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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.1: Introduction

1. Over many decades, there have been serious and wide-ranging failures by both State and non-State institutions to protect children from child sexual abuse and exploitation or the risk of such abuse. This occurred in a wide range of settings, including local authority children’s homes, schools, voluntary organisations and religious institutions. The impact of child sexual abuse on victims and survivors can be devastating and lifelong. Appropriate and meaningful reparation and redress, including by the State, may help alleviate some of this impact.

2. There are a number of key elements of redress which are important to victims and survivors. These include:

  • Acknowledgement of abuse and the harm caused. This is a vital step from which other forms of reparation can flow. It can also assist institutions to accept the failures of the past and use the learning to better protect children in the future.
  • Genuine and meaningful apologies, in particular from the institutions, bodies and individuals that victims and survivors see as responsible for their abuse. For many, a sincere apology is more important than compensation.
  • Assurances about the prevention of child sexual abuse, particularly to those who choose to share their experiences.
  • Financial redress. This can never fully compensate victims and survivors for the sexual abuse suffered as children, but it can recognise the impact of the abuse and go some way to helping victims and survivors.

3. Many institutions repeatedly failed to meet the needs of victims and survivors seeking redress or even to acknowledge their experiences. Often they were driven by reputational and financial concerns, rather than concern for children who have been abused. As a result, victims and survivors have been left feeling unheard, dismissed and unsupported.

4. Victims and survivors may also seek financial redress through the civil justice system (discussed in Part G) and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (discussed below). However, these systems often do not adequately provide the comprehensive accountability and reparation sought by victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. There are improvements that should be made and the Inquiry has already recommended a number of changes. As a result of failures by the State, statutory agencies and the systems for protecting victims and survivors, the Inquiry recommends further changes, including the creation of a national redress scheme.

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