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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

F.3: “They called me a liar”

12. Often victims and survivors were accused of lying when they told someone that they were being sexually abused. Only 5 percent of Truth Project participants who disclosed child sexual abuse to an institution at the time of the abuse said that they were believed when they disclosed.[1] Jaden mentioned in front of the police that he was being raped regularly in his children’s home. The police officer responded by saying “we don’t need to hear your fucking lies”.[2] Peyton was sexually abused throughout her childhood during the 1990s and 2000s, starting when she was four. Although hospital staff had found bruising around her genitals and finger marks around her neck, she said a police officer accused her of causing the injuries to herself.[3]

13. Some victims and survivors said that they were accused of lying because the perpetrator was considered by others to be a reputable person. RC-A494 said that when he disclosed that he had been abused, including being stripped naked and lashed with a leather strap, he was simply told: “Nuns wouldn’t do that. They are nice people”.[4] Others felt that their background seemed to influence the chance of their disclosure being dismissed. Mercy grew up in a violent and neglectful home. She said that teachers saw her as a “problem child” and did not believe her when she told them she had been raped by multiple men.[5] Victims and survivors who were sexually abused in a healthcare context often said that they were labelled as “sick” or “crazy” when they told healthcare professionals that they were being sexually abused.[6]

14. Victims and survivors were sometimes ‘punished’ for telling ‘lies’ when they disclosed sexual abuse. Serennah grew up in the 1960s. When she told her teacher that she was being raped by her stepfather, she was called a liar and slapped.[7] NO-A319 said that in 1975 he was physically assaulted by a member of staff at his children’s home after disclosing sexual abuse by another staff member.[8] Victims and survivors also suffered other forms of harm after being accused of lying about child sexual abuse. During the 2000s, Sally-Ann was sexually abused by her brother from the age of about five. Aged 15, she was kicked out of her family home and accused of lying by her parents when she disclosed the sexual abuse.[9]


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