Survivor of child sexual abuse under the Archdiocese of Birmingham welcomes new recommendations

ITV News Central Reporter Lewis Warner speaks to a survivor of child sex abuse after the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its final report

A man who was abused as a young choirboy under the Archdiocese of Birmingham alleged to ITV News that children could still be at risk.

He also voiced fears "history will just repeat itself".

The survivor, who wished to remain anonymous to protect his identity, has welcomed the recommendations in a new final report published by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse.

He said he wants the recommendations to be implemented in full.

Speaking to ITV News Central, he said: "The government, whomever it may be, has got to take these [recommendations] on board because it's the future generations of people coming forward, otherwise, history will just repeat itself."

"My reading lessons were nothing but secret prayer sessions of promises from God and sexual abuse."

He adds: "I realised that something's not quite right here, you know, on a Saturday morning to have a room with all curtains blacked out drawn to and the candles lit.

"It was a bit devastating really for a child.

"I was told if I was to tell anybody, the wrath of God would come down on the family as well as myself."

The report examined how institutions in England and Wales covered up sexual abuse dating back to the 1950s.

In 2020, the inquiry found more than 130 allegations of child sexual abuse were made against 78 individuals associated with the Archdiocese of Birmingham since the 1930s.

On Thursday, the seven-year examination of institutions including the Catholic Church the Church of England, Boarding Schools and Children's Homes published its final damning report.

It recommended anyone who works with children and does not report child sex abuse should be prosecuted.

A Child Protection Agency was also created to protect children, and a "national redress scheme" to give compensation to survivors was also recommended.

Speaking about the inquiry and its recommendations, chairwoman Professor Alexis Jay said: "It is not just a historical aberration. It's just not the case. It's all rooted in the past."

"There are many, many instances of very recent child sexual abuse within institutions."

When asked if organisations are still failing to protect children she replied: "Yes, they are."

"We believe our package of recommendations will substantially help towards eliminating or reducing that."

What is the Archdiocese of Birmingham?

St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham is the Mother church of the Archdiocese of Birmingham and housed one of the worst abusers in the Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham is one of the principal Latin-rite Catholic administrative divisions of England and Wales in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.

The archdiocese covers many counties across the UK including Staffordshire, the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and much of Oxfordshire as well as Caversham in Berkshire.

Father James Robinson, a priest, repeatedly abused children, but his crimes were covered up for years.

Once allegations were made he was simply moved to another parish, until 2010 when justice caught up with him.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who is now the highest-ranking Catholic in the UK, was once Archbishop of Birmingham.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, current Archbishop of Westminster, but formally the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Credit: PA

He's faced calls to resign after the inquiry blamed him for failing to tackle decades of abuse.

Cardinal Nichols did offer to resign but the Pope asked him to stay and implement the much-needed changes.

The Catholic Church has apologised for its actions and says improvements have been made.

A statement from the Catholic Council welcomed the report, which read: "At no point will the Church stop on its journey of dedicated effort in making the life and work of the Church safe for all.

"The Church commissioned an independent review into its safeguarding work and structures which is in the process of being implemented.

"It is important for us to, again, offer an unreserved apology to all those who have been hurt by abuse."

Where can you find help if you're struggling?

Samaritans run a 24/7 free-to-use helpline (116 123) for anyone who needs a friendly face to talk to. Alternatively, people can email or visit its website, which is home to a wide array of learning resources.

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) operates a helpline (0800 58 58 58), which is in service between 5pm and midnight every day. Or if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.

If you would prefer not to talk but want some mental health support, you could text SHOUT to 85258. Shout offers a confidential 24/7 text service providing support if you are in crisis and need immediate help.