In response to the multiple allegations made against senior figures in all areas of public life regarding child sexual abuse, the Home Secretary has called the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, chaired by Justice Lowell Goddard.
The inquiry’s terms of reference are widely drawn. Whilst limited in geographical jurisdiction to England and Wales, the inquiry includes the extent to which English and Welsh organisations have a duty to protect children placed overseas or with whom its employees work overseas.
The inquiry is broadly constituted of three Core Projects:
(a) The Research Project;
(b) The Truth Project; and
(c) The Public Hearings Project
These Core Projects relate to five institutional sectors under different work streams:
(a) Allegations of abuse by people of prominence in public life
(b) Education and religion
(c) Criminal justice and law enforcement
(d) Local authorities and voluntary organisations – the chair’s opening statement on the inquiry states that this “includes voluntary organisations and children’s charities, private care homes and private fostering and adoption services. It also includes other local authority functions relevant to child protection, such as youth services, leisure services and relevant regulatory activities”.
(e) National and private service organisations
If your organisation works within the institutional sectors outlined by the inquiry’s scope of reference, it’s important to consider if you are implicated in the 13 public hearing investigations which the inquiry has announced to date.
The inquiry’s chair has made detailed statements concerning the need for openness and the expectation that documents will be preserved for the inquiry’s use. If you’re concerned your organisation’s work may be the focus of any of the inquiry’s Core Projects, do consider whether you hold any pertinent documents and how they are being stored. It is also advisable to audit historic internal child protection issues and revisit current policies in order to prepare for any contribution that they may make to the inquiry’s work.
Posted on 31/03/2016 in Legal UpdatesBack to Knowledge