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The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse: The Basic Facts


1. What is the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)?

The IICSA has been set up to investigate institutional failings to protect children in England and Wales from child sexual abuse.

It will examine cases of child sexual abuse linked to:
  • Children’s homes
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Armed Services
  • Religious institutions
  • Voluntary institutions
  • State organisations

The IICSA will also look at cases where children who were sexually abused told a person in authority, such as a police officer, a social worker or a teacher, about their abuse, and the person in authority did not properly deal with their report.

2. What isn’t the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse?

The IICSA is not a Court process or a police investigation. It does not have the power to arrest individuals or send them to prison.

It is also separate from the civil court process and cannot order abusers or institutions to pay compensation.

In general, the IICSA will not examine cases of child abuse in the family, except in cases where a person in authority failed to act properly in response to a report of familial abuse.

The IICSA is not UK wide. It is limited to England and Wales. Separate inquiries into child sexual abuse have been set up in Scotland and Northern Ireland to examine cases there and the IICSA has committed to working with these inquiries.

3. What will the IICSA actually do?

The IICSA will gather evidence to identify institutional failings relating to child sexual abuse and make them public in Annual Reports, as well as an overarching Final Report. It will also make recommendations about how institutions and persons in authority can protect children from sexual abuse in the future.

As the IICSA is a judge-led Statutory Inquiry, it is governed by the Inquiries Act 2005. This means that it has the power to compel witnesses to give evidence to it and order that documents be provided to it.

We do not yet know how long the IICSA will take to complete its work, but it is due to produce an Interim Report in 2018 setting out its first conclusions.

4. How will the IICSA do its work?

(1) Reviewing of official reports on child sexual abuse

The IICSA Research Project will review published reports into child sexual abuse linked to institutions in England and Wales. It will also organise new research in specific sectors to find out more about the scale of child sexual abuse and identify recommendations for the future.

(2) Listening to the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse

The IICSA Truth Project will allow victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experiences with the Inquiry. This includes:
  • Anyone who was sexually abused as a child in an institution.
  • Anyone who first came into contact with the person who abused them in an institution.
  • Anyone who reported their sexual abuse to a person of authority, such as a police officer, a social worker or a teacher, and their report was not dealt with properly.
Victims and survivors of abuse will be able to take part in the Truth Project by attending a public or private hearing, or by writing a statement.

For more information, please see our Factsheet ‘Taking part in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’.

(3) Holding Public Hearings to examine special case studies

The Public Hearings Project will examine specific case studies of child sexual abuse in a public setting. Each hearing will involve witnesses giving evidence and being cross-examined, and documents related to the case study being considered in public.

The IICSA can use the information gathered in the hearing to make  ndings of fact about what happened in that particular case study. The first Public Hearing is due to commence in 2016 and it is expected that each hearing will last for around six weeks.

5. How can I find out more information about the IICSA?

Telephone: 0800 917 1000
Email: contact@iicsa.org.uk

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse,
PO Box 72289,

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse website

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