The importance of the response to disclosure of child sexual abuse

When child sexual abuse is disclosed it is imperative that the individual or organisation responds well. Too many times it is reported that the response to disclosure has caused further damage. A recent example of the consequences of an inadequate response shows the potentially devastating effects of a poor response. Continue reading

IICSA investigation progress

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.

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The serious matter of ‘upskirting’

“Upskirting” is the practice of taking a picture up the skirt or dress of a female and is sometimes part of a programme of harassment by the person taking the picture, but can often occur without the victim ever being aware.

Recent media coverage of this issue has once again shown how technology and the misuse of technology is well ahead of the law.

Reports have suggested that this practice is widespread with reports of pictures being taken at bus stops, on the tube, at festivals and at schools.  There are even websites dedicated to the publication of the pictures taken.

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Royal Commission update

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.

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Implementation of Scottish Limitation Abolition Act

The Scottish Government has announced its intention to bring the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 into force in October 2017.

The Abolition Bill became an Act of the Scottish Parliament on the grant of Royal Assent on 28 July 2017 but regulations by Scottish Ministers are needed to bring its provisions into force.

Once implemented, the Act will retrospectively abolish limitation in claims for personal injury, whether physical or psychological or both, caused by childhood abuse.

On account of a quirk of the Scots Law on Prescription, the Act will only be of relevance to abuse which took place on or after 26 September 1964.


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Frank Hughes and Siobhan Kelly, Partners, BLM Glasgow

The cost of inquiries

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.

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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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