Children’s homes staff should be registered, says Inquiry

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse urged staff at children’s homes to be professionally registered

Published on 27th April 2018

Staff working in children’s homes should be registered with a professional body, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has warned.

The Inquiry highlighted that children in residential settings are particularly vulnerable to abuse by adults who are working in those settings and are responsible for their welfare. Yet there are no professional registration requirements in place for staff, other than social workers, working in children’s homes in England, unlike in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“The Inquiry is concerned by the absence of professional registration for those working in care roles in children’s homes in England. It therefore recommends that the Department for Education addresses this,” said the report.

It suggests that registration should be with an independent body charged with setting and maintaining standards of training, conduct and continuing professional development, and with the power to enforce these through fitness to practise procedures.

Acknowledging that registration may require a period of phasing in, the Chair and Panel of the Inquiry recommend that priority be given to professional registration of children’s home managers.

The report also urges the Home Office to ensure that the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 is amended so that, where a fitness to practise hearing has been conducted by the keeper of a relevant register and has resulted in removal of a practitioner from that register for reasons relating to harm or risk of harm to children, the keeper of the register has a duty to refer that information to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), and, on receiving the referral, the DBS has a duty to automatically bar the practitioner from working with children.

The Inquiry has consistently heard about the difficulties faced by victims and survivors seeking to access support or treatment. The Inquiry asked the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) to identify current levels of expenditure on support services for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, however, CIPFA was unable to identify current expenditure levels due to a lack of suitable financial data collected by the public sector agencies involved.

The Inquiry therefore recommends that the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Education, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office work together to establish current levels of public expenditure, and the effectiveness of that expenditure on services for child victims and adult survivors of child sexual abuse in England.

The Inquiry included an investigation on the child migration programmes in February, March and July 2017 where the Inquiry heard evidence that some child migrants were sexually abused by being penetrated, inappropriately touched and made to touch others.

“It was the overwhelming conclusion of the Inquiry that the UK Government was primarily to blame for the continued existence of the child migration programmes after the Second World War. Successive UK governments could have taken action at certain key points when they became aware that children were suffering ill treatment and abuse, but instead they allowed the migration programmes to continue. It was not until 2010 that the UK Government accepted full responsibility for its role in child migration,” said the Inquiry.

The report recommends that the UK Government establishes a financial redress scheme for surviving former child migrants, providing for an equal award to every applicant. This is on the basis that they were all were exposed to the risk of sexual abuse.

The Inquiry also calls for the Ministry of Justice to provide in primary legislation that victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in civil court cases, where they are claiming compensation in relation to the abuse they suffered, are afforded the same protections as vulnerable witnesses in criminal court cases.

Interim Report: A Summary Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse


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