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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.5: “They wanted to cover it up”

18. Some victims and survivors said institutions tried to cover up the sexual abuse they reported to prevent external authorities from knowing about it. Just 7 percent of Truth Project participants who disclosed child sexual abuse at the time of the abuse said that the police were informed about their allegation.

19. Victims and survivors said that some institutions removed the perpetrator from their position but did not report the sexual abuse to the police or social care services. Kenny thought it was a “cover-up” when the choirmaster who sexually abused him was replaced without any other action.[1] When Danni told her school that a teacher had sexually abused her, the school told her parents “you must not tell the police, we will handle it in-house”. The teacher was then moved to another school. Danni said: “for almost 30 years I have felt guilty about that. What if he did it to other kids?”.[2] Tim said that the headteacher who sexually abused him was moved to another school without investigation following allegations being made against him.[3] He said that, more recently, the local authority destroyed files relating to the allegations, which he felt was part of a cover-up.

20. A number of victims and survivors said that some institutions appeared to prioritise their reputation or interests above the safety of children. Victims and survivors also described how familial reputations seemed to be valued over and above their welfare as children. Aimie said her family were focussed on protecting her grandfather’s reputation after he repeatedly sexually abused her.[4]

21. Some victims and survivors described how the culture within a particular institution or community discouraged reporting allegations of child sexual abuse to the police. In 2014, PR-A2 disclosed that she was sexually abused in a madrassa and met with an imam to discuss this. He told her “not to rock the boat” given the potential for shame and dishonour, as well as possible reprisals from the community.[5] Carrie-Ann was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. She explained that her social worker, who was also a Jehovah’s Witness, discouraged her from reporting that she had been sexually abused by her family members, saying: “You know how Jehovah feels about liars”.[6]

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