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Child Sexual Abuse in 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 will address 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 will explore how schools and other agencies respond to allegations of sexual abuse by school staff, and address broad questions of school culture, governance, leadership, training and recruitment.

The Inquiry intends to select case studies for focused investigation that will illuminate these issues. Multiple institutions are implicated in failures of child protection in schools, including local authorities, schools inspectorates and the police, and the investigation will take account of this wide spectrum of responsibility.

Next Steps:

A public hearing in the second phase of the investigation will take place on 16 - 27 November 2020. A preliminary hearing in relation to this phase was held on 14 January 2020.

A public hearing in the first phase of the investigation took place on 30 September - 11 October 2019.

The Inquiry is encouraging all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experience.

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