There is no doubt that there is a need and a public desire for regulation of the internet and social media to protect the vulnerable. In April this year, the government published its Online Harms White Paper, which sets out its proposals to make the UK the safest country in the world to be online. It’s described as “a world-leading package of online safety measures that also supports innovation and a thriving digital economy”, and its two top priorities are to tackle unlawful and unacceptable activity online, including Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (CSEA) online. A consultation on the white paper is currently live, with responses due by 11.59pm on 1 July 2019.
In the context of repeated warnings regarding the negative impact of social media on young people the Children’s Commissioner has taken a number of actions to enable children, parents and teachers to have the required information to help children develop the skills and resilience to positively handle themselves online.
The Children Commissioner’s ‘Growing up Digital’ study called for the creation of a compulsory digital citizenship programme for school children aged 4 to 14, introducing simplified Terms and Conditions for digital services offered to children; and a new Children’s Digital Ombudsman to mediate between under 18s and social media companies.
|Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale||On 12 April 2018 the IICSA published its report. The Panel provided an Executive Summary and drew a number of the conclusions. The Inquiry made no recommendations because they will be considering evidence that is relevant to the protection of children in the care of local authorities in the outstanding local authority as well as in some of the thematic investigation. They consider they will then be better placed to make overarching recommendations. Despite this, the Inquiry expect the public bodies involved in this investigation to reflect on their report and make changes to their practice as necessary to protect children in the future. See our earlier blog for details of the report’s conclusions: https://blmabusenewsblog.com/2018/04/12/iicsas-second-report-cambridge-house-knowl-view-and-rochdale/.|
|Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks||The Inquiry is not accepting applications for Core Participant (CP) status or requesting evidence currently.
The Inquiry is encouraging all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experience.
|Accountability and Reparations||A preliminary hearing took place on 8 May 2018 to provide an update on the latest developments.
Since the last preliminary hearing IICSA has granted CP status to four victim/survivors from St Aidan’s, another victim/survivor for Forde Park and another victim/survivor for Stanhope Castle. In total there are now 41 CP victims and survivors across the case study institutions. 26 finalised statements have now been received. It has been reiterated that the investigation will not examine or resolve disputed factual issues relating to the underlying abuse.
IICSA’s proposals for the focus of the w case studies are:
A further and final preliminary hearing has been listed for 25 September 2018 to deal with any outstanding matters ahead of the public hearings which run from 26 November to 13 December 2018.
|Children in Custodial Institutions||Public hearings were held in July 2018 for 2 weeks. The investigation examined the prevalence and culture of child sexual abuse in custody as well as the institutional responses to those allegations. The current safeguarding and child protection policies were also examined. During the hearings a selection of allegations of recent sexual abuse were analysed in relation to Her Majesty’s Young Offender Institutions at Feltham and Werrington; Medway and Rainsbrook Secure Training Centres; Vinney Green Secure Unit; and Aycliffe Secure Centre.
A report on this phase of the investigation is expected in early 2019.
|The Internet||A week of public hearings was held from 22-26 January 2018.
Applications will be requested for more CPs in due course. As the investigation is currently narrowly focused to consider the response of law enforcement agencies no internet specific organisation is a CP.
|Investigation into the Institutional Responses to Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC||In April 2017 the Inquiry published a Notice of Determination and revised the scope of this investigation. IICSA does not wish to prejudice the investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and Leicestershire Police.
No further updates.
|Children in the Care of Nottinghamshire Councils||A second preliminary hearing was held on 31 January 2018.
The public hearings start on 1 October 2018.
There are currently 90 CPs including 83 individuals who allege that they were sexually abused whilst in the care of Nottinghamshire Councils.
|Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church||The first public hearing in relation to the Chichester Diocese case study was held in March 2018. There were twenty themes and issues being considered.
A hearing in connection with the Peter Ball case study was held last week.
A further public hearing relating the wider Anglican Church will proceed in 2019.
|Child Sexual Abuse in Residential Schools||Currently no CPs designated but applications are likely to be called for in September 2018. In its interim report IICSA identified it does not intend to name specific school led case studies but rather to consider themes across schools including governance, reporting and whistleblowing, recruitment and termination of employment, inspection and monitoring, and culture|
|Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse Linked to Westminster||Three weeks of public hearings will take place from 4 March 2019.|
|Protection of Children Outside the UK||The Panel’s report, it’s first on all of its investigations, into the Child Migration Case Study was published on 1 March 2108. See our previous blog for details of the recommendations made: https://blmabusenewsblog.com/2018/03/27/iicsas-first-report/.
The second case study in this investigation is examining whether the civil framework is adequate for preventing, and notifying foreign authorities of, foreign travel by individuals known to the UK authorities as posing a risk to children. A public hearing on this case study will take place in February 2019.
|Children in the Care of Lambeth Council||Preliminary hearings were held in this investigation in March and July 2016.
IICSA are reviewing vast quantities of information before a public hearing is scheduled. It has recently sought submissions from CPs on proposals for the investigation to focus on three case studies on the following homes: Angell Road, Southvale Assessment Centre and Shirley Oaks
|Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church||Further public hearings relating to the Archdiocese of Birmingham case study will take place from 12-16 November 2018.
Public hearings relating to the Ealing Abbey case study will commence on 4 February 2019.
Initial hearings which focused on the Benedictine Order, in particular at Ampleforth and Downside were held in November 2017. The report in connection with those hearings will be published on 9 August 2018.
Authored by Miriam Rahamim, BLM
The Health Minister has endorsed the Law Commission’s recommendations to replace the current Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) with the more robust Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS). The new regime will provide greater legal safeguards and transparency for individuals who are deprived of their liberty because they lack the mental capacity to consent to necessary care/treatment. Continue reading
On 3 April 2017, it became a criminal offence for an adult (18 or over) to conduct sexual communications with a child under 16 years old. This was with the intention of stopping sexual grooming at an early stage, particularly via social media and mobile messaging.