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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.

Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel

The VSCP have contributed their invaluable expertise to the Inquiry and ensured that the voices of victims and survivors were instrumental to our work. Their knowledge of the complex issues related to child sexual abuse and experiences of trauma have helped the Inquiry’s understanding of child sexual abuse. John O'Brien, Secretary to the Inquiry.

Members of the VSCP included May Baxter-Thornton (Welsh Representative), Sheila Coates MBE, Lucy Duckworth, Emma Lewis MBE (Welsh Representative), Fay Maxted OBE, Kit Shellam and Chris Tuck MAAT ACMA. 

The Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel (VSCP) was set up to provide advice to the Inquiry’s Chair and Panel and offer guidance across all areas of the IICSA’s work. Many of the VSCP members are activists, raising awareness of victims and survivors' needs from before the Inquiry was established, and this will continue into the future. VSCP members have all spent many years (some decades) supporting and providing specialist services to adult survivors of child sexual abuse. This wealth of experience enabled the voices and perspectives of victims and survivors to be reflected in the IICSA’s work.

VSCP members collectively have over 100 years of experience in providing specialist services, advocacy and support for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. Their backgrounds and expertise are wide ranging including founding and running specialist rape and sexual abuse services and other organisations supporting vulnerable children and adults, education and campaigning for legislative and societal change. 

The VSCP brought together a unique and valuable skillset; combining their own lived experience of institutional failures around child sexual abuse and their professional experiences, resulting in a broad understanding and insights into the complex and sensitive issues surrounding child sexual abuse. 

"I’m grateful for their commitment and support throughout our investigations, research and wider Inquiry work.” Alexis Jay, Chair to the Inquiry.


VSCP members campaigned and lobbied, along with many other survivors and survivor groups, to secure a statutory Inquiry that would have the powers to call witnesses and to protect evidence; announced by the Home Secretary at the time, Theresa May MP, in July 2014.  VSCP members worked with the media to explain the need for the Inquiry to the public, and to challenge some of the negative reactions being expressed. When there were challenges to be addressed, the VSCP acted as a conduit between victims and survivors and IICSA.   An important element of the VSCP’s work was in encouraging survivors to engage with IICSA to have their voices heard.  This was essential to building understanding of child sexual abuse and its impact on victims and survivors, adding strength to the investigations and research reports and helping inform IICSA’s final recommendations.  

Establishment of the Truth Project

The VSCP were instrumental in establishing IICSA’s Truth Project, which heard from over 6200 victims and survivors. They advised on the end to end process of attending a Truth session, from first contact to follow-up support and police referrals; conducting walk-through’s and pilot sessions to test the process. They also advised on the location of regional offices, including helping IICSA to understand the challenges and service landscape within each region. VSCP offered practical advice on the truth project environment to make sure that the needs of victims and survivors were met in a trauma-informed way.

Gave guidance on research and engagement reports

The VSCP has advised on the commissioning of Research projects, as well as advising on language, style and presentation. They have worked to ensure that the complex nuance, terminology and language around child sexual abuse has been understood and accurate throughout the Inquiry’s publications. This included the 24 Research reports and 8 Engagement reports such as Engagement with support services for ethnic minorities and Engagement with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transgender and queer/ questioning + victims and survivors.

Supported engagement with victims and survivors 

The VSCP provided valuable advice in all areas where IICSA had contact with victims and survivors. IICSA aimed for victims and survivors to be at the heart of its work and the VSCP worked to ensure this happened. The Victims’ and Survivors’ Forum was open to all victims and survivors and had more than 1,700 members. The VSCP played a crucial role in facilitating discussion tables at Forum events, drawing on their own personal and professional experiences to empower and encourage victims and survivors to share their views with IICSA.

Additional work

The VSCP also met with Operation Hydrant and worked with the Inquiry Operation Hydrant Liaison team, in order to help improve their responses to victims and survivors referred through Truth. 

Internally, the VSCP took part in staff training, delivering sessions on topics such as neurodiversity, the lifelong impacts of child sexual abuse and working with trauma.  VSCP members took part in the planning and delivery of larger training sessions. They ensured that their experiences and knowledge were shared with staff, offering insights gained through decades of supporting survivors. 

VSCP members spoke publicly about their experiences and the importance of the IICSA's work throughout the length of its lifetime, attending media interviews, conferences and events; this had a significant impact on public awareness as well as giving a voice to victims and survivors who had previously felt silenced. 

Some VSCP members went through the Criminal Justice System whilst in their role and shared their experiences with IICSA and the London Victims Commissioner, contributing to feedback on the Victims Code of Practice.

Some VSCP members undertake social media engagement to keep the conversation of child sexual abuse moving forward whilst others network with organisations that are able to work colloboratively together to effect change.

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