The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published its interim report focusing on the Children in the Care of Nottinghamshire councils in July 2019. The Inquiry has today (October 20, 2022) published its final report covering its 15 separate strands of investigation.

Nottingham City Council’s Director for People, Catherine Underwood, said:

“We have undertaken a great deal of work since IICSA took place four years ago. As well as addressing the Inquiry’s specific recommendations for Nottingham as acknowledged in today’s report, we have carried out some important improvements to the way we protect children in our care and support survivors of abuse in the past.

“We have worked with other agencies to strengthen safeguarding children partnership arrangements, focused on listening to children and adult survivors and equipping people in a whole range of organisations with the skills to recognise and respond to them when they raise concerns of abuse.

“Survivors told us that services weren’t meeting their particular needs, often waiting too long for support that didn’t adequately address their traumatic experiences. We have helped to establish, with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and other partners, specialist sexual violence support services which survivors themselves helped to shape. This provides specialist therapeutic counselling, practical support and access to mental health services which survivors tell us is a great improvement on what was previously in place.

“In terms of the Inquiry’s recommendations themselves, these focused on looking at dealing with harmful sexual behaviour between children and assessing the potential risk posed by current and former foster carers.

“We now have robust arrangements in place to identify and address harmful sexual behaviour. We commissioned the NSPCC to undertake an independent review into how we dealt with this issue, which recognised some local strengths but also helped us to identify areas for improvement. This includes recognising it in younger children and working with nurseries and schools, for example, to ensure people are equipped to respond. Among a range of other improvements, we have also established a multi-agency forum which meets on a monthly basis. They ensure that children and young people displaying or suffering from harmful sexual behaviour are responded to in a way that meets their needs.

“We also undertook a review jointly with Nottinghamshire County Council to go back over the last decade and look at any concerns with all foster carers we have placed a child with. We have updated procedures to reflect the learning from the Inquiry and to ensure robust oversight.”

Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, Cllr Cheryl Barnard, said:

“We are sorry that we let survivors down in the past and remain committed to ensuring they get the support and help they need. We remain constantly vigilant to the potential harm that children in our care can be exposed to and while we are satisfied we have improved and strengthened our safeguarding arrangements, we can never be complacent.

“The lesson from IICSA is that it’s vital for us to have a transparent and self-challenging approach in order to do all we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in our care.”

More information here