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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child Migration Programmes Investigation Report

1 Overview of process and evidence obtained by the Inquiry

1. Definition of Scope for the Case Study set in May 2016

The overall investigation into the protection of children outside the United Kingdom will be conducted by means of a number of narrower case studies. The first of these will be a Case Study into institutional failings of organisations based in England and Wales relating to the sexual abuse of children involved in child migration programmes (“child migrants” or “former child migrants”). Child migrants were moved from care or from their families in England and Wales and placed in institutions or with families abroad by government departments, public authorities and private and/ or charitable organisations in England and Wales.

The House of Commons Select Committee on Health has estimated that 150,000 British children were sent abroad pursuant to child migration programmes, mostly to Canada, Australia and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Some former child migrants have alleged that they were subjected to sexual abuse either prior to their migration, in homes and other institutions in England and Wales, and/or at the institutions to which they were sent. As well as taking account of individual allegations, this investigation will incorporate a review of information available from published and unpublished reports and reviews, court cases and previous relevant investigations. The Inquiry will consider the following matters:

1. whether government departments, public authorities, private and/or charitable institutions based in England and Wales took sufficient care to protect children involved in child migration programmes;

2. the extent to which government departments, public authorities, private and/or charitable institutions based in England and Wales were aware or should have been aware of allegations or evidence of sexual abuse concerning children involved in child migration programmes, and whether appropriate steps were taken in response;

3. the adequacy of support and reparations offered to individuals who suffered sexual abuse relating to their inclusion in child migration programmes. The Inquiry will publish a report setting out its findings, lessons learnt, and recommendations.

2. Core Participants and legal representatives 

Complainant Core Participants:

David Hill
Oliver Cosgrove
Solicitor Imran Khan and Jade Brown (Imran Khan & Partners)

Institutional Core Participants:

Counsel Steven Ford QC
Solicitor Chris Webb-Jenkins and Chaitali Desai (Weightmans LLP)
Catholic Council for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (CCIICSA)
Counsel Kate Gallafent QC and Joanne Cecil
Solicitor Stephen Parkinson and Emily Carter (Kingsley Napley LLP)
Child Migrants Trust (CMT)
Counsel Aswini Weereratne QC and Keina Yoshida
Solicitor Frances Swaine (Leigh Day)
Secretary of State for Health
Counsel Samantha Leek QC and Cicely Hayward
Solicitor John Scott (Government Legal Department)
Sisters of Nazareth
Counsel Bilal Rawat
Solicitor Michael Pether and Miriam Rahamim (BLM Law)

3. Evidence received by the Inquiry

Number of witness statements obtained 64
Organisations to which requests for documentation were sent
Action for Children 
Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England
Archdiocese of Southwark
Birmingham City Council / Library of Birmingham (re Middlemore Homes archive)
Caritas Social Action Network
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales
Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster)
Catholic Council for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
Child Migrants Trust
Cornwall Council Department of Health Diagrama Foundation (re archive of the Catholic Child Welfare Council)
East Sussex County Council
Father Hudson’s Care
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Home Office
London Metropolitan Archive (re archive of Middlesex County Council)
Royal Over-Seas League
Sisters of Nazareth
The Children’s Society
The Prince’s Trust (re Fairbridge Society archive)
The Royal Archives
The Salvation Army

4. Disclosure of documents

Total number of pages disclosed 32,180

5. Public hearings including preliminary hearings

Preliminary Hearings
  1 28 July 2016
  2 31 January 2017
  3 9 May 2017
Substantive Public Hearings
Part 1 Day 1 – 5 27 February – 3 March 2017
  Day 6 – 9 7 – 10 March 2017
Part 2  Day 10 – 14 10 – 15 July 2017
  Day 15 – 19 17 – 21 July 2017
  Day 20 26 July 2017

6. List of Witnesses

Surname Forename Title Called / Read Hearing Day
Bagshaw Peter Mr Read  2
Brown  Gordon Rt. Hon Dr Called 18
Clarke Sara Mrs  Called 13
CM-A2     Read  2
CM-A3     Read  6
CM-A4     Called 3
CM-A5     Called 5
CM-A6     Read 3
CM-A11     Called 7
CM-A12     Read 4
CM-A13     Read 6
CM-A14     Called 2
CM-A17     Read 6
CM-A19     Called  6
CM-A20     Called  4
CM-A22     Called  7
CM-A26     Read 6
CM-A82     Read  7
Constantine Stephen Professor Called 1; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 15; 17; 19
Cordery Jack Mr  Called 14
Cosgrove Oliver Mr Called 3; 18
Davies Mark Mr Called 17
Delaney Edward Mr Called 6
Doolan Anna Maria Sister Called 13
Gandy Mary Mrs Called 16
Hanley John Francis Mr Read 5
Hawes Michael Mr  Called 4
Haynes Nigel Mr





Hill David Mr Called 7; 18
Humphreys Margaret Dr Called 8; 19
Norman Mr  Called   18
Juster Dean Mr  Read 14
Keenan Rosemary Dr  Read 16
Lynch Gordon Professor Called 1; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 15; 17; 19
Major John Rt. Hon Sir Read 18
Milburn Martina Dame Called 12
Neilson Deanna Miss Called 14
O’Brien Marcelle Mrs Called 2
O’Donoghue Michael Mr Called 5
Porter Roderick Major General Called 13
Quinn Andrew Mr Called 15
Reed Matthew Mr Called 14
Scott  Edward Mr Read 4
Skidmore Patricia Mrs Called 8
Stock  Marcus Rt. Rev (Bishop of Leeds) Called 16
Thomas Christopher Reverend Read 16
Tripp Howard Bishop Read 16
Woods Gilbert Mr Read 12

7. Restriction Orders

On 15 August 2016, the Chair issued a Restriction Order under s.19(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005, granting general anonymity to all Core Participants who allege that they are the victim and survivor of sexual offences (referred to as “Complainant CPs”).[1] The Order prohibited (i) the disclosure or publication of any information that identifies, names or gives the address of a Complainant CP who is a Core Participant; and (ii) the disclosure or publication of any still or moving image of a Complainant CP. The Order meant that any former child migrant who is a Complainant CP was granted anonymity during the Case Study, unless they did not wish to remain anonymous.

The Chair also issued a Restriction Order under s.19(2)(b) of the Act, granting the same level of protection to all former child migrant complainant witnesses. Therefore any former child migrant complainant witness who wished to give evidence anonymously did so, so that their identity was not revealed to the press and public and no images or information to identify the witness could be published. 

8. Broadcasting

The Chair directed that the proceedings would be broadcast, as has occurred in respect of public hearings in other investigations. This was likely to have been particularly significant for this Case Study given that many of those with an interest in its subject matter are now elderly, infirm, or live abroad. For anonymous witnesses, all that was “live streamed” was the audio sound of their voice.

9. Redactions and ciphering

The material obtained for the Case Study was redacted, and where appropriate, ciphers applied, in accordance with the Inquiry’s Protocol on the Redaction of Documents.[2] This meant that (in accordance with Annex A of the Protocol), absent specific consent to the contrary, the identities of complainants, victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and other children was redacted; and if the Inquiry considered that their identity appeared to be sufficiently relevant to the investigation a cipher was applied.

Pursuant to the Protocol, the identities of individuals convicted of child sexual abuse (including those who have accepted a police caution for offences related to child sexual abuse) were not generally redacted unless the naming of the individual would risk the identification of their victim in which case a cipher would be applied.

The Protocol also addresses the position in respect of individuals accused, but not convicted, of child sexual or other physical abuse against a child, and provides that their identities should be redacted and a cipher applied. However, where the allegations against an individual are so widely known that redaction would serve no meaningful purpose (for example where the individual’s name has been published in the regulated media in connection with allegations of abuse), the Protocol provides that the Inquiry may decide not to redact their identity. Applying this approach, the Chair directed that the names of several individuals against whom allegations had been made previously in other public fora, such as in evidence to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, should be de‑ciphered.

Finally, the Protocol recognises that while the Inquiry will not distinguish as a matter of course between individuals who are known or believed to be deceased and those that are, or are believed to be, alive, the Inquiry may take the fact that an individual is deceased into account when considering whether or not to apply redactions in a particular instance. Insofar as the Inquiry was satisfied that several named persons were deceased, and that it was relevant to disclose their name, those redactions/ciphers were removed.

The Protocol anticipates that it may be necessary for Core Participants to be aware of the identity of individuals whose identity has been redacted and in respect of whom a cipher has been applied, if the same is relevant to their interest in the Case Study. Therefore, the Inquiry varied the Restriction Order and circulated to certain Core Participants a key to some of the ciphers.

10. Warning Letters

Rule 13 of the Inquiry Rules 2006 provides:

“(1) The chairman may send a warning letter to any person –

a. he considers may be, or who has been, subject to criticism in the inquiry proceedings; or

b. about whom criticism may be inferred from evidence that has been given during the inquiry proceedings; or

c. who may be subject to criticism in the report, or any interim report.

(2) The recipient of a warning letter may disclose it to his recognised legal Representative.

(3) The inquiry panel must not include any explicit or significant criticism of a person in the report, or in any interim report, unless –

a. the chairman has sent that person a warning letter; and

b. the person has been given a reasonable opportunity to respond to the warning letter.”

In accordance with rule 13, warning letters were sent as appropriate to those who were covered by the provisions of rule 13 and the Chair and Panel considered the responses to those letters before finalising the report. 

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