RCPCH initial response to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

On 20 October 2022 the report of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse was published. 
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Chaired by Professor Alexis Jay OBE the report comes to over 400 pages and makes 20 recommendations to government and other institutions. The inquiry’s conclusions and recommendations for change encompass “eight crucial areas” covering: 

  • prioritising the protection of children
  • empowering children and young people
  • creating a more protective environment for children
  • identifying and reporting child sexual abuse
  • the justice system response
  • supporting victims and survivors
  • making amends and evolving challenges

The inquiry outlines that “at the centre of this work” there are three key recommendations: 

  • “The Inquiry recommends a new law of mandatory reporting making it a legal requirement for those who work in regulated activity or work in a position of trust to report child sexual abuse.”
  •  “The Inquiry recommends a national redress scheme for England and for Wales, to provide some monetary redress for child sexual abuse for those who have been let down by state and non state institutions in the past.”
  • “The Inquiry recommends the establishment of a Child Protection Authority in England and in Wales.”

You can read the full report here, and a report one page summary from the inquiry team here. 

In response Dr Alison Steele, RCPCH’s Officer for Child Protection said: 

Child sexual abuse is abhorrent. It causes physical and emotional pain in childhood and into adult life. We are sorry that so many people have suffered from child sexual abuse. Most of this abuse is committed by members of children’s families or within institutions, by those people who should have protected them. RCPCH is committed to the prevention of child sexual abuse, its early detection and the provision of specialist therapeutic support where necessary and when needed.

Listening to survivors is of utmost importance and we recognise the focus IICSA placed in their report on ensuring that people with lived experiences of child sexual abuse were consulted in the process. 7,300 victims and survivors engaged with the work of the inquiry. To those who shared their experiences with the inquiry, thank you, we can’t imagine how hard that will have been for you. 

As paediatricians safeguarding children is at the heart of everything we do. Child sexual abuse is common and it is happening now. In addition, over recent years the number of children sexually abused through new technologies has soared. This is a new challenge for society, and one which we must fight to win. 
As an organisation, and as paediatricians, we will now take time to consider the full findings of the report and recommendations including our position on mandatory reporting of child abuse.