We’re calling on the Prime Minister to take action on child sexual abuse following final IICSA report

We’ve brought together Leaders from more than 30 agencies and organisations to call on the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary to turn the findings and recommendations of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into a national mission to prevent child sexual abuse.


The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its final report with 20 key recommendations on October 20. And now we need political leadership and long-term reform to laws and policies, for all organisations to strengthen safeguarding in their work and for victims and survivors to be at the heart of implementing change.

We're leading a wide-ranging group, that includes children’s charities, the Football Association, Girl Guiding UK, The Internet Watch Foundation, the Royal Council of Paediatrics and Child Health and Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley – NPCC Lead for Child Abuse, Protection and Investigation, to campaign for change to protect children.

Along with leaders of charities, religious groups, doctors and law enforcement, we've sent a letter to Downing Street calling for a national mission to prevent child sexual abuse, with a need for both immediate action and long-term reform.

We are all calling for:

  • government to deliver a detailed plan for longer-term reform within six months, alongside immediate political action to take forward some of IICSA’s recommendations – including the appointment of a Cabinet Minister for Children, parliamentary progress on the Online Safety Bill and a Victim’s Bill with a focus on children
  • all organisations to review and strengthen their own safeguarding and child protection practice to ensure it effectively prevents and responds to child sexual abuse
  • victims and survivors, whose testimony was harrowing, powerful and central to IICSA, to be integral to developing and implementing proposals for change.

The inquiry published its final report on October 20 after seven years of work, 2.5 million pages of evidence and witness statements and the involvement of more than 7,300 victims and survivors.

IICSA called the nature and scale of abuse in England and Wales "horrific and deeply disturbing" and said institutions too often "prioritised their personal and institutional reputations above the welfare of those they were duty bound to protect”. It concluded that "child protection must be given a much greater priority in public life."

At the same time, our own research revealed that last year there were more than 85,000 child sexual offences recorded by UK police - the highest ever.

The 32 signatories of the letter state that while we’re keen to support the Government as it works through the IICSA’s detailed recommendations so it can deliver a detailed response, there is a need for the Prime Minister and his Government to take immediate action.

Sir Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC said:


“This wide-ranging group of leaders from across society has come together to make sure the important work IICSA started continues and ignites a national mission to prevent child sexual abuse. This is the start, not the end, and we encourage others to join us.

IICSA shone a light on the nature and scale of child sexual abuse across England and Wales including in some of our most respected institutions and showed how horrifically victims and survivors were let down.

It is now up to all of us to ensure the terrible crimes that took place in the past, and are still happening in the present, are not repeated in the future.

We need immediate and long last political leadership and changes to laws, policies and practice. We all have a role to play in keeping children safe – and we urge every organisation to make sure its safeguarding practice is robust.

But IICSA only happened because victims and survivors broke the silence – and they must continue to be at the heart of our work to prevent child sexual abuse.”

The letter lays out the three steps the Prime Minister can take immediately while his Government works on the more detailed response to IICSA’s findings and recommendations: a Cabinet Minister for Children, delivering the Online Safety Bill and pushing the Victim’s Bill forward with a focus on children.

“Having had the courage to commission the Inquiry and the conviction to support it to ask big, searching questions about what needs to change, it is now vital that the Government responds effectively…we urge you to play your part in ensuring that children are protected from sexual abuse and failings of the scale documented by the Inquiry can never happen again.”

Read the full letter