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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

G.1: Introduction

1. The criminal and civil justice systems play an important role in the way the State responds to child sexual abuse.

2. Investigating and prosecuting those who commit criminal offences involving the sexual abuse of children is rightly a matter of significant public interest. Inadequate responses of the police, Crown Prosecution Service and courts featured in a number of the Inquiry’s investigations and was a matter frequently raised by Truth Project participants when giving their accounts.

3. The length of time taken to investigate and prosecute child sexual abuse cases was, and remains, a matter of significant concern. Delay within the criminal justice system can add to the harm caused by sexual abuse and has a profound impact on the well-being of victims, survivors and complainants, as well as those against whom allegations have been made. It can also hinder efforts to bring perpetrators to justice and has led some victims and complainants to retract their statements and disengage from criminal investigations.[1]

4. The civil justice system provides a separate route for victims and survivors to hold individuals and institutions to account. A number of the Inquiry’s investigations, in particular the Accountability and Reparations investigation, heard evidence about the difficulties victims and survivors face when seeking compensation and the unfairness caused by the imposition of time limits within which civil claims relating to child sexual abuse must be brought.

5. To help enforce the rights of victims and survivors, the Inquiry recommends steps to improve compliance with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime in England and Wales (Victims’ Code) during police investigations and any subsequent prosecution. The Inquiry also recommends removing time limits on bringing civil claims for child sexual abuse.

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