Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
DEX was invited to be a consultant, with SignHealth and NSPCC, at a meeting on 21 February 2018, of the government’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and its Truth Project: www.truthproject.org.uk
The IICSA was set up in 2015 to look at organisations that have failed to protect children from sexual abuse, and to encourage victims and survivors to share their experiences confidentially in order to help the government to prevent childhood abuse happening in the future. The Truth Project ends in 2020, so it is only a short term project, but the evidence will form part of the recommendations for future action.
The meeting DEX attended was to discuss access for deaf survivors of childhood sexual abuse, who had been 18 years or under at the time of abuse taking place. DEX was able to explain that deaf and hard of hearing people often do not have a strong sense of deaf and self- identity and low confidence, which can lead them unwittingly into abusive relationships. Also the information gap between deaf and hearing people is so great that many deaf children and young people do not know about normal behaviour and where they may be at risk.
The project is not yet ready to support deaf survivors, but will be putting together the views and experiences of the deaf participants at the meeting. The consultants all stressed how important it is to make sure the correct communication support is put in place, and in some cases to explain to deaf victims how they can best be supported. Also to refer for further support if possible.
All information given to the Truth Project is highly confidential. If a child is currently at risk the Project staff may have to inform the police.