As part of its research programme the IICSA is considering abuse within the health sector. Whilst none of the current investigations focus on this sector it remains a possibility that a future investigation will do so. To shape knowledge of abuse within this sector, two days of seminars will be held on 26 and 27 September at which a variety of issues will be discussed. The seminars will be available to watch live on the Inquiry’s website and then be available for subsequent review.
Today is Purple Friday, the aim of which is to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation. The IICSA is progressing its investigations and by doing so is constantly raising awareness. Its investigations are now gathering pace and will continue to do so over the next few months in particular with further hearings.
In the past six months the Royal Commission has continued its work as it nears its end date and final report (due in December). As ever many of the recommendations it makes are not specific to Australia but are of wider application and remit and worthy of consideration for good safeguarding practice and procedure elsewhere in the world including recommendations for reform to criminal justice, reporting abuse disclosed during the seal of the confessional and the misconceptions about memory which impact upon the responses to disclosure.
The costs associated with funding inquiries are not usually the main focus when an inquiry is set up; attention is given to the scope of the investigation and how best this can be achieved through the Terms of Reference. However as inquiries are funded by the public purse, pursuant to the Inquiries Act 2005 (sections 39-40), and in light of the current number of national inquiries addressing a range of topics, knowledge and interest in the costs involved has grown as the public focus on whether such inquiries provide value for money.
Following conclusion of the substantive hearings in the child migration case study the IICSA is making progress across many areas. It is also gradually making its position clear on how it will deal with evidence and the conclusions it will reach including on the thorny issue of whether it needs to make findings of fact about specific allegations.
The final discussion of last week’s IICSA seminars touched on commissioning of support service from a provider’s viewpoint, primarily focused on the reasons for inaction and inefficiencies within the support services.
Professor Cooper of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust stated that in preparation for his attendance at IICSA he had spoken to experienced clinical social work practitioners who expressed to him a sense of fear in handling child sexual abuse (CSA) issues. As a result of this fear Professor Cooper asserted that professionals who may otherwise be competent and well trained were unable to cope effectively when faced with allegations of CSA, resulting in the inaction which characterised the critique of service providers in previous panel discussions. The panel discussed the reasons behind this sense of fear:
On Wednesday 5 July 2015 the IICSA held a second day of seminars focusing first on the presentation and discussion of what can be gleaned from academic literature in respect of effective support services for child victims. This was by reference to a Rapid Evidence Assessment (“REA”) completed by Professor Lorraine Radford and her team at the University of Central Lancashire titled “What can be learnt from other jurisdictions about preventing and responding to child sexual abuse”.