Sarah Goff, Safeguarding and Young People Manager for the Ann Craft Trust, reflects on findings from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
The Ann Craft Trust welcomes the report of the work carried out by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. At its heart, are the voices of survivors who have described their experiences and been heard through the Truth Project. We deeply thank them for this and now it is time for us all to listen.
There are no bystanders, we all need to respond.
Our role as practitioners, family members and the public is to reflect hard on our cultures, tackle dismissive and blaming language, to listen to what children’s behaviour is telling us. We need to ask, not jump to conclusions and raise awareness everywhere we have influence.
We need to build safer open cultures and reduce any space behind closed doors, in our organisations and online, that allows those seeking to groom and isolate children to gain ground. We are all responsible for keeping children safe. The report highlights some of those at greatest risk. We need to tackle bullying, racism and the lack of understanding of disability and learning needs which increases space for perpetrators.
Training can help us reflect on how each person and organisation can do their bit. This report covers faith groups, schools, local authorities, residential homes, political and custodial institutions. We must address the power dynamics that create space where children’s lives are damaged and no-one speaks out. No more saying ‘tell me if you are worried, frightened or scared’, we need to ask, observe and show we care.
At the Ann Craft Trust, one area of focus is on the needs of disabled young people. The report highlights that disabled young people are three times more likely to experience sexual abuse. Their needs in residential settings, with regard to organised sexual abuse and online harm, are at the heart of the work we do. We use the findings from our training and audits to inform and advise managers and practitioners.
The Ann Craft Trust will continue to disseminate the learning from this report, as we have done throughout the work of the inquiry with previous IICSA reports. We shall make it central to our training and policy development with practitioners.
The voices and experiences featured in this report need to be shared and heard.