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Truth Project research


The Truth Project was set up for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experiences in a supportive and confidential setting.

  • We use the experiences shared though the Truth Project for ongoing research and data analysis. We want to learn more about the nature of child sexual abuse, how people disclosed the abuse and how the institutions responded when the abuse was disclosed. We also look at the impacts of abuse and suggestions from victims and survivors on keeping children safe in the future.
  • By sharing their experiences, victims and survivors make an important contribution to the work of the Inquiry and their experiences will feed into and influence our findings and recommendations.


Key Themes

  • Truth Project
  • Experiences
  • Impacts of child sexual abuse
  • Victim and survivor voices
  • Disclosure




Implications for the work of the Inquiry



  • The information shared by Truth Project participants will help us answer important questions around child sexual abuse:

    • We want to know who has come forward and what people have told us about the nature of the child sexual abuse they experienced.

    • We also explore whether anything could have been done at the time to prevent the abuse, how people have disclosed the abuse, and what the impacts of child sexual abuse are.

    • Importantly, we bring together victims and survivors’ suggestions to keep children safe in the future.

  • We analyse the information in two ways:

    • Quantitative analysis: we use numbers to answer the research questions, for example the number of people who were abused in a religious institution.

    • Qualitative analysis: we use words and themes to answer the research questions, for example when people describe how they were let down by institutions.

    • Together this gives us a unique insight into child sexual abuse and what institutions and people in power did wrong.  


October 2017: Victim and survivor voices report published

May 2019: Report into religious institutions published

November 2019: Report into children's homes and residential care published

April 2020: Report into custodial institutions published

June 2020: Report into sports published

Winter 2020: Report into healthcare published

Winter 2020: Report into schools  published

What we have learned so far

  • To date, we have published four thematic reports based on our analysis of what victims and survivors have told us about their experiences of child sexual abuse at the Truth Project, and we will publish two more by the end of 2020.

  • We have recorded a discussion of the findings of our reports into child sexual abuse in children’s homes and other residential care for the Victims and Survivors Forum.

  • We have also published a report describing the methods we have used to analyse the information from the Truth Project.

  • Our analysis so far has revealed that adults and institutions fail to recognise the signs of child sexual abuse. Many participants did not feel able to tell someone about the abuse until after it ended. Victims and survivors describe a wide range of impacts.

Implications for the work of the Inquiry

We examine the experiences and suggestions shared by victims and survivors with the Truth Project to understand how to better protect children from child sexual abuse and exploitation in the future. The data analysis of these experiences will be an important building block in helping the Inquiry develop recommendations to improve institutional responses to such abuse.

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