A safer fu­ture for our chil­dren

By giv­ing a voice to vic­tims and sur­vivors of child sex­ual abuse, the Truth Project is help­ing to bring about last­ing change…

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Ev­ery right-think­ing per­son knows that child sex­ual abuse is a hor­rific crime that shat­ters young lives. And thanks to wide­spread me­dia reports about shock­ing cases like Jimmy Sav­ile, we also know that far too of­ten in­sti­tu­tions have failed dis­mally to pro­tect chil­dren in their care from sex­ual abuse.

In­sti­tu­tions like schools, hos­pi­tals, churches… places where all chil­dren should feel safe and free from fear.

Yet time and again, it’s emerged that noth­ing was done to stop sex­ual abuse, even when peo­ple knew full well it was go­ing on. Or that when chil­dren found the courage to tell some­one in au­thor­ity, no ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion was taken to pro­tect them.

How is it pos­si­ble that th­ese chil­dren were failed so badly?

And how can we en­sure in­sti­tu­tions keep chil­dren safe in the fu­ture?

Th­ese are the ques­tions be­ing tack­led by the In­de­pen­dent In­quiry into Child Sex­ual Abuse, which was set up in 2015. Its aim is to root out answers, find out what went wrong, and make rec­om­men­da­tions for gov­ern­ment ac­tion.

A vi­tal part of the In­quiry’s work is gather­ing ev­i­dence from vic­tims and sur­vivors through the Truth Project. Here are answers to some of the key ques­tions about its role in creat­ing a safer fu­ture for all our chil­dren… What is the Truth Project?

The Truth Project is an in­te­gral part of the In­de­pen­dent In­quiry into Child Sex­ual Abuse, which is in­ves­ti­gat­ing how in­sti­tu­tions failed to pro­tect chil­dren from sex­ual abuse in Eng­land and Wales.

The Truth Project gives vic­tims and sur­vivors of child sex­ual abuse the op­por­tu­nity to share their ex­pe­ri­ence in a safe and con­fi­den­tial en­vi­ron­ment.

They may have suf­fered sex­ual abuse within an in­sti­tu­tion. Or they may have been sex­u­ally abused at home, by fam­ily mem­bers or oth­ers, and in­sti­tu­tions like schools, so­cial ser­vices or the po­lice may have ig­nored the signs, or failed to lis­ten and act ap­pro­pri­ately when they re­ported the abuse.

What does the Truth Project hope to achieve?

It’s been set up to gather as many con­fi­den­tial ac­counts as pos­si­ble from vic­tims and sur­vivors of sex­ual abuse. This will cre­ate a clear pic­ture of the true scope and ex­tent of child sex­ual abuse in Eng­land

and Wales. The In­quiry will use th­ese ac­counts to help draft ro­bust rec­om­men­da­tions for gov­ern­ment re­forms to pro­tect chil­dren to­day and in the fu­ture.

How will vic­tims and sur­vivors be able to make con­tact?

There are nu­mer­ous ways to get in touch – ei­ther by phone, email, post or on­line. The Truth Project will get back to peo­ple to dis­cuss how they would like to share their ex­pe­ri­ence. This is most likely to be in per­son, though some may pre­fer to write their ac­count, or make an au­dio or video record­ing.

Where will ses­sions take place? They will be held at a Truth Project lo­ca­tion or pop-up venue that’s con­ve­nient for the per­son shar­ing their ac­count. Th­ese have been

How were chil­dren failed so badly?

spe­cially de­signed to be re­laxed and com­fort­able, so vic­tims and sur­vivors will feel at ease.

How will they be sup­ported if they share their ex­pe­ri­ence? Shar­ing an ex­pe­ri­ence of child sex­ual abuse may be deeply up­set­ting, so pro­fes­sional sup­port will be avail­able be­fore and dur­ing the meet­ing. There will also be a fol­low-up phone call af­ter­wards. Peo­ple may bring a rel­a­tive or friend with them for ex­tra sup­port.

There is no need for vic­tims and sur­vivors to pro­vide ev­i­dence for any in­for­ma­tion they share.

Is anonymity pro­tected?

Yes. No one’s name or de­tails will ever be pub­lished or made pub­lic, and no con­tact de­tails will be passed to the po­lice un­less the vic­tim or sur­vivor wants this. The only ex­cep­tion is if a child is cur­rently in dan­ger of sex­ual abuse.

In­sti­tu­tions such as a school or hos­pi­tal will be named, but no in­di­vid­u­als (such as teach­ers) will be iden­ti­fied.

If you have an ex­pe­ri­ence to share, do get in touch – you’ll be help­ing pro­tect chil­dren in fu­ture.

You can choose how you’d like to share your ex­pe­ri­ence

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