“In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
I want to thank an insider who sent this to me. I assume they want me to spread the word about this impressive document. Kudos to those who worked tirelessly to make this investigation and report a reality. I hope the US government will consider a similar analysis and report. We have been told that the US Department of Justice is investigating the Southern Baptist Convention due to that organization’s history of allegedly hiding sexual abuse committed by pastors. Indeed, this website was started when the author was forced to view an SBC church which she believe mishandled the horrific sex abuse of many young teen boys by an SBC seminary student.
Here is a link to the Executive Summary of this investigation that was seven years in the making: The Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse: Executive Summary: October 2022
For purposes of discussion, I will highlight some aspects of this report. In doing so, I will leave many vital areas untouched. My goal is to help the reader focus on a few relevant points.
Remembering thousands who spoke to the committee.
Professor Alexis Gray, OBE (Order of the British Empire), the Chair of this committee, delivered the folowing poignant tribute to the thousands of victims and survivors who came forward and told their stories.
Above all, I want to pay tribute to the many thousands of victims and survivors who came forward and told the Inquiry about the abuse they experienced. As Chair, I observed first hand the courage and bravery of so many who spoke candidly about the shocking acts perpetrated against them. I urge the UK government, the Welsh Government and all other relevant institutions to implement promptly the Inquiry’s recommendations which are designed to protect children from sexual abuse in the future.
Three million children have been abused before the age of 16.
Babies, toddlers and children are potentially at risk, with current estimates indicating that 1 in 6 girls and 1 in 20 boys experience child sexual abuse before the age of 16. In March 2020, the Office for National Statistics estimated that 3.1 million adults in England and Wales had experienced sexual abuse before the age of 16. Reflecting the guiding principle that the child’s welfare is paramount, the Inquiry’s recommendations are focussed on making England and Wales places for children to grow up safely and thrive.
The inquiry demonstrated the following realities.
- acts such as vaginal and anal rape;
- children, particularly those who are sexually exploited, are often degraded and abused by multiple perpetrators;
- historically, inadequate measures were in place to protect children from the risk of being sexually abused – sometimes there were none at all;
- individuals and institutions often thought children were lying when they tried to disclose what was being done to them;
- victims were frequently blamed as being responsible for their own sexual abuse;
- within statutory agencies with direct responsibility for child protection there was too little emphasis on the complex and highly skilled work of child protection. Decisions about children were not unequivocally based on the paramount interests of the child;
- multi-agency arrangements still lack focus on child protection;
- there is still not enough support available to both child and adult victims and survivors;
- child sexual abuse is not a problem consigned to the past, and the explosion in online-facilitated child sexual abuse underlines the extent to which the problem is endemic within England and Wales;
- the devastation and harm caused by sexual abuse cannot be overstated – the impact of child sexual abuse, often lifelong, is such that everyone should do all they can to protect children; and
- this is not just a national crisis, but a global one.
Child sex abuse is not only endemic to England and Wales, but it is a global crisis affecting the US and the rest of the world.
As the Inquiry progressed, the extent of the global crisis in child sexual abuse and exploitation became increasingly clear. This is manifested in one way by the number of national and institutional inquiries being conducted across the world – including in the US, Australia, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain and Japan. The extraordinary, soaring numbers of child victims of internet-based sexual abuse also confirm the scale of the problem, providing evidence that the sexual abuse of children cannot be conveniently committed to the annals of history. Millions of child sexual abuse images can be accessed within just three ‘clicks’, many of which depict young children and babies.
The numbers of children involved are much higher than reported, even in this study, and children in need of help have not received services.
Nearly every one of the Inquiry’s investigation reports concluded that the true scale of sexual abuse of children is likely to have been much higher than the actual numbers recorded, and this continues to be the case with current methods of data-gathering. Information collected by children’s services shows high numbers of assessments where child sexual abuse and exploitation is identified as a risk factor, but the number of children placed on child protection plans under the primary category of child sexual abuse is comparatively low.
Who is more likely to be abused?
In surveys, girls were at least three times as likely as boys to describe experiences of child sexual abuse. Disabled participants were twice as likely to describe such experiences as non- disabled participants, and those who lived in a care home were nearly four times as likely to have experienced child sexual abuse. Those who had experienced childhood neglect were nearly five times as likely to have experienced child sexual abuse as those who had not.
The high economic cost of abuse affects everyone.
While many may think that child sexual abuse is not a matter that affects them, the economic and social costs of child sexual abuse affect everyone. In December 2021, the Home Office published a study into the costs relating to children whose contact sexual abuse began or continued in the year ending March 2019. The estimated cost to society exceeded £10 billion.
How society has viewed the abuse of children.
Over decades, society’s responses to child sexual abuse have reflected its attitude towards children. At worst, within some institutions, children have been treated as commodities
at adults’ disposal to do with as they wished. In the mid-20th century, child sexual abuse was not believed to be widespread. There was even a belief that there was such a thing asa ‘seductive child’. The notion that child sexual abuse was ‘not harmful’ persisted into the 1990s and, in some professional spheres, responses to it were seen as ‘over zealous’ and characterised as a ‘moral panic’. In the 2000s, some responses became more child-focussed, but others continued to deflect blame away from perpetrators and institutions, especially in the area of child sexual exploitation. While some of these attitudes have been challenged, there remains an incomplete public understanding of child sexual abuse, exploitation and power dynamics. Children cannot consent to their own abuse, and questions of empowerment, inclusion and hearing children’s voices are still not being fully addressed.
Disturbing common themes across institutions. This is a must-read.
The pain and suffering caused to victims and survivors often affected many aspects of their lives.
Relationships – whether personal, familial or sexual – suffered. Physical, emotional and mental health was damaged, in some cases beyond repair. The institutional responses often involved insincere apologies and the inadequate provision of support and counselling, thereby compounding the harm.
The deviousness and cruelty of perpetrators was limitless.
Children were threatened, beaten and humiliated. Those with disabilities or other vulnerabilities were often deliberately selected for that very reason. Offenders groomed victims and befriended parents in order to create a veneer of genuine affection which not only enabled the abuse to be committed but often inhibited the subsequent reporting of any disclosure.
The protection of personal and institutional reputations above the protection of children was a frequent institutional reaction.
Statutory agencies were not informed, perpetrators were ‘moved on’ and there were failures by those in authority to thoroughly investigate allegations. Records about child sexual abuse allegations were not kept.
Some institutions had no child protection policies and procedures.
Where policies and procedures were in existence, they were often inadequate or not complied with. Inspections of institutions were, at times, lacking. Recommendations made following internal or external reviews were infrequently implemented and sometimes ignored.
Online-facilitated child sexual abuse magnifies the risk to children both nationally and internationally.
Escalating production and sharing of child sexual abuse material and the live streaming of sexual abuse affects children of all ages but particularly those aged under 13 years.
The scale and extent of child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation are difficult to ascertain as data collection is poor.
The available data present a confused and confusing picture, and there is no consistent approach to the recording of data, including by key statutory agencies such as the police and local authorities.
Problems in the criminal justice system included investigative and prosecutorial failures.
Disruption tactics, which operate to prevent offenders from committing sexual offences against children, were underused. Delays in the system mean victims and survivors often have to wait years for the case to conclude.
The Inquiry also identified wider societal issues where responses to children’s disclosures were characterised by embarrassment, fear and disbelief.
There needs to be greater public awareness of the scale and scope of child sexual abuse and exploitation in order to improve our response to children who are abused.
A closer look at the section of the report that dealt with the Anglican church and its failure to protect children.
TWW published two posts that relates to the information in this section.
- Clergy Abuse Scandal and Possible Cover-up Rock Church of England
- Graphic Warning: UK Anglicans’ Nixonian Moment: Jonathan Fletcher, Peter Ball, John Smyth and The Possible Cover Up by Church Leaders
The Anglican Church did not live up to its moral purpose in teaching right from wrong.
As with other religious organisations, the Anglican Church is marked by its explicit moral purpose in teaching right from wrong. In the context of child sexual abuse, the Church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and vulnerable.
The Church of England failed to respond consistently to victims and survivors with sympathy and compassion, accompanied by practical and appropriate support. This often added tothe trauma of those who had experienced child sexual abuse by individuals connected to the Church. While there have been important improvements in child protection practice, the Church of England still has more to do to rebuild the trust of victims and survivors. Some internal past case reviews were flawed and inaccurate, and there was a tendency to minimise offending.
The Diocese of Chichester case study.
The Anglican Church investigation considered two case studies. The first was the Diocese of Chichester, where there had been multiple allegations of sexual abuse against children. Over 50 years, 20 individuals with a connection to Chichester Diocese, including four clergymen, were convicted of sexual offending against children. The responses of the Diocese were marked by secrecy, prevarication, avoidance of reporting alleged crimes to the authorities and a failure to take professional advice. Internal reviews failed to expose the nature and scale of the problem within the Diocese. Instead, they were used by Church leaders to act out their personal conflicts and antagonisms. The reviews ultimately came to nothing until 2011, when the Archbishop of Canterbury intervened by ordering a Visitation.
The moral cowardice of the Anglican Church, including Lord Carey, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, is exhibited in the Peter Ball case study.
The second case study concerned Peter Ball, who was a bishop in the Chichester Diocese before becoming Bishop of Gloucester. In 1993, he was cautioned for gross indecency.
In 2015, Ball pleaded guilty to further offences, including misconduct in public office and indecent assault in which he admitted that he had abused his position as Bishop of Lewes and Bishop of Gloucester to offend against 17 teenagers and young men. One victim, Neil Todd, was seriously failed by the Church and ultimately took his own life. At the time, the Church discounted Ball’s behaviour as trivial and insignificant, displaying callous indifference to Mr Todd’s complaints. The Archbishops’ Council accepted that the Church had displayed “moral cowardice” in response to the allegations.
The Inquiry found failings in the response of Lord Carey, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, including showing Ball a degree of compassion which he did not extend to his victims and not disciplining Ball after he was cautioned. Other people of prominence also supported Ball but without any consideration of the experiences of Ball’s victims.
I have barely scraped the surface of this ambitious investigation. Please read on for more on the inquiry into schools and care homes.
I have a request for those involved in this resourceful, seven-year inquiry into child sex abuse in the UK. Could you explain to your US brothers and sisters how this project came about? The US has much to learn from the UK.
Horrifying. It is good that they have studied the problem. I am saddened, but not surprised, that child sexual abuse is so widespread in the UK. When I lived in England, the existence of the problem was often denied, or blamed on certain foreigners. At the same time, I heard rumors and jokes about “funny uncles” and the misdeeds of choirmasters. The British have made progress, and we Americans need to as well.
While the report does and says some things, in the minds of some, what it calls for contain too many loopholes and do not go far enough.
If this is indeed the case, then the report’s recommendations are indeed too minimal. I was also *stunned* at the cost, it’s reported to have been £186,000,000 ($216,000,000 USD).
And Dee, to answer your question as to how this commission came about, it happened after a number of prominent people, such as Jimmy Savile, had been credibly accused of CSA. It was announced when Theresa May was prime minister back in 2014.
Hope this helps.
‘failed to teach right from wrong’ mischaracterizes the problem. Not only do the malfeasants teach right from wrong, the – like Paul – know right from wrong.
1 – In Pennsylavia tip offs regarding egregious institutional abuse get ignored while energy is channelled onto directly destroying poor families over something very minor or not wrong at all.
Rather than abolish mandatory reporting this actually means it must be far more carefully defined.
2 – IICSA was structured to cherry pick curated examples of institutions to be paraded as showcased culprits, diverting from all others. So it’s wrong to allege it’s comprehensive or definitive. (I think this was part of why four chairpersons resigned before its public activities got going.)
Recommending it for the vast U.S. will only fix in concrete a false gesture of having dealt with things. As elephants are best eaten by portions, the current piecemeal tactic, especially if stepped up, and not confined to a narrow sector, is the most ideal.
3 – Martha Nussbaum, in parts of her book Citadels of Pride (2021), illustrates the false entanglement between colleges and American Football, which gets commented on here.
4 – Whilst Nussbaum doesn’t much comment explicitly on resurgent religion (from my readings so far), in Hiding from Humanity (2004) she adduces the very points that underpin my contention that resurgent religion (including its Roman variant) shames and demeans boys by implicating them in the (prayerless) materialistic and subtractive agressive system.
thank you, dee, for taking the time to read, synthesize, and bring attention to this report. i can imagine the level of mental focus it required.
these observations make me sick:
The protection of personal and institutional reputations above the protection of children was a frequent institutional reaction.
protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and vulnerable.
Abuse will always be a movable “feast” and find fresh, deniable expressions, aided by compartmentalisation. The foul talk about children’s privates reaches an ever higher crescendo: my brother and I objected to it in our teens and we were derided by prayerless, show-off “Christians”. Divide and rule means pick some people off first. If others notice, normalise it and get them to be either grateful or jealous that they didn’t get picked off (yet).
Only three years ago, a very senior officer of Nottinghamshire County Council notified Richie Barlow through their well known firm of solicitors, that he had voluntarily removed himself from their duty of care when repeatedly fleeing rape and coercive control by other residents, plausibly coordinated on their premises by their personnel, some years previous.
In my opinion those solicitors should be struck off the solicitors’ register for not refusing to send such correspondence. I got to know of Richie from a BBC web page.
Quotes from Richie: “to suggest that I sought contact with my abusers was frankly insane … I hadn’t gone through all this for some person I didn’t know to tell me that’s just the way it was, that nobody was really to blame … I refuse to be defined by events in my past which were out of my control”.
Note IICSA certainly didn’t cover cases not long since somewhat resolved AND previously publicised (whatever else it didn’t cover either).
Any number of church rows not reaching criminal or civil case thresholds, based on half baked doctrines and practices, will not be touched by changes in law yet are the breeding ground for exactly all the rot we’re describing (including secular, because of the subliminal effects of prayerlessness for the nation).
Should the personal mentor of my old pastor really have recommended “PJ” Smyth (named after the garments he stole at night) for a new post at the church ruined by the hailed CJ Mahaney? Said mentor lives in the same locality as the Chichester diocese mentioned, while Smyth’s deceased dad was so intermeshed with C of E personnel they have testified they didn’t understand he wasn’t C of E.
(This was exactly the kind of sleepwalking Martyn Lloyd-Jones warned against, but the Stott faction didn’t listen.)
Is the mentor (who bosses his own group of denominations) assisting both a wealthy African fugitive and an American cover-up and why was pressure put on him to do so? This makes it a very major (at least) four-denomination and (at least) three-nation case. (He has published several almost unreadable yet moderately well selling books.)
Michael in UK,
Mandatory reporting would presumably have deterred Nottinghamshire’s solicitors from implicating themselves three years ago, but not my old denomination boss . . .
Yes. And your observations are spot on.
The CHRISTIAN Vote is too strong in this country, and after these midterms it’ll be even stronger. Remember what happened when that one Congressman tried to investigate corruption in Televangelists – the lashback was worse than if he’d tried to disband Social Security. “AND WE VOTE!!!!!”
The Christian Culture Warriors and Spiritual Warfare types been sharpening their Bibles and dreaming of a coming Night of Long Knives for 40-50 years, with the Perfect CHRISTIAN Nation beckoning seductively from the other side. And now they see Victory within their grasp – “DEUS VULT!”
Not helped by the fact that the last previous Moral Panic – the Satanic Panic of the Eighties, fueled by Recovered Memories(TM) and Private Revelations- turned out to be bogus, a true Witch Hunt in every sense of the word. (Until after a 30+ year hiatus it came back with different buzzwords as QAnon.)
“with current estimates indicating that 1 in 6 girls and 1 in 20 boys experience child sexual abuse before the age of 16.”
“In surveys, girls were at least three times as likely as boys to describe experiences of child sexual abuse.”
I may make a few here angry again but I cannot help but notice the reported numbers listed. I do to the best of my ability to pay attention to facts and logic and I note that the problems that this blog draws its attention to is due to the fact that so many Christians pay little care for either of these things. They want to believe the best about their narratives being told and they refuse to look deeper until the narratives which are false come crashing down on top of their own heads. Can such people telling them such things really be so bad that they are lying through their teeth?
Yet I notice that this is not the only place in our world where these things happen. They happen everywhere in different fronts. I have noticed that most people think that the problems with child abuse by straight and gay people are equal in intensity and rates of occurence. Yet everywhere I go I stumble on facts being reported by even those who are clearly NOT anti-gay that contradict that narrative. Just look at the numbers:
Almost all molesters are men, by the stats, women do offend but so rarely that they barely move the statistics at all. So straight men are the vast majority where the highest numbers I have seen reported that can be supported are no more than 3% of men are gay or bisexual. So some percentage of men who make up the other 97% are the ones that molest the girls. This leaves 3% or less that molest boys. This makes a ratio that is higher than 30:1. If the lowest estimates are to believed than the ratio is 99:1, but somewhere between the two is what the data says.
So one in six girls report being molested while 1 in 20 boys. But if the narrative is the truth then the number of boys should be 6 x 30 or higher. The ratio should be 1:180 or even lower, not 1:20. This logically leaves two possibilities, either each gay offender has 9x more victims than straight molesters, or the rate of gay offenders is 9x higher inside their communities. Or both are true to some degree to add up to the difference. Yet neither of these things looks like good news to the whole LGBTQ+ block. I will let you decide what the cause for this is. But the facts just keep coming and they have not changed from the pre-2000 year stats I saw before such negative news was squalshed as politically incorrect. Of course the squashing and white-washing of bad news is something that we talk about all the time. But can we see it elsewhere? Could it be just as strong in politics as it is in religion? Banish the thought. So why are so many boys getting molested when those who prefer males are so very small?
I knew a married man who molested little boys and little girls. I did not view him as a repressed LGBTQ+ guy or an unsatisfied husband. I also did not blame the institution of marriage for his crimes.
Sexual assault is all about power and sick urges. It’s not principally about sexual identity or orientation or marital status or celibacy or political correctness or the media or squashed news or or or or or. Much abuse happens in established settings that offer access and cover: churches, schools, camps, and homes.
Abuse is the antithesis of consent.
The guy mentioned above appeared safe because he had such a nice wife. People simply refused to believe he would do bad things. He was a monster.
When I have the energy Dee, I’ll do some digging on this report. I’ve been out of Children’s Services circles for a couple of years now due to my health, but I still have some contacts.
A straight marriage used as cover is now called a “beard”.
50 years ago, it was called a “fishwife”.
But that goes against the Christian narrative about HOMOSEXUALS.
And that one about Widdle Wifey solely responsible for keeping Hubby Happy so he won’t seek It elsewhere.
Depends on whether the perp’s target profile is pre- or post-puberty.
Same-sex Pedos (go after pre-puberty) self-identify and arouse as Straight. Reason is the pre-pubesecent boy does not show masculine secondary sexual characteristics: low-pitched voice, dense facial hair, visible coarse body hair, obvious external genitalia. Instead, pre-puberty secondary sexual characteristics are FEMININE – no facial hair, high-pitched voice, soft sparse body hair, inconspicuous external genitalia. So they’re not REALLY male, so it isn’t HOMOSEXUAL.
Same-sex Ehebephiles (target profile post-puberty but legally underage) DO self-identify as Gay. In this case, it’s probably targeting “young and naive” as well as a same-sex version of Voddie Baucham’s “as a man gets old, his eyes turn towards younger and younger”.
I think you’re confusing PJ Smyth with his father Jack the Whipper.
Though PJ was probably an accessory to his old man’s kinks.
Headless Unicorn Guy,
PJ was confusing himself with his pa (and is in Dee’s threads). This kind of sleep walking regarding boundaries is exactly what Lloyd Jones was protesting about and no, Stott wasn’t right, Lloyd Jones was.
Hey Dee, my Children’s Services friends say that this report was commissioned in the wake of the Savile Report, which was published in 2015 into the sexual offences of Jimmy Savile, a very high profile British entertainer who was a prolific paedophile, yet was never credibly accused or convicted in his lifetime (I’m sure you know about him, he was hiding in plain sight for decades.
That report led to ‘so many people coming forward because of the publicity around the abuse by Savile it triggered many investigations of historic abuse and the report has taken so long due to the scale.’
I remember at the time the lid coming off the sporting world in particular, whereas the entertainment world had had Operation Yewtree investigating it for some years already by this point.
In the wake of Savile, whose offences were horrific, there was more than enough Governmental & public support to resource an report of this scale.
Wow- I didn’t know about that, Thank you for the background. I need to reread the stuff on Savile. I haven’t though about him for a long time. You are the best!
Sadly I missed Dee Holmes’s comment at the top which gave most of it. But it is probably is a bit different being in the actual culture it happened to whilst holding safeguarding responsibilities in the Children & Young People’s workforce- Savile was a fixture of many people my age’s childhoods & then it turned out he was a prolific disgusting predator who should have been caught whilst alive. Lots of household names from that era – Rolf Harris (Australian entertainer but based here), Gary Glitter (musician), Stuart Hall (radio) were prosecuted for CSA, it seemed like every other minute one of our childhood favourites was outed as a paedophile.Looking back on it it is almost unbelievable that these people could offend at the level they did & not be prosecuted, there were clearly powerful influences at play.
It’s worth looking at the changes in victimology this brought about too – one of the reasons Savile’s few victims who came forward prior to his death did not provide evidence the CPS could realistically use was because young victims who went on to use drugs, be promiscuous, have mental illness, wait long periods before disclosing etc were deemed ‘unreliable’, whereas we know now that many such things are the results of trauma & do not disqualify the person suffering them. It was still the era of calling victims ‘child prostitutes’ or ‘jailbait’ & implying a child could be ‘asking for it’.
Sir Keir Starmer (now Labour Party leader) was head of the CPS at the time, & Nazir Afzal (former Chief Crown Prosecutor & the guy who, as a Muslim of Asian origin, blew the lid off the grooming gang scandal in Rochdale & elsewhere) worked to update victimology ensuring that young victims who came forward in future could be believed & their evidence used to prosecute offenders.You are much more likely to be believed as a victim of CSA if you come forward now, than you were before this point.