Inquiry Update September 2021

 
Inquiry update September 2021

 

In this month’s e-bulletin you’ll find:

  • Our ‘Child protection in religious organisations and settings’ report published today (2 September)
  • Reactions to the Inquiry’s report about Children in the Care of Lambeth Council
  • A summary of our recent webinars about child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities
  • A final opportunity to share with the Truth Project
  • New statistics on the Inquiry’s ongoing work

We hope you find this e-bulletin informative. Please get in touch if you’d like further details on our reports or information on the wider work of the Inquiry.

 

Inquiry report finds child sexual abuse in most major UK religions

Child sexual abuse has been found in most major UK religions, according to a new report by the Inquiry; with some found to have no child protection policies in place at all.

 

The ‘Child protection in religious organisations and settings’ report examined evidence received from 38 religious organisations with a presence in England and Wales, with the figures provided to the Inquiry about known prevalence of child sexual abuse unlikely to reflect the full picture.

Religious organisations play a central and even dominant role in the lives of millions of children in England and Wales. The report highlights the blatant hypocrisy and moral failing of religions purporting to teach right from wrong and yet failing to prevent or respond to child sexual abuse.

 

The report makes two recommendations:

(i) that all religious organisations should have a child protection policy and supporting procedures; and  (ii) that the government should legislate to amend the definition of full-time education to bring any setting that is the pupil’s primary place of education within the scope of a registered school, and provide Ofsted with sufficient powers to examine the quality of child protection when undertaking inspection of suspected unregistered schools.

 

Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Inquiry said:
“Religious organisations are defined by their moral     purpose of teaching right from wrong and protection of the innocent and the vulnerable. However when we heard about shocking failures to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse across almost all major religions, it became clear many are operating in direct conflict with this mission.

“We have seen some examples of good practice, and it is our hope that with the recommendations from this report, all religious organisations across England and Wales will improve what they do to fulfil their moral responsibility to protect children from sexual abuse.”

 

Inquiry’s ‘Children in the care of Lambeth council’ report receives widespread media coverage

 

The Inquiry’s investigation report ‘Children in the care of Lambeth Council’ examined the scale and nature of the sexual abuse experienced by children in the care of Lambeth Council over several decades since the 1960s.

 

Published in July, the report received widespread media coverage, with prominent features in national publications such as the Guardian, Sky News, BBC News, LBC, Channel 5, ITV as well as international press. BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis described the cruelty at Lambeth as “beyond horrific” and the scale of the abuse as “almost impossible to contemplate”.

 

The report found one of the council’s biggest care homes, Shirley Oaks, received allegations of sexual abuse against 177 members of staff or individuals connected with the home, involving at least 529 former residents. By June 2020, the Council had complaints of sexual abuse from 705 former residents. Despite this, over 40 years, the Council only disciplined one senior employee for their part in the catalogue of sexual abuse. You can read the full press release here.

 

The report makes four recommendations, which you can find here.

Read the full report.

 

Inquiry hosts webinars to discuss child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities

 

Following the publication of their reports about child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities, the Inquiry’s research and engagement teams hosted two webinars in July to give professionals and victims and survivors an opportunity to hear about their findings. The Race Equality Foundation and IKWRO joined Inquiry experts to discuss access to and mistrust of services – as well as experiences of racism and discrimination, shame and honour and education.

 

The panel discussed the issue of services lacking in cultural intelligence, competence and awareness, how shame and honour are often misinterpreted and extremely harmful to victims and survivors, and why it’s essential to give children age-appropriate knowledge and awareness of child sexual abuse.

 

Read the Research and Engagement reports or download them from the Inquiry’s website.

 

A final opportunity to share with the Truth Project

 

The Truth Project is closing in October 2021, but victims and survivors who would like to share their experience can still do so in writing until 31 October 2021. Please share these details with your colleagues and contacts.

 

We want to ensure that anyone who has experienced child sexual abuse has the opportunity to take part in the Truth Project. All of the accounts shared will help inform the findings and recommendations in the Inquiry’s Final Report, due to be published next year.

More than 5,800 victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have now shared their experiences with the Truth Project in England and Wales. A further 80 Experiences Shared with the Truth Project were published last month. Survivors spoke about the barriers they faced in coming forward, describing fears of stigma and not being believed.

 

New statistics highlight the Inquiry’s ongoing work

 

The Inquiry has released its quarterly statistics, providing an update across all areas of its work, including the number of witnesses who have given evidence to the Inquiry, the amount of correspondence received by the Inquiry each month, ongoing research reports and the latest figures for the Truth Project. The statistics also illustrate the Inquiry’s engagement with victims and survivors over time.

Please get in touch if you’d like further information about the Inquiry’s work.with the Truth Project were published last month. Survivors spoke about the barriers they faced in coming forward, describing fears of stigma and not being believed.