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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child Migration Programmes Investigation Report

Part C. Detailed Examination of Institutional Responses


1. We now turn to a detailed examination of the institutional responses to sexual abuse in the child migration programmes. Before doing so it is important to place this examination within a context.

2. As we have set out earlier in the report, the Inquiry heard evidence that children were subjected to brutal conditions. They were physically beaten and deprived of medical care and a proper education. They were often not given enough food to eat and endured a regime where cruel punishments were the norm.

3. The Inquiry was concerned to find that children were often selected on the basis of populating other countries with ‘white British stock’, or to help strengthen the presence of faith based institutions overseas. The welfare of the children should have been paramount, but was frequently secondary.

The questions for the Inquiry

4. The scope of this Case Study led to a number of questions to be considered by the Inquiry in relation to each institution.

5. These questions are set out below:

a. What was the involvement of the institution in the child migration programmes and its rationale for involvement?

b. What were the nature and extent of the allegations or evidence of sexual abuse in respect of children migrated by the institution?

c. What did the institution know, and what should it have known, during the migration period about allegations or evidence of sexual abuse of child migrants? How adequately did the institution respond to any such allegations or evidence?

d. Did the institution take sufficient care to protect child migrants from sexual abuse?

e. How adequately did the institution respond to allegations or evidence of sexual abuse of child migrants that came to its attention in the post-migration period?

f. What support and reparations has the institution offered to former child migrants alleging sexual abuse, and have these been adequate? 

6. Regarding what the institutions in England and Wales “should” have known of sexual abuse, we recognise that it cannot be said that even the most robust post-migration monitoring system “would” have revealed information about child sexual abuse. We are not able to conclude that any organisation “should” have had such knowledge.

However, we conclude that children were exposed to a risk of sexual abuse, which ought to have been appreciated by the sending institutions.

Had their monitoring systems been more robust, the institutions may have known more about specific allegations of sexual abuse and of the risk of such abuse.

Interventions ought then to have been triggered that may have reduced the risk of sexual abuse to the children.

7. Regarding the sufficiency of care to protect children from the risk of sexual abuse, failures to operate effective post-migration monitoring meant that the institutions concerned could not be satisfied that the expectations of care were being met.

Where an institution failed to operate effective post-migration monitoring, it also failed to take sufficient care to protect child migrants from the risk of sexual abuse.

8. In terms of support and reparations:

Any comprehensive scheme of reparations for child migrants should include apology and acknowledgement, support, and financial redress. Some of the institutions concerned have addressed some of these aspects, but we are not aware of any scheme which addresses all of them.

Presentation of Part C

9. Part C is presented in two sections. The first focuses on the response of HMG. The second focuses on the response of the institutions which sent children to countries around the world.

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