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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse in the context of children’s homes and residential care


The Truth Project is a core part of the Inquiry alongside Public Hearings and Research. It was set up to hear and learn from the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in England and Wales. It offers victims and survivors an opportunity to share experiences of child sexual abuse. By doing so, Truth Project participants make an important contribution to the work of the Inquiry. With the consent of participants, the Inquiry uses Truth Project information in a variety of ways, including for ongoing research and data analysis carried out by the Inquiry’s Research Team.

This is the second research publication in a series of thematic reports examining what victims and survivors have shared with the Truth Project about their experiences of child sexual abuse and the institutional context in which it occurred. It details the research findings in relation to experiences of child sexual abuse that occurred in the context of children’s homes and residential care.

The phrase ‘children’s homes and residential care’ (hereafter ‘residential care contexts’) refers to institutions with a primary purpose of providing residential care to children, including children’s homes, secure children’s homes, or accommodation for care leavers under the age of 18[1] (Ofsted, 2018a).

The accounts in this report are from victims and survivors who came to the Truth Project between June 2016 and March 2019. The research was undertaken by members of the Inquiry’s Research Team between March and November 2019.

The report describes the experiences of Truth Project participants who told us they were sexually abused in residential care contexts between the 1940s and 2000s, with the most recent case in our sample beginning in the early 2000s.

The experiences of sexual abuse in residential care presented in this report do not necessarily relate to current-day experiences as the most recent case of sexual abuse included in this analysis occurred over a decade ago, and the majority of experiences shared occurred in the 1970s or earlier. Therefore, it is not possible to make any comparisons with current-day experiences in residential care contexts on the basis of Truth Project data. We recognise that the research findings included in this report do not reflect all experiences of sexual abuse in a residential care context.

The report complements other work undertaken by the Inquiry, namely the Inquiry’s three legal investigations that are focussed on the sexual abuse of children in the care of a local authority. These investigations specifically relate to: Lambeth Council, Nottinghamshire Councils, and Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale Borough Council. Secure children’s homes were also included in the Inquiry’s legal investigation into child sexual abuse in custodial institutions.



  1. Further information on types of residential care can be found in section 2.1.
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