Key Child Redress International Programmes
Seeking justice child by child
- Building a network of specialised pro bono lawyers to assist children from anywhere in the world with transnational compensation claims.
- Providing advice and assistance to NGOs in Southeast Asia to collect evidence and liaise with foreign lawyers.
- Sourcing financial advice and support for children and their representatives to ensure that any money awarded to the child is managed in their best interests.
Research & Advocacy
Laying the groundwork for broader change
- Carrying out research on new areas of law
- Conducting advocacy at both a local level to ensure that children get access to remedies, and at a global level to promote access to justice for children.
- Strengthening the capacity of governments in Southeast Asia through workshops related to children's rights to remedies and how to realise them
- Strengthening the capacity of NGOs in Southeast Asia to gather evidence and keep comprehensive case files.
Child Redress granted Core Participant status in UK national independent inquiry into child sex abuse (IICSA)
Child Redress Urges UK Government to Consider Overseas Victims of Child Sex Abuse by UK Nationals when Implementing IICSA Recommendations
18 November 2022
Original press release from Simpson Millar Solicitors, who represented Child Redress in the IICSA hearing:
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published its concluding report on 20 October 2022.
Child Redress International (Child Redress), an organisation promoting access to justice for child victims of transnational sex crimes in Southeast Asia, welcomes the recommendations made by the Inquiry and encourages the government when implementing the Inquiry’s proposed reforms and in its policy-making moving forward to afford the same rights and protections to all children, including those overseas who are abused by individuals from the UK.
Represented by Simpson Millar’s Public Law and Human Rights team, Child Redress made submissions to the Inquiry as a Core Participant in Phase 2 of the Children Outside the UK investigation and also provided evidence in the Internet investigation.
The Inquiry concluded that the full scale of abuse perpetrated by British nationals and residents to children overseas was ‘undoubtedly extensive’ and is facilitated both by international travel and – increasingly – the internet, in particular via live streaming sexual abuse.
The Inquiry’s recommendations in its final report include removing barriers for victims in the UK to bring claims against their abusers in the English and Welsh courts, implementing a single redress scheme for victims of abuse linked to public bodies and non-state institutions, and improving access to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. Although likely to significantly improve access to redress for survivors of abuse living in the UK, if implemented in their current form, the recommendations will make little difference to the availability of remedies for overseas child victims of British perpetrators.
Child Redress gave evidence to the Inquiry in the Children Outside the UK investigation about the under use of domestic legislation in protecting children overseas from individuals known to the British authorities as posing a risk to children abroad. This includes the under-utilisation of civil orders – the purpose of which is to prevent and notify foreign authorities of international travel by abusers based in the UK – and the limitations of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks which cannot be accessed by employers overseas to ensure that candidates from the UK can safely work with children.
Child Redress also made submissions on the limited use of section 72 Sexual Offences Act 2003, which enables the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute UK nationals and residents in England and Wales for child sexual offences committed abroad.
Some of the recommendations made by the Inquiry in its preliminary report on Phase 2 of the Children Outside the UK investigation published in January 2020 included the preparation of a national plan of action to address overseas child sexual abuse by UK nationals and residents.
The Inquiry also recommended that the DBS be reformed to ensure that it is used more widely and effectively and that it can be accessed by organisations based outside the UK.
Emma Day, Chair of Trustees at Child Redress said: “As the final Inquiry report notes, ‘this is not just a national crisis, but a global one’. Perpetrators seek out children living in poverty overseas precisely because they know they can benefit from an environment of impunity. There are already additional barriers for children from outside the UK to access any kind of justice, including compensation. We hope that the redress scheme recommended by the Inquiry will consider children outside the UK without discrimination and their rights to reparation, in cases perpetrated by people with links to the UK.
“The concluding report of the Inquiry also stated that recommendations on Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) reform set out in Phase 2 of the report have not been implemented by the Home Office. This is disappointing. It is imperative that organisations employing people overseas with links to the UK can request criminal reference checks from the UK. We hope that the Home Office will take into account the Inquiry’s recommendations as it completes its ongoing review of the DBS system. We also support the Inquiry’s recommendation that the three-year limitation period for personal injury claims brought by victims and survivors of child sexual abuse should be removed.”
Professor Warren Binford, an international children’s rights expert who serves on the Child Redress board of trustees and testified during the Inquiry, praised IICSA's final report but cautioned: “The Inquiry has made clear that both individuals and institutions have routinely failed children and their families and communities. They failed to protect children from predators in the first place. Then they failed to help them heal from the abuse by not acknowledging the abuse nor providing the resources needed for full recovery and reintegration into their communities, which the children have a right to under the UK’s treaty obligations as a state party to the Second Optional Protocol to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Child. Hopefully, the UK government will implement the reforms to the Disclosure and Barring Service without further delay before more children outside the UK are victimised by UK predators.”
Child Redress will give evidence this week in the UK's landmark Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
10 February 2019
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse will hold a week of public hearingsin the Children Outside the UK investigation next week. Child Redress International (Child Redress) is one of the Core Participants taking part in the investigation.
The hearing - which will take place daily from 10.00am at the Inquiry’s hearing centre in London between February 11th and February 15th - will examine legal measures designed to protect children outside the UK from sexual abuse by those from, or with links to, England and Wales.
The Inquiry was set up in 2014 to examine how public bodies and other non-state institutions handled their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and make recommendations for change in the future.
This investigation is one of several that is being examined by the Inquiry, and comprises a number of case studies scrutinising institutional failures in connection with the abuse of children outside the UK.
The Civil Orders case study will consider the adequacy of the civil framework for the prevention of, and notification to foreign authorities of, foreign travel by individuals known to the UK authorities as posing a risk to children.
Child Redress was granted Core Participant status to take part in the Civil Orders case study on 18 May 2018. Child Redress was recognised on the basis that it is an organisation helping child victims of transnational sex crimes in Southeast Asia access remedies.
The charity works with a large number of front-line organisations in Southeast Asia seeking to address sexual exploitation of children in countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.
Through this network Child Redress is aware of numerous British nationals and residents who have been arrested, charged, prosecuted and/or convicted of various sex offences relating to children in the last few years.
Representatives of various international organisations are expected to give evidence at the hearing; as well as the police, Home Office, National Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service and the British Council.
Professor Warren Binford, a trustee for Child Redress will speak regarding the charity’s concern that not enough is being done to protect children abroad from being abused by British perpetrators.
A number of high profile cases have increased awareness of the extent of the commission of child sex offences by British nationals and residents abroad, including that of Paul Gadd - also known as Gary Glitter, who was convicted of abusing young girls in Vietnam - and Richard Huckle, who was convicted of 71 counts of serious sexual assaults whilst working in Malaysia.
The hearing will also look at s72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which enables law enforcement and prosecution authorities in the UK to investigate and prosecute UK citizens for committing child sex offences abroad, and how often this extra-territorial provision is used in practice.
Professor Warren Binford said: “Child Redress hopes to provide the Inquiry with further information about the systemic abuse of children in Southeast Asia by British perpetrators and the inadequacy of the current British system to help identify and protect them. Child Redress hopes that their voices will be heard by the Inquiry and that strong recommendations will be made that prevent this abuse from happening in the first place”.
Child Redress International is being represented by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Keina Yoshida from Doughty Street Chambers, instructed by Silvia Nicolaou Garcia and Elizabeth Smith from Simpson Millar.
The public hearings will also be streamed ‘live’ on the Inquiry’s YouTube channel and on their website. Transcripts will be available on the website a few hours after the end of each hearing.
Civil Orders case study
10 June 2018
The UK Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) first preliminary hearing on the Civil Orders case study took place on 6 June 2018. This case study sits within the Children Outside the United Kingdom investigation, which is part of the Inquiry’s wider investigation into institutional failures in connection with the abuse of children outside the United Kingdom.
The Civil Orders case study will consider the adequacy of the civil framework for the prevention of, and notification to foreign authorities of foreign travel by individuals known to the UK authorities as posing a risk to children. This framework includes the powers to make foreign travel orders (FTOs) or at Risk of Sexual Harm Orders (RSHOs), that were set out in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, as well as Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and Sexual Risk Orders provided for by the Anti-social Behavior, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The case study will consider:
- The circumstances in which the relevant orders can be made and what they seek to achieve
- The extent to which the power to make those orders has been used since they were introduced
- The practical impact of such orders on known offenders when they have been used;
- Whether there is a need for change in the framework applicable to those orders.
Child Redress made an application for core participant status, which was granted on 18 May 2018. Child Redress has been recognised on the basis that it is a new organisation which works with child victims who have been abused recently or contemporaneously. It works with a large number of well-regarded front-line organisations seeking to address sexual exploitation of children in countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand. Through this network Child Redress is aware of numerous British nationals who have been arrested, charged, prosecuted and/or convicted of various sex offences relating to children in the last few years. Child Redress has been involved in a high level meeting on law enforcement in relation to foreign perpetrators in Asia, in December 2016 and has understanding of how other countries such as Australia operate a Civil Orders regime. In its application, Child Redress proposed to conduct a scoping exercise in conjunction with APLE Cambodia in order to provide the inquiry with further information about the abuse of Cambodian children by British perpetrators, the inadequacy of the current British system and to help identify children who have been the victims of British perpetrators, so that, where appropriate, their voices may be heard by the inquiry.
Child Redress International is represented by Simpson Millar solicitors, instructing Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Keina Yoshida of Doughty Street Chambers.
IICSA was established in 2014 to investigate historical allegations of child abuse. The Inquiry was set up due to the increasing number of people who were coming forward with allegations of abuse they suffered as a child. The Inquiry is now mid-way through its work and to date 13 investigations have been completed. In March 2018 IICSA published its report into the Child Migration Scheme operated by the UK government between the 1940s and the 1970s. The Inquiry was critical of the UK Government and relevant institutions and made recommendations, including that the UK Government should set up a compensation process to make payments in redress.
HOW CAN THE LAW HELP CHILD VICTIMS?
Helping child victims of transnational sex crimes in Southeast Asia to access remedies
Transnational sex crimes against children
Hundreds of vulnerable children from poor communities throughout Southeast Asia are being sexually exploited by foreign men. National law enforcement agencies such as the NCA in the UK, ICE in the US, and AFP in Australia, are making significant efforts to find Western perpetrators and prosecute them.
However, the child victims are left in the care of their local social services, which in poor communities often struggle to respond to the children's needs for protection from further abuse, and to provide essential recovery services for them.
Making the perpetrators pay for the solution
The Western perpetrators of child sex crimes can be sued under their own national laws, for compensation by the child victims, in theory for significant sums of money. But right now, few cases are being brought. This is because transnational compensation claims are complicated, and require coordination between different legal systems, NGOs, lawyers, parents, and children.
However, if compensation cases can be brought successfully, then potentially significant sums of money can be claimed from the perpetrator. This could result in the perpetrator funding recovery services for the victim, and potentially also other services to address the reasons that the child and their community became vulnerable to exploitation in the first place. It is possible that suing the perpetrators will also act as a deterrent for these kind of crimes.
We are building a network of specialised compensation lawyers in European and North American countries, which are some of the main source countries for perpetrators of child sex crimes. These lawyers are keen to bring compensation claims against perpetrators in their home countries. Our aim is to connect the child victims in Southeast Asia with these specialised lawyers, which involves working with local NGOs and social services.
Putting together the pieces in transnational legal cases
Right now we are looking into developing services of our own to fill an emerging gap in both capacity and expertise of existing NGO staff to identify victims, gather the necessary evidence, and support the child victim through the legal process.
At Child Redress we believe that awarding large sums of money to individual children in poor communities can put them at greater risk of harm and even fuel the sex trade. That is why we work with communities and financial management experts using human centred design solutions to create locally appropriate ways to manage money awarded as compensation.
Promoting community ownership of the legal problem and encouraging community generated solutions.
Our approach is to work with a multi-disciplinary team made up not just of foreign and local lawyers, but also psychologists, social workers, and community development workers. This team will come partly from the child's community, and will come together to meet with local leaders, family members, and other child victims in the area, to come up with a locally appropriate way to manage the compensation award. We use a human-centred-design approach, which means that we will work with the child and their community to understand their needs, and to find innovative solutions to meet those needs.
Our work in the Philippines
Community Dialogue Forum 2015
Clark, Pampanga, the Philippines
Child victims of sexual exploitation in the Philippines have a right to claim compensation from their foreign exploiters. But it is imperative to ensure that any compensation funds will be allocated in the best interests of the child, and will not provide a further incentive to abuse more children. That is why we went to the Philippines to hold a Community Dialogue Forum involving local community leaders, parents, police, social workers, and faith leaders, to discuss the causes of the growing child sex abuse problem in their community, and to discuss ideas around community-led approaches to managing compensation funds which involve using them to pay for sustainable recovery and prevention programmes for children.
The purpose of the forum was to encourage discussion and the exchange of ideas, and to brainstorm possible ways of ensuring access to justice for child victims. The morning session started with some brief presentations to set the context and to provide necessary background information for discussion. The afternoon session consisted of group exercises based around key questions that Child Redress were keen to pose to the community.
Download the report from the forum here: ICRP Philippines Community Forum March 2015
Community Dialogue Forum 2016
Cebu, the Philippines
Child Redress held a Community Dialogue Forum in Cebu City, which is part of the Visayas region of the Philippines, on September 27th, 2016. The forum was held in partnership with the Philippines Department for Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for Region 7, and the Children’s Legal Bureau. ECPAT UK also attended the forum and made a presentation.
The forum was well attended by over 40 people from the area, including police, cybercrime specialists, social workers, community based organisations, community leaders, faith leaders, parent leaders, teachers, and lawyers. This made for a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives, from an inter-disciplinary group of people whose lives are directly affected by child sexual exploitation. The purpose of the forum was to encourage discussion and the exchange of ideas, and to brainstorm possible ways of ensuring access to justice for child victims. The morning session started with some brief presentations to set the context and to provide necessary background information for discussion. The afternoon session consisted of group exercises based around key questions that Child Redress were keen to pose to the community.
Our work in Cambodia
Community Dialogue Forum 2016
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Child Redress convened two forums in Cambodia in collaboration with APLE Cambodia: a community dialogue forum and a roundtable meeting with the ICT industry.
The community dialogue forum brought together stakeholders from ciivl society, UNICEF, the government, the private sector and youth, to discuss child sexual exploitation online, and how child victims can access meaningful remedies.
The roundtable meeting also included government and Cambodian private sector stakeholders, as well as a regional representative from Microsoft. Child Redress encouraged the private ICT sector to consider their role as business leaders in helping to protect children from sexual exploitation online.
VISION & MISSION
All children who become victims of sexual exploitation in Southeast Asia will access their legal rights to recovery, reintegration, and compensation.
Taking a child rights based approach, and working with national and local governments, international NGOs, civil society organisations, and children and young people, Child Redress will build systems that consistently hold governments and perpetrators accountable, and that ensure remedies for children are provided.
Child Redress integrates a human-centred design approach into all that we do. Our work is driven by the voiced needs of children and their communities, and is underpinned by legal empowerment principles.
Child Redress knows that change will not happen unless we do things together with stakeholders already dedicated to the communities in which we work and so we cultivate strategic relationships with key diverse stakeholders across sectors to form a shared direction.
Child Redress has cultivated a strong partnership with DSIL Global, an experienced social innovation company based regionally. They help guide the human-centred design process in our work which ultimately leads to what's possible for creating sustainable and innovative solutions for victims of child sexual exploitation.
Through community consultations and casework Child Redress has also partnered in the region with Children's Legal Bureau Cebu (Philippines), International Justice Mission Pampanga (Philippines), ALE Cambodia, UNICEF Cambodia, Microsoft Asia Pacific Region, Terre des Hommes Netherlands in Asia, ICMEC, Blue Dragon (Vietnam) and Liberty Asia (Hong Kong).