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Inquiry finishes public hearings after more than 600 witnesses give evidence across 15 investigations

11 December 2020

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has finished its final public hearing after taking evidence from more than 600 witnesses over four years.

The Inquiry’s Chair, Professor Alexis Jay OBE, praised the integral contribution of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in each of the 15 separate investigations.

The Inquiry has heard live evidence from a total of 648 witnesses, of whom 94 have been victims and survivors.

It has held 323 days of public hearings and disclosed 24,565 documents totalling over 590,000 pages.

These public hearings have led to 14 reports so far, containing 53 recommendations to better protect children from sexual abuse. Some investigations have involved multiple reports and there are five further reports due to be published next year.

The evidence heard in public hearings will inform the overarching findings and recommendations in the Inquiry’s final report, which is due to be published in 2022.

On the final day of the last hearing, into Effective Leadership of Child Protection, clips were played of powerful evidence given by complainants and victims and survivors across different investigations.

The Inquiry’s work is not limited to public hearings. Its Truth Project has now heard from more than 5,300 victims and survivors and published over 650 anonymised summaries of their accounts. The Truth Project will draw to a conclusion next year.

The Inquiry has also published 20 research reports and held two weeks of seminars on eight topics, while its Victims and Survivors Forum has over 1,400 members and has held over 20 events.

Chair of the Inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay, said:

“I want to thank every witness in our 15 investigations for their evidence, but I am particularly grateful to the many complainants, victims and survivors of child sexual abuse who gave us their powerful testimony.

“Almost 100 gave evidence in person and many more provided important written statements, which will help us make recommendations to better protect children in future.

“A vast amount of work has gone into making these hearings possible over the last four years, including earlier this year when we became the UK’s first public inquiry to hear evidence in a virtual setting following the outbreak of Covid-19.

“While this is a significant milestone for the Inquiry, we still have a busy programme of work to complete in the coming year. This will cover research, investigation reports and engagement with victims and survivors, which will all contribute to our final report.”

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