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20 October 2022 | Comment | Article by Alun Jones

Politicians will need to “show leadership” on child sexual abuse if the IICSA report is to have an impact


On the 20th of October 2022, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse released a final report that shows the “extent and depth” of abuse in England and Wales and makes a series of recommendations.

Commenting on the report, Alan Collins, Partner and Head of the Abuse team said,

“The report makes many recommendations, some of which – like a national redress scheme funded by government and local authorities – will be extremely difficult to implement in the current economic and political environment. Politicians will have to show real leadership to make this report have any real impact.”

On the recommendations on Mandatory Reporting of CSA, Alan said,

“I am concerned that some of the caveats listed by the report will create “loopholes and exceptions” that will weaken the intent of any new law.”

The Mandatory Reporting (MR) recommendations are not comprehensive enough. For example, the report confines MR to individuals such as police officers and social workers who will be mandated to report CSA.

If you would like more information, please get in touch with Alan Collins through [email protected].

However, there is no criminal sanction if they are merely in receipt of a report, for example, from a third party like a concerned neighbour.

In addition, there is an exception if the child aged between 13 & 16 is deemed to be in a “consensual relationship” and if the older party is not in a position of trust. The concern therefore is that “Rotherham” type cases will fall through the net, again.

In my view the inquiry has called for the status quo to be put on a legislative footing and I don’t think that is good enough.

Alan added, “Victims and survivors were listened to. That is a considerable achievement given the history of child abuse in the country over the last couple of decades and that is reflected in the report. Any criticisms of the detail in the recommendations should not detract from that achievement. But it only goes to show that political leadership is now required to make the inquiry’s recommendations achievable in the real world.”

Alan acted for a number of core participants and gave evidence to the inquiry. Alan is one of the UK’s most experienced specialist child abuse lawyers and has represented victims from around the world.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was set up in July 2014 in the wake of Jimmy Savile scandal. The inquiry was tasked with investigating failures by public bodies and non-state institutions to protect children from sexual abuse.

Author bio

Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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