The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) has announced this week a new investigation into child protection in religious organisations and settings.

The ongoing IICSA was set up in the wake of some serious high profile instances of non-recent child sexual abuse and because the government had some very grave concerns that some organisations were failing and were continuing to fail to protect children from sexual abuse.

Their remit is wide-ranging, but as a statutory inquiry they have unique authority to compel both witnesses and any material they feel is necessary in order to investigate where institutions have let children down in the past.

Through their investigations and public hearings, they are examining what went wrong and why. The findings they make and the evidence they gather will inform their recommendations to help better protect children in the future.

Cambridge House and the involvement of Cyril Smith has been investigated in the IICSA

In identifying what must be done differently they are building the case for change and improvement in how institutions must protect children.

They also have an ambitious research and analysis programme which will fill gaps in knowledge about child sexual abuse and make sure their recommendations are informed by the latest learning.

The Inquiry has launched 14 investigations into a broad range of institutions identified on the basis of the Panel’s criteria for selection of investigations.

Current investigations

The investigations will give a voice to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse,

You can look at the progress of the ongoing investigations here;

The Inquiry’s investigative work underpins the Public Hearings and hearings will be held during the course of most, if not all, of the investigations.

Each investigation will conclude with a report that will set out the Inquiry’s conclusions on institutional failings and identify practical recommendations for change.

The IICSA has announced a new investigation into child protection in religious organisations and settings.

The investigation will be thematic and will review the current child protection policies, practices and procedures in religious institutions in England and Wales.

Organisations falling under the remit of this investigation will include non-conformist Christian denominations, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism. This investigation is separate from their investigations into the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.

Religious settings such as mosques, synagogues, churches and temples are in scope. Places of faith tuition such as Muslim madrassahs and Christian Sunday schools and places where children and young people gather in connection with their religious beliefs, including youth groups and camps will also be investigated by the Inquiry.

More than one in 10 survivors of child sexual abuse (11 per cent) who shared their accounts with the Inquiry’s Truth Project reported sexual abuse in a religious institution. Of this group, almost a quarter (24 percent) told the Inquiry they were abused in institutions in scope of this new investigation, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Judaism and Islam. Not all participants provided details about the religious denomination of the institution or perpetrator.

Organisations and individuals are being invited to apply for core participant status. Core participants must have a significant interest in this investigation and have special rights defined by legislation.

A preliminary hearing will take p2 pm at2 pm on 23 July 2019 and public hearings will take place in 2020.

The Truth Project

Their truth project offers the opportunity for Victims and Survivors to share their experience and be respectfully heard and acknowledged. This By doing so, they will help them to better understand the long term impact of abuse. Their contribution will help us make recommendations about support needs, as well as challenging their assumptions of child sexual abuse.

The truth website can be found here;

We hope this IICSA will be just the start in the battle against the hideous crimes against the children of this country and beyond and hope the lessons learned will stop children suffering in the future, although it will cost in the region of £100million we think it us money well spent, unlike the narrow-minded viewpoint of Boris Johnson,

who when faced with a question about rising crime, the former Foreign Secretary chastised the inquiry for “spaffing money up the wall”. He then went on to question how the inquiry would  “protect the public”, and called for funds to be redirected towards putting more police officers on the street!

How about spending the money on both important issues Boris?

We will keep you updated on any developments and conclusions from the investigations as and when they are published.