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Public inquiries

Public inquiry experts representing survivors of abuse at IICSA

On 7 July 2014, the Home Secretary announced that there would be an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), following serious concerns that a number of organisations had failed and were continuing to fail to protect children from sexual abuse. Slater and Gordon’s team of public inquiry specialists represent a number survivors in this extremely high profile inquiry.

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The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, or IICSA as it is otherwise known, is an investigation into claims in England and Wales against religious organisations, public and private institutions, local authorities and people in the public eye. The investigation is to delve into failings, both those that have occurred in the past and those still occurring today, and implement change to safeguard and protect children.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is a separate inquiry set up by the Scottish Government to investigate the same in Scotland.

IICSA began when the Home Secretary at the time (Theresa May) requested a pubic inquiry after hundreds of people came forward, following the death of Jimmy Savile in 2011, with reports that he abused them when they were children.

Slater and Gordon’s involvement

Slater and Gordon has a specialist abuse team who represent survivors of abuse across England, Scotland and Wales. We’re renowned for the work our team do and currently represent more than 500 survivors of child sexual abuse.

Richard Scorer and Kim Harrison are leaders in this field of expertise having represented abuse survivors for a significant number of years.

Richard, who heads the department, is an authority when it comes to representing survivors of abuse. As well as being a regular media commentator, he’s the author of the book Betrayed: The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis, described as a ‘foundation text’ on the subject and co-author of the book Guide to Child Abuse Compensation. He has also written extensively on the subject for many publications and regularly appears in the media.

Kim, who has over a decade of experience representing survivors of child abuse, is also recognised a leader in the field of abuse law. A key area of her work is ‘failure to protect’ claims and has represented a significant number of child abuse survivors in cases against local authority social services departments. She’s a regular media commentator on child sexual abuse and human rights issues.

Both Richard and Kim have campaigned tirelessly for many years on the issue of mandatory reporting and have worked in association with many charities who support survivors of abuse and sexual assault. The team have represented a significant number of child abuse survivors on some of the most high profile cases in recent years, many of which form part of IICSA.

As a result, both Richard and Kim are heavily involved in IICSA, representing a significant number of child abuse survivors. Of the core participants to the inquiry, Richard and Kim are collectively representing 104 individual survivors of child abuse and one group of child abuse survivors.

We have an extremely strong reputation for not only representing our clients to the absolute best of our ability, but for providing the additional support and empathy required. Additionally, our clients’ anonymity is absolutely paramount to us and, as with any civil claim for abuse, have fully ensured, and will continue to ensure, they’re protected throughout the inquiry.

About the inquiry

The inquiry began in 2014 as a ‘non-statutory panel’ inquiry. However, there was a concern that many of the institutions being scrutinised by the inquiry had been involved in covering up child abuse. Therefore, in 2015, the Home Secretary decided to convert the inquiry into a ‘statutory’ inquiry, meaning it was given a legal structure and statutory powers in order to compel witnesses to attend, compel the disclosure of documentation and essentially get to the truth. In an interview on Law Pod UK with Emma-Louise Fenelon from 1 Crown Office Row Chambers, Richard details this further and explains the structure and operation of the inquiry.

IICSA is holding 15 investigations into institutional and organisational failures to protect children from sexual abuse. These are:

  • Accountability and reparations
  • Child sexual exploitation by organised networks
  • Children outside the UK
  • Institutional responses to allegations concerning Lord Janner
  • Nottinghamshire councils
  • Residential schools
  • The Internet
  • Westminster
  • Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale
  • Children in custodial institutions
  • Effective leadership of child protection
  • Lambeth Council
  • Religious organisations and settings
  • The Anglican Church
  • The Roman Catholic Church

What’s happened so far at the inquiry

Currently, IICSA is ongoing. An Interim Report was released in 2018 of its findings so far, and its recommendations to the Government. Since that report, further recommendations have been made by the Chair and the Panel as a direct result of their findings. These recommendations are being monitored through a formal process.

There’s also a large number of reports and statistics which have been published based on the hearings so far. You can find copies of these on the IICSA website.

Richard and Kim have had significant involvement so far. Below, lists just some of Richard’s statements at a number of IICSA hearings:

Child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church – Hearing: 27/11/17 – Richard’s opening submission on behalf of multiple core participants at Day 1 of the Public Hearing in the investigation of child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church

Child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church – Hearing: 05.03.18 – Richard’s opening statement on behalf of multiple core participants at Day 1 of the Public Hearing in the investigation of child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church

Child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church – Hearing: 23.03.18 – Richard’s closing statement on behalf of multiple core participants at Day 15 of the Public Hearing in the investigation of child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church

Child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church – Hearing: 23.07.18 – Richard’s opening statement on behalf of multiple core participants at Day 1 of the Public Hearing – Peter Ball Case Study, in the investigation of child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church

Child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church – Hearing: 04.02.19 – Richard’s opening statement at Day 1 of the Public Hearing in the investigation of child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, representing core participants of St Benedict’s School Ealing

Child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church – Hearing: 01.07.19 – Richard’s opening statement at Day 1 of the Public Hearing in the investigation of child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church

Child sexual abuse in residential schools – Hearing: 30.09.19 – Richard representing pupils (and some staff) from Chethams’, Stony Dean, Apple Trees and others at Day 1 of the Public Hearing in the investigation of child sexual abuse in residential schools.

What’s next

In May 2020, Richard and Kim attended two weeks’ of hearings in respect of the religious organisations and settings investigation. These hearings are, in total expected to last three weeks, with the third week due to take place in August 2020. Richard has recently given a further interview on Law Pod UK with Emma-Louise Fenelon from 1 Crown Office Row Chambers, updating her on these hearings and the abuse within minority religions.

The current timetable expected to take place in respect of the investigations for the rest of the year are as follows:

29 June – 31 July 2020: Children in the care of Lambeth Council

10 August - 14 August 2020: Child protection in religious organisations and settings

21 September – 2 October 2020: Child sexual exploitation by organised networks

12 October – 30 October 2020: Investigation into institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC

16 November – 27 November 2020: Child sexual abuse in residential schools

7 December – 11 December: Effective leadership of child protection

The date that inquiry is expected to end, is still unknown.

Contact us

If a public inquiry has been announced which affects you and you believe you should be recognised as a Core Participant, read more about what we can do to help or simply contact our experts by emailing PublicInquiry@slatergordon.co.uk

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