IICSA publishes internal review

On 16 December 2016, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, (IICSA), issued the following Press Notice on the release of The Review, an internal review of its work. Extracts from Annex A of The Review relating to child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church and Roman Catholic Church are also reproduced below.  

News | 16 December

The Review refocuses the Inquiry and lays out a detailed schedule of work for 2017. It recognises that the Inquiry has two equally important tasks: unravelling institutional failures of the past and making meaningful recommendations to keep children safe today and in the future.  It concludes that the Inquiry’s work needed rebalancing to make sure sufficient attention was paid to making recommendations for the future.

The Truth Project, research and analysis and public hearings remain central to the Inquiry’s work and its terms of reference also remain the same. All 13 of the existing investigations will continue.

The Inquiry is also proposing changes to the scope and timing of the public hearing for the investigation into the institutional responses to allegations of sexual abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone.

The nature and breadth of the Inquiry’s terms of reference require it to make recommendations across an unprecedented range of institutions. The Inquiry’s research and analysis programme is essential to help it understand today’s child protection challenges. The review therefore announces an expanded programme of research and analysis for 2017/18.

To support this,  a series of seminars will be held in 2017/18 to gather information and views about significant issues relevant to child sexual abuse.  This will help the Inquiry identify areas for further investigation and scrutiny.  They will hear from victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, institutions, practitioners in the field of child protection and leading researchers. In 2018, the Inquiry will publish a preliminary report containing recommendations.

Next year, the Inquiry will hold public hearings in three of its investigations: Children Outside of the UK, Rochdale Council establishments and the Roman Catholic Church.  The Inquiry has now secured permanent premises for the public hearings from May in Southwark, south London.

No institution will be beyond the reach of the Inquiry.  The Inquiry will be calling upon the Football Association to provide us with all the findings of its review into non recent child sexual abuse in football. The Inquiry will be monitoring developments and keeping an open mind about any further action which may be required.

Inquiry Chair Professor Alexis Jay OBE said:

“On becoming Chair, I said that this Inquiry needed a clear direction of travel, that it must overcome the difficulties of the past and that it must deliver in a timely and transparent way.

“Every day children face the horrors of sexual abuse and its consequences. I will do everything in my power to understand how this happened in order to help prevent it  happening again.

“It is essential that we move the Inquiry forward with renewed vigour. This Review will provide a firm foundation in our work to protect children from abuse.  We want to listen to and learn from all those with an interest in protecting children and we are keen to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to comment on the shape and direction of the Inquiry.“

The Truth Project, which gives victims and survivors the opportunity to share their experiences privately with trained facilitators, will continue.  To date, over 170 people have met with the Truth Project in offices all over England and Wales.


We are currently planning to open the core participant application window by March 2017. Once applications have been received and considered, we will hold the first preliminary  hearing in this investigation.

We are currently considering whether it may be necessary to make some changes to this investigation’s definition of scope, to ensure it remains focused and proportionate. If we reach a provisional view that changes are necessary, we will consider seeking views from the  Councils concerned, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, and those complainants who we know wish to apply for core participant status in due course.

Child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church

This investigation is an inquiry into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Anglican Church. The investigation includes two case studies  into the Diocese of Chichester and the case of Peter Ball, as well as any failures to protect children in the wider Anglican Church. Preliminary hearings were held on 16 March and 27  July 2016 and core participants have been designated.

27,000 documents have been obtained . The majority of these have been provided by the Archbishop’s Council, which is providing materials on behalf of the various Dioceses. Materials have also been sought and received from a number of individuals and institutions, including police forces, the Independent Schools Inspectorate, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Charity Commission and the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office.

We have spoken to witnesses and started the process of obtaining witness statements. We have also undertaken a rapid evidence assessment into the literature and evidence in relation to child sexual abuse in the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches. This was necessary in  order to analyse what is known about child sexual abuse and exploitation in the two churches particularly in relation to prevalence; the characteristics of victims, survivors and sexual offenders; and the relevance of source material in respect of the selected case studies.

We are currently analysing the material obtained. In the first quarter of 2017, we expect to start making requests for witness statements from core participants. We plan to hold our first public hearing in this investigation in March 2018 in relation to the Chichester Diocese case study. A further public hearing will follow, covering issues relating to Peter Ball and the wider Anglican Church.


Child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church

This investigation examines the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. It includes two case studies, the first relating to the English Benedictine Congregation and the second to the Archdiocese of Birmingham. A preliminary hearing was held on 28 July 2016 and core participants have been designated.

The Inquiry will keep under review the need to consider allegations concerning other institutions relating to the Roman Catholic Church. However, detailed consideration of the  two identified case studies will give the Inquiry a thorough insight into the institutional  failures to protect children from sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

Over 4000 potentially relevant documents have been obtained from the English Benedictine Congregation and from Ampleforth, Belmont, Buckfast, Douai Abbey, Downside, Ealing  Abbey, St Mary’s, Stanbrook, Worth and Curzon Park (including, where relevant,  materials from any associated school as well as from the Abbeys). Material has also been obtained from a number of police forces, the Independent Schools Inspectorate and the  Charity Commission. We have also obtained documentation from the Archdiocese of  Birmingham, and from the Roman Catholic Church. This material is currently being analysed.

The Inquiry has also undertaken a rapid evidence assessment of the literature and evidence which exists concerning the prevalence of child sexual abuse in the Anglican and Roman  Catholic Churches.

We will request statements from core participants in early 2017. We will concentrate work first on materials relevant to the English Benedictine Congregation, including selecting  material for disclosure to relevant core participants. The Inquiry will hold a further preliminary hearing and a public hearing in December 2017. Further public hearings in connection with the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the wider Roman Catholic Church will follow later in 2018.

In 2017, a research project will examine how national safeguarding policy and practices have been implemented at a local level by relevant church authorities.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "IICSA publishes internal review" in Law & Religion UK, 16 December 2016, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2016/12/16/iicsa-publishes-internal-review/

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