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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

Allegations of child sexual abuse linked to Westminster Investigation Report


Annex 2: Glossary

Black book

Notes kept by party whips recording things that might be of interest to other whips or the chief whip. Also known as the ‘dirt book’.


A UK parliamentary by-election happens when a seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant between general elections.

Chief agent (in a political context)

A person who is legally responsible for the conduct of a candidate’s political campaign and to whom election material is sent by those running the election.

Chief whip or whip

The chief whip is a political office held by an individual whose task is to administer the whipping system in Parliament. They try to ensure that members of the party attend and vote as the party leadership desires.

A whip works with the chief whip for their party. Whips are also largely responsible (together with the Leader of the House in the Commons) for arranging the business of Parliament.


A person under the age of 18.

Child protection (see ‘Safeguarding’)

Activity to protect children who are suffering or are likely to suffer significant harm.

Used interchangeably with safeguarding.

Child sexual abuse

Forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities. May involve physical contact and non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse including via the internet. Includes child sexual exploitation.

Child sexual exploitation

A form of child sexual abuse. It involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where a child receives something, for example as a result of them performing, or another or others performing on them, sexual activities. It can occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; for example being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain.

Clubs Office

A specialist unit within the Metropolitan Police Service. Formally known as the Clubs and Vice Unit.

Cottages and cottaging

A slang term referring to anonymous sex between men in a public lavatory (a ‘cottage’) or cruising for sexual partners with the intention of having sex elsewhere.


Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, a grade within the order of knighthood established by Queen Victoria. It recognises distinguished personal service to the monarch of the Commonwealth realms, members of the monarch’s family, or to any viceroy or senior representative of the monarch.


A Defence Notice: an official request to news editors not to publish certain details of a story for reasons of national security (known as a Defence Advisory Notice or DA-Notice from 1993 to 2015, and as a Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice or DSMA-Notice since 2015).

DBS checks
(formerly CRB checks)

A check carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service of an individual’s criminal record. Employers can then ask to see the certificate issued by the DBS to ensure that they are recruiting suitable people into their organisation. The Disclosure and Barring Service is an organisation that replaced the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

Dickens dossier

Information provided by Geoffrey Dickens MP to the then Home Secretary Leon Brittan in 1983 and 1984, which purported to identify high-profile child sexual abusers in government and the Royal Household. The information he provided has come to be known as the Dickens dossier. The contents of the Dickens dossier and how many dossiers there were is unclear.

Diplomatic bag

Container used to carry correspondence and other items between a diplomatic mission and its home government or other diplomatic missions, protected from any interference by international law.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)

The third most senior public prosecutor in England and Wales. The DPP is the head of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Dirt book

See ‘Black book’.

Dolphin Square

Location in London where it was alleged that parties were held involving sexual and violent abuse of young boys.

Elm Guest House

A hotel in Rocks Lane near Barnes Common in south-west London. In the early 1980s it was run by husband and wife Haroon and Carole Kasir, and was advertised as a gay guest house.

Garter Principal
King of Arms

The senior King of Arms, and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms, the heraldic authority with jurisdiction over England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Honours system (Honours)

A means of rewarding individuals’ personal bravery, achievement or service to the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories.

Independent Office for Police Conduct

Formerly the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales.

Keeper of the Privy Purse

The individual responsible for the financial management of the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom.

Knight Bachelor

An individual who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry; the lowest rank of knight in the British honours system.

Law Officers

A term used to refer collectively to the Attorney General and Solicitor General in England and Wales.

Local Authority Designated Officer

An officer in each local authority’s children’s social care service to whom allegations or concerns about the protection of children are reported. Responsible under statute for investigating such complaints.

Meat rack

A notorious congregation spot for teenagers and young men in the 1970s and early 1980s near the Playland Amusement Arcade at Picadilly Circus in the West End of London.

Monday Club

A group of MPs on the right wing of the Conservative Party.

Publications Team

A Metropolitan Police unit in the 1970s.

Operation Athabasca

A Metropolitan Police investigation into allegations that prominent members of society had attended Elm Guest House and taken part in child sexual abuse.

Operation Circus

A Metropolitan Police investigation into the activities of a number of individuals at Piccadilly Circus involving ‘rent boys’ and allegations of indecency with young boys.

Operation Clarence

A Metropolitan Police investigation into allegations against a number of individuals, including teachers, doctors and clergymen, that ran from 1988 to 1998.

Operation Conifer

A Metropolitan Police investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse made against Sir Edward Heath.

Operation Fairbank

A Metropolitan Police investigation set up in response to questions raised at Prime Minister’s Questions by Tom Watson MP in relation to the existence of a ‘Westminster paedophile ring’. Later became part of Operation Winter Key (see below).

Operation Helena

An IOPC-managed investigation in relation to Elm Guest House and whether there was any evidence to suggest that WM-A9’s statement had been altered to remove any reference to prominent public figures in general and Lord Leon Brittan specifically.

Operation Hesper

An IOPC-managed investigation in relation to an allegation that there was a cover-up concerning Sir Peter Hayman and a briefcase that was found in a park that contained black-and-white photographs of boys aged eight to 11 years, dressed only in their ‘Y fronts’.

Operation Jordana

An IOPC-managed investigation into allegations that a confidential police operation in 1984, targeting rent boys in and around Piccadilly Circus, had been closed down early and evidence was suppressed to protect persons of prominence.

Operation Meryta

An IOPC-managed investigation into an allegation that in November 1989 Chris Fay was approached by two men outside the NAYPIC offices who warned him to stay away from Elm Guest House.>

Operation Osier

An IOPC-managed investigation into allegations made by retired Detective Chief Inspector Howard Groves.

Operation Redrail 2

An IOPC-managed investigation in relation to concerns raised by Peter McKelvie regarding a Metropolitan Police Service investigation called Operation Clarence.

Operation Sycamore

An IOPC-managed investigation in relation to an allegation that, in May 1976, Metropolitan Police Special Branch officers tried to stop Sergeant Vallis and Mr Foulston from interviewing an individual (WM-A12) at Feltham Borstal Institution.

Operation Winter Key

The overarching Metropolitan Police response to IICSA. It provides specialist capacity and capability to investigate high-profile or complex criminal investigations into non-recent child sexual abuse.

Operation Yewtree

A Metropolitan Police investigation into sexual abuse allegations, predominantly the abuse of children, against the British media personality Jimmy Savile and others.

Operation Yvonne

An IOPC-managed investigation into allegations made by WM-A8 regarding the raid that took place at Elm Guest House in 1982. At the time he was a 17-year-old masseur at the guest house.

Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE)

An organisation formed in 1974. Its aim was to campaign for changes to the law on the age of consent in order to allow adults to have sex with children.

Parliamentary privilege

Grants certain legal immunities for Members of both Houses to allow them to perform their duties without interference from outside of the House. Parliamentary privilege includes freedom of speech and the right of both Houses to regulate their own affairs.

Rent boy(s)

A young male prostitute under 18 years old (whom the Inquiry would regard as a child) or up to his early 20s.

Safeguarding (see also ‘Child protection’)

Protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s health or development; ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best life chances.

Safeguarding policy

A set of rules or procedures put in place by an organisation in order to safeguard children (see ‘Safeguarding’).

South African Bureau of State Security (BOSS)

South African Bureau whose job it was to monitor national security in South Africa. It operated between 1969 and 1980 when it was replaced by the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

Statutory agencies

Public agencies involved in safeguarding, including social services, the local authority more broadly, and police and healthcare organisations.


The Conservative Party or members of the Conservative Party.

Vetting clearance (positive)

Protective security measures put in place by the government in relation to access to information. A positive vetting clearance meant that an individual had been checked and cleared by government to access certain information. This has now been replaced by a security policy framework (

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