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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

Sample and methods

We have used a mixed methods approach, analysing both quantitative and qualitative information for this report. The quantitative information is based on a sample of 4,269 participants who took part in the Truth Project between June 2016 and June 2020. Of these, 691 individuals (16 percent) shared an experience of child sexual abuse that occurred in the context of schools. Quantitative data from these participants are shown alongside the quantitative data from the 3,578 participants whose experiences of sexual abuse did not occur in the context of schools, to draw out themes, commonalities and differences.[1]

The qualitative information is drawn from 17 of the 691 Truth Project accounts relating to child sexual abuse in the context of schools. These 17 accounts were randomly selected within a sampling framework designed to ensure we included a range of characteristics and circumstances, covering the time period in which the sexual abuse occurred, victim age and victim sex.[2] [3] The wider analysis of Truth Project accounts is ongoing and we will publish a full report with a bigger sample size covering different contexts of child sexual abuse at the end of the Inquiry.

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



  1. The participants in this report are individuals who have chosen to take part in the Truth Project. This sample is not random, and therefore the statistics produced are not representative of the general population. The experiences of sexual abuse in the context of schools described in this report may not reflect current day experiences as the majority of cases for which we have details about the sexual abuse began prior to 1990. Nevertheless, we aimed to identify common themes among participants’ experiences across all time periods that the accounts cover.
  2. Some of these 17 accounts form a subset of the overall qualitative sample, discussed further in Truth Project Research: Methods (King and Brähler, 2019).
  3. The term sex refers to the biological sex of participants as children when the sexual abuse occurred. Participants are also asked their gender as adults at the time of attending the Truth Project.
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