On Thursday 9th August 2018, the IICSA published its full report following the conclusion of its investigation of the Roman Catholic Church last year.

The investigation is part of a wider investigation into the true extent of child sex abuse within various organisations such as religious institutions, sports clubs and local authorities. The next investigation hearing will take place in October 2018. This is the Nottinghamshire Councils Inquiry regarding child sex abuse in Local Authority Children’s Homes and foster placements, at which Farleys represents a Complainant Core Participant.

Two schools, Downside Abbey in Somerset and Ampleforth in North Yorkshire, have been singled out as institutions which facilitated the sexual abuse of pupils by staff over 40 years and then covered up the same, avoiding giving information to the police and social services.

Former pupils told the Inquiry of the unspeakable abuse they had suffered.

The 2001 Nolan Report stated that allegations of child sex abuse should be referred to the Police and Social Services. Despite this, the schools would deal with allegations themselves or operate on “say nothing” strategy.

The Report notes that the schools prioritised their reputation and the reputations of the staff over the safety of the children. The Inquiry has stated that there should have been a clear separation between the School and the Abbey.

Perpetrators did not hide the sexual abuse and would often abuse children in the presence of others, leading the report to conclude that there was a culture of abuse. One of the survivors of the abuse at Downside Abbey told the IICSA that it made him feel like a “sinner” although he attempted to disclose the abuse.

Ten individuals who worked at the schools have been convicted or cautioned in relation to the sex abuse, although the Church has relayed its concerns to the IICSA that the number of perpetrators of child sexual abuse is likely to be far greater than presently known.

As of yet, neither school has made a public apology nor established a system of redress for the survivors.

Next year, a public hearing will be held in relation to abuse within two further Benedictine abbeys, Ealing and St Benedict’s.

If you have been affected by child sex abuse or to find out more about Farleys work with the IICSA, call one of our specialists in our Abuse department on 0330 134 6430 or contact us by email.