In June 2020, IICSA published a research report into child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities. The research aimed to draw out how ethnicity, community and culture shapes people’s experiences of child sexual abuse. To do this, the research engaged with a range of ethnic minorities particularly from Caribbean, African and South Asian ethnicities, including victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. This article will explore the research findings, which will be used to enhance the Inquiry’s knowledge of child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities.
The first key research finding is that cultural stereotypes and racism can lead to failures on the part of institutions and professionals to identify and respond appropriately to child sexual abuse. Furthermore, it could also make it more difficult for individuals in ethnic minority communities to disclose and speak up about child sexual abuse. Cultural stereotypes and racism were highlighted by the research as two key themes throughout discussions with participants, with two broad operational mechanisms:
In March 2020, IICSA published their investigation report into the internet. The report followed IICSA’s investigation into the growing problem of online-facilitated child sexual abuse.
During public hearings in 2018 and 2019, the Inquiry heard distressing accounts from those directly affected by child sexual abuse facilitated online and the devastating and long term impact that this abuse has had on them. The Inquiry heard no evidence to suggest that the number of offenders who use the internet to facilitate abuse of children is falling. UK law enforcement record almost 10 grooming offences per day and arrest between 400 and 450 people per month for offences of online-facilitated child sexual abuse and exploitation.
At last month’s three day public hearing, the inquiry heard from various parties, such as insurers, local authorities, and solicitors that represent victims and survivors, as well as those that represent insurers and other organisations.
The key topics for discussion centered around limitation and redress, and how this impacted all relevant stakeholders in claims for child sexual abuse.
A three day public hearing is due to take place at IICSA this week, starting 26 November, in connection with the second phase of the Accountability and Reparations investigation.
IICSA will hear evidence from a range of practitioners, including insurers who handle civil claims received from victims and survivors, solicitors acting for victims and survivors, solicitors who represent organisations facing accusations, as well as other interested parties.
The hearing will look at whether the law of limitation in civil cases should be reformed, and whether a redress scheme should be implemented. At present, the law on limitation sets out that claims must be brought within a set window, save if the defendant chooses not to raise this as a defence, or the court is satisfied that the strict test for setting aside limitation (s33 Limitation Act 1980) is met.
In due course, the inquiry will consider whether the mechanisms currently in place adequately support victims and survivors.
These hearings follow on from the preliminary hearing which took place last month, the transcript for which can be found here.
An updated report on the Lambeth Redress Scheme (LRS) was presented by Lambeth Council at a Cabinet Meeting on the 16 of September.
The report provides an update on the working of the (LRS) up to the end of June, 2019 which is half way through the period of time that the LRS was to be open to receive applications the Scheme was originally due to close on the 1 January, 2020.
A poll of 116 survivors from IICSA’s Victims and Survivors Forum found that 69% of people did not speak about the abuse due to fears of being stereotyped and 81% said they have felt stereotyped since disclosing the abuse.
Many survivors talked about how they felt “put in a box” after disclosing their abuse, describing how they had been labelled as emotionally unstable, damaged or weak. They explained the detrimental impact this had had on their professional and personal lives.
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).
On the 10th May, 2018 the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme) legislation was introduced to the Parliament for Australia. This legislation replaces the Commonwealth legislation previously introduced and this allow for States and territories that join the Scheme to participate under law. Continue reading
Western Australia is the latest state to introduce laws which will enhance the prospects of success for claimants’ bringing claims for damages arising out of non-recent sexual abuse. Following the lead of all other states, apart from South Australia, legislation has just been enacted that will abolish the 6 year limitation period. The recently concluded Royal Commission found that on average an individual waited 22 years to disclose their abusive experiences The changes being introduced also provide a legal basis for suing institutions in the name of their current office holders and include provisions designed to overcome difficulties survivors may face in identifying a correct defendant. Continue reading
The IICSA begins today a public hearing in connection with its investigation into child sexual abuse and the internet. This is a huge task and clearly differs from the majority of other investigations which are considering events which occurred many decades ago, something which is of much less relevance when focusing on the part played by the internet.
This first public hearing which is due to last five days, focuses on the part played by the police and the National Crime Agency in responding to abuse facilitated by the internet as well as considering the current scale of online facilitated child sexual abuse and how the police nationally and regionally respond to it.