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Concealment of sexual abuse

What is concealment?

Concealment is the covering up of known sexual activity with a child. Unfortunately more and more cases of sexual abuse are being uncovered. Often these activities were known by other adults, who chose to keep quiet.


The NSPCC are seeking the introduction of a specific criminal offence of covering up, concealing or ignoring known child abuse. This would mean that all professionals working with children would be subject to a duty to report known child abuse and if they fail to do so criminal sanctions could be brought to bear. Such sanctions would make it clear that the protection of children is paramount and a failure to respond to abuse is not an acceptable option. 

UK cases where concealment may have occurred

Barry Bennell was charged with a total of 55 offences including  sexual assault against a boy aged under 14, indecent assault and buggery. Whilst he eventually was found guilty of the majority of these offences, it is likely this would have been occurred far sooner if professionals working with children had a duty to report such matters.

Kirklevington Detention Centre where it is alleged that staff abused young offenders in their care. If this is proven, it is another case where concealment has played a part in perpetuating the abuse.

An Australian case where the person concealing was found guilty

The Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson has been found guilty in an Australian Court of concealment of sexual abuse. Whilst such a case is not binding on UK Courts, it is likely to be a only a matter of time before similar cases are heard in the UK.

Sexual Abuse and the associated mental issues

Speaking with many victims of sexual abuse, their biggest struggle has been that no one listened to them. Concealment has caused victims to suffer twice, the sexual activity and the worthlessness when they are not believed. This often manifests is significant psychological problems in later life.

CICA compensation for concealed sexual abuse

The CICA recognise that many victims suffer mental illness as a result of sexual abuse. Providing their mental illness is diagnosed by a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, the CICA will pay ‘enhanced’ compensation. The CICA will award £8,200 for repetitive frequent severe abuse lasting more than 3 years and £22,000 if there is permanently disabling mental illness. See our criminal injuries compensation calculator for a guide to the CICA tariffs. 

Solicitors specialising in sexual abuse cases

Jonathan Winston has been advising clients on CICA cases since 1995.  For a free confidential chat call 0113 320 5000 or email

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