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How the Truth Project worked

In a hugely complex and extensive listening exercise carried out over six years, more than 6,000 people were given time, support and a safe space to share their experiences of child sexual abuse.

Their accounts were recorded, anonymised and analysed by our research team, and will provide a legacy for future study and learning.

Victims and survivors were invited to attend a private session in one of our centres or pop-up locations in England or Wales, with their costs met by the Inquiry. They were also offered the choice to submit a written account of their experience of abuse, or to participate by telephone or video call. These options became particularly helpful and popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those who chose to take part in the Truth Project were not tested, challenged or contradicted. They could share as little or as much of their experience as they chose.

Supporting and protecting victims and survivors

It is a major and very personal decision to share an experience of child sexual abuse. Victims and survivors are highly likely to be living with varying levels of trauma and distress. With this in mind, it was vital that the Truth Project offered participants control, choices, a safe environment and support.

We worked to achieve this by: 

  • Designing a trauma-informed approach to support participants in the Truth Project and take account of any specific needs resulting from previous or ongoing trauma.

  • Recruiting facilitators to listen to survivors’ accounts. They all had experience in relevant fields, such as child protection or social care, and were trained to apply the Inquiry’s trauma-informed approach. 

  • Offering support services to all Truth Project participants, using registered professionals with appropriate expertise.

  • Protecting the privacy and confidentiality of victims and survivors – participants were asked how they agreed to their information being used; experiences are anonymised by the Inquiry’s legal team so no one could be identified; all personal information is handled according to Data Protection laws.

Encouraging people to take part in the Truth Project

The Inquiry wanted to enable the widest possible participation among victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. Raising awareness and making the Truth Project accessible to diverse communities was particularly important in fulfilling this pledge.

An awareness campaign for television, radio and press was created to reach a representative range of people. 

The Inquiry’s engagement team held in-person and online events and focused particular efforts on encouraging children and young people and hard-to-reach communities, such as people of colour and cultural diversity, and people with disabilities or differences, to take part. 

The Truth Project partnered with the charity SignHealth to support deaf people to share their experiences of child sexual abuse.

Truth Project data

You can find the Inquiry's latest statistics from the Truth Project here.

Contact us

If you have a question about the Truth Project that you can’t find answered here, please get in touch.

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