Following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Inquiry postponed the final hearing of Phase 2 of the Residential Schools Investigation which was originally due to be held between 11-22 May. This has been re-scheduled and will now take place between 16 and 27 November.
The Inquiry is now in the process of making arrangements for the final hearing. As part of this process, the Inquiry will issue evidence proposals to witnesses who will be called to give evidence on specific themes. It is anticipated that the Inquiry will publish its final witness list and timetable a week before the commencement of the final hearing.
The Inquiry has confirmed that its report into Phase 1 and Phase 2 will not be available until early 2021. However, since our update in February it has published reports into other strands of its investigation, including The Anglican Church earlier this month. While this investigation does not focus on residential schools, the report identified a number of themes which are likely to feed into those being considered by the Inquiry in Phases 1 and 2:
The Inquiry made a number of recommendations arising out of this which in addition to those set out in its published reports on The Internet (March 2020) and Accountability and Reparations for Victims and Survivors of Abuse (September 2020) are relevant to all organisations involved in the education, protection and care of children.
In addition to this, the Inquiry has published a number of research papers which may also be of interest to organisations who operate in diverse and multi-cultural areas, or to organisations with a strong sporting background and/or culture.
The first is a report on how racism and cultural stereotypes impacts organisational response to CSA. This explored the experiences of ethnic minorities and found that racial stereotypes can act as a barrier to individuals when reporting abuse and further that racism can lead to failures on the part of organisations to identify and respond to CSA appropriately.
The Inquiry published a separate report into CSA in sport. This identified that the enabling factors of abuse to take place in sport are similar to those found in the Inquiry's other thematic reports into CSA (see our February update for comments on the Marcus Erooga report). The report explored the nature and approach of coaches and instructors as perpetrators, the tendency of perpetrators to take the lead in arranging overnight stays in order to facilitate abuse and the lack of supervision or oversight of adults working in sport. Finally, the experience of victims (now adults) was considered and concluded that victims generally felt they were unable to report abuse or where they did that organisations failed to respond appropriately.
For more information on the Inquiry's research please access the publications page.
All public hearings are streamed ‘live’ (subject to a three minute delay) on the Inquiry’s YouTube channel and website. The transcripts are made available on the website a few hours after the end of each hearing day.