The IICSA is making progress with its work. Latest developments are detailed below.
On 31 January 2017 the IICSA chair and panel held the second preliminary hearing on the Child Migration module which is part of the investigation into children outside the UK. Representatives of the five institutional and one complainant core participants attended the hearing which reviewed the scope of the two scheduled hearings, disclosure, witness evidence and various other practical preparations. The first of two public hearings for this module will begin on 27 February and last for two weeks. It will provide an introduction to, and history of, the child migration programmes and explain the involvement of various organisations as well as hear evidence from a number of former child migrants. The second hearing is scheduled to start on 10 July and will hear from the institutions involved and examine whether they took sufficient care to protect child migrants, the steps taken in response to allegations of sexual abuse and the adequacy of support and reparations thereafter.
Lady Smith, the Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, spoke publicly, for the first time, today on the work of the Inquiry. She did so, sitting alongside Inquiry Panel Member Glenn Houston, at the Inquiry’s Preliminary Hearing, which took place today between 11am and 12.15pm in Court 9 of the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
From the outset, Lady Smith was at pains to emphasise the independence of the Inquiry’s work, noting that it “operates independently of central government, independently of local government, independently of the police, independently of the prosecution services and independently of any other organisation whether based here in Scotland or elsewhere”. Lady Smith also emphasised her own independence, noting that she will perform her duties “independently, fairly and without bias”. She reminded all those who worked for the Inquiry that they “are answerable not to government but to me, as Chair of the Inquiry”.
The next three hearings of the IICSA proceeded on 27 July giving more clarification about the investigations in to the Anglican Church; Lambeth Council; and Rochdale, Cambridge House and Knowl View. An overview of their progress is as follows:
Lambeth – “the scale of the disclosure exercise is genuinely enormous.” In addition to the CHILE (a previous inquiry) archive there are 100,000 items in the “Restore” archive (mostly children’s files), and 26,000 further boxes of material. Continue reading
The IICSA has now called for applications for core participant status for the accountability and reparations investigation. Applications have to be made by 1 July. The specific case studies to be considered were initially North Wales Children’s Homes and Forde Park Approved School; they have now been joined by St Leonard’s Children’s Home and St Aidan’s and St Vincent’s Children’s Homes.
Preliminary hearings in four of the investigations resulted in a flurry of activity before Easter and have provided some clarification as to how the Public Hearings project will proceed. Common strands from the hearings, along with a subsequent press statement which focuses on false allegations, are as follows:
An update on some recent developments in the various abuse inquiries:
- England & Wales – the IICSA has announced the dates for the preliminary hearings in the initial investigations. These hearings will consider applications for Core Participants, submissions on the scope of the investigation and the possible timetable and broadcast of future proceedings. The dates are 9 March re Lord Greville Janner; 16 March (morning) re the Anglican Church; 16 March (afternoon) re Cambridge House, Knowl View & Rochdale; 24 March re Lambeth Council. The hearings will be at the Royal Courts of Justice. They are open to the public and press but will not be broadcast.