IICSA investigation report - full statement from the ISC
The ISC has issued a further statement following the publication of IICSA's investigation report into the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in residential schools.
ISC chief executive Julie Robinson said: “The abuse of trust by predatory individuals in schools is shocking and unforgiveable. This report ensures that lessons can be learned from past failures and although we know much has been done in recent years, we also accept that all staff in all schools must remain alert to safeguarding risks. As IICSA’s report rightly highlights: ‘Schools need to accept that “it could happen here”.’
“It was of the utmost importance that the Inquiry looked at schools where there had been failures and analysed what went wrong. IICSA’s findings and its report will inform our understanding going forward to help combat this serious issue, helping to ensure all children are safe and protected from harm.
“The ISC takes a zero tolerance approach to all forms of abuse and we fully support IICSA’s aims to strengthen the system for schools. IICSA has set out a series of recommendations, such as measures to improve training and awareness-raising across school communities, which we fully endorse.
“Over the last 25 years, schools have played a key and active part in developing detailed safeguarding procedures and regular inspection. However, there is more work to be done and the importance of safeguarding systems forming part of a daily culture of vigilance cannot be underestimated. The welfare and protection of children is the absolute priority for schools.
“We must also take this opportunity to remember that the Inquiry’s work and its report would not have been possible were it not for the brave survivors of abuse who came forward and spoke out. Their testimonies as part of this Inquiry are helping us improve school culture for young people today and for generations to come.
“Anyone who has experienced abuse is encouraged to contact the relevant authorities to ensure they receive appropriate support and enable a full investigation. If you are worried about a child, organisations such as the NSPCC are able to offer advice and support – and if you think that a child is at immediate risk of harm, please call the police on 999.”