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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child Migration Programmes Investigation Report


1. The issues that we had to decide in this Case Study can be summarised as being:

a. what the institutions based in England and Wales actually knew, and what they should have known, about the sexual abuse of child migrants;

b. whether sufficient care was taken by those institutions to protect child migrants from sexual abuse;

c. whether they responded appropriately when evidence or allegations of sexual abuse of child migrants emerged during the migration era;

d. whether they responded appropriately when such evidence or allegations emerged more recently; and

e. whether the support and reparations offered to child migrants in respect of sexual abuse have been adequate.

2. The Core Participants to the Case Study broadly accepted that the determination of issues d and e, which relate to the events of recent years, depended on our own assessment of the evidence, in light of our experience.

3. However, all of the institutional Core Participants, to varying degrees, challenged the Inquiry’s approach to issues a–c (in essence, those relating to knowledge, sufficiency of care and response). The submissions on these issues were initiated and most forcefully advanced by HMG and the Catholic Council for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (CCIICSA), but were also supported by the Sisters of Nazareth (SoN) and Barnardo’s.

4. These institutions argued that we had to apply ‘standards’ from the time of the migration era to the determination of issues a–c; that we did not have adequate evidence before us to reach a proper decision on these matters; and that we should instruct a child care expert to provide further evidence on the issues of the historic standards of knowledge, sufficiency of care and response.

5. The first of these submissions – that we must take care to be mindful of the historical context, must not apply hindsight and must assess the actions of institutions against what was considered reasonable at the time of the child migration programmes – is not controversial. We have made clear at least since before the Part 2 hearings that as a matter of common sense and fairness we would only judge the actions of the institutions in this Case Study by contemporaneous ‘standards’. We would hope that anyone applying today’s standards of childcare to what happened to the child migrants would agree that the conduct of many institutions fell very far short of those standards – indeed, many of the institutions which appeared before us accepted as much, such that there would be relatively little for us to decide if that were the approach taken.

6. However, beyond that, we do not accept the arguments advanced by the institutional Core Participants. Instead we agree with the CMT, Oliver Cosgrove and David Hill,[1] to the effect that we do have sufficient evidence before us to determine the issues, for the reasons that follow.



  1. CMT Closing Statement, [31]-[66] and Annex, Contemporaneous Standards vs The Human Reality; Barnardo’s Closing Statement, [2]-[8]; Oliver Cosgrove Closing Statement, [10]-[25]; and David Hill, Oral Closing Statement: Hill 26 July 2017 31/19-41/22.
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