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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.

Statement from the VSCP

28 October 2022

Last week, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published its final Report following over seven years dedicated to ensuring the serious sexual crimes suffered by so many victims and survivors will never happen again. If we are to better protect children in future, those in power must act on the recommendations of this report without delay.

Child sexual abuse continues to be a subject people shy away from, and perhaps understandably so. It is too painful, too dark, too difficult, and as a society, something that has always been much easier to close our eyes and ears to. Victims and survivors deserve more. We cannot afford to turn our back on child sexual abuse any longer; the sooner we address society’s failure to have a frank and honest conversation, the easier it will be to bring down the wall of silence that so many victims and survivors face. And as the Inquiry’s work has demonstrated, our experiences and voices have played a vital part in creating long lasting and meaningful change. 

Through the Inquiry’s 15 investigations, research programme, Victims and Survivors Forum and over 6,200 experiences shared with the Truth Project, the Inquiry repeatedly heard how victims weren't believed, allegations were ignored and institutional reputations were put ahead of the protection of children. Abuse can happen anywhere - in schools, children’s homes and religious settings, places that are supposed to care for and support our children, places we should all consider as safe. Without proper channels for disclosure, safeguarding and support, it can continue for months or years without being detected. Many victims and survivors told the Inquiry about the sexual abuse they suffered in their family home and how time and time again, institutions that should have protected them let them down. For children at risk of familial abuse, home may be far from the place of security and safety so many of us know it to be, something which became especially apparent during successive lockdowns. The same can be said of the growing number of children targeted by abusers online; as the Inquiry’s report made clear, the sexual abuse of children is not and never has been, simply a problem of the past. We must face up to the fact that thousands of children across every corner of society are affected and continue to be affected by this vile crime every day. 

For survivors, child sexual abuse isn’t just a newspaper article, the twist in the latest Netflix drama or a clickbait headline - it is something that has long lasting repercussions which can permeate every part of our lives. With this report comes an important opportunity to amplify our voices and bring the nation’s attention to a subject that for so long has been confined to the shadows. It is far from an easy read, but it must not be left to gather dust on a shelf; survivors have suffered for too long and society cannot afford to allow the same mistakes to affect future generations. We, the VSCP urge those in power to make this report a top priority and ensure its recommendations are implemented.

Chris Tuck, Emma Lewis MBE, Fay Maxted OBE, Kit Shellam, May Baxter-Thornton, Lucy Duckworth, Sheila Coates MBE

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