1 Mar 2018

Responding to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report on child migration programmes, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

“We welcome the publication of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report on its child migration hearings, which has shone a much needed light on the abuse suffered by children who were sent overseas by charities and other agencies as part of government-backed child migration programmes in the last century.

"The Children’s Society’s child migration programme ended in 1961, but for many of the children who were sent overseas, the trauma and distress they experienced has lasted a lifetime. It is absolutely right that we face up to our own history and acknowledge that we have at times failed some of the very children we sought to help.

"We know that we can never undo the past, but we want to reiterate the unreserved public apology we made last year to anyone The Children’s Society has let down or damaged. We are deeply sorry for the hurt and anguish suffered by children who were separated from their families and migrated to other parts of the world, and for the trauma suffered by those who were abused by the people who were supposed to care for them in their new country. We accept and acknowledge that our public apology was long overdue.

"We also want to publicly reach out again and let them know that we are committed to doing everything we can to provide support now for anyone who needs it. We would encourage anyone who is still suffering in silence to come forward and we will do whatever we can to help.

"We want to use this opportunity to once again acknowledge the mistakes in our past, learn from our failings, and be true to our values of always putting children and young people first.”