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Inquiry to hold UK’s first virtual public hearing

7 May 2020

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse will be the UK’s first public inquiry to hear evidence in a virtual public hearing from 11-22 May, examining child protection in religious organisations and settings.

The original two week hearing was suspended after one day in March due to government advice regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since then, the Inquiry has devised and tested a way of holding the hearing in a virtual setting, ensuring the health and safety of all involved.

The Chair of the Inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay OBE, considered the views of all core participants in the investigation before deciding to carry out the hearing using video conference technology.

As usual, proceedings will be streamed live on the Inquiry’s website.

Witnesses will continue to be supported by the Inquiry’s Support and Safeguarding team.

This hearing will examine child protection policies and safeguarding cultures in religious organisations in England and Wales. These include Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and non-conformist Christian denominations.

The revised timetable for the first week has been published today (7 May) on the Inquiry website.

Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Inquiry, said:

“We have now found a way to continue our vital programme of public hearings while ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved during these challenging times.

“A huge amount of work has gone into making this virtual hearing possible and I want to thank all of the witnesses, legal teams, IT teams and Inquiry staff involved.

“The evidence heard will be crucial in helping us make findings and recommendations that can better protect children from sexual abuse.”


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