Government needs to go further to prevent and tackle child sexual abuse, according to major new alliance

23 May 2023

  • Government issues response to Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) which found scale of child sexual abuse in England and Wales to be “horrific and deeply disturbing’.
  • Over 64 organisations come together as IICSA Changemakers to welcome response but ask for a more appropriate commitment from Government to deliver meaningful and lasting change for children.

A new alliance formed to inspire a national mission to prevent child sexual abuse and to improve support to victims and survivors has today welcomed the Government’s response to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) but says that further measures are needed to support child victims and adult survivors of sexual abuse.

The IICSA Changemakers consist of 64 organisations and individuals who represent the sectors that both engage and protect children and support adult survivors including charities, law enforcement, frontline public sector organisations and health bodies.

Members include representatives from the IICSA Victims & Survivors Consultative Panel, Barnardo’s, The Football Association (FA), The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), Marie Collins Foundation, The Children’s Society, The National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Muslim Council of Britain, Rape Crisis for England and Wales and The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), NWG Network and the Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse.

Last October, the Government committed to responding to the 20 recommendations set out in IICSA’s final report. This was followed by a commitment from the Home Secretary in April 2023 to open a consultation on mandatory reporting and introduce new support and funding to tackle group-based offending of the sexual exploitation of children.

Today, the Government has issued a response to the recommendations set out by IICSA which includes a commitment to:

  • Launch a call for evidence on mandatory reporting for those who work with children and young people.
  • Provide survivors and victims of child sexual abuse redress from the abuse that they have experienced.

They are also looking at ways to improve access to therapeutic support for victims, enhance data collection within police forces and reform the child protection system.

In a joint statement the IICSA Changemakers said: We are pleased to see the Government respond to the recommendations set out by this Inquiry and their commitment to reforming some elements such as redress and better data collection.

“However, we are concerned by the lack of any meaningful support for children and adult survivors. The commitments that have been made do not translate to immediate action which would achieve the scale of change required to create and sustain a national movement to prevent, recognise, and address child sexual abuse.

“It is disappointing that a significant number of the cross-sector recommendations that could have led to real change have been curbed by the Government, which is either narrowing them down or assuming that existing mechanisms already address the need.

“Today’s announcement did not commit to vital recommendations that would have made a real difference. For example, the creation of a Minister for Children, who could act as a champion for children, and the crucial child protection authority that would work with the minister, would ensure that young people’s voices are heard at the most senior level.

“We need to see a determination from Government to prevent and tackle the ongoing situation where child victims of sexual abuse are left traumatised and adult survivors are left without the appropriate support to rebuild their lives.”

On average, 282 child sexual offences are being reported to the police every day, highlighting the need for significant and co-ordinated action across Government to tackle a crime that is damaging and destroying countless lives.

The IICSA Changemakers continued:“As IICSA Changemakers we are committed to keeping children safe from this abhorrent harm as well as supporting the many thousands of adult victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. This is a missed opportunity to deliver the step change that the IICSA report called for and this Coalition will work tirelessly to press Government to implement these recommendations in full. 

“We need the Government to take all contributions to their upcoming consultation seriously, listen attentively to what victims and survivors are telling them and then act appropriately.  They must play their part and protect all children from all types of abuse in our society. The survivors who shared their story and future generations of children deserve no less.

Background

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Following 2.5 million pages of evidence and thousands of hours of evidence sessions, collectively involving more than 7,300 victims and survivors, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published its final recommendations in October 2022. On April 20th 2023 the government were duty-bound to respond publicly to this inquiry.

The testimony heard by the Inquiry was shocking and sobering. The report called the nature and scale of abuse in England and Wales “horrific and deeply disturbing” and explained that institutions too often “prioritised their personal and institutional reputations above the welfare of those they were duty bound to protect”. It concluded that “child protection must be given a much greater priority in public life.”

The response from Government

New measures to tackle child sexual abuse – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Response to the final report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

About IICSA Changemakers

The IICSA Changemakers are a group of 64 organisations and individuals who represent the sectors that both engage and protect children including; charities, law enforcement, frontline public sector organisations and health bodies. They have come together to inspire a national mission to prevent child sexual abuse and provide much improved support to victims and survivors.

Members

6 VSCP members Victims committee that worked with IICSA

Action for Children

Barnardo’s

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

The Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse (CSA Centre)

Childnet

Designated Health Professional network for children

Ethnic Minorities Ambassador to Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

Male Survivors Partnership (MSP)

Marie Collins Foundation

The Methodist Church

NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood)

National Children’s Bureau

National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS)

NWG Network

Rape crisis England and Wales

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Survivors Trust

Survivors UK

The Children’s Society

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation

RSVP (Rape and Sexual Violence Project)

NSPCC Incl Childline

Christian Forum for Safeguarding

Coram Voice

Girlguiding UK

Liberal Judaism (LJ)

Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)

Race Equality Foundation

Safe Wales

Save the Children

The Association of Safeguarding Partners (TASP)

The Football Association

The Scout Association

Other organisations are recorded as connected or as observers at an arms length basis

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