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Stakeholder update Oct 2022

Welcome to your first update from the Hydrant Programme!

At the beginning of August, we began working to a new set of strategic objectives which sees the programme operating in a much wider vulnerability space. Our work now covers the whole of the Child Protection and Abuse Investigation portfolio which means we now have a broader reach. The need for the positive relationships we have with you, our trusted partners, is even greater.  

As we head into the Autumn there’s a lot happening, most notably the publication of the final report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.   

This update brings you the headlines but if there’s anything you’d like to add please do drop us a line, it’s always good to hear from you.  

Independent inquiry into child sexual abuse - final report

After 325 days of public hearings which saw over 725 witnesses give evidence, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual abuse (IICSA) published its final report on Thursday 20 October. This report builds upon the 87 recommendations made as part of the 19 investigation reports published since 2014 when the Inquiry was established.  

This publication of this report is a watershed moment for many who have contributed to the IICSA over the last eight years. While we take time to read and reflect on the 458 pages the report contains, National Police Chiefs’ Council Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley has said: 

The final report published by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse includes a number of recommendations with implications for policing which we will now carefully consider.  

Policing has developed a far deeper and more meaningful understanding of child sexual exploitation and abuse in recent years, and we acknowledge the invaluable work of the Inquiry which has made a significant number of recommendations on how vulnerable children can be better safeguarded. We now need time to reflect on the content of this comprehensive report as we work with government and our partners, especially survivor groups, to develop a considered plan of action setting out how policing will respond to the recommendations made today. 

The statutory inquiry identified that in the past many victims have been failed. This is not good enough, and on behalf of policing, I apologise to those victims who were failed and have carried the trauma of abuse with them. We have listened to your powerful, courageous and brave voice throughout this Inquiry.  Policing has worked hard to learn from its mistakes, and the approach today to tackling child sexual exploitation and abuse has evolved and is much improved in many aspects.  However, there is still much for us to do, and making these improvements is a significant priority for national policing.  

“We have quite rightly invested a huge amount of time, effort and resources in responding to previous recommendations made by the IICSA. There are many examples of innovative police work resulting in better outcomes for victims, and more perpetrators being brought to justice.  I must also acknowledge the significant contribution of the hard working and dedicated police officers, staff, and partners who work tirelessly to protect and safeguard children and bring offenders of these appalling crimes to justice. 

We have listened to your powerful, courageous and brave voice throughout this Inquiry. Policing has worked hard to learn from its mistakes, and the approach today to tackling child sexual exploitation and abuse has evolved and is much improved in many aspects. However, there is still much for us to do, and making these improvements is a significant priority for national policing.

“Our officers understand and acknowledge the challenges many victims and survivors must overcome in making the often difficult decision to come forward and report offences committed against them. All victims should be treated with the highest level of professionalism and care, if they decide it is right for them to come forward and report to the police.  

“We must now reflect on this most significant report. Policing hasn’t always got things right, but we move forward with strong resolve and a commitment to victims and survivors. They will be heard, believed, and supported, and their allegations will result in a proportionate, professional, and evidence led investigation. It is the duty of us all to prevent these crimes that have a lifelong impact on victims, but when we can’t do this, I want victims to have the confidence to come forward knowing they will be treated with empathy and compassion at all times.  

“The recommendations made in this report have implications for policing at a national and local level and I am committed to continued engagement with our partners and stakeholders as we work to strengthen our approach to child protection and provide strong leadership through some of the most challenging investigations carried out by policing. We remain dedicated to our relentless pursuit of offenders and work determinedly to bring them to justice as we tackle this most abhorrent abuse. Every child has the right to thrive in our society, protected from harm and supported by the institutions trusted with their care”

Truth project logo

Legacy Project 
You will be aware of the valuable work undertaken by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) over the past seven years in holding institutions (including policing) to account over the response to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in the past, and which reaches conclusion with publication of the Inquiry’s final report in October. 

Policing has supported this important work in a number of ways and acknowledged the importance of the voice of the victim enabled via the Truth Project. Hydrant has acted as the interface between the Inquiry and policing, and every force in the country has provided evidence or engaged with the Inquiry’s work at some point during this time. 

In recognition of the importance of a legacy for victims and survivors of this work, the IICSA has conceived the Legacy Project which will comprise the placement of dedicated plaques on benches throughout the UK. The benches may be new or existing and will be owned by the organisations who pledge support to the Legacy Project.  

The Inquiry has supplied plaques, which contain messages of hope with the purpose of continuing to promote dialogue and conversations. Benches were selected as somewhere we tend to pause, rest, and for providing opportunity to reflect. The plaques contain a QR code which will link to a bench locator map on the IICSA legacy website. This will enable people to find benches which are publicly accessible within their area. Where benches fall on police estate, which is not open to the public, the opportunity for the bench to be either marked as on private land, or not shown at all, will be available. 

Girl on bench looks out at a lake

This is a simple and effective way for policing to provide a place for the voice of the victim to be present and visible to all, making the commitment to protecting, supporting, and hearing the voice of the victim visible. You can find where benches can be found on this web page