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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse in healthcare contexts

Introduction

The Truth Project is a core part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (‘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. 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. By doing so, Truth Project participants make an important contribution to the work of the Inquiry.

This report details the research findings in relation to the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in healthcare contexts that were shared with the Truth Project. The term ‘healthcare contexts’ in this report describes child sexual abuse that occurred in healthcare organisations and institutions or was perpetrated by healthcare professionals. This includes hospitals, psychiatric institutions,[1] clinics and general practitioner (GP) practices. Healthcare professionals comprise doctors (including psychiatrists and GPs), nurses and other staff members in healthcare organisations.

This report presents the Inquiry’s research findings about the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in healthcare contexts and the response of institutions to such abuse. It describes the experiences of Truth Project participants sexually abused in healthcare contexts between the 1960s and 2000s, with the most recent cases in our sample beginning in the early to mid 2000s.[2]

This is the fifth research publication in a series of thematic reports examining the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse shared with the Truth Project. We have previously published research reports on child sexual abuse in religious institutions, children’s homes and residential care, custodial institutions and sports.

References

Footnotes

  1. Psychiatric institutions are hospitals that specialise in treating mental health problems. Patients can be admitted voluntarily or can be involuntarily committed or ‘sectioned’ under the Mental Health Act 1983. Some general hospitals have specific wards or units in which they treat mental health problems.
  2. The research findings included in this report do not reflect all experiences of sexual abuse in healthcare contexts and are only indicative of the specific experiences of those who chose to share their experiences with the Truth Project. This sample is not random, and therefore the statistics produced are not representative of the general population. The wider analysis of Truth Project accounts is ongoing and we will publish a full report with a bigger sample size covering all institutional contexts of child sexual abuse at the end of the Inquiry.
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