The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its report on 22nd October 2022. The Report was comprehensive and insisted upon a response from government within 6 months ie before 22nd April 2023. With 2 days to go before the deadline, the Home Office have stated that they will not be able to reply before May ie a month late.
The statement blames the local elections for the delay, which is understandable, but there is no doubt that it will anger some survivors of abuse who will have been working themselves up for the announcement. Whilst the Inquiry took over 7 years, the government response is crucial, and should be published promptly to avoid increasing the stress effect upon the beneficiaries of the report.
The statement displays strong language of intent, and follows on from Suella Braverman’s statements already about tackling child abuse robustly. She also confirms recent press statements about bringing into force Mandatory Reporting – the law to make not reporting child abuse by those with care of a child a criminal offence, or rather consulting on it. Let us hope the outcome is not the same as the last consultation which found the NSPCC against the change, and the government refusing to bring Mandatory Reporting into force.
To read a summary of the report, and my comments click here. Top of my list for change is the Law of Limitation or Time Delay, reforms to the CICA scheme, a Redress Scheme, and better access to Care Records without redaction.
I am surprised at the announcement by Braverman. I thought that the recent press statements from her was paving the way for the government response in a timely manner. Both Rishi Sunak and her have been making statements about the introduction of a Mandatory Reporting law, and the behaviour of grooming gangs who have allegedly not been pursued rigorously enough because of race issues. I commented upon the bizarre nature of this reaction, and the way in which it is being used as a political football previously. Even more bizarre is the political attack upon Rishi Sunak on the grounds that he is against custodial sentences for anyone convicted of offences of child sexual abuse.
If the recent press coverage where one party is against the other in the run up to local elections is something which is temporal and will subside after the local elections shortly then I would welcome a return to cross party politics where both sides of the political divide are united in changing laws for the benefit of the victims and survivors of child abuse.