On Thursday 2nd September, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published the report from its investigation into child protection in religious organisations and settings. The full report can be accessed here.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Safeguarding in faith communities welcomes the findings and recommendations outlined in the report and want to extend our thanks to the Inquiry team and to all those who participated, particularly the brave individuals – victims and survivors of abuse – whose willingness to share their experiences has highlighted so many valuable areas of learning for faith communities.
We particularly commend the breadth of focus of the investigation in looking at a broad cross-section of religious organisations, including interfaith groups, umbrella bodies and representative organisations.
Safeguarding and child protection challenges are not restricted to faith communities alone, however, as the report highlights, despite the significant diversity of religious organisation, there are many areas of commonality which provide opportunities for faith communities to come together to work on improving these areas, so that more children may be protected from harm and abuse.
The report is right to point out that within each of these religious contexts there exists a risk that children may be subject to abuse of many forms, and that with the range of guidance, support and advice that is currently available, it is not acceptable that faith communities should be failing those that they care for in this way.
This report provides a useful point of reference to enable all faith communities to unite in tackling the issues and barriers that remain to the reporting of abuse, and to the embedding of good safeguarding practice.
As an APPG we exist to increase awareness of issues relating to safeguarding within faith communities and to provide an opportunity for faith communities to inform safeguarding discourse, share best practice and work together to create safer places. We are pleased to see the role of parliamentary groups highlighted within the report, especially in relation to recent work around securing a change to the law on positions of trust.
We remain committed to working together across religious and faith communities to improve the areas highlighted by the investigation.