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Inquiry publishes report on Children in Custodial Institutions

28 February 2019

The Inquiry has today (February 28) published its report on the sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions.

The report examines evidence of appalling abuse and institutional failures to protect children in the youth secure estate in England and Wales, as heard during two weeks of public hearings last July.

Focusing on the period from 2009 to 2017, the report shows that children held in young offender institutions and secure training centres are still not safe from sexual abuse.

The Inquiry discovered that many more complaints of child sexual abuse in custody have been made than official figures, such as those published in the annual survey by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, previously suggested. Information obtained directly from the institutions and authorities showed there were over 1,000 incidents of alleged sexual abuse reported from 2009 to 2017.

For example, it was alleged that a female member of staff masturbated children at Medway Secure Training Centre in 2015; and that in 2014, members of staff at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre allowed two young people to go into a room together, knowing that one was going to defecate on the other’s face.

The report includes many other recent examples, often involving staff inappropriately touching detainees during body searches or instances of restraint.

The report also includes evidence from adult victims and survivors who were sexually abused while in custodial institutions as children some time ago.

Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Inquiry, said: “The harrowing accounts of non-recent child sexual abuse within custodial institutions were some of the worst cases this Inquiry has heard. But I am also deeply disturbed by the continuing problem of child sexual abuse in these institutions over the last decade. It is clear these children, who are some of the most vulnerable in society, are still at risk of sexual abuse. I hope our report and recommendations can help protect them better in future.”

Notes to editors:

1. The public hearings in the Children in Custodial Institutions investigation took place on 9 - 20 July 2018.

2. The number of children in custody has declined considerably since mid-2008, from over 3,000 to around 900 children at any one time.

3. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is examining the extent to which institutions and organisations have failed to protect children in England and Wales from sexual abuse.


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