The Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IISCA), Professor Alexis Jay has made a final decision that IICSA will not investigate the sexual abuse which took place at the Medomsley Detention Centre for over more than three decades as part of the Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
On behalf of the victims we represent who suffered abuse whilst detained at Medomsley, we are saddened that despite our representations and the representations from other Solicitors, the Chair of the Inquiry could not be persuaded to change her opinion.
It is our view that the Inquiry correctly concluded four years ago that:
“the apparent scale of abuse at Medomsley demands a rigorous investigation into how multiple allegations, if true could have gone uninvestigated and the offending undetected for so long.”
As well as detainees suffering sexual abuse by the Prison Officers at Medomsley the Prison Officers were also inflicting severe physical abuse on detainees. It is our belief and we put these submissions to the Inquiry, that in order to properly investigate the abuse at Medomsley, the physical abuse which was taking place must also be investigated.
The Chair has supported her decision not to include Medomsley in the Inquiry by stating that the sexual abuse cannot be properly investigated because the Inquiry are limited by the terms of reference of their investigation. They are restricted to investigating sexual abuse suffered by children and they would be precluded from investigating the sexual abuse suffered by those who were 18 years or over.
There is also concern that the investigation of Medomsley would create a risk to the fairness and effectiveness of the upcoming criminal trial and in accordance with their terms of reference this would prevent the Inquiry investigating Medomsley.
An investigation of the sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions has already been investigated and reported on. Professor Jay’s view is that an investigation of Medomsley would not change their report of result in any new recommendations.
We are disappointed that the Inquiry are unwilling to change their terms and reference to investigate the abuse which took place at Medomsley. It is our view that by failing to investigate Medomsley, the Inquiry has failed to look in detail at historical custodial child sexual abuse.
We believe that such investigation would result in further recommendations being made and would help to prevent such abuse taking place in the future.
We will continue to support the need for a full Public Inquiry into the large scale physical and sexual abuse which occurred at Medomsley. We strongly believe that detainees who suffered abuse whilst at Medomsley have the right to an inquiry to investigate why the abuse was allowed to take place. There is sufficient evidence to investigate the fact that detainees were subjected to widespread abuse for over three decades and were placed at risk by individuals who were in a position of power.
The final decision of IICSA can be found on their website at: https://www.iicsa.org.uk