The Care Leavers’ Association welcomes the announcement by the Home Secretary on the 9th of July 2014 of an independent national inquiry into whether public bodies – and other, non-state, institutions – have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse. We note that there are many well-documented cases of the sexual abuse of children in the care system in past decades and right up to the present.
We will need to wait until the terms of reference of the inquiry are published to see whether the scope of the inquiry can bring justice for adults who were abused as children whilst in the care system. However, we regret the narrow focus on sexual abuse. We know from the experience of care leavers and from the evidence of various inquiries that physical abuse in the care system was widespread and deep-rooted in past decades. Such abuse will not be addressed by the proposed inquiry.
We call on the government to ensure that the inquiry covers all forms of abuse in the care system, that those who experienced such abuse finally receive justice and that lessons learnt are acted upon for the benefit of present and future looked after children.