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Inquiry to cover more religious organisations


The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, new investigation, institutional responses, child sexual abuse, exploitation, context, religious organisations, religious settings New inquiry particularly interested in participation of those who work with women and girls.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has announced a new investigation into institutional responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation in the context of religious organisations and settings.

More than one in 10 survivors of child sexual abuse (11 per cent) who shared their accounts with the Inquiry’s Truth Project reported sexual abuse in a religious institution.

Not all participants provided details about the religious denomination of the institution or perpetrator, but almost a quarter (24 per cent) told the Inquiry they were abused in institutions in the scope of this new investigation, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Judaism and Islam.

The Truth Project is an ongoing part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. It offers victims and survivors the opportunity to share their experience in writing, on the telephone or in person.

To find out what taking part in the Truth Project involves and how it fits in with the national Inquiry, click here.

The investigation into institutional responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation in the context of religious organisations and settings will be thematic and will review the current child protection policies, practices and procedures in religious institutions in England and Wales.

Organisations falling under the remit of this investigation will include non-conformist Christian denominations, Eastern and Coptic Orthodox communities, Pentecostal churches and independent charismatic and house churches, The Church of Latter Day Saints, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism.

This will include religious settings such as mosques, synagogues, churches and temples, faith-based institutions such as Madrassahs and similar places where young children gather for purposes of religious tuition, such as Christian Sunday schools.

Places where children and young people gather in connection with their religious beliefs, including youth groups and camps will also be investigated by the Inquiry.

Recognising that the experience and needs of children of BAME communities and from diverse cultural backgrounds may not be reflected in information currently available, the Inquiry is particularly interested in encouraging participation from BAME communities, and those who work with women and girls.

The Inquiry is currently conducting investigations into Child Sexual Abuse within the two largest religious organisations operating within England and Wales, the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church, but this investigation is separate from that.

Organisations and individuals are being invited to apply for core participant status.

A core participant is an individual, organisation or institution that has a specific interest in the work of the Inquiry, and has a formal role as defined by legislation. Core participants have special rights in the Inquiry process.

These include receiving disclosure of documentation, being represented and making legal submissions, suggesting questions and receiving advance notice of the Inquiry’s report.

It is not necessary to be a core participant in order to provide evidence to the Inquiry.

Those designated as core participants will:

be provided with electronic disclosure of evidence relevant to the particular subject matter of the Inquiry in respect of which they are so designated, subject to any restrictions made under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005;

have the right to make opening and closing statements at any hearing;

have the right to suggest lines of questioning to be pursued by Counsel; and

have the right to apply to the Inquiry Panel to ask questions of witnesses during a hearing.

Core participants must have a significant interest in this investigation, and they have special rights defined by legislation.

For more information about Core Participants, click here.

The deadline for applications for Core Participant status in this investigation is 4pm on 13 June 2019.

A preliminary hearing will take place at 2pm on 23 July 2019. Public hearings will take place in 2020.

For more information about this inquiry click here.

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