What is the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse?

Portrait of Nathalie Swanwick
Nathalie Swanwick
Abuse Claims Solicitor

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) have today published their investigation report, ‘Children in the care of Lambeth Council’, which has found severe failings in the protection of children in their care homes from the 1960s to 1990s.

Today’s report found that children in the care of Lambeth Council were subjected to levels of cruelty and sexual abuse that are ‘hard to comprehend’. Children in care were pawns in a toxic power game within Lambeth Council and between the Council/central government.

IICSA was set up after some high profile instances of non-recent child sexual abuse, and because the Government had serious concerns that some organisations were failing to protect children from sexual abuse.

IICSA is a statutory inquiry and covers England and Wales. The inquiry is independent, meaning that it’s not part of the Government or ran by them.

Through investigations and public hearings, IICSA have examined what went wrong and why. IICSA use the findings and evidence they’ve gathered to put forward recommendations for better protecting children in the future.

By identifying what must be done differently, IICSA are building the case for change and improvement in how institutions must protect children.

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What did the Inquiry Find?

The Inquiry launched 15 investigations into a broad range of institutions and heard evidence from 648 witnesses, 94 of which were victims and survivors. It held 323 days of public hearings.

The report is based on 19 days of public hearings held during June and July last year. This is one of three investigations by the Inquiry looking into allegations of sexual abuse of children in the care of local authorities, alongside Rochdale and Nottinghamshire.

Our Abuse Solicitors have been instructed by survivors of abuse in relation to a number of the investigations. We acted for a survivor of abuse in an inquiry which examined the extent of any institutional failures to protect children in the care of Lambeth Council from sexual abuse and exploitation. Our client had been abused while living in Shirley Oaks which was a home run by Lambeth Council.

You can read a case study of someone we helped here.

The Lambeth Council investigation considered the experiences of victims and survivors to examine the scale and nature of the sexual abuse that may have taken place in children’s homes run by Lambeth Council, as well as the extent of any institutional failures to protect these children in care from sexual abuse. This investigation also examined the Council’s foster care service.

Witnesses in this investigation included victims, survivors, former members of Lambeth Council, police officers and other public authorities.

Recommendations in the Report

Lambeth Council and the Metropolitan Police have been asked to respond to the following recommendations:

  1. Lambeth Council must put an action plan in place in response to the issues raised in the inquiry
  2. All elected council members must undertake regular, mandatory training
  3. The application and recruitment process for foster carers must be reviewed by Lambeth Council
  4. The Metropolitan Police should consider a criminal investigation into Lambeth Council’s actions in relation to the death of a child who had allegedly been sexually abused
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Lambeth Redress Scheme

Lambeth’s unique Redress Scheme was launched in January 2018 to compensate people who were abused, or lived in fear of being abused, while in Lambeth’s care as children. The scheme is for those who lived in or visited a Lambeth children’s home (including those at Shirley Oaks) or attended Shirley Oaks Primary School.

You can get different types of compensation and support through the scheme, known as ‘redress’. You’ll be asked which of the non-financial types of redress you’d like – for example a written apology, but these are optional and you don’t have to ask for them if you don’t want them.

Harm’s Way Payment

You can apply for a Harm’s Way Payment if you lived in fear of being abused, neglected or suffering cruelty while living in a Lambeth children’s home (including Shirley Oaks). The Harm’s Way Payment is a payment of between £1,000 and £10,000, and the amount you’ll get will depend on how long you lived at the children’s home.

If you lived in one of the four homes for children with disabilities, you will get a Harm’s Way payment of £10,000 no matter how long you spent there.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 1 January 2022. If you’d like support with making an application, get in touch with our Abuse Team for free, confidential legal advice.

The Truth Project

The truth project offers victims and survivors of child sexual abuse the chance to share their experiences and to be heard with respect. It’s part of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

The truth project will end in 2021 and there is still an opportunity to take part if you want to. If you want to register your interest for a telephone or video session, you must do this by 31st July 2021. If you want to share your experience in writing, you can do so by 31st October 2021.

If you’d like to talk about any of the above with an Abuse Solicitor, get in touch today and one of our team will be happy to help you.

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