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2.4 Seminars and engagement

The Inquiry has a number of different approaches for engaging with those who have an interest in its work. These include holding seminars on key issues and working with the Victims and Survivors’ Forum.

Seminars

The Inquiry holds seminars to gather information and views about important issues relating to child sexual abuse. It invites individuals and organisations with expertise and a range of perspectives on the issues being considered at the seminar to participate and contribute to a public discussion. Attendees have included members of the Victims and Survivors’ Forum, professionals, policy-makers and academics. Seminars are attended by the Chair and Panel, held in public and live-streamed on the Inquiry’s website.

Seminars held by the Inquiry

  • The civil justice system (29‒30 November 2016)[1]

  • Criminal injuries compensation (21 February 2017)[2]

  • Preventing and responding to child sexual abuse: learning from best practice overseas (12 April 2017)[3]

  • Victims and survivors’ experiences: impacts and support services (4‒5 July 2017)[4]

  • The health sector (26‒27 September 2017)[5]

  • The criminal justice system (21‒22 November 2017)[6]

  • Social and political narratives about child sexual abuse (26 February 2018)[7]

 

The Victims and Survivors’ Forum

The Victims and Survivors’ Forum was set up by the Inquiry to make it easier for victims and survivors to engage with, be involved in and contribute to the Inquiry’s work.[8] It also provides opportunities for Forum members to meet other members. Over 270 victims and survivors have joined the Forum, and it is open to all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

Forum members have engaged with the Inquiry’s work in different ways. They have participated in Forum meetings and focus group discussions about specific areas, including the effects of child sexual abuse, and accessing and improving support for victims and survivors. They have also taken part in the Inquiry’s seminars on victims and survivors’ experiences and the criminal justice system. The outcomes of these discussions have contributed to this report.

The Victims and Survivors’ Forum

  • Over 270 victims and survivors have joined the Forum

  • 4 Forum meetings have taken place in London (5 August 2016 and 15 March 2017), Cardiff (24 November 2016) and Manchester (23 March 2017)

  • 8 Forum discussion groups have taken place in Liverpool (17 August 2017), Birmingham (two meetings on 24 August 2017), Cardiff (7 September 2017), London (two meetings on 14 September 2017), Exeter (4 October 2017) and Darlington (11 October 2017)

Forum members have also provided feedback and advice on the design and development of the Inquiry’s website, and what the Inquiry can do to raise awareness of the Truth Project. They have taken part in videos and media interviews.

The Inquiry has also recently consulted with Forum members for their views on how the Forum could be developed in the future. It is grateful to Forum members for their contributions to its work so far.

Online consultation

Between June and September 2017, the Inquiry held an online consultation that asked victims and survivors and their relatives and friends to explain how they have been affected by child sexual abuse. The Inquiry received 197 responses.

The online consultation asked for information about how child sexual abuse has affected the physical and mental health, interpersonal relationships, education and later life experiences of victims and survivors. It also asked victims and survivors whether or not they had sought support, if they had been able to access the right kind of support and what could be done to improve support services.

The questions asked in this online consultation were also explored in more detail by the Victims and Survivors’ Forum in a series of follow-up meetings. The outcomes from the online consultation and the Forum meetings have contributed to this report ‒ particularly Chapter 3.

Engaging with children and young people

So far, the Inquiry has met 80 children and young people between the ages of 9 and 25 to discuss their experiences and views on how society and institutions can protect them from sexual abuse.

The children and young people who have spoken to the Inquiry have discussed a number of issues, including the importance of staying safe online (which has been regularly raised with the Inquiry and is considered further in ‘The internet’ section of this report), and the importance of effective sex and relationship education at school. The Inquiry will continue to talk to children and young people as its work progresses.

References

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