Thursday, 9 July 2015

Child sexual abuse inquiry 'could last until 2020'

Justice Lowell Goddard was speaking as she formally opened the independent inquiry which she hopes to end by 2020.
It will examine how public bodies handled their duty of care to protect children from abuse.
She said the task ahead was "daunting" but "could expose past failures of institutions to protect children".
Justice Goddard, a New Zealand High Court judge, said in her opening remarks that the sexual abuse of children "has left permanent scars not only on successive generations, has left permanent scars not only on victims themselves, but on society as a whole".
"This inquiry provides a unique opportunity to expose past failures of institutions to protect children, to confront those responsible, to uncover systemic failures, to provide support to victims and survivors, in sharing their experiences, and to make recommendations that will help prevent the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in the future."
She also said it was important to emphasize that this is the largest and most ambitious public inquiry ever established in England and Wales.
Justice Goddard also said that, despite the size of the investigation, she was "determined to ensure that it does not become bogged down in the delays that have bedeviled some other public inquiries in this jurisdiction".
She is the third person named to chair the inquiry - her two predecessors resigned over concerns about their links with the establishment.
She previously led an inquiry into police handling of child abuse cases in her own country.
Baroness Butler-Sloss, the first inquiry chairwoman, resigned a week after it was set up.
This followed calls for her to quit because her late brother, Sir Michael Havers, had been attorney general in the 1980s.
Her replacement, the then Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf, stood down on 31 October amid concerns over her links to former Home Secretary Lord Brittan.

Henry J Williams

Author & Editor

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