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Residential schools

An inquiry into the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in residential schools.

In recent years the number of criminal convictions for child sexual abuse by school staff has surged and the Inquiry has received many accounts of sexual abuse that occurred in schools. Children in residential schools are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse as a result of their isolation from their families and carers and the involvement of staff in their intimate personal care.

This investigation addressed residential schools in both the state and independent sector because children are vulnerable in residential settings regardless of the school’s status or the means of their parents. The investigation explored how schools and other agencies responded to allegations of sexual abuse by school staff, and addressed broad questions of school culture, governance, leadership, training and recruitment.

The Inquiry selected case studies for focused investigation that illuminated these issues. Multiple institutions are implicated in failures of child protection in schools, including local authorities, schools inspectorates and the police, and the investigation has taken account of this wide spectrum of responsibility.

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