Stage two of the three-stage legislative progress of the Bill to retrospectively abolish limitation for childhood abuse cases was completed on 23 May 2017, after the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament considered proposed amendments. We summarise those and the Justice Committee’s decisions on them, as follows:
- Definition of “abuse”: the Justice Committee agreed, unanimously, to an amendment to include, as an explicit part of the present non-exhaustive definition, “abuse which takes the form of neglect”.
- Requirement for a report on resources: the Justice Committee rejected a proposed amendment that would have required Scottish Ministers to prepare a financial report on the likely impact on public bodies and their ability to meet any obligations arising from the prospective legislation.
Separately, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has published more detail on phase one of its public inquiry hearings. Those will be held between 31 May and 12 July 2017. The agenda for the first week, 31 May – 2 June comprises: opening statements from a wider group of organisations than those presently designated as “core participants” in the Inquiry, followed by expert evidence on background and contextual research.
The opening statements will be heard from survivors groups, Quarriers, Barnardos and a host of Roman Catholic religious orders and governing institutions as well as the Church of Scotland.
Written by Frank Hughes and Siobhan Kelly, partners at BLM
As progress is made in individual investigations, IICSA has confirmed dates for four further preliminary hearings.
Details of the dates and investigations are as follows:
- 9 May 2017 – Child Migration Programme case study (part of the Children Outside the UK Investigation);
- 10 May 2017 – Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale;
- 11 May 2017 – Children in the care of Nottinghamshire Councils and
- 6 June 2017 – Benedictine case study (part of the Roman Catholic Church Investigation).
The preliminary hearings will not be broadcast but they are open to the press and public. The hearings will be held at the International Dispute Resolution Centre on Fleet Street.
Further updates following these hearings will be provided.
Written by Miriam Rahamim, solicitor at BLM
Yesterday, after Stage 1 Debate, the Scottish Parliament approved the motion “that the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill.”
For pre-1964 abuse survivors, who will not benefit from the Bill should it become an Act, the Scottish Government have committed to a formal process of consultation and engagement, led by CELCIS (Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland). This will be with relevant parties on the question of financial redress for in-care survivors, including redress for survivors abused prior to 1964.
The Scottish Parliament has confirmed that it will debate the Limitation Abolition Bill, at Stage 1, in the afternoon of Thursday 27 April.
In other news, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, whose cost from its set-up on 1 October 2015 to 31 March 2017 has recently been confirmed at over £5.7m, has now set the timetable for Phase 1 of its Public Hearings. Commencing on 31 May there are evidence sessions scheduled to 9 June covering: Continue reading
The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee has endorsed the general principles of the Bill proposing the retrospective abolition of limitation in cases of childhood abuse. Nonetheless, significant issues of detail and relevant concerns have been flagged in the Committee’s Stage 1 Report. This is now for further consideration by the Scottish Government. We summarise the position taken by the Committee on pre-26 September 1964 abuse then list the issues which have been flagged for further attention. Continue reading
The IICSA today held the first event in its research seminar series at the Internal Dispute Resolution Centre, London. The research seminar discussed what can be gleaned from the academic literature as to the efficacy of approaches adopted in other jurisdictions in preventing and responding to child sexual abuse, how this can be used to inform best practice in England and Wales and to identify areas for further research.
As the IICSA calls for core participants in the investigation involving Nottinghamshire Councils, we summarise recent and forthcoming developments in relation to IICSA investigations. For information summarising the scope of all the various investigations please refer to our previous blog of 3 January 2017 by clicking here.
Children in the Care of Nottinghamshire Councils –
- The Inquiry has requested individuals and organisations submit their applications for Core Participant status by 21 April 2017. Guidance for submitting applications has been provided by IICSA on its website. Applicants seeking Core Participant status after the deadline will need to explain why their application has been submitted out of time.
- A preliminary hearing will be held on 11 May 2017 at 10.30am at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in London.
Accountability and Reparations –
- The part 1 oral hearing for the Child Migration Programmes case study, forming one of the strands of this investigation, has been held. Part 1 focused on evidence given by a number of former child migrant witnesses and the Inquiry’s appointed experts.
- A further preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 May 2017.
- The part 2 oral hearing, commencing on 10 July 2017, will focus on evidence from organisations previously involved in child migration and further evidence from the Inquiry’s experts.
Children in Custodial Institutions –
- The Inquiry’s Research Project held in January 2017 sought material (due for disclosure by 17 February 2017) for a review of the existing academic and grey literature (including policy and practice documents) relating to the incidence of child sexual abuse in the young people’s secure estate and the institutional response process to such allegations. The findings will determine this investigation as well as policy and practice recommendations to be made by the Inquiry.
- IICSA has provided details about the areas they are exploring within this investigation. These are:
- Evidence related to prevalence of child sexual abuse in the young people’s secure estate;
- Particular aspects of socio-demographic characteristics, both of victims and perpetrators;
- The factors associated with failure to protect or act to protect children in the care of institutions in the youth secure estate;
- The nature of the safeguarding systems in place in secure institutions for children and young people, and how they have changed over the years;
- Recommendations as to how those systems may be improved to better protect children and young people in secure care from sexual abuse.
Investigation into the Institutional Responses to Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC –
- On 31 January 2017, following an application from Daniel Janner QC, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Marion Janner OBE for Core Participant status which was granted to them by the Chair – Professor Alexis Jay OBE, on behalf of their late father’s estate.
- 11 April 2017 – the Inquiry published a Notice of Determination and revised the definition of scope in relation to this investigation. In light of the submissions received, the Chair has decided not to hold a preliminary hearing for oral submissions. The Inquiry will investigate institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC, considering:
- The adequacy and propriety of law enforcement investigations and prosecutorial decisions;
- The extent to which Leicestershire County Council and the Kirkwood Inquiry were aware of allegations falling and the adequacy of their response;
- The extent to which the Labour Party, Parliament, government departments, and/or the security and intelligence agencies were aware of allegations and the adequacy of their response;
- The extent to which any other public or private institution may have failed in its duty to protect children from sexual abuse;
- Whether any attempts were made to exert improper influence in order to hinder or prevent an institution from effectively investigating or otherwise responding to allegations.
Following consideration of the factors above, the Inquiry will publish a report setting out their findings and recommendations to improve child protection and safeguarding in England and Wales.
- Correspondence between panel member, Drusilla Sharpling CBE and the Home Secretary has been provided on IICSA website, following submissions made by the Janner family that Ms Sharpling should recuse herself from the investigation. Ms Sharpling wrote to the Home Secretary providing further details about her professional career and acquaintances that may be relevant to her position on the Panel, in particular her previous connections with the CPS, the Lord Janner case and one of the Core Participants in the Lord Janner investigation strand. In her response the Home Secretary clearly states that she is satisfied the information provided will not affect Ms Sharpling’s impartiality on the panel.
The Inquiry is not currently accepting Core Participant applications or requesting evidence for the following investigations:
- The internet;
- Child sexual abuse in residential schools;
- Allegations of child sexual abuse linked to westminster
There are no further updates in relation to the other investigations.
Written by Miriam Rahamim, solicitor at BLM