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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

I.7: “It took so long”

32. Victims and survivors often felt that the processes they went through to seek acknowledgement and accountability were long and drawn out. Angelina said that it was three years before the criminal trial of the man who sexually abused her began.[1] Young victims and survivors described similar experiences. During the Inquiry’s engagement with children and young people, one child said: “I was just waiting and waiting. It took months. I didn’t know what was going on”.[2] In particular, victims and survivors who attempted to view their childhood records described the process as long and complex. This had an impact on their ability to seek justice or compensation.[3] Kirsty endured a three-year wait to access her social services records.[4]

33. Delays caused considerable frustration and distress. One Forum member said that their pursuit of redress from the institution in which they were sexually abused had “lasted years” and “has been a time of hypervigilance and anxiety on an almost daily basis”.[5] Some victims and survivors regretted reporting child sexual abuse because of the protracted process that followed:

I think if I had my time again, I would not have come forward, the reason for that being is the amount of time that it took for these court procedures to take place. It took approximately 12 to 13 years of my life away … the only people that actually benefited from this particular trial was actually the lawyers.[6]

AR-A36, Accountability and reparations investigation

34. Victims and survivors were often disappointed when, after a long and complex process, they did not get the acknowledgement or accountability they had sought. One Forum member felt they were “lost in a roundabout of systems, poking in the dark” after trying to access their childhood records.[7] Many described how they felt when perpetrators were found not guilty in a criminal court. Ailish became “angry beyond belief” during criminal proceedings in which she was asked to describe an intimate feature of her sexual abuser, only for her evidence to then be discredited.[8] The perpetrator was eventually found not guilty. Ailish said that the trial made her feel that no one cared about her and that she went through the difficulty for nothing. One Truth Project participant said: “The not guilty verdict was a huge blow. I remember just crying, you feel like it was completely wasted pain”.[9]

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