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Professor Alexis Jay.jpg
UK News

Inquiry into how religious organisations safeguard children to resume via video

by Press Association

A postponed inquiry into how religious organisations protect children from abuse aims to restart its hearings through video technology.

In March, The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) had to put on hold its investigation into child protection in religious organisations and settings in England and Wales due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

In an update published on its website on Monday, the IICSA said it hopes to resume the hearing via video conference on May 11.

Chair of the Inquiry, Prof Alexis Jay (pictured), said the decision to suspend the public hearing had been "difficult", but the IICSA had been exploring how to resume "in a virtual setting".

She added: "The Inquiry is working hard to rearrange future public hearings in all our investigations, bearing in mind the difficulties that the current situation presents for all those involved.

"My thanks to Inquiry staff, core participants and their legal teams for working flexibly with us to ensure that these vital hearings will continue."

In an initial hearing held before the suspension on March 16, the Inquiry was told that religious organisations are subject to "little to none external oversight" of how they ensure children are protected from sexual abuse.

The investigation will include Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and non-conformist Christian denominations.

A public hearing for another investigation into child exploitation in organised networks due to be held on April 20 has been postponed, with the Inquiry aiming to reschedule it for September.

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