Truth Project, part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, concludes
The Truth Project has come to a close after six years and more than 6,000 victims and survivors of child sexual abuse coming forward to share their accounts.
The Truth Project, which gave victims and survivors a safe and supportive opportunity to share their experiences and put forward suggestions for change, closed at the end of October so that all of the accounts shared could be used to inform the Inquiry’s Final Report, due to be published next year.
The project began as a pilot in Liverpool in November 2015, with all victims and survivors being invited to share their experiences from early 2016.
In-person sessions were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, however victims and survivors were still able to engage with the Truth Project on the telephone, via video call and in writing.
Dru Sharpling, Inquiry Panel member and head of the Truth Project, said the courage of the thousands of victims and survivors who have taken part in the Truth Project over the last six years “cannot be overstated”.
“We are tremendously thankful to everyone who has come forward. The experiences victims and survivors have generously shared are pivotal in making changes to protect children from child sexual abuse in future.”
The experiences shared with the Truth Project have formed the basis of some of the Inquiry’s research into areas including schools, residential care, religious institutions, sport, healthcare and custodial institutions, providing an in-depth insight into victims and survivors’ experiences within specific settings.
This research has run alongside the regular Truth Project dashboard publications, which have provided a key overview of accounts shared.
The Inquiry’s most recent study found that, of the 5,440 accounts so far analysed, almost nine in ten (88%) described an impact on their mental health, with over a third reporting depression. Just over two thirds did not tell anyone about the sexual abuse at the time it was happening, and one in ten were talking about an experience of child sexual abuse for the first time when they spoke to the project.
A number of the accounts shared have been published on the Inquiry's website, helping to amplify the voices of victims and survivors and bringing the impact of their experiences into the public consciousness.
Michael May, Head of the London Inquiry Office, acknowledged that access to the project was harder for some communities.
“The Inquiry recognised significant additional barriers to participating in the Truth Project within some communities. We engaged with them directly to develop adaptations; these included an offer to participate in different languages; a service designed with and provided by deaf people using British Sign Language as well as augmented support and routes for neurodiverse people.”
For help and support, you can access information on a range of organisations signposted on the IICSA’s support page: https://www.iicsa.org.uk/help-and-support-0
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