In September 2019, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)
published its Accountability and Reparations report, which focused on the aftermath of child sexual abuse and the legal process of claiming compensation. The report made a number of recommendations, including Recommendation 7, which stated:
The International Underwriting Association of London should take the lead in the production of a code for the benefit of claimants who are bringing civil claims for child sexual abuse. The aim should be to produce a code, comparable to the Rehabilitation Code or for inclusion in that code, with the objective of ensuring that victims and survivors of child sexual abuse are able to access the therapy and support they need as soon as possible.
Having considered the proposal fully and made initial inquiries, the IUA responded to the Inquiry in March 2020, before holding a further meeting with representatives from the Inquiry to establish how best the IUA could assist with the recommendation. It was understood that the IUA was named as a result of our involvement with the existing Rehabilitation Working Party (RWP), which developed a code for catastrophic personal injury claimants. We clarified that the IUA’s role in the RWP was as a contributing party, acting on behalf of our members’ interests, although we would be well placed to provide secretarial support to a group developing a code for claimants bringing claims for child sexual abuse.
In December 2020, a working party was established to develop the code, comprised of defendant and claimant solicitors, (re)insurers, service providers, insurance associations, a clinician and representatives from survivor groups. It was felt that membership of the working party should be as balanced as possible in order to produce a code that will work for all stakeholders.
The group, which has decided to be identified as the IICSA Rehabilitation Working Party (IRWP), has agreed a Terms of Reference and has appointed one of its members, Helen Merfield of Think Therapy First - a rehabilitation service provider - to chair the meetings, recognising that they represent one of the final contact points for claimants for which the code will be relevant. The Chair is also a member of the personal injury RWP, so brings experience to the group in the production of such a code.
Initial IRWP work has, in the main, been in discussion of how best to approach the writing of this new and important rehabilitation code for victims of childhood abuse. Work has also been undertaken to create test cases against which, a new code can be tested. Additionally, claimant and defendant solicitor representatives are to meet to discuss any potential barriers that their respective positions may bring to the process. It is hoped that by addressing these possible issues at the beginning of the process, the drafting and production of a new code will be more easily expedited and allow for more effective practical application.
It has been established that the new code needs to be worded as simply as possible and be accessible to everyone. To assist with that, the inclusion of diagrams and flow charts has been suggested, but more importantly, representatives from survivor groups have been invited to be represented on the working party. It is hoped that their participation will ensure that the code is worded to be considerate of its potential audience and that the language does not deter survivors from engaging with the rehabilitation process.
Progress updates will be provided via the IUA website on an ongoing basis and to IICSA on request.
IICSA Rehabilitation Working Party
ABI - Adam Ballard
Ecclesiastical – Jeremy Trott
IUA - Christopher Jones / Joe Shaw (Secretariat)
Simpson Miller - Liam Goggin
St George’s University of London - Professor Gill Mezey
Switalskis - David Greenwood
The Survivors’ Trust
Think Therapy First - Helen Merfield (Chair)
Weightmans – Chris Webb-Jenkins
Willis Palmer – Philip King
Zurich – William Simms