Inquiry report finds child sexual abuse in most major UK religions
Child sexual abuse has been found in most major UK religions, according to a new report by the Inquiry; with some found to have no child protection policies in place at all.
The ‘Child protection in religious organisations and settings’ report examined evidence received from 38 religious organisations with a presence in England and Wales, with the figures provided to the Inquiry about known prevalence of child sexual abuse unlikely to reflect the full picture.
Religious organisations play a central and even dominant role in the lives of millions of children in England and Wales. The report highlights the blatant hypocrisy and moral failing of religions purporting to teach right from wrong and yet failing to prevent or respond to child sexual abuse.
The report makes two recommendations:
(i) that all religious organisations should have a child protection policy and supporting procedures; and
(ii) that the government should legislate to amend the definition of full-time education to bring any setting that is the pupil’s primary place of education within the scope of a registered school, and provide Ofsted with sufficient powers to examine the quality of child protection when undertaking inspection of suspected unregistered schools.
Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Inquiry said:
“Religious organisations are defined by their moral purpose of teaching right from wrong and protection of the innocent and the vulnerable. However when we heard about shocking failures to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse across almost all major religions, it became clear many are operating in direct conflict with this mission.
“We have seen some examples of good practice, and it is our hope that with the recommendations from this report, all religious organisations across England and Wales will improve what they do to fulfil their moral responsibility to protect children from sexual abuse.”
A final opportunity to share with the Truth Project
The Truth Project is closing in October 2021, but victims and survivors who would like to share their experience can still do so in writing until 31 October 2021. Please share these details with your colleagues and contacts.
We want to ensure that anyone who has experienced child sexual abuse has the opportunity to take part in the Truth Project. All of the accounts shared will help inform the findings and recommendations in the Inquiry’s Final Report, due to be published next year.
More than 5,800 victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have now shared their experiences with the Truth Project in England and Wales. A further 80 Experiences Shared with the Truth Project were published last month. Survivors spoke about the barriers they faced in coming forward, describing fears of stigma and not being believed.
New statistics highlight the Inquiry’s ongoing work
The Inquiry has released its quarterly statistics, providing an update across all areas of its work, including the number of witnesses who have given evidence to the Inquiry, the amount of correspondence received by the Inquiry each month, ongoing research reports and the latest figures for the Truth Project. The statistics also illustrate the Inquiry’s engagement with victims and survivors over time.
Please get in touch if you’d like further information about the Inquiry’s work with the Truth Project were published last month. Survivors spoke about the barriers they faced in coming forward, describing fears of stigma and not being believed.