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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse of Children in Custodial Institutions: 2009-2017 Investigation Report

Annex 1: Overview of process and evidence obtained by the Inquiry

Overview of process and evidence obtained by the Inquiry

1. Definition of Scope for the Case Study

1.1. The Sexual Abuse of Children in Custodial Institutions investigation is an inquiry into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation while in custodial institutions.

1.2. The Inquiry recognises that children in detention are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse, but that very little is known about their experiences or the extent to which institutions in England and Wales have discharged their duty of care to protect them. [1]

1.3. The scope of this investigation[2] is:

1. The Inquiry will investigate the nature and extent of, and institutional responses to, the sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions, including Secure Children’s Homes, Secure Training Centres, Young Offender Institutions, and their precursor institutions (‘custodial institutions’). The investigation shall incorporate case specific investigations and a review of information available from published and unpublished reports and reviews, court cases, and previous investigations in relation to the abuse of children in custodial institutions.

2. In conducting the investigation, the Inquiry will consider the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse while in custodial institutions, and investigate:

2.1. the prevalence of the sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions;

2.2. the adequacy of the safeguarding and child protection policies and practices of the range of institutions responsible for the detention of children, including the Youth Justice Board, the Prison Service and individual Secure Children’s Homes, Secure Training Centres and Youth Offender Institutions. In examining the adequacy of these policies the Inquiry will consider issues of governance, training, recruitment, leadership, reporting and investigation of child sexual abuse, disciplinary procedures, information sharing and interagency working, and approach to reparations;

2.3. the extent to which there was or is a culture within custodial institutions which inhibits the proper investigation, exposure and prevention of child sexual abuse;

2.4. the adequacy of the law enforcement and criminal justice response to allegations of the sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions; and 

2.5. the adequacy of the inspection and regulatory regimes applicable to children in custodial institutions.

3. As an initial case study, the Inquiry will investigate allegations of child sexual abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre...

4. Other case studies may be identified by the Inquiry as the investigation progresses.

5. In light of the investigations set out above, the Inquiry will publish a report setting out its findings, lessons learned, and recommendations to improve child protection and safeguarding in England and Wales."

1.4. As is clear above, the Inquiry identified Medomsley Detention Centre, County Durham as an initial case study in the investigation. The apparent scale of abuse at Medomsley demands a rigorous investigation into how multiple allegations, if true, could have gone uninvestigated and the offending undetected for so long. However, at this stage, the Inquiry is not progressing its investigation in issues relating to Medomsley, due to ongoing criminal proceedings.

1.5. Instead, the Inquiry focussed this phase of the investigation (as described in the Update Note published on its website in November 2017[3]) on:

the nature and extent of, and institutional responses to, recent sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions; and of the adequacy of current institutional and systemic protections of children in those institutions from sexual abuse.

2. Core participants and legal representatives

Complainant core participants:

F20, F27, F32, Colin Watson and Peter Smith
Counsel Sam Stein QC
Solicitor David Enright (Howe & Co Solicitors)
Peter Robson
Counsel Rob Casey (Solicitor Advocate) (Switalskis Solicitors)
Solicitor David Greenwood (Switalskis Solicitors)

Institutional core participants:

Secretary of State for Education
Counsel Cathryn McGahey QC
Solicitor William Barclay (Treasury Solicitor)
Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis
Counsel Jonathan Dixey
Solicitor Sarah Heron (Metropolitan Police Services’ legal services directorate)
The Ministry of Justice
Counsel Neil Sheldon
Solicitor Kathryn Hennessy (Government Legal Department)
Counsel Sarah Hannett and Zoe McCallum
Solicitor James Fawcett (Ofsted Legal Services)

3. Evidence received by the Inquiry

Number of witness statements obtained:
332 (includes witness statements marked as not relevant)
Organisations and individuals to which requests for documentation or witness statements were sent:
Alan Wood (independent expert instructed by the Inquiry)
Avon and Somerset Constabulary
Bridgend County Council
Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales
Carolyne Willow (children’s rights campaigner and director of Article 39)
Children’s Commissioner for England
Cleveland Police
Coram Voice
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Crown Prosecution Service
Department for Education
Derbyshire County Council
Derbyshire Police
Devon and Cornwall Police
Devon County Council
Disclosure and Barring Service
Durham Constabulary
Durham County Council
Durham Crown Court
East Sussex County Council
Essex County Council
Essex Police
Greater Manchester Police
Hampshire Constabulary
Hampshire County Council
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons
Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service
Hillside Secure Children’s Home
Home Office
Hounslow Safeguarding Children’s Board
Howard League for Penal Reform
Hull City Council
Humberside Constabulary
Independent Monitoring Boards
Kent County Council
Kent Police
Lancashire County Council
Lancashire Police
Leeds City Council
Lincolnshire County Council
Lincolnshire Police
London Borough of Bromley
London Borough of Hounslow
Medway Council
Merseyside Police
Metropolitan Police Service
Milton Keynes Council
Ministry of Justice
MTC Novo
National Health Service
National Offender Management Service
National Police Chiefs’ Council
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Neath Port Talbot Council
Northamptonshire County Council
Northamptonshire Police
Northumberland County Council
Northumbria Police
Nottinghamshire County Council
Nottinghamshire Police
Nugent Care
Office for National Statistics
Operation Hydrant
Oxfordshire County Council
Pam Hibbert OBE (specialist in the area of youth justice and looked after children)
Peterborough City Council
POA (Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional & Secure Psychiatric Workers)
Prison Governors Association
Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
Professor Nick Hardwick (former Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales)
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Salford City Council
Sharron Rollinson (former assistant Local Authority Designated Officer)
Sheffield City Council
Shropshire County Council
South Gloucestershire Council
South Wales Police
South Yorkshire Police
St Helen’s Borough Council
Staffordshire County Council
Staffordshire Police
Suffolk Police
Surrey County Council
Surrey Police
Sussex Police
Thames Valley Police
Wakefield Council
Welsh Government
West Mercia Police
West Sussex County Council
West Yorkshire Police
Wigan County Council
Youth Justice Board

4. Disclosure of documents

Total number of pages disclosed: 25,590
Investigation material 19,480
Publicly available material 6,110

5. Public hearings including preliminary hearings

Preliminary hearings
1 1 February 2018
2 7 June 2018
Public hearings
Days 1–5 9–13 July 2018
Days 6–8 16–18 July 2018
Day 9 20 July 2018

6. List of witnesses

Surname Forename Title Called, read or adduced Hearing day
Smith Peter Mr Called 1
Robson Peter Mr Read 1
CI‐A17 (F27)      Called 2
Watson Colin Mr Read 2
CI‐A30 (F20)


  Called 2
CI‐A34 (F32)     Read 2
Janes Laura Dr Called 3
Bailey Simon Chief Constable Called 3
Hibbert Pam Ms Called 3
Hardwick Nick Professor Called 3
Gillan Steve Mr Read 3
Wood Alan Mr Called 4, 6, 7 & 8
Noyes Phillip Mr Read 4
Willow Carolyne Ms Called 4
Willison Katherine Ms Called 4
Savage Peter Mr Called 5
Robinson Sara Ms Called 5
Heaney Albert Mr Called 5
Mulready‐Jones Angus Mr Called 6
Knight Glenn Mr Called 6
Gormley Peter Mr Called 6
Clackson Saffron Ms Adduced 6
Stuart Rachel Ms Adduced 6
Newcomen Nigel Mr Adduced 6
Moody Elizabeth Ms Adduced 6
Longfield Anne Ms Adduced 6
Roughton Rosamond Ms Adduced 6
Good Nadine Ms Adduced 6
Wood Lara Ms Adduced 6
Gordon Yvonne Ms Adduced 6
Petherick Jerry Mr Called 7
French Jonathan Mr Called 7
Jessup Stuart Mr Called 7
Johnson Mark Mr Called 7
Drew John Mr Adduced 7
Hagger Lesley Ms Adduced 7
Brazier Matthew Mr Called 8
Rollinson Sharron Ms Called 8
Sykes Alison Ms Called 8
Whellans Margaret Ms Called 8

7. Restriction orders

On 15 August 2016, the Chair issued a restriction order under section 19(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005, granting general anonymity to all core participants who allege they are the victim and survivor of sexual offences (referred to as ‘complainant CPs’). The order prohibited (i) the disclosure or publication of any information that identifies, names or gives the address of a complainant who is a core participant and (ii) the disclosure or publication of any still or moving image of a complainant CP. The order meant that any complainant CP within this investigation was granted anonymity, unless they did not wish to remain anonymous. That order was amended on 23 March 2018 but only to vary the circumstances in which a complainant CP may themselves disclose their own CP status.[4]

8. Broadcasting

The Chair directed that the proceedings would be broadcast, as has occurred in respect of public hearings in other investigations. For anonymous witnesses, all that was ‘live streamed’ was the audio sound of their voice.

9. Redactions and ciphering

The material obtained for this Case Study was redacted, and where appropriate, ciphers applied, in accordance with the Inquiry’s Protocol on the Redaction of Documents (the Protocol).[5] This meant that (in accordance with Annex A of the Protocol), for example, absent specific consent to the contrary, the identities of complainants and victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and other children have been redacted. If the Inquiry considered that their identity appeared to be sufficiently relevant to the investigation a cipher was applied.

Pursuant to the Protocol, the identities of individuals convicted of child sexual abuse (including those who have accepted a police caution for offences related to child sexual abuse) will not generally be redacted unless the naming of the individual would risk the identification of their victim, in which case a cipher would be applied.

The Protocol also addresses the position in respect of individuals accused, but not convicted, of child sexual abuse or other physical abuse against a child, and provides that their identities should be redacted and a cipher applied. However, where the allegations against an individual are so widely known that redaction would serve no meaningful purpose (for example where the individual’s name has been published in the regulated media in connection with allegations of abuse), the Protocol provides that the Inquiry may decide not to redact their identity.

Finally, the Protocol recognises that while the Inquiry will not distinguish as a matter of course between individuals who are known or believed to be deceased and those who are, or are believed to be, alive, the Inquiry may take the fact that an individual is deceased into account when considering whether or not to apply redactions in a particular instance.

The Protocol anticipates that it may be necessary for core participants to be aware of the identity of individuals whose identity has been redacted and in respect of whom a cipher has been applied, if the same is relevant to their interest in the Case Study. Accordingly, the Inquiry varied the restriction order and circulated to certain core participants a key to some of the ciphers.

10. Warning letters

Rule 13 of the Inquiry Rules 2006 provides:

(1) The chairman may send a warning letter to any person –

a. he considers may be, or who has been, subject to criticism in the inquiry proceedings; or

b. about whom criticism may be inferred from evidence that has been given during the inquiry proceedings; or

c. who may be subject to criticism in the report, or any interim report.

(2) The recipient of a warning letter may disclose it to his recognised legal representative.

(3) The inquiry panel must not include any explicit or significant criticism of a person in the report, or in any interim report, unless –

a. the chairman has sent that person a warning letter; and

b. the person has been given a reasonable opportunity to respond to the warning letter.

In accordance with rule 13, warning letters were sent as appropriate to those who were covered by the provisions of rule 13 and the Chair and Panel considered the responses to those letters before finalising the report.

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