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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse in healthcare contexts

Sample and methods

Of the 4,295 people who shared an experience of child sexual abuse between June 2016 and July 2020, 109 (3 percent) described sexual abuse that took place in a healthcare context. Eighty-three (76 percent) of these 109 participants reported being sexually abused by a healthcare professional. Ninety-four percent of participants reported being sexually abused by male perpetrators. Eighty-five of the 109 participants (78 percent) talked about sexual abuse in a healthcare location, such as a hospital or GP practice.

We have primarily adopted a qualitative approach in the analysis for this report, analysing nine of the 109 Truth Project accounts relating to child sexual abuse in healthcare contexts in detail. The accounts selected include a range of characteristics and circumstances, such as the time period in which the sexual abuse occurred, victim age and victim sex.[1] We have also reported descriptive, quantitative information for the 109 participants who were sexually abused in healthcare contexts who provided accounts to the Truth Project.

Ethical approval was obtained from the Inquiry’s Research Ethics Committee prior to the collection and analysis of the data, and information is only included where Truth Project participants have agreed to their accounts being used for research purposes.



  1. A detailed explanation of the process used for carrying out analysis of Truth Project information can be found in the separate report, Truth Project Research: Methods (King and Brähler, 2019).
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