The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – extension of positions of trust.

The controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is due to be considered further by the House of Lords today as it moves to the report stage. The proposed legislation will affect the whole of the United Kingdom.

Of relevance to abuse-related matters is the amendment of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to widen the definition of a person in a position of trust, to include roles with religious or sporting affiliations.  This follows on from recommendations made by IICSA in this regard and accepted by many of the organisations which will be impacted.

s46 of the bill sets out that “further positions of trust” are defined as follows:

  • For the purposes of sections 16 to 19 [of the Sexual Offences Act 2003] , a person (A) is in a position of trust in relation to another person (B) if –
  • A coaches, teaches, trains, supervises or instructs B, on a regular basis, in a sport or religion, and
  • A knows that they coach, teach, train, supervise or instruct B, on a regular basis, in that sport or religion.

Religion” is defined as such so that no belief in a god is required. “Sport” is defined as any game in which physical skill is the predominant factor and any form of physical recreation which is also engaged in for purposes of competition or display. Both of these definitions will no doubt in time be subject to debate about interpretation.

Continue reading

FA Inquiry – an update

The independent Inquiry commissioned by the Football Association to investigate child sex abuse in football between 1970 and 2005 has this week advised that it will delay its findings.  The inquiry was due to publish its final report towards the end of this year.  Continue reading

A snapshot of progress of the IICSA

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

Truth in numbers

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.
Continue reading

BBC Documentary – Abuse: The Untold Story

The BBC aired “Abuse: The Untold Story” this week. It followed various victims of abuse, including those abused by Jimmy Savile, Ray Teret and Chris Denning. The documentary focused on the victims and the effect coming forward has had on their families. It was a refreshing outlook focusing on the victims rather than their high profile abusers.

The programme also included:

  • first-hand accounts of why victims had not come forward at the time of the abuse, or earlier than they had. The main reason given was because they often thought they were the only one to have been abused and they did not think they would be believed;
  • one of the first victims to use the CPS Scheme ‘Victims Right to Review’. This was set up so any victim of abuse could ask for their case to be reviewed again if it had not been pursued when they first made a complaint. This particular victim’s case was then taken to trial;
  • criticism of the CPS and its failure to properly investigate four allegations of abuse against Savile whilst he was alive. The BBC was also criticised for its failure to air an interview with one of Savile’s victims for over a year;
  • representatives from the Police speaking of their experiences of investigating historical abuse claims and advising that reports of sexual abuse had risen by 60% in the last four years;
  • representatives from the NSPCC and their insight on abuse victims.

The programme will remain available on BBC iPlayer for the next month.


Written by Nicola Aspinwall, Solicitor

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

The inquiry established in Scotland to investigate sexual abuse of children in care has had a slow and somewhat painful start. It continues to face criticism because its remit is limited to children who have been in care. It has moved slowly and in the shadow of the inquiry in England and Wales. Continue reading

Metropolitan Police Review

The latest Review to be announced in connection with issues relating to sexual abuse is that of the Metropolitan Police. It will consider the way the police have investigated non-recent sexual allegations involving public figures. This will include the work of Operation Midland. Operation Midland has been investigating the alleged VIP ring associated with Dolphin Sq and other locations. Continue reading

Mandatory reporting edging closer

Sir Kier Starmer, former Director of Public Prosecutions, is due to see the second reading of his Victims of Crime Bill on Friday. The Bill recommends a duty to report suspected child abuse by those in regulated professions (such as healthcare and teaching) and a victim’s right to challenge decisions made by the police in criminal investigations.

Continue reading

BLM Abuse News Briefing

BLM has published the latest edition of it’s Abuse News Briefing, a digest of news and developments related to child sexual abuse. Continue reading

IICSA – abuse news

The IICSA has moved quickly in the last few months to begin its substantive work. At the end of November it announced its initial 12 investigations and most recently it has added the thirteenth investigation, the resumption of its previously announced investigation in connection with Lord Janner. Continue reading