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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.1: Introduction

1. Child sexual abuse may come to the attention of institutions in different ways and at different times:

  • some victims disclose what has happened to them, either as a child or as an adult;
  • some children show signs of abuse or engage in behaviour which properly trained individuals can identify;
  • some perpetrators use certain behaviours, particularly grooming techniques, which can be indicators of abuse; and
  • internet companies and law enforcement agencies increasingly use technology to identify abuse taking place online.

2. The ability of adults to identify children who are being abused or are at risk of abuse is therefore a fundamental feature of the institutional response and an integral precursor to the reporting process. The Inquiry encountered numerous examples of failures to identify child sexual abuse. Failure to report abuse to the police or social services was an abdication of the responsibility to protect children.[1]

3. A new law is therefore required to place certain individuals who work with children under a statutory duty to report child sexual abuse to the police or social services. In conjunction with recommendations to prioritise the response to sexual abuse, new reporting obligations will dispel any reluctance felt by some in receipt of disclosures from victims and survivors to inform the statutory authorities. This in turn may ensure the statutory authorities are better informed and victims and survivors better supported.

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