A redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse will be launched in England, recognising the trauma victims have suffered, the government announced this week.
To be set up on the back of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), the scheme will acknowledge the institutional failures that allowed children to suffer at the hands of despicable predators.
Victims, survivors, and charities representing them will be closely consulted as the government develops the scheme, including asking who the scheme should support, how we can best help them and how non-state institutions should be involved.
The government is also moving quickly to introduce mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse in England, which will make it a legal requirement for those who work with young people to speak out if they suspect a child is being sexually abused or exploited.
This will help to prevent the continued abuse of children and ensure that they receive support earlier. A 12-week public call for evidence has been launched today, asking how this should be implemented.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“Thousands of brave victims and survivors came forward to give evidence to the Independent Inquiry, sharing heart-breaking details of how they were ignored by the people who should have protected them.
While nothing will make up for how badly they were let down, or the abuse that they suffered, we must make sure that victims and survivors get the support they need and redress they deserve.”
The Independent Inquiry, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, spent seven years examining widespread failings in both state and non-state institutions to properly safeguard and protect children in England and Wales. The institutions investigated included government departments, the police, schools, local authorities, religious organisations, political parties and the armed services.
It heard from over 6,000 brave victims of child sexual abuse and considered 4.2 million pieces of written evidence from charities, institutions and witnesses.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said:
“Thanks to the brave testimony of thousands of courageous victims, this inquiry uncovered a dark and disturbing truth – that adults often turned a blind eye to the serious sexual abuse of the children under their care.
No apology or compensation can turn the clock back on the harrowing abuse these victims suffered, but it is important survivors have that suffering recognised and acknowledged. That is what the compensation scheme will deliver.
By bringing in mandatory reporting for adults working with children, we are shining a light on a crime which has for too long been hidden and silent. Today we are bringing this crime out of the shadows and saying ‘no more’. Perpetrators – you will have nowhere to hide.”
The views of victims and charities will also be extensively engaged on the future of therapeutic support.
As part of its response to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the government is also:
- looking at ways to improve access to therapeutic support for victims and survivors
- improving the way police collect data on child sexual abuse to better understand the scale and nature of the crime
- driving forward the world-leading Online Safety Bill, which will place clear legal duties on companies to remove child sexual abuse material and keep children safe on their services
- reforming the child protection system to make sure children are better protected
- looking at options to extend the list of people barred from working with children
The Children’s Commissioner for England Dame, Rachel de Souza, responds to measures announced by the Home Secretary to take forward recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
“[…] I welcome today’s commitment to a redress scheme for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, which is a positive step towards ensuring that all victims get the support and recognition they deserve, as well as the chance to be heard.
But protecting these children must remain a priority and more is needed to ensure Government addresses the remaining recommendations through robust measures to support every child victims, through the implementation of the children’s social care review, the Victims and Prisoners Bill, and the Online Safety Bill. It’s right to ensure that mandatory reporting is implemented effectively and with care, so I will be responding to the Call for Evidence on mandatory reporting to ensure that the voices of children are heard.”