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Protection of Children Outside the United Kingdom

An inquiry into the extent to which institutions and organisations based in England and Wales have taken seriously their responsibilities to protect children outside the United Kingdom from sexual abuse.

In recent years, grave allegations have emerged regarding child sexual abuse by individuals working for British institutions and organisations abroad.

This investigation will look at institutions based in England and Wales which recruit people to work abroad, including the Armed Forces, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Council and private companies and charitable organisations. It will examine the extent to which such institutions have failed in their duty to protect children abroad by, for example, employing individuals who should not work with children.

We will also investigate how effectively the UK justice system is equipped to address the potential for abuse overseas by those known to authorities in England and Wales as posing a risk to children. Further, we will consider the adequacy of Whitehall responses to reports of institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse in overseas territories.

Case study - Child Migration Programmes

The Inquiry has decided to divide this broad investigation into a number of narrower case studies. The first of these will be a case study investigating institutional failings of organisations based in England and Wales relating to the sexual abuse of children involved in child migration programmes. 

Child migration programmes involved children being moved from care or from their families in England and Wales and placed in institutions or with families abroad by government departments, public authorities and private and/or charitable organisations in England and Wales.

This case study has its own public hearings, details of which can be found in our hearings section.

Child Migration Programmes case study - Background Statement

Next Steps:

A public hearing in relation to this investigation was held from Monday 10 July at the the International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC) in London.

A report on this investigation will be published in due course.

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

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