Independent investigations into institutional child abuse
This chapter is based primarily upon recent research findings relating to child protection investigations into allegations of institutional abuse undertaken by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). Initially, it explores the lack of UK empirical evidence relating to institutional child abuse and the subsequent dependence on inquiry reports. Some implications of this reliance in relation to how institutional abuse has been both conceptualised and responded to are addressed. The North American experience and research evidence are drawn upon to illustrate the primary differences between investigating institutional abuse allegations and suspected familial abuse. Findings from the current research concerning the nature and dynamics of the institutional abuse allegations investigated are introduced. Following this, four main areas, perceived by investigators as having the most impact on the investigatory process, are explored. Finally, a number of procedural considerations derived from the research are presented.