal Commission (RC) in considering issues relating to abuse across many different organisations in Australia should not be forgotten. We summarise below its most recent work, much of which is of relevance irrespective of the jurisdiction in which an organisation finds itself.
As the Henriques report in to the Metropolitan Police and Operation Midland is due for publication later today (or at least its recommendations and conclusions are) it highlights the challenges which arise when a report has been prepared. What should be published? When should it be published? Most crucially how should its recommendations be implemented? Lessons can be learned from Scotland and Australia about the importance of ensuring speedy and clear implementation of recommendations.
In the past three months, as the IICSA has been mired in criticism and controversy, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia has shown how a wide ranging inquiry in connection with child abuse can make progress. It is worth considering its published work from just the last three months, some of which is very specific to organisations and circumstances in Australia but much of which is of wider guidance and relevance outside of that jurisdiction. As so much has happened which is not just of interest but of practical assistance we will consider the work of the Royal Commission in two separate blogs published over the next two days.
As Operation Hydrant suggests there will be 30000 new reports of child sexual abuse during the life of the IICSA and the Truth Project opens in Manchester consideration can be made of experiences of other jurisdictions and the impact for England & Wales.