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

IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Final report

C.3: “I was abused emotionally”

9. Victims and survivors often described being emotionally abused as children. This included being threatened, insulted, deliberately excluded and emotionally manipulated. Orson said his mother regularly refused him food, locked him in cupboards, pulled his hair out and punched him while he was sleeping. He remembered social workers being “in and out” of his life, but said that little action was taken to protect him.[1]

10. It was particularly common for victims and survivors to say that they were bullied by the person who sexually abused them. Adela described her family as outwardly respectable. However, behind closed doors, she was emotionally, physically and sexually abused by her father.[2] Other victims and survivors described an intimidatory culture in the institution in which they were sexually abused. RS-A1 described how children were made to feel demoralised in the competitive, bullying atmosphere at private music school: “that is absolutely the ideal breeding ground for abuse to flourish”.[3]

11. Some victims and survivors were subjected to racism. LA-A456 was told by children’s home staff that they would make her “clean and white”.[4] LA-A24 also experienced racist abuse while in care and said that being in his children’s home “made my whole life hell”.[5] Malia said that racism was rife at her school. As a result, she felt that no one took any interest in her: “You was black, no one gave a shit”.[6] LGBTQ+ victims and survivors often described growing up in homophobic environments. One woman, who is a lesbian, said that as a child she thought it was “disgusting” to be gay due to her mother’s homophobia.[7]

12. Some female victims and survivors described experiencing sexism as children. Binali said that she and her sisters were kept under tight control and not allowed out, but that the “boys … did pretty much everything they wanted to”.[8] One 14-year-old girl said: “My boy mates … they make rape jokes, they make like sexist jokes, and they know it’s jokes but they don’t realise the effects”.[9] A female member of the Victims and Survivors Forum reflected on the cultural messages girls receive, saying that female bodies are seen as “both a temptation and a commodity”.[10]

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