The UK Child Sex Abuse People’s Tribunal (UKCSAPT) has found that Governmental institutions failed to provide survivors of sexual abuse with meaningful opportunities for either healing or justice, and that the mental health needs of survivors in the UK are not being met.
UKCSAPT was established by survivors of child sex abuse and members of civil society to investigate historic cases of institutional sex abuse.
The independent inquiry, led by a panel of four judges, listened to evidence spanning four decades from 20 survivors and eight witness experts. A common theme throughout these accounts showed that a series of institutional failures prevented abuse from being reported; and that there are clear links between children being rendered vulnerable by these failures and predatory abuse on an organised scale.
It made a series of recommendations including the establishment of a permanent and open forum for victims to share experiences and give evidence, better links between mental health services and police investigations, and training for police and judiciary professionals on the effects of undisclosed sexual abuse.
The main findings of the UKCSAPT report were:
The report also outlined a series of recommendations for improving reporting and mental health provision, and access to justice for victims were made, including:
Alan Collins, partner in sexual abuse litigation at Hugh James solicitors, and legal adviser to the People’s Tribunal, said: “The People’s Tribunal’s preliminary findings reveal that there exists a widespread underreporting of sexual abuse, which is the result of inadequate systems and safeguards which, if in place, would undoubtedly have led to a greater number of victims coming forward to report historic or ongoing abuse.”
“The Tribunal’s ability to have gathered the amount of evidence it has in just a year is testament to the fact that by having a proper forum in place that victims feel comfortable participating in, crimes and abuses can be effectively reported, and victims can start to move on with their lives following these extremely traumatic experiences.”