Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has today issued an interim report stating, “A change in culture is needed within institutions and government if children are to be properly safeguarded.”
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established in 2014 to investigate historical allegations of child abuse. Theresa May was Home Secretary at this time and set up the Inquiry due to the increasing number of people who were coming forward with allegations of abuse they suffered as a child. The Inquiry is now mid way through its work and to date 13 investigations have been completed.
Professor Jay confirmed that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is on track to have made “substantial progress” by 2020. Eight public hearings will take place in the next 12 months. Investigations into the Anglian and Roman Catholic Churches, Armed Forces overseas, Westminster and Councils in Nottinghamshire and Lambeth in London are continuing.
The report also listed 18 recommendations. The Inquiry has heard evidence that “sexual abuse was rarely discussed and that children and young people needed practical help on staying safe.” There was a general concern that, “all too often organisations put the reputations of their leaders and staff before the welfare of children and tackling abuse.” It has been recommended that “discussion about abuse was not enough and this needed to be followed by action.” An urgent change in attitudes was needed to ensure children and vulnerable people are protected in the future.
Other recommendations included better training for Senior Police Officers in dealing with cases and an accreditation scheme should be introduced. The Ministry of Justice should offer protection to victims who are pursuing civil cases and witnesses in criminal cases and Departments of Health and Education should increase checks on chaperones and care workers.
Further, it has been recommended that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) should not dismiss applications because a victim lives under the same roof as their abuser or because the victim has a criminal record.
Professor Jay intends that by 2020 the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse should have made recommendations which, “should help to ensure that children are better protected from sexual abuse in the future.”
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