The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Public Law Outline

In October the Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was published. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established in 2015. It led investigations covering a wide range of institutions and published a number of individual reports in relation to allegations of child sexual abuse, in a number of settings such as Local Authority care, custodial institutions, church organisations, and over the internet. Over 7300 victims and survivors engaged with the inquiry.

The Inquiry’s report makes 20 recommendations which can be summarised as follows:

  1. A single core data set

The UK government and the Welsh Government should improve data collected by children’s social care and criminal justice agencies about child sexual abuse and exploitation. There should be one single set of data covering both England and Wales.

  1. Child Protection Authorities for England and Wales

Each should create a Child Protection Authority, the purpose of which should be to: improve practice in child protection, advise and make recommendations to government to improve child protection, inspect institutions and settings, and monitor the implementation of the Inquiry’s recommendations.

  1. The UK government should create a cabinet-level ministerial position for children
  2. Public Awareness

The UK and Welsh Governments should commission regular campaigns to increase public awareness of child sexual abuse. These should say what to do if child sexual abuse is happening or suspected.

  1. Pain compliance

The UK government should ban the use of any technique that deliberately induces pain, sometimes referred to as ‘pain compliance techniques’, and withdraw any policies that allow pain compliance techniques to be used in custodial institutions where children are detained.

  1. Children Act 1989

The UK government should amend the Children Act 1989 so that looked after children or someone acting for them can apply to the family courts for orders to mandate or limit a local authority’s exercise of its parental responsibility.

  1. Registration of care staff in children’s homes

There should be an independent body with who staff working in care roles in children’s homes (including secure children’s homes) must be registered.

  1. Registration of staff in care roles in young offender institutions and secure training centres

The UK government should introduce a system for registering staff in roles responsible for the care of children in young offender institutions and secure training centres.

  1. Greater use of the barred list

The UK government should enable anyone who hires people to work or volunteer with children on a frequent basis to check if they have been barred by the Disclosure and Barring Service from working with children. This should also apply where the role is supervised.

  1. Improving compliance with the statutory duty to notify the Disclosure and Barring Service

Steps need to be taken to improve compliance with the duty to notify the Disclosure and Barring Service, who should, along with regulators and inspectorates, put in place an information-sharing protocol.

  1. Extending disclosure regime to those working with children overseas
  2. Pre-screening

The UK government should require regulated providers of internet search services and user-to-user services to pre-screen for known child sexual abuse before material is uploaded.

  1. Mandatory reporting

The UK and Welsh Governments should introduce laws requiring certain people to report child sexual abuse. These people are called ‘mandated reporters’.

  1. Compliance with the Victim’s Code

The UK government should arrange for a joint inspection of compliance with the Victims’ Code in relation to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

  1. Limitation

The UK government should change the law to remove the time limit for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to make a legal claim for compensation.

  1. Specialist therapeutic support for child victims of sexual abuse

The UK government and the Welsh Government should guarantee that all child victims of sexual abuse will be offered specialist and accredited therapeutic support.

  1. Access to records

The UK government should direct the Information Commissioner’s Office to introduce a code of practice on keeping and accessing records which relate to child sexual abuse.

  1. Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

The CICS should be amended to include other forms of child sexual abuse, including online-facilitated sexual abuse; victims and survivors with unspent convictions should not be automatically excluded where the crimes are likely to be linked to the sexual abuse they experienced as a child; and, the time limit to apply should be increased to seven years.

  1. Redress Scheme

The UK government should set up a single redress scheme for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

  1. Age verification

The UK government should change the law to make sure that internet companies that provide online internet services and social media introduce better ways to check children’s ages.

There are many national services that offer support and advice to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, such as:

National Association for People Abuse in Childhood (NAPAC): offer support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect: 0808 801 0331.

Mind: a national mental health charity providing advice and support to anyone with a mental health problem: 0300 123 3393.

Survivors UK: provides support to adult males who have experienced any form of sexual violence. They provide a web chat and text chat support service and counselling from their London premises: 0203 598 3898.

Childline: Where children and young people can get help and advice about a wide range of issues: 0800 1111.

If you’re worried that a child or young person is at risk or is being abused contact the children’s social care team at their local council. You’ll be asked for your details, but you can choose not to share them. You should call 999 if a child is at immediate risk. You can also get advice from Childline or the NSPCC (0808 800 5000).