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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

Child sexual abuse in the context of schools


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[1] in England and Wales. 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 choose what they wish to share and make an important contribution to the work of the Inquiry.

Education is a central feature of children and young people’s lives and development, with important consequences for their future lives and careers. Children have the right to receive education in a safe environment. However, some children experience abuse and harm. This report presents the Inquiry’s research findings about experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in the context of schools and the responses of institutions to such abuse. It describes the experiences of Truth Project participants sexually abused in the context of schools between the 1940s and 2010s, with the most recent case in our sample beginning in the early 2010s.

We have used the term ‘in the context of schools’ in this report to refer to child sexual abuse that occurred in schools or colleges,[2] or was perpetrated by a member of staff who worked in them, or other students. Schools include special schools, state and independent institutions, day and boarding (residential) schools and colleges.[3] Staff include teachers, headteachers and support staff such as administrators or caretakers and cooks. Sexual abuse that occurred on trips organised by the school or staff at the school was also included, as was sexual abuse perpetrated by staff working at sites/premises where such trips were held.

This is the sixth research publication in a series of thematic reports examining the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse that have been 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, sports and healthcare.



  1. Child sexual abuse refers to sexual abuse that began when the victim and survivor was under the age of 18 years.
  2. Sixth form colleges (for 16 to 19 years) and further education colleges (for 16 to 25 years and adult learning) provide a range of academic and vocational teaching and training.
  3. Excluding nursery schools/pre-school care for children from birth to 5 years old.
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