Quick Exit
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Some people have told us that they struggled to decide whether to participate in the Truth Project. Some weren’t sure that they understood what was on offer or the process involved in participating; some questioned whether they qualified; some worried that they might not be ready. This page sets out nine topics you might want to think about to help you to make a decision about taking part in the Truth Project, based on what we heard was important to previous Truth Project participants.

This page is yours to use however you like:

  • You can use it as a tool, by clicking on the buttons at the bottom of each topic to decide how you feel. If you do this, when you click “Overview Page”, you’ll see a summary of your responses on a new page.
  • If you just want to explore the content without interacting with it, you can simply ignore the buttons.

You can leave this page and come back to it at any time. If you’re using the buttons, we’ll use cookies to store your responses for 30 minutes but they won’t be saved if you leave the page. If you decide to go through all nine topics in one go, it will take around 30 minutes.

If you have more questions you can always get in touch with us.

1 Your Expectations

The Truth Project’s purpose

People sometimes ask us what the Truth Project is for and who is running it.

The Truth Project was designed for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, who feel let down by institutions or organisations, to share their experiences in a supportive and confidential setting.

It’s part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which was set up in 2015 because of serious concerns that some organisations had failed and were continuing to fail to protect children from sexual abuse.

We want to learn from the experiences of victims and survivors to help protect children in the future.

The Truth Project was designed by IICSA with the support of the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel (VSCP), which works to ensure the perspectives of victims and survivors are reflected in the Inquiry’s work. The VSCP members are victims and survivors who have all spent many years supporting adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

Alexis Jay, the Chair of the Inquiry, explaining our work

The Truth Project’s purpose

What you hope to achieve

Previous participants have described the positive impact that taking part in the Truth Project had on their own lives. Through the Truth Project you can also share your experience to help protect children in the future.

Sometimes participants hope that by attending the Truth Project, they can access therapeutic support or pursue justice in the courts. We offer emotional support to help you take part in the Truth Project, but this stops soon after you’ve shared your experience. It’s not part of the Truth Project’s role to make referrals or offer long term help but we can signpost you to available support services.

We also can’t help you pursue justice in the courts or hold individuals to account.

People take part in the Truth Project for different reasons. For some previous participants, it has been about ensuring there is a record of their experience; some have seen it as a way of acknowledging. what happened to them; others have been motivated by a desire to protect children in the future.

Read previous participants’ reasons for taking part, in their own words.

What you hope to achieve

What you might want to share with the Truth Project

It’s entirely up to you what you choose to tell us. Private sessions aren’t interviews and you don’t have to tell us anything about your experience that you don’t want to.

Whatever you choose to tell us, you’ll be listened to without being judged, questioned or challenged.

You may want to think in advance about what you want to say and you can bring notes to your session. If you’ve decided to use our support service, your support worker can also help you think about how to prepare if you’d like them to.

Some previous participants have talked about the failings of institutions in facilitating their abuse; or how they were let down when they reported what happened to them; or failed to recognise signs of abuse when they should have. Others have spoken about the impact that the sexual abuse has had on them, both as a child and then later as an adult.

If you agree, we’ll capture what you tell us and produce an anonymised summary of your account, which we may publish.

Read anonymised summaries of the experiences that previous participants have shared.

What you might want to share with the Truth Project

2 Your Wellbeing

Impact on you

Previous participants have told us that sharing their experience with the Truth Project can be rewarding, but may also be emotionally demanding.

Whether or not you’ve told someone about your experience before, you might want to think about the impact that taking part in the Truth Project will have on your life. This impact might not be immediate. It could be in the following weeks or months.

To help you think about the impact of taking part, you might find it helpful to talk about your decision with someone you trust. If you opt into our support service, your support worker can help you think about the impact that attending a Truth session may have, as well as how to support your wellbeing throughout taking part and in the days and months afterwards.

Impact on you

Support

If you’re thinking about taking part in the Truth Project, you may want to think about what you’ll need to maintain and support your wellbeing.

We offer emotional support as part of the Truth Project. This is mostly over the phone and ends two weeks after you have shared your experience.

You might find it helpful to think about whether there’s someone you trust who can support you to share your experience. For example, you might want them to come with you on the day.

The support we offer is focused on your participation in the Truth Project. We aim to make sure you feel ready to share your experience and are supported when you do.

If you decide to use our support service, you will be assigned a dedicated support worker. If you’d prefer a support worker of a particular gender, let us know and we’ll arrange this.

Read about our support service in detail.

Support

Timing

Previous participants have said that preparing well and feeling that the timing is right has helped them get the most from the Truth Project. It’s also helped them address any distressing feelings that might arise from talking about their experience of child sexual abuse.

In deciding whether to take part in the Truth Project you may want to think about whether now is the best time for you.

Current life circumstances, like moving house or changing jobs affect our wellbeing and how we cope with extra demands and stresses. You might find it helpful to think about what you have coming up over the next couple of months before deciding to take part.

We’ll do all we can to support practical arrangements like travel. But you may want to consider whether you’ll be able to take time off work to attend a session; or whether the person you trust most is likely to be around.

We plan to run Truth Project sessions until 2020. We’ll do everything we can to welcome everyone who wants to share their experience between now and then. If now isn’t the right time for you, you can get in touch with us at a later stage.

Timing

3 Your Concerns

What participation involves

If you decide to get involved in the Truth Project you can choose between meeting in person or sharing your experience in writing. The Truth Project is completely free.

We offer sessions at a number of locations across the UK and you can choose where to attend. The precise address of these locations is confidential and protected by a Restriction Order (a legal ruling which prevents anyone from making public the location of the Truth Project private sessions).

Once you get in touch, we will ask you whether you would like to share your experience in writing or in person at a private session.

If you choose to share your experience in person, you can pick where and when you’d like your session to take place from the options available. All locations are easily accessible by road and rail. We’ll cover travel, accommodation and out of pocket expenses. We’ll also accommodate any specific needs or disabilities.

You can read more about how it works.

Picture of the room where your private session would take place

These are broadly the same across our locations.

What participation involves

Police involvement

Participants often ask us whether taking part in the Truth Project will result in the police becoming involved in their case, or re-opening an investigation.

Sharing your experience at the Truth Project is not part of a legal process and does not involve an investigation of your case by the Inquiry.

However, the Inquiry passes all allegations of child abuse to the police and is required to do so by law. We will only pass on your personal details if you want us to, unless we believe there is a child protection concern or someone is at risk of serious harm. In that case we will pass your details to the police or another service if you have given them to us. If we have to do this, we’ll tell you.

If you do agree to us passing your contact details to the police, a local force may contact you. This could result in further action or investigation by the police. As the Inquiry is independent, we have no involvement in any action taken by the police.

You can still come and share your experience with the Truth Project, even if you are involved in court proceedings. 

If you have provided a statement to the police we cannot ask them for a copy of that statement.

The Inquiry passes all allegations of child abuse to the police via Operation Hydrant.

Operation Hydrant is a national policing team that was set up in June 2014 to coordinate the police response to non-recent child sexual abuse. Operation Hydrant acts as a single point of contact for the Inquiry, receiving and passing allegations of child abuse to the relevant local police forces.

Once the Inquiry passes information to Operation Hydrant, we have no control over what happens to it. We’re not able to guarantee a police investigation as a result of what you tell us.

Police involvement

Privacy

We understand you might be concerned about your privacy and what will happen to the information you give us.

You don’t have to give us any identifying information if you don’t want to. All we need to know is what you would like us to call you and how we can contact you.

If you do choose to share personal information with us, we take your privacy very seriously. When the Inquiry is finished, all your information will be securely destroyed.

Our Terms of Reference require us to ensure that all personal and sensitive information is safely stored and is shared only with those who need to see it. We have secure systems in place to ensure this happens. We also have a legal ruling in force (called a Restriction Order), which prevents anyone from making public the identity of people who’ve shared their experience with the Inquiry.

We might receive a request to disclose the information we hold if you’re involved in criminal proceedings relating to what you share with us. For example, information might be requested by either the prosecution or defence teams where an individual is being prosecuted for child sexual abuse. We’ll only pass this information on if we are ordered by a court to do so.

All information which identifies victims and survivors of child sexual abuse held by the Inquiry, will be deleted when the Inquiry closes. Anonymised data or accounts will be preserved.

If we hold data about you, you are entitled to ask for a copy of it as a Subject Access Request (SAR). If you wish to know to know what data is held on you, or to make a Subject Access Request please contact the Data Protection Officer on [email protected] or call 020 3789 2136. We do not charge for providing you with this data.

Privacy

Your privacy

Everything you tell us is confidential. There are very limited circumstances where we tell anyone your name without your consent, for example if a child is currently at risk and we need to tell the police.