Thousand hands of Avalokiteshvara

Triratna contributes to UK public inquiry into child sexual abuse in public institutions

On Wed, 17 June, 2020 - 16:21
ECA Safeguarding's picture
ECA Safeguarding

NB: the videos in this post were taken down by IICSA following the closing of the inquiry in October 2022.

On Thursday 21st May 2020 Munisha appeared as a witness at a public inquiry relating to child sexual abuse in England and Wales, speaking about child protection, and Safeguarding more generally in Triratna, from her experience as the Safeguarding officer employed by the European Chairs’ Assembly to support Triratna centres’ Safeguarding officers with policies and advice.

Please note: this was not an investigation and Munisha was not called because of concerns about a risk of harm to children in Triratna.

The interview took place in two parts, streamed live on the IICSA site and made available on YouTube afterwards:

Video part 1 
Video part 2  (Munisha appears in only the first half of this.)

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has since 2014 been looking at child protection in a wide range of institutions of public life in England and Wales, including religious traditions.

This Inquiry, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay OBE, was set up because of serious concerns that some organisations had failed, and were continuing to fail, to protect children from sexual abuse. The Inquiry’s remit is huge, and as a statutory inquiry it has unique authority to address issues that have persisted despite previous inquiries and attempts at reform.

A fact-finding exercise, IICSA is looking at examples of good practice, asking what hinders or promotes good child protection and considering what changes to regulation and law may be necessary to better support the protection of children from sexual harm within organisations.

The IICSA’s Truth Project offers the opportunity for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experience and be respectfully heard and acknowledged, also helping IICSA understand better the long-term impact of abuse. The contribution made by victims and survivors will help the inquiry make recommendations about support needs and challenge assumptions about child sexual abuse.

Contact the Truth Project.

Having considered the major churches in previous years, IICSA announced in May 2019 that it would move on to hear from smaller faith groups in England and Wales. At that time Munisha wrote to volunteer her experience in Safeguarding in Triratna. She was later asked to submit a lengthy statement and eventually called to give evidence as a witness via Zoom link. She was the only Buddhist called to testify.

We would encourage anyone interested in Safeguarding within the context of faith groups to view the videos. The Inquiry was particularly interested in the following areas:

  • the extent to which being an Order member is a ‘position of trust’
  • the challenges of including ex-offenders in sanghas
  • the ordination of ex-offenders generally
  • what measures are taken in Triratna when a very senior OM is accused of misconduct
  • what measures are taken in Triratna when serious, criminal harm is confessed (and the place of confession in Buddhism)