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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child protection in religious organisations and settings Investigation Report


A.4: Methodology

13. Given its thematic nature, this investigation considered whether there are common issues that apply to religious organisations and settings, and how these issues can be met and overcome. To do this, we examined a number of issues, including:

  • the management of child protection within religious organisations and settings, including training and the awareness of child sexual abuse among volunteers, religious leaders and those who participate in religious organisations;
  • any policies and procedures that exist within the organisation or any umbrella bodies or representative organisations;
  • how the organisation or setting recruits or identifies those who provide activities for children (whether paid or unpaid), and how they recruit religious leaders. This included whether or not they use vetting and barring checks provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service, which includes examination of who can obtain such checks as some checks are only available to those engaged in ‘regulated activity’;[1]
  • arrangements in place to respond to allegations of child sexual abuse, including the provision or absence of pastoral support;
  • any internal processes for the auditing, inspection or oversight of practices and procedures;
  • the existing statutory framework for the protection of children from sexual abuse, and its application to religious organisations or settings; and
  • the existing framework for the auditing, inspection or oversight of practices and procedures of bodies other than the religious organisation itself.[2]

14. The process adopted by the Inquiry is set out in Annex 1 to this report. Core participant status was granted under Rule 5 of the Inquiry Rules 2006 to 24 institutions and other interested parties. The Inquiry held two preliminary hearings on 23 July 2019 and 14 January 2020. Substantive public hearings were held over 16 days on 16 March 2020, 11 to 22 May 2020 and 10 to 14 August 2020.[3]

15. In preparation for the final public hearing, the Inquiry obtained a significant volume of evidence, which included the evidence of 45 victims and survivors, 14 organisations that work with complainants, victims and survivors, 9 local authorities, and 10 organisations that are part of central government. We also received evidence from 20 religious organisations and settings, 18 umbrella bodies and representative organisations representing religious organisations and settings, 6 organisations that provide training and support to religious organisations and settings on their child protection practices and 3 interfaith organisations.


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