Skip to main content

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

F.1: Introduction

1. The majority of victims and survivors did not disclose child sexual abuse at the time that it was happening. Just 33 percent of Truth Project participants who discussed disclosure said that they disclosed that they were being sexually abused at the time.[1] Most disclosed to a parent, the police or someone within the institution in which they were abused (Figure F.1).

A set of eight icons, with accompanying titles and percentages, showing who victims and survivors told about the sexual abuse they experienced as a child at the time it was happening.Figure F.1: People to whom Truth Project participants disclosed at the time of their child sexual abuse

Long Description

People to whom Truth Project participants disclosed at the time of their child sexual abuse

Person in authority in institution:
Social worker or child protection officer:
Child friend:
Healthcare personnel:
Mental health provider:

2. Amongst those who did disclose child sexual abuse at the time, the majority said that they did not receive the help and protection that they needed. Victims and survivors often said that the person to whom they disclosed responded inadequately. Many victims and survivors were accused of lying, were blamed or were silenced. These experiences were common, whether victims and survivors disclosed as children in the 1950s or 2010s. Victims and survivors commonly said that negative responses to disclosures meant they never wanted to talk about their experiences of child sexual abuse again.

3. Although victims and survivors who participated in the Inquiry’s work often described negative experiences of disclosure, some did report action being taken. For example, 7 percent of Truth Project participants said that the institution to whom they disclosed contacted the police. Other participants described being removed from the abusive environment (7 percent), the perpetrator being removed (7 percent) or receiving counselling and support (2 percent). Victims and survivors who described action being taken in response to their disclosure were in the minority.



  1. This percentage relates to Truth Project participants who disclosed at least one incident of child sexual abuse at the time. This includes some participants who disclosed all incidents, and others who only disclosed some incidents but not others.
Back to top