The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in England and Wales has now held its first public hearing.

The IICSA is investigating claims of child abuse against many institutions including local authorities; armed forces; religious organisations; private and public institutions. The IICSA has a budget of £17.9m in its first year, funded by the Home Office.

The IICSA was set up after hundreds of people came forward alleging they were abused by Jimmy Savile, following his death in 2011. Following these allegations more cases emerged of sexual assaults carried out in schools, children’s homes and at NHS sites. The inquiry was announced by the then Home Secretary Theresa May to “expose those failures and learn the lessons” from the past and was expected to be complete in five years. The inquiry will reach “findings of fact” in relation to the allegations and material received by the inquiry will be referred to the police. Material related to Scotland, Northern Ireland or British Overseas Territories will be passed on to the relevant authorities there.

The inquiry is being led by Prof Alexis Jay who was a former director of social services. She also headed the inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. She is being assisted by “law professor and human rights expert Malcolm Evans; child protection barrister Ivor Frank; and lawyer Drusilla Sharpling, a former Chief Crown Prosecutor for London.” A separate panel will represent victims and survivors. Brian Altman QC is lead counsel to the inquiry. Prof Jay is to be paid £185,000 and panel members will each receive £565 a day.

The first phase of the inquiry consists of 13 separate investigations over a period of about 18 months. The inquiry will also consider the following:

“■Alleged failings at Lambeth and Nottinghamshire councils; Cambridge House Boys’ Hostel, Knowl View School and other institutions arranged by Rochdale Borough Council; the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches; custodial institutions, residential schools, and the support services and legal remedies available to victims and survivors

■”Areas of contemporary concern” including the internet and organised abuse networks

■Allegations of child sexual abuse by “people of public prominence associated with Westminster” and claims of cover-ups

■Allegations against the late Lord Janner, the former Labour peer who in 2015 was ruled unfit to stand trial on child sexual abuse charges. “

Since the formation of the IICSSA numerous people in charge have resigned or been removed as well as the lawyers. In November 2016 the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association, which is the largest victims group, left the inquiry as it had lost confidence in its leadership.

Jordans Solicitors have a specialist team of sexual abuse claims solicitors serving adults who have experienced abuse during their childhood. We use our skills and litigation experience to achieve justice for those who have been harmed and betrayed by trusted individuals and institutions. If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse call us today and our legal team will work with you to determine how best to proceed with your claim against the person or institution that caused you harm.

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