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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

H.3: “It made a huge, huge difference to me and my life”

7. For many victims and survivors, effective support at the right time had a significant positive impact. Some felt that therapy was the “best thing[1] they’d ever done or remarked that they did not believe they would be alive without the support of services.[2] Edna felt that “getting in early” with “immediate help” was critical.[3]

8. Often victims and survivors’ sense of well-being improved as a result of effective support. For Alun, therapy “turned everything around”.[4] Ronan said that he had tried to take his own life but that counselling helped him process his feelings about experiencing child sexual abuse. He was still using the coping strategies he learnt in therapy to manage the impact of the sexual abuse.[5] Eric felt that counselling positively changed his world view:

So many people just think the world is a nasty place. I used to believe that when I was younger but I don’t believe that any more.[6]

Eric, Truth Project participant

9. Other victims and survivors spoke about the positive impacts of specialist support. Some said that support empowered them to release misplaced feelings of guilt about being sexually abused as a child. John said: “I always blamed myself … they made me realise that I was a child and wasn’t in control”.[7] Victims and survivors who had positive experiences of support services also described reductions in trauma symptoms. Nic said: “My hyper-vigilance, which used to be a very strong sense, is hugely reduced. Generally, I sleep better. I am more relaxed. I’m not as twitchy”.[8]

10. Victims and survivors said that accessing support helped them to better understand what happened to them as children and the impact of child sexual abuse. Jemma saw a specialist who explained how trauma can affect the body. This helped her understand why she felt the way she did and made her feel “more in control again”.[9] Daisy had therapy from a specialist sexual violence and abuse organisation. Although at first she was unable to speak because “it felt bleak, grey, dark”, gradually the support helped her to piece together the timeline of the sexual abuse she experienced.[10] Accessing support also taught victims and survivors how to cope with the impact of sexual abuse. One Forum member said support was necessary to help them “work through [their] buried feelings and trauma” so they were strong enough to “face the truth and take control”.[11] Another Forum member said that support enabled them to “go on to the next step”.[12]

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