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UK News

Inquiry publishes accounts of child sexual abuse in religious settings

by Tola Mbakwe

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has released its final publication of Experiences Shared, an online compilation highlighting the accounts of more than 1,100 victims and survivors who came forward to the Inquiry's Truth Project. 

Survivors spoke of sexual abuse across multiple settings, including religious institutions. They also described the difficulties they have faced in speaking out and the devastating impacts of abuse on their lives. They also emphasised the importance of a more open conversation on sexual abuse within society to spark cultural change.

Among those who shared their account were Crystal who felt dismissed by the church safeguarding board when she reported sexual abuse by a vicar. 

Dewi was sexually abused by a priest. The sight of Catholic churches and clergy still makes him feel angry.

 Benji was also sexually abused and raped by a parish priest. Decades later, he says he is still haunted by the trauma he was subjected to over four years of his adolescence. 

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse examines the extent to which institutions and organisations have failed to protect children in England and Wales from sexual abuse.

The Inquiry said the Truth Project is the first of its kind in the UK and helped form primary research regarding child sexual abuse as well as recommendations for change across the Inquiry's 19 investigation reports. 

It started six years ago gathering stories and came to a close in October 2021. 

The Inquiry  said in a statement: "Victims and survivors told the Truth Project about the struggles they faced in speaking out, describing fears of being stigmatised or not being believed. Many spoke about the severe impact the sexual abuse has had across all aspects of their lives including relationships, education and work, as well as physical and mental health. For some, the effects have lasted years.

"The experiences shared also describe changes that victims and survivors hope to see in future, such as better education, greater awareness and more open conversations about the effects of child sexual abuse."

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