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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 Anglican Church Investigation Report


B.1.1: Introduction

1. Specific legislation and guidance about child sexual abuse was developed from the late 1980s. This included:

  • the Children Act 1989, which came into force in 1991 and established the key principles for decisions concerning the welfare and safety of children, including the ‘Paramountcy Principle’ (which requires the child’s welfare to be the paramount consideration);[1]
  • Working Together Under The Children Act 1989 (1991) guidance, which was issued to various public authorities, police forces and voluntary organisations and included child sexual abuse;[2] and
  • the Home Office’s Safe from Harm code of practice (1993), child protection guidance for voluntary organisations in England and Wales, which covered how to protect children and deal with abuse, based on 13 core principles.[3]

2. Despite these national developments, the Church of England acknowledged that its child protection systems were inadequate at a national and diocesan level until 2013. The report of the Archbishop’s Visitation to the Diocese of Chichester in 2012 to 2013 represented a “wake-up call” for the Church.[4] Its findings led to a revised approach to safeguarding in the Church.

3. In the view of Ms Melissa Caslake (the Director of Safeguarding within the National Church Institutions[5] since July 2019), there is still a lack of “consistent transparency and challenge in decision making”. She also considered that there needs to be a “deeper improvement culture”, although the Church has improved governance, training, audit and guidance.[6]


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