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Recommendations - Interim Report

These recommendations were made in the Interim Report.

Inspection of compliance with the Victims’ Code

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and Attorney General commission a joint inspection of compliance with the Victims’ Code in relation to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

The Victims’ Commissioner should be consulted on the inspection approach to ensure that it is fully informed by the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

Responses

On 22 July 2019, the UK Government response stated that the Ministry of Justice had developed and implemented a compliance framework for the Victims’ Code. In early 2020, the Criminal Justice Board will receive the first national compliance report and will take action to address significant non-compliance. 

In its progress update in December 2018, the Government noted that it would discuss the possibility of a joint inspection with the Criminal Justice Joint Inspection once the compliance framework had formally commenced.

Revise Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) rules

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Ministry of Justice revises Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) rules, so that awards are not automatically rejected in circumstances where an applicant’s criminal convictions are likely to be linked to their child sexual abuse. Each case should be considered on its merits.

Responses

On 22 July 2019, the UK Government stated that the Ministry of Justice had published the terms of reference of a review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. The review is examining whether the Scheme reflects the changing nature of violent crime and effectively supports victims in their recovery. The review was expected to report by the end of 2019. 

In response to a Parliamentary question on 6 February 2020, the Ministry of Justice noted that a review of the Scheme is underway and will take account of the findings and recommendations of the Inquiry.

On 16 July 2020, the Ministry of Justice published a consultation seeking views on reform proposals for the review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. The consultation will run until 9 October 2020. The consultation does not propose changes to the eligibility rules, in regards to criminal convictions.

Trained CICA caseworkers handling child sexual abuse claims

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that CICA ensures that claims relating to child sexual abuse are only considered by caseworkers who have specific and detailed training in the nature and impact of child sexual abuse.

Responses

On 19 December 2018, UK Government stated that all CICA operational staff are given training on handling sexual abuse cases, including child sexual abuse. CICA provides a dedicated caseworker to applicants in particularly complex and difficult cases and is considering options to extend this to other cases.

Revise CICA ‘same-roof’ rule

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Ministry of Justice revises CICA rules so that all applicants who previously applied for compensation in relation to child sexual abuse ‒ but were refused solely due to the ‘same-roof’ rule ‒ should be entitled to reapply for compensation and have their claim approved by CICA.

Responses

On 13 June 2019, the UK Government abolished the pre-1979 ‘same roof’ rule within the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012.

Association of British Insurers (ABI) to consider register of public liability insurers

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Association of British Insurers (ABI) considers whether a register of public liability insurers could be introduced to assist claimants in child sexual abuse cases in locating the insurers relevant to their claim, and how it would operate.

The Chair and Panel recommend that the ABI sets out its consideration of the issue and the conclusions it has reached in a written update within 12 months of the publication of this report.

Responses

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) formally responded to this recommendation in April 2019, raising a number of questions about the merits of such a register and the challenges that may be faced by its introduction. The response from ABI was referred to in the Accountability and Reparations Investigation report and at the investigation hearing on 26 November 2019.

Protection for victims and survivors in civil court cases

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Ministry of Justice provides in primary legislation that victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in civil court cases, where they are claiming compensation in relation to the abuse they suffered, are afforded the same protections as vulnerable witnesses in criminal court cases.

The Chair and Panel understand that cost is already a barrier to victims and survivors considering a civil claim. In considering how to fund the implementation of this recommendation, the Ministry of Justice must ensure that this barrier is not further increased.

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Civil Procedure Rule Committee amends the Civil Procedure Rules to ensure that judges presiding over cases relating to child sexual abuse consider the use of protections for vulnerable witnesses.

Responses

In February 2020, the Civil Justice Council published its report on vulnerable witnesses and parties within civil proceedings. The Civil Justice Council was asked by the Ministry of Justice to consider the vulnerability of parties and/or witnesses in civil actions in response to the Inquiry’s recommendation. The report recommends that Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service should ensure that individual court centres/courts should prepare comprehensive operational protocols which should include consideration of the assistance/protections that can be given to vulnerable parties/witnesses given available facilities in both civil and family cases.

National chaperoning policy for healthcare services: England

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Department of Health and Social Care develops a national policy for the training and use of chaperones in the treatment of children in healthcare services.

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Care Quality Commission considers compliance with national chaperone policies (once implemented) in its assessments of services.

Responses

On 22 July 2019, the UK Government stated that NHS England had developed chaperone guidance notes which set out clear principles of chaperoning and examples of good practice. 

The UK Government also stated that the Department for Health and Social Care will continue to require the Care Quality Commission to assess providers’ policies and protocols on their inspection visits.

National chaperoning policy for healthcare services: Wales

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Welsh Government develops a national policy for the training and use of chaperones in the treatment of children in healthcare services.

The Chair and Panel recommend that Healthcare Inspectorate Wales considers compliance with national chaperone policies (once implemented) in its assessments of services.

Responses

On 6 January 2020, the Welsh Government published guidance for health boards and trusts in respect of good working practice for the use of chaperones during intimate examinations or procedures within NHS Wales. These good working practice guidelines have been developed in response to the Inquiry’s recommendation in the Interim Report.

Ratification of Lanzarote Convention

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the UK Government ratifies the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (the ‘Lanzarote Convention’) without further delay. They also recommend that ratification is followed, again without further delay, by action to implement the Lanzarote Convention.

Responses

On 20 June 2018, the UK Government ratified the Lanzarote Convention.

Experience and training requirements for Chief Officers

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that any police officer (or staff equivalent) who wants to progress to the Chief Officer cadre must first be required to: (i) have operational policing experience in preventing and responding to child sexual abuse, and (ii) achieve accreditation in the role of the police service in preventing and responding to child sexual abuse.

The Home Office should amend entry requirements using its powers under the Police Regulations 2003 to achieve this. 

The Chair and Panel recommend that the College of Policing develops the training content and accreditation arrangements.

Responses

On 22 July 2019, the UK Government stated that the Home Office and College of Policing had drawn up a programme of non-legislative changes to ensure there is an understanding of safeguarding and vulnerability across all levels of leadership in policing. 

The UK Government response also stated that the Home Office had not yet identified any need for legislative change but would keep this under review.

Registration of care staff in children’s homes

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Department for Education introduces arrangements for the registration of staff working in care roles in children’s homes.

Registration should be with an independent body charged with setting and maintaining standards of training, conduct and continuing professional development, and with the power to enforce these through fitness to practise procedures.

The Chair and Panel recognise that registration may require a period of phasing in, and therefore recommend that priority be given to professional registration of children’s home managers.

Responses

On 6 June 2019, the Department for Education launched a Call for Evidence on the children’s home workforce in response to the Inquiry’s recommendation. The Call for Evidence concluded on 27 August 2019 and the Department for Education has stated that it will publish its findings in due course.

Amendment of Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Home Office ensures that the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 is amended so that, where a fitness to practise hearing has been conducted by the keeper of a relevant register and has resulted in removal of a practitioner from that register for reasons relating to harm or risk of harm to children:  the keeper of the register has a duty to refer that information to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS); and, the DBS, on receiving the referral, has a duty to automatically bar the practitioner from working with children, allowing them the opportunity to make representations to the DBS if they consider the bar to be disproportionate or unfair.

Responses

On 22 July 2019, the UK Government stated that the Home Office asked the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to continue its close engagement with professional bodies and regulators to ensure effective information sharing takes place.

The Government response also stated that the DBS has not identified any emerging issues at present.

Police handling of complaints relating to child sexual abuse cases

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the National Police Chiefs’ Council ensures that complaints relating to child sexual abuse are no longer ‘disapplied’ by police forces on the grounds that the incident involved took place more than 12 months before the complaint was submitted.

Responses

On 16 January 2019, Chief Constable Craig Guildford (National Police Chiefs Council lead for Complaints and Misconduct) advised all Chief Officers of the need to change their approach to disapplication as it was inconsistent with the cotemporary policing approach to non-recent child sexual abuse reports. 

On 1 February 2020 The Independent Office of Police Conduct published its new statutory guidance on the police complaints system. The statutory guidance no longer includes a chapter on disapplication to reflect the Inquiry’s recommendation.

Public expenditure on services for victims and survivors in England

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Education, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office work together to establish current levels of public expenditure, and the effectiveness of that expenditure on services for child victims and adult survivors of child sexual abuse in England.

Responses

On 22 July 2019, the UK Government stated that the Ministry of Justice had established a working group through which it has gathered data on the current level of public expenditure on support services for child victims and adult survivors of sexual abuse. The Ministry of Justice intended to present their findings to the Inquiry by December 2019. 

On 26 February 2020, the Ministry of Justice, Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Education and the Home Office reviewed the public expenditure on services which provide support to victims and survivors who have experienced abuse rather than broader safeguarding, prevention or early intervention services. The review notes that the UK Government’s forthcoming strategy on child sexual abuse will seek to take a whole-system approach to addressing the provision of support services.

Public expenditure on services for victims and survivors in Wales

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel recommend that the Welsh Government and the relevant UK government departments work together to establish current levels of public expenditure, and the effectiveness of that expenditure on services for child victims and adult survivors of child sexual abuse in Wales.

Responses

On 10 December 2018, the Welsh Government wrote to notify the Inquiry that the recommendation has been fully accepted.

Recommendations process

You can find out about our process for monitoring responses by visiting our web page.

Interim report

View the Interim Report in its entirety.

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