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Code of Practice for councils responding to civil claims of non-recent child sexual abuse


In response to recommendations from IICSA, feedback from councils and the ABI Code of Practice, a Code of Practice in relation to historical allegations of abuse has been produced by the LGA for councils in England. Whilst the Code is not prescriptive, it is aligned with the ABI Code of Practice and recommends best practice for councils to follow along with their own protocols when dealing with civil claims of this nature.

The overarching principles of the Code of Practice relate to sensitivity towards victims of abuse, being victim-focused, and offers recommended ways of working with and supporting them throughout the process of a civil claim and afterwards, having regard to the emotive and difficult issues involved.

Methods of offering apologies and assurances to victims in consideration of the ABI Code of Practice are suggested, noting that apologies are not an automatic admission of liability. It also provides guidance in respect of limitation and consent issues being considered on a case by case basis, again having regard to the ABI Code of Practice’s recommendations which provide assurances that these points will be taken in civil claims only in exceptional circumstances.

The Code of Practice for Councils notes that councils may wish to consider and develop their own redress schemes whilst IICSA’s views on a National Redress Scheme are awaited. It also recommends that councils consider and review their own processes and practices bearing in mind the guidance, having particular regard to ensuring that their internal processes and responses are transparent and efficient.

For more information about the Code of Practice for Councils and its recommendations, see this link. It should, of course, be read in conjunction with the ABI Code of Practice.

Sarah Swan

Sarah Swan


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