A five-year national inquiry into decades of child sex abuse in Britain will deliver its conclusions on Thursday, after hearing that politicians, church leaders and others in authority had failed to act or turned a blind eye.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), one of the largest and most expensive investigations of its kind ever undertaken in Britain, was set up in July 2014 following a series of horrific revelations of abuse, some of which dated back decades.
The most notable scandal involved the late BBC television star Jimmy Savile, once one of Britain’s best-known celebrities who after his death was uncovered as also one of its most prolific sex abusers.
Victims had complained of cover-ups at the behest of powerful establishment figures including senior lawmakers, spies, police officers and school leaders.
The inquiry, led by social care expert Alexis Jay, has held 325 public hearings with 725 witnesses and processed nearly 2.5 million pages of evidence since it got under way in Feb. 2017.
More than 6,000 victims and survivors of abuse also related their experiences to the inquiry’s ‘Truth Project’.
It has already published 19 investigation reports and other research findings, cataloguing details of appalling abuse at institutions including the Catholic Church, the Church of England, and Britain’s political hub in Westminster.
Politicians and church leaders had ignored and actively covered up allegations to protect perpetrators and reputations, its reports have found.
The inquiry itself was riven by setbacks before it got underway, with Jay the fourth person to be appointed to lead the investigation after her three predecessors stepped down.