IICSA update

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.

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Commissioning of support services for victims and survivors; provider’s viewpoint

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:

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Support Services for child victims of CSA and their families

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”.

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Support Services for adult survivors of CSA

Following on from the presentation of the research in to the impact of child sexual abuse (CSA) the IICSA held a panel discussion about support services available to adult victims, together with victim comments and stories of their experience of the same.

Highlights from this discussion were:

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Impacts of Child Sexual Abuse (“CSA”) on victims and survivors

As noted last week, the IICSA held the second event in its research seminar series. It began with a presentation and discussion of a Rapid Evidence Assessment (“REA”) which had been completed by the IICSA’s Research Team into the impact of CSA on victims, their families and society as a whole. The aim of the REA was to draw conclusions from the body of the academic literature, and to identify areas of further research.

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Short, medium and long term impacts of child sexual abuse

The impacts of child sexual abuse are huge and cannot be ignored. Yesterday and today the IICSA has been considering the impact on victims and survivors, their families and society as a whole. As part of research in this area, consideration has been made of the cost of abuse to the UK, as calculated by the NSPCC, at £3.2 billion per annum. The first day of the seminar however was not just focused on the financial impact but the much wider impacts of abuse.

Some of the topics discussed yesterday included mental health, processes connected with disclosure, support services in the NHS and voluntary sectors, the impact on families as well as the abused. There are due to be two further seminars today to explore these topics further.

Next week we will produce a series of blogs which focus on the topics highlighted in the seminars.

jefferson_p_web Written by Paula Jefferson, partner at BLM