Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have had their social care records destroyed, hidden and doctored, it has emerged.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has already heard from victims and survivors who struggled to access their medical, care or social services records and the Inquiry’s Victims and Survivors Forum is holding a series of events across England and Wales to discuss barriers to accessing records and what needs to be improved in the future.
The events in Manchester, London, Cardiff and Exeter are to enable people who have experienced difficulties in getting access to their records the chance to discuss their cases.
Chris Tuck, a member of the Inquiry’s Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel, said: "Many victims and survivors can spend years trying to gain access to extremely personal records, with huge barriers in their path every step of the way. It is vital that we hear from victims and survivors to build a clear picture of the issues at hand."
The inquiry highlights cases such as Phoebe, who was taken into care in her mid teens, where she was preyed on by an older man who abused her and forced her into sex work. She has since made a complaint to the local authority and social services regulator but has been unable to get her social services records.
Katie said that inaccurate labels about her in her care file, such as ‘promiscuous’, stigmatised her and identified her as vulnerable. She has applied for her full care records many times but has been ignored.
A report on residential care was recently published by the Inquiry from its Truth Project. Survivors have recommended less red tape and easier access to information from all agencies for victims and survivors, including access to their personal records relating to their time at the institution(s) they were in.
The events aim to create a supportive, friendly space for informal discussions and emotional support staff are available throughout the events.
People wishing to attend, who are not currently members of the Inquiry’s Victims and Survivors Forum, must first register to become a member of the Forum here.